Monday, September 27, 2010

With Republicans like Powell, who needs Democrats?

Why Colin Powell remains a favored interview on Republican electoral strategy is inexplicable. Powell’s personal achievements are indeed exemplary. But his conservative credentials expired long ago. He continually proves that he--like too many Republicans--is a small “d” Democrat with an “R” beside his name.

Powell’s inside Washington philosophies were apparent during a recent
appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press. He criticized conservative ideas, projecting instead the mindset that has transformed the GOP into Democrats Light.

Powell instructed Republicans to support immigration. “We’ve got to find a way to bring these people out of the darkness and give them some kind of status,” the General declared. His comment raises two points of contention.

First, Powell is assuming that conservative Republicans oppose immigration lock, stock and barrel. Not so. According to a Rasmussen
poll Republicans favor a welcoming immigration policy more than do Democrats. Legal immigration is not a problem for conservatives.

Gen. Powell, the people you say need “some kind of status” have a status now. It’s called “illegal alien.” Those are the so-called “immigrants” conservative Republicans oppose. Illegal aliens and legal immigrants are synonymous and no one need pretend that they are. Such a comparison disparages legal migrants in favor of aliens who’ve shown contempt for our laws, borders, sovereignty and culture. That’s no winning strategy.

The Tea Party is a question mark for Gen. Powell, too. He thinks the movement will dissipate, having become too entrenched in ideological discourse. The Tea Party will lose its momentum because it offers nothing voters can see, touch, or believe in. Too much time is spent promoting ideas like fiscal sanity and constitutional government. Such a thought wouldn’t raise an eyebrow if it came from Rahm Emmanuel, but it’s appalling coming from a Republican.

Where, Gen. Powell, would you have Americans place their faith if not in fiscal responsibility and constitutional principles? Federal spending is a case study in how not to manage a budget. Washington’s “success” stories, Social Security and Medicare, are train wrecks hurtling toward derailment. Budget deficits are ballooning under Obama’s “change.” The national debt consumes nearly a year’s worth of GDP and unfunded entitlements stretch from here to Alpha Centauri.

Budgetary sanity and fiscal discipline better be winning issues, Gen. Powell. That is, if America’s future is to exceed its past.

Let’s also remember that adherence to the Constitution is a federal representative’s prime duty. Elected officials swear no oath to provide cradle-to-grave public assistance. They have neither duty nor authority to subsidize individual retirement or medical needs. However, representatives do swear an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitution restrains the central government and safeguards our liberty and sovereignty. When it’s ignored, as the ruling class routinely does, Americans lose. Adhering to the Constitution is an idea that everyone should believe in. If not, let us fold our tents; this experiment in self-government has failed.

If disciplined, constitutionally responsible government and national sovereignty aren’t priorities for Gen. Powell, what direction does he prefer? Should we support amnesty for illegal aliens and oppose lower taxation? Would Powell’s ideal Republican, one Americans “can believe in,” sacrifice conservative ideals to attain bipartisan cooperation? Republicans fielded such a candidate in the 2008 presidential race. Powell promptly shunned that candidate, John McCain, and endorsed the Democrat opposition.

Republicans were once the voice for fiscal restraint, personal responsibility, liberty and Constitutional principles. But the blind guides within the Beltway hierarchy have too long driven the party platform. Thus the GOP has adopted big government philosophies, only to a slighter degree than do Democrats. Healing the GOP means rejecting the advice of pundits, like Powell, who see legislation and bureaucracy as a cure-all.

Colin Powell rose from humble beginnings to craft a
successful life. Let’s admire his tenacity and work ethic. Let’s certainly respect his extensive military service. But he places far too much faith in government to suit the cause of liberty. From that standpoint he has outlived his usefulness as a Republican strategist.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The First Amendment takes a hit

The Richter scale measures the magnitude of subterranean movements. But any recent seismic activity is more attributable to our Founding Fathers rolling in their graves than to tectonic shifts. Free speech has been sacrificed and it’s doubtful the Founders would be pleased.

Molly Norris is a former cartoonist for the Seattle Weekly newspaper. I say “former” because Molly no longer exists, at least not in her original form. At the FBI’s encouragement she has become something of a non-person.

No, Molly didn’t witness a mob hit nor will she provide key evidence against a drug lord. Molly Norris merely expressed an opinion, offended the “religion of peace” and became the target of an Islamic assassination order. What on earth could she have done to earn such ire? Nothing, really.

Norris satirically declared an “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” in response to the censoring of the Muslim overseer’s depiction on Comedy Central’s South Park. She never declared an actual event. She wasn’t trying to spark a “Draw Muhammad Day” movement and she apologized for any offense. Too late. Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki declared her a “prime target” fit only for hell’s fire.

Actually, it’s al-Awlaki who should be pricing asbestos underwear. But that’s a topic for another time.

What this episode says about our society, our courage and our dedication to our founding principles is deafening. An American citizen is worse than exiled--at the behest of our government--because some Muslims don’t like her views. The federal government has thus admitted that it can’t, or won’t, protect our Constitution or our people against militant Islamic threats. The politically correct atmosphere in Washington is more inclined to appease radical nutcases than to defend our culture and liberty. It is disgraceful!

Can Americans truly be as spineless and weak as this situation indicates? If so, we should admit defeat for we’re doomed where we stand. But it’s doubtful the public knows about this egregious assault on the First Amendment, from both Islam and Washington. Except for Fox News, Molly Norris’ demise has received scant attention at best. Frankly, it’s being ignored. She and the First Amendment have been sacrificed to Islamic radicalism.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” We have less liberty and safety whenever we, and our government, surrender to animals like al-Awlaki and his cutthroat followers. Molly Norris certainly has no liberty or safety. She’s not even allowed to exist.

Our Founder Fathers would hold us in utter contempt. The depth of their repudiation echoes across two centuries. In fact, I can almost feel the ground trembling from their restlessness.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Behind the mind of an American apologist

Foster Kamer has an interesting blog post on the topic at the Village Voice. It’s an enlightening journey into the mindset that thinks building a mosque within spitting distance of Ground Zero signifies tolerance and outreach. Kamer also proves that Regressives can’t present an argument without an expletive-laced tirade intended to cow their opponents into silence.

Kamer argues that you’re a fool if you oppose the Ground Zero Mosque because the mosque isn’t sitting on the World Trade Center site. He concludes with this intellectual masterpiece: "But now you have a map to see how wrong you are, okay? Now: F**k you. F**k you and shut up, you a**holes. Shut up and leave New Yor(k) alone."

Admittedly, Kamer’s article raised some interesting points. Americans have squabbled childishly over what should be done at the World Trade Center site to properly memorialize the dead. And there are adult establishments, fast food restaurants and other businesses that add nothing to the solemnity of the location. However, three key truths waylay Kamer’s claims.

First, such businesses existed in and around the WTC before 9/11. Second, let it be remembered that topless dancers, wholesale jewelers, street vendors and Burger King cooks didn’t fly aircraft into the Twin Towers. Third, the people who died at Ground Zero weren't defending religious freedom, as Kamer alleges. They weren’t defending anything; they simply went to work and died at the hands of assassins who considered them infidels.

Kamer says that Muslims, also, were killed on 9/11. Has anyone claimed otherwise? There were at least 18 Muslims killed, as I recall. What’s more, among those who died in those skyscrapers, the Pentagon and Flight 92 were likely Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Wiccans, agnostics, atheists and a Satanist or two. What’s the point? Adherents to these beliefs weren’t represented on “the Muslim street” following 9/11—firing celebratory bursts from their AK-47s—now were they?

Sorry Village Voice, your writer’s argument is empty. No one has claimed that the mosque in question sits on the actual site of the Twin Towers. But the Park 51 area is a part of the site, a place where
debris from the WTC reigned on innocent people. Therefore, if Imam Rauf were actually interested in "healing" and “building bridges” he would've planned his project in another NY location, which he has admitted. Yet, he says he can't change plans now or Islam will be offended, which raises more questions.

Hasn’t Imam Rauf now confessed to the radical hatred within the religion he teaches? Hasn’t he said that his Islamic brethren can’t be trusted to behave civilly? Yes, he has admitted just that, and with clarity that can’t be misinterpreted.

Funny, too, how the Village Voice writer claims to defend religious freedom and yet tells everyone with a different view to "shut the f**k up,” as the previous quote indicates. Where is his appreciation and respect for free speech? Where is his tolerance? I will defend religious freedom until it’s used to attack our nation, culture and civilization, or to kill our people. At that point the tolerance ends. There is no more.

I will also defend Foster Kamer’s ability to speak freely and convey the opinions he wishes. But I’ll admit that my reasons are selfish. Foster must speak because the best thing to do with fools is let them have the stage. They will invariably prove their lack of worth.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ines Sainz is no innocent victim

Our politically correct media culture demands immediate confession. Any offense, real or perceived, sends damage control teams rushing for microphones, issuing apologies in all directions. Seldom will common sense prevail, especially if it contradicts a good story. Bring in Ines Sainz.

Inez is the female sports reporter who became the
target of “locker room” commentary when she entered the New York Jets’ locker room. The PC media culture immediately circled the wagons around Inez, condemning the crude and boorish behavior the Jets players and coaches exhibited.

Yet the question remained, was Sainz harassed or not? At first glance she appeared to be offended by the various hoots and whistles that hailed her arrival in the world of the New York Jets. But, within a few days, Sainz
refuted the harassment claims. She told the New York Daily News, “I want to make clear that in no moment did I even feel offended, much less at risk or in danger while there.”

It turned out that a colleague and the Association for Women in Sports Media contributed to turning a rather minor incident into a world-wide frenzy.

Now let’s be frank. Ines Sainz is a woman of rare features. She’s exceptionally pretty with a gorgeous figure. But none of those qualities is an excuse for grown men to behave like horny high-school kids. Jets personnel are responsible for their actions regardless of the situation.

In a perfect world Ines Sainz could strip naked and wiggle her caboose through the darkest subway station without fear of rape, assault, abuse, or accost. Also in a perfect world I could don a Confederate Army uniform and carry the Rebel Flag through South Central L.A. while singing Massa’s in de Cold, Cold Ground. But our world isn’t perfect and neither act represents a prudent choice.

Ines Sainz wasn’t assaulted in any substantive way. No one groped her or offered her an evening to remember. Her person wasn’t insulted; her professionalism was. On this point Ines cannot claim innocence. While a provocatively dressed woman doesn’t excuse a man’s loutish behavior, such behavior is no surprise. And it’s equally true that professionalism begins with the person. Has Ines cultivated a professional image?

Sainz looked rather comfortable in her body-hugging denim Capri’s and low-cut blouse while
cavorting with two Indianapolis Colts linemen at last year’s Super Bowl. When she visited the Jets her jeans were again seductively snug. This is her rule, not her exception. Sainz routinely packages her assets in jeans tighter that those worn by the lead singers of 1980s hair metal bands. Her bikini photos aren’t unspectacular either.

Not being someone who’s offended by a pretty woman in sexy clothes, let me be the one to go out on the limb. Yes, Ines Sainz looks great in her Frederick’s of Hollywood wardrobe. Her bikinis are fit for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and her jeans superb for trolling the club scene. But, if she wants professional treatment she should dress professionally while on the job.

When someone presents a serious, professional image their chances of being treated seriously and professionally escalate. Yes, woman can dress attractively and still present a professional appearance. Fox News’ Megan Kelly and Gretchen Carlson prove it everyday. But when a woman dresses provocatively on the job it should surprise no one when she’s ogled.

Researching Ines Sainz’s wardrobe choices and pontificating on who is at fault and why is easy. Solutions that prevent similar episodes are more difficult. Fortunately, I have an answer. Since locker rooms and clubhouses are filled with athletes in various stages of undress no reporter, male or female, belongs there.

Locker rooms and clubhouses are the athlete’s refuge, their haven to concentrate on the game ahead, reflect on one completed, or simply unwind. Locker room reporters are a distraction whether they come in the form of sexy women in skin-tight jeans or bald men in sport coats. Reporters have ample opportunity to interview athletes outside the locker room.

Ines shouldn’t have received a stripper’s reception at the Jets’ facility. However, her choice of attire was imprudent. She didn’t present the image of someone who wants to be taken seriously. In fact, the Redskins’ Clinton Portis was quite correct. Ines looked more like a teenager seeking a date for the prom that a reporter conducting an interview.

Game of the Week: God vs. the Physicists

When a renowned physicist like Stephen Hawking speaks people will listen, and Stephen Hawking has declared that God did not create the universe. He argues in a soon-to-be-released book that the law of gravity enabled the universe to create itself from nothing. However, it seems that Mr. Hawking has contradicted his discipline.

Physicists can’t agree on the concept of nothing, on whether “nothing” is even possible, or even if “something” has an opposite. That is to say that nothing cannot exist where there is something and something is ever-present. If there weren’t something there would be nothing, which doesn’t exist. So while Mr. Hawking says the universe self-generated from nothing, other physicists believe there’s never been “nothing”, even at the beginning.

Whatever I just wrote can likely be expressed in an intricate equation that resembles Egyptian hieroglyphics on steroids. Therefore, I have no intention of crossing swords with mathematicians and physicists who might produce an overly technical conglomeration of signs, symbols and letters that prove I really don’t exist. I can only counter their equation with the words of Descartes, “I think, therefore I am.” But do I really think? Or, do I merely believe that I am thinking? Perhaps I only exist within my own imagination, which should stand for something.

So goes the universe, swirling, spinning and expanding in a way that only God knows. Except for one small flaw; Stephen Hawking has declared that God is a nonessential factor, if He exists at all. So, is it not fair to wonder if Stephen Hawking exists? Perhaps the Stephen Hawking the world knows, or thinks it knows, lives only in the voice simulations his computer system generates. Who knows but what those simulations are manipulated?

I don’t mean to minimalize Mr. Hawking’s physical impairments. But, if the messages attributed to him aren’t his own, what could he do to correct it? He can’t speak. He can barely move, if at all. Were his persona manipulated against his will he could do nothing to clarify his position.

The laws of physics unquestionably exist. Anyone needing proof can look at how splitting atoms affected Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But when it comes to ideas like time travel (Hawking suggests it’s possible), cosmic radiation a few billion light years from Earth and what lies beyond the universe (If the universe ends there is nothing beyond, and nothing can’t exist, remember?) I remain skeptical. The answers exist only within the theories and equations emanating from the human mind.

When a believer points to God, the physicist demands hard evidence to prove God’s existence. Well, if time travel exists send me to Philadelphia on July 4, 1776 so I can watch John Hancock sign the Declaration of Independence. Or to next February so I can return in time to bet on the Super Bowl. Take me to the center of the universe, or to one of the 30 billion trillion visible stars.

Since we can’t accomplish those tasks I’m left to take the physicist’s word that they are possible. In other words, I must have faith that physicists know what they’re talking about. And that word, faith, sticks in the scientist’s craw like rotten seeds. To have faith means to believe in something for which there’s reasonable doubt.

For example, if we view a star that is said to be two billions light years from earth, is it still there? I must have faith that the star still exists, since our view is from two billion years ago, and much can transpire over two billion years. What’s more, since stars can’t think must we conclude that they are not?

Yes, I’m rambling. But there is a point. Mr. Hawking’s disciples are as committed to his defense, and to defending astrophysical theories, as are Creationists to defending God’s seminal role in our existence. To question scientific declarations on the universe and how it began are as much heresy to the science community as questioning Genesis is to the Creationist.

Faith is required to believe Mr. Hawking, just as faith is required to believe God. Yet God encourages faith whereas physicists expect humanity to abandon the very quality required to believe them. Therefore, I must conclude that physicists present the greatest contradiction. Score a point for God.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Let the U.S. puts its best breast forward

There’s an old adage common to rural America: He comes around with his hat in his hand. It means that one person has granted deference to another. When the subservient person meets the one who’s considered superior the hat is removed in recognition of that status. That adage can apply to relationships between entities and nations, too.

America certainly takes the “hat in hand” approach to dealing with the Islamic theocracy in Iran. But we must alter the classic phrase to properly recognize the moment. Instead, America comes around Iran with our breasts in baggy t-shirts and our legs concealed.

Well, how would you explain it? When the U.S. met Iran at the World Basketball Championships the American cheerleaders were required to
tone down their normally skimpy outfits. Organizers said it was a “nod to Muslim law.” I say it was a nod to politically correct cowardice. Frankly, I’m more than tired of catering to “Muslim law” and Iran’s delicate sensibilities.

Make no mistake, if Catholics, Baptists, or Methodists expressed offense at the cheerleaders’ (un)dress code they would be met with howls of protest and accused of harboring repressive attitudes toward both women and sexuality. Prudes and religious zealots they would be called. Each charge, every last one, would come from the same ideological nut tree that bends to every hot breeze emanating from the truly repressive, sexist, Islamic states.

I’ll admit that American cheerleaders often dress in a way that makes a Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog look like a high school yearbook. Yes, we could stand to tone down some of those outfits just a wee bit, at least to the point where they’re suitable for the local strip club. But this isn’t the time, not if done to appease Iran and Islamic law.

Iran’s ruling cabal of asinine ayatollahs, maniacal mullahs, insolent imams and crazed clerics have despised everything to do with the United States since the days of the Shah. Iran considers
stoning a normal form of capital punishment and treats women like livestock. They are a state sponsor of Islamic radicals ranging from rocket wielding jihadists to suicide bombers, and Hezbollah is a de facto wing of the Iranian army. Why should America cater to Iran as if their culture has achieved some higher plane of moral superiority?

In this case I say less is more. If cheerleaders appear at future U.S.-Iran sporting events they should do so in their entire decadent Western glory. Instead of covering up, let’s redefine the word “skimpy.” Our "hotties" should be encouraged to flaunt their forms in a fashion that will leave Nevada madams blushing like schoolgirls. Outfit the cheerleaders with micro-thongs, give each a shiny silver pole and crank up the neon.

Dance ladies! Spin, twirl and dance some more. Dance your pretty little hearts out. And what if the offended Iranian rulers storm out of the arena? Well, don’t let the door hit you in the bisht on the way out!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Death to FOX News and the GOP

The headline reads like an al-Qaeda recruiting poster. You know, “Death to the infidels,” and all. But this headline wasn’t ripped from a suicide bomber’s blog. It’s simply another celebrity’s attempt to confirm that Hollywood’s orbit is somewhere beyond the arc of Pluto.

This time it’s John Cusack--hero of stage, screen and stupidity--proving that Tinsel Town’s brightest lights are the dimmest of bulbs. Using his Twitter account Cusack wrote, “I am for a satanic death cult center at FOX News HQ and outside the offices of Dick Armey and Newt Gingrich, and all the GOP welfare freaks.”

The easy reaction is to tell Cusack to button his lip. Yet the Constitution’s First Amendment protects his right to trumpet his witlessness. What’s more, the most effective method for proving someone a fool is to grant the fool a stage. Fools can no more resist the urge to display their lunacy than Barack Obama can pass a teleprompter without reading the words on the screen. So John, I’d like to encourage you to keep talking, by all means.

Hollywood tradition holds that image is everything. Well, Cusack’s vitriolic rhetoric is cultivating an image; make no mistake about that. But what kind of image? Cusack would do well to recall the damage that outlandish behavior has wreaked on his contemporaries in the entertainment field.

Does anyone pay attention to Susan Sarandon these days? Or to Tim Robbins? Or Sean Penn? The tone of their anti-war protests offended large numbers of their fans. The Dixie Chicks, once the hottest thing in Nashville, are less popular than the Confederate flag at Rev. Wright’s church picnic. And let’s not forget the outspoken but otherwise irrelevant Jane Fonda. Is she recognized for anything other than being Henry’s daughter, marrying Ted Turner and manning North Vietnamese artillery? John Cusack, you’ve made great strides toward joining them in the land of who-cares-about-you.

Cusack’s ranting “tweet” could be a gimmick designed to keep him in the public eye. But toward what end? Outrageousness has undoubtedly kept Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Brittney Spears visible beyond their significance. However, their greatest exposure is in supermarket tabloids and police line-ups.

So keep talking, John, or tweeting, or blogging, or Facebooking, or My Spacing; whatever you choose. You’re on the path toward the intellectual credibility of Hilton, Lohan and Spears, the irrelevancy of Sarandon, Robbins and Fonda and the insignificance of the Dixie Chicks. It’s your choice. Whatever course you take I remain confident that you’ll reveal the fool within.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What might 9/11 sound like in the future?

Few stones are left unturned in the debate over the Ground Zero mosque. I’ve tipped a few of those stones myself. But there remains one stone that, to my knowledge, has been left undisturbed. I discovered this stone today (tripped over it actually), on the anniversary of al-Qaeda’s greatest strike to date against their “great Satan.”

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s building near Ground Zero will house more than a mosque; that much is true. But let there be no question, it will house a mosque. And where there is a mosque there is the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer. The adhan will sound from Rauf’s mosque five times each day, meaning that the Muslim call to Islamic prayer will reverberate around the World Trade Center site on a daily basis, and be heard quite clear. But that isn’t the worst part.

Each 9/11, on each anniversary of the attack on our homeland, while the names of the dead are recalled and the nation remembers, the Muslim call to prayer will be heard at Ground Zero. It will mingle with the solemn roll call of victims and the haunting memories of the burned and dying. The climactic event will come on September 11, 2015. That’s when 9/11’s anniversary next falls on a Friday, Islam’s holy day.

I’ve never felt the cold steel of a sword pierce my heart. But I can’t imagine it being much worse than hearing a Muslim incantation recited via loudspeaker at Ground Zero, on their holy day, on our 9/11.

Don’t think our shame will be private. Don’t think it will be lost on the Islamic world. They will see our solemn memorial yield to the tune of the adhan and they will be pleased. The much-feared “Muslim street” will rally in Syria, Afghanistan, Iran and anywhere fanatical Muslims gather, rallying to laugh at Western Civilization’s “paper tiger” and jeer at our tolerance.

Are we so tolerant, America? Will we stand meekly, prideful in our open-mindedness, while radicalized Muslims trample our neighbor’s graves? Can we sit idly while Muslims blare their call to prayer on the very block where their brethren presented our countrymen as human sacrifices to the god toward whom they pray? Are we so weak and spineless?

I hope not, for all that is holy I hope not. For if we are prepared to tolerate such an insult we are doomed as a culture, relegated to the ashbin of bygone civilizations. Who could argue that we won’t deserve it?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wow, didn’t see that one coming!

Palestinian kills 4 Israelis on eve of peace talks - Yahoo! News

Palestinian gunmen open fire on an unarmed, civilian vehicle in the West Bank (Allah be praised). Four Israelis are killed (Allah be praised). Talk about déjà vu. The latest violence comes just as the United States launched a new round of peace talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Now that’s déjà vu all over again (sorry Yogi).

Violence on the eve of Middle East peace talks is about as difficult to see coming as a freight train on the Kansas prairie. It carries all the surprise of a stone sinking in still water or ice melting on a hot sidewalk. However, the Palestinian attack will shock someone. If it’s you, come forward and be recognized. It’s not everyday we have the opportunity to meet someone so amazed by normality.

A Hamas spokesman, quite predictably, praised the gunmen for their “heroic operation in Hebron,” for which Hamas has claimed credit. And Hamas didn’t celebrate their great victory over the dogs of Zion alone. Three thousand fellow Palestinian zealots rallied in Gaza to praise this courageous triumph (Allah be praised).

Heroism. Courage. I doubt that Hamas militants can as much as spell either word, much less define them.

Apologists will label this attack an isolated incident perpetrated by a radical fringe element. Yet Hamas and their allies are far from the fringe in Palestine. In fact, they’re as common to Gaza and the West Bank as are Southern Baptists to North Carolina. Would-be peace brokers, like Mahmoud Abbas, are the exception.

As for Abbas, he is fast becoming the “Uncle Tom” of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Factions within the PLO consider him weak and have threatened to depose him if he makes concessions to Israel. But how any rational Westerner has considered the PLO a peaceful group defies explanation.

In the years following the last “successful” Middle East peace agreement--the Declaration of Principles signed in Oslo in 1993--there have been at least 112 attacks carried out by various factions within the PLO. If Israel and the United States have a friend in the PLO, well, we’re up to our eyeballs in enemies.

The only people who can possibly claim shock at the deaths of four unarmed Israeli civilians at the hands of Palestinian cutthroats on the eve of peace talks are those who’ve had their heads buried in the Daily Kos.

Jews and Arabs have been at each others throats throughout their histories. A lasting peace between them is even less probable than between other colliding cultures and peoples. And when one side celebrates cowardly murderers as courageous heroes the chance for peace becomes as undesirable as it is unlikely.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Placing the mosque on the other foot

The Ground Zero Mosque has generated a commentarial swirl commensurate to the controversy over its location. Central to that debate is the religious element. Mosque opponents, regardless of their motivations, are accused of bigotry based on religious preference, primarily Christianity. But those charges are inapplicable.

Governments can legitimately recognize cultural norms through the honoring of religious expressions. However, unless a person worships government they won’t need government to defend their god. Furthermore, when a religion seeks government’s endorsement to legitimize their religious loyalties their worship has been compromised. This is true of any religion, especially Christianity, which is more a faith than a religion.

The fact is that constructing a mosque in New York isn’t what generated the protests and opposition. There are
100 mosques in New York City right now and thousands more across the United States. None sparked the outrage that the planned Cordoba Mosque and Islamic Cultural Center has created. It’s not the building; it’s the location, plain and simple.

The propriety of a mosque near the World Trade Center site has been sufficiently addressed and rebuffed. Ample
polling data exists to prove that mosque opponents are mainstream Americans, not the bigoted “Islamophobes” the left portrays. Claiming otherwise is sheer political spin.

However, an interesting element that’s received scant attention is the left’s sudden willingness to defend religious liberty, a freedom for which they have great disdain under most circumstances. What if the controversy surrounded a different house of worship, at a different site? Would the left and their media allies be so supportive of religious freedom then? Doubtful.

Enter Matthew Shepard, the homosexual man who was robbed, beaten and tied to a fence outside Laramie, Wyoming in October, 1998. He died a few days later, becoming a symbol of homophobia and a rallying cry for gay activists. The fact that money and drugs, not homosexuality,
motivated Shepard’s murderers didn’t matter. He remained a focal point for gay activists . . . and a target for Fred Phelps.

Phelps leads the Westboro Church in Topeka, Kansas. He and his group are infamous for protesting funerals and carrying “God hates fags” signs. Now suppose Phelps and his congregation decided to construct a church--under the guise of building a bridge to the gay community--across the road from where Matthew Shepard’s body was found?

The same leftists who decry intolerance among Ground Zero Mosque opponents would condemn Phelps’ plans. In fact, I’ll wager that leftists would spare no expense in halting construction. Why? For the same reasons Americans oppose the Ground Zero Mosque.

The left would claim that a Phelps church near where Shepard died would exploit his memory and offend homosexuals. A Phelps congregation at that spot, the left would argue, would be insensitive and inappropriate. So why can’t mosque defenders see the reasons mosque opponents hold the opinions they hold?

Granted, Phelps is an authentic nutcase. But Feisal Abdul Rauf--who will lead the controversial mosque--has skeletons in his closet, too. He blames the United States, at least in part, for
Islamic terrorism and for Muslim hostility toward the West. He refuses to recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization. Plus, there is a much closer tie between violence and mainstream Islam than between Fred Phelps and mainstream Christianity.

And the debate doesn’t end with Phelps. If any Christian church that considers homosexuality immoral were to build near where Shepard was found there’s little doubt the left would protest, claiming the church’s opposition to homosexuality renders their presence inappropriate. But Christians didn’t plan, participate in, or celebrate Shepard’s death. Muslims around the world celebrated the collapse of the World Trade Center. The difference is distinct.

The left’s use of religious freedom to defend the Ground Zero Mosque is decidedly empty. In fact, it is reprehensible. They have no interest in defending Muslims’ religious liberties. Leftists are merely using Muslims and religious freedom to further their agenda, which is pro-anything that is anti-Western Civilization.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Iran: Marching boldly into the 10th Century

Iran is modernizing, having recently joined the nuclear age. And if you’re concerned that their atomic agenda could prove less than peaceful, take solace. Russia is on the scene, monitoring the program to ensure the Iranians play by the rules.

Of course, Russia’s presence may not quell the angst within the prudent Westerner’s soul. Cold warriors will remember Russia as the black heart of the defunct Evil Empire. The Soviet Union won no prizes for transparency and square dealing when it came to nuclear arms. So trust the “Russkies” if you like. But believing Russia will prevent Iran from going nuclear is akin to trusting Bill Clinton to safeguard both your girlfriend and your finest cigars.

Nuclear technology isn’t the only area where Iran is advancing. The ruling ayatollahs, mullahs and imams are instituting social reforms, too. Thanks to their foresight and open-mindedness, Iran will soon be only a millennium behind the civilized world, give or take a century.

Take the case of Sakineh Ashtiani. Like the woman the Pharisees brought before Jesus, Sakineh is charged with adultery. Also similar to the biblical story, her accusers presented no co-conspirator. Even so, Sakineh has been flogged, imprisoned, denied access to family and counsel, convicted and sentenced to death by stoning; all in a manner that makes the biblical Pharisees seem like America’s Founding Fathers.

Ironically, this is where Iran’s Islamic courts prove their nation’s cultural development and social advancement. In response to international pressure Iran has rescinded Sakineh’s stoning sentence. You heard right, no state sanctioned stoning for Sakineh. They’ll hang her instead.

I’ve nothing against a good hanging, mind you. The gallows served our own country well in dealing with murderers, rapists and other assorted ne’er-do-wells. But adulterers? We’d have to hang half of Congress. Okay, so that’s another point in favor of the noose. But in Iran, exchanging the stone for the rope is decided progress.

If Iran continues down this road they may achieve Genghis Kahn’s level of genteel sensitivity, Medieval Europe’s social harmony and King George the Third’s regard for the rights of man. Who knows? With a little coaxing Iran’s ayatollahs might even become as enlightened as the 20th Century’s greatest humanitarians, men like Pol Pot, Chairman Mao, and “Uncle Joe” Stalin.

Who could’ve foreseen, just a few years ago, Iran becoming so contemporary that they would forego stoning for hanging. At this rate, Tehran is destined to become a tourist haven. Can’t you envision the sign in the travel agent’s window? Visit Iran: Gateway to the Dark Ages.