Gay Life in China... Gay marriage in China..


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By Richard Ammon
August 1998
Updated March 2006


What are the chances of unexpectedly arriving in a second rate Chinese city (of only seven million) and accidentally finding a hotel across the street from a gay cruise park? Welcome to Wuhan, five hundred miles west of Shanghai.

We never heard of Wuhan until a week before we flew to China to sail down the Yangtze River. Three days later down river, our boat anchored along the wharves of this smoggy city where we virtually threw a dart at our guidebook to find a hotel. Two hours later we had checked in, showered, dressed and devoured another meal of rice, veggies, tofu and chicken (sitting a few yards from the live-snake cages) and were out on an avenue of intense traffic for an evening stroll.

Small Town Scene

"Let's go for a walk in that nice park there," I suggested. The eight p.m.
muted light allowed us to soon realize this was not an ordinary mom-and-pop park. A few single men sat along stone walls, some strolled in pairs, others furtively yet obviously cruised us as some exotic delicacy--(caucasias delecti?).

We pretended to be cool and walked the length of the park, the sky dimming, figures disappearing down bushy paths and others moving past us with sidelong glances. As we returned to the hotel we stepped up our pace to shake off a final persistent suitor. It must be frustrating to be attracted to westerners in a place like this, I thought, since few tourists stay overnight here after their Yangtze cruises.

Big City Scene

Over the next few days, the queer scene improved considerably after flying to Beijing and Shanghai. If there is a bright future to the gay scene in China, it's definitely happening in the big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and especially Hong Kong. When we called our friend Howie in Beijing for dinner he showed up with six other friends, collecting around a large table heaped with unpronounceable steamy dishes.

Most of these guys sported cell phones, beepers, western educations and fluent English. For two hours we swapped boyfriend stories, opinions about politics, careers moves, gay cruise places, food, police tactics, sex with foreigners--and mothers (they always know!)

These guys were unusual, not just for being gay but for their prosperity, education and confidence. And, perhaps for the first time in Chinese history, they also stood on the brink of choosing their own destinies.

Big Country--Big Changes

Few countries have undergone more rapid change in recent years than China. To be sure, most of the country is impoverished and third world. Poorly educated peasants and farmers eke out a meager subsistence on less than $100 a month.

In sharp contrast, the bold and brassy future has already arrived downtown, inhabited by young, bright and aggressive men and women, including many lesbigays. Armed with foreign diplomas, English skills and guppie (gay yuppie) attitudes, they are fully embracing the new enterprise of China. Prosperity and self-determination are now the call words for the new generation here.

I asked why things have changed recently. "The government has better things to do, like make money," said Zhen, a gregarious entrepreneur who recently started his own import business. "Money is now the most important thing for them, not harassing people. They have all these millions of people out of work from the Communist factories.... Chasing us does not give them jobs!"

This view was echoed by Gary, a jeans-clad salesman for a Danish clothing company and the most outspoken of the group: "The government is not more lenient now; but before people wanted to be good Communists and spy on each other, now they just want to make money. It has changed everything."

Their comments were similar to the words of activist Wan Yan Hai who recently said: "The change in the societal attitude toward gays and lesbians is closely related to...the economic advancement and expansion of political space for citizens. This helps the Chinese gay and lesbian community to organize for social, cultural, and educational activities."

Although financial independence is still uncommon in China most of these men enjoyed freedom of movement from heavy traditional family expectations. Two of them actually had their own places to live, however
modest. Domestic privacy is a highly desired goal since it opens the
opportunity for independence and intimate relationships.

Our host Howie reminded us that caution is still a watchword for gays in China; being able to pass in public is crucial to social survival at this time. In the past there was great risk of arrest; more recently there has been an easing of police harassment with few arrests in the parks and bars although there is still a threat of humiliation or exposure if caught in questionable circumstances. (The recent Chinese film "East Palace, West Palace' graphically depicts police hostility and gay humiliation.)


We were told that homophobia in China does not take the same aggressive form as in the west. Among working class folks, attacking a gay person is almost unheard of. "They may be surprised and confused by it and they will usually just walk away and ignore you. They won't try to harm you because it's not their business.

Also, most Chinese people don't know what homosexuality is, so they don't know what you're talking about," said Howie, who is out to his family. Another mediating factor is the absence of strong religious influence in China. Communism is a secular social system that demands outward conformity of behavior and imposes less moral evaluation on personal character than religion does. Lacking the virtue/sin debate and the emotional fervor that accompanies rigid beliefs, it's rare to find violent gay bashing.

Bar Scene

In Shanghai, another dinner with friends reaffirmed much of what we learned in Beijing. Bar hopping there afterwards, we visited a new venue called 'Feeling Bar' where we were welcomed by one of the owners, Thomas. He and his partner Eddie have been together for ten years and are Shanghai's most out couple. Our host Stephen said they are very courageous. They own and operate another venue 'Tree Bar'. Once or twice a month there are 'costume' parties at the bars when some patrons show up in drag. (Tree Bar has since closed and reopened in another location.)

At 'Bluestone', a busier and smokier bar than Feeling, everyone appeared
to be having a relaxed, bubbly and friendly time. Artfully provocative
pictures of men dotted the walls. The music was not loud and people could
talk. Philip, the owner, dressed in a tank top and fashionable trousers
welcomed us with open arms escorting us to a table. Over cokes and beers
he told us he was opening a new business at a larger location with a disco as well as bar. He didn't expect any trouble: "the authorities want you to make much money as long as you can; as long as it is clean--no drugs or sex."

The fragile peace between gays and the police was briefly strained a month later when President Clinton's visit to China prompted a three-day closure of Thomas' two bars by the Public Security Bureau which claimed Clinton would be attending a party in the area. Philip's new bar 'Asia Blue', however, opened on schedule and was not affected by the security efforts.

More Exposure

In the past few years, homosexuality has been increasingly featured in books, radio programs, magazines, stage drama and films. Even though the government may dislike or attempt to suppress the representation of homosexuality, grass roots advocacy has urged the topic onto the social stage in China.

'Hope' magazine is a mainstream magazine by Guang Dong Women's Association (which is a part of the government). The issue of June 1998 published twenty-one pages of articles on gay issues. Most of the articles were positive, according to our friend Jason in Shanghai. The magazine is one of the most popular magazines among young people with its primary target of young girls as it focuses on fashion, jewelry, music, romance and movies.

A second, less well-known new magazine is 'Friends' which has no pictures but focuses on homosexuality: love, coming out, family problems
and self-acceptance . It was started in February 1998.


In Shanghai, a professor, Li Dailin, sponsors a talk show program
on Shanghai Radio which has been educational and helpful for people in
Shanghai. His public position on the radio is that homosexuality is just
another life style
and should not be discriminated against. There is also
a call-in session during his program.

From Shanghai, a friend wrote: "The radio station is run by the
(no private media is allowed in China.) Most audiences enjoy
the program because they can know more about sex, which is actually not
easy in China. In Shanghai, I believe most people have a very open
attitude towards homosexuality. A friend of mine just came out to his
parents. And his parents even invited his boyfriend home to dinner."

(In September of 1999, Professor Dailin opened China's first and only 'sex museum'--The Shanghai Museum of Ancient Chinese Sex Culture. Unfortunately, Li's open mind appears to have closed somewhat; he displays one ambiguous "homosexual" artifact in the section labeled 'Unusual Sexual Behavior'.

Professional Journals

In the fall of 1997, a small but remarkable debate occurred in the pages of the Zhejiang Province Mental Health Institute journal which is distributed to professionals as well as the public. The issue openly debated depathologizing homosexuality. It was the first time in China that sexual orientation was addressed in such a widely public forum. The contributors were doctors and scholars who held opposing opinions about the condition of homosexuality and its place in society.

New therapy

Over dinner in Shanghai, another friend Jason related a story about his friend who recently went to a Chinese doctor specializing in sexual problems. With some hesitation, the friend revealed he was gay and wanted some help to change. Surprisingly, the doctor did not urge the patient into some lethal reconstructive program, but rather counseled him wisely suggesting that a gay person does not have to change; rather, he should consider a more honest way to face the truth about himself. We all agreed this was another sign of healthy change for China, although it was not likely a common therapeutic view.


Not since the Communist takeover in 1949 has so much information been generally available to the people in China in all media forms. Thousands of Chinese are now using the Internet. Despite attempts by the authorities to block web sites, China's users find a way around them. The Net has quickly become a major channel for gay contact. Along with its virtual access to international sites, China's gays are accessing each other in unprecedented numbers. (See links)

At one Internet 'cafe' I visited in Shanghai, all twenty terminals were busy with young men cybering away. In Xi'an, the city of the terra cotta warriors, a large banner hung across a central building: "Internet Club--Join Now". (In 2000, there were numerous trendy Internet cafes and shops across Shanghai, including one in the grand new library.)

Sex Survey

In March of 1998 the Southern Daily newspaper, printed an article entitled "If Society Were Tolerant", discussing a survey of gay men in all 30 of China's provinces. The survey was conducted by Dr. Zhang Beichuan (who is also the editor of 'Friends' magazine). The preliminary conclusions were that loving relationships between people of the same sex is not rare in modern China and that lesbigay subculture exists all over the country.

The news report ended with an appeal by the reporter, "If more people can
understand the nature of life, expand the space for life, improve the quality of life, enrich the substance of life, all of this would help society as a whole to establish a harmonious and beautiful living space."

From Wuhan to Shanghai, there are innovative people and places which are able to take advantage of the 'new China' in the throws of economic and social reform. Quietly but persistently their presence is being seen and heard. As the nineties were the decade of 'coming out' in the West, it seems China's lesbigays may well see their place in the sun during the next generation.

Gay Life in China:

China is the forth largest country in the world with a population of approximately 1.3 billion people. The Chinese forum portal ChinaBBS.com estimates that there could be as many as 30 million gays and lesbians living in China, although the actual number is unclear. Few 'comrades' or 'tongzhi'—slang for homosexual—live openly due to social/cultural pressures and lack of awareness.

"On the mainland, being homosexual is still very hard," China Daily reports one man as saying. "Under pressure from families and society, most homosexual people dare not reveal their sexual orientation and have to get married to someone of the opposite sex.

However, the producers of the new Internet TV show, Tongxing Xianglian or "Connecting Homosexuals," hope to change public perception of Chinese gays, according to an AP report.

Gay marriage in China

Img_1571 I recently wrote an article about homosexuality in China, the gist of which was that gays in China’s cities feel freer than ever _ except for one aspect. They endure huge family pressure to marry and bear offspring. Many gays marry, have a baby, then divorce. Click here for the story. The photo above is of a young gay man I quote in the article.

I bring it up because one of the people I quoted is Li Yinhe, a noted sexual behaviorist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). I arranged the interview reluctantly because I had heard she likes to charge for her views, something our news organization flatly refuses to do. Ever. Apparently the meter doesn’t run for the first 15 minutes, so I was prepared for a quick meeting.

She was quite relaxed. After about 12 minutes, I wrapped things up but threw in a quick question about why she wants to charge journalists. She laughed it off, suggesting it was just a way to keep media requests from overwhelming her.

In fact, it turns out that Li Yinhe is under a great deal of stress. I tip my hat to the Peking Duck blog for translating and reprinting one of Dr. Li’s latest blog entries. It underscores how outspoken social commentators can endure huge pressure themselves in China. Dr. Li has been a proponent of legalizing gay marriage in China. Not any more. Here is what she wrote:

“I've had conflicting feelings lately. People have long criticized cynicism -- a few years ago an overseas free thinker (Chinese) whom I respect very much criticized the growing cynicism among Chinese intellectuals. Unfortunately, in China, there are times when cynicism is the only choice we have. And it's the choice I'm facing now: higher-ups [at CASS], under pressure from "people who aren't Average Joes," would like me to shut up. Actually, the higher-ups don't think there's anything politically sensitive about my choice of topic -- the pressure isn't coming from the government (if it were, [CASS] would have folded long ago), but even if I am just talking about things that don't have any political sensitivity attached, they're still about to fold under the pressure from outside. So starting now, there will be a while - maybe the rest of my life - where I've decided:
1. to accept as few press interviews as possible.
2. to publish as few papers related to sex as possible.

I want to start enjoying my life. I don't want to uphold any more of my social responsibility, because it's interfering with my life, and it's causing pressure on my higher-ups. They're good people, and even if I think that cynicism is bad and wrong, perhaps it's the only way.

Gay marriage is not something that our country can accept at this stage of its cultural development. History will change when it must. And perhaps I will only be able to be a bystander when the change comes, rather than a participant.”


Capitalism and Gay Life in China

Gay China.jpg

An essay in today’s China Daily, “Gays live a difficult life under social bias,” tells how, although life for gay people in China is quite difficult, things are getting better. It’s a very sympathetic look at the struggle that gay people face in a traditional society. It’s discreetly not mentioned, but the situation is infinitely preferable to the public executions to which gay people were sentenced in the old days. What’s missing from an otherwise interesting story is any explanation of why things have been changing in China. My friend Zhou Xiao (those of us who have difficulty pronouncing Chinese names call her “Kate”) told me in Shanghai in 1997 that she was convinced that “China will never go communist again.” I asked her why she was so sure and she announced that she (and her very patient husband) had already been in Shanghai for a week doing field research on on changing public attitudes in China and they had found that “Shanghai is just full of gay bars. And when the gay bars come in, they’re never going back to socialism!” In her discussions with customers, she said that she asked what had accounted for the change (that was before the laws were amended to eliminate criminal penalites for sexual contact among members of the same gender) and she said that the response was that the big step had been privatization of housing. Under socialism, housing was rationed and allocated by the state. Married couples were eligible to be allocated flats; unmarried people were not. So gay people (who had not been forced into phony marriages) had to live with their parents or in worker dormitories and couldn’t create households together. When housing was privatized, however, “landlords didn’t care if you were purple and had horns, if you were willing to pay.” A little bit of the profit motive swept away a great deal of irrationality, cruelty, and oppression.

Hat tip to Jude Blanchette.

UPDATE: The New York Times (req. simple registration) has a piece today on “A Chinese University Removes a Topic From the Closet.” (And no, I’m not generally a fan of “gay studies”— or black studies, or women’s studies — programs in universities, but I’m not opposed to courses in sociology, history, law, and the like that convey useful information at a properly academic level and in a suitably disinterested manner. All of those topics do deserve academic study, just not in specialized and ghettoized departments in which the faculty members spend most of their time slapping each other on the backs about how wonderfully liberating their “scholarship” is.)

Gay Bars in Shanghai - Nightlife in Gay Shanghai - Gay China

The Best Bars and Clubs in Gay Shanghai

In the not terribly distant future, we'll be talking about the Shanghai club scene the way we discuss Sydney, London, San Francisco, or any other major international destination. It's a matter of when, not if. For now, Shanghai has but a handful of gay hangouts, but just since 2006, the city's bar and club offerings have improved immensely. Replacing the slightly seedy, ubiquitously dark and smoky spaces of yore are a new breed of stylish, creatively designed bars and lounges catering to Shanghai's ever-growing, and ever-more-cosmopolitan gay crowd. What's the surest sign that Shanghai's gay scene is on the verge of exploding? You'll now see plenty of cool heteros as well as gays and lesbians at the top alternative hangouts.

Here's a primer on the burgeoning bar and club scene in gay Shanghai. For where to go in the Beijing (another city with a gay scene to watch, but one that's still at least two to three years behind Shanghai), see my article on Destination Beijing.

Many of Shanghai's gay bars are in the charming French Concession, west of the historic Old City and Bund areas, and south of the dynamic Jingan neighborhood. Most are along blocks either on or near the neighborhood's main east-west drag, Huaihai Zhong Lu. It's in this area that you'll find Shanghai's most glamorous gay nightspot, PinkHome (formerly just "Home"), which completed a massive and impressive makeover in March 2007. In fact, now PinkHome has blossomed into a full-on gay social compound, comprising a restaurant, boutique hotel, and a cavernous and pulsing nightclub bathed in colorful lighting and futuristic decor, and with a stable of top DJs spinning the latest dance music on a super-sonic sound system. Shanghai now officially has a gay nightclub to write home about. The hotel offers modern rooms with fairly standard furnishings at reasonable rates. PinkHome is at 18 Gaolan Road, between Ruijin Er Lu and Sinan Lu (just west of Fuxing Park and the former home of Sun Yat-sen).

Farther west in the French Concession, you'll find the intimate, arty, and decidedly stylish Shanghai Studio. You'll typically find a nice mix of cool locals, engaging expats, and gay Shanghai scene-makers in this underground bar - and it's literally below ground. You reach it down a flight of stairs, which leads through a mazelike hallway hung with intriguing art installations. You'll finally reach two groovy little lounges with mod bar stools and relaxing music at decibels that allow for conversation. Off of the main bar you'll find Manifesto, a slick and sexy gay menswear and undergear shop that carries a number of trendy imported lines. Many nights you'll find Manifesto's charming young owner, Kenneth Tan, in the bar. Shanghai Studio and Manifesto are at 1950 Huaihai Zhong Lu. As you approach walking west along Huaihai, turn right into the short driveway and walk to the back, where a sign will lead you to the doorway and stairs that descend into this one-of-a-king subterranean haunt.

Shanghai Studio is practically across the road from one of Shanghai's longest-running gay hangouts, Eddy's Bar, a laid-back neighborhood hangout that's less visually interesting than many of its newer competitors but is still a fun place to mingle with locals. It's an especially good place to kick off an evening of bar-hopping in the French Concession's little gay quarter.

A 10-minute cab ride east, you'll find Shanghai's closest gay bar to People's Park and the Bund, Frangipani, a narrow, dark space with a post-industrial look - metal bar tables with red candles, bare walls, and the dimmest possible lighting. Farther back you'll find a cozier split-level space with a mix of sofas and bar tables on each floor. Inexpensive appetizers are available from the kitchen, and the drinks won't set you back much either - there's a long menu of elixirs. Frangipani, which opened in 2006, is at 399 Da Gu Road, just west of the skyway overpass that runs along Chengdu Bei Road, between Chengdu and Shi Men Yi.

On weekends, an excellent gay clubbing option is Club Deep, which is down a rather discreet path on the eastern edge of Jingan Park, near the fabulous Citic shopping center (home to Jean Paul Gaultier, darling) and within walking distance of several hotels and shopping malls, including the gay-friendly (and super-cushy Portman Ritz-Carlton Shanghai). It can be a little hard to find Club Deep (it's next to a daycare center, of all places), whose official address is 1649 Nanjing Xi Lu, but late at night (when it really gets going), you'll typically be able to locate it simply by listening for the thumpin' club music blaring from within. On weekend evenings, this is one of the best gay spots in China for dancing, pulling in the same voguing vamps and shirtless party monsters you might expect to see in any major international city.

As Shanghai continues to develop into one of the world's great see-and-be-seen cities, many of its straight clubs and lounges are developing at least modest gay followings. These include the big-name spots along the Bund, such as M on the Bund and its giddy and touristy Glamour Bar (for a more dignified experience, skip Glamour Bar and sip cocktails in the low-keyed bar in the restaurant), and Bar Rouge, inside swanky Resto 18, where a fab terrace affords stunning views of the higher-than-heaven skyscrapers across the river in Pudong. Another cool spot is the bar at Kathleen's 5, which is perched enviably atop the Shanghai Art Museum's fifth-floor roof.

More resources on Gay Shangha

Gay Shanghai listingsAn entire site dedicated to travel in Gay ChinaA great story in Newsweek's China edition on the emergence of Gay Shanghai

gay china
The Night Cat by Rian Dundon.

Backstage at the ‘Night Cat’ gay bar and cabaret in Changsha, Hunan Province. She is a trans gender performer preparing to go onstage.

The ‘Night Cat’ is located in a converted theater on the second floor of a whole sale electronics market near the center of Changsha. It caters to a low-key crowd of mostly gay men, providing nightly performances and an inconspicuous atmosphere. Gays in China are for the most part a fringe group. Society at large still eyes homosexuality with suspicion and denial. Many people refuse to acknowledge its existence or simply blame it on negative western influence.

Changsha, China.

Read articles in New America Media category: Asian


Fuck China

Fuck Mugabe

Free Tibet

"Fuck China & Fuck The XXIX Olympiad"!

Mon Mar 24, 12:20 PM
By Nicholas Paphitis, The Associated Press

ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece - Protesters disrupted the Beijing Olympics flame-lighting ceremony in Ancient Olympia on Monday and a Tibetan woman covered in fake blood briefly blocked the path of the torchbearer.
Protesters ran onto the stadium field during the ceremony, evading massive security aimed at preventing such disruptions in the wake of China's crackdown on Tibet.
One man ran behind Liu Qi, president of the Beijing organizing committee and Beijing Communist Party Secretary, as Liu was giving a speech. The protester unfurled a black banner showing the Olympic rings as handcuffs.
Three protesters from the Paris-based press freedom group Reporters Without Borders were detained.
"If the Olympic flame is sacred, human rights are even more so," the Paris-based group said in a statement. "We cannot let the Chinese government seize the Olympic flame, a symbol of peace, without denouncing the dramatic situation of human rights in the country."
China's Communist leadership has faced a public relations disaster since demonstrations against Chinese rule turned violent March 14 in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, leading to waves of unrest in surrounding provinces. People who sympathize with the Tibetan cause have also staged rallies in other countries.
The death toll from the violence in Tibet has varied and been impossible to confirm independently. China's reported death toll is 22, but Tibet's exiled government says 80 Tibetans were killed. Another 19 died in subsequent violence in Gansu province, it said.
Greek officials said politics have no place at the ceremony at the 2,800-year-old birthplace of the ancient Games in southern Greece. More than 1,000 police were deployed ahead of expected protests by pro-Tibetan groups.
"The Greek government condemns every attempt to interfere with the ceremony for the lighting of the Olympic flame, through actions that have no relation at all with the Olympic Spirit," government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said.
China state TV cut away from the protest at the ceremony and showed a prerecorded scene, preventing Chinese viewers from seeing the incident. Chinese television commentators did not mention the demonstration.
The flame for the Aug. 8-24 Games was lit using the sun's rays. From Olympia, the flame will embark on a 136,000-kilometre journey. The torch is to arrive March 31 in Beijing. It then will travel through 20 countries before returning to mainland China.
After the torch left the stadium, a Tibetan woman covered in red paint or dye lay in the road approaching the nearby village of ancient Olympia while other protesters chanted "Free Tibet" and "Shame on China."
The torchbearer came within a few metres of the protester, then stopped and ran in place while plainclothes police officers removed the woman. Police also dragged off a man accompanying her who was waving a Tibetan flag.
Police said the woman and the three members of Reporters Without Borders were being detained. One of the men arrested was Robert Menard, the group's general secretary.
"This is a disgrace," said Lampis Nikolaou, a Greek member of the IOC. "I am furious with these people ... who did not respect this site. Whatever their differences with China, they should express them in their own countries."
Chinese media reported that officials - who have blamed the unrest on the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama - were prepared to prevent disruptions of the torch relay when it crosses China's borders.
China's plans to take the torch through Tibet and to the top of Mount Everest have upset Tibetan activist groups, which accuse Beijing of using the event to convey a false message of harmony in the troubled Himalayan region. Chinese Communist troops occupied Tibet in 1951 and Beijing continues to rule the region with a heavy hand.
"The more determined the Dalai clique is to ruin the torch relay and the Olympic Games, the more hard and good work we need to do on the preparation and the implementation of all aspects," Yin Xunping, a Communist Party official, was quoted as saying by the Tibet Daily newspaper.
The official Xinhua News Agency, did not give any details of what measures would be taken for the relay. A receptionist at the Tibet sports bureau said no officials were available for comment Monday.
Mount Everest straddles the border between Nepal and Tibet. China has already begun denying mountaineers permission to climb the Tibetan side of the mountain - a move that reflects government concerns that activists may try to disrupt its torch plans.
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge told The Associated Press on Monday that he was engaged in "silent diplomacy" with China on Tibet and other human rights issues.
"We are discussing on a daily basis with Chinese authorities, including discussing these issues, while strictly respecting the sovereignty of China in its affairs," he said.
But he also said there was no credible momentum for a boycott and that while he was concerned by the violence in Tibet, the IOC could do no more than call for a peaceful resolution because it is a sports organization.
Germany rejected calls for an Olympic boycott on Monday. Some German athletes had reacted to the Chinese crackdown by supporting the calls for a boycott.
The German Olympic Sports Union said it was following the events in Tibet with "great attention and concern" but pledged to send a team to the Games.
In Nepal, police in the capital Katmandu broke up at least two separate protests by Tibetan refugees and monks on Monday and arrested as many as 475 protesters, officials said.
Chanting "China, stop killings in Tibet. U.N., we want justice," protesters were marching to U.N. headquarters in Katmandu when police stopped them about 100 metres away and snatched their banners.
Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy offered France as a go-between in any new talks between China and the representatives of the Dalai Lama. Sarkozy called for "restraint" in Tibet and to end the violence with dialogue.
A Liberation newspaper poll published Monday suggests most French people want Sarkozy to boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics this summer to protest China's human rights situation, but think French athletes should compete.
Associated Press writers Audra Ang in Beijing, Stephen Wilson in Ancient Olympia, Greece, Binaj Gurubacharya in Katmandu, Nepal, and Nesha Sarcevic in Frankfurt, Germany, contributed to this report. Stop It Now!Sa Wally. Posted by wallycrawler at 5:57 PM Labels: Free Tibet

GAY και Ισλάμ....

Και..."άλλα" blog...

The Political Correctness That Strangles Debate On Islam

The Political Correctness That Strangles Debate On Islam
"St Mark Freeing a Christian Slave" by Tintoretto 1548, Accademia, Venice

Thank you to my dear friend Professor "Guest" who pointed out a brilliantly portrayed story from Diana West:

No one has ever adequately explained why the jihadist "insurgency" fights on in Iraq. Really. It's not enough to say these Islamic fanatics want to drive "infidel" American forces out of Iraq, or that they want to bring down the Iraqi government. It is by remaining in Iraq that the United States has built up a democratically elected but Islamic government — and an Islamic government is the goal of every good jihadist. In other words, our Islamic enemies should be at peace with the Iraqi government because its constitution makes Islamic law supreme. "No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established," says Article 2. That single line contains the blueprint for a Shariah state, and if there's one thing a jihadist likes, it's a Shariah state.

Recently, Sayyed Ayad, a liberal member of the Iraqi parliament who favors the separation of church (mosque) and state, spoke in Washington. When I asked him what could be done under Iraq's constitution to foster democracy, not Shariah, his answer was chilling. Pointing out that Iraqi voters chose this Shariah-supreme document, he said: "They have to try it for 10 or 20 years, and then change it." Maybe.

Which leads me to another point no one has adequately explained: why exactly Americantroops fight on in Iraq. Sure, the objective is to destroy the hellions of the insurgency — a killing machine more aptly and derisively described by the late journalist Steven Vincent as "paramilitary death squads." And I still believe the goal of killing jihadists "there," not "here," is entirely commendable. But even after their destruction, does an American victory lie in making Iraq safe for Shariah?

Continue reading "The Political Correctness That Strangles Debate On Islam" »

United 93

United 93
"Femme en pleurs" ("Woman in tears") by Pablo Picasso 1937, Penrose Collection, London

I didn't go and see it. I hate heaving full cinemas and calling for sold out tickets. Getting organized in advance simply ruins my street cred .... O.K. the truth of the matter is, I know I will find it incredibly disturbing and would prefer to pick my time, rather than being forced by someone else's schedule.

So who did go and see it...Lets see.

Rick Moran has the most comprehensive critique so far, and being a movie buff like myself, with similar taste, has the best in depth review and most probably the closest to what I would have written:

In the end, Greengrass lets the story do all his talking. A wise choice since … it would have been a relatively simple matter to have made a histrionic, flag waving spectacular instead of the intensely personal drama U-93 turned out to be. For some, that intensity will open old emotional wounds from 9/11 making it very difficult for them to see this film. I would urge them to make the effort anyway. For United 93 will not heal the hurt but rather recall in a vividly personal, emotionally charged manner who and what caused our souls to be scorched that terrible day.

He comes back for more, taking an almighty swing at the Slate critic Dana Stevens, who seemed to have been "unmoved" and even feeling "resentful" by the movie, and to quote Rick:

There’s nothing like reading full blown, to the max idiocy to get the blood pumping to my brain and get my fingers itching to do a little keyboard solo on someone who exhibits as much jaw-dropping cluelessness as Stevens.[...]

There is nothing more annoying than a “woulda, shoulda, coulda” critic who doesn’t possess an ounce of talent to actually make a film themselves but who is more than willing to tell a director how he should have made his. The movie Stevens is proposing Greengrass make is so far removed from the director’s vision that it makes her pouty, foot stomping tirade about what’s missing from U-93 sound like someone running their fingernails across a blackboard. Absolutely hopeless.

It’s fair game to criticize a director for an unfulfilled vision or a lazy vision, or even for having no vision at all. But to actually posit the notion that a critic’s judgement on what vision the director should have had as legitimate criticism smacks of pure politics to me.

And if that doesn’t convince you of the political motivations of Stevens' disguised critique of U-93, try this:

In the last five years, “9/11” has become a generic brand name for terrorism, its sky-high recognition quotient useful for ginning up support for any and all manner of belligerent causes. The closest this film ever comes to a political statement—and possibly the only laugh line in the movie—is the snappish question of a beleaguered official: “Do we have any communication with the president at all?” Greenglass may not want to come right out and say it, but the audience’s weary chuckle made it clear: As we slog into the fourth year of the war being waged in 9/11’s wake (and, at least in part, in its name), there’s still no satisfactory answer to that question.

The Cranky Insomniac writes another rebuttal of Stevens' review @ Slate.

Continue reading "United 93" »

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Iran's Deadly Agenda

Iran's Deadly Agenda
"The splitting of the Atom (La separation de l'atome)" or "Dematerialization near the Nose of Nero" by Salvador Dali 1947

It does not come as a great surprise to us that the IAEA report on Iran's nuclear program obtained via my talented friends over @ Vital Perspective

is quite damning and points out the 20 years of Iran's deception and its total unwillingness to answer for conduct. It discloses that Iran has been working on advanced P-2 centrifuges – as Ahmadinejad bragged about last week – revealing a previously unknown secret track toward nuclear bomb fuel, outside of that which the IAEA had been following previously. P-2 centrifuges are more sophisticated and reliable, making it easier for Iran to ramp up the production of enriched uranium.

Their other work – on plutonium, recent successful work on the 164-centrifuge cascade and announcement last week of the production of enriched uranium – and their stated ambition to install 3,000 centrifuges over the next several months is extremely worrisome. You read it here first.

With just 1,500 centrifuges running in concert, Iran could produce enough fuel for a nuclear bomb in less than a year. Iranian officials have stated they will build a full-scale 3,000-centrifuge operation later this year, with the ultimate objective of deploying 54,000 centrifuges by the end of 2007.

According to the report, "gaps remain in the Agency's [IAEA] knowledge with respect to the scope and content of Iran's centrifuge programe. Because of this, and other gaps in the Agency's knowledge, including the role of the military in Iran's nuclear programe, the Agency is unable to make progress in its efforts to provide assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran."

With Tehran continuing to defy the international community, the Security Council is expected to consider the use of strong economic and political sanctions as tools to dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons under Chapter VII. Thankfully, most analysts expect a Chapter VII, (i.e., legally binding resolution) to be passed in the coming weeks with or without Russian support. However, our concern remains that valuable time continues to be lost as Iran's scientists race towards technological self-sufficiency, while the international community continues to debate its reaction. The Chapter VII resolution will only provide the legal context for future sanctions, which are not expected until later this year.

The diplomatic track is most definitely coming to a dead end, and Europe will soon have to make its decision. As I have been saying for some time now, Nuclear Jihad is fast approaching and we are running out of time. At least Thug-In-Chief Ahmadinejad's infamous announcement seems to have killed any serious debate stone dead as to whether a military intervention to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb was on the cards. Now we have that out of the way, we are still left with the never ending "Does the President have the authority"...to be the President?

Judging from the recent flurry of commentary, this seems no longer the real issue, but a foregone conclusion--I am discounting those who advocate diplomatic efforts without being backed by a credible threat of military actions, for they are simply pipe-dreams.

Continue reading "Iran's Deadly Agenda" »

Friday, April 28, 2006

Guantanamo Detainee Border Crossing

Guantanamo Detainee Border Crossing

The talented writer and some time blogger from New York, Tom Joscelyn, who mainly focuses on terrorism, foreign policy and matters involving the intelligence community, has interesting news:

As the nation continues to debate what to do about our southern border, I thought I would point out a piece of information I found in a cache of documents released by the Pentagon in early March. In connection with a lawsuit brought by the Associated Press, the Pentagon released thousands of pages of documents transcribed during tribunal hearings for the hundreds of terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There is a lot of interesting information in those documents, including the allegations against one detainee who was caught while trying to sneak across the Mexican border.

The name of the detainee was not given in the original two-page transcript I reviewed. Just recently the Pentagon released the names of hundreds of Guantanamo's inmates, but I haven't been able to match one of those names to this suspect, yet.

The U.S. government alleges that the detainee “attempted to be smuggled into the United States” and “traveled with forged travel documents, including a passport and other travel documents.” The detainee admits that he was caught while attempting to illegally enter the U.S., but claims that he “was going to find a job to make some money.”

What the government thinks the detainee was really up to is not clear. The transcript does not contain any allegation that the detainee belongs to a terrorist organization or that he was attempting to carry out a terrorist plot. However, many of the details surrounding the detainees at Guantanamo remain classified and its possible that the government has more specific terror-related information about this detainee.

The details of the detainee's travels and the smuggling operation that attempted to sneak him into this country are especially noteworthy.

Continue reading "Guantanamo Detainee Border Crossing" »

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Shut Up And Put Up


I woke up this morning to a comment in my comments section in Spanish, telling me that President Bush is an idiot, and that I had better get used to this commenter's language, as it will be officially recognized in his part of the country, within a few years.

Deal with it.

That's what we get, and yes the President is being naive. So as Michelle Malkin has predicted all along:

The open-borders lobby has been phenomenally successful at getting the Beltway elite in both parties and in the media to embrace its blanket overgeneralizations and platitudes about the illegal alien population.

"They just come here to work."
"They're all Americans, too."
"Illegals aren't criminals."

And so on.

Those who impertinently challenge such characterizations in an effort to bring the homeland security debate back to reality are attacked as overwrought immigrant-bashers with no compassion. We're the ones accused of overgeneralizing even as the pro-illegal immigration forces blather about lazy Americans who won't do the jobs "undocumented workers" will do.

Continue reading "Shut Up And Put Up " »

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The White House Snow

The White House Snow
Further to our 'Helen Thomas Reloading' comes the latest in the White House Press Corps series, 'The White House Gladiator', Tony Snow

Well one thing is for sure Tony Snow, the new White House Press Secretary, will give Helen Thomas a good run for her money. I don't think the Press room will be the 'quick sand terrain', that it proved to be during the McClellan reign. Snow is certainly a more eloquent and forthright speaker, as well as having extensive experience not only in speech writing which he did for Bush senior in '91, but debate at short notice , requiting a different skill altogether. He will stand his ground and fight back with a calm and cool demeanor, certainly in a way the MSM have not been used to of late.

Snow, 50, served as a weekend news anchor and political analyst for the Fox News Channel, which he joined in 1996. He also hosted the Tony Snow Show on Fox News Radio. To have given up a lucrative career he would have had to have been assured by the Administration "that the next three years would bring policy efforts for which he could have great enthusiasm".

Although not always agreeing with the Administration (the Cossacks have been busy digging all night) he brings a fresh air of professional confidence, and is "exactly what the White House needs" right now:

Snow has told associates he would like to take the job and he has had serious discussions with White House officials, the Republicans said on condition of anonymity because of President Bush's dislike of news leaks.

As a conservative columnist and commentator, Snow has been sharply critical of Bush and Republicans in Congress at times. The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, circulated unflattering observations by Snow about Bush.

"His (Bush's) wavering conservatism has become an active concern among Republicans, who wish he would stop cowering under the bed and start fighting back against the likes of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Wilson," Snow wrote last November after Republicans failed to win the governor's race in Virginia. "The newly passive George Bush has become something of an embarrassment."

Last month, Snow wrote that Bush and the Republican Congress had "lost control of the federal budget and cannot resist the temptation to stop raiding the public fisc. (treasury)"

Snow, in an Associated Press interview Wednesday, said: "It's public record. I've written some critical stuff. When you're a columnist, you're going to criticize and you're going to praise."

Continue reading "The White House Snow" »

Are Urban Ghettos Our Political Hostages?

Are Urban Ghettos Our Political Hostages?
"St Peter Repentant" by Francisco de Goya 1823-25, Phillips Collection, Washington

Some food for thought:

It was the great luck of the poor blacks of New Orleans that a great wind came along to carry them away from servitude to their political leaders. The Black Caucus of America's Congress keeps urban blacks as political hostages, much as the regimes of the Arab world have exploited Palestinian refugees, whom they refuse to take in, and expel when convenient.

In addition to citing the New York Times article "Katrina's Tide Carries Many to Hopeful Shores", Spengler supports his view by highlighting that China's economic growth arose from "the displacement of hundreds of millions to the coast from the interior over the course of a century". He called it "the greatest migration of peoples in history" and that "the US long since accomplished the great transition from farm to city, but pockets of immiserated rural culture remain in the great cities".

New Orleans notoriously enclosed the poorest black population in the United States. The city produced nothing of note, hosted no great financial institutions, attracted no entrepreneurs in the emerging technology industries, but offered an urban theme park to tourists attracted by the garish carnival, jazz funerals, decaying 19th-century architecture, Creole cooking, an officially tolerated sex industry - in short, the lurid slop of Anne Rice novels.

To the regret of tourists who no more will click their tongues over the quaintness of New Orleans culture, Katrina washed away the detritus of the US south's putrescent aristocracy. Brennan's, the city's best-known purveyor of local cuisine, will continue to cook gumbo at its Las Vegas location, joining the local reproductions of Venetian canals and the Eiffel Tower in America's commercial museum of world culture.

He further makes the point that democracy stands in the way to what he believes would be the best remedy for poor people in urban ghettos, namely to expel them.

The best thing the US could do for the poor people of its urban ghettos is to expel them. One does not do poor people a favor by concentrating them in government housing (or for that matter refugee camps) where they depend on the public dole. Given the incidental costs of major hurricanes, there probably are cheaper ways to accomplish this, eg, simply pay them to leave.

This is difficult to accomplish in a democracy, to be sure, for the elected representatives of immiserated black Americans form a bloc large enough to thwart legislative attempts to better their conditions. Were the urban poor dispersed into the rich regions of the country, they no longer would vote as a bloc for the sort of congress members who now conspire to keep them poor. [...]

China's advantage is that it is not a democracy and can manage the great transfer of population by fiat (see China must wait for democracy).

It is hard for me to accept, that democracy might stand in the way of improving the living conditions of fellow citizens.

If there is some truth to the assertion, that urban ghettos are being deliberately kept poor and isolated, as Spengler suggests, and if this was motivated by the base desire to ensure re-election for the representatives in question, my question is, are there solutions to achieve the break up of urban ghettos, or do we have to accept, that unless a natural disaster brings about drastic change, our democratic system is in essence to blame for perpetual procrastination and stagnation, thus preventing any change for the better.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dhimmitude - Of Course...

Dhimmitude - Of Course...

I guess my initial reaction to Hamas' claim that a civil war was erupting filled me with a certain sense of hope.

After the Hamas Cabinet took power last month, Abbas tried to take control of all Palestinian security forces. Hamas responded with a plan to form its own shadow army made up of militants and headed by a top fugitive Israel has been hunting for years.

Abbas promptly vetoed that plan, and Hamas' political chief, Khaled Mashaal, accused him of cooperating with Israel and the United States and "plotting against us."

Mashaal's comments sparked demonstrations and violence throughout the West Bank and Gaza on Saturday. The two sides traded gunfire and hurled stones and firebombs, and Fatah leaders warned the unrest could deteriorate into civil war.[...]

In a meeting that ended early Sunday, Hamas and Fatah officials said they would take steps to end the fighting.

"The two movements have agreed to call on our Palestinian masses to stop all displays that might lead to tension," Fatah official Maher Mekdad said, reading a joint statement. "They agreed to work together to strengthen national unity."

'National unity' in their effort to bring about the destruction of Israel, naturally.

Interior Minister Said Siyam said Saturday he would pursue plans to create a shadow army — despite Abbas' veto — and would meet with its designated head, fugitive Jamal Abu Samhadana, to discuss when he would take charge.

In an interview with the London-based Sunday Telegraph, Abu Samhadana said the force would form the "nucleus of the future Palestinian army."

"We have one enemy," Abu Samhadana said. "They are Jews ... I will continue to carry the rifle and pull the trigger whenever required to defend my people."

And he is right; it would be silly for the West to read too much into the current unrest. It's about getting paid. So, the initial spark of hope quickly gives way to the better knowledge, that there is no change of heart any where near on the horizon.

However, let's enjoy the brief moment when "thousands of Fatah supporters shout anti-Hamas slogans, and when more than 4,000 people — Palestinian security officers and Fatah supporters — march in the West Bank town of Jenin, chanting anti-Mashaal slogans. Dozens of security officers and Fatah gunmen fired weapons into the air."

Continue reading "Dhimmitude - Of Course..." »

Sunday, April 23, 2006

"Big Love"

"Family of Marsupial Centaurs" by Salvator Dali 1940

Watching Larry King Live the other day with all these polygamy families being interviewed made me realize that perhaps I have indeed been leading a sheltered life. It's not something that we are so familiar with in New York....well not until HBO brought it into our cozy Manhattan homes with the series "Big Love". The only link I can see to anything I remotely understand is the appearance of the funky young actress Chloe Sevigny who has as much to do with polygamy in the suburbs as I do with knitting sweaters.

I did remember that the original Mormons happily practiced polygamy a 100 years ago within their own sects, but today seem to deny that they still find it an acceptable practice within certain segments of their faith.

Be that as it may, as with everything that we as bloggers write about, sometimes we land with subjects we know a lot about and sometimes like this one, virtually nothing before we start our due diligence. This is so not my subject, and frankly aside from being at the outset of my research clueless, I was still fascinated by the sheer numbers of how many polygamy sects there are in the U.S. So now of course as with everything else, I come to you with an opinion.

Charles Krauthammer wrote about this recently, which is when the subject first caught my attention, popping out of the closet like a jack in the box. It's interesting that he brings up an old line of argument which puts the polygamists, (in fact he means to say polyamorists, the practice which is actually not supported by polygamists, for the obvious reason that it gives the women the choice of having more than one husband) and gay activists in the same line of fire:

These stirrings for the mainstreaming of polygamy (or, more accurately, polyamory) have their roots in the increasing legitimization of gay marriage. In an essay 10 years ago, I pointed out that it is utterly logical for polygamy rights to follow gay rights. After all, if traditional marriage is defined as the union of (1) two people of (2) opposite gender, and if, as advocates of gay marriage insist, the gender requirement is nothing but prejudice, exclusion and an arbitrary denial of one's autonomous choices in love, then the first requirement -- the number restriction (two and only two) -- is a similarly arbitrary, discriminatory and indefensible denial of individual choice.

Continue reading ""Big Love"" »

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Regaining Control Of The White House Press Room

Regaining Control Of The White House Press Room

One of the key elements of the White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's reign was the fact that he had been constantly ambushed by the Press Corps with leaked information which either he had no knowledge of himself or knew to be classified. It is no small wander then, that he found himself constantly on the defensive, trying to regain a foothold in a quick sand infested terrain. Whilst Helen Thomas is reloading, the President may still have the last laugh.

The latest revelation regarding the firing of a CIA senior career officer Mary McCarthy, [my friend Tom Maguire retrieves the bio before it got deleted from the system] would have been a part of the Administration's aggressive internal investigation, with the priority being since January, to discover and eliminate unauthorized disclosure of secrets from within. Rick Moran investigates the possibility of a planned mole hunt, as the New York Times story reveals the same day that European investigators could not find any evidence that the detention camps in Europe did indeed exist. So was Mary McCarthy set up by DCI Porter J. Goss? Very possible, it is inconceivable that the Administration was going to remain the laughing stock of the world-wide intelligence community, with a Pulitzer Prize for the journalist to boot.

Dana Priest, who was at the receiving end of this prestigious "Pulitzer Prize For Treachery" award for the article which reported that the intelligence agency was sending terror suspects to clandestine detention centers in several countries, including sites in Eastern Europe, had to meet certain criteria: "to make the grade, one must have done at least one of the following: Betray national secrets; go after only Republican lobbyists; tackle only Republican corruption; blame the United States for everything wrong in the world: and the surefire attention getter; try to tear down the presidency of George W. Bush."

Priest certainly makes it perfectly clear that no laws have been broken: "Well, actually, the media is not breaking the law by publishing classified information. That’s still a safeguard we have in the law. The person/s who turn it over are breaking the law, technically.

Continue reading "Regaining Control Of The White House Press Room" »

Friday, April 21, 2006

"Be Ashamed Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned"

Be Ashamed Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned
"David with the head of Goliath" by Caravaggio, 1600 Museo del Prado, Madrid

Well that was written on the front of the student's t-shirt and on the back it said: "Homosexuality Is Shameful", apparently in protest, responding to a pro-gay-rights event put on at the school by the Gay-Straight Alliance (supported by the ACLU).

A teacher at the school told Harper that he believed the shirt was "inflammatory, violated the school's dress code" and "created a negative and hostile working environment for others.''

When Harper refused to remove the shirt that morning and asked to speak to a school administrator, the teacher gave him a dress code violation card. After meeting with Harper, school principal Scott Fisher said he could not wear the shirt on campus, but declined to suspend him as Harper requested. Rather, Fisher required Harper to stay in the school's front office the remainder of day. He was not subjected to any discipline beyond that.

About six weeks later, Harper, represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal organization that says it was founded to "aggressively defend religious liberties,'' sued the school district, contending that both his right to free speech and freedom of religion had been violated. Harper asserted that his wearing of the T-shirt was "motivated by sincerely held religious beliefs'' regarding homosexuality and that the school punished him for expressing them. He also contended that the school had attempted to change his religious views.

U.S. District Judge John Houston in San Diego ruled that Harper was not entitled to a preliminary injunction barring the district from enforcing its dress code. The 9th Circuit majority upheld Houston and rejected all of Harper's legal arguments.[...]

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that a T-shirt that proclaimed "Be Ashamed, Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned'' on the front and "Homosexuality Is Shameful'' on the back was "injurious to gay and lesbian students and interfered with their right to learn.'' The court said that the shirt can be barred on a public high school campus without violating the 1st Amendment.[...]

Continue reading ""Be Ashamed Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned"" »

Pajamas Media: Blog Week In Review

Pajamas Media: Blog Week In Review
"Schützengraben" by Otto Dix 1918, Private Collection Hamburg, Germany

I give you a great podcast from Pajamas Media produced by Ed Driscoll, hosted by Austin Bay, with bloggers Glenn Reynolds, Tammy Bruce, and Eric Urmansky.

They discuss Iran, Iraq, Administration re-shuffles, and other main topic issues of the week, including our relationship with China, the present state visit and the seemingly unfazed reaction of our Administration in relation to the unlawful imprisonment of the Chinese blogger, who is a US citizen.

Brilliant stuff. Come back and discuss these hot button issues on ATB, which we have been covering here all week. I'd love to know what you think.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Forgotten War

The Forgotten War

"While the Bush administration is on the defensive for its conduct of the war in Iraq, the real setback in the U.S. war effort is coming in Afghanistan where the Taliban is alive, well and thriving throughout the countryside and even in much of neighboring Pakistan.[...]

The news comes in part from an interview with Hamid Mir, the only journalist to conduct face-to-face interviews with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in the wake of 9-11.

Mir, who has just completed an extensive tour of both countries, says that Pakistanis in government vehicles are no longer permitted to enter Waziristan, Baluchistan, and other tribal areas without the permission of local Taliban commanders. Muslim men who wander into this area without beards are routinely cast into prison as apostates. Kafirs (non-Muslims) are assumed to be enemy agents; most are put to death. Women are only permitted to appear in public in full burqa. And Shariah has become the rule of the land with regular occurrences of stoning, crucifixion and decapitation.

Over 1,500 Pakistanis in recent months, according to Mir, have been publicly executed for saying something in support of the regime of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and the coalition forces. Most were beheaded. The victims, Mir says, were "not ordinary people but very prominent people."

Regarding the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Mir contends that Afghan police are "weak"; that the coalition forces "limited in number"; and that the Pashtun people remain fiercely dedicated to Osama bin Laden and his jihad against the West.

Mir claims he has personally visited 12 provinces of Afghanistan in the past few weeks and has received first-hand confirmation that the Taliban has regrouped, recaptured much of the country, and remains intent upon ousting the coalition forces and toppling the puppet regime of President Hamid Karzai. [...]

Support for the Taliban in the form of munitions and money is coming from Iran and Russia.

Of course. Iran wants its Oil and Gas supplied directly to China via Afghanistan and Putin wants to be the broker.

The Iranian-Taliban alliance, Mir maintains, is a new, unique and disturbing development. When the Taliban came to power in 1996, Mullah Omar and his army were decried by the Shiite mullahs in Iran for the massacre of thousands of Shiite Hazaras and Panjshiri Tajiks. Iran began to send money and arms to Ahmed Shah Massoud and his opposition army of Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras that became known as the "United Front" or "Northern Alliance." The Russians also came to the support Massoud's army to protect the interests of Uzbekistan.

The Northern Alliance continued to receive support from Iran and Russia until the launching of Operation Enduring Freedom (the codename for the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan) Oct. 7, 2001. Overnight, the Iranian and Russian advisers to Massoud became replaced by CIA operatives and Green Beret A team members.

A major blowback of the war on terror, according to Mir, is that Iran and Russia are now allied in Afghanistan on the side of their old enemy.

The first major indication of Iran's change of heart toward the Taliban came in the wake of the bombing of Tora Bora in December 2001, when Mullah Omar and hundreds of his soldiers and al-Qaida agents, scaled the mountains between the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, cut through the southern provinces of Afghanistan and headed west to Iran, where they found safe refuge, thanks to the intervention of Imad Mugniyah and the other leaders of Hezbollah.

For all of you, who are not immediately familiar with the name 'Imad Mugniya', don't miss reading "Tehran's Terror Master" by Patrick Devenny.

Continue reading "The Forgotten War" »

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

McClellan Resigns...Helen Thomas Reloads


"Where's the new punk....make my day!"

Whilst Helen Thomas is reloading, aiming at Tony Snow, check out both sides of the Blogosphere's reax to the news: Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Power Line, Power Line (2) Gateway Pundit, MVRWC, Ace of Spades, Ed Driscoll, Atlas Shrugs, Poli Pundit, The RCP Blog, Pajamas Media, Stop The ACLU, Tammy Bruce, Wizbang, Liberty & Justice, Betsy's Page, Black Five, Sister Toldjah, Expose The Left, Flopping Aces, The Real Ugly American, Publius Rendezvous, Right Winged, The Nation, Think Progress, The Sundries Shack, Dean's World, Mudville Gazette, Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, The Heretik, The Moderate Voice, Gay Patriot, The Gun Toting Liberal, Davids Medienkritik, News Hounds, Outside The Beltway, The Washington Monthly, Martin's Musings, Unpartisan, Firedoglake, In From the Cold, FishBowlDC, Attytood, Agitprop, Hit and Run, Demagogue, News Hog, Azerbic, News Busters,Demagogue, No More Mister Nice Blog, Centerfield, TPM Muckraker, Truthdig, The Democratic Daily Blog, The All Spin Zone, This Blog Is Full Of Crap, The Left Coaster, Happy Furry Puppy Story, Tapped, The Carpetbagger Report, The Gun Toting Liberal, Wonkette, Media Blog on National, Alternate Brain, Bark Bark Woof Woof, Middle Earth Journal, The Carpetbagger Report, Shakespeare's Sister, NewsBusters, Greg's Opinion, Blue Crab Boulevard, The Democratic Daily Blog, Rising Hegemon, WTF Is It Now??, This Blog Is Full Of Crap, News Hounds, Wonkette (2). The MSM: AP, WaPo, NYT, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, Vanity Fair, Time

Ed Morrissey comments on the upcoming sweeping changes, and the final exit, and Greg Tinti has the video 'Thank you for the memories...'

Don't forget to visit Hugh Hewitt and cast your vote

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Barque Of Truth

"The Barque of Dante" by Eugène Delacroix 1822, Musée du Louvre, Paris

Tom Joscelyn gives an enlightening interview to Front Page Magazine, regarding the Iraqi intelligence documents that reveal the connection between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist network of al-Qaeda:

[One document which describes Iraqi contacts with bin Laden himself, also shows that] Iraq was in contact with Dr. Muhammad al-Massari, the head of the Committee for Defense of Legitimate Rights (CDLR). The CDLR is a known al Qaeda propaganda organ based in London. The document indicates that the IIS [i.e., the Iraqi Intelligence Service] was seeking to “establish a nucleus of Saudi opposition in Iraq” and to “use our relationship with [al-Massari] to serve our intelligence goals.” The document also notes that Iraq was attempting to arrange a visit for the al Qaeda ideologue to Baghdad. Again, we can’t be certain what came of these contacts. Just recently, however, al-Massari confirmed that Saddam had joined forces with al Qaeda prior to the war. Al-Massari says that Saddam established contact with the “Arab Afghans” who fled Afghanistan to northern Iraq in 2001 and that he funded their relocation to Iraq under the condition that they would not seek to undermine his regime. Upon their arrival, these al Qaeda terrorists were put in contact with Iraqi army personnel, who armed and funded them. Obviously, this paints a very different picture of prewar Iraq than many would like to see. Interestingly enough, the existence of this document was first reported by The New York Times in the summer of 2004, several weeks after the 9-11 Commission proclaimed that there was no operational relationship between Saddam’s Iraq and al Qaeda. For some reason, the Times decided to sit on the document while splashing the 9-11 Commission’s conclusion on the front page.

Andy McCarthy provides a brilliant summary of the evidence gathered thus far, and points to the President's refusal to defend himself, despite the now insurmountable evidence proving his intelligence to be correct:

"The Bush administration evidently believes revisiting the case for toppling Saddam Hussein is a political loser. That this conclusion — which, of course, has played in the media like a tacit admission of guilt — is a terrible miscalculation becomes clearer with each passing day. As journalists, scholars, and analysts pore over more of the intelligence haul seized when U.S. forces toppled the Iraqi regime, the case for removing an America-hating terror-monger responsible for the brutal torture and murder of — literally — tens of thousands of people looks better and better. Still, the administration maddeningly refuses to go on offense in its defense.

This is at least the second occasion of this politically suicidal default. Top administration officials also gratuitously handed their critics a cudgel when, for reasons still explicable only by panic, they retracted — and, indeed, apologized for — an entirely accurate assertion in the president's 2003 State of the Union Address.[...]

Now, onto suicidal default, chapter two. The president's poll numbers are plummeting, largely due to the success the opposition has had in portraying Iraq as a misadventure — a diversion from the "real" war on terror, disintegrating into a chaotic mess of dubious nation-building. Why? Because the administration put most of its eggs in a shaky WMD basket; failed to make and sustain the case — i.e., the abundantly supportable case — that Saddam was both a committed terrorist and terrorist-abettor; and has since allowed Iraq to be etched as the test-case for its Middle East democracy project rather than as a logical phase of the war on terror.[...]

Continue reading "The Barque Of Truth" »

Does The President Have The Authority...To Be The President?

Does The President Have The Authority...To Be The President?
Nothing Is What It Seems Anymore

Are we all getting that 'déjà vu' feeling again? I caught this on MSNBC's Hardball the other night. CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO: (Courtesy David Edwards)

Chris Matthews: "Does the President of the United States have the authority to attack Iran?"

Sen. Joe Biden: "No, not without congressional support, authorization I should say."

Chris Matthews: "Is that a consensus in your body?"

Sen. Joe Biden: "No. I don't think it's a consensus among Republicans or Democrats at this time. There is a consensus that we don't want Iran to be a nuclear power..."

So now Chris Mathews is having a fit because he may wake up one morning and the President has launched a strike against Iran without telling him, and putting an emergency call to Congress, which cannot decide whether the President has the authority in the first place? Is there anything in this blasted Constitution which is a fact, or is everything debatable. It seems ludicrous to me that questions like these, supposedly do not have a clear answer. Are we now seriously going to be debating whether the President has authority to strike Iran without alerting the entire world to that fact? Aren't we confusing declaration of war, which requires Congressional authorization. In any event, who the hell thinks that we want to declare war on Iran anyway, other than America's useful idiots, who consider all moves by the Administration as either acts of war or an attack on their personal liberty.

Have we really gone so far that we cannot even reach consensus on what precisely needs to have consensus?

Meanwhile Iran is not confused, and they do not seem to have the communication problems we are having. They know what they want:

Iran's Revolutionary Guards are making preparations for a massive assault on U.S. naval forces and international shipping in the Persian Gulf, according to a former Iranian intelligence officer who defected to the West in 2001.

The plans, which include the use of bottom-tethered mines potentially capable of destroying U.S. aircraft carriers, were designed to counter a U.S. land invasion and to close the Strait of Hormuz, the defector said in a phone interview from his home in Europe.

They would also be triggered if the United States or Israel launched a pre-emptive strike on Iran to knock out nuclear and missile facilities.

"The plan is to stop trade," the source said.

Between 15 and 16.5 million barrels of oil transit the Strait of Hormuz each day, roughly 20 percent of the world's daily oil production, according to the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration.[...]

The NDAJA document was just one part of a larger strike plan to be coordinated by a single operational headquarters that would integrate Revolutionary Guards missile units, strike aircraft, surface and underwater naval vessels, Chinese-supplied C-801 and C-802 anti-shipping missiles, mines, coastal artillery, as well as chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

The overall plans are being coordinated by the intelligence office of the Ministry of Defense, known as HFADA.

Revolutionary Guards missile units have identified "more than 100 targets, including Saudi oil production and oil export centers," the defector said. "They have more than 45 to 50 Shahab-3 and Shahab-4 missiles ready for shooting" against those targets and against Israel, he added.

The defector, Hamid Reza Zakeri, warned the CIA in July 2001 that Iran was preparing a massive attack on America using Arab terrorists flying airplanes, which he said was planned for Sept. 11, 2001. The CIA dismissed his claims and called him a fabricator.

The source also identified a previously unknown nuclear weapons site last year to this writer, which was independently confirmed by three separate intelligence agencies.

Continue reading "Does The President Have The Authority...To Be The President?" »

Monday, April 17, 2006

"Nuclear Jihad"

Nuclear Jihad

Amir Taheri:

"Last Monday, just before he announced that Iran had gatecrashed "the nuclear club", President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad disappeared for several hours. He was having a khalvat (tête-à-tête) with the Hidden Imam, the 12th and last of the imams of Shiism who went into "grand occultation" in 941.

According to Shia lore, the Imam is a messianic figure who, although in hiding, remains the true Sovereign of the World. In every generation, the Imam chooses 36 men, (and, for obvious reasons, no women) naming them the owtad or "nails", whose presence, hammered into mankind's existence, prevents the universe from "falling off". Although the "nails" are not known to common mortals, it is, at times, possible to identify one thanks to his deeds. It is on that basis that some of Ahmad-inejad's more passionate admirers insist that he is a "nail", a claim he has not discouraged. For example, he has claimed that last September, as he addressed the United Nations' General Assembly in New York, the "Hidden Imam drenched the place in a sweet light".

Last year, it was after another khalvat that Ahmadinejad announced his intention to stand for president. Now, he boasts that the Imam gave him the presidency for a single task: provoking a "clash of civilisations" in which the Muslim world, led by Iran, takes on the "infidel" West, led by the United States, and defeats it in a slow but prolonged contest that, in military jargon, sounds like a low intensity, asymmetrical war.

In Ahmadinejad's analysis, the rising Islamic "superpower" has decisive advantages over the infidel. Islam has four times as many young men of fighting age as the West, with its ageing populations. Hundreds of millions of Muslim "ghazis" (holy raiders) are keen to become martyrs while the infidel youths, loving life and fearing death, hate to fight. Islam also has four-fifths of the world's oil reserves, and so controls the lifeblood of the infidel. More importantly, the US, the only infidel power still capable of fighting, is hated by most other nations.

According to this analysis, spelled out in commentaries by Ahmadinejad's strategic guru, Hassan Abassi, known as the "Dr Kissinger of Islam", President George W Bush is an aberration, an exception to a rule under which all American presidents since Truman, when faced with serious setbacks abroad, have "run away". Iran's current strategy, therefore, is to wait Bush out. And that, by "divine coincidence", corresponds to the time Iran needs to develop its nuclear arsenal, thus matching the only advantage that the infidel enjoys.

Moments after Ahmadinejad announced "the atomic miracle", the head of the Iranian nuclear project, Ghulamreza Aghazadeh, unveiled plans for manufacturing 54,000 centrifuges, to enrich enough uranium for hundreds of nuclear warheads. "We are going into mass production," he boasted.

The Iranian plan is simple: playing the diplomatic game for another two years until Bush becomes a "lame-duck", unable to take military action against the mullahs, while continuing to develop nuclear weapons.

Continue reading ""Nuclear Jihad"" »

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Christian Virtue Of Hope

The Christian Virtue Of Hope
"The Resurrection" by El Greco 1577-79, Church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo, Toledo

Today, as we Christians celebrate the Resurrection of our beloved Christ, I share with you all an essay written by my dear friend Kenny Pierce specially for Easter Sunday at All Things Beautiful:

"The thing about Easter is that Gethsemane is part and parcel of it. The New Testament ties Christ’s glory directly to His suffering...and then it goes on to tie our glory to suffering.

...he humbled himself and became obedient, even to death on a cross. For this reason God has exalted him and given him the name that is above every name...
...I consider that our present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us...
...we will share in his glory, if so be that we share in his sufferings...
...I fill up in my body what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ...
...they rejoiced that they had been counted worthy to share in the sufferings of Christ...

Alexandra and I have a Jewish friend whose value is above rubies; he has a deeper and more sympathetic understanding of Christianity than I can ever hope to have of Judaism, along with a generosity of spirit and humility that I find admirable in the highest degree. It is fascinating to me to see how the teachings of Christianity are reflected in the prism of my friend’s emotional reactions, which of course are quite different from my own in many respects – under ordinary circumstances the emotional reactions you get from non-Christians have actually very little to do with Christian doctrine because they are usually emotional reactions to something that your non-Christian friend thinks is Christian doctrine but in fact is not. To know a person of high character and good will who is not a Christian but whose emotional reactions to Christian doctrine are genuinely reactions to the actual doctrines themselves...well, if you are yourself a Christian then I hope that in your life you find even a single such friend, so that you can see yourself and religion from the outside, with both clarity and charity.

Our friend (the “Guest at the Feast”) and I both comment frequently over at Alexandra's salon of a blog, and some time ago he said in passing something along the lines of how he thought God was merciful enough not to require "the awful sacrifice of himself," or "the abhorrent sacrifice of himself," or something along those lines -- I don't remember the exact words but clearly the Guest feels revulsion toward the idea of the crucifixion as sacrificial atonement. I started to write up a refutation but refutation doesn’t often do either party much good and instead I decided to live, if I could, in his emotions for a while, to try to bring into focus what was the emotional disagreement rather than the factual one. Of course I doubt I really felt what our friend felt, but I could at least do him the honor of trying.

(Let me emphasize here that this is the first the Guest has heard about this -- I have a long list of things I'd love to hear the Guest talk about and this was pretty far down the list, and I hadn't gotten around to raising this particular subject with him. So you certainly ought not hold the Guest responsible for the feelings I attribute to him; they are the product of my imagination and probably he doesn't really feel that way at all. His casual remark was my point de depart, that's all; and this meditation is about Easter and suffering and hope, not really about the Guest.)

As I settled in, I found my thoughts running in familiar channels, for of course this is hardly the first time a non-Christian friend has expressed the opinion that the God of Christianity is an insufficiently merciful God, as a truly merciful God would not exact such a horrific revenge before agreeing to overlook sin. I have never known how to communicate effectively that the Christian God is simply a more extreme God than the God my non-Christian friends seem to imagine. The God of Christianity (biblical Christianity, I mean, not Jack Spong’s God of Ultimate Political Correctness) is a terrible, terrifying God: He is a God Who wipes out practically the whole human race at a stroke in a flood, Who swallows the evil in earthquakes, Who orders the Israelites to commit genocide because of the detestable practices of the doomed culture, Who strikes a man dead simply because he puts his hand on the Ark of the Covenant to steady it or simply because he claims to be donating the entire price of a field when he’s only donating most of it, Who curses the entire human race for the choices of a single man and a single woman, Whose Angel of Death kills the firstborn of all Egypt, Who rains fire and brimstone upon Sodom, Who hands His own people over to conquest and oppression because they defy His Law, Whose holiness is so intolerable that even Moses and Elijah must hide their faces from His glory lest they be consumed, and that Isaiah finds that a burning coal on his theretofore unclean lips is less torment than the sight of the Lord, the King of Glory.

The Guest, as well as most of my casually semi-religious Gentile friends who say things like “I believe in the New Testament God of love, not the Old Testament God of wrath,” seems to me not so much to underestimate how evil the human race is, as to underestimate how blazing and all-consuming is God’s holiness – and that His holiness is intrinsic to His nature and not something He can choose to set aside. The Passion and the Atonement make no sense unless you see that God Himself faced an intolerable dilemma because He cannot choose to be other than He is; and His holiness (for reasons beyond my understanding) requires atonement on the scale of His holiness; any atonement we could offer falls as far short of the atonement His holiness requires as our own holiness falls below His. Our God is a consuming fire, and dreadful it is to fall into His hands.

Continue reading "The Christian Virtue Of Hope" »

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ring A Ring A Rumsfeld


"A Pocket Full Of Poesies" by Peter Howson 1992, Private Collection, London

When you're President, you get lots of free advice. Some of it is well-intentioned; much of it is not. Here is why I think so many liberals are anxious for President Bush to replace Rumsfeld: they have staked a great deal on the proposition that the Iraq war has not gone well, and, in fact, has been a disaster. But they are troubled because they are not at all sure that is true. By any reasonable standard, casualties have been low and Iraq's progress toward democracy has been impressive. This doesn't mean the project couldn't still go off the rails; it clearly could. But it is also possible--likely, I think--that the Iraqis will succeed in forming a government, violence will continue to decline, our troops levels will be substantially reduced, and, in a year or two, the consensus will be that the war was pretty successful after all. This, I think, is what liberals fear most. They want President Bush to stipulate, in effect, that the war has been poorly conducted and has been a failure. That's the way in which firing Rumsfeld would rightly be interpreted. This would largely insulate liberals against the consequences if the war does, in fact, turn out to be successful. The same logic, I think, explains why liberals are always hectoring President Bush to "admit his mistakes." What they fear, deep down, is that the President's policies haven't been mistakes at all.

Having grappled with this subject for a couple of days now, I feel that my initial gut response to this has been one of very little surprise. I have been expecting the old guard of Generals to turn on Rumsfeld much earlier, in view of his drastic reforms he proposed and carried out, transforming the Department of Defense into a fast moving efficient war machine and cutting out a lot of the bureaucratic cancer which had set in during the Cold War. He was bound to step on some big corns of the old uniformed military guard, who have eventually come out in full flush to call for his resignation as Defense Secretary.

The President is steadfastly supporting his chief and "interrupted his Easter vacation yesterday to offer an unequivocal vote of confidence in Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in a move aimed at countering a growing wave of criticism from retired generals calling for the Pentagon chief to resign over his leadership of the Iraq war."

Continue reading "Ring A Ring A Rumsfeld" »

Friday, April 14, 2006

God’s Love Knows No Bounds

God’s Love Knows No Bounds
"Washing of Feet" by Giotto di Bondone 1304-06 Fresco, Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua, Italy

God’s love knows no bounds but can be refused as did Judas who valued Jesus in terms of power and success and for whom only power and success were real and love did not count.

Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI performed the washing of the feet on 12 men. The deed that Jesus carried out is, in the Pontiff’s words, a gesture of love that knows no bounds, one that can be refused according to the Gospel’s tradition. “It is pride that fails to confess and acknowledge that we need purification. In Judas we see the nature of this refusal.”

Judas “values Jesus in terms of power and success. For him only power and success are real; love does not count. His greed for money is more important than communion with Jesus, more important than God and His love. And so he lies, double-crosses and breaks away from the truth. He lives in lies and loses the sense of the supreme truth of God. This way he becomes hardened, incapable of conversion and going back as a prodigal son, and throws away his destroyed life.”

In the gesture of “washing the feet” we see the “God’s holiness, which is not only an incandescent power before which we must pull back terrified, but is also the power of love and because of this is a purifying and healing power. God descends becoming slave; he washes our feet so that we can be at the table. The mystery of Jesus Christ is in all this. In this, what redemption is becomes clear. The bath in which we cleanse ourselves is his love readied to face death. Only love has this purifying strength that wipes away filth end elevates us to God’s heights. The bath that purifies us is He himself who gives Himself totally to us, as far as the depth of His suffering and death. He is continually this love that cleanses. In the Sacraments of purification—baptism and the sacrament of penitence—He is continually kneeling before our feet and serving us as a slave, [performing] the service of purification that makes us capable of God. His love is inexhaustible; it really goes on till the end.”

But today, “what does ‘washing of the feet, concretely mean? Every deed of goodness for our fellows, especially for the suffering and those held in low regard, is like the service of the washing of the feet. The Lord calls us to do this, step down [from our pedestal], learn to be humble, have the courage to be good and available to accept refusal, and yet trust goodness and persevere in it. But there is also a deeper dimension. The Lord wipes away our filth with the purifying force of his goodness. Washing one another’s feet means above all forgiving one another other tirelessly, always ready to start together anew even when it seems pointless. It means purifying one another by helping each other and accepting that others help us; [it means] purifying one another by giving each other the hallow strength of God’s word and introducing ourselves to the Sacrament of Divine Love.”

Continue reading "God’s Love Knows No Bounds" »

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Do You Fear Christian Theocracy In America?

Do You Fear Christian Theocracy In America?
"Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane" by Sebastiano Conca 1746, Pinacoteca, Vatican

Today is the day when we as Christians think of Christ our Lord, the fast approaching night of his betrayal, and The Passion that follows. Today is the day when our friends the Jews celebrate Passover, and are deep in prayer until sundown. David Bernstein @ The Volokh Conspiracy is running his first Passover Seder and introducing The Passover Bag.

Patrick O’Hannigan, one of my favorite bloggers and a dear friend, has written an excellent essay making a playful rendition of the idea of a Christian Theocracy in America, and how it might affect our every day life. I have always respected Patrick’s opinion and admired his vast Theological knowledge and his amazing ability to explore that knowledge in an ever thought provoking dialogue:

"[...] Some people fear George W. Bush not because his policies keep them up at night, but because the Christianity he brings without guile or apology to an under-dressed public square marks him as the chief scout for what they imagine is a theocracy coming soon to the United States. Anyone trying to confront this fear must come at it on two fronts, the personal and the political. [...]

George W. Bush has been refreshingly blunt about naming evil when he sees it, but he joins past presidents in standing foursquare for religious freedom, and his penchant for “reading people’s hearts” (as he said he’d done with erstwhile Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers) suggests that his administration’s policies are informed more by liberal pabulum than by rigid orthodoxy, even of the so-called “compassionate conservative” variety. Moreover, the president belongs to a Christian denomination that stresses personal rather than communal aspects of worship. Apart from these uniquely Bushian checks on megalomania, the idea of an American Christian theocracy must also be dismissed for political reasons, because American Christians are a fractious bunch. We can and do find common ground on many issues, but we might also thank the Founders for having spared us the drudgery of parliamentary forms that put a premium on coalition-building.

Were America to renounce secular mores in favor of some kind of constitutional theocracy, we Christians would have more work to do than linking hands to sing “what a friend we have in Jesus.” And a sizable number of us would warn anyone who cared to listen about the arrogance of trying to build the kingdom of heaven on earth. In other words, if hippies gave therapy a jump start by growing old enough to sell out to “the Man” and feel guilty about it, wait’ll you see what happens when people who belong to Christ realize that Uncle Sam demands more of their time.[...]

Is it any wonder that “godly government” ranks as one of those areas where, as Robert Browning famously put it, “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” All that said, it’s fun to speculate about what an American Christian theocracy might act like, in the extremely unlikely event that it ever came to pass.

Continue reading "Do You Fear Christian Theocracy In America?" »

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What Does Iran Really Want

What Does Iran Really Want

I can of course continue repeating the endless tug of war currently playing out in international diplomatic circles:

Jack Straw, the [British] Foreign Secretary, has called on Iran to demonstrate by "words and actions" that it was not trying to acquire a nuclear weapon.

"The Iranian regime must demonstrate by its words and actions that it is not seeking nuclear weapons. The latest Iranian statement further undermines international confidence in the Iranian regime and is deeply unhelpful."

He added: "We will remain in close contact with our international partners, whose strong reactions show the depth of international concern there is about Iran's activities."

Mr Straw said he was "seriously concerned" by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announcement yesterday that Tehran had succeeded in enriching uranium - a crucial step in developing a bomb.

And he warned of "further diplomatic measures" against Iran if it failed to heed the demands of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) - the world nuclear watchdog - and the United Nations Security Council to suspend enrichment work.

And I could continue with:

Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, upped the pressure further, urging the Security Council to take "strong steps" against Iran in light of yesterday's announcement.

Mohammed ElBaradei, The IAEA director general, who was due to visit Iran today, is scheduled to report back to the Security Council by the end of the month.

Attempts to impose international sanctions on the regime would have to overcome the reluctance of Russia and China, both of whom wield a veto as permanent Security Council members.

But that would really be a waste of time, wouldn't it. Nothing will come of it, as the lines in the sand have already been drawn.

Especially the lines of partisan politics; with one exception, though. Thug-In-Chief Ahmadinejad's infamous announcement seems to have killed any serious debate stone dead as to whether a military intervention to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb was on the cards.

Judging from the recent flurry of commentary, this seems no longer the real issue, but a foregone conclusion--I am discounting those who advocate diplomatic efforts without being backed by a credible threat of military actions, for they are simply pipe-dreams.

His announcement did however cause broadly speaking two kinds of reactions amongst both sides of the isle.

Republicans, aware of the bigger picture, are looking for international allies who might support the U.S. during the preemptive strikes; they are also working hard to determine who our foes are, both overtly and covertly. One fine example is Ed Morrissey's take on Saudis' visit to Moscow.

Democrats in turn are busy dishing out blame--nothing new there--on the basis that the U.S. military cannot accomplish the mission and that, if attempted nonetheless, the adverse effects would be detrimental.

Hugh Hewitt believes this to be the biggest debate of all. However, it seems to me, that in order for this debate to be genuinely acknowledged, it must be predicated upon a proper understanding of what threat we are facing. We must somehow achieve consensus on the answer to the question of all questions: "What Do The Iranian Leaders Really Want".

Continue reading "What Does Iran Really Want" »

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Out Of Time Part II

Out Of Time Part II
"The Opening of the Fifth Seal of the Apocalypse" by El Greco, (1608-1614), Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Princeton University erroneously attributed to Metropolitican)

UPDATE: "I'm announcing officially that Iran has now joined the countries that have nuclear technology," Ahmadinejad said in a carefully staged speech carried live across Iran. "This is a very historic moment, and this is because of the Iranian people and their belief. And this is the start of the progress of this country."

"We are saying again that the nuclear technology is only for the purpose of peace and nothing else," Ahmadinejad said

As I have said before we are Out Of Time. It has become increasingly obvious that when (not if) Thug-In-Chief Ahmadinejad fails to comply with United Nations demands to freeze their uranium enrichment program, a strike will indeed become necessary, and assessing the consequences of such an action becomes imperative. Now mid way through the 30 day period the UN has given Iran to cease all work toward enrichment, we get this announcement. It's pretty much obviously too late for diplomatic efforts or sanctions for that matter. ElBaradei is off to 'inspect' this week, and I am dying to know what his 'findings' will be, against such a backdrop of blatant defiance. Perhaps we'll have to take 'The Firm Stand Against Iran: "No More Trips to The Paris Collections"' Yeah right.

The West Can't Let Iran Have The Bomb.

With each week that passes, Iran's ayatollahs move closer to their goal of building an atom bomb.

This is not misinformed propaganda pumped out by trigger-happy yahoos on the wilder fringes of America's Republican Party. This is the opinion of the dedicated teams of nuclear experts attached to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, whose task it is to sift through the highly complex science surrounding Iran's nuclear program and to provide a considered judgment to the UN Security Council on the Iranians' ultimate objectives.

During three years of painstaking negotiations with Iran, Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel peace laureate who heads the IAEA, went out of his way to play along with the charade that Iran's nuclear ambitions were entirely peaceful and designed to develop an indigenous nuclear power industry. This, after all, is a country with known oil reserves in excess of 90 billion barrels, more than enough to meet its energy needs well into the next century.
Mr ElBaradei was even prepared to accept at face value the Iranians' shame-faced admission that their failure to disclose the existence of their massive nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz was no more than a bureaucratic oversight.

When the inspectors were finally granted admission, they were dumb-founded to find themselves in a 250,000-acre complex containing two vast underground bomb-proof bunkers designed for enriching uranium to weapons grade.

Mr ElBaradei is now prepared to concede that the Iranians have run out of excuses, and Teheran has been given until April 29 to implement a total freeze on its nuclear enrichment activities at Natanz and its other key plants, or face the wrath of the Security Council.

Well, I don't know what ElBaradei was playing at, but the astonishing admission of one of Iran's top officials, that they were playing games with the IAEA so as to gain more time to complete their true nuclear ambitions, namely the acquisition of a nuclear bomb, as I revealed exclusively already in February, is something that ElBaradei certainly cannot deny anymore. I have never trusted that man, and his image as the Director General caught sleeping at the wheel grow more suspicious every day.

It does not make us look particularly good when in August last year a major U.S. intelligence review projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the new analysis.

Now we are told, that the Iranians have started creating the plutonium in the 1990's, with the help of the Russians no doubt, some sixteen years ago, rather than three years ago, as we originally thought.

Mark Steyn as you all know is one of my favorite writers, and I love to have any excuse for featuring his articles whenever possible. It just so happens that we have another brilliant one today on the looming danger of Iran:

Continue reading "Out Of Time Part II" »

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Immigration Chip


Further to my recent post 'A Chance For A Better Life', the subject of immigration is still the hot button issue, threatening future presidency prospects for some, and getting both the left and the right in a state of a political and legislative gridlock. The ever brilliant Mark Steyn has the 'answer':

Here's my immigration "compromise": We need to regularize the situation of the 298 million non-undocumented residents of the United States. Right now, we get a lousy deal compared with the 15 million fine upstanding members of the Undocumented American community. I think the 298 million of us in the over-documented segment of the population should get the chance to be undocumented. You know when President Bush talks about all those undocumented people "living in the shadows"? Doesn't that sound kinda nice? Living in the shadows, no government agencies harassing you for taxes and numbers and paperwork.[...]

Given that the new immigration "compromise" bill retrospectively approves all the millions of people who've been through the super-efficient Luis Martinez-Flores immigration system but without doing anything to improve the sclerotic U.S. government immigration system, maybe it would be better just to subcontract the entire operation to Senor Martinez-Flores and his colleagues. It would certainly be cheaper. The extensive Undocumented American support network manages to run it out of the back of the car from a parking lot without a lot of air-conditioned offices full of lifetime employees on government pensions, and given that the net result is exactly the same people who'd be living here anyway, why not go with the lowball bid? Legal immigrants to the United States can only envy the swift efficient service Messrs. Hani Hanjour and Khalid Almihdhar received outside that 7-Eleven.[...]

With all due respect to the President, we surely cannot even begin talking about guest worker programs, until we secure our borders and enforce immigration laws. Whatever happened to The Minuteman Project, which was sabotaged by the MSM and snubbed with great disdain by the ACLU and Co. dubbed as a vigilante project.

Continue reading "The Immigration Chip" »

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Gospel Of Judas


"The Holy Family with the infant St. John the Baptist (the Doni tondo)" by Michelangelo c.1506, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

An early Christian manuscript, including the only known text of what is known as the Gospel of Judas, has surfaced after 1,700 years. The text gives new insights into the relationship of Jesus and the disciple who betrayed him, scholars reported today. In this version, Jesus asked Judas, as a close friend, to sell him out to the authorities, telling Judas he will "exceed" the other disciples by doing so.

Though some theologians have hypothesized this, scholars who have studied the new-found text said, this is the first time an ancient document defends the idea.

The discovery in the desert of Egypt of the leather-bound papyrus manuscript, and now its translation, was announced by the National Geographic Society at a news conference in Washington. The 26-page Judas text is said to be a copy in Coptic, made around A. D. 300, of the original Gospel of Judas, written in Greek the century before.[...]

Unlike the accounts in the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the anonymous author of the Gospel of Judas believed that Judas Iscariot alone among the 12 disciples understood the meaning of Jesus' teachings and acceded to his will. In the diversity of early Christian thought, a group known as Gnostics believed in a secret knowledge of how people could escape the prisons of their material bodies and return to the spiritual realm from which they came.

Elaine Pagels, a professor of religion at Princeton who specializes in studies of the Gnostics, said in a statement, "These discoveries are exploding the myth of a monolithic religion, and demonstrating how diverse — and fascinating — the early Christian movement really was."

Continue reading "The Gospel Of Judas" »

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Touch Of Evil

Touch Of Evil

Oh well, since we are in full swing, we might as well continue with the conspiracies. But don't be fooled; the spreading of these seemingly idiotic conspiracy theories are serving a much bigger purpose, you could say, the mother of all conspiracies. But more of that later:

United States churches are secretly run by Jews who converted to Christianity with the intention of controlling religious Americans including President Bush, a top Hamas official claims.

"Even the churches where the Americans pray are led by Jews who were converted to Christianity, but they were converted to keep controlling the Americans," Mohammad Abu Tir, the number two Hamas terrorist in the newly formed Palestinian Authority government said during an exclusive interview from his home yesterday with top radio host Rusty Humphries and WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein.

"I made a study and I know very well that all this radicalism in some parts of the Christianity, [including] the Anglicans who are being led by Bush, is because of the control of Zionists," said Abu Tir.

The Hamas official, famous for his orange-dyed beard, went on to accuse "Zionists" of controlling Western media organizations and "leading terrorism inside the mass communications media."

Abu Tir was elected to the number two spot in the PA in January's legislative ballots in which Hamas won by a large margin. He spent nearly 25 years in Israeli prisons for directing terror activities, including the attempted poisoning in the early 1990s of Israel's water supplies. [...]

Abu Tir's comments were broadcast Wednesday on Humphries national program, "The Rusty Humphries Show," and featured on more than 230 radio stations nationwide.

Think about this for a moment. Why would the No. 2 In charge chose to talk about this seemingly ridiculous variation of the global Jewish conspiracy quatsch instead of using this rather unique opportunity to address a large portion of the US population to shore up sympathy for the Palestinian people and Hamas' financial crisis?

You will find the answer in (a) the content of the recent publication by Professor John J. Mearsheimer and Dean Stephen Walt, entitled "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy", which I covered in my post "The Israel Lobby" A Perfect Excuse For Anti-Semitism, and (b) the vociferous opposition to the Bush Administration in combination with its equally vilified evangelical ties.

In this context, this initially crazy sounding rant quickly takes on a whole new dimension. What emerges is a deceitful maneuver to shore up support for what is of far greater importance to Hamas: Sowing the seeds of Antisemitism carefully embedded in the widespread rejection of both the religious right as well as the hatred for President Bush and his Administration.

In order to survive financially whilst maintain its sole raison d'être, namely the destruction of the State of Israel and the murder of every single Jew on Arab land for starters, Hamas must use every opportunity to increase suspicion against the Jews in general and the State of Israel in particular, if any of its perfidious overtures are to achieve its objective to loosen the purse strings.

The "Two-State" sham and their inability to get their story straight following the decision of the EU to freeze aid to the Palestinian government, further illustrates not only Hamas' categorical refusal to moderate its genocidal doctrine, but more so, reveals Hamas' internal struggle to reach consensus to what extend mere lip service, indicating any deviation from its holy mission, remains within bounds; that such empty gestures neither compromise nor violate their covenant enshrined in their charter.

Continue reading "Touch Of Evil" »

Friday, April 07, 2006

The President Declassified


What happened:

A former White House aide under indictment for obstructing a leak probe, I. Lewis Libby, testified to a grand jury that he gave information from a closely-guarded "National Intelligence Estimate" on Iraq to a New York Times reporter in 2003 with the specific permission of President Bush, according to a new court filing from the special prosecutor in the case.

The court papers from the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, do not suggest that Mr. Bush violated any law or rule. However, the new disclosure could be awkward for the president because it places him, for the first time, directly in a chain of events that led to a meeting where prosecutors contend the identity of a CIA employee, Valerie Plame, was provided to a reporter.[...]

"Defendant testified that he was specifically authorized in advance of the meeting to disclose the key judgments of the classified NIE to Miller on that occasion because it was thought that the NIE was Ôpretty definitive' against what Ambassador Wilson had said and that the vice president thought that it was Ôvery important' for the key judgments of the NIE to come out," Mr. Fitzgerald wrote.

Mr. Libby is said to have testified that "at first" he rebuffed Mr. Cheney's suggestion to release the information because the estimate was classified. However, according to the vice presidential aide, Mr. Cheney subsequently said he got permission for the release directly from Mr. Bush. "Defendant testified that the vice president later advised him that the president had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions of the NIE," the prosecution filing said.

Continue reading "The President Declassified" »

Daily Kos Is Either At Your Feet Or At Your Throat

Daily Kos Is Either At Your Feet Or At Your Throat
'St George Fighting the Dragon' by Pieter Pauwel Rubens, ca.1606-10 Museo del Prado, Madrid
President St. George W. Bush fighting the evil dragon whilst House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is looking on comforting her sheep as shown in my previous
post 'The Constitution Is Not A Suicide Pact'

Sir Winston Churchill's quote about the Germans some sixty plus years ago "they are either at your feet or at your throat" is as apt today as it was then. Thank you to my friend Gerard van der Leun for the title inspiration.

A while back, I wrote a post called 'Daily Kos Is A Mouthpiece For Kerry's Campaign', and today I find myself laughing once more, as the Daily Kos PR machine is at House Democratic Nancy Pelosi's throat:

House Min Leader Pelosi posts at Daily Kos, promoting her resolution "to hold the Republican Rubber Stamp Congress accountable for its abuse of power and ethical lapses." The first comment is a positive one: "Once again, I'm glad you're my representative. Keep the heat on, and turn it up!" But it's pretty much downhill from there. letsfight: "I am sorry, but the fact that you posted here, just all random and all, and have the AUDACITY to say 'the gloves are off'? Lordy ... you are really out of touch." Nestor Mekhnow: "Count me out Nancy and tell John, since you are so involved in the Senate's affairs and all, that he is as clueless as you. ... The netroots are gonna send you packing lady." beseiged by bush hopes the post wasn't just a cut-and-paste from a DCCC fundraising email. modchick65: "I want to support Nancy Pelosi, and I do appreciate the opportunity at dialogue. But she's got to get it together first."

You may enter the comments section there at your own peril, and watch how they devour their own. Not a pretty sight. One commenter tells Minority Leader Pelosi that the Daily Kos is "not her own personal press release piggybank", another calls her "a troll". Hahahaha, I have not laughed so much in a long time. Have they only just realized that Markos is a marketeer, here is a selection of some of the best:

Continue reading "Daily Kos Is Either At Your Feet Or At Your Throat" »

Thursday, April 06, 2006

They Know Not What They Say

They Know Not What They Say
"Death Of Innocence" by Peter Howson 1989, Private Collection, Greece

Earlier today I highlighted the conspiracy of all conspiracies in "The Charlie Sheen 9/11 Conspiracy Theory".

No need for me to repeat my absolute dismay about such accusations. However, it seems appropriate to remind all of us what a precious privilege 'Freedom of Speech' really is.

Just imagine. Here we have not only celebrities, who, it could be argued, can get away with such outrageous public statements due to their high profile, but hitherto completely unknown, utterly ordinary citizens, who were able to put together a documentary basically accusing the President of the United States of mass murdering his own citizens for reasons of personal gains for himself and his close associates. Next, they even get it published; at first via the Internet and later through professional representation and distribution. I am talking of course about "911 Loose Change".

Can you imagine how quickly these three lads would have disappeared, never to be heard of again in any Islamic or dictatorial regime. So far for the assertion that the Bush Administration is turning the U.S. into a fascist state by some of the more rabid lefties. As usual, they know not of what they speak.

All is well with our free society and free speech you'd argue, right? Wrong, I say.

Why? Because the very fact that people are not afraid to publicly accuse the President of being a Mass Murderer so as to enrich himself and his close associates, an opinion which I am certain is deeply offensive and morally utterly reprehensible to the vast majority of Americans, irrespective of political affiliation, the very fact that they are confident, that no harm will befall them, is in jeopardy.

Continue reading "They Know Not What They Say" »

The Charlie Sheen 9/11 Conspiracy Theory

The Charlie Sheen 9/11 Conspiracy Theory

Over the past two years, scores of highly regarded individuals have gone public to express their serious doubts about 9/11. These include former presidential advisor and CIA analyst Ray McGovern, the father of Reaganomics and former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury Paul Craig Roberts, BYU physics Professor Steven Jones, former German defense minister Andreas von Buelow, former MI5 officer David Shayler, former Blair cabinet member Michael Meacher, former Chief Economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term Morgan Reynolds and many more.

Speaking to The Alex Jones Show on the GCN Radio Network, the star of current hit comedy show Two and a Half Men and dozens of movies including Platoon and Young Guns, Sheen elaborated on why he had problems believing the government's version of events. [...]

"It seems to me like 19 amateurs with box cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75% of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory. It raises a lot of questions."

Sheen described the climate of acceptance for serious discussion about 9/11 as being far more fertile than it was a couple of years ago.

"It feels like from the people I talk to in and around my circles, it seems like the worm is turning."[...]

Regarding building 7, which wasn't hit by a plane, Sheen highlighted the use of the term "pull," a demolition industry term for pulling the outer walls of the building towards the center in an implosion, as was used by Larry Silverstein in a September 2002 PBS documentary when he said that the decision to "pull" building 7 was made before its collapse. This technique ensures the building collapses in its own footprint and can clearly be seen during the collapse of building 7 with the classic 'crimp' being visible.[...]

Sheen then questioned President Bush's actions on 9/11 and his location at the Booker Elementary School in Florida. Once Andy Card had whispered to Bush that America was under attack why didn't the secret service immediately whisk Bush away to a secret location?

By remaining at a location where it was publicly known the President would be before 9/11, he was not only putting his own life in danger, but the lives of hundreds of schoolchildren. That is unless the government knew for sure what the targets were beforehand and that President Bush wasn't one of them.

"It seems to me that upon the revelation of that news that the secret service would grab the President as if he was on fire and remove him from that room," said Sheen.[...]

"Show us this incredible maneuvering, just show it to us. Just show us how this particular plane pulled off these maneuvers. 270 degree turn at 500 miles and hour descending 7,000 feet in two and a half minutes, skimming across treetops the last 500 meters."

Sheen also questioned how the plane basically disappeared into the Pentagon with next to no wreckage and no indication of what happened to the wing sections.

Concerning how the Bush administration had finalized Afghanistan war plans two days before 9/11 with the massing of 44,000 US troops and 18,000 British troops in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and in addition the call for "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor," as outlined in the PNAC documents, Sheen stated, "you don't really put those strategies together overnight do you for a major invasion? Those are really well calculated and really well planned."

"Coincidence? We think not," said Sheen and he called the PNAC quotes "emblematic of the arrogance of this administration."[...]

Mark Twain quote as used by his father Martin Sheen:

"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."

Continue reading "The Charlie Sheen 9/11 Conspiracy Theory" »

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Islamic Impunity

Islamic Impunity

Earlier today, an Australian Judge told two Pakistani brothers to get lost with their extraordinary defense in a rape trial that their strict Islamic upbringing caused them to believe it was OK to rape teenage girls.

A New South Wales Supreme Court judge has rejected a claim by a Sydney gang-rapist that his strict Pakistani upbringing meant he did not know his actions were wrong.

Justice Peter Hidden has today sentenced two Sydney brothers, who can only be known as MSK and MAK, for a range of sexual assaults against two teenage girls at the brothers' home in Ashfield in 2002.

The brothers are already serving lengthy sentences for the gang-rape of two other teenage girls and MSK will now serve up to 28 years in jail, and MAK will serve up to 19 years.

MSK claimed his family's strict moral and cultural upbringing in Pakistan explained his offences, which has angered one of his victims, Tegan Wagner.

"This wasn't about culture, this is about abuse against women and the fact that they had the nerve to bring in culture to begin with just astounds me," she said.

Actually, it is all about culture. It is about the Islamic culture of violence and murder, proselytizing with utter impunity.The 'abuse against women' notion only comes to bear, when those barbarians begin to acknowledge that women have any rights in the first place; when they begin to accept women as equal human beings, which they of course don't.

Justice Hidden also rejected the claim, saying MSK would have been in no doubt that his actions were wrong.

Sure they knew rape is wrong according to every western law and according to our Judea/Christian belief and value system. Much more to the point though, they couldn't care less, don't give a damn. As long as their actions are sanctioned by Muhammad and the Qur'an, their conscience is clear. And that is what they are really saying.

Ms Wagner says she would have liked the jail terms to be longer but that they bring a difficult process to an end.

"The fact that they are behind bars is good," she said. "I would have liked to have a larger sentence for all the girls, I would like a larger sentence for all of us, but I mean, I'm ok with what was given."

Not that we needed any additional evidence that Rape, Murder and Pillaging form the core values of a "strict moral and cultural upbringing in Pakistan", but, I guess it is worth to hear it from the horse's mouth from time to time.


Shocking world wide statistics on the holocaust of women, given by one of my heroines Hirsi Ali in a great article published by The Herald Tribune. Thank you to Huan.

Linked @ Mudville Gazette. The Real Ugly American

The Homeland Late Night Stalker

The Homeland Late Night Stalker
Courtesy of Bob Elsdale

What is wrong with these people?

The White House had better wake up and start doing background checks that go beyond whether a high ranking Government official has paid a parking ticket, and move into the 'burning the midnight oil' check.

Well now I 've got that off my chest, I can safely say it's practically impossible to do. Ahem:

Brian J. Doyle, DOB 4/7/50, the Deputy Press Secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., was arrested this evening at his residence in Silver Springs, Maryland, on 23 Polk County charges related to the use of a computer to seduce a child and transmitting harmful materials to a minor. Doyle's arrest is the result of a joint investigation by the Polk County Sheriff s Office, working with Florida’s 10th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Jerry Hill s office, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Inspector General s Office.

On March 12, 2006, Doyle contacted a 14-year-old girl whose profile was posted on the Internet, and initiated a sexually explicit conversation with her. The girl was actually an undercover Polk County Sheriff s Computer Crimes detective. Doyle knew that the girl was 14 years old, and he told her who he was and that he worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. During future online chats, Doyle gave the undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old girl his office phone number and his government-issued cell phone number, so that they could have telephone conversations, in addition to their online chatting. Doyle used the Internet to send hard-core pornographic movie clips to the girl and used the AOL Instant Messenger chat service to have explicit sexual conversations with her. The investigation revealed that the phone numbers given to the detective were in fact Doyle s, and that the AOL account used was registered to Doyle. Doyle also sent photos of himself to the detective, which were not sexually explicit but did serve to further positively identify him. [Read the whole thing]

The Week Magazine Blogger Of The Year (I love saying that) Ed Morrissey:

Continue reading "The Homeland Late Night Stalker" »

The Eye Of The Beholder (MALKIN UPDATE)

In The Eye Of The Beholder


No, this won't do.

Those of you who have been following my comment threads for the past few weeks have been witnessing and at times engaged with one of my commenters who has made it his business to boisterously oppose most opinions of mine and those voiced by my commenters. No problem with that.

Many times we debated and both myself and my commenters offered many links to support our various positions. But when the tables were turned, and detailed requests for supporting controversial assertions remained unanswered, a detailed list was submitted. The answer, "When in Rome...", suggesting that opinions and positions on my blog are not backed up with links or sources. Whilst predictable, it caused me to sit back and to reflect about the type of person who would make such an obviously false claim and to analyze who we are dealing with.

It seemed to me, that nobody should just come along and make all these very detailed assertions and accusations and, when asked to support any of them, expect us to do his work. Worse still, that is what we have been doing all this time; yet everything has only been dismissed in a manner, which only ever confirmed contempt for our values and beliefs. I realized, that this type of person is truly intoxicated with his or her own self-righteousness. It occurred to me, that the refusal of this kind of opposition to support its assertions and accusations, reduces most of it to nothing more than hate-speech devoid of any substance and nothing more than juvenile attempts to spread poisonous propaganda.

I also had to laugh; all the various characterizations of Republicans describe in fact my view of this type of person to the core. Reading the comment section, I was reminded of the beauty of these exchanges in so far as that all participants are judged only by what they say and how they say it; only by their written conduct. And what stood out, was the consistent display of one of the worst traits: always tearing down what others have build; always assuming 20/20 vision after the fact, whilst arrogantly claiming the "I told you so" posture.

Continue reading "The Eye Of The Beholder (MALKIN UPDATE)" »

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The DeLay Factor

The DeLay Factor
"Seated Figure" by Francis Bacon 1978, Private Collection

O.K. so by now we all know

Rep. Tom DeLay, whose iron hold on the House Republicans melted as a lobbying corruption scandal engulfed the Capitol, told TIME that he will not seek reelection and will leave Congress within months. Taking defiant swipes at "the left" and the press, he said he feels "liberated" and vowed to pursue an aggressive speaking and organizing campaign aimed at promoting foster care, Republican candidates and a closer connection between religion and government.

The vultures are already circling.

Ed Morrissey adequately sums up what I feel about the issue, and I too am sorry to see him go under the circumstances:

DeLay coldly calculated that in a strong Republican district, a GOP candidate unencumbered by the kind of baggage he carries could win easily, while his candidacy would likely require a lot of help from the national organization. In this election, that money and energy should go elsewhere to help the Republicans hang onto their majority in the lower chamber. Losing control in the House makes it more likely that the Democrats will pursue impeachment of George Bush, and DeLay may have taken one for the team here

Continue reading "The DeLay Factor" »

The Bitter Truth

The Bitter Truth
"Cain" or "Hitler in Hell" by George Grosz 1944, Private Collection

When it rains it pours!

Putin is increasingly likely to find himself with egg on his face when Iranian rockets and possibly nuclear strikes destroy its enemies, Israel being the first in line. It won't take long until the World will ask where the lunatic Mullahs got the weapons from and why so much earlier than expected.

Ever since Thug-In-Chief Ahmadinejad revealed his apocalyptic visions, Putin has been watching helplessly how the West is catching up with his past shady dealings with Iran, all well hidden under the table. And as we learn from the absolute must read "The Origins of Terror" by the brilliant John Radzilowski, Iran is literally just the tip of the iceberg in Russia's and the former Soviet Union's longstanding and systematic support and training of virtually all of today's terrorist organizations.

There is the issue of 250 Ukrainian nuclear warheads, which never made it back to Russia in the 90s but, as is suspected, instead were sold to our Mullah friends in Iran. And as I said yesterday, there is the Russian connection for the underwater missile recently tested--one of Iran's Generals, Fadavi, kindly informed us that Russia was the only other country that had a missile capable of moving underwater as fast as the Iranian one. And now we learn, that thanks to Putin, "Tehran has become the newest member of the international space club", which specialists believe adds another building block to Iran's nuclear program. "In that sense, it is the newest piece of the Iranian atomic puzzle."

As I have said before, Putin wants to control the global Oil supply side and Iran is his trump card. Too bad for him, that he will have to admit that rather then playing Iran, it becomes increasingly clear that he was played by the Mullahs. They used him in their master plan to control the Middle East oil reserves. Spangler confirms:

The new generation of Iranian leaders whose entire life has been the revolution know their purity of heart, and their proven capacity to sacrifice in the terrible war with Iraq.

To Ahmadinejad and his contemporaries, the entire world appears as a vast conspiracy to prevent them from having what rightfully is theirs: dominance of the Middle East from the Mediterranean to the Caspian, and eventually, much more. They know with absolutely certainty that they cannot fail, that the United States will withdraw from the region in confusion, and that they shall triumph.

There is no way to communicate reality to Ahmadinejad and his generation of militant theocrats except to demonstrate that [they] can fail, by making them fail in the most visible and obvious fashion. [...]

Washington's best course of action would be to launch an aerial attack on Iran's nuclear capacities as quickly as possible, making clear that Iran simply will not be allowed to realize its imperial ambitions in the region. Even better would be the combination of an aerial attack and a blockade of Iranian oil exports as well as Iranian gasoline imports.

The West could withstand a 5% reduction in global oil supplies, and preempting the oil weapon would eliminate a great many illusions in the Islamic world.

The problem is, we may win the fight, but are we ready for the war? Iran makes it clear that should we attack Iran's nuclear capacities, it will retaliate by unleashing a wave of global terror. The nerve!

"Iran is the No. 1 world sponsor of terrorism," said Richard Clarke, ABC consultant and former national security official.


"Iran has a host of instruments they could throw at us, and they are much better organized and well-equipped than al Qaeda. And in the event of a U.S. attack on Iran, you could expect attacks on the U.S."

Continue reading "The Bitter Truth" »

Monday, April 03, 2006

Out Of Time

Out Of Time
"Blind Power" by Rudolf Schlichter 1937, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin

In fact some proof of Iran's preparations against possible sanctions were given two days ago by the Swiss daily La Liberte. Since last fall, rumors of Iran's transfer of assets from European institutions to Arab ones have been numerous. But La Liberte affirmed that they have confirmed that at least 250 tons of gold were transferred from Credit Suisse Zurich in three charter planes of Iran Air in October and November. The initial info came from an Iranian Communist opposition group which provided the Swiss daily with records from the Central Bank of Iran pertaining about that gold transfer. La Liberte confirmed this information with credible Swiss sources and even Credit Suisse did not deny it.

The opposition group is claiming that up to 700 tons of gold and $20 billion were actually transferred out of Switzerland during last fall. That group also stated that during a fall meeting of the Iranian leadership under the auspices of Ayatollah Khameini other conclusions were reached. Some of them are: the continuation of the enrichment of uranium, the necessary Iranian help the USA is going to need in Iraq, the US's lack of resolve re Iran after the Iraqi experience, the weakness of the Israeli leadership... This leading to the conclusion that Iran must seize the opportunity now and move forward.

So the transfer of assets in Swiss banks was decided then. Allegedly this money and gold made it to mostly Dubai and Abu Dhabi banks, some of which are owned by Ayatollah Rafsanjani and Russian financiers. Lastly Asian financial institutions received some of these assets: it is not by chance that Iranian president Ahmadinejad announced in February a $2 billion deal to build a refinery in Indonesia.

I have covered this before in several posts, least of which is 'The Road To Allah Paved With Gold', the groundbreaking 'MSM Ignores Iran's Admission Of Guilt', and Iran Is Building A Nuclear Weapon.

The British Government is to hold high-level secret talks with defense chiefs today to discuss possible US led military strikes against Iran, designed to destroy Iran's ability to develop a nuclear bomb. The MOD is denying it.

It has become increasingly obvious that if Thug-In-Chief Ahmadinejad fails to comply with United Nations demands to freeze their uranium enrichment program, this strike will indeed become necessary, and assessing the consequences of such an action becomes imperative.

Continue reading "Out Of Time" »

Sunday, April 02, 2006

'War Of Words'

War Of Words
"The Colossus" by Francisco De Goya 1810, The Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

I haven't much quoted Senator John McCain on this blog, but his Thursday address on the United States Senate floor regarding the Border Security Bill needs to be heard:

Mr. President, the Senate is beginning debate on a very important and complex subject that is among the most difficult and divisive we face. Our nation's immigration system is broken. And without comprehensive immigration reform, our nation's security will remain vulnerable. That is why we must act.

I think McCain isn't exaggerating when he describes the Immigration debate as "most difficult and divisive"; this is shaping up to be a real test for all the American people to balance compassion and the memory of the roots of our immigrating ancestors with natural instincts wishing to safeguard economic livelihoods for existing US citizens.

The obvious danger is a massive escalation of xenophobic rhetoric. That should have been avoided at all costs but after last week's demonstration, seems to be inevitable. The President and most members of the 94-member House Immigration Reform Caucus have thus far dealt with the issue in a moderate and sensible manner, but midterm election pressures have driven more into the Tom Tancredo "No-to-Amnesty" camp, pandering to hardliner voters. Tancredo said Thursday, "Amnesty and foreign workers are fundamentally incompatible with the House's approach and, according to every recent poll, they are not what Americans want".

Well, not so according to a Time Magazine poll on Friday, claiming that "...a lopsided majority of the American public, 72%, favor a "guest worker" program in a head-to-head match-up over a House bill that would criminalize illegal immigration". In fairness, Mickey Kaus is right to question these results and does a great job at highlighting why. But that still leaves a majority behind the President and his Guest Worker program. Crime is an issue, no doubt, but it needs to be dealt with on a local level not by 'war of words'. Because any talk of deportation is precisely that and nothing else. McCain tells it like it is:

The vast majority of individuals attempting to cross our borders do not intend to harm our country; they are coming to meet our demand for labor and to earn money to feed their families. By the Border Patrol’s own estimates, 99% of those apprehended coming across the border are doing so for work. However, the Border Patrol is overwhelmed by these individuals. They cannot possibly apprehend every crosser being smuggled in, no matter how many resources we provide. That is why any immigration legislation that passes Congress must establish a legal channel for workers to enter the United States after they have passed background checks and have secured employment. Then we can free up federal officials to focus on those individuals intending to do harm through drug smuggling, human trafficking and terrorism.

Continue reading "'War Of Words'" »

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Premonition Of "The Night"

Premonition Of The Night
"The Night" by Max Beckmann 1918-19, Kunstsammlung Düsseldorf, Germany

My love for fine art caused me to stumble over a potentially tragic irony set against the historical backdrop of the period between WW-I and WW-II. Artists like Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Otto Dix, Ludwig Meidner and Kurt Schwitters, to name a few, were all 'lefties' to put it mildly. They were all united in their early understanding and predictions of the horrors to come from Nazi Germany. Yet few listened.

Today, all is turned upside down; their ideological heirs are the ones who bury their heads in the sand and pretend Islamofascism doesn't exist, poses no threat to them or indeed to us all. Instead, conservatives are recognizing the dangers ahead of time and suffer the scorn and ridicule for it from the lefties of today. What happened?

It's a big question, and I would like to start by debunking some of the most notorious fallacies with which our Liberal friends lull themselves into a false sense of security or, at times, intellectual superiority. Victor David Hanson, one of my favorite authors, does it best as he takes on the anti-war mongers amongst us. Point by point he refutes the favorite accusations leveled against the Administration:

1. Saddam was never connected to al Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11.

2. There was no real threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

3. The United Nations and our allies were justifiably opposed on principle to the invasion.

4. A small cabal of neoconservative (and mostly Jewish) intellectuals bullied the administration into a war that served Israel’s interest more than our own.

5. Saddam could not be easily deposed, or at least he could not be successfully replaced with a democratic government.

6. The architects of this war and the subsequent occupation are mostly inept (“dangerously incompetent”) — and are exposed daily as clueless by a professional cadre of disinterested journalists.

7. In realist terms, the benefits to be gained from the war will never justify the costs incurred.

8. We cannot win.

Hanson doesn't beat around the bush and comes out all guns blazing, "The first six are wrong, the last two still unsettled".

First, notice how the old criticism that Saddam was not connected to al Qaeda has now morphed into a fallback position that “Saddam was not connected to September 11” — even though the latter argument was never officially advanced as a casus belli. [...]

A typical and indicative retreat from the 'Bush lied people died' camp, forever changing the goal post, forever demanding of the President and his Admininstration to admit its mistakes, however never, ever, not even once, admitting any of their own. Double standards throughout, hypocrisy pure; one big smeltering melting pot filled with arrogantly held beliefs of their own moral superiority and emotionally charged righteousness of their adopted cause--the melting pot never changes, just the label; Iraq war today, Palestine tomorrow, environment the day after...

Opponents have retreated to this position because we know that al Qaeda cadres were in Kurdistan, and that al Zarqawi fled to Baghdad, as did a mastermind of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, Abdul Rahman Yasin. [...]

From the slowly emerging Baathist archives, we are learning that for more than a decade Saddam’s agents had some contacts with, and offered help to, al Qaeda operatives from the Sudan to the Philippines.

The documents from the Baathist archives are dismissed, whereas rumors and inuendo are held high as facts. The conspiratorial documentary "Loose Change" defines our opposition's meaning of 'facts' and 'proof'. The time is long gone, where these issues are about realities; this is about ideologies.