Monday, June 30, 2008

All That Glitters Is Not a Golden Age

Someone invariably proposes that the jizya tax on conquered non-Muslims shows the generosity and genius of Muslim conquerors who, rather than slaying all non-believers, magnanimously allowed a captive workforce to remain alive as laborers enriching the caliphate. The sufferance of dhimmis to remain on their land or act as government functionaries is also held out as an indicator of Islamic tolerance.

It is closer to the truth to say that the numerous taxes levied on the conquered peoples, including the kharaj (land tax), and the jizya (poll tax), were emblematic of the rapacious governing theory of Islam militarily triumphant: the financing of the caliphate by expropriation of conquered wealth as booty, by taxation, and by forcing peasants to work the land to enrich Arab usurpers. Then, when resources were depleted, and a peasantry exhausted by taxation and abuse fled the land, violence and cruelty were brought to bear to squeeze the remainder until only a wasteland remains.

Moreover, the use of dhimmi administrators and functionaries was purely pragmatic, as counting, tracking, and extorting money from vast conquered populations of different tongues, religions, and social structures, was best accomplished by cooperative leaders close to and familiar with the defeated peoples.

Nor, as both Koran and hadith make clear, is dhimmi status any guarantee of protection against arbitrary violence, murder, robbery, or reduction of one's family to slavery, as non-Muslims have no rights recognized under Islamic jurisprudence.

Bat Ye’or describes the some historical realities of the “Golden Age” of Islamic tolerance as follows:

. . . The famous qaid of Baghdad, Abu Yusuf Ya’qub (731-98), wrote a basic work on this subject [of the kharaj land tax] of the caliph Harun al-Rashid (786-809) during what is generally called the classical period of Islam, considered the most prestigious in Arab-Muslim civilization both because of its cultural influence and the opulence of a court endowed with fabulous wealth. Invoking the authority of hadith, the author recommends tax collectors to treat the tributaries with clemency and justice. Notwithstanding a chapter devoted to restrictive provisions concerning Jews and Christians, this work of theoretical law nonetheless confirms the traditional image of a government inspired by tolerance and equity, a genuine “Golden Age” for the Jews and Christians subjected to Islamic justice.

Yet, a remarkable chronicle written by a Monophysite monk, the pseudo-Patriarch Dionysius--a native of Tell-Marhe, a village in Mesopotamia--gives a precise description of the fiscal situation of non-Muslims. The chronicle, completed in 774, provides almost photographic detail of one of the turning-points in history. The description covers Mesopotamia, Egypt, Syria, and Palestine in the eight century. At that time, the dhimmis formed the majority of the rural population: small landowners, artisans, or share-croppers farming the fiefs allotted to Arabs; a numerous Jewish peasantry lived alongside Christian villagers: Copts, Syrians, and Nestorians. Ths chronicle reveals the mechanisms which destroyed the social structure of a flourishing dhimmi peasantry in the whole Islamized Orient. The continuous process of the confiscation of lands by the infiltration of Bedouin tribes with their flocks or by Arabs who settled at the time of the first wave of Islamization was aggravated by the government’s damaging fiscal oppression . . . .

. . . . The peasantry was not alone in suffering from the tax authority. The chronicle mentions extortions from notables and the execution of “free men.” This drive to track down dhimmi peasants, organized throughout the Abbasid Empire, required a considerable number of participants, who were joined by brigands greedy for plunder and pillage. The accommodation and maintenance of the tithe owners and tax collectors and the gifts they demanded from their hosts completed the ruin of the villages.

The chronicler provides information on the situation in Palestine:

The caliph moved into the western region in order to go to Jerusalem. He wreaked havoc, turned everything topsy turvy, terrorizing and devastating, to a degree worse than in Mesopotamia. He acted as Daniel had prophesied of the Antichrist himself. He turned the temple into a mosque, because the little that remained of Solomon’s [Temple] became a mosque for the Arabs [. . .]. He repaired the ruins of Jerusalem. He attacked men, took their property and livestock, particularly buffalos. He did not willingly leave anything to anyone whomsoever he was. When he had perpetrated every sort of evil there, as he had done in Mesopotamia, he returned in early winter to Mesopotamia to reside there and to continue his destruction.

In Egypt at the same period, the dhimmis, ruined by taxation, abandoned their lands and villages. Pursued by the tax collectors, they were brought back by force. Taking advantage of the right of conquest over non-Muslims, the state recouped its losses from the insolvent Coptic peasantry by enslaving their children. The contemporary chronicle of pseudo-Dionysius describes in realistic detail a situation totally contrary to the one conveyed in the above mentioned theoretical and abstract treatise written later by Abu Yusuf. This is a picture of peasants and artisans stripped of everything, forced to hide and flee from place to place--a hunted population, on whose exploitation was built the ostentations of the Abbasid court and the wealth of the umma.

Some centuries later, as a consequence of subsequent emigration by nomadic Turks and jihad, there developed a similar situation in Anatolia, in the Turkish emirates, and in the Balkans. The allocation of fiefs and the oppression of the Christian peasantry caused a similar evolution, with exodus to the towns. Like the Arab conquerors of earlier times, the Turkish sultans Osman and Orkhan also adopted measures for their new European possessions which immobilized the Christian peasants on their fiefs and forbade them to flee or to emigrate. Anxious to preserve productivity from the land and the volume of taxation, the Ottomans protected the peasants. Some Christian regions, the island of Chios, for example, even benefited from a semi-autochthonous administration which guaranteed a better economic yield and a higher tax. In remote and inaccessible regions of Serbia, the Turkish administration left a large degree of autonomy to the villages, where mayors, elected by the population, allocated taxes and served as intermediaries to the Turks. In this way, the Serbian national language and traditions were preserved.

This relatively tolerant and enlightened policy toward their Christian raya subjects on the part of the Ottomans explains the survival of an indigenous peasantry in European Turkey after centuries of Muslim domination, while in the Arabized regions, with the exception of Egypt, the Christian and Jewish peasantries had been almost totally eliminated.

SOURCE: Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (1996). Pp 73-77

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Obama and Capital Punishment

On Wednesday both Senators McCain and Obama expressed disagreement with the Supreme Court decision outlawing executions of people who rape children. (“McCain, Obama disagree with child rape ruling”).

Obama was at first wary of expressing support for any capital punishment penalty, clashing as it would with deeply-held liberal objections to executing convicted criminals.

But he became more comfortable with the idea when his campaign’s legal advisers explained how, since a criminal as vicious as serial child-rapist Patrick Kennedy invariably turns out to have been an “unwanted” child, putting him to death now could be justified as an extremely late-term abortion--a procedure Obama has always consistently supported.

'Tax Paid in Lieu of Being Slain'

The official Newspaper of Record has taken notice of an integral Islamic principle in its treatment of non-Muslim minorities and conquered peoples--the charging of the jizya, the poll-tax on non-Muslims, a tax “paid in lieu of being slain.”

The Times was reporting on the fate of the murdered Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho in Mosul, slain after he stopped paying “protection money” to "a man who had threatened to kill him and his entire congregation." (“For Iraqi Christians, Money Bought Survival”):

As priests do everywhere, Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, the leader of the Chaldean Catholics in this ancient city, gathered alms at Sunday Mass. But for years the money, a crumpled pile of multicolored Iraqi dinars, went into an envelope and then into the hand of a man who had threatened to kill him and his entire congregation.

“What else could he do?” asked Ghazi Rahho, a cousin of the archbishop. “He tried to protect the Christian people.”

But American military officials now say that as security began to improve around Iraq last year, Archbishop Rahho, 65, stopped paying the protection money, one sliver of the frightening larger shadow of violence and persecution that has forced hundreds of thousands of Christians from Iraq. That decision, the officials say, may be why he was kidnapped in February.

Two weeks later, his body was found in a shallow grave outside Mosul, the biblical city of Nineveh.

The Times’s explanation of the jizya is misleading, suggesting jizya was being misused “Mafia-style” by insurgents to fund their activities. But there is this unusual moment of clarity in the article's account of jizya's history:

For more than 1,000 years, northern Iraq has been shared by people who for the most part believe and worship differently: Turkmen, Kurds, Yazidis, Sunni and Shiite Arabs, and Assyrian Christians — of whom the Chaldeans are the largest denomination. (The Chaldean Church, an Eastern Rite church, is part of the Roman Catholic Church, but maintains its own customs and liturgy.)

Since the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, Muslims in the Middle East permitted that diversity in part through a special tax on Jews and Christians. The tax was called a jizya — and that is the name with which the insurgents chose to cloak extortion, Mafia-style, from Christians.

Officials say the demands could be hundreds of dollars a month per male member of a household. In many cases, Christian families drained their life savings and went into debt to make the payments. Insurgents also raised money by kidnapping priests. The ransoms, often paid by the congregations, typically ran as high as $150,000, several priests and lay Christians said.

Andrew G. Bostom at American Thinker picks up the thread the New York Times is too bashful to follow. Rather than being merely an ancient "tax payable to permit diversity," Bostom explains that jizya, in its very etymolology, was always meant to be extortionate and punitive, indeed, a Koran-imposed "tax paid in lieu of being slain." Far from the recent case being a Mafia-style misuse of jizya as a "cloak" for extortion, from Mohammed's time the jizya was always intended to lay low its subjects:

Here is a classical formulation of the jizya -- the cornerstone of the repressive system of jihad-imposed dhimmitude -- from, coincidentally, a seminal Baghdadian jurist, al-Mawardi (d. 1058). In his monumental The Laws of Islamic Governance, al-Mawardi examined the regulations pertaining to the lands and infidel populations subjugated by jihad. This is the origin of the system of dhimmitude. The native infidel "dhimmi" (which derives from both the word for "pact", and also "guilt" -- guilty of religious errors) population had to recognize Islamic ownership of their land, submit to Islamic law, and accept payment of the Koranic poll tax (jizya)-the tax paid in lieu of being slain-based on Koran 9:29. Al- Mawardi notes that:

"The enemy makes a payment in return for peace and reconciliation... Reconciliation and security last as long as the pavment is made. If the payment ceases, then the jihad resumes."

The "contract of the jizya", or "dhimma" encompassed other obligatory and recommended obligations for the conquered non-Muslim "dhimmi" peoples. Collectively, these "obligations" formed the discriminatory system of dhimmitude imposed upon non-Muslims -- Jews, Christians, [as well as Zoroastrians, Hindus, and Buddhists]-subjugated by jihad.

Some of the more salient features of dhimmitude include: the prohibition of arms for the vanquished dhimmis, and of church bells; restrictions concerning the building and restoration of churches, synagogues, and temples; inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims with regard to taxes and penal law; the refusal of dhimmi testimony by Muslim courts; a requirement that Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims, including Zoroastrians and Hindus, wear special clothes; and the overall humiliation and abasement of non-Muslims

It is important to note that these regulations and attitudes were institutionalized as permanent features of the sacred Islamic law, or Shari' a. The writings of the much lionized Sufi theologian and jurist al-Ghazali (d. 1111) highlight how the institution of dhimmitude was simply a normative, and prominent feature of the Shari'a:

...the dhimmi is obliged not to mention Allah or His Apostle.. .Jews, Christians, and Majians must pay the jizya [poll tax on non-Muslims]...on offering up the jizya, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits [the dhimmi] on the protruberant bone beneath his ear [i.e., the mandible]... They are not permitted to ostentatiously display their wine or church bells...their houses may not be higher than the Muslim's, no matter how low that is. The dhimmi may not ride an elegant horse or mule; he may ride a donkey only if the saddle-work is of wood. He may not walk on the good part of the road. They [the dhimmis] have to wear [an identifying] patch [on their clothing], even women, and even in the [public] baths...[dhimmis] must hold their tongue.

The practical consequences of such a discriminatory system were summarized in A.S. Tritton's 1930 The Caliphs and their Non-Muslim Subjects, a pioneering treatise on the status of the dhimmis:

...[C]aliphs destroyed churches to obtain materials for their buildings, and the mob was always ready to pillage churches and monasteries...dhimmis...always lived on sufferance, exposed to the caprices of the ruler and the passions of the later times..[t]hey were much more liable to suffer from the violence of the crowd, and the popular fanaticism was accompanied by an increasing strictness among the educated. The spiritual isolation of Islam was accomplished. The world was divided into two classes, Muslims and others, and only Islam counted...Indeed the general feeling was that the leavings of the Muslims were good enough for the dhimmis.

S.D. Goitein, in essays published three to four decades later (i.e., 1963, and 1970), highlighted the economic and other adverse social consequences of both the jizya itself, and the attendant regulations of the system of dhimmitude:

..consideration [of] the immense extent of poverty and privation experienced by the masses, and in particular, their persistent lack of cash, which turned the 'season of the tax' into one of horror, dread, and misery. An Islamic state was part of or coincided with dar al-Islam, the House of Islam. Its treasury was mal al-muslumin, the money of the Muslims. Christians and Jews were not citizens of the state, not even second class citizens. They were outsiders under the protection of the Muslim state, a status characterized by the term dhimma, for which protection they had to pay a poll tax specific to them. They were also exposed to a great number of discriminatory and humiliating laws...As it lies in the very nature of such restrictions, soon additional humiliations were added, and before the second century of Islam was out, a complete body of legislation in this matter was in existence...In times and places in which they became too oppressive they lead to the dwindling or even complete extinction of the minorities.

Ignoring the expected New York Times bowdlerization of the actual doctrine and history of this brutally imposed blood ransom [note to New York Times: the Mafia analogy is completely consistent with doctrinal and historical reality, and not some sort of modern aberration], the non-editorial information provided illustrates clearly, in real time, the horrors of the system of jihad imposed-dhimmitude as applied across the length and breadth of Islamic societies, since the advent of Islam.

(“Jizya, Jihad, and the Murder of Archbishop Rahho”)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hemlock Park Hezbollah Supporter Closer to Trial

There’s going to be a pretrial conference on Monday between Houssein Zorkot and Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Diane Hathaway. (“Conference between Zorkot, judge could determine if case goes to trial”).

You recall that Zorkot, a third-year medical student at Wayne State University at the time of his arrest last September 8th at Dearborn’s Hemlock Park, was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a dangerous weapon, and felony firearm after being detained by police for dressing in camouflage and deploying at Hemlock Park with a loaded AK-47. (“How the Press & Guide Does ‘Fair and Balanced’").

At issue between Zorkot’s defense attorney and the Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor, according to Sean Delaney at the Dearborn Press & Guide is whether or not Zorkot had the intent to harm someone, an element required to stand trial on the felony firearm charge.

Mayor Jack O’Reilly defended the decision to hide the information about Zorkot’s arrest for three days, out of fear that "the public. . .make a connection between this case and the anniversary of September 11.” ("Dearborn Police Profile Area Man Just for Being a Medical Student"). (Zorkot was arrested on September 8).

Our interest in this is seeing brought to light whatever facts there are about Zorkot’s local connections with Hezbollah, which he openly supports, and which no one denies.

As is repeated in every Press & Guide story about Zorkot, “While the Dearborn resident openly supports Hezbollah — a group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States — he has not been identified as a terrorist or linked to any terrorist group, according to police.”

While Zorkot may in fact not have been found with a plastic card in his wallet that identifies him as a member of the "Dearborn Chapter of the Party of God", I think there's room for further inquiry.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

British Pluck

Okay, we all rag on Europeans, (and the British) for lacking spine in standing up against jihadism. But I've been noticing more and more that, as individuals, they're fighting back. From

British Novelist Who "Despises Islamism" May Face Hate Crime Charges

Matt Purple
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

An acclaimed British author could be charged with committing a hate crime after offering a scathing criticism of Islamic radicalism.

Ian McEwan, author of widely praised novels Atonement and Enduring Love, condemned Muslim extremists for attempting to establish a tyrannical society intolerant of women and homosexuals. His comments were made in the context of defending his friend and fellow novelist Martin Amis, who had previously been denounced as a racist for other supposedly anti-Islamic remarks.

“Martin is not a racist,” McEwan told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. “And I myself despise Islamism, because it wants to create a society that I detest, based on religious belief, on a text, on lack of freedom for women, intolerance towards homosexuality and so on – we know it well.”

He also attacked pro-Muslim political correctness. “As soon as a writer expresses an opinion against Islamism, immediately someone on the left leaps to his feet and claims that because the majority of Muslims are dark-skinned, he who criticizes it is racist,” he said.

McEwan’s comments caused an uproar and were promptly denounced by the Muslim Council of Britain.

And that could be just the beginning. McEwan could also be brought up on hate crime charges, according to The [UK] Independent.

The British Home Office defines a hate crime as “[a]ny incident, which constitutes a criminal offense, which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate.” This includes certain forms of speech and expression, including “offensive posters and leaflets, abusive gestures … and bullying at school or in the workplace”.

This language is sometimes interpreted broadly. Earlier this year, a police officer in West Midlands told two Christian evangelicals that they could be charged with committing a hate crime for preaching their message in an Islamic neighborhood. “You have been warned. If you come back here and get beaten up, well you have been warned,” he said.

Martin Amis, the novelist whom McEwan was defending, found himself in hot water when he published an essay in which he wondered whether Muslims should be prevented from traveling and even deported.

“There’s a definite urge — don’t you have it? — to say, ‘The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order,’” he wrote.

Neither Amis nor McEwan have yet to be charged with hate crimes.

'Surrender, Make a Deal, or Win'

Amir Taheri explains in a New York Post article why Iran doesn't believe there will be any military action against them if they continue working towards the bomb--and will end up with it eventually:

In 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the then newly-minted President of the Islamic Republic and darling of the IRGC, unveiled a strategy based on the assumption that once George W. Bush is out of the White House, the United States would bite the bullet and accept a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic as "regional superpower" in the Middle East.

Two events convinced Ahmadinejad that his strategy was correct:

The first came in May 2006 when the Bush administration, then at the nadir of its unpopularity because of the situation in Iraq, joined the line of supplicant Europeans begging Tehran to negotiate a deal.

That unexpected shift in Washington's policy produced the opposite effect.

Far from persuading Ahamdinejad that this was a good time to defuse the situation, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's attempt at nuance and multilateral diplomacy convinced Tehran that the Americans had blinked.

The second event that confirmed Ahmadinejad's belief that "America cannot do a damn thing" came with last year's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE).

Using a language of obfuscation, the NIE claimed that Tehran had abandoned key aspect of its nuclear program in 2003. The NIE undermined the whole case brought by the International Atomic Energy Agency against the Islamic Republic.

Whatever one might say about Ahmadinejad, one thing is certain: he plays an open hand. He is convinced that the US does not have the stomach for a fight and that Bush is the last American president to even dream of pre-emptive war.

He thinks the dominant mood in the US, and the West in general, is one of pre-emptive surrender. ("WHY THE US POLICY ISN'T WORKING - AND IRAN WILL GET NUCLEAR WEAPONS").

I don't think Taheri is the only one who thinks that the end of the Bush administration will toll the end of an historical moment in our confrontation with radical Islam. A moment far too soon, after far too much neglect. How much of Israel's recent demonstration or air power is explained by the shortening time they sense remaining before a possible Obama presidency leaves them more isolated and exposed than ever to an Iranian nuclear threat?
Taheri's conclusion deserves to be thought about. Hard. He writes:

The Islamic Republic has been at war against the United States and the international system it leads for almost 30 years. This has been a low intensity war because the US and its allies have shied away from full-scale confrontation. The US has shown it has lots of power but not the courage to use even a fraction of it. The Islamic Republic's power, on the other hand, is "tiny," as Senator Barack Obama has noted. But the mullahs have been prepared to use that "tiny" power in full, with already devastating effects.

The issue is not how to avoid war with the Islamic Republic. It is how to end a war that has been going on for almost 30 years.

As in all wars there are three ways to end this one: surrender, make a deal, or win.

Monday, June 23, 2008

'Iraq: Good News = No News'

The Jawa Report lets us know that, as far as the media is concerned, "Iraq: Good News = No News."

CAMERA's Steven Stotsky shows how refutation of misleading opinion pieces is done. From Monday's Detroit Free Press:

History does not support claims of massacres by Israelis

June 23, 2008

On May 22, the Free Press published an op-ed column, "No time to celebrate as Palestinians still suffer," by Barbara Harvey and David Finkel of the Jewish Voice for Peace. The essay falsely accused Israeli-armed forces of committing massacres.

By publishing the spurious column, the Free Press provided a platform to a group that spreads misinformation and publicly defames the soldiers who served in the falsely accused units.

The authors cited an alleged Israeli massacre of 200 Arabs on May 22, 1948, in the village of Tantura by the 33rd Battalion of the Alexandroni Brigade. This allegation came from a graduate thesis by Theodore Katz, a student at the University of Haifa. After his allegations were publicized, surviving members of the battalion sued Katz for libel. His own notes and recorded interviews were used as evidence to refute his claims. He apologized and published advertisements disavowing the massacre claim.

The authors cited another alleged massacre in the village of Dawayameh. Their account seems to be directly copied from a book by revisionist historian Ilan Pappe, who bases his account on a "UN report from 14 June 1949." He gives no citation and, having found the report, it is evident why. It's not a "UN report" at all, but a report submitted to the United Nations by something called the Arab Refugee Congress of Ramallah, and based entirely on the account of an Arab official from the town. Israeli historian Benny Morris discusses the allegation and denials that any massacre took place in "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem" and notes that a UN investigation found "no evidence of a massacre."

The authors also cite the "infamous massacre at Deir Yassin," while keeping from readers the fact that what occurred in Deir Yassin is disputed. Some Arab residents of the village have claimed there was no massacre.

The authors also accuse Israel of deliberately starving Gazans. Numerous UN and NGO reports keep tallies of supplies sent into Gaza to sustain the population. Gazans suffer hardship, but starvation is not occurring.

CAMERA recognizes that newspapers present a range of opinions and that the editorial page is a venue for provocative opinions. But there should be no place for publishing unsubstantiated accusations. While the Free Press did publish several letters rebutting the broader issue of Israeli responsibility for the Palestinian refugee problem, the false allegations in the original editorial have not been addressed and the factual errors remain uncorrected.

Steven Stotsky

Senior research analyst

CAMERA -- the Committee for Accuracy
in Middle East Reporting in America


Divine Right Making a Comeback?

Robert ("Comrade Bob") Mugabe, the dictator of the ruined nation of Zimbabwe, (Mugabe's the one who ruined it) is refusing to allow himself to be replaced in office by means of a fair election.("Mugabe rival quits Zimbabwe runoff, citing attacks").

"Only God, who appointed me, will remove me, not the MDC, not the British," Mugabe declared in the city of Bulawayo on Friday. "Only God will remove me!"

Has Kwame ("God's guy") Kilpatrick ever put it any better? (“The Divine Right of King(pin)s”).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

ADC Thanks Obama for Hijab Foo-Poo

From the current ADC website, dateline June 20:

ADC Thanks Sen. Obama for his Leadership and Personally Speaking with Muslim Supporters

Today, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) sent a letter to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama thanking him for his leadership in personally contacting and apologizing to the two Muslim supporters whom this past Monday were sidelined by two campaign volunteers during a rally in Detroit, Michigan. Michigan is home to the largest concentration of Arab Americans in our nation and ADC is the largest civil rights organization working on behalf of the Arab-American community.
To read ADC’s letter thanking Senator Obama, see:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Gore Rejects Revised Motto, ‘Count Every Volt’

Energy Guzzled by Al Gore’s Home in Past Year Could Power 232 U.S. Homes for a Month

Gore’s personal electricity consumption up 10%, despite “energy-efficient” home renovations

NASHVILLE - In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

“A man’s commitment to his beliefs is best measured by what he does behind the closed doors of his own home,” said Drew Johnson, President of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

“Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption.”

In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.

In February 2007, An Inconvenient Truth, a film based on a climate change speech developed by Gore, won an Academy Award for best documentary feature. The next day, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research uncovered that Gore’s Nashville home guzzled 20 times more electricity than the average American household.

After the Tennessee Center for Policy Research exposed Gore’s massive home energy use, the former Vice President scurried to make his home more energy-efficient. Despite adding solar panels, installing a geothermal system, replacing existing light bulbs with more efficient models, and overhauling the home’s windows and ductwork, Gore now consumes more electricity than before the “green” overhaul.

Since taking steps to make his home more environmentally-friendly last June, Gore devours an average of 17,768 kWh per month –1,638 kWh more energy per month than before the renovations – at a cost of $16,533.

By comparison, the average American household consumes 11,040 kWh in an entire year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

In the wake of becoming the most well-known global warming alarmist, Gore won an Oscar, a Grammy and the Nobel Peace Prize. In addition, Gore saw his personal wealth increase by an estimated $100 million thanks largely to speaking fees and investments related to global warming hysteria.

“Actions speak louder than words, and Gore’s actions prove that he views climate change not as a serious problem, but as a money-making opportunity,” Johnson said.

“Gore is exploiting the public’s concern about the environment to line his pockets and enhance his profile.”

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research, a Nashville-based free market think tank and watchdog organization, obtained information about Gore’s home energy use through a public records request to the Nashville Electric Service.

Bush Hater Blames Obama Flap on Hate

Everyone heard about the two Muslim women who were disinvited from sitting behind Obama at his rally last Monday because they wearing the hijab. Then we all heard how Obama apologized to the two women personally. (“Obama apologizes to Muslim women; apology accepted”).

I didn’t think this was that big of a story, compared with other things the world is facing: global jihadism, a nuclear Iran, polar bears invading Iceland.

The story was slightly funny, slightly ironic. Michigan CAIR--in the person of its leader Dawud Walid, did, (in defiance of our prediction), make a half-hearted stab at characterizing Obama’s campaign as unacceptably Islamophobic, but now on his blog he's running four headlines trumpeting that Obama had apologized, (versus one headline mentioning the insult).

It’s a funny thing about the Left: apologies work for them like flipping circuit breakers. A few seconds of darkness, power's restored, it's all forgotten. But anyone who runs afoul of the Left, to missaply a quotation from the New Testament, he “never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”

(Compare Don Imus, whose apology met this response from National Association of Black Journalists and the editor of Ebony and Jet magazines: “But his apology was too little, too late. No matter how contrite, his words hurt so many so deeply that after 40 years in the radio business, it is time for him to go.” And Trent Lott, whose apology was never enough: (“Fat Joe, Talib Kweli: Trent Lott's Apology Not Enough").)

So Obama messed up in Islam's biggest city outside the Middle East, and then he apologized. That will be the end of that. In the long run, CAIR, and Walid, and Islamic supporters generally want Obama in the White House, not McCain, so principles aren't going to be as strictly hewed to for now.

I don't care that much. As I said, it was never that big of a story.

But then the Detroit Free Press’s Rochelle Riley had to glean out the “bigger story” of her Man Obama's foo-poo, which is that the whole thing is the fault of, I guess, people like me. (Conservatives, Republicans, critics of jihad, any of the rest of that class of low-lifes who do not believe in Obama, Change, and Hope). (“Rochelle Riley: Hate is the real issue”).

The bigger story of the disinvited hijabis, writes Ms. Riley, “is that hateful extremists who used to exist on the fringe of society are now taking over and too much is being done to appease them instead of ignore them.”

Say what?

The Obama volunteers, (who made a mistake, Ms. Riley admits, but they apologized), didn’t really do anything wrong, not really. The only reason they “chose to let hate-mongers dictate their actions and hurt the women's feelings,” is because the campaign volunteers didn’t want “to provide fuel for rumors that Obama is a secret Muslim.”

Now I get it. Huh?

“The bigger story is how the 2008 presidential campaign is giving more power to bigots, spigots and the hateful fringe than ever.”

Okay. How’s that again? WHAT?

Where in this story have any of the persons, the ones customarily slandered by Democrats as bigots and hatemongers, had a thing to do with Obama’s campaign slighting Muslim women?

Not satisfied, I guess, that the Obama supporters will shame the media sufficiently to let the story die quick, Ms. Riley feels she has to report the fact (she’s a journalist, after all, claiming to be telling the bigger story), report the fact that the whole thing was not the fault of Obama or his campaign.


Ms. Riley speaks truth when she says that hate is the issue. And Ms. Riley hates George W. Bush–as a reading of her article makes painfully clear. She hates President Bush so much she has no idea that he–in spite his faults, (and blaming everything on his subordinates and his longtime associates--a vice second nature to Barack Obama–is not one of them), anyway, for all Bush’s faults–he had nothing to do with this!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

UM Press Ends Its Contract to Distribute Pluto's Books

DU has obtained a copy of the following message confirming earlier reports that the University of Michigan Press is ending its relationship as Pluto Press's distributor.

From: Kelly Cunningham
To: [Redacted]
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 5:16:45 PM
Subject: Pluto press update

I believe you were interested in the status of the distribution contract between Pluto Press and the University of Michigan Press. An update… the UM Press executive board recently completed a review of all current press distribution clients.. After careful examination, the UM Press Executive Board determined that the Pluto Press mission and procedures are not reasonably similar to UM Press as specified by the guidelines and therefore do not meet the requirements to continue as a distribution client. As a result the contract was terminated, effective December 31, 2008.


Kelly E. Cunningham
DirectorOffice of Public Affairs and Media Relations
University of Michigan
1022 Fleming Administration Building
503Thompson Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

The Disappointment Had to Start Somewhere

The Politico reports:

Two Muslim women at Barack Obama's rally in Detroit Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women's headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.

The campaign has apologized to the women, all Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.
(Muslims barred from photo at Obama event").

One of the covered women had it explained that "because of the political climate and what's going on in the world and what's going on with Muslim Americans it's not good for her to be seen on TV or associated with Obama."

The other woman was given another explanation by a different volunteer. "We're not letting anyone with anything on their heads like baseballs or scarves sit behind the stage," she paraphrased the volunteer as saying. . . . "It has nothing to do with your religion!"

But it turns out there were photos showing people behind the stage with hats on.

Dearborn is bracing for the sure and certain onslaught of criticism from CAIR, directed at the Obama campaign's Islamophobia.

Just you wait till those guys from CAIR weigh in.

Just . . . wait.



70 Years from Munich

This news from Europe:

Berlin - The German government is firmly against applying pressure to Ireland over the ratification of the European Union's reform treaty following the Irish no in a referendum last week, government officials said Wednesday.

Speaking ahead of an EU summit in Brussels Thursday and Friday, the German officials said Ireland had to be given time to analyze and assess the situation.

[T]he German officials said Ireland had to be given time to analyze and assess the situation.

“We are not going to point a pistol at them,” a high-ranking source said. “We must give the Irish government time to consult.” (“Germany says no pressure must be put on Ireland over Lisbon Treaty”)

Considering how literal talk of pointing a pistol at another country by German officials was only as recently as 1938, I’d say Germany has made some real progress.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

History of Violence at UM-Dearborn's MSA

We’ve discussed the Muslim Students Association here before, particularly its direct creation as a tool of Da'wa in North America by the radical terrorist Muslim Brotherhood.

The MSA is active in Dearborn both at Henry Ford Community College and, more notably, at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In its time, and not so long ago, the MSA was coming under the influence of a group so radical it had even rejected the Muslim Brotherhood for not being radical enough-- Hizb ut Tahrir al-Islami — the Islamic Party of Liberation. Under their influence, the UM-Dearborn MSA was featuring “radical imams unleashing hate speech at Friday prayers,” and “preventing women without headscarves from joining the association.”

Beyond Dearborn, Frank Hyland of Counterterrorism Blog reports there is there is strong evidence that Hizb ut Tahrir al-Islami is a subordinate unit of Al Qaeda. (“Source Compromise Exposes Probable Connection Between Al Qa'ida and Hizb ut Tahrir”).

Geneive Abdo writes about Muslim issues, especially Arab reform, Islamic revivalism, and Muslim integration in the West. Her most recent book, on Muslim assimilation in America, is MECCA AND MAIN STREET, (Geneive Abdo. Copyright 2006 Oxford University Press).

In a section of her book, adapted by The Century Foundation, and published in The Globalist, she describes what happened to Farhan Latif, one-time president of the UM-Dearborn chapter of the MSA, (as well as Student Government president), when he tried to liberalize the association and open it up to more moderate Muslims. The brutal attack and attempted murder of Latif was reported at the time in UM’s student newspaper, The Michigan Journal. (“SG President assaulted and battered”). This is Ms. Abdo's account of it:

The Future of the Faith

Geneive Abdo, The Century Foundation, 6/13/2008

In universities across the United States, young leaders are emerging to represent the new face of Islam. In "Mecca and Main Street," Geneive Abdo examines the raging — and sometimes violent — debate between moderate and conservative young Muslims.

Farhan Latif always knew it was only a matter of time before the slow-burning anger would erupt. His conservative Muslim enemies had made their intentions clear to him. They had sent threatening e-mails and left menacing messages on his cell phone. In their eyes, Farhan’s ideas were criminal. The Western world might call him a moderate Muslim, but his foes thought he was an apostate, luring young Muslims away from the faith.

The breaking point
The day Farhan feared came in September 2004. As he was about to enter his modern apartment in Dearborn, about one mile from his university, three young men jumped him and pushed him to the ground. They beat and kicked him without saying a word. Farhan recognized one of his attackers — the guy did not bother to hide his face under a mask.

“Why are you doing this?” Farhan cried, trying to shield his face from their blows. The attackers did not reply. Within minutes, they got back into their car and tried to run Farhan over before they sped away. He managed to avoid the oncoming wheels by rolling away just in time.

Sense of betrayal
As he rested in the hospital, nursing a swollen head, several cracked ribs and a broken arm, Farhan was depressed more than shocked over the beating. It was one thing to endure the daily blows from the non-Muslims who criticized Islam. But now he was in a battle with his fellow believers.

“I fight against everything people say against my religion every day, on television, on the radio, everywhere,” Farhan remarked, reflecting on the incident later. “I was not so much scared when this happened but sad that fellow Muslims would do this.”

A broad appeal
Months before the attack, in the spring of 2004, Farhan was elected president of the Muslim Students’ Association at the University of Michigan’s Dearborn campus. In a short time, he revolutionized the association, making it more attractive to a majority of Muslim students on campus — many of whom had refused to join when the conservatives were in charge.

Farhan and the new leaders decided there would no longer be radical imams unleashing hate speech at Friday prayers. All lecturers would be required to follow certain rules. They lifted the ban that prevented women without headscarves from joining the association. All Muslims would be welcome, no matter their political ideas or their sect — minority Shiites, often scorned for their separate ways and different approach to the faith, were just as acceptable as the Sunni student majority.

Moderation and interfaith dialogue
Farhan organized events to show how the three monotheistic faiths have much in common. A drama called “Children of Abraham” made its debut before the Muslim association.

None of this sat well with members of Dearborn’s Muslim Students’ Association who were either radical Salafis or affiliated with the Hizb ut Tahrir al-Islami — the Islamic Party of Liberation.

Radical opposition
The movement — a clandestine, radical Sunni Islamic group that is banned in several countries around the world — advocates the replacement of individual Muslim governments with a single caliphate governed under a strict reading of the sharia. The students who are members of Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami share a common creed that calls for strict adherence to the Koran and the rejection of applying human reason and logic when interpreting the Islamic holy texts.

Before Farhan had arrived on the campus, radical students had turned the Muslim Students’ Association into a virtual training camp for conservative ideologues. Under the influence and guidance of an imam at a Dearborn mosque, the students believed their fellow Muslims were straying dangerously from the faith.

Divisions from within
In their eyes, being a dedicated Muslim meant that men should work to pressure the U.S. government to change its policies in the Islamic world, Muslim women should wear headscarves and Muslims should have little to do with Jews and Christians. This was the crux of the ideological battle the Salafi students and those belonging to the Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami were determined to win against Farhan and his friends and allies.

Beginnings abroad
Farhan’s parents pleaded with him to stop his activism on campus. Farhan usually listened to them. He had come to the United States alone in 2000 hoping to attend medical school.

A cousin in Dearborn offered to help him, so Farhan left his parents at their current home in Qatar. For years, his family had traveled from country to country, as his father pursued a career as a Pakistani diplomat and later a lawyer.

They were often strangers in a new land, and the bond among them remained strong even as Farhan became more independent. Farhan’s father’s expertise in sharia law offered Farhan a scholarly and enlightened view of the Islamic tradition, putting him at odds with the students from the Hizb ut-Tahrir — who blindly followed the ideas of a radical imam.

No matter the cost
Other students, if beaten for their beliefs, might have given up. But Farhan and his close group of friends inside the student association wanted to press on with their ideas — no matter the cost. Together, they had been the leaders of the MSA at a nearby college for two years before enrolling at the University of Michigan in Dearborn.

During that time, they watched literally from across the street, the distance from their university to the University of Michigan, as the radical students drove more measured Muslims away from the MSA there. Farhan and his friends worked on a strategy for transforming the organization from a distance — even before they were elected to lead it.

Speaking up for moderate Islam
They believed they had the support of a majority of Muslim students and others on campus, and they were not going to surrender to violence and intimidation. For many educated, upwardly mobile young Muslims, the student associations are defining how to live as a devout Muslim in a secular and often hostile society.

The racial politics at the core of black Islam and the isolationism of the early-twentieth-century prairie Muslims both ended in failure — a fate today’s believers are determined to avoid.

As this second generation of Muslims becomes more attached to their distinct religious identity, the student associations are rapidly becoming the main platform for debating religious and social issues — ranging from whether women should be veiled to how much contact Muslim Americans should have with non-Muslims.

The emerging leadership
The battle is being waged not only by schools of thought at either extreme of the ideological spectrum — but also among students who would not define themselves as either progressive or conservative Muslims. Since September 11, Muslim student leaders have found themselves in great demand. They are often called upon to explain the basics of Islam to campus audiences of hundreds of students. With the spotlight unexpectedly focused on what was a closed, sectarian world, when asked to explain publicly what it is to be a Muslim in the modern world, many young student leaders have risen to the occasion.

Genieve Abdo is a Fellow at The Century Foundation.
This excerpt was published in The Globalist .

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Bridge Project to Nowhere

For those of you who regularly need to travel Telegraph Road between Ford Road and Joy in north Dearborn Heights, you may be wondering what’s taking so long to finish the bridge reconstruction over Edward Hines Drive. Workers have been at this since early 2007.

Or rather, they started in early 2007, and have been moving at a snail’s pace since then. The Dearborn Heights PD are regularly ticketing drivers for forgetting about the 35 MPH construction zone posting, an easy thing to do when most of the time there’s not a hard hat in sight.

This whole thing has dragged on so long, the Dearborn Heights City Council just had to pass a resolution demanding MDOT finish the project, or else they’ll stop making payments. (“City wants Telegraph Road work finished”).

Dan’s Excavating has its name on a lot of the equipment parked in the middle of what used to be Telegraph Road. On Sunday the Detroit Free Press reported that Dan’s, along with Ajax Paving, ran into some legal problems for the way they handled their bidding on runway work at the huge boondoggle known around here as Metro Airport. It seems they “misrepresented the amount of minority work of a third company, which did little more than minor administrative tasks,” according to the U.S. Justice Department. (“Scandal hits new terminal”).

Oopsie. Yet this kind of thing, we’re told, is standard operating procedure when huge government contracts are involved. Ajax and Dan’s Excavating paid almost $12 million to settle things.

Which is the kind of behavior that would prove, at least to my satisfaction, that the people running Dan’s Excavating are crooks. But that’s no reason to doubt Dan’s demonstrated ability to handle rebuilding and repaving a pair of overpasses–especially modest spans of a scale that wouldn't exactly qualify for “skyway” status.

I say again, I’m very sure Dan’s Excavating is more than capable of finishing the job. Yet it's almost as if, as with most contractors, it’s not the skill that’s at issue, but the motivation.

(MDOT explains the delay by saying it was a cold winter (!), and engineers found the old bridges’ beams were more rotted out than expected. Which would be daunting problems indeed for a guy like me to solve; but then I’m not a large scale bridge and highway construction company being paid millions in state funds to solve them. Could something like that really halt an outfit that brags “Project Size Doesn’t Matter”?)

More than likely, Dan’s got his crews busy on some more lucrative project, and they’ll finish the Dearborn Heights project when they’re damned good and ready.

Meanwhile, watch out for those cops.

Getting on History's Wrong Side

Erstwhile conservative columnist Armstrong Williams wants us to know that he finds himself sorely tempted to vote for Barack Obama:

“I don't necessarily like his policies; I don't like much that he advocates, but for the first time in my life, history thrusts me to really seriously think about it," Williams said. "I can honestly say I have no idea who I'm going to pull that lever for in November. And to me, that's incredible.” (“Faced with first major black candidate, black conservatives consider voting for Obama”).

That’s incredible to me, too. But let’s not kid ourselves that it constitutes “seriously thinking about” anything. Not when a man with considered conservative principles votes for a candidate whose positions so impossibly contradict his own, and tries to claim he’s being compelled to put him in power by the “thrusts” of history.

Conservatives believe deeply in studying history, and in taking its lessons seriously. But we know the difference between history and destiny. We let history tell us what happened and help us perhaps understand why. We don’t let history tell us what to do. Belief in free will excludes such a view of history. That’s why the late William F. Buckley could say conservatism “stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.”

In one of my favorite passages of John Le Carre, his protagonist asks the East German librarian he’s falling for if she believes in God. “I believe in history,” she answers back. And the protagonist, a British spy during the height of the Cold War, has to laugh cynically at himself for having fallen in love with a Communist.

Liberals take a different view of history, one in which free will and human achievement play less of a role, if any, compared with blind forces pushing humanity (or nowadays, The Planet), towards Progress. Especially is this so on the Left’s Marxist extreme (the extreme to which Obama belongs). Like Le Carre's East German party member, history is something to be believed in, like a god, but an impersonal, evolutionary, steamroller kind of a god, rolling inexorably toward a predetermined outcome.

Implicit in this theory of history is that if you don’t go with it, you get run down. That's why it's good to stay on the right side of history, the side that's running down, rather than the side getting run down.

From the French Revolution, to the Third Reich, to Maoist or Stalinist Communism, to Pol Pot, people predicting how the future must be, and then pretending that “history” demands we all help the world go there, have led to the world’s worst running over of people on the wrong side of history.

I’m not saying Armstrong’s a Communist. Nor am I saying that fervently desiring the country elect a black President is comparable to China’s Cultural Revolution.

It's not the desire for a black President that troubles me. It's the conviction that this particular person must be President--whether he's fit to be or not--because he's black, which proves "history" has selected him for the role.

There's no deity named History commanding us to elect Barack Obama as President.

Whether Barack wins or loses, history will continue. (I'm personally inclined to believe that if he's elected, American history may not continue as much longer as otherwise).

Putting it another way, history doesn’t need our help. Like ecology, whenever we try to help it along, we usually make things a lot worse.

Let's leave history out of it. We should just do the right thing, for the right reasons, and history will take care of itself.

University of Michigan Dumps Pluto Press and Its Anti-Semitic List

Dearborn Underground has learned the University of Michigan Press Board sent a letter to Pluto Press last week informing them that the University Press will not be renewing its distribution contract with Pluto. Pluto Press is a British-based publisher of many anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Israel books. After the contractually obligated six months notice period, UM Press will no longer be distributing Pluto Press books. The official announcement should be made this week at the U of M Board of Regents meeting.

This is a welcome outcome to efforts, led by the Michigan chapter of the pro-Israel group StandWithUs, to get the UM Press to re-think its contract to be exclusive American distributor of Pluto Press.

Last year, StandWithUs challenged UM Press’s decision to distribute John Kovel’s Overcoming Zionism. Kovel is a professor of social studies at Bard College, and, in Overcoming Zionism, he “advocates abolishing the State of Israel and replacing it with a single secular state with no ties to the Jewish people.” (“University of Michigan Distributes Anti-Zionist Book”).

Last August, UM Press director Phil Pochoda sent Kovel a private email blasting Overcoming Zionism as a “reckless, vicious, and unmodulated attack on Zionism and all Zionists.” But Pochoda was overruled by UM Press’s executive board.

According to StandWithUs's Jonathan Harris, “[f]ollowing the executive board’s review of the book on Sept. 7, the University released a statement expressing reservations about Kovel and Pluto, but reinstated the book for two reasons: ‘contract obligations’ and concern about violating ‘free speech.’”

This is not a freedom of the press issue, but an issue of whether or not the book-buying public, seeing the UM Press imprint on a book binding, can safely assume that the volume has gone through the customary peer review, and can rely on the factual allegations contained inside to meet a scholarly standard. As Jonathan Harris of StandWithUs-Michigan made clear last year in an article in The Detroit Jewish News,

StandWithUs unqualifiedly supports freedom of the press, and the ideologically driven Pluto Press certainly has the right to publish whatever it wishes, however reprehensible the works may seem to others. The question is not Pluto’s right to publish these views, but rather, whether it is right for UMP to distribute and, in effect, promote them. Whenever a publisher distributes books produced by other publishing houses, the inescapable conclusion is that they meet certain standards. When the publisher is a university press, readers are led to believe that an academic review has taken place, and that a high standard has been met. ("Overcoming Oversight").

Instead, the UM Press acknowledges that titles by Pluto Press are not peer reviewed. As reported last October by Campus Watch: “The university confirmed that Pluto Press distributes several hundred titles via UMP, none of which are reviewed, and this has been standard in their ‘four-year relationship.’” ("University of Michigan Distributes Anti-Zionist Book").

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Go, Irish!

I’m not referring to any teams associated with the South Bend institution another State over from here.

Rather, I’m tipping my cap to the real Irish, who’ve just told the rest of Europe, (or at least their respective Parliaments), where to head in.

I’m referring to the Lisbon Treaty, hurtling along to ratification by 26 members of the 27-nation EU, until 1.5 million Irish voters said, "No."

I won’t pretend to know a great deal about either the Lisbon Treaty, being pushed on all member nations by the EU, nor on what its actual impact on Ireland would have been. Some said it would force Ireland to bring its abortion laws and other national values into line with the rest of liberal Europe. Others said that wasn't true, just a misstatement of the facts. Some Irish were concerned that their constitution would have to change.

But, whatever it would have done if adopted,the really interesting thing about the Lisbon Treaty is that Europe's voters, with the exception of tiny Ireland, (4 million people), aren’t being allowed to vote on it for themselves. Rather,

All other EU members are ratifying it only through their national governments, but Ireland is constitutionally obliged to subject all EU treaties to a popular vote. The unexpectedly strong "no" result announced Friday should act as a veto. (“Europe's would-be voters view Irish 'no' to EU treaty with far less surprise than leaders”).

This No vote caused EU leaders to freak out. “Refusing to take Ireland's no for an answer, leading politicians in Berlin and Paris prepared for a crucial EU summit in Brussels this week by trying to ringfence the Irish, while demanding that the reform treaty be ratified by the rest of the EU.” (“EU powers try to isolate Ireland after treaty defeat”).

The European press consistently explains the Lisbon Treaty as having been “drawn up to replace the draft European constitution after it was thrown out by voters in France and the Netherlands in 2005.”

Except, never having been ratified, the draft European constitution never was adopted, and so doesn’t need replacing. What actually is going on is that the parties who wanted it, and then didn't get it, came up with the Lisbon Treaty as a way to get it anyway, in spite of what the Europeans wanted.

Which isn't really very democratic.

Ireland's leaders were calling for a "Yes" vote, and were right on the same page with the rest of the EU leaders about getting the treaty passed. But the Irish voters' rejection of the treaty struck a chord with the rest of the European folks in the street.

Citizens across the bloc complain they have no direct power to influence EU treaties, which are produced in legal language too complex to understand. They say it's not enough that their elected governments help to negotiate such treaties.

Would-be voters in France and the Netherlands appear particularly annoyed on that score. Majorities there thought they had registered powerful statements against EU accountability by rejecting the EU's proposed constitution in 2005.

Instead, most of the constitution's rules for reshaping EU institutions and decision-making procedures reappeared in new packaging two years later when all 27 governments signed the Lisbon Treaty in the Portuguese capital.

"First they asked our opinion (on the constitution), and we said 'no.' So the second time they didn't ask our opinion. They said it wasn't the same; just some little laws. But it is the same," said Han de Vries, a parking meter attendant in Amsterdam.

"Now the Irish have said "no." So in Brussels they will now look again for a way and pass it anyhow," de Vries said.
("Europe's would-be voters view Irish 'no' to EU treaty with far less surprise than leaders").

In Ireland, the No voters just couldn’t see approving something they didn't completely understand, with consequences they couldn’t really predict.

And they don't like being bullied.

Primary school teacher Deirdre Nic Eanruig described the Treaty as an obscure document.

"Europe already has too much power in Ireland and I think we are giving away all our power," she said.

"This restricts our power, we won't have a Commissioner anymore, and we would also be stopped from having a referendum anymore. The European courts will also decide much more of our laws, which is very dangerous.

"I think we were being bullied by a lot of the politicians and the governments. They may be Europe's puppets but we're not."

John McDonald, 51, said a No vote was the best option.

"I do not like having my arm twisted, I do not like being threatened, and I do not like the way the EU is run," he said.

"The Government are puppets of Brussels, implementing policies made by Brussels.
"I'm also against the EU commissioners who are not elected but have all the power."

Anne Kelly cast her No vote to protect Ireland's rights.

"From talking to people around the village, everyone said they were voting No."
(“EU referendum: Irish voters stand up to Brussels”).

Iraq and the Most Important Thing

Bill Bennett just said something that's needed putting into words now for a long time, but I didn't know how:

McCain has nothing to apologize for or retreat from re: yesterday’s statement on the most important thing and Iraq, but that’s how the statements the campaign is making in his defense read. The weak defense I have read — “their lives are precious” is well ...weak.

McCain is absolutely right. First, the military, the all-volunteer military, does not think returning home is the most important thing to them. Doing their job successfully is what they consider to be their most important job. These are not children in a summer camp where the river is rising and the most important thing — the only thing — is to get them home. These are the soldiers of the U.S. military. Their lives are valuable indeed, but their mission is foremost. They understand that. And that's why they reenlist and that's what they tell us again and again on this show and elsewhere.

'Gee, Thanks, Mom--Now Who DOES Want to Blow Me Up?'

Speaking of instructional materials on Islam, Shawn Macomber at NationalReview Online brings news of

a coloring book designed to “counter the terrifying messages transmitted in the name of the ‘War on Terror.’” To this end, readers are introduced to 12 individuals of Arab or Persian extraction by Naeem, a young keffiyeh-wearing Brooklynite who cheerily announces at the outset, “I blow up tires on my bicycle, but I don’t want to blow you up!”

Some are luminaries such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (“He had a shot called the ‘sky hook’ that no one could stop. . . . He doesn’t want to blow you up!”), anti-American intellectual Tariq Ramadan (“He wants to debate ideas! He doesn’t want to blow you up!”), and rapper Nas (“ . . . people said he ‘blew up!’ That means he became popular very quickly”). Others are everyday people with unfortunate names like deejay Jose Padilla (“He doesn’t want to blow you up. He wants to make you dance!), demolitionist Imaan bin Laden (“She needs to blow up buildings for her job, but she doesn’t want to blow you up!), and young Osama (“I’m not a terrorist! I’m a boy who is very good at science!”). This is certainly a more uplifting concept than, say, I Do Want to Blow You Up, even if the FBI already provides just such a handy guide.

DU has been unable to confirm rumors from within the publishing industry that sequels to I Don't Want To Blow You Up! are being rushed into print, two of them with the suggested working titles: I Don't Want to Wipe Your Country Off the Map!, and I Don't Want To Saw Yor Head Off In Front of a Video Camera!

Sending the FBI Back to High School

Last October we mentioned a Saudi-funded K-12 school in Virgina, the Islamic Saudi Academy, whose curriculum was so radical that the school was recommended for closure by a congressional panel. ("Saudi School in Fairfax, VA Recommended for Shut Down for Possibly Teaching Jihad").

On Thursday, Erick Stakelbeck, Terror Analyst at CBNNews had these updates:

As I reported back in June 2006, this K thru 12 school--which is owned and operated by the Saudi government and sits just 14 miles from the White House--has used textbooks that vilify Jews and Christians and promote a radical Wahhabi strain of Islam. The Academy is basically an American-based extension of Saudi Arabia's educational system. No wonder, then, that The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a panel formed by Congress, last year recommended that the school be closed. That didn't happen. In fact, Fairfax County (VA) renewed the Academy's lease just last month. They can't be too happy, then, about this new report:

A federal investigation released Wednesday reveals that some Islamic textbooks are teaching kids it's okay to kill adulterers and converts from Islam.

The books have been used by the Islamic Saudi Academy, which teaches 900 students in grades K-12 at two campuses in Alexandria and Fairfax. The school receives much of its funding from the Saudi government.

Passages in their textbooks state that "the Jews conspired against Islam and its people" and that Muslims are permitted to take the lives and property of those deemed "polytheists."
The academy has come under scrutiny from critics who allege that it is teaching an intolerant brand of Islam.

Last year, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a panel formed by Congress, recommended the school be shut down out of concern it promoted violence.

"We feel more confident that the potential problems we flagged before really are there," said the commission's spokeswoman, Judith Ingram, after the content of textbooks were reviewed

In the review, the panel recommended that the school make all of its textbooks available to the State Department so changes can be made before the next school year.

School officials acknowledged that some of the Saudi textbooks contain harsh language. They say the texts have improved and are revised as needed by the academy before being distributed to students.

The commission said the texts did appear to contain numerous revisions, including pages that were removed or passages that were whited out. But numerous troubling passages remained, the panel said. Some of those passages include:

- The authors of a 12th-grade text on Koranic interpretation state that apostates (those who convert from Islam), adulterers and people who murder Muslims can be permissibly killed.

- The authors of a 12th-grade text on monotheism write that "(m)ajor polytheism makes blood and wealth permissible," meaning that a Muslim can take with impunity the life and property of someone believed guilty of polytheism. According to the panel, the strict Saudi interpretation of polytheism includes Shiite and Sufi Muslims as well as Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists.

- A social studies text offers the view that Jews were responsible for the split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims: "The cause of the discord: The Jews conspired against Islam and its people. A sly, wicked person who sinfully and deceitfully professed Islam infiltrated (the Muslims)."

More generally, the panel found that the academy textbooks hold the view that the Muslim world was strong when united under a single caliph, the Arabic language, and the Sunni creed.

The textbooks also hold that Muslims have grown weak because of foreign influence and internal divisions.
("Islamic Textbook Teaches It's OK to Kill").

In its Report, the Religious Freedom Commission also noted other disturbing textbook passages they though needed clarification, such as:

the following explication of the Koranic phrase, “Respond to God and His Messenger when He calls you to that which will give you life.” (Q 8:24)

Although this Koranic passage does not in itself invoke the term jihad, the Saudi textbook authors write:

“In these verses is a call for jihad, which is the pinnacle of Islam. In (jihad) is life for the body; thus it is one of the most important causes of outward life. Only through force and victory over the enemies is there security and repose. Within martyrdom in the path of God (exalted and glorified is He) is a type of noble life-force that is not diminished by fear or poverty.” (Tafsir, Arabic/Sharia, 68) While there are various meanings of the term jihad, including an internal struggle of the soul, none are given in this brief discussion, which also includes an emphasis on the importance of power or force over one’s enemies and discusses “martyrdom” with approval. Such an ambiguous interpretation can be perceived as giving the verse a militant connotation, potentially justifying acts of violence, which should not be left without elucidation in a textbook that is aimed at children who are still learning the main tenets of religion.

For years US officials have tried in vain to prevail on the Saudis to moderate or reform the radical materials they've been disseminating in the the United States.

Since I'm not bound by protocols of diplomacy, I can say bluntly what our officials cannot: the Saudis don't give a damn what we ask them to do in this regard, and intend to keep pumping this stuff into their mosques and academies in America at the maximum flow we're willing to tolerate it. If Saudi oil flowed our way as fast as their jihadist hate literature, you'd be paying $1.25 for gas.

Yet, between Saudi persistence in spreading Wahhabism, and American officials fears of being accused of Islamophobia, the prospects for stopping this don't look good.

According to Counterterrorism Blog, when the Fairfax, VA Board of Supervisors voted to renew the ISA's lease last month (in spite of the Religious Freedom Commission's strong urgings to shut it down), the Supervisors said they were "satisfied that the textbooks were changed - "apparently," that is, because it commissioned a report to translate the newest version of the textbooks, but the Board refuses to release the report." ("Secret Report on Saudi School in Virginia Must Be Released").

Ye gods. Yes, I'm cynical, but to think that any aspect of American national security rests in the graft-stained hands of elected multi-culti, PC county officials!

This is not a First Amendment, freedom of religious expression issue. These schools are Saudi owned, and Saudi controlled. The Wahhabist doctrine the Saudis are planting on U.S. soil is directly linked to the Death-to-America, violent anti-Western jihadism that is our primary enemy in what we all know as the War on Terror.

We already have seen that at least one of ISA's graduates--American-born--was sufficiently influenced by this indoctrination that he dedicated himself to becoming a jihadist: "ISA's 1999 valedictorian was Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who was convicted and sentenced to prison for joining Al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President Bush." ("Islamic Saudi Academy in Virginia: Case Study in Homegrown Radicalization")

So when I read about Fairfax County supervisors renewing the ISA's lease because it's the political path of least resistance, I can either let my blood pressure keep going up, or I can make a practical suggestion.

Here it is. If, (or since), we lack the political will, from the county level right on up to Congress and the State Department, to put our foot down and and stop this kind of thing outright, then let's at least get the full educational advantage of it.

If we can't stop the distribution of radical Wahhabist instructional materials into American mosques and Muslim academies, then let's demand that American non-Muslims, all those people being forced to endure diversity training and lectures about Muslim feelings and sensitivities, should be instructed with the same materials.

You may remember how earlier this month the head of the local CAIR chapter for Washington State was suggesting that, "Most police officers don't have a basic grounding in Islam, so before you teach them about Islam, how can you teach them about radical Islam?" ("CAIR Keeps Showing Up").

There's no arguing with that logic. If you can't get accurate instruction on Islam from textbook Saudi Arabia's religious leaders have created for their own high-schoolers (and future martyrs), then where are you going to get it? From blogs like this one? Don't make us laugh!

I have in mind that the FBI, Homeland Security, Immigration, and countless local law-enforcement agencies--all mandated to be "educated" on the true teachings of Islam--would especially benefit from reading these materials.

I'm confident that if our FBI agents had to get through the ISA's 12th grade social studies textbook, we'd suddenly be seeing successful terrorist investigations going right through the roof.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Coulter Gives Bush an A++

Ann Coulter is heaping much-deserved praises on W, just as the party he's led for seven years tries to pretend they don't know him:

Bush's America: 100% Al-Qaeda Free Since 2001

Ann Coulter
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In a conversation recently, I mentioned as an aside what a great president George Bush has been and my friend was surprised. I was surprised that he was surprised.

I generally don't write columns about the manifestly obvious, but, yes, the man responsible for keeping Americans safe from another terrorist attack on American soil for nearly seven years now will go down in history as one of America's greatest presidents.

Produce one person who believed, on Sept. 12, 2001, that there would not be another attack for seven years, and I'll consider downgrading Bush from "Great" to "Really Good."

Merely taking out Saddam Hussein and his winsome sons Uday and Qusay (Hussein family slogan: "We're the Rape Room People!") constitutes a greater humanitarian accomplishment than anything Bill Clinton ever did -- and I'm including remembering Monica's name on the sixth sexual encounter.

But unlike liberals, who are so anxious to send American troops to Rwanda or Darfur, Republicans oppose deploying U.S. troops for purely humanitarian purposes. We invaded Iraq to protect America.

It is unquestionable that Bush has made this country safe by keeping Islamic lunatics pinned down fighting our troops in Iraq. In the past few years, our brave troops have killed more than 20,000 al-Qaida and other Islamic militants in Iraq alone. That's 20,000 terrorists who will never board a plane headed for JFK -- or a landmark building, for that matter.

We are, in fact, fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them at, say, the corner of 72nd and Columbus in Manhattan -- the mere mention of which never fails to enrage liberals, which is why you should say it as often as possible.

The Iraq war has been a stunning success. The Iraqi army is "standing up" (as they say), fat Muqtada al-Sadr --the Dr. Phil of Islamofascist radicalism -- has waddled off in retreat to Iran, and Sadr City and Basra are no longer war zones. Our servicemen must be baffled by the constant nay-saying coming from their own country.

The Iraqis have a democracy -- a miracle on the order of flush toilets in that godforsaken region of the world. Despite its newness, Iraq's democracy appears to be no more dysfunctional than one that would condemn a man who has kept the nation safe for seven years while deifying a man who has accomplished absolutely nothing in his entire life except to give speeches about "change."

(Guess what Bill Clinton's campaign theme was in 1992? You are wrong if you guessed: "bringing dignity back to the White House." It was "change." In January 1992, James Carville told Steve Daley of The Chicago Tribune that it had gotten to the point that the press was complaining about Clinton's "constant talk of change.")

Monthly casualties in Iraq now come in slightly lower than a weekend with Anna Nicole Smith. According to a CNN report last week, for the entire month of May, there were only 19 troop deaths in Iraq. (Last year, five people on average were shot every day in Chicago.) With Iraqi deaths at an all-time low, Iraq is safer than Detroit -- although the Middle Eastern food is still better in Detroit.

Al-Qaida is virtually destroyed, surprising even the CIA. Two weeks ago, The Washington Post reported: "Less than a year after his agency warned of new threats from a resurgent al-Qaida, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden now portrays the terrorist movement as essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world, including in its presumed haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border."

It's almost as if there's been some sort of "surge" going on, as strange as that sounds.

Just this week, The New York Times reported that al-Qaida and other terrorist groups in Southeast Asia have all but disappeared, starved of money and support. The U.S. and Australia have been working closely with the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, sending them counterterrorism equipment and personnel.

But no one notices when 9/11 doesn't happen. Indeed, if we had somehow stopped the 9/11 attack, we'd all be watching Mohammed Atta being interviewed on MSNBC, explaining his lawsuit against the Bush administration. Maureen Dowd would be writing columns describing Khalid Sheik Mohammed as a "wannabe" terrorist being treated like Genghis Khan by an excitable Bush administration.

We begin to forget what it was like to turn on the TV, see a tornado, a car chase or another Pamela Anderson marriage and think: Good -- another day without a terrorist attack.
But liberals have only blind hatred for Bush -- and for those brute American interrogators who do not supply extra helpings of bearnaise sauce to the little darlings at Guantanamo with sufficient alacrity.

The sheer repetition of lies about Bush is wearing people down. There is not a liberal in this country worthy of kissing Bush's rear end, but the weakest members of the herd run from Bush. Compared to the lickspittles denying and attacking him, Bush is a moral giant -- if that's not damning with faint praise. John McCain should be so lucky as to be running for Bush's third term. Then he might have a chance.

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