Friday, April 02, 2004

More on the Muslim Mindset...
If it wasn't already obvious from the recent past (9/11, The Madrid Bombing, Mogadishu, etc) then it was certainly and unequivicably restated, for those of you actually paying attention, by the events this past week in the Iraqi city of Fallujah.

In case you're brain dead or have been watching Peter Jennings, four Americans, civilians, who were there to help restore Iraq to something resembling the 19th century, were attacked, killed and their bodies dragged through the streets and debased.

Religion of Peace....MY ASS!

Muslims, for all the talk of piety, have no respect for life and apparently, not much more for the dead (unless they happen to be THEIR DEAD and ABCCBSNBCCNNMSNBCNPR happen to be there with cameras). Muslims can talk all they want about being a pious, God fearing folk, full of morality and respect, etc, etc, until they all go blue in the mouth. They never seem to prove any of what they're yakking about.

A good and pious people do not send explosive-laden children into cvilized lands for the purpose of wanton murder. Civilized people do not shoot elderly, wheelchair-bound men and dump their bodies casually over the side of a cruise liner. God-fearing people do not desecrate the bodies of those that offer a helping hand. A righteous people do not crash airliners into office buildings full of those just going about their daily lives.

Islam is a "religion" of submission. It revolves around the insignifigance of the individual in the eyes of God. It is a cult of nihilism, one that worships death, martyrdom and destruction. Christ taught us all that everyone has worth and that all are worthy of redemption, respect and love. Judaism taught us that man and God exist together on a symbiotic, contractual basis; the man who heeds God's will receives God's rewards. God is bound to protect the keeper of his law.
Islam preaches that God is master and man is his slave.

It is a religion that worships death, that welcomes death. It is a religion that gives it's adherants nothing to look forward to except death and nothing to make this existance worth living.

Jews await a messiah. Christians await the return of Christ. Within these two simple premises lurks another: that human beings must strive to create a more perfect world, to be worthy of redemption and reward, that what exists now can be made better in the future. The world must be made as perfect as can be before the Day of Judgement. Perfection being measured in humanity, justice, love and piety. Judaism and Christianity are inherantly forward-looking religions.

According to Islam, the greatest thing that could ever happen already has: Muhammed has ascended into Heaven. There will be no more prophets. There is no maleable future because the final word has been spoken and anything that comes after is merely the fufilment of prophecy until the Almighty decides to blow this rock apart. Yuo have been left a set of instructions and it is your duty, your fate, to comply with them. Life, therefore, means nothing. Your present situation cannot be changed for the better. You have been dealt your busted flush and will not see any more cards. If God has decided that your destiny is to strap a grenade to yourself and get on public transport -- nothing you can do. If God has decided that you will die by the hand of a brutal, thuggish regime --- tough titty. If the Almighty wrote it in the stars that you were fated to starve to death despite the fact that he gave you working limbs, a brain, and ambition, then so be it.

How dare you question the Lord or even attempt to change what has been ordained? If you do, you will be branded a heretic, cast from the community, and even killed.

The only thing than can be changed in Islam is the extent to which Islam rules the world. All other concerns --- life, liberty, mercy, respect, humanity --- must take a back seat to achieving this goal. These are not people, these are automatons, programmed with a serious flaw, and Bill Gates has no patch for this one.

Remember this when someone tells you that maybe we should negotiate; there is no negotiation. When someone tells you that perhaps we should be nicer to people, remember: niceness is reserved for Muslims only, the rest of us are scum. When someone tells you that you should make an effort, perhaps, to be more understanding, remember: an enemy who's avowed purpose is your conversion or your death cannot be reasoned with.

Islam is a dead-end philosophy whose only continued reason for being is to kill, to conquer and to destroy anything alien to it. That is the Muslim Mindset.
The Lessons of Fallujah...
Check out this article in TechCentrl Station by the learned Lee Harris:

Mr. Harris, for all the respect I have for him, has made a mistake here, I think. People do, indeed, all want the same things, if by that we mean; safety, protection from disease, plentiful food, a job and an education. These are the only things that have enabled civilization to survive in the first place -- and if you don't think Muslims want these things (and more) then ask yourself why so many are willing to defy God and live amongst the infidel to get them.

The problem with Muslims, and particularly the ones in the Middle East, is that they like civilization, they just don't like WHERE IT COMES FROM (i.e. The West). They're absolutely baffled as to how such "godless people" can produce everything from chewing gum to artificial hearts and prosper, while God's own chosen and devoted few often suffer from the lack of basic necessities (water, shelter, freedom, etc). We Westerners must be hiding something from them and it drives them nuts because to figure out just what it is that we have and they don't would require them to: a) engage in critical thinking, b) question God and his "chosen" authorities anc c) admit that they are a fucked up people. None of those options is either attractive nor often even ALLOWED in their societies.

The Lesson of Fallujah is not that the enemy has figured out what they can get away with, the lesson is that we're not dealing with rational people.

The United States has vast experience in dealing with irrational enemies; Japan, Germany, the Moros, the Barbary Pirates, Communists, Fascists and Nazis. We know exactly what to do when an enemy doesn't know he's beat -- we flatten them or destroy them. These folks only understand destruction, so make an example of Fallujah and let it revert to nature.

Sometimes, you have to play the game by the enemy's rules in order to win, even if it's distasteful.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Man of the People, Part III
The surest sign that someone has a complete detachment from reality is to the extent that they can be totally ridiculous and still take themselves seriously while doing it.

According to an interview on MTV, John Kerry let it be known that he "fascinated by rap music". In his opinion (papraphrasing) it represents a reality that requires serious attention. Although he is somewhat uneasy about lyrics that cross the line, i.e. killing police officers, it is a fascinating case study in the life of urban youth and a sub-culture of African-Americans that is generally dismissed. A Kerry Presidency would, I guess, see rap music "legitimized" and "listened to for social content".

The more the man opens his mouth, the more you can see that he hasn't a clue. Even when he panders he makes no sense.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Hypocritical Iconoclasm for Fun and Profit...There was once a time in the history of this great land, when certain folks of a peculiar political bent would never-ever-in-a-million-years believe it would be okay to criticize a black woman, regardless of what controversy was swirling around her. Political orthodoxy required, nay demanded, that a display of solidarity was necessary to defend the sistah from those small-minded enough as to further oppress and already oppressed minority.

Them days is over. Especially if your political orthodoxy doesn't jibe with the other kind.

To wit: Condoleeza Rice. Here we have an intellegent, successful, black woman. She happens to be a Republican, but that would be okay, so long as she didn't tell anyone about it. Unfortunately, she also happens to be the highest-ranking black female ever in the history of the country, and tarred by association with that nasty, cowboy, idiot Texan in the White House. This makes her unacceptable in certain political circles because she breaks the mold: there is no way in hell that a black woman should be a Republican, it's just not DONE, say those who also believe that stereotypes are bad juju for other people's self-esteem.

Thirty years ago, Condi Rice would have been held up by these same people as an example of what blacks, and especially females, could achieve. She would have been a goddess, a beacon of hope, a treasure beyond calculation. Twenty years ago she would have been an icon to the progress of "race relations" in America. Ten years ago, she would have been on the cover of People magazine in a celebratory pap-piece on diversity.

Today, Condi is just G.W.'s house nigga. Her and that other sell-out Colin Powell. If you don't think so, just get your typical, fur-breasted "liberal" drunk and ask what he or she (the she's are usually more condescending) REALLY thinks about either. In vino veritas and all that.

Then again, politics usually works that way, doesn't it? The democrats (small 'd' intentional) can't make hay these days. Economy is bad? Can't prove it. Civil rights still a hot issue? Not to all the blacks that have jumped into the middle class in the last 30 years. Gay rights? Too much of the country is too accepting for this to be a catalyst for radical emotion. The War on Terror? Popular and working, despite all the Chicken Little wailing. They're reduced to the time-tested clasic strategy of "throwing cow chips against the barn wall and seeing how much of it can stick."

The issue becomes "what-did-they-know-and when-did-they-know-it?" as regards September 11th, 2001. If the questions get specific, as in: did anyone know for certain that a) terrorists would hijack airliners and use them as bombs, b) that said hijackers were already in the country and c) having had that information, could something have been done to prevent 3,000 dead people, the answer is ambiguous. If the questions get more general, as in: can anyone raise at least a shadow of doubt about GW's responsiblility vis-a-vis the horrific deaths of 3,000 people, then there are enough dots to connect, post-mortem, to raise an eyebrow. That is the goal --- raise enough eyebrows and perhaps those eyebrows vote for Kerry in November. Of course, hoping for raised eyebrows and then trying to win an election with them is not exactly strong staregy.

And so, Condoleeza Rice, who in another time and place would be held up as the ultimate example of the American Dream, must be dragged through the mud. Now instead of a smart woman, she's a an irresponsible public servant. Instead of being recognized as someone with talent, she's just another of GW's evil minions. She's a route to the unassailable fortress of GW's almost-guarenteed re-election. If that means the other side has to engage in hypocricy, dissembling and malice, so be it. The ultimate goal is power, never fairness or logic.

They have picked on the wrong bunch and beat the wrong dead equine this time. This group knows how the game is played. They know how the cards get dealt from the bottom of the deck, and they always know it's better to have that extra ace up your sleeve. Condi is under attack at the moment, because she was the one who was supposed to co-ordinate anti-terror policy at the time, but she will prevail. She is a giant amongst mental midgets. I hope they all remember what they did to her when she becomes the first black and female President in 2008, handily beating the crusty, black pantsuit off what the other side considers "the smartest woman in the world" and sends her packing back to whatever rock she crawled out from under.
20/20 Hindsight and Political Myopia... The skinny on 9/11 is that no one in their right mind would have believed for a second that terrorists were capable of doing what they did. It was not the standard modus operandi, which was hijack and make demands. The idea may have floated through people's minds, but no one ever thought it possible. It's a matter of cultural perspective, in some cases, a Westerner very often cannot get into the mindset of a non-Western cutlure that believes suicide is a valid military tactic. If you don't think so, just remember what kind of troubles the military had with kamikazes in the Second World War. They were unprepared for it. The idea that mulitple attacks of that mature were in the offing was also beyond the scope of reasonable thought: it would have required a lot of time and preparation, and the thinking is, something like that could not be kept a secret forever. We would have heard about it.

The same thinking was in play at Pearl Harbor. The Japanese were incapable of attacking us across 4,000 miles of ocean. They would adhere to the traditional laws and customs of war and declare their intent first. Readiness would take a back seat until it was really, really required. Conventional thinking killed 2,400 on Dec. 7th, 1941. Conventional thinking killed 3,000 on September 11th, 2001. Scapegoats were found in Kimmel and Short, but the problem was institutional and political, and only exacerbated by human error. The same can be said for September 11th.

And just like Dec. 7th, September 11th was a wake up call, and it will have effects that go way beyond the dead and the injured. Japan suffered under the effect of atomic weapons, Islam will suffer too although not in the same way. FDR was in charge at the time of Pearl Harbor and the criticisms then are the same we're hearing today: someone should have known, did FDR have warning, what did Chruchill know and why didn't he tell us? FDR "let" Pearl Harbor be attacked so that he could get us into a war to save the British Empire, etc, etc, etc. If anyone seriously studied the history and events surrounding Pearl Harbor (and they have been studied, exhaustively) one would come to the reasonable conclusion that, yes, there was enough information, and no, the mechanisms to make use of it did not exist. Bureacracy, inertia, lack of communications, and limited technology led to that somewhat-preventable disaster. The main key was an underestimation of the enemy. That system changed and the one we work with now will also change. In that case, 3,000 dead wil not have died in vain because we will have better tools to save thousands more. That's small consolation after the fact, but it is solace nonetheless.

It was found that prior to December 7, 1941 that the main problems were government interference in the most minute of military affairs, American isolationism, compartmentalizing of information, restrictions on the ditribution of information, and overt racism where the Japanese were concerned. Sloppy staff work, adherance to stifling bureacratic form and institutional distrust put the U.S. Pacific Feelt at risk, and got it sunk at anchor. Admiral Kimmel did not receive formal notification that he was under attack until two hours after the bombs started falling, and that message was sent by Western Union Telegram because the military channels were unmanned. General Marshall, the highest-ranking military leader at the time, was out riding his horse and could not be contacted. The Japanese diplomats that were supposed to deliver the declaration of war thirty minutes prior to the attack had to rely on an even slower method of communication and did not get their instructions from Tokyo deciphered in time, and so, the formal declaration of war occurred several hours after the attack. We were fortunate in that the Japanese did not complete the job --- they were just as shortsighted, and just as hamstrung.

With all the technology we have today, it makes the situation much better, but does not guarentee that another Pearl Harbor or September 11th will never happen again. The FBI and CIA had information on the hijackers, but were unable to share it with one another due to Congressional actions. The DIA and NSA had picked up signal intelligence but could not share it with law enforcement or military officials. The INS was so fucked up as to issue an entry visa to one of the hijackers 6 months after he crashed into an empty field in Pennsylvania. Legal mechanisms in place to protect the rights of the accused prevented the FBI from getting a search warrant for the laptop of one potential hijacker which subsequently turned out to have information about the attack and a list of contacts on it.

Who is to blame for what happened on September 11th? GW BUsh gets the lion share because it happened on his watch. That might be unfair --- you have to consider he was on the job only 8 months, and his staff appointments were held up by Al Gore's temper tantrum in the courts --- but that's politics. Eight years of a Clinton administration that dealt with terrorism as a law enforcement issue (unless it was it's own terrorism, i.e. Waco) rather than a militarey one is also to blame. A Clinton White House that could make a decision on what kind of dog the President should have to make him look more "folksy" to the press, couldn't make a decision as to how to retaliate for the first bombing of the Trade Center, embassy bombings and the attack on the USS Cole, and thus encouraged even more such attacks. Ronald Reagan's pullout from Lebanon can also be cited, as well as the ever-present spectre of Vietnam that pervaded the country in the 1970's and 1980's which made our political leaders wary, with exceptions, of utilizing American force where necessary, can also be thrown in. There's enough to go around.

Now the problem becomes utilizing the lesson correctly. Instead it's being used politically, but then again, politicians do that with any issue, so why shoudl this be different? You would, howver, think someone would realize that continuing to play politics with this is another way to get more people killed
The Evil that Lurks Under the Couch...
Via the Detroit Free Press this morning:

DETROIT (AP) -- A 1-year-old girl was shot and killed early Sunday in what police called the careless handling of a shotgun by the child's caretaker.

The child's family identified her as Dai'Janell Clark, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The 46-year-old woman was cleaning her house when she found a shotgun under a couch, Detroit police Sgt. Eren Stephens said. She pulled out the gun and leaned it up against a wall.

The woman told police she wanted to see if the gun was loaded, so she racked it, Stephens said. But her finger was on the trigger, and the gun went off, hitting the sleeping toddler.

"Right now we really don't know what happened, but her finger was on the trigger," Stephens said. "At this time it seems more of a careless handling of the gun."

Police said three other children were home at the time: Dai'Jannell's twin sister, their three-month old brother and a 10-year-old girl. Police said Dai'Jannell's mother, LaDonna Lenoir, 17, was not home at the time

It was not clear who the gun belonged to, or how it ended up underneath the couch, she said.

The woman was taken in for questioning, and the results of the police investigation were to be forwarded to prosecutors for review, Stephens said.

Now I don't know about you, but I have found spare change, half-eaten pototo chips, my dog and dustbunnies under my couch, but never a loaded shotgun. My curiosity about potentially loaded weapons was never so great that I would point them at a sleeping infant while attempting to ascertain their status vis-a-vis ammunition.

Little Dai'Jannell will become yet another statistic about the dangers of having guns in your home. What will never enter the picture is the fact that there was irresponsibility and stupidity in the handling of that gun all the way down the line: it was left loaded, under a couch and eventually wound up in the hands of someone who knew how to handle it (although improperly).

Left to it's own devices, that shotgun would never have killed Dai'Jannell. It would have stayed under that couch (where it didn't belong in the first place) and collected dust, just waiting for the right sort of idiot to do something stupid with it, proving once again, that guns don't kill people, but that stupid people kill people.

I smell a Jason Williams defense in the offing.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

The Passion of Ignorance...
Quite a bit has been bandied about concerning the Mel Gibson film, "The Passion of the Christ". I haven't seen it yet, since I never seem able to actually get into a theatre, no matter how early I arrive, no less, because the hoopla certainly does attract people to the cinema. And some interesting ones as well. The hoopla, or kerfuffle (to quote the WSJ), if you will, revolves around a few salient points: the film is anti-semitic, the film is blasphemous, it's gory and violent. I can't speak to any of this because I STILL HAVE NOT SEEN IT!

I have tried twice to get in to see this movie, and both times, all shows were sold out. That either indicates that people have finally been interested in something beyond the three inches in front of their own noses (a good thing) and are partaking in the movie experience, or, that people are sheep being herded into movie theatres by a media blitz. Theatres in this area are staying open late to include extra shows, and even with that, they're all swamped. Either way, even standing in line outside the theatre is an interesting experience.

To begin with, both times that I've stood in line I was harrangued, politely though, by Southern Baptists that were kind enough to make the trip from Virginia, North Carolina, and even Alabama, who tried (in vain!) to talk me out of seeing the movie. All have said they were interested in "saving my soul", which if you ask me, left my person somewhere around 1985 after 12 years of Catholic school, but I digress. What my soul, or the vestigal remnants thereof ,requires rescue from is never quite spelled out. The well-meaning and earnest little teenage girls that hand out little prayer meeting notices (on glossy, hip-looking, 5x8 advertisment cards --- almost as if the church is throwing a rave!), wearing "God Loves NY" t-shirts, can never quite articulate what is so evil about the film, but they assure me with the certainty of the believer, that this is so. Ask them if they have seen it, and the response rates somewhere between "Not on your life" and "no I haven't, but...".

Their objection, apparently, is that the film depicts Christ and it does not matter at all whether that depiction is flattering, indifferent or gross. Christ should not be depicted, period. Christ should definately never be depicted if there's some money to be made out of it, either. I guess Mel Gibson is not entitled to make a living off the Lord, unlike say, the preacher-folk that pass the collection plate and evangelize on T.V.

So, the way I figure it is that there's a bunch of people incesnsed, somewhere, who are so enraged that they must hop on buses and travel 1,000 miles to New York to vent their anger, in a polite way, quoting scripture and using little southern girls, with them cute accents and all, to keep me from seeing something that they haven't seen themselves, but which they can assure me is evil incarnate. Well, if the fire and brimstone speeches don't dissuade ya, then maybe them cute south'ren females will.

As to whether the film is anti-semitic or not, I cannot attest to that either. Ask someone who has been fortunate (if that's the right word) to have seen it if this is so and all you get is "it's really graphic, but it was great". Which leads me to another conclusion about why more people don't get off their behinds more often --- even when they do, do they ever notice anything or have a thought provoking moment?

The anti-Semitism accusation revolves around a 2,000 year-old-charge that the Jews executed the Saviour, and this MUST never be forgotten, in the same way that Muslims believe the Crusades must never be forgotten, or the Kamikaze winds that saved Japan from the Mongols, or the Holocaust, the Alamo, Pearl Harbor, and the Battle of Trafalgar. It's a rallying cry that resonates, even if you're not exactly WHY it should do so.

Did the Jews execute Jesus? Well, no, the Romans did. Jews did not go around crucifying people, that was the Roman's job. Was Jesus killed because he was the Saviour? Well, no, he was killed because he was denounced as a heretic by the Jewsih authorities and a potential subversive by the Romans. Crucifixion was not the standard execution for spitting on the sidewalk for example --- it was used almost exclusively on political threats to the Roman order of things. The Romans could care less about religion very often, unless such debates and strife should interfere with their ability to keep order and collect taxes. Sorta like Mayor Bloomberg's take on smoking, but again, I digress.

Jesus was killed because he threatened the established order of things, plain and simple. The Pharisees wanted him punished because he preached a reform of their own religion that would have seen them cast down. The Romans wanted him punished because such religious rabble-rousing was bound to cause violence and a disruption of civil order, which was a constant theme of the Roman occupation of the Holy Land. Jews had revolted many times and fought quite a few religious wars amongst themselves and Rome, quite frankly, was annoyed at having to continue breaking up these little internecine brawls. Pilate did the expedient thing ---he ordered a crucifixion which satified the religious authorities and he covered his own ass with the Borad fo Directors in Rome by disposing of a potential joker in the deck. The symbolic washing of the hands merely signified that Pilate was bowing to both popular demand and performing his duty as he saw it, although he did not like it, I think.

But getting back to why people feel it is necessary to beat the same old deceased equines (the Jews killed Christ, any depiction of the Lord on film is evil), I can only say that very often devout belief possibly covers for a deep-running ignorance . I can remember the same things being said about "The Last Temptation of Christ" (which I did see, and while it was thought-provoking, I didn't think it was cinematic tour-de-force), and quite honestly, the only people who recycle the same platitudes more often than religious folks are democrats (small 'd' intentional). I can remember quite clearly being yelled at by a white-haired grandmother that while standing in line for "The Last Temptation" that I had just, in fact, bought my ticket to hell. Considering the fact that I live in New York, I thought I had already been there for quite some time, but I was assured, strongly, that seeing that film would reserve me a window seat on the "Damnation Express". All I got out of that movie was that Barbara Hershey had nice tits. The other thought that came with that was that if Jesus had both a human and divine side, why should there not have been an internal struggle as to what his purpose was on Earth? The Temptation, if you recall, was that he had a chance to do things differently, to live a different life, and in the end, he didn't. He still wound up hanging on the cross because his duty was always clear. The film was a study of a man with overwhelming responsibilities (that often comes with divinity) who, perhaps, had one last regret about actually carrying that particular weight.

The particulars, especially the scenes of sexual congress with Mary Magdalene, were shot as a dream sequence, nothing more. Of course, if dipicting Christ on film is evil, then showing Christ with private parts enaging in the sinful lusts of the flesh is inherently evil.

Maybe one of these days I will get into the theatre to see the movie. But in the meantime, I would appreciate that those who travel on buses across the country to dissuade me from an activity they have little first-hand knowledge about be kind enough to a) stay home and b) realize that hypocrisy on behalf of the Lord is no virtue.