Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Giant Squid In London Display Could Make Plenny Tako Poke

Image hosting by PhotobucketOne of the largest intact giant squids ever preserved is now on display at the London Natural History Museum. The squid, caught in a trawler's net off of the Falkland Islands, measures 28 feet long. Wow!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Hillary Clinton & Karl Rove "Obsessed" With Each Other

At least that's the way that Hillary sees it.

She thinks that she scored points today by declaring that Rove "spends a lot of time obsessing about me."

"He spends more time thinking about my political future than I do."

This in response to Rove's new book which considers the likely possibility of Hillary becoming the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2008.

Personally, Hillary making a statement like this makes about as much sense to me as Field Marshal Rommel trying to sound tough by mocking Montgomery for "thinking about my military stategy more than I do."

Poor Hillary. She keeps kicking the ball into other people's goals and thinks she's scoring.

Suspected Gunman Shoots and Kills Suspected Victim In Church

The AP story relating the tragic fatal shooting of a woman during morning worship in Detroit illustrates just how far the art of journalism has fallen.

The story begins with this paragraph,
A suspected gunman who opened fire with a shotgun during a church service Sunday morning killed a woman and wounded two people before he shot himself a mile away, police said.
A suspected gunman? You've got to be kidding!

Was the suspected victim shot and killed by a suspected gunman during what is suspected to have been a church worship service?

I guess until the legal system sorts all this out it wouldn't be fair to anyone, especially the suspected gunman, to prejudice the public with the obvious facts of the case.

I suspect that the suspected writer of this article, suspectly identified as Michael J. Feeney, suspected that the suspected gunman should be suspected of being innocent until proven guilty of actually being the suspected gunman suspected of shooting and murdering the suspected victim.

It all sounds suspicious to me.

Rounding Up More Bad Guys In Iraq

According to AP,
Iraqi security forces announced the capture of a senior al-Qaida in Iraq figure . . .

The captured al-Qaida figure was identified as Abou al-Farouq, a Syrian who financed and coordinated groups working for Iraq's most wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, according to an Interior Ministry officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to address the media.

Acting on a tip from residents, members of the Interior Ministry's Wolf Brigade captured al-Farouq with five other followers of al-Zarqawi near Bakr, about 100 miles west of Baghdad, the ministry officer said.

The Defense Ministry said Iraqi security forces have killed 35 insurgents and arrested 487 in raids across the country since the bombing last Wednesday of the Samarra shrine.
It appears that the Iraqi people have finally "had it" with insurgents, militias, "security forces" who kill and kidnap them and, of course, al-Qaeda in Iraq.

They appear to be turning them in as fast as they can find them.

This is not a good sign for terrorists.

Consider this paragraph in the story,
Interior Ministry commandos fought a three-hour gunbattle with Sunni-led insurgents near Nahrawan, about 15 miles southeast of Baghdad, after about 15 Shiite families were driven from their homes in the nearby village of Saidat, police said. At least eight commandos and five insurgents were killed in the fighting, which also injured six commandos and four civilians, police said.
Four good things worth noting in this paragraph:

1. The Iraqi military is willing to fight and die to kill the insurgents. They have been well-trained by American and other coalition troops and are at least on an equal footing with even the most trained and sophisticated insurgents.

2. Insurgents are getting themselves killed.

3. Citizens are no longer keeping silent out of fear of reprisals. For the last several years insurgents, etc., have forced themselves into people's homes and living in them while threatening family members with death if anyone try to inform against them. This has worked quite well . . . until now. Families are now, apparently, willing to take the risk to flush these bums out and tell Iraqi military officials where to find them.

4. The Iraqi people have decided that it is safer to trust the Iraqi military and security forces than to give in to the insurgent/terrorists. Such trust can only be earned and it now appears that they have at last earned that trust.

All this is very good news. Coming off of a week of unrest that threatened to bring down the fledgling Iraqi democracy like a house of cards, the ongoing success against the "bad guys" certainly looks promising.

Folks like William F. Buckley, who have recently declared the United States' invasion and occupation of Iraq to be a failure may wind up eating their words if this trend continues.

Today, I think I saw, for the first time, light at the end of the tunnel.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Michelle Wie Defeats Her Critics With Class & Talent

Michelle Wie still hasn't won a professional tournament. As ESPN sports writer Eric Adelson put it today, "So what!"

On the last day of the LPGA Fields Open tournament played at Kapolei, Oahu(just 30 minutes from my home), Michelle came from ninth place to finish in third place after missing a putt on the final hole that would have put her into a first-place tie and three-way playoff. She finished alone in third place after leaving the gallery gasping for breath from the drama.

Michelle smiled the entire day, playing about as well as the best golfer her age in the world can play. She was a class act, gracious and poised far beyond her 16 years.

She definately stole the show from her playing partner and 17-year old rival Morgan Pressel, who finished tied for 11th place. By playing before her home-town gallery she even stole the show from Seon Hwa Lee and Meena Lee who tied for first (with Meena winning on the third playoff hole).

Michelle Wie is the real deal. Even if she never wins a tournament she has already helped reshaped the look of women's golf for the better. After today there is no doubt about it. Michelle Wie is a pro.

Best Sites To Find Out What Is Happening In Iraq RIGHT NOW

Amazing and thorough coverage of events unfolding in Iraq can be found at Healing Iraq (Zayed), Iraq the Model (Omar), Belmont Club & Mudville Gazette. Zayed has photos and, along with Omar, is the place to find the latest. Note that Zayed is a very brave man whose life could well be in danger. As always pray for him and for the people of Iraq, most all of whom want nothing more than peace.

Power Plays Being Made In Iraq

Update: 2/27 As soon as I had posted this I began to have second thoughts. Today, Omar at Iraq the Model has forced me to admit that the blame for the Samarra mosque bombing lies with the "Salafi/Wahabis" which could be either independent of or related to Zarqawi/al-Qaeda in Iraq (which traces its origins to Wahabbi-inspired bin Laden). With this caveat I am still comfortable with the rest of my analysis of the consequences (which are largely supported by what Omar has written today.)

Whenever there is civil unrest there are power vacuums. This is especially true in Iraq since the new government has not yet been fully established.

The timing of the bombing of the al-Askariya Mosque was perfect for one of three scenarios:

1. The blast was planned by Sunni Baathists (ie. insurgent/terrorists) trying to destroy the formation of the Iraqi government and intitiate civil war between Shi'ite and Sunni so that they can step in and reclaim political power over the Sunni population.

2. The blast was planned by al-Qaeda (ie. Zarqawi) trying to destroy the formation of the Iraqi government and initiate civil war between Shi'ite and Sunni so that they can destroy the democratic movement and humiliate the United States, forcing them to withdraw in defeat.

3. The blast was planned by Muqtada al-Sadr (most likely in partnership with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and in consultation with Iran) in order to: A. Cause civil war or unrest; B. Dethrone al-Sistani as Supreme leader of the Shi'ite Muslims in Iraq; and, C. Separate southern Iraq from the rest of the country and establish it as a Islamic Republic under sharia in alliance with Iran.

My personal guess is that the correct answer is hiding behind Door Number 3.

If true, then we have entered a new round of trouble with Iranian-allied Shi'ites being added to the Baathist insurgents and Zarqawi's al-Qaeda in Iraq in trying to bring the Iraqi experiment in democracy to an end.

These three groups are not working together. But they are each drawing upon the other to create an environment where they can attain their own particular goals.

Much of the Iraqi Security Forces have already been co-opted by former Baathist insurgents in central Iraq or the al-Sadr pro-Iranian Shi'ites in the south and in Shi'ite Baghdad. Under the cover of their status and uniforms they have been systematically adding to the terrorizing of personal enemies as well as leaders and supporters of their opposition.

The good news is that the vast majority of Shi'ites do not support al-Sadr; the vast majority of Sunni do not support the insurgents; and, the vast majority of everyone do not support al-Qaeda. What this means is that the vast majority of Iraqi's (although not, perhaps the Kurds who most likely would prefer semi- or complete autonomy from the rest of Iraq) really DO want to live together as one nation with a democratically-elected government operating under the legal boundaries set by a national constitution.

The corrupted government and Security Forces will need to be cleansed by an outraged population with the support of US forces in order for democracy and national unity to move forward.

Unfortunately, the passion, the organization and the power may well be shifting to minority militias like those operated by al-Sadr and, to a lesser degree, to the Baathist insurgents.

A worst case scenario would be the collapse of the new government, leaving Iraq in complete and total anarchy.

A more likely scenario would be a major setback in national security requiring government leaders to call on US military forces to join with those loyal to national unity in fighting and destroying al-Sadr and Hakim and their militias. This scenario would, in effect, be a proxy war with Iran, which has been supporting and arming these Shi'ite militias since the fall of Saddam.

I am quite sure that this Iranian/al-Sadr rebellion could be squelched but I am not sure that the United States congress and public opinion will be willing to join in taking sides in what will be characterized as a Iraqi civil war.

The truth will be, of course, that it is far less of a civil war and far more an attack upon Iraq by Iran.

It would be fatal if the United States did not hold its ground and stand in complete unity with those Iraqis who represent the majority of their people in preserving the unity of Iraq and driving out those who would steal the southern half of the country on behalf of Iran.

Dark days ahead. But days that will grow brighter should those who bombed the mosque be proven to have been associated with al-Sadr, Hakim and Iran. If this does prove to be true, they will have become completely discredited for having destroyed the second most holy shrine of the very Shi'a Islam that they pretend to be defending.

CNN Needs a New Story-Link Editor For Emerging Iraq Story

On the CNN main page today there is a link that reads, "Iraq curfew fails to stop fresh wave of bloodshed."

Fearing that the post-mosque bombing violence had begun to reappear I followed the link to a story headlined, "Iraqi leaders discuss unity government."

Now, which headline to believe? I suppose that would depend on the content of the story which begins,
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- In a dramatic show of solidarity amid fears of escalating violence, Iraq's leaders from virtually all political factions met Saturday to discuss the formation of a national unity government.

The meeting included representatives of the Iraqi Accord Front, which had announced a boycott of national unity talks following violent reprisals against Sunnis.

The gathering, televised live on Iraqi TV, included Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, President Jalal Talabani and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Also attending was U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad.

Bolstering the show of unity were Shiite and Sunni religious and political leaders who met earlier in an effort to promote peace. They included representatives of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the Association of Muslim Scholars and the Iraqi Accord Front.
Further down the article adds,
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq . . . (and a) top Shiite political figure, joined the top Shiite cleric in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in urging Iraqis to remain calm and unite against extremists.
I do not believe that this is the result the bombers of the Golden Mosque expected and hoped for.

I also do not expect that this is the result that one of the CNN editors expected or hoped for either.

Iran Says Tom & Jerry Zionist Plot

Image hosting by PhotobucketFollowing in the footsteps of Tele-Tubbies and Sponge Bob Square Pants, Tom & Jerry has now entered the hallowed pantheon of subversive "toons."

Hasan Bolkhari, Iranian “mass media expert” and cultural advisor to the Iranian Education Ministry has come to the conclusion that:
The Jewish Walt Disney Company gained international fame with this cartoon. It is still shown throughout the world. This cartoon maintains its status because of the cute antics of the cat and mouse – especially the mouse.

Some say that the main reason for making this very appealing cartoon was to erase a certain derogatory term that was prevalent in Europe . . .

(In Hitler's Germany the) Jews were degraded and termed “dirty mice.” Tom and Jerry was made in order to change the Europeans’ perception of mice. One of terms used was “dirty mice.”

I’d like to tell you that... It should be noted that mice are very cunning...and dirty . . .

No ethnic group or people operates in such a clandestine manner as the Jews . . .
You can read the whole thing at MEMRI TV.

PS: T & J were, of course, an MGM production and not Disney.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Life In Baghdad During Post-Mosque-Bombing Anarchy

Zeyad at Healing Iraq says that things are apparently calming down after two-days of anarchy, arson, murder and mayhem in response to Wednesday's bombing of the al-Askariya mosque in Samarra.

Early Friday Zeyad posted the following chilling account of what was going on in his own neighborhood:
Fierce streetfighting at my doorstep for the last 3 hours. Rumor in the neighbourhood is that men in black are trying to enter the area. Some armed kids defending the local mosque three blocks away are splattering bullets at everything that moves, and someone in the street was shouting for people to prepare for defending themselves.

There's supposed to be a curfew, but it doesn't look like it. My net connection is erratic, so I'll try to update again if possible. The news from other areas in Baghdad are horrible. I don't think it's being reported anywhere.

My father and uncle are agitatedly walking back and forth in the hallway, asking me what we should do if the mob or Interior ministry forces try to attack us in our homes? I have no answer for them.
In an earlier posting on Friday Zeyad expressed his feelings with heartfelt passion:
What kind of nation are we? What kind of nation kills its intellectuals and academics, its doctors and healers, its women and children, its clerics and preachers? What kind of nation blows up churches and mosques, hotels and schools, funerals and weddings? We have left nothing sacred. Yet we have the insolence to accuse others of offending us, of vilifying us. I announce today that we have proved ourselves worthy of that vilification. Ten years ago, I denounced religion and disavowed Islam. I do not want to be forced to disavow my country and nation today, but with every new day, I’m afraid I am getting closer to it.
Suddenly, here in my quiet corner of Hawaii, it seems strangely quiet and uncomofortably peaceful. I do not hear gunfire outside my home. I am not terrified and afraid that armed men might burst into my home at any moment, handcuff and blindfold me, drag me outside and put a bullet in my head.

There are tens of millions of Iraqis just like Zeyad tonight. They want peace. They want unity. They do not hate anybody (or would be happier if they didn't need to). Although I am remembering them in my prayers what I am actually asking is that God would answer theirs.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bombing of Shi'ite Shrine In Iraq Is BAD NEWS

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One of the most sacred sites for Shi'ite Muslims was attacked and severely damaged today by well-trained bombers dressed as Iraqi police. The al-Askariya shrine, also known as the Golden Mosque, contains the tombs of two revered Shiite imams, who are considered by Shiites to be among the successors of the Prophet Muhammad. The shrine is located in Sunni dominated Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad.

The attack is believed to have been an attempt to force and Iraqi civil war between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims. Although several of the attackers are reported to have been captured it is not yet publicly known who they represent.

This is, perhaps, the single most serious incident to have occurred in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein and his ruling Baathist government. For Shi'ites it is nearly the equivalent of a Protestant terrorist bombing of the Roman Catholic St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome.

The shrine's association with the "hidden" 12th Imam (who will return as the Mahdi or Shi'ite Messiah at the end of history) has near-apocalyptic associations for many Muslims. Iran, which is overwhelmingly Shi'ite, has already condemned the bombing by holding the United States and Zionist plotters responsible. Since the currant Iranian President believes that these are, indeed, the "end times" this attack will only serve to fuel his missionary zeal to carry out his own form of Jihad against the non-Muslim world in general and Israel in particular. Would he use the nuclear bomb Iran is committed to produce? The fact that this question cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" is ample evidence of the seriousness of today's bombing and its effect on radical Muslims of all flavors.

Whoever you are, please pray that this tragic event will somehow serve to unite the Iraqi people rather than divide them. Pray that both Sunni and Shi'ite will be so outraged that they will turn, not against each other, but against both the Iraqi "insurgents" and the "foreign" elements of al-Qaeda in Iraq headed up by Zarqawi

I have long said that the current Islamist crisis can ultimately only be cut off and subdued by more moderate Muslims holding both influence, respect and real power. I am praying that this vicious and evil act will return to those who ordered it as a curse leading to their destruction and eradication from Iraq.

The shrine will be rebuilt but today it is not certain that Iraq, as a unified nation, will remain standing.

Good insight on today's attack can be found at Iraq the Model, Bill Roggio and Andrew Sullivan (who has a tear-inducing link to a Time photo essay on the bombing)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Palestinian Christians Suffer & Die Under Palestinian Authority

That is the title of an article printed in the January 16, 2006 issue of The Presbyterian Outlook. According to the author, Justus Reid Weiner, things are going from very, very bad to even worse for Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank and Gaza. The villain, in this case, is not Israel but the Islamist fundamentalists (ie. Hamas) who, by force of terror, have controlled most of the territory for some time. The article is chilling, especially since Hamas is now the controlling majority in the Palestinian Authority.

The article, while relatively short, is too long to reproduce here in it's entirety. You can read the first two paragraphs below but you will then need to click on the link to read the rest.

Palestinian Christians Suffer, Die
in Palestinian Authority Territory
by Justus Reid Weidner
c. 2005 Religion News Service

These are acutely trying times for the Christian remnant residing in areas governed by the Palestinian Authority. Tens of thousands have abandoned their holy sites and ancestral properties to move abroad, while those who remain do so as a beleaguered and dwindling minority Christians, who used to comprise the vast majority of the residents in the Bethlehem area, will fall past a critical point—and their community will no longer be viable.

Palestinian Christian leaders who should be protecting their co-religionists are instead abandoning them to the forces of radical Islam. Muslim religious law (Sharia) is an enormous influence on the inner workings of the Palestinian Authority. Indeed, the Palestinian Constitution states, "the Sharia will be the paramount source of legislation." By granting Islamic law primacy over every other legal source, including international human rights conventions, the minorities living in the Palestinian Authority are denied proper redress via the courts. (Click here to continue reading the whole article)

Monday, February 20, 2006

World Council of Churches--US Churches Condemn the US and the War In Iraq

The AP summarizes the statement of the churches in this way:

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) -- A coalition of American churches (particpating in the first meeting of the World Council of Churches since 1998) sharply denounced the U.S.-led war in Iraq on Saturday, accusing Washington of "raining down terror" and apologizing to other nations for "the violence, degradation and poverty our nation has sown."
I am not aware that this "coalition of American churches" has made any similar statement condemning the brutal and world-wide attacks and threats from Islamist terrorists (much of which has been explicitly targeting Christians).

What, I ask, is the United States to do in response to fatal attacks on its embassies, naval vessels, military, diplomatic and civilian personnel and, of course, the hijacking of US passenger airliners, devastating attacks on the World Trade Center (twice), the Pentagon and at least one other target foiled by the crash of United Flight #93?

What, you ask, did Iraq have to do with any of these attacks? Not much, apparently, except for providing moral support, financial support, training support, tactical support, medical care and the facilitation of travel for al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups through its territory.

Does this justify our attack on Iraq? Perhaps . . . perhaps not.

The universally held belief that Iraq still possessed WMD must also be taken into consideration as well as its continuing defiance and refusal to comply with the terms of the 1993 cease-fire agreement and all subsequent UN resolutions. (Not to mention the massive fraud involving the Oil for Food arrangement whereing Sadaam Hussein co-opted UN and national leaders in a corrupt scheme to siphon billions of dollars into their own private accounts and away from the Iraqi people). Oh . . . and, of course, the mass murders of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens and the torture, disfigurement and rape of tens of thousands more.

A good argument could be made that it would have been immoral for the United States to NOT invade Iraq given the means and opportunity to do so.

Similar actions for similar reasons had previously been affirmed when the issue concerned the former Yugoslavia (when Bill Clinton was President).

Given the complex moral circumstances of the US invasion of Iraq it is nothing short of theological arrogance for one group of Christian leaders (known to be overwhelmingly liberal, who have repeatedly demonstrated their opposition to any policies enacted by Republican Administrations while remaining suspiciously quiet when it comes to policies lead by Democrats) to declare such sweeping and condemnative moral absolutes in the name of Christ.

In the face of the terrorist bombings of subways, trains, airports, hotels, nightclubs, airplanes, mosques, synagogues, Hindhu temples, Christian churches and the almost gleeful slaughter of women, children, humanitarian workers, journalists, United Nations personnel and the video-taping of the execution and beheadings of civilian hostages from many different nations, hearing these denominational representatives charge the United States with "raining down terror" on the people of Iraq and for "the violence, degradation and poverty our nation has sown" is nothing short of incomprehensible.

Just to show that the above quotes have not been taken out of context, here they are as written and signed by leaders of 34 US denominations:
We lament with special anguish the war in Iraq, launched in deception and violating global norms of justice and human rights. We mourn all who have died or been injured in this war. We acknowledge with shame abuses carried out in our name . . .

Our country responded (to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks) by seeking to reclaim a privileged and secure place in the world, raining down terror on the truly vulnerable among our global neighbors ... entering into imperial projects that seek to dominate and control for the sake of national interests. Nations have been demonized and God has been enlisted in national agendas that are nothing short of idolatrous.
The statement also asks forgiveness for a world that's
grown weary from the violence, degradation and poverty our nation has sown.
The Rev. Sharon Watkins, president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), worried that some may interpret the statement as undermining U.S. troops in Iraq.

We honor their courage and sense of duty, but ... we, as people of faith, have to say to our brothers and sisters, `We are so profoundly sorry,'" Watkins said.
Sorry for what? Sorry that the soldiers that they supposedly honor have been "raining down terror" on the people of Iraq and are participating in sowing the seeds of international "violence, degradation and poverty?" Oh, no. We wouldn't want anyone to think that this attitude was in any way undermining US troops in Iraq.

Also included in the two-page statement was a condemnation the current US government for ignoring critical international environmental needs (ie. global warming) and an assertion that, "Hurricane Katrina revealed to the world those left behind in our own nation by the rupture of our social contract."

In addition, the American churches issued a letter in support of the UN demand that the American prison facilities at Guantanamo Bay be closed, saying reports of alleged torture violated "the fundamental Christian belief in the dignity of the human person."

I have always supported those who bring their Christian conscience to bear against US policies both foreign and domestic. But I have little patience or empathy with church leaders such as these (who also represent the majority membership of the National Council of Churches) that will "speak truth to power" when condemning the United States but will not condemn the international Islamist movement and the terrorism that it has spawned as an explicit act of war against the United States, Western Civilization and the Christian Faith.

I can hardly wait to hear what they will have to say about Hamas as the new governing party in Palestine. I won't be holding my breath.

Correction: The good comment from Wesley Pattillo has identified a major error in my post. I had conflated the representatives of American churches attending the World Council of Churches with the National Council of Churches. 34 US churches signed the statement and 35 churches are members of the NCC. This coincidence also added to my error. As requested I offer my apologies to the NCC and will attempt to make appropriate corrections to my posting. Given, however, the fact that the US/American churches attending the WCC are virtually identical to the churches that are members of the NCC the position adopted by them this past week obviously reflects the position of member churches in the NCC although not serving as an official position of the latter. An example of this can be found here, where the President of the NCC has initiated a letter (now signed by over 13,000 people) in support of the UNs call for the US to close the prison facility at Guantanamo. It would seem that the only difference between the American churches attending the WCC and the NCC itself is the letterhead.

Further Note: According to the WCC website there are 33 member churches from North America (including Canada). The NCC website shows 35 member churches.

Jesus Cartoons Everywhere and Christians Are Not Rioting

I "Googled" and "Alta-Vista-ed" the phrase "Jesus Cartoon" this morning and found that there were quite a few to choose from. Most were from Christian sites, some from anti-Christian sites, many from European sites (mostly German with cartoon dialogues that defied translation by Babel Fish). There was even at least one political cartoon. I have posted eleven of them below. There were several that were so disgusting that I did not choose to post them.

When I was finished I checked for "Muhammed Cartoon" and found . . . nothing. Google and Alta Vista have apparently blocked access to the many Muhammed cartoon caractures that are everywhere on the internet these days. Even the newsworthy Danish cartoons that kicked off the current Islamist riots have been censured by these search engines.

I am sooooo glad that these internet gateways have no problems guiding me to all the pornography I (don't) want to find but are thoughtful enough (or scared of having their throats cut) to protect me from finding the images that have set off major international rioting.

A search for "Piss Christ", however, delivered over 45 "hits" (just of the image itself) on Google and 31 on Alta Vista. Go figure. Sure.

In any case, here are some of the drawings of Jesus that popped up. You decide if any of them are worth rioting, burning down an embassy, boycotting a nation or beheading somebody. (You can click on the pictures for their source)

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Click here to enlarge this cartoon

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Terror Wins Big In US Print Media

Someone in the US newspaper business finally had the courage to tell it like it is.

You might think this means that a newspaper had the courage to publish the Danish Muhammed cartoon caricatures but you would be wrong.

Instead, what we have is The Phoenix, a Boston alternative newspaper, printing the following editorial,
"Our primary reason," the editors confessed, is ''fear of retaliation from . . . bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do . . . Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and . . . could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix and its related companies in physical jeopardy. As we feel forced, literally, to bend to maniacal pressure, this may be the darkest moment in our 40-year-publishing history."
Whatever happened to folks like Patrick Henry who were willing to declare, "Give me liberty or give me death!"?

Thus far only the Weekly Standard, the Philadelphia Enquirer and a handful of college and minor subsistence papers have shown the courage to publish the cartoons.

American newspapers ridicule and insult people and opinions every day. It appears that radical Islamists are the only exception. Those that say they are being "sensitive" to the feelings of Muslims are lying hypocrites.

The Phoenix, while choosing not to print the cartoons, at least had the "courage" to tell the truth.

While in its own way this honesty is commendable it is not enough.

When your neighbor tells you that he will burn your house down if you plant tomatoes in your back yard you get a restraining order on your neighbor and plant tomatoes in your back yard . . . even if you never had a garden before!

At the moment I feel like growing tomatoes just so I can throw them at the editors of our American newspapers. We either stand tall or bend over for those who threaten us. At the moment I see the American press bent over and bowing towards Mecca.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Olympic Games--All Muscle, Little Grace

Image hosting by PhotobucketI used to like the Winter Olympics because of the gracefulness of the ice skating and the sheer joy that the competitors radiated as they gave each event their best shot.

Image hosting by PhotobucketThis year in Torino, the ice skating has become a test of who can do a quadruple jump without falling and who can throw their spinning female pairs partner the furthest without breaking her leg. The winner has often been the last skater standing. This has been boring, to say the least. There have been very few (among them men's single's champion Yevgeny Plushenko of Russia) who have been able to be both graceful and physical at the same time.

The dilemma is that if a man or woman does not attempt the most difficult (and sometimes nearly impossible) jumps they will have little or no hope for a medal. On the other hand, if they do not make the jump successfully they will not score high enough for a medal anyway.

So, some of the best skaters dare the impossible and lose while lesser skaters get lucky and score the big points that make all the difference.

Some of the skaters concentrate so hard on preparing for the next jump that their routines have little coherence or artistry in them at all.

Image hosting by PhotobucketFortunately, I have discovered the snowboardcross events . . . new to this year's Olympics. They have been exciting, unpredictable and "head to head." The snowboarders who are competing have not yet jaded into "professional money machines" with the heavy weight of sponsors and commercial pressure weighing them down. Even the cockeyness of World Champion Lindsey Jacobellis of the United States whose showboating caused her to fall on the home stretch of what would otherwise have been a sure and easy Gold Medal made me more happy for the joie de vive than sad for her disappointing second-place finish.

In fact, all the snowboarding events have been filled with the good spirit of both fun and competition. Traditional alpine skiing, even in the exhilaration of the downhill events, seems dull and wooden in comparison . . . with all the competitors taking themselves far too seriously.

In any case, the folks in Torino appear to have done a magnificent job and NBC's TV coverage has been far superior to past Winter Olympics . . . far less chit-chat and air-time for the big-name announcers and more of the real stuff we all want to watch.

My favorite quote of the Olympics so far was that of United States pairs skater Aliona Savchenko who, born and raised in Russia, is now an American citizen. When asked about his citizenship Savchenko said that he is happy and excited to be starting on the "American Dream."

I thought to myself, how many people, athletes or otherwise, immigrate to Russia to start on the "Russian Dream?" or to China to start on the "Chinese Dream?" People do not ordinarily immigrate to these countries at all. Rather, people emigrate away from these countries in pursuit of their "dreams" when given the opportunity.

I've got to say that Akiona Savchenko seemed to be a happy, smiling competitor even though he and partner Robin Szolkowy only came in seventh overall. Competing as an American was, apparently, the greatest thrill of all.

Bird Flu--Coming Soon to a Country Near You

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Bird Flu is coming. Not if . . . but when. This past week it appeared in India, Iran, Nigeria, Austria, Egypt and France for the first time (click here for interactive chart showing how it has spread and here for "quick facts"). Birds have begun to die . . . especially domestic poultry. People are sick, too, although it has yet to be determined whether these latest illnesses are from this flu strain.

This spreading scourge will soon begin to take its toll on poultry products. Certain kinds of wildfowl are also at risk. Thus far, the only way to keep the virus from spreading is to kill the infected birds. This could mean millions of domestic fowl being killed in the next few weeks (France is Europe's largest producer of poultry) with heavy economic impact.

Even more worrisome is the potential for the flu to develop a strain that is easily transferable to humans. In humans the flu is fatal in at least one out of every two cases (90 deaths from 150 known cases so far). Almost all victims had been in close contact with infected birds but, because the disease is not food-borne, experts say it is still safe to eat poultry.

Should the flu begin to migrate freely between humans the outbreak could result in one of the world's worst pandemics since the great flu epidemic of 1918 that killed 40 million people.

Major metropolitan areas in the United States have already begun preparing for the worst. Morgues and mortuaries are being designated for the preparation and storage of bodies. There are even plans for dealing with a multitude of grieving family members and friends.

One strain of flu vaccine has already been found to be effective in innoculating poultry from the current strain. Human vaccines have not yet been manufactured because it is not yet clear what the human form of the virus might take if and when it should appear.

One way or another, whether through illegal transportation of uninspected poultry or simply from migrating wildfowl, the United States will soon discover that the Bird Flu has arrived.

We must pray that the Bird Flu comes and goes with relatively little harm to human beings. The odds are in our favor but, if the worst comes to past, we may experience death, suffering and grief on a scale not experienced since Germany, Poland and the Soviet Union in WWII .

May God have mercy on us all.

Hamas Takes Power In Palestine

Today the newly elected representatives to the Palestinian Authority were seated in parliament. Hamas, of course, now holds the majority and will be forming a new government as soon as it can.

This means, of course, that Iran is no longer the world's only explicitly Islamist state. Countries such as Saudi Arabia are virtual Islamist states but places like Syria and Libya are simply totalitatian regimes as Iraq was until three years ago.

Hamas rejected an appeal to preserve and respect all legally signed treaties between Palestine and Israel. The Oslo Accords and the "Roadmap to Peace" have now been officially discarded into the ashheap of history.

As usual, Hamas is saying that, as the officially and democratically-elected government of Palestine it should continue to be recognized and supported by the very governments it spits on at every opportunity. They will even mouth words of "peace" and "cease fire" but always in the context of "I voted for peace BEFORE I slaughtered every Israeli Jew I could find."

The Palestinian people must learn that, to exist in the world of nations, they cannot have it both ways. They must either accept Israel's right to exist and cease their support for terror or be cut off completely from the civilized world.

Once again the Palestinians have chosen to self-destruct. Yassir Arafat is gone along with the PLO and the domination of Fatah. But Hamas will surely bring destruction and death and further deterioration of the Palestinian people whether they turn out to be corrup or not.

Muslims Riot In Nigeria Killing Christians & Burning Churches

If you think that the world-wide Muslim demonstrations have anything to do with Danish cartoon caracatures of Muhammed then you are sadly mistaken.

Consider Northern Nigeria today. Supposedly angry about the cartoons Nigerian Muslims rampaged through Maiduguri with machetes and iron bars today, beating and murdering Christian residents, looting Christian-owned businesses and burning churches. One reporter saw the crown force a car tire over one man, douse him with gasoline and set him on fire. At least ten people were killed, including three children and a priest.

What this has to do with Danish cartoons is beyond me. The cartoons have clearly become an excuse for violence against Christianity and Western Civilization. Those killed in Nigeria today were not Danes but Black Nigerians.

In Pakistan earlier this week, McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises were destroyed and future demonstrations (one is planned every other day) will be designed to weaken and eventually bring down the government of Musharrif. What does this have to do with cartoons?

Image hosting by PhotobucketDemonstrators in Pakistan hold signs neatly caligraphied in English by a well-organized radical Islamist machine. One even carried a sign saying, "God bless Adolf Hitler." What does this have to do with cartoons?

In England, 15,000 Muslims marched in London but the demonstration was hardly spontaneous. Buses brought most of the participants from all over the country, a strategic deployment of radicalized Muslims coordinated by some centralized leadership organization.

The Nazis organized similar demonstrations in Germany during the 1930's claiming that they proved that the hatred of the Jews was a deep-set and widely-held belief among Germans. The German people were suckered into believing this propoganda so, when Jews began to be attacked, few said anything because they (wrongly) believed that everyone else hated the Jews.

Most Muslims are not supporting these demonstrations but there is no organized leadership to oppose them. We must not be suckered like pre-WW II Germany into believing that what we are seeing is a grass-roots groundswell of Islamic power.

The power is there but it is not in the crowds we are seeing on TV . . . it is in the Imams and members of radical Muslim groups (such as Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, etc.) who are brokering the power. Like the seeds of weeds buried in the garden soil, they cannot be seen until they sprout up and show themselves.

These radical instigators are keeping a very low profile and frequently working through local "small fry" to lead the public planning. They hope to remain invisible and anonymous as long as possible. When accused they will proclaim their innocence and bring forth charges of "anti-Muslim racism."

Jesus said that, at the end of history, at the time of "harvest," the weeds will be separated from the good grain.

In today's world, however, when the weeds are threatening to overwhelm the good grain it behooves us as nations responsible for the defense and welfare of a vulnerable citizenry, to begin the process of agressive weeding as quickly as possible. More than likely the weeds will seem like there will never be an end to them. But they must be contained. They are weeds. They are determined to supplant the harvest. Evil has sown a wind. We must respond with a whirlwind.

The whirlwind will not always need to be a violent response. But it must be decisive and clear in its objective. Christianity, the West and the world are under seige. Without countermeasures we will be overwhelmed and reduced to conversion to Islam, dhimitude or death.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Stanford Prof Solves Social Security Crisis: Retire at 85

Image hosting by PhotobucketShripad Tuljapurkar of Stanford University says that in the US by the year 2050, the cost of social security and medical care would almost double if people retired at 65. But an an increase in the retirement age to 85 would bring costs down to today's levels.

Tuljapurkar figures that folks will live a lot longer by then and that his scenario should be taken seriously as an economic proposal.


Don't Try Buying a "Danish Pastry" In Tehran These Days

Image hosting by PhotobucketDanish pastries are popular in Iran. But you can't buy them anymore . . . at least by that name.

Because of the continuing fall-out from the Muhammed cartoon caracatures the Iranian confectioner's union has renamed the pastries, "Roses of the Prophet Muhammed."


"Waiter, I'll have one "Rose of the Prophet Muhammed and a side of Freedom Fries, please."

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Italy Decides that Non-Virgin Teenagers May Be Molested With Lesser Legal Penalties

In Italy it is not such a big deal if the young girl you molest is not a virgin. That, at least, is the decision of the Italian Supreme Court in a case involving a man who forced his 14-year old step-daughter to have oral sex with him after she refused to have intercourse.

According to Reuters,
The (Italian) supreme court (ruled) that because of her previous sexual experiences, the victim's "personality, from a sexual point of view, is much more developed than what would be normally expected of a girl of her age".

"It is therefore fair to argue that (the damage for the victim) would be lower" if the abused girl was not a virgin, Italian news agencies quoted the court as saying.
Yep. That 14-year old is "damaged goods" all right. She's like a used car, not worth as much as it was when it was new.

The logic would seem to follow that stealing a used Mercedes would bring a car thief a lesser sentence than stealing a new Cooper Mini.

In Pakistan the girl's father would probably just slit her throat to preserve his sense of honor. In Italy, I'm sure the Supreme Court would be quite understanding of that, too.

A lot of folks in Italy are very upset by the decision. One commented that the ruling would have never been made if there had been a woman on the Court.

The same Court ruled some time ago that a man could not be held responsible for raping a woman because she had been wearing skin tight pants.

I suppose she should have been wearing a burka.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Newborn Babies Are Living Poetry and Art and Much More Wrapped Up In Human Flesh

As a Pastor I get to visit newborn babies and their happy parents. Often I even get to visit them in the hospital soon after delivery. Well, it's been a little over one week since Riley was born as the first child of our church Choir Director but, when I stopped by to see her for the first time today she was as fresh and new as the dew on a rose at the first light of morning!

I have never seen an ugly baby. Even those with "coneheads" from a long and difficult labor are beautiful beyond words.

It's this "beyond words" thought that always gives me "chicken skin" when I see a newborn baby. I feel like I have stepped back into the Garden of Eden on the morning of the Sixth Day of Creation. There is something "eternal" about the newness of a baby. It's almost as though the baby's "essence" has come from somewhere else only to emerge into our sight like a Spring Crocus pushing its way through the last remaining crust of the Winter's snow.

As a Christian I sense more "mystery beyond human understanding" in a baby than I do at any other time or on any other occasion. In the same way that a great painting draws us into its little world of artificial reality and somehow manages to open our eyes to some new understanding about the real world, a baby also seems to add up to more than the sum of its parts.

Little Riley is like a little link to something greater than herself. As the Psalmist says, God has made her just "a little lower than the angels."

Babies make me want to compose music or write poetry. Riley's father tells me he has already been creating songs to sing with her when he holds her at night while Mom gets to rest.

As we grow up we somehow seem to lose a bit of that mysterious "link" to something above and beyond, something greater than ourselves. Perhaps that is why Jesus loved children so much and declared that "to them belongs the Kingdom of Heaven."

There is spiritual power in a baby. I am always pleased when folks bring babies and young children to funerals. One squeal, one fit of crying, one snippit of unintelligible gurgling from a baby can transform the mourning of death into the celebration of life at a funeral.

I definitly want babies at my own funeral. Lots of them. If there is a shortage of them for some reason, please feel free to borrow or rent them. I want everyone to catch a glimpse of the Kingdom of Heaven at my funeral and babies will capture that eternal reality far more effectively than words alone.

Riley managed to "link" me to God this afternoon. I prayed a blessing on her but I was the one who received the greater blessing. From a baby. Imagine that!

Iraqi Kurds Show What Freedom Can Do

Kurds have been persecuted in both Turkey and Iraq over the years. Now, for the first time in far more than a century, they actually have semi-autonomy as part of the new and improved Iraq.

Although virtually all Kurds are Sunni Muslims they appear to have avoided the scourge of radical Islam and have allowed their own ethnic identity to forge them into a unified community with a clear vision and desire for progress and prosperity.

After seeing the photographs of the Dream City of the Kurds posted by Michael J. Totten I am beginning to wonder if there is something in the Kurdish "brand" of Islam that could form some sort of a model for other Muslims who want to kick out the "insurgents/terrorists" in their midst and get on with building up their own lives instead of tearing down everyone else's.

Check out the amazing progress being made in Northern Iraq. And remember that the Kurd's freedom has been made possible by the sweat, blood, wealth and foreign policies of the United States. It makes me feel just a little bit proud. Especially when I remember that it was these same Kurds who were murdered by Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons just a little over 15 years ago.

Amazing. It gives me hope.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Thought About Iran & Nuclear Power

Iran continues to insist that its nuclear power program is only being created to produce electricity.


You do not need weapon's grade enriched uranium to produce nuclear power, yet Iran insists on having the capacity to manufacture weapon's grade enriched uranium.

Some forms of nuclear power (breeder reactors) are associated with the creation of weapon's grade plutonium but others aren't.

What plutonium and highly enriched uranium IS useful for is, of course, muclear weapons production.

Memo to Iran: Liar, liar, pants on fire!

Dick Cheney, CNN & the F-Word Network

On Wolf Blitzer's "Situation Room" today we find the following exchange between Wolf and CNN Correspondant Jack Cafferty:
(BLITZER) Let's go up to New York. Jack Cafferty standing by with "The Cafferty File." First of all, Jack, what did you make of Dick Cheney's interview today?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I obviously didn't see it because it hasn't been released in its entirety yet. But I would guess it didn't exactly represent a Profile in Courage for the vice president to wander over there to the
f-word network for a sit down with Brit Hume. That's a little like Bonnie interviewing Clyde, ain't it? Where was the news conference? Where was the access to all of the members of the media? Whatever.

BLITZER: You still think he needs to do a full-scale news conference and invite all the cameras, all the reporters and ask whatever they want?

CAFFERTY: That's never going to happen. But running over there to the Fox network. Talk about seeking a safe haven. He's not going to get any high hard ones from anybody at the
f-word network.
Is there any doubt why 2 to 4 times as many people are now watching FoxNews rather than CNN?

Cafferty should make a public apology to both the Fox Network and to the CNN viewing audience. Wolf Blitzer should be forced to explain why he allows this type of commentary on his program.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hamas Does Not Think Highly of Rotary International

Image hosting by Photobucket. . . or of Freemasonry or Lions International for that matter.

According to a new translation of the Hamas Charter provided by MEMRI, Charter Article 28 contains the following remarkable passage:
The Zionist invasion is a cruel invasion, which has no scruples whatsoever; it uses every vicious and vile method to achieve its goals. In its infiltration and espionage operations, it greatly relies on secret organizations which grew out of it, such as the Freemasons, the Rotary Clubs, the Lions and other such espionage groups. All these organizations, covert or overt, work for the interests of Zionism and under its direction, and their aim is to break societies, undermine values, destroy people's honor, create moral degeneration and annihilate Islam.
I am shocked! SHOCKED! I had no idea that my father, as a Rotarian, was working as a Zionist agent for virtually all of his adult professional life! I feel so naive to have thought that Rotary Clubs were simply groups of community professional men and women who met to encourage friendship, cooperation, community improvement and goodwill between the nations and peoples of the world! What a fool I have been!

I think of all those poor, deceived Muslims who have joined Rotary and Lions Clubs all across the world, completely unaware that they had become part of a secret diabollical conspiracy to "create moral degeneration and annihilate Islam."

Image hosting by PhotobucketFreemasonry is, of course, intentionally secretive about its rites and rituals. As one who is not personally privy to such matters I cannot, therefor say "yea" or "nay" about the motives, beliefs and aims of these otherwise very ordinary folks.

In a free society friends are permitted to hold secrets between themselves so, if you want to find out what the Masons believe, you can find out by telling one that you'd like to join (they won't ask you . . . you must initiate the conversation). After you have passed through the First Degree you can email me and tell me all about it. I'll believe every word that you say, too!

If, on the other hand, you want to know what the Lions and Rotarians believe you can attend their weekly meetings as guest or just read what they have to say about themselves on the internet.

You will be shocked to discover, for example, that instead of the Five Purposes of the Church, the Five Pillars of Islam or the Four Spiritual Laws, Rotary boldly adheres to the 4-Way Test. Rotarians are forced to memorize and (in a sort of brain-washed way) actually govern their behavior by answering the following questions in the affirmative: Is it the Truth? Is it Fair to All Concerned? Will it Build Good Will and Better Friendships? Will it Be Beneficial to All Concerned?

Even more sinister, Rotarians are urged to commit themselves to abide by their motto, Service Above Self. They are even cajoled into supporting the movement's international goal of eradicating polio from the face of the earth! Since most polio cases are found in Third World countries populated by non-Caucasian people, it seems suspicious that these people would be supporting the injection of biological agents into the most helpless and oppressed people in the world (many of whom, of course, may well be Muslim!).

Image hosting by PhotobucketMembers of Lions Clubs are no less open to suspicion of hidden motives. Under the mystic and cryptic motto, We Serve, Lions International has grown into the world's largest civic organization with nearly 1.4 million members in 197 countries. Even more appalling is the fact that they collect discarded eyeglasses for redistribution to unsuspecting and innocent poor people around the world . . . especially taking advantage of those with poor eyesight! And, to make matters worse, many of these "discarded eyeglasses" have been suspected of having once belonged to dead people! Even people suffering from River Blindness are not safe from the agressive ministrations of this organization. Blind people have actually been pressured into undergoing (experimental?) surgical procedures that are dsigned to restore their eyesight! What a degrading policy to believe that blind people are somehow "incomplete" or "unhappy" simply because they are visually challenged!

I could go on but clearly, Hamas is on to something here. If what they say is true then it must follow that, among the most important goals of Zionism, are the giving of sight to the blind and the eradication of polio around the world.

If, from Hamas' point of view, such things are "cruel, vicious, vile, anti-social, decadent, dishonorable and degenerate" then, I think, Hamas has given us a very clear sense that the concepts of "love" and "mercy" have no place in their world-view.

Accordingly, when Hamas declares (as they do in Articles Six & Eight of their Charter) that:
The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinct Palestinian movement that is loyal to Allah, adopts Islam as a way of life and works to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine . . . (which includes Israel, of course), and

Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model to be followed, the Koran its constitution, Jihad its way, and death for the sake of Allah its loftiest desire.
then I, for one, am tempted to pray that they will all soon attain their "loftiest desire."

Monday, February 13, 2006

CNN & FoxNews Face-Off In Cartoon Wars

Here you have it, folks . . . the real difference between CNN and FoxNews.

On the left you have CNN's broadcast of one of the Danish cartoon caracatures of Muhammed.

On the right you have FoxNews' broadcast of the same cartoon.

Image hosting by Photobucket..Image hosting by Photobucket

And that, my friends, is the difference between CNN and FoxNews.

FoxNews Reports. You Decide.

CNN Decides For You.

How the Danish "Cartoon Crisis" Was Born

Captain Ed has posted an investigative report by the Danish newspaper, JYLLANDS-POSTEN Sunday, February 12, 2005. This is, of course, the same paper that published the cartoon caracatures of Muhammed in the first place.

Captain Ed concludes that the article supports the view that Danish Muslims had a bigger agenda than simply protesting the cartoon.

After reading the article for myself I did not come to the same conclusion. To me it appears that the article indicates that Danish Muslims simply wanted their voices to be heard and respected...not necessarily acted upon. After having their efforts rebuffed and ignored (Why? Perhaps they are NOT shown respect in Denmark?) they made a fatal decision to take the issue to those with more clout. At this point they effectively lost control of the situation.

The role of Ambassadors to Denmark from Muslim countries remains unclear and, as the article clearly shows, some of the information and claims are either intentional misrepresentations, mistranslations or simply subjective beliefs grounded in personal feelings and emotions rather than objective "facts."

In any case, I find it encouraging that the Danish Muslims apparently made a sincere effort to work "within the system." Democratic governments are supposed to be responsive to the people. It is quite possible that much of the blame for this fiasco is to be shared by the Danish government for ignoring the concerns of Danish citizens who happened to be Muslim.

Here is the article. Read it and make up your own mind.

By Orla Borg and Lars Nørgaard Pedersen

The evening of Novemer 18, 2005 was when they finally decided. All Danish channels were showing a smiling Anders Fogh Rasmussen opening the doors of Marienborg [ED:Downing Street No 10 in Denmark] to the Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

To the Imams and other representatives of Moslem organizations, who for several weeks had been protesting the Muhammed cartoons in the Jyllands-Posten, it felt like a kick to the face:

So, the Prime Minister welcomed her - this /woman/ who had written the manuscript for "Submission Part 1", a film highly critical of Islam. But the ambassadors of 11 Moslem countries who had asked so pleadingly to meet him regarding the caricatures of the prophet Muhammed, were not granted an audience.

This was the straw that broke the camel's back.

The inflamed Danish Moslems who had organized in the network "Moslems for the Prophet in the Media" decided to enter phase two: The international phase with travelling delegations to the Middle East, since their first strategy - national actions within the borders of Denmark - had led them nowhere.

Since October 2, 2005 - two days after the publication of the drawings - they had tried to make the Jyllands-Posten and the Danish government apologize for the drawings and ensure that there would be no repetitions. They had collected 17000 signatures. They had organized a demonstration numbering more than 3000 on Rådhuspladsen in Copenhagen. They had written to the Ministry of Culture from which they had not even received an answer. And lastly 11 ambassadors had co-authored a letter asking to meet the Prime Minister to discuss the matter.

All in vain.


The 27 organizations called for an emergency meeting where it was decided to put together delegations who would "visit the Islamic World in order to inform them of the danger inherent in the situation and convince them to join
in the defense and the support of our prophet," as the published mission statement of the delegations had it.

But this defensive action evolved into an attack on Denmark - with the connivance of the diplomats of Moslem countries in Denmark.

In the middle of November representatives of the Moslem organizations first met the Moslem ambassadors in Copenhagen. Mona Omar, the Ambassador of Egypt - who was later elected spokesman of the 11 ambassadors - in November received a handful of representatives of the Moslem organizations. They presented to her the plan of sending delegations to the Middle East. The embassy approved of the idea and arranged for them to meet in Cairo
Muhammed Shaaban, an advisor to the Egyptian Foreign Minister, former Ambassador and a member of the board of the Danish-Egyptian institute for Dialogue in Cairo. The Egyptian embassy also helped with visas and provided contact to the League of Arab States in Cairo.

Two main delegations were sent in the first round. The first delegation of five landed in Egypt on December 3, 2005 and returned December 11, 2005. The second delegation comprising four Danish Moslems travelled to Lebanon December 17, 2005 and returned to Denmark December 31, 2005. During that time, Imam Ahmed Akkari from the Lebanon delegation visited Syria to present their case to Grand Mufti Ahmed Badr-Eddine Hassoun. Furthermore a smaller delegation travelled to Turkey while individuals visited Sudan, Morocco and Algeria.

The fact that the two main delegations were sent to Lebanon and Egypt, Imam Ahmed Akkari ascribes to several factors: The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports 'The Arab Initiative', designed to improve cooperation in the
Middle East, and specifically on Lebanon. Furthermore they noted that Lebanon, in spite of civil war, had diverse religious communities, which might increase the likeliness of their being understood. And when Nicholas Sarkozy specifically had visited the Grand Mufti Muhammed Said Tantawi in Cairo during the debate over hijabs - headscarves - in France, it had made a great impression on them. And finally, several of the members of the delegation descend from the two countries: The businessman Ahmed Harby and Nour-Edin Fattah of the first
delegation are of Egyptian descent while Raed Hlayhel and Ahmed Akkari of the second delegation are of Lebanese descent.


According to Ahmed Akkari, one of the goals of the delegations was to avoid "a new Van Gogh-case" - referring to the Dutch director who was murdered by an Islamist extremist in 2004. "The trip to Egypt was needed to create a response to be used in Denmark," Ahmed Akkari says.

The delegations brought stacks of a document 43 pages long containing pages of text and photos. The document contained the 12 cartoons from the Jyllands-Posten, 10 cartoons from the Weekendavisen and 4 derogatory photos, which according to the Moslems had been sent anonymously to Moslems in Denmark.

The delegation to Egypt achieved a great impact. It was headed by Abu Bashar of The Community of Islam and amongst the leaders were also leaders of Pakistani and Turkish organizations. During the meeting with the League of Arab States, which took place on December 11, 2005, the Danish Imam Abu Bashar showed the photo depicting the prophet as a pig.

Alaa Roushdy, the first secretary of Amr Moussa, participated in the meeting. The two Danish-Moslem representatives described the pig photo. They also talked about an announced movie critical of Islam, to be produced by Denmark, says Alaa Roushdy. The alleged movie was later to be one of many untrue
rumours to circulate in the Middle East.

The delegation also met the presidentially appointed Grand Mufti Muhammed Said Tantawy, who is also the leader of Al Azhar University, one of the world most renowned institutes for higher learning in the Sunni Moslem world.


The Grand Mufti released a statement condemning the cartoons. A fatwa to boycot Danish goods was threatened unless the drawing were withdrawn. And more important: The Egyptian Foreign Minister promised to raise the issue during the coming islamic conference when the 57 countries of the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) was to meet at the end of December. Symbolically, it was to be in Mecca - the home of Muhammed - that things
took a turn.

The second delegation got the Lebanese Foreign Minister, Fawzi Salloukh, to contact his Egyptian counterpart in view of a common response. The third and lesser delegation travelled to Turkey. Led by Zeki Kocer of DMGT - a union of Turkish immigrant organization - it is unknown with whom they met.

In none of the countries visited by the delegations did demonstrators take to the street. But a meeting in Mekka set wheels in motion.

The 57 Moslem countries of the OIC met in the home city of Muhammed in December. The Egyptian Foreign Minister brought the 43 pages from the Danish Delegation. The cartoons of Muhammed circulated in the corridors and became THE topic of conversation during the conference. In the final communiqué, the OIC noted that the 57 countries were worried about the growing hatred against Islam and condemned "the latest incident where the media of some countries have desecrated the holy prophet Muhammed."

Now the case had gained traction.

The end of January saw protests against Denmark erupting volcanically. First came the boycot of Danish products in Saudi-Arabia and Kuwait beginning January 26, 2006 - a boycot which quickly spread to other Islamic countries. After that, the cartoons became the theme of the Friday Sermon everywhere. The same weekend Moslem protesters burned down down the Danish embassy in Syria, attacked the offices of the Danish deputation in Beirut and since then death threats have been made against Danes in several Moslem countries.

Thursday the ninth, the beginning of the Ashura holidays in the Shiite world, the cry went out "Death to Denmark" in Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Lebanon.


In Denmark criticism of the delegations has grown. They have been accused of showing false cartoons and spreading disinformation. But the 43 pages the delegations brough with them contained a text that has gone unnoticed so far.

The text labels the Danes as "Infidels"

"Though they are nominally Christian, secularization has submerged them to a degree where to say that they are infidels would not be a lie." Furthermore the text contains to specific disinformations.

* Of the situation of the Moslems in Denmark: "Those of the true faith are opressed in a number of ways, mainly the
Islamic faith is not officially recognized in Denmark."

* Of mosques in Denmark: "Which brings about a series of problems; most significantly permissions to build mosques are not granted and Moslems thus have to reuse old commercial properties and storage facilities as places of worship."

This information is wrong:

* The Ministry of Religion recognizes 19 Islamic denominations in Denmark.

* No Moslems are prevented from building Mosques. That it has not happened is caused by fraternal dissent in the Moslem communities: Agreement can not be reached as to who is to run the Mosque and thus sufficient money has not been raised for the building of a mosque.

The debate about the delegations runs high. Few defend them. Some do, including one of the 11 ambassadors which thePrime Minister declined to meet. The Ambassador wishes to remain anonymous but says: "We encouraged none of the actions the delegations took, nor did they encourage us. They made their own choices and none of the ambassadors participated in any of their meetings. People are now trying to pin it on the delegations but it was already an issue when they left for Egypt."

Alaa Roushdy, First Secretary of the influential leader of The League of Arab States in Cairo defends the delegations too: "I have been following the discussion as to whether the delegations hold responsibility for what is happening in the Middle East. But the truth is that the real reaction came one and a half month after their visit." Roushdy adds that the issue would have exploded under any circumstances once the League of Arab States and the OIC had been informed.

Many criticised the delegations. One of their sharpest detractors is Ben Haddou of Moroccan ancestry, a former City Councillor in Copenhagen for the Centrist Democrats and later the Conservatives. He calls the delegations "half treason" and thinks that the delegations and protests have been staged to attract money from the rich Arab Gulf States. "They are fighting for their own Kingdom in Denmark and their own Mosques. Why does the Community of Islam call press conferences? Why do they so want to go with Danish Industry [ED: Umbrella Organization for Danish employers in the indutrial sector] to the Middle East? Why do they want public servants on the trip? Because it will give them a rubber stamp of approval. If they go to the Middle East with Officials of the Danish State, it will be seen as an official mark of approval and then the flow of money from the Gulf States will
be without end."


The members of the delegations reject the claim that they carry the main responsibility for the attacks on Danish interests. Most members refuse to comment and refer to spokesman Ahmed Akkari. He has no regrets. "We never wanted this development or the violent actions which we have distanced ourselves from" (SIC).

On the matter of whether the delegations haven't achieved the exact opposite of what they set out to do, if the goal of the delegations was to strengthen the Islamic position in Denmark, answers Ahmed Akkari: "We will not accept that it was our responsibility. When Bush goes to the Middle East it often causes new riots, but nobody tells him not to go. We feel stigmatized as second- or third-class citizens."

Do you feel as a second- or third-rate citizen? "I feel that the public discourse in Denmark is harsh towards the
Muslims and that our voice is not heard. That goes for me personally as well."

But you HAVE been heard the last couple of weeks, haven't you? "When finally we do get our say, we are portrayed as villains. We want to be represented properly," says Ahmed Akkari.

He predicts two endgames for the prophet-case: Either Moslems will be properly and fully recognized in Denmark or else portrayal of them as villains will be intensified. "I believe in the former. I am an optimist."

How The Iraqis REALLY Feel About American Troops

Greyhawk has posted the following letter from the Iraqi Mayor of Tall-Afar. This man has some remarkable things to say about the members of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and their families.

In the Name of God the Compassionate and Merciful

To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall’ Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life.

To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months.

To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope, through their personal sacrifice and brave fighting, and gave new life to the city after hopelessness darkened our days, and stole our confidence in our ability to reestablish our city.

Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi’s followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3d ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zumar and Avgani finally destroyed them.

I have met many soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment; they are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism.

The leaders of this Regiment; COL McMaster, COL Armstrong, LTC Hickey, LTC Gibson, and LTC Reilly embody courage, strength, vision and wisdom. Officers and soldiers alike bristle with the confidence and character of knights in a bygone era. The mission they have accomplished, by means of a unique military operation, stands among the finest military feats to date in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and truly deserves to be studied in military science. This military operation was clean, with little collateral damage, despite the ferocity of the enemy. With the skill and precision of surgeons they dealt with the terrorist cancers in the city without causing unnecessary damage.

God bless this brave Regiment; God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget. To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain. They are not dead, but alive, and their souls hovering around us every second of every minute. They will never be forgotten for giving their precious lives. They have sacrificed that which is most valuable. We see them in the smile of every child, and in every flower growing in this land. Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life.

Finally, no matter how much I write or speak about this brave Regiment, I haven’t the words to describe the courage of its officers and soldiers. I pray to God to grant happiness and health to these legendary heroes and their brave families.

Mayor of Tall 'Afar, Ninewa, Iraq
I bet you won't see this letter published your morning newspaper.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Al Gore Proves That There Is a God

All praise and thanks be to God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen!

Surely the goodness and mercy of the Lord was upon the United States of America when Vice-President Al Gore was denied the Presidency following the 2000 election. God's providence served us with blessing upon blessing in providing for us a President who loves this country and has been faithful in his oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution and this country from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Can anyone in their right mind imagine what the world and our country would be like today had Al Gore become our President?

Consider the latest chapter in Gore's descent into anti-American perdition.

Earlier today (Sunday) Al Gore appeared at the Jiddah Economic Forum in Saudi Arabia. Just this past week the Saudi government withdrew their invitation to a Danish delegation because of the Muslim uproar over the posting of cartoon caricatures of the Muhammed. This blatant insult to the freedom of speech and the diplomatic irresponsibility in acting punitively against a sovereign nation simply because a private Danish newspaper exercised that freedom should have offered Gore an opportunity to demonstrate his solidarity with one of the central and unimpeachable values of Western Civilization by withdrawing from speaking at the Summit.

Instead, Gore not only spoke but used the opportunity to express his solidarity with the radical Arab Muslim world in their demonization of the United States.

Consider this news summary of Gore's speech:

Former Vice President Al Gore told a mainly Saudi audience on Sunday that the U.S. government committed "terrible abuses" against Arabs after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that most Americans did not support such treatment.

Gore said Arabs had been "indiscriminately rounded up" and held in "unforgivable" conditions. The former vice president said the Bush administration was playing into al-Qaida's hands by routinely blocking Saudi visa applications.

"The thoughtless way in which visas are now handled, that is a mistake," Gore said during the Jiddah Economic Forum. "The worst thing we can possibly do is to cut off the channels of friendship and mutual understanding between Saudi Arabia and the United States."
If the United States was at war with radical Islam, and that radical form of Islam was being funded and encouraged with Saudi money and Saudi Muslim clerics, and if most of the terrorists who attacked the United States on 9/11 had been Saudis then a good case could be made that Al Gore had committed treason today.

Oh . . . my goodness . . . We are at war with radical Islam . . . it is being funded and encouraged with Saudi money and Saudi Muslim clerics . . . most of the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia . . .

I don't really know what to say . . . except to thank God that Al Gore did not become the President of the United States.

Note: Captain Ed critiques Gore's claims and concludes that "he sold out the U.S." I agree. The man is worse than an embarrassment. He has sold his American soul in exchange for the warm embrace and accolades from an anti-American Saudi audience. The man has no shame. And tragically, there are tens of millions of Americans who would vote for him again if he ran for President in 2008.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Michael Jackson Now Homeless? An Update

According to Fox News,
Today will be the seventh week in a row that employees at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch have not received paychecks.

And now I have really bad news for them: Jackson has been cut off and kicked out by Prince Abdullah, son of the King of Bahrain. He is no longer, I repeat, not doing it anymore — not funding Jackson, his kids and nanny in an extended stay in Bahrain.

The first clue that this was the case was Jackson's traveling last week from Bahrain to Germany, and then on to Italy — on commercial flights in business class. There was no more private plane.
Well, I guess that, having seen all the sights in Dubai, Jackson is hoping to spend some time researching Michelangelo before . . . who knows, learning how to dance the Karagouna in Thessaly?

Microphone Blunder Reveals Bush To Be . . . a Gentleman?

There's an old British saying, "A true gentleman is one who uses his butter knife when he dines alone."

The point is that a person of true character is the same in private as they are in public.

Yesterday, President George Bush proved to be a man of character . . . a true gentleman.

Here's what happened: At a House Republican strategy session in Maryland, President Bush appeared and spoke publicly and on the record to the Representatives and other party leaders. The press and all visitors were then asked to leave while the President addressed the gathering privately.

Oh! What the MSM would pay to hear what Bush was saying. To get that story would be to get a Pulitzer! The headline would read, "President Caught In the Act . . . His Hypocracy Revealed!"

Well, as it turned out the MSM got to hear what the President said in private without paying a cent. It seems that some audio flunkey forgot to turn off the live microphone feed to the White House Press Room. So, Bush spoke in private and the world listened in. And what did they hear?

Not much and nothing new!

Bush simply repeated to the Republican gathering what he had already said publicly concerning the NSA warrantless surveillance situation. And that was all.

The old song said, "Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors..." Well, now we know: President Bush uses his butter knife in private.

As Captain Ed puts it, "Bet this doesn't make the front page tomorrow."

Friday, February 10, 2006

Where Are All the Muslim Women In the Middle East?

Where are all the Muslim women in the Middle East? What do they have to say about Intefada, terrorism, jihad and insurgents? How do they feel about their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons who have been dying by the thousands at the hands of American Troops, Muslim terrorists and as volunteer "mujahadeen" and suicide bombers?

Televsion pictures show hundreds and thousands of Muslim men demonstrating every day . . . especially on the holy day of Friday. In Palestine these men wave AK-47s, cover their faces with their head scarves and dip their hands into the blood of their terrorist leaders when they have been blown to pieces by an Israeli missile.

How do the women feel about all of this?

How do they feel about their second-class status? Are they glad that they do not have to run around in a mob, shouting angry and hateful slogans against Jews, Americans and the degenerate West? Do they feel shut out and cut off from wielding influence in the midst of the unrest and death? Are they being abused by the angry men who seem to surround them? Have the ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine lowered the number of men to the point where there are large numbers of widows and orphans left behind and alone?

Do the women want peace? Or are they as fanatical about Islam as the Islamist radicals seem to be? What are their hopes and dreams for the world? Do they want every other woman in the world to be as they are? What do they think about honor killings of wives and daughters? Is this part of their culture and faith that they accept without complaint?

Recently we have seen how the women in Palestine seem to feel. In a pre-election poll (see 2-18, 19), more than half of the women supported the continuation of suicide bombings against Israel. Indeed, the women were more supportive of this than the men! ( Here is a post-election poll with similar results--but not specifically by women--here. A completely opposite poll result can be found here. Which are we to believe?)

Beyond the taking of polls is there no way to discover the thoughts and opinions of Muslim women in the Middle East? Are there any who blog?

If there is a way, why has no one asked them? Is it because no one in the West cares? Are there no women journalists who could investigate and report on what over half the Muslim population feels about faith, conflict, jihad, hopes, dreams, children, husbands, America, freedom and all the rest?

If there is no way to discover the thoughts and opinions of Muslim women in the Middle East then what does that say about the culture and religion that imposes this mass silence, isolation and invisibility upon them?

Personally, I am tired of watching the Muslim men shout and scream and chant bloody murder day after day after day. Just for once, I'd like to hear from the women. I am confident that they have something important to say. After all, in more than a symbolic way, they represent the "home front" for the Islamist war against the world. History has shown that it is often on the home front that wars are won or lost. Why the silence?

Note: An interesting story about a "feminist play" in Gaza provides some insight and can be found here. Note the story appears in an Israeli newspaper!