Thursday, December 30, 2010

France's Secret Weapon For Preventing Car Burnings: Secrecy

The scortchings scorecard:
Dec 31 2006: feral youth burned 397 cars in France on New Year's Eve
Dec 31 2007: 878 cars were burned on New Year's Eve.
Dec 31 2008: 1,147 cars set ablaze on New Year's Eve.
Dec 31 2009: 1,137 cars torched on New Year's Eve.
Dec 31 2010: It's going to be... a secret...
... according to Brice Hortefeux, France's Minister of the Interior.

Yesterday, while visiting with firefighters in the "sensitive zone" of Val-de-Marne, the Minister announced that his office will repeat the strategy he began employing back in July, as a means to reduce the number of cars now traditionally burned on Bastille Day.
"I took the decision to put an end to the contests, to the honor rolls, and to no longer talk about the number of burned vehicles."
In July Minister Hortefeux implied that the "unhealthy tradition" of keeping citizens informed on the progress (or lack thereof) of policing this fiery vandalism, was only promoting more attacks, inspiring the feral youth toward a thuggish game of one-upmanship.
Now, to rain on their parade, January news accounts will contain no specific accountings of how many automobiles are to be flambées on New Year's Eve: only numbers for the year as a whole will be released.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holy Night

Here's a fresh look at a piece of wondrous, classic Christmas music:
O Holy Night.

Originally a French composition by Placide Cappeau, it was translated into English in by the thoughtful gentleman pictured above, who shared the frenchman's deep-rooted anti-slavery sentiments: John Sullivan Dwight (1813-1893). Unitarian minister, music critic, abolitionist.

As far back as 1837 Dwight had been preaching against slavery, delivering sermons on the great evil in-between more tranquil moments spent translating poetry by Goethe and Schiller. And there was music, always music: Dwight went on to publish, for four decades, the influential Journal Of Music: A Paper On Art And Literature.

In 1855 he is said to have first published his translation of Cappeau's French piece, "Minuit, Chretiens" ["Midnight, Christians"]. Today, we stop short from singing the piece in its original form... even though the Christmas wish expressed in its second half still applies in our time:

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of Our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world In sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd And the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope The weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks A new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O, hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts By His cradle we stand.
So led by light of A star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men From Orient land.
The King of Kings Lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials Born to be our friend.

He knows our need, To our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!

He taught us To love one another;
His law is love And His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break For the slave is our brother;
And in His name All oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy In grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us Praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory Evermore proclaim.
His power and glory Evermore proclaim.

Merry Christmas to my co-bloggers, Dag and Truepeers; thanks for teaching me how to dig deeper for deeper strength.

And a Very Merry Christmas to all: may the special day bring each of you the renewal of strength you need to persevere... And let us keep in our thoughts and our prayers, those who will be denied their Holy Day this year, as a day of Peace.

May your soul feel its worth...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Our first real snowfall of the season last night left a beautiful white carpet for us to wake up to this morning.

When I was a kid I used to earn quite a bit of money each Winter going door to door in the morning to offer to shovel neighbor's driveways for them on days like this. The experience left me with the lifelong habit of seeing snow as Opportunity... and to think of Winter as the time for renewed enterprise.

The tapestry of white serving as a blank canvas... ready for an imprint.

And so, to work...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Voting For Life Or Death In Minnesota

A Minnesota couple have established an online poll at their blog to determine whether or the pregnant wife should give birth to their baby, or not.

"Help Us Decide"
You can vote and choose whether we abort or keep our unborn child. For the first time, your vote on the topic of abortion can make a difference.

A grim countdown calendar ticks downward, day after day, with a fateful cut-off to determine whether or not a child will live or die.
Dec. 9th is the last day we could legally get an abortion in our state. This vote will remain open until 2 days prior to allow for the procedure if decided.

The Daily Mail UK newspaper, whose reporter has more time to read blogs than I do, quotes an older post (without supplying the link) from the mother-to-be:
She wrote: 'I'm not convinced that I want to change the status quo. I feel that as I age I've actually gotten more selfish and set in my ways.
'I'm afraid that I will eventually regret starting a family and "settling down", as they say.
'I fear that the constant pressure to be the perfect wife and mother while maintaining a full-time job will eventually cause my brain to implode and lead to a nervous breakdown.

To value life as the blessed gift that it is, why not grow to see how we can never really "know" whether or not we will succeed at the tasks most worth doing. We can hope, but we can't "know". Studying for a trade, starting a business, getting married, starting a family. These acts require faith, and embracing these challenges is an act of faith.

Sometimes simply living is an act of faith.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Remembering A Happy Warrior

Reagan grinned. He was breaking the ice. But he was also doing more. As always, his stories had a point or purpose behind them; it had been that way ever since he started using illustrations in his public speeches thirty years earlier. Reagan was telling a funny joke about communism. But just below the surface, there was a sharp edge of truth that revealed the absurdity of the Soviet system.
Every time [Gorbachev and Reagan] would meet, Reagan would have a couple of jokes ready in his arsenal, gently zinging the Soviet leader about the absurdities of his system.
... An American took a trip to the Soviet Union. On the way to Kennedy Airport, he rode in a cab driven by a college student.
"What are you going to do after graduation?"
"I haven't decided yet."
When he arrived in Moscow he jumped into another cab, which was also driven by a university student.
"What do you want to do when you finish college?" he asked.
"I don't know", the student responded, "I haven't been told yet."
Gorbachev sat grim-faced when he heard that one.
__Peter Schweizer, "Reagan's War: The Epic Story Of His Forty-Year Struggle And Final Triumph Over Communism, pgs 250-251

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

Vancouver's 2010 Remembrance Day ceremony attracted an even larger crowd than usual to this year's event; it seems part of the tradition now, to see an increase in attendance each November 11.

The ceremony at the Cenotaph concludes with the remaining WWII veterans placing their single white roses with singular determination, in memory of those whose hair never got to grow as grey, whose children, and grandchildren, could not accompany them during this traditional gesture of remembrance.

We may sincerely say Thank You, but the words are like the raindrops also seemingly part of the fabric of this ceremony's tradition. They come, and they go. It's the memory of the gesture that tends to remain; the tender hand on the shoulder speaking more eloquently and casting a longer shadow on the mind than mere words could ever do. The gestures, and the contact that comes with them: these are what renew the shared hope that there may still be a better tomorrow.

We watch, and we can't help but wonder: was the sacrifice worth it? What promise, is there, for Peace?
As ever, the answer is everywhere around us, carried in the thoughtful eyes of the young.

Many are not yet old enough to read the names of those represented through the many wreaths laid in their memory. Still, their young minds, like their delicate hands, reach out to understand the deeper meaning to what they witnessed today. And Thank God, there are many who make a point to help them appreciate what these gestures are to mean to them.

"Say Thank You", they are coached by grateful parents, and the bashful smile that animates the child's grateful touch must surely bring a renewal of faith to the older hands that gently receive it. A renewal of faith through gratitude, and with it, a chance for Peace.

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget.

Remembrance Day, 2010

We haven't been writing much of late, and I'm off to the Cenotaph in few minutes. So I thought I'd just remember that there are countless signs, all about us, from your favorite free-wheeling blogs to innocent children, to all the fruits of a free-trading entrepreneurs, that are the legacy of those who fought in the wars of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries against the evils of totalitarianism. Here are a couple of photos I took last spring in Fort Langley, BC.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blazing Cat Fur needs your help!

Please follow the link and consider Arnie's appeal for financial help in his lawsuit - do we want to make it easy for the threat of lawsuits to shut up critics of public figures whose views on "human rights" we find wrong-headed?

Blazing Cat Fur: Richard Warman Sues Blazingcatfur For Linking To "Far Right" Mark Steyn

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Geert Wilders' speech in Berlin - The kind of talk Europe's totalitarian elites want to ban

Geert Wilders Berlin Oct 2 English titles from Vlad Tepes on Vimeo.


00:00 On Monday October 4th, 2010, in a court in Amsterdam,
00:03 Geert Wilders was put on trial for his freedom.
00:06 Two days before, on the eve of the anniversary of German reunification,
00:08 an event was held in Berlin, by yet another European political party established to preserve
00:13 the traditions of European liberty and to oppose the Islamification of the continent.
00:16 There Mr Wilders delivered the following speech,
00:18 again giving voice to the opinions that the European establishment,
00:22 would like to see him thrown in jail, for having the courage to express.
00:26 Dear... Dear Friends, I find myself very happy to be here in Berlin today.
00:35 As you know, the invitation which my friend René Stadtkewitz extended to me,
00:41 has cost him his membership of the CDU group in the Berlin Parliament.
00:47 René, however, did not give in to the pressure.
01:01 He did not betray his convictions.
01:05 His dismissal prompted him to establish his own new political party.
01:12 And René, I thank you for your invitation, and I wish you all the best:
01:19 and I also wish you a great great deal of success with your new party.
01:38 My friends as you may have heard, the past weeks have been rather busy for me.
01:46 Earlier this week we succeeded in forging in The Netherlands,
01:49 a minority government of the Liberals and the Christian-Democrats,
01:55 which will be supported by my own party.
01:59 And this is an historic event for the Netherlands.
02:05 I am very proud of having been able to help achieve this.
02:11 And at this...
02:22 At this very moment, while we are here,
02:25 the Christian-Democrat Party conference is deciding
02:29 whether or not to approve this coalition.
02:33 And if they do...
02:35 If they do, we will finally be able to start to rebuild our country.
02:41 To be able to preserve our national identity,
02:44 and offer our children a better future.
02:48 Despite...
02:57 And despite my busy schedule,
03:00 it has always been a wish of mine, to come to Berlin.
03:04 Because Germany too needs a political movement,
03:08 which is both willing to defend German identity,
03:11 and to stand up against the Islamification of Germany.
03:32 Your Chancellor Angela Merkel says that,
03:35 “The Islamization of Germany is inevitable.”
03:39 She has called upon citizens to be prepared
03:42 for more changes as a result of immigration.
03:46 She wants the Germans to adapt to this situation.
03:51 The Christian-Democrat leader has said, and accepts that, quote:
03:57 “More than before mosques will be an integral part of our cities.” Unquote.
04:06 My friends...
04:08 My friends, we should not, and we will not
04:11 accept the unacceptable as inevitable:
04:16 Without trying to turn the tide!
04:31 It is our duty as politicians to preserve our nations for our children.
04:37 And I hope that René’s new movement
04:40 will be as successful as my own Partij voor de Vrijheid,
04:45 as Oskar Freysinger’s Schweizerische Volkspartei [in Switzerland],
04:49 and as Pia Kjaersgaard’s Dansk Folkeparti in Denmark,
04:53 and similar movements elsewhere.
05:06 My good friend Pia Kjaersgaard recently spoke in Sweden,
05:11 at the invitation of the Sverigedemokraterna.
05:15 She said: “I have not come to meddle in Swedish domestic politics.
05:21 Because that is for the Swedish people to be concerned with.
05:24 “No,” she said, “I have come because
05:28 in spite of certain differences today's Swedish debate, in many ways
05:33 reminds me of the debate we've had in Denmark for 10-15 years.
05:40 And I have to come to Sweden because it is also a concern to Denmark.
05:45 We cannot just sit on our hands
05:49 and be silent witnesses to political developments in Sweden.”
05:52 And the same, the very same, applies for me
05:57 as a Dutchman with respect to Germany.
06:00 I am here...
06:12 I am here today because Germany matters to the Netherlands,
06:18 and to the rest of the world;
06:21 and because we cannot, in the absence of a strong German partner,
06:25 establish an International Freedom Alliance.
06:38 Dear friends, tomorrow is the Day of German Unity.
06:43 Tomorrow exactly twenty years ago, your great nation was reunified
06:50 after the collapse of the totalitarian Communist ideology.
06:55 The Day of German Unity is an important day for the whole of Europe.
07:01 Germany...
07:09 Germany is the largest democracy in Europe.
07:15 Germany is Europe’s economic powerhouse.
07:18 The wellbeing and prosperity of Germany is of benefit to all of us.
07:24 Because the wellbeing and prosperity of Germany,
07:27 is a prerequisite for the wellbeing and prosperity of Europe.
07:39 Today I am here, however, to warn you about a looming disunity.
07:45 Germany’s national identity, its democracy and economic prosperity,
07:51 is under threat from the political ideology of Islam.
08:00 In 1848, Karl Marx began his Communist Manifesto with the famous words:
08:08 “A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of communism.”
08:14 But Today...
08:16 Today, there is a different spectre stretching across Europe:
08:20 It is the spectre of Islam.
08:24 This danger...
08:34 And this danger, is a political one today also.
08:39 Islam is not merely a religion, as many people seem to think:
08:44 Islam is mainly a dangerous political ideology.
09:01 The Flemish Professor Urbain Vermeulen, the former president
09:06 of the European Union of Arabists and Islamicists, points out that,
09:10 “Islam is primarily a legal system: a law,” rather than a religion.
09:19 I quote from the bestseller and BBC television series: The Triumph of the West,
09:26 which the renowned Oxford historian J.M. Roberts wrote in 1985.
09:32 And he wrote that,
09:34 “Although we carelessly speak of Islam as a ‘religion’;
09:38 that word carries many overtones of the special history of western Europe.
09:45 The Muslim is primarily a member of a community,
09:49 the follower of a certain way, an adherent to a system of law.
09:56 Rather than someone holding particular theological views.”
10:02 And the American political scientist Mark Alexander writes that,
10:07 “One of our greatest mistakes is to think of Islam
10:12 as just another one of the world’s great religions.
10:18 We should not do so.”
10:29 “Islam,” he says, “is politics or it is nothing at all.
10:34 But of course, it is politics with a spiritual dimension...
10:39 ...which will stop at nothing, until the West is no more.
10:44 Until the West has... been well and truly Islamized.”
10:49 And, he was right. These...
10:56 These are not all just statements by opponents of Islam.
10:59 Islamic scholars say, and think, the same thing.
11:03 To anyone who has read the Koran, the Sirah and the Hadith:
11:09 there can be no misunderstanding about the nature of Islam.
11:15 Abul Ala Maududi, the influential 20th century Pakistani Islamic thinker, wrote,
11:24 – and I quote, emphasizing that these are not my words but those of a leading Islamic scholar –
11:31 he said: “Islam is not merely a religious creed [but] a revolutionary ideology,
11:39 and jihad refers to that revolutionary struggle...
11:44 to destroy all states and governments anywhere, on the face of the earth,
11:50 which are opposed to the ideology and program of Islam.”
11:55 And Ali Sina, an Iranian Islamic apostate who now lives in Canada,
12:02 points out that there is one golden rule,
12:06 and that this golden rule lies at the heart of every religion:
12:12 that is, that we do unto others, as we would have them do unto us.
12:19 But in Islam, this rule only applies to fellow believers, but not to Infidels.
12:39 Ali Sina says, and I quote,
12:42 “The reason I am against Islam is not because it is a religion,
12:47 but because it is a political ideology of imperialism and domination,
12:53 in the guise of religion.
12:55 Because Islam does not follow the Golden Rule, it attracts violent people.”
13:03 A dispassionate study of the beginnings of Islamic history,
13:07 reveals clearly that Muhammad’s objective was
13:11 first to conquer his own people, the Arabs, and to unify them under his rule,
13:19 and then to conquer and rule the world.
13:23 That was the original cause.
13:26 It was obviously political and was backed by military force.
13:32 “I was ordered to fight all men until they say, ‘There is no god but Allah’, ”
13:41 is what Muhammad said in his final address.
13:44 He did so in accordance with the Koranic command in sura 8:39:
13:50 “Fight them until there is no more dissension and the religion is entirely Allah’s.”
14:00 According to mythology, Muhammad founded Islam in Mecca,
14:05 after the Angel Gabriel visited him for the first time in the year 610.
14:11 However, for its first twelve years, when Islam was religious rather than political,
14:18 Islam was not a success.
14:20 But in 622, Muhammad emigrated with his small band of 150 followers, to Yathrib,
14:29 which was then a predominantly Jewish oasis.
14:32 There he established the first mosque in history, and seized political power,
14:39 he gave Yathrib the name of Medina (which means the “City of the Prophet”);
14:44 and began his career as a military and a political leader,
14:49 who conquered the whole of Arabia.
14:52 Tellingly, the Islamic calendar starts with the hijra,
14:58 the migration to Medina:
15:01 the moment when Islam became a political movement.
15:07 And after Muhammad's death, Islam developed,
15:11 based upon his own words and deeds: Sharia.
15:14 An elaborate legal system which justified,
15:17 the repressive governance of the world by divine right
15:22 – including rules for jihad,
15:25 and for the absolute control of believers and non-believers.
15:30 And Sharia as you all know,
15:32 is the law of Saudi Arabia and Iran, among other Islamic states.
15:38 It is also central to the Organization of the Islamic Conference,
15:44 which in article 24 of its Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam,
15:50 proclaims that, “all rights and freedoms are subject to the Islamic Sharia.”
15:58 And the OIC is no religious institution; it is a political body.
16:06 It constitutes the largest voting-block in the United Nations,
16:11 and writes reports on so-called “Islamophobia” in Western Countries,
16:17 which accuse us of human rights violations.
16:22 To speak in biblical terms: They look for the splinter in our eye,
16:29 while ignoring the log in their own.
16:48 Under Sharia law, people in territories conquered by Islam,
16:53 have no guaranteed legal rights,
16:56 not even the right to life or the right to own property,
17:00 unless they convert to Islam.
17:04 Before I continue,
17:07 and in order to avoid any misunderstandings,
17:10 I want to emphasize that I am talking about Islam,
17:15 not about Muslims.
17:17 I always make a clear distinction
17:20 between the people and the ideology,
17:23 between Muslims and Islam.
17:27 There are many moderate Muslims,
17:31 but the political ideology of Islam is not moderate,
17:37 will never be moderate, and has global ambitions.
17:53 It aims to impose Islamic law, or Sharia, upon the whole world.
17:59 The way to achieve this is through jihad.
18:03 The good news is,
18:05 that millions of Muslims around the world,
18:08 – including many in Germany and the Netherlands –
18:11 do not follow the directives of Sharia,
18:14 let alone engage in jihad.
18:17 But the bad news...
18:19 The bad news however, is that those who do follow them,
18:25 are prepared to use all available means
18:28 in order to achieve their ideological, revolutionary goal.
18:34 In 1954 the British-American writer and historian Professor Bernard Lewis,
18:42 in his essay Communism and Islam, spoke of,
18:46 “the totalitarianism, of the Islamic political tradition.”
18:51 Professor Lewis said that,
18:54 “The traditional Islamic division of the world
18:58 into the ‘House of Islam’ and the ‘House of War’...
19:01 ...has obvious parallels in the Communist view of world affairs...
19:06 ...The aggressive fanaticism of the believer is the same.”
19:12 says Professor Lewis.
19:14 And the American political scientist Mark Alexander states,
19:19 that the nature of Islam, differs very little
19:22 – and only in detail rather than style –
19:25 from despicable and totalitarian political ideologies,
19:29 such as National-Socialism and Communism.
19:34 He lists the following common characteristics for these three,
19:39 these three, ideologies:
19:42 Communism, National-Socialism and Islam.
19:45 First: They use political purges to “cleanse” society of what they consider undesirable.
19:56 Second: They tolerate only a single political party,
20:01 where Islam allows more parties, it insists that all parties be Islamic ones.
20:09 Third: They coerce the people down a road that they must follow.
20:16 Fourth: They obliterate the liberal distinction between areas of private judgment and of public control.
20:27 Fifth: They turn the educational system into an apparatus for the purpose of universal indoctrination.
20:35 Sixth: They lay down rules for art, for literature, for science and for religion.
20:44 Seventh: They subdue certain people who are given second-class status.
20:53 Eighth: They induce a frame of mind akin to fanaticism,
20:58 adjustment takes place by struggle and dominance.
21:03 Ninth: They are abusive to their opponents, and regard any concession on their own part,
21:10 as a temporary expedient, and on a rival’s part, as a sign of weakness.
21:19 Tenth: They regard politics as an expression of power.
21:24 Lastly: They are anti-Semitic.
21:29 There is one more striking parallel,
21:33 but this is not a characteristic of the three political ideologies,
21:40 but rather it is a characteristic of the West:
21:43 It is the apparent inability of the West to see the danger.
21:50 The prerequisite to understanding political danger:
21:53 is a willingness to see the truth, even if it is unpleasant.
22:14 Unfortunately, modern Western politicians seem to have lost this capacity.
22:22 Our inability leads us to reject, the logical and historical conclusions,
22:28 to be drawn from the facts.
22:32 Though we could, and should know better.
22:36 What is wrong with modern Western man,
22:40 that we end up making the same mistake over and over again?
22:45 There is no better place to ponder this question,
22:52 than here in Berlin.
23:07 Here in Berlin, the former capital of the empire,
23:11 of the evil that was Nazi Germany.
23:14 And a city which was held captive by the
23:17 so-called German “Democratic” Republic for over forty years.
23:22 When the citizens of Eastern Europe rejected Communism in 1989,
23:30 they were inspired by dissidents such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,
23:35 Václav Havel, Vladimir Bukovsky, and others, who told them:
23:39 that people have a right,
23:41 but also an obligation, to “live within the truth.”
23:46 And freedom, dear friends...
23:49 Freedom requires eternal vigilance;
23:53 so it is with truth also.
24:08 So it is too with truth.
24:10 Solzhenitsyn added however, and I quote, that,
24:14 “The truth is seldom sweet. It is almost invariably bitter.”
24:21 Let us, let us together, look the bitter truth squarely in the eye:
24:27 We have lost our capacity to perceive the danger,
24:32 and to understand the truth,
24:34 because we no longer value freedom.
24:38 Politicians from almost all establishment political parties today,
24:41 are facilitating Islamization.
24:44 They are cheering for every new Islamic school,
24:47 every Islamic bank, and every new Islamic court.
24:52 They regard Islam as being equal to our own culture.
24:57 Islam or Freedom?
24:59 It doesn't really matter to them.
25:03 But to us? To us? It does matter.
25:18 The entire establishment, the elite
25:21 – universities, churches, trade unions, the media, politicians –
25:27 are all putting our hard-earned liberties at risk.
25:32 They talk...
25:39 They talk about equality,
25:42 but amazingly fail to see how in Islam,
25:47 women have fewer rights than men,
25:49 and infidels have fewer rights than adherents of Islam.
26:01 Are we, then, going to repeat the fatal mistakes of the Weimar Republic?
26:20 Are we succumbing to Islam because our commitment to freedom is already dead?
26:26 No. It will not happen.
26:30 We are not like Frau Merkel.
26:32 We will not accept Islamization.
26:55 We have to keep our freedom alive.
26:59 And, to the extent that we have already lost it,
27:01 we must reclaim it in our democratic elections.
27:16 This is exactly why, precisely why,
27:19 we need new political parties that defend freedom.
27:30 It is to support such parties that we established the International Freedom Alliance.
27:40 As you know, I am standing trial in the Netherlands.
27:46 On Monday, in two days time, I will have to go to court again.
27:50 And I will have to spend most of the coming month there.
27:55 I have been brought to court because of my opinions on Islam,
28:01 and because I have voiced these opinions in speeches,
28:07 articles and in my documentary film Fitna.
28:11 I have personally lived under constant police protection for years.
28:16 Islamic extremists want to assassinate me,
28:19 yet it is I who stand before a court,
28:22 because the Dutch establishment – most of them non-Muslims –
28:28 want to see me silenced as well.
28:32 I have been dragged to court because in my country,
28:36 freedom can no longer be fully enjoyed.
28:42 Unlike America, we do not have a First Amendment which guarantees people
28:49 the human right to express their opinions,
28:54 and foster public debate by doing so.
28:57 And in contrast to America, in Europe, the nation state,
29:02 and increasingly the European Union also,
29:05 prescribes how citizens
29:07 – including democratically elected politicians such as myself –
29:11 how we should think, and what we are allowed to say.
29:26 One of the things we are no longer allowed to say,
29:31 is that our culture, our culture, is superior to certain other cultures.
29:39 This...
29:48 Saying only this, is seen as a discriminatory statement
29:55 – a statement of hatred even.
29:58 We are indoctrinated on a daily basis, in the schools and through the media,
30:02 with the message that all cultures are equal,
30:06 but that, if one culture is worse than all the rest,
30:09 then it is our own.
30:14 We are inundated with feelings of guilt and shame
30:18 about our own identity and what we stand for.
30:25 We are exhorted to extend respect to everyone and everything,
30:29 except ourselves.
30:31 This...
30:46 This is the message of the Left and of the politically-correct ruling establishment.
30:54 They want us to feel so ashamed about our own identity,
31:01 that we simply refuse to stand up for it.
31:05 The detrimental obsession of our cultural and political elites with Western guilt,
31:13 merely reinforces the view which Islam has of us.
31:17 The Koran says that non-Muslims are kuffar [the plural of kafir],
31:21 a word which literally means “rejectors” or “ingrates”.
31:26 Hence non-believers, are “guilty”.
31:30 Islam teaches that in our natural state we have all been born as believers.
31:36 Islam teaches that if we are not believers today, the fault for this thus lies with us,
31:41 or the fault lies with our forefathers.
31:45 Subsequently, we are always kafir – guilty – because either we or our fathers are apostates.
31:53 And hence, according to some, we deserve subjugation.
31:57 And our contemporary leftist and politically-correct intellectuals,
32:02 are entirely blind to the dangers of Islam.
32:07 Former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky argues that the West,
32:13 after the fall of Communism,
32:15 failed to expose those who had collaborated with the Communists.
32:21 By for example purposefully advocating policies of détente and improved relations,
32:27 or a relaxation of international tension, and peaceful coexistence.
32:33 He points out that the Cold War was, “a war we never won.”
32:41 “We never even fought it… Most of the time, the West engaged in
32:47 a policy of appeasement toward the Soviet bloc
32:53 – and appeasers don’t win any wars.”
33:06 Dear friends... Islam is the Communism of today.
33:12 But...
33:17 But, because of our failure to come clean with Communism,
33:23 we are unable to deal with Islam,
33:26 trapped as we are in the old Communist habit of deceit and double-speak;
33:33 which in the past plagued the countries in the East, and that now plagues us all.
33:39 So we see the sort of people, who before turned a blind eye to Communism,
33:46 are precisely the same politically-correct, leftists, who today close their eyes to Islam.
34:03 They are using exactly the same arguments
34:07 for “improved relations”, and appeasement as before.
34:13 They argue that our adversary is just as peace-loving, as we are,
34:20 that if only we were to meet him half-way, then he would also do the same.
34:26 That he only asks for respect, and that if we respect him, he will in turn respect us.
34:34 We even hear a repetition of the old moral equivalence mantra.
34:40 They used to say that Western “imperialism” was as bad as Soviet imperialism;
34:49 today they say that Western “imperialism” is just as bad as Islamic terrorism.
34:57 In my speech a few weeks ago in New York, on September 11th,
35:02 I emphasized that we must stop this “Blame the West, Blame America”-game,
35:09 which Islamic spokesmen are playing with us.
35:27 And we must stop playing this game ourselves.
35:32 And I have exactly the same message, dear friends, for you today.
35:39 It is an insult to tell us that we are guilty,
35:44 and deserve what is happening to us.
35:47 How is it exactly, that we deserve becoming strangers in our own lands?
35:53 We should accept such insults no longer.
36:12 First of all, Western civilization is the freest and most prosperous on earth.
36:21 Which is precisely why so many immigrants are so keen on moving here.
36:24 Secondly...
36:29 Secondly, there is no such thing as collective guilt.
36:33 Free individuals...
36:41 Free individuals are free moral agents who are only responsible for their own deeds.
36:51 I am very happy, very fortunate, to be here in Berlin today in order to deliver this message,
37:00 which is extremely important, especially so, here in Germany.
37:05 Whatever...
37:07 No matter what took place in your country in the past,
37:13 the present generation is not responsible for it.
37:34 Whatever happened in the past, is no excuse for punishing the Germans of today.
37:49 But... But, neither is it an excuse, for you to shrink from the fight for your own identity.
38:10 Your only responsibility is to eschew the mistakes of the past.
38:16 It is your duty to stand with those threatened by the ideology of Islam,
38:24 such as the State of Israel and your Jewish compatriots.
38:41 The Weimar Republic refused to fight for freedom,
38:46 and was overrun by a totalitarian ideology,
38:50 with catastrophic consequences for Germany, the rest of Europe and the world.
38:56 Please do not refuse to fight, for your freedom, today.
39:14 I feel lucky to be in your midst today because it seems,
39:18 that twenty years after German reunification, a new,
39:23 a new generation no longer feels guilty, just for the fact of being German.
39:41 The current and very intense debate about Thilo Sarrazin’s recent book,
39:48 is an indication of the fact that Germany is coming to terms with itself.
39:53 I have...
40:01 I have not yet read Dr Sarrazin’s book, but I say this:
40:05 While the minds of the ruling politically-correct establishment
40:09 may be closed to, and almost unanimously critical of his thesis,
40:12 and while he may have lost his job as a Bundesbanker,
40:16 nevertheless, a large majority of Germans acknowledge that Dr Sarrazin
40:21 has addressed an important and pressing issue.
40:35 “Germany is abolishing itself,” warns Sarrazin,
40:40 and he calls upon the Germans to halt this process.
40:44 The enormous impact of his book indicates that many Germans feel the same way.
40:50 The people of Germany, do not want Germany to be abolished.
40:54 Despite all...
41:04 Germany is no longer ashamed to assert its national pride.
41:18 In these difficult times, when our national identities are under threat,
41:23 we must stop feeling guilty about who we are.
41:26 And with that cease feeling shameful,
41:29 and say together who we are:
41:31 We are not kafir, we are not “guilty”.
41:48 Like other peoples, Germans too have the right to remain who they are.
41:53 Germans must not become French, nor Dutch, nor Americans, nor Turks.
42:00 They should remain Germans.
42:10 When the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan visited your country in 2008,
42:17 he told the Turks living here that they had to remain Turks.
42:23 He literally said that, “assimilation is a crime against humanity.”
42:28 And Erdogan would perhaps have been right,
42:32 if he had been addressing the Turks in Turkey.
42:47 However, Germany is still the land of the Germans.
42:52 And hence, the Germans have a right to demand that anyone
42:56 who comes to live in Germany should assimilate.
43:00 They have the right...
43:07 They have the right
43:09 – no, they have the duty to demand, for the sake of their children –
43:17 to demand that newcomers respect German identity,
43:21 and fully respect Germany’s right to preserve its identity.
43:25 And we must realize...
43:29 We must realize that Islam expands in two ways.
43:35 Since it is not a religion, conversion is only a marginal phenomenon.
43:41 Historically, Islam has expanded either by military conquest,
43:48 or, it has expanded by using the weapon of hijra: immigration.
43:55 Muhammad conquered Medina through immigration.
43:59 Hijra is also what we are experiencing today.
44:03 The Islamization of Europe continues all the time.
44:09 But the West, our West, has no strategy for dealing with the Islamic ideology:
44:17 because our elites say to us, that we must adapt to them,
44:22 rather than the exact opposite.
44:35 In this regard, there is a lesson which we can learn from America,
44:41 the freest nation on Earth.
44:43 Americans are proud of their nation, its achievements and its flag.
44:50 We, too, should be proud of our nations.
44:55 The United States has always been a nation of immigrants.
44:59 And President Theodore Roosevelt was very clear about the duty of immigrants.
45:07 Here is what President Roosevelt said, and I quote:
45:12 “We should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith,
45:19 becomes an American and assimilates himself to us,
45:22 he shall be treated with a full and exact equality with everyone else...
45:29 But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American,
45:35 and nothing but an American...
45:38 There can be no divided allegiance here...
45:43 We have room for but one sole loyalty
45:47 and that is a loyalty to the American people.”
45:52 Endquote.
46:05 And it is not up to me to define what Germany’s national identity consists of.
46:13 That is entirely up to you.
46:16 However I do know, that German culture,
46:19 like that of neighbouring countries such as my own,
46:24 is rooted in Judeo-Christian and humanist values, and not in Islam.
46:43 Every responsible politician has a political obligation:
46:48 to preserve these values against ideologies which directly threaten them.
46:55 And a Germany...
46:56 A Germany full of mosques and veiled women,
47:00 is no longer, my friends,
47:02 it is no longer the Germany of Goethe,
47:05 of Schiller and Heine,
47:06 of Bach and Mendelssohn.
47:28 It will be a loss to us all.
47:32 It is vital that you cherish and preserve your roots as a nation.
47:38 Otherwise it will be impossible for you to safeguard your identity:
47:43 you will be abolished as a people, and you will lose your freedom.
47:49 And the rest of Europe will lose its freedom with you.
47:55 My friends, when Ronald Reagan came to a divided Berlin 23 years ago,
48:04 he uttered, not far from here at the Brandenburg Gate,
48:09 the following historic words, to the Soviet General Secretary:
48:20 “Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
48:25 President Reagan was not an appeaser,
48:29 he was rather, a man who spoke the truth, and who loved freedom.
48:34 Today, we must again tear down a wall.
48:40 It is not a wall of concrete,
48:43 but rather it is a wall of denial and ignorance, about the real nature of Islam.
48:50 The International Freedom Alliance aims to coordinate and stimulate these efforts.
48:59 And because we speak the truth – and it is the truth – voters have given my party,
49:05 and many other parties too, from Denmark all the way to Switzerland,
49:09 the voters have given us the power to influence the political decision-making process.
49:15 Whether that be in opposition, or through supporting a minority government;
49:21 as we too want to do soon in the Netherlands.
49:26 President Reagan... President Reagan showed, that one can, by speaking the truth,
49:33 one can change the course of history.
49:37 He showed...
49:47 He showed also, that there is no need to despair.
49:52 Never!
49:55 My friends... Just do your duty.
50:00 Do not be afraid.
50:03 Speak up. Speak the truth.
50:06 Defend Freedom.
50:08 Together we can preserve freedom,
50:12 together we must preserve freedom,
50:14 and together, my friends, we will be able to preserve freedom.
50:19 Thank you.

VIA Gates of Vienna: Islam or Freedom?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Show Trials 2010 - Geert Wilders quietly watches poor imitation of Maoists

Here is a highlight from Day 3 of the Geert Wilders "hate speech" trial in the Netherlands, sparked when the court was about to watch Wilders' film Fitna, and one audience member (a formal plaintiff?) puts on a show of asking permission to leave that she not have to see the horror. Have a good look at the vacant bureaucratic faces of the "judges". I haven't seen the like since attending show trials at the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. (We previously discussed the judge's obvious bias here.)

Don't miss Dutch Blogger Klein Verzet for a full report on Day 3. Here is one of his interesting observations:
Then they started with the reading of the testimony of Hans Jansen (he can be seen in the court room sitting behind Geert Wilders). In their reading of the first Islam expert the court showed some ignorance. The court apparently had never heard of Qutub the founder of modern jihad ideology. The judge could not pronounce the name: Qutb and had to try several times to pronounce it.
Noteworthy was Hans Jansen his final statement in which he stated his surprise about the courts interest in so many religious details. It was against all he had learned about the separations of powers, the separation of church and state.

And of course, as often, he is right. He has said it before, with this trial, they have positioned the court as an arbiter of truth, truth about religion, truth about Islam, an impossible and unwanted situation.
Alas, that is a point about the study of religion, any religion, that lots of people don't quite appreciate, especially when it comes to consideration of Islam. With this religion, the resentment of insiders (according to this study, noted in Klein Verzet's most recent post, 64% of the Koranic text discusses - i.e. curses - the Un-believer) and the anti-Islam resentment of non-Muslims often trumps the scholarly desire to get closer to the inherently paradoxical nature of that truth, in any religion, which generates resentment, and love.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Dennis Prager Interviews Ezra Levant

Ezra Levant was interviewed Monday morning in the second hour of Dennis Prager’s daily talk show, on the subject of Ezra’s new book, Ethical Oil: The Case For Canada’s Oil Sands.

I didn’t see much mention of their 30-minute talk elsewhere online, including any mention of it at Ezra own site, so I thought I would offer a brief recap, “for the record”.

Ezra’s responds to Dennis’ gracious introduction by reminding the American audience of the tremendous First Amendment rights that they may be taking for granted, citing how his own recent 900-day prosecution for publishing the mohammed cartoons in his magazine would not have been the same problem had it happened in the US.

Dennis' first question addresses how much oil is assumed to be available in Alberta’s oil sands reserves. The answer: 175 billion barrels, second only to Saudi Arabia. Ezra points out that Canada is the only liberal democracy to be found in the listed ten nations possessing the largest oil reserves (defining Iraq as only a “wobbly democracy"). He explains how the technical means to extract the oil from the sand and clay that it’s mixed with are being perfected every day, allowing Canada to keep increasing the amount of oil it can provide to the US. While Nancy Pelosi and Greenpeace have criticized Alberta's “dirty” resource, Ezra points out that when various other liberal criteria, such as environmentalism, fair wages and treatment of workers, are factored into the equation, Canada’s liberal values far surpass those of the other OPEC nations that we could be getting our oil from.

Dennis cuts to the quick: what is stopping America from buying even more oil, all its oil, from Canada? Ezra raises the issues of aesthetics, and how “ugly” the process can appear. However, those who criticize the Canadian source have less to say about Iranian or Saudi refining, because they can’t visit these locations and report on them as readily as they can access the comparable sites in Canada.

Dennis is a bit incredulous that mere aesthetics are the main roadblock to purchasing more oil from Canada. Ezra clarifies that Nancy Pelosi has primarily been critical of the “large carbon footprint” associated with the oil sands oil. He concedes her point that to produce one barrel of oil this way takes more energy than a barrel of light oil from the Saudis, due to the different refining needs of each source. But the comparison does not hold up when stacked up against heavy oil from Venezuela or even California, where Canada has the smaller carbon footprint.

Returning to the issue of ethics, Ezra makes a specific comparison with the Sudan, where the UN estimates about 300,000 people have been killed. The grim statistics are tabulated: how much blood (an eyeball’s worth) are to be associated with a barrel of Sudanese oil, and whether it might be better to have more carbon dioxide, but no blood, by using Canadian oil. Ezra was particularly eloquent and effective here, especially when pointing out that the mayor of the oil sands town of Fort MacMurray is a woman, and how unlikely such a situation would be in oil producing nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Ezra brings the segment to a close with a remark on how America, such a strong advocate of consumer rights, offers labels denoting countries of origins for so many goods, yet not for gas. Raising the question, what would people choose to buy if the country of origin for oil was revealed at the gas pump?

Back from the commercial break, Dennis takes a call from an angry listener in Texas. The caller states that he’s from Alberta, has seen the oil sands in Fort MacMurray “hundreds of times”. He tries to shame Ezra by asking how much water is used in the process. By his tone the caller expected to deal a severe wound to Ezra's case with this thrust. Ezra calmly parries the blow by conceding the recipe of three barrels of water that used to be required to produce one barrel of oil, then explains how technological advances see us using 38% less energy today in this process than had been the case 20 years ago. Statistics about the wasteful amount of water tolerated to secure a single cup of coffee or a pair of jeans put the oil sands equation into context, and for good measure we’re invited to wonder whether Iran or Saudi Arabia might be as worried about such environmental concerns as we would be in Canada.

The caller testily proposes that Alberta doesn’t care about the environment either; Ezra reminds him that he is from Alberta and cares about the environment, which prompts the caller to bark that he was from there as well. Having lost his cool, the caller then trips on his next point: Ralph Klein doesn’t care about the environment. Ezra gently suggests that since Klein hasn’t been Premier of Alberta for a few years now [since 2006], that perhaps the caller’s information may be a little out of date.

The third and final segment starts off with Dennis asking Ezra why the United States isn’t developing more of its own domestic oil sources, why is it depending so heavily on Canada’s oil? Ezra suggests that part of the answer could be the consumer doesn’t really have a way to know where the gas they currently buy is coming from. He cites the recent case of CITGO, and how when word got out about its connection with Venezuela, many people chose to drive to another dealer for their gas.

Dennis reframes his question more clearly: does the oil sands deposit not extend into the states neighboring Alberta? Not to the same degree, it seems, but in order to reach what deposits there are to be found in states like Idaho and Montana, the ecological downsides to any source of energy, and the particular ones associated with oil sands oil refining, have to be weighed against the notions of security of supply, as well as whether it’s worth financing our enemies.

Back again to the issue of environmentalism, Ezra asks, rhetorically, whether anyone believes that Nigeria’s oil refining could be more environmentally safer than what would be undertaken domestically in the US. Americans, like Canadians, care much more about the environment than the dictatorships do.

Ezra points out anecdotally to Dennis how the US now spends approximately $50 billion so that the US Navy can keep the Persian Gulf sea lanes open. This results in a $54 a barrel “subsidy” for oil exported from the Saudis, Kuwait and the UAE. “A military tax”, Dennis calls it. The stark comparison is made to the much lower costs associated with procuring oil from Canada, via pipeline.

Dennis concludes the conversation with a mention of Ezra’s previous book, Shakedown. Dennis asks Ezra to provide the “Cliff Notes” version of the story behind it for his listeners. Sadly Ezra's had a lot of practice, I'm sure, recounting the 900-day Human Rights farce of an investigation, and the “counterfeit human right”, the right not to be offended, that was at the heart of the “hate speech” complaint filed against him. He again brings up the point that Americans should not be complacent about their freedom of speech, and not to think that his trial would remain an impossibility in the US. Dennis agrees heartily, referencing the recent Yale University-published book on the mohammed Danish cartoon controversy, where the publisher self-censored themselves, cutting the cartoons from their own book, despite the wishes of author that they be included (naturally enough, since that's what the book was about in the first place!).

All in all a strong appearance by Ezra. I must say that I was a little disappointed with Dennis in this interview; he did a tremendous job summarizing Ezra's case at the start of each segment, for the sake of listeners tuning in late, but a couple of jokes after the first commercial break were extended way too long for my taste. This tragically ate up precious time at the expense of Ezra's advocacy on behalf of this critically important consumer protection movement.

The bad joke that is "justice" in the Netherlands

Yesterday, Geert Wilders declared to the Dutch court that is trying Wilders for "racism" against Muslims - on the grounds that Wilders has compared the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf (in the context of questioning the balanced or reasonable application of a law that bans publication of the Nazi book) - that he will not answer any questions from the court, that he will invoke his right not to say things that may be held against him in what promises to be a politicized game of gotcha (my interpretation). Here, via Diana West, is Wilders' statement translated into English:
Mister Chairman, members of the Court,

Thank you for allowing me a few minutes for a personal observation. For me the past months have been centred around the exhausting process of government coalition formation. For the people at the negotiating table the end of the day meant that they could rest and recharge their batteries. For me it usually meant that I had to devote my time to a second job, namely being the object of this ongoing court case.

It is strange experience for me to have to combine these two cases. However different these cases are they are the results of the same ideal, namely to stand for the freedom of expression and the will to pass on a better Netherlands to the next generation.

In this regard, defending freedom of expression (and for me that is what is at stake in the coming weeks) is of crucial importance. More then ever we must honour this commitment. Democracy requires open and free discussion. It must be possible to express different vision, especially on controversial issues, because the clash opinions leads to better understanding..

I am here today as a suspect. Formally, I am being tried, but it is the freedom of expression of many Dutchmen that is being tried.

Freedom of expression may not be curbed. That is all I have to say.

My lawyer will speak on my behalf regarding all the rest. I invoke my right to remain silent. I do so on the advice of my lawyer, but also because I have already said everything that needs to be said. I do not retract any of it. This does not mean, however, that I have said all the things which have been attributed to me.

And how did the court respond to Wilders' statement? The head judge, Jan Moorse, said:
I still value it to say something about it, Mr. Wilders. The court has read the files, but the court also read newspapers and watches television these days. You have been accused by others of being good at stating a position but unwilling to debate it. It looks as if you’re doing the same thing today.
In other words, the court responded to Wilders' statement that he would exercise his right not to say anything that might be seen as incriminating, by accusing Wilders on the spot that his failure adequately to debate his accusers is a sign of Wilders' guilt. The power of the accuser, the scandal monger, is somehow equated with what is right and just.

This is a sign of a totalitarian "justice" system of course. Reminds one of China's cultural revolution, for example.

Naturally enough, Wilders' lawyer then asked for an independent finding that the presently-constituted court is biased against Wilders. The wrakings kamer, the special court that is held to consider such claims of bias then found that
There is no substantial evidence to show that the judges have given the impression of being biased, therefore the request is being denied
Talk about being blind to the obvious. But then again, maybe not. It turns out that the head of the wrakings kamer is himself politically active with a government-funded organization focussed on "development" aid for Morocco, a judge with a previous record of downplaying terrorism. It seems that it is normal for judges in the Netherlands to be affiliated with a ruling political party.

While it should go without saying that any government that puts on trial a leading oppposition politician for mere words, for advocating policies that run counter to the highest pieties of the governing "liberal" elite, is in no sense liberal and only proving that contemporary "liberalism" reaches its logical conclusion in totalitarianism, it is nonetheless jarring to this writer to see additional evidence of the decadence of Dutch society and justice. Many Canadians, only a generation or two ago, died liberating the Netherlands from the Nazis. And, we may now well ask, for what?

Let us remember how, after liberation, the Dutch treated some of those who had collaborated with the Nazis, marking them visibly.

Madness has again descended on Europe.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Weeding The Human Plant From The Garden Of Eden

Move over, Leni Riefenstahl, you now have serious competition indeed, courtesy of the smiling eugenicists at 1010 and their catechism of cataclysm, "No Pressure":

The green thumb of the left hand of environmentalism is soaked with crimson this week, as a British taxpayer-supported group's attempt to bring attention to their upcoming advertising campaign got a little more attention than they bargained for. Against all reason, they packaged their appeal to conservation within a despicable gorefest launched with a preview in the UK-based Guardian newspaper, whose readers were given the first look at this "edgy" ecology lesson last Thursday, reminding us all that we can't expect to make omelettes without first breaking a few eggs:
[W]hy take such a risk of upsetting or alienating people, I ask [director Franny Armstrong]: "Because we have got about four years to stabilise global emissions and we are not anywhere near doing that. All our lives are at threat and if that's not worth jumping up and down about, I don't know what is."
"We 'killed' five people to make No Pressure – a mere blip compared to the 300,000 real people who now die each year from climate change," she adds.
Jamie Glover, the child-actor who plays the part of Philip and gets blown up, has similarly few qualms: "I was very happy to get blown up to save the world."
Two reactions. One, it's yet another example of how the well-intentioned animists who can successfully see the spark of the divine Creator in slugs and bugs, seem to have exhausted that insight by the time they get around to seeing their fellow human beings. No wonder we can be treated as just so much collateral damage, our tilling is merely part of the toil that goes into preparing the soil of any field for planting, a necessary evil familiar to every hopeful gardener.

Two: is this film really aimed at the increasing number of blaspheming skeptics no longer holding their iron-clad faith in the man-made religion of man-made global warming? My sense is that it's real target audience are the fellow travelers who might be straying from the party line. Tithing must be in serious decline for No Pressure to warrant shot after shot of terrified blood-stained survivors of each explosive purge. Death comes quickly, after all, to the characters in the vignettes who disagree; the terror is reserved for those left behind, haunted by the shocking price to be paid for free will. Beyond the purported conservationist message of the film, isn't it also whispering:

"When you join this club, you never leave."

No pressure, because there's no real freedom to choose in the first place.

The artful photography, the studied realism of the special effects, the impressive acting (is there anything harder to pull off than acting natural..?), all this and more reveal how much thought, labor, and talent must have gone into the creation of this monstrosity. There was just one thing missing: moral judgment. An admission agreed to by the sponsors of the film, who upon seeing it were reported to be "absolutely appalled" at the result of their good faith. Thankfully, the backers have come to their senses, so that the film will no longer be distributed to UK theaters, as originally planned. (!)

"Many people found the resulting film extremely funny", the filmmakers contend in their eventual apology. This is absolutely true, as we may read, with mounting horror, as the initial article in the Guardian fills with reader comments rising to the defense of the indefensible, revealing all the more clearly how far Great Britain has fallen in our lifetime. Where once there were giants like William Wilberforce, capable of seeking justice for people and animals both, now there remains caricatures of his shadow, willing to see people as animals, ready for herding... and culling.

The sickest joke seems to have turned out to be in the apology:
At 10:10 we're all about trying new and creative ways of getting people to take action on climate change. Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn.
"Live and learn"... a priviledge not extended to the heretical characters of their macabre video.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

More evidence there has never yet been a serious "Palestinian peace partner"

Today comes news of the latest in the long litany of revelations of how the Arabs have been fighting a century-long war against any Jewish state or political presence in the land of Israel, while getting a deeply naive West to consider Arabs potential "peace partners" or at least an equally-aggrieved party in a conflict that is dubiously styled the "Palestinian (or Arab)-Israeli conflict" - a term which assumes two parties equally desirous of conflict - when in fact what we have witnessed is a century-old Arab/Muslim war against the desire for a Jewish presence in the land of Israel/Palestine:

Hamas Reveals that Arafat Gave Green Light for 2000 War - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

We now know that Arafat - a man who never had any authority to recognize a Jewish state - was never a serious partner for peace, and was in fact someone who had to unleash violence the more Israel wanted to make concessions for peace. He had to do this for two reasons: 1)However "secular", he had no authority in what has always been an Islamically-dominated culture (the secular, after all, is just another, less ritualized, form of the sacred) to acknowledge any right for any kind of Jewish political presence in land that Islam has previously conquered and ruled.  Arafat could play at making peace as long as this won his people useful concessions and foreign aid, but when it came to actually being asked to sign a deal that would recognize Israel, wrecking violence had to be unleashed as the only way out of a cultural impossibility.  2)In the Arab world view, those who sue for peace are seen to be weak and so deserve to be forced to submit.

None of this is to suggest that Israel doesn't have a moral responsibility to be always ready to negotiate and assist in various arrangements to facilitate Jewish life alongside Arab life, whenever the Arabs are serious about (in)formally recognizing the Jewish presence in Palestine.  But Palestinian culture is today one where endless and widespread antisemitic libels and hatred are expressed as normative, where no one "serious" can acknowledge Israel's right to exist.  For now, peace can only come as long as this Jew hatred is treated with the stony contempt and necessary force it deserves.  The forceful reality of the Jewish presence in the land of Israel must be asserted until it is accepted, if only silently.  One must not dream of final victories or final peace terms - there is only unnecessary violence in Utopian desires - but rather see that in fighting, step by step, for one's values and cultural presence, instead of showing fear and weakness, one engages the Other on a primitive level - the only realistic level in this case - and starts to create a reality, an order of shared existence that better recognizes powerful facts on the ground, and hence creates some degree of stability.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Numbers

Numbers and words calculated to be of interest on a wet Monday evening...

50 millionaires: Roll Call publishes their annual list of the fifty richest members of Congress.
28 Democrats, 22 Republicans. Of the top ten wealthiest, 7 are Democrats, 3 are Republicans.
At over $188,000,000, John Kerry "... is the richest Member of Congress for the 13th time in the 15 years since his 1995 marriage to Teresa Heinz Kerry, widow of the late Sen. John Heinz (R-Pa.), the scion of the ketchup fortune."

60,000 words: 58 year-old John Basinger turned a regular workout routine on his treadmill into an opportunity to exercise his mind while exercising his body. After 3,000 hours spread out over nine years of running, he wound up memoring Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost:

JB didn't use the mnemonic techniques favoured by memory champions, but neither, the researchers say, should we see his achievement as a 'demonstration of brute force, rote memorisation'. Rather it was clear that JB was 'deeply cognitively involved' in learning Milton's poem. JB explained:
'During the incessant repetition of Milton's words, I really began to listen to them, and every now and then as the whole poem began to take shape in my mind, an insight would come, an understanding, a delicious possibility. ... I think of the poem in various ways. As a cathedral I carry around in my mind, a place that I can enter and walk around at will. ... Whenever I finish a "Paradise Lost" performance I raise the poem and have it take a bow.'

23,000 religious prostitutes: The devadasi, an ancient Hindu tradition made illegal in India in 1988, serves as the subject of a documentary on one of the many forms of human trafficking still plaguing our long-suffering world:
Out of those she interviewed, nearly all cited economic need rather than religious tradition as the main reason behind their chosen path.
“Many devadasi are sold into the sex trade by their families,” she says. “The parents know that they’re not really giving their children to be religious servants, but they turn a blind eye.”
When the devadasi become older and can’t attract the same business, they end up trafficking, and taking girls from the small villages to big cities like Bangalore, where they set up brothels. Most of the girls chosen are illiterate agricultural workers, who go because they think they’ll make more money as devadasi than if they work on the land.”
Do any make their fortune? “A few can - a client might pay a few thousand pounds for a night with a virgin devadasi. But a lot of devadasi in their 30s or 40s are selling sex for about thirty or forty pence. The strange thing is that though they see themselves as superior to non-religious prostitutes - and even though they often dress to look different, with distinctive jewellery and clothes - I don’t think the clients see much difference.”

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Obama The Sphinx

What a puzzle this man Obama can be.

While reading a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute last week, the President of the United States quotes the Declaration of Independance, but -- avoids? refuses? forgets? -- to include three seconds-worth of text... the image above captures the pose he wore as a visual ellipsis rather than admit that his fellow Americans hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed BY THEIR CREATOR with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Is there nothing to the timing of this long pause? Did he simply lose his place while reading from the teleprompter? Or is there something about that particular part of the quote that Obama finds... troubling?

[Hat Tip to Guy Benson]

Monday, September 13, 2010

"No one Innocent" - Roberto Luongo

A friend of ours has a beef with the pathetically-named "immigrant rights" group, "No One is Illegal". NOI is defending the right of entry to Canada of illegal migrants, like the recent boatload of Tamils. But where would NOI draw the line? Their name is mindless Utopianism - for starters, how can we have unlimited "legal" migration in a world of welfare states with their costly benefits that are given to all legal residents as "rights"? And I'm sure that No One is Illegal is also for welfare states and their economic viability.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting that Roberto Luongo today wore a shirt with almost the opposite sentiment. Luongo announced today that he is giving up the Captaincy of the Vancouver Canucks hockey club - this after becoming the city's scapegoat (though not entirely without reason given his uneven performance in goal) for the team failing to go far in the Stanley Cup playoffs last year. Being a scapegoat of the group can teach you an important truth about our collective human nature - that there is nothing innocent in the collective, mimetic, process by which any group binds itself in opposition to what it singles out, more or less arbitrarily (but nonetheless meaningfully), to be in error.

Today Luongo went to the press conference with a shirt emblazoned "No one Innocent".
I salute your fashion sense, Roberto.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

More evidence of relationship between Canadian state and Jewish covenant

Watch this video and look for the name on the plane at the 12 second mark, in the lower lefthand corner. If anyone knows why Capt. Mark Remington has this name, please let us know...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Jumping Jehosaphat - Sockeyes as far as the eye can see

When I last wrote about British Columbia's love and fascination with the mystery of the salmon, this year's returning Sockeyes were but small fry yearlings. How they would this year "know" to return from far out in the North Pacific to the specific creek or stream of their birth, no one knows.

This summer, the great mystery of Creation again reveals itself. After many years with bad news of declining salmon returns, we are blessed with the largest run of Sockeye on the Fraser River in a hundred years. I believe the current estimate is a return of 30 million Sockeye.

I was down by the river on Saturday in the early evening and took the following video, just a little west of Finn Slough. The video may not entirely capture the awe and gratitude I felt as I stood on the bank and watched salmon jumping all over the place. There were moments when I could see three or four salmon jumping almost simultaneously, and stretches of seconds when it seemed one was jumping every second in front of me. But this minute of video was a pretty average minute, and you can have a sense, considering the camera's limited angle of vision (a tiny stretch and moment of a large river), how many fish were hopping.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

The limits of Darwinian evolution

"Don Lightband", the gay troubador of the Generative Anthropology list writes (in respect of this article: Orang-utans are not remotely like humans | spiked), "Norwegian babe admits herself to the ranks of the Unfooled, seemingly w/out any anthropological assistance!"

Helene Guldberg seems to have endeared herself to Lightband with lines like:
Time and again, we are told that humans are not that special after all: abilities previously thought to be uniquely human are now purportedly evident amongst the great apes. The most recent claim, published in the current issue of the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, is that orang-utans use mime to make themselves understood.
Ape communications are incomparable with human language. We debate and discuss ideas, construct arguments – drawing on past experiences and imagining future possibilities – in order to change the opinions of others. We pantomime. We create everything from great literature to nursery rhymes that help us make sense of the human condition, and we can pass this on down the generations: some nursery rhymes have survived centuries. We can communicate an infinite number of meanings and develop an infinite number of arguments. We can debate and discuss everything from international politics and economics to the most mundane issues.

I cannot see even the remotest comparison between the beauty, power and complexity of human language and an ape wiping its forehead with a leaf and passing it to another being.
Now Mr. Lightband alleges a lack of anthropology here, because Ms. Guldberg argues for the distinctively human without any apparent hypothesis of what has made the human distinct. Nonetheless, obviously we all have anthropological insights in degrees; we all depend on developing our human self-understanding better to survive the risks and threats we pose each other. And so it would be interesting to speculate just why, at this point in history, there seem to be a number of scientists, as Guldberg reports, breaking with the deeply human tendency to anthropomorphize our animal cousins (a tendency which has wrecked countless "scientific" studies that appeal to specifically human common-sense to explain animal behaviours); and also, by implication, though Guldberg does not spell it out, we seem to be witnessing a time when some scientists are grappling with the over-use of Darwininan-evolutionary explanations, for if human language is something quite distinct from anything our ape cousins practise among themselves (they may well learn human language, in some degree, when interacting with us), then the emergence of human language was quite likely an event that cannot be explained simply by assuming some kind of quiet, "natural" evolution of ape to human. Rather, the creation of the human must have been a distinctive break in biological-evolutionary "time", the creation of a specifically-human kind of time and cultural evolution. This is the hypothesis of Generative Anthropology.

I would begin my speculation on why we now witness this scientific trend away from assuming some close proximity in ape/animal and human "cultures" by suggesting that the recurring human desire to assimilate the human to the natural world has been exacerbated by the phenomena of the post-World War II "white" guilt that has wracked the Western world. To the practitioners of white guilt, our domineering relationships to the non-human "environment" have become, along with our relationships to various human Others, signs of wrongful oppression and arrogance that must be countered by claims that we are not distinctive and must not see ourselve morally apart from the natural order, but rather in all respects indebted to it, such that we have no business posing any "threats" to its well being. In such thinking, the idea that we are quite different from apes is taken to be a mark of arrogance. In contrast, the notion that it is rather the attribution of human traits to the animal and natural worlds (e.g. calling it "Gaia") that is the mark of human arrogance has not been taken seriously by many in recent years.

But maybe we are now seeing signs of serious opposition of the extension of the signs of post-war White Guilt into the natural sciences. If so, it will require interest in new hypotheses of what is specifically human, in short the project of a Generative Anthropology.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Back From Ottawa

Inspiring and perspiring; my entwined memories of hanging out in our hot nation's capital during the first real summer vacation I've gotten in the last ten years.
The real purpose behind the visit was to see my ailing father one more time, to give thanks for him having been the dad he's been to us, while I could still deliver such appreciation in person.

Long before his eventual retirement, we used to visit Ottawa on rare father-and-son Saturday trips by train from nearby Quebec. An unplanned ritual emerged: starting with his repeating the workings of the Rideau Canal for the slow-to-learn child who walked at his side, followed by coaching on the function of the majestic buildings greeting us on Parliament Hill, inevitably ending up with being treated to a book at the War Museum gift shop before taking the train back home.
A patient teacher, a thoughtful guide, a proud immigrant, he made each visit a stirring occasion for his oldest son.
These are now my memories more than his, it seems, our private talks revealing that such details have largely faded in the sunset of age and illness. Now it's become my turn to be patient, to be thoughtful...
And to be proud.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Los perdidos, los olividados, y los muertos

Murder (al)most foul.

Just across the Mexican border into the city of Ciudad Juarez there is a war going on that's taking the lives of thousands of people, most of whom will be buried without ceremony or memorial. They are the lost, the forgotten, the dead. I don't know them, and they ain't no friends of mine. I don't care. Most of the dead seem to deserve whatever horrible fate they meet. But....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

French Minister: "We Won't Tell You How Many Cars Get Burned Tonight"

France celebrates Bastille Day today.

Some French celebrants will honor their Fête Nationale by attending veterans parades and fireworks displays.
Others tend to pursue less noble traditions: 35,000 extra police are being mobilized throughout the country in the hopes of subduing France's notorious generation of uncivilized youth, a show of force to prevent the expected spike in the number of nightly car burnings which, sadly, now haunts the annual French holiday.

Trouble has already begun: the night of July 13th, the eve of the national holiday, the police brought charges against 306 arrested young arsonists and thugs, compared to 190 at this time the year before.

One statistic, however, will apparently escape us this year, according to Brice Hortefeux, France's Minister of the Interior: he officially declared today that there will be no official figures released on the number of cars set ablaze throughout the country on France's Bastille Day:

"[...] no numbers for burned cars will be released for the nights of July 13 and 14, in order to put an end to this unhealthy tradition which promotes, every year at this same time, these criminal acts."

"Instructions have been issued to police headquarters so that they too will not release the number of cars burned in their départements. Hereafter, only annual reports will be made public."
French commentors cynically recommend that the French government adopt this approach to reporting on unemployment statistics and health figures as well, if hiding from the truth can prove such an effective remedy for dealing with their beleaguered nation's social nightmare.

[A tip of the Phrygian cap to the French blog Le Salon Beige]

One of the more pleasant results that has come from years of blogging about this unpleasant mess in France, has been the many inspiring emails, heartening comments (and even face-to-face meetings) we have received from our French readers in France. It's easy to lose sight of the full scope of the truth that there is such a thing as a French Heartland, there are many good and decent people there deserving of support, encouragement and appreciation... deserving a respite from the incessant French-bashing that North American blogs tend to engage in.

We read that the Lord was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if there could be found as few as 50 good people there; well, there's a much higher number than that in France today, so why not put aside the inevitable English-French fraternal spite, and on this day more than most, continue to pray for those within this overwhelmed minority, determined to love family, honor honest labor and engage in social civility despite the surrounding amorality that attempts to seduce them from these values; to pray that they may withstand the folly of their confreres; and that their steadfastness in the face of so much adversity may one day result in a renewal of national spirit, leading to the emergence of a nation more worthy of them.