Thursday, February 26, 2009
The good news, of course is that large majorities in Muslim countries reject killing American civilians. But that's about where the good news begins and ends.
The worst news? Support by Muslims for attacks against American civilians has actually increased over the past two years.
This is true even in so-called "moderate" countries, like Indonesia where 5% of the population think civilians are legitimate targets for attack and another 8% have mixed feelings about attacking civilians. What's 5% of 237 million people? That's over 10 million terror supporters living in Indonesia alone, with another 19 million of their neighbors who might not feel inclined to turn them in should they ever decide to go on a killing spree.
A related question showed -- with the exception of those asked in Egypt -- that support for killing American civilians working in Muslims countries is even greater than support for killing American civilians in the US. A full 18% of Palestinians either directly support killing Americans living in the Middle East or had mixed feelings about the prospect.
Hooray two-state solution!
If you read the full report linked at Rusty's, you'll find that Steven Kull, director of pollsters World Public Opinion, manages to put an anti-American (or rather anti-Bush's America) spin on the findings:
See, it's all Bush's fault for provoking these noble, peace-loving people!
I have written about WPO, and their buddies at GlobeScan and PIPA, a couple of times. These people are anti-American (or at least they were when Bush was in charge), anti-globalisation, global warming hysterics, multi-culti fetishists and terrorist apologists all the way. They also work closely with the BBC, which tells you a lot.
I imagine that if a polling organisation that was ideologically neutral conducted similar research, the findings would be even worse.
Now she's under pressure to ban Ibrahim Moussawi, an Islamic extremist who's a key figure in the propaganda machinery of the terrorist groupl Hezbollah, and James Slack at the Daily Mail isn't optimistic that she'll do so.
Coming so soon after the Wilders row Smith may feel she has no option but to ban Moussawi, who's been allowed into the UK twice before. But if the usual suspects in the 'moderate' muslim community start making a noise it won't be a surprise to see her back down - after all, it's not as if British Jews are going to threaten to lay siege to Parliament, as Lord Ahmed (who will have plenty of time on his hands for campaigning from his prison cell) promised British Muslims would if Wilders was allowed in.
Watch this space.
On the same subject, David Harsanyi has a good piece at the Denver Post on the whole subject of intentional, unintentional and perceived offence, and Sharpton's attacks on the Post.
Friday, February 20, 2009
The Clinton-era Conversation also purported to be frank, and we know what that meant: a one-sided litany of white injustices. Please raise your hand if you haven’t heard the following bromides about “the racial matters that continue to divide us” more times than you can count: Police stop and arrest blacks at disproportionate rates because of racism; blacks are disproportionately in prison because of racism; blacks are failing in school because of racist inequities in school funding; the black poverty rate is the highest in the country because of racism; blacks were given mortgages that they couldn’t afford because of racism. I will stop there.Read the whole thing. There is, of course, one group of Americans who are truly cowardly when it comes to matters of race: the Democrats, for stoking racial tensions, and conjuring alleged instances of racism out of thin air (see the New York Post cartoon 'controversy') to advance their political and social agendas, regardless of the harm done to race relations, and to black families.
Not only do colleges, law schools, almost all of the nation’s elite public and private high schools, and the mainstream media, among others, have “conversations about . . . racial matters”; they never stop talking about them. Any student who graduates from a moderately selective college without hearing that its black students are victims of institutional racism—notwithstanding the fact that the vast majority of black students there will have been deliberately admitted with radically lower SAT scores than their white and Asian comrades—has been in a coma throughout his time there.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
It’s easy to understand how creative people fall into this pit. By definition, entertainers have to be in far closer touch with their feelings than most people or they couldn’t dip so easily into the pool of emotion that informs their work. Leftist positions appeal to the emotions because they are easy to understand and seem compassionate, even if they lead to larger problems in the long run. And, since they don’t necessitate a lot of facts to clutter the mind, they are easy to embrace and promulgate. I know from my own past that I accepted a lot of Leftist rhetoric simply because it was easier to allow myself to be swept along in the feel-good tide it engendered without being forced to think my positions through with any depth.
Big problems arise, though, when the media gives unfettered permission to entertainers to express their feelings in all areas of life. The Left has been very careful to nurture its relationship to celebrity “artists” and since so many are high profile entertainers, they are constantly giving what amount to Leftist product endorsements via the roles they portray or the interviews they give. Then, sadly, when their pronouncements are taken too seriously, society gets led into a ditch. As a result, even those of us who feel that being an entertainer is a dignified calling are forced (like myself) to opine in areas that we wouldn’t otherwise, simply to counteract the pernicious effect of “artists” spouting their feelings-based claptrap.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
In the 1970s, "a major cooling of the planet" was "widely considered inevitable" because it was "well established" that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950" (New York Times, May 21, 1975). Although some disputed that the "cooling trend" could result in "a return to another ice age" (the Times, Sept. 14, 1975), others anticipated "a full-blown 10,000-year ice age" involving "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation" (Science News, March 1, 1975, and Science magazine, Dec. 10, 1976, respectively). The "continued rapid cooling of the Earth" (Global Ecology, 1971) meant that "a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery" (International Wildlife, July 1975). "The world's climatologists are agreed" that we must "prepare for the next ice age" (Science Digest, February 1973). Because of "ominous signs" that "the Earth's climate seems to be cooling down," meteorologists were "almost unanimous" that "the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century," perhaps triggering catastrophic famines (Newsweek cover story, "The Cooling World," April 28, 1975). Armadillos were fleeing south from Nebraska, heat-seeking snails were retreating from Central European forests, the North Atlantic was "cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool," glaciers had "begun to advance" and "growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter" (Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 27, 1974).Read the whole thing. I recommend printing Will's piece out – or at least the above extraxt – keeping it in your pocket and flourishing it in the face of the next eco-moron who tries to tell you the science is settled.
An audit of properties, measuring heat loss, has revealed that Chris Martin, the pop star, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, and Sir David Attenborough, the broadcaster, are among those who reside in homes that are “leaking” energy. Some lack even the most basic energy saving measures such as cavity wall insulation and double glazing.Hypocrisy is, of course, one of the cornerstones of the environmentalist movement. The problem in this case appears to be that these people are all very rich, and live in large, expensive houses in the most exclusive parts of London, so making energy-saving improvements is both costly, and difficult because of planning restrictions in – irony alert – 'conservation areas'.
Thermal images of the residences of 10 high-profile green campaigners found that their heat loss was either worse or no better than that found in the average family home.
So, for example, double glazing has to be 'in keeping' with the both the building and the surrounding area – you can't just bolt on some uPVC job, because it would look ugly. The rich and famous residents of these areas, and the planners, won't allow energy-saving improvements that don't look nice, but they don't want to pay extra for 'sympathetic' alterations. It's the Ted Kennedy/wind turbines problem on a smaller scale.
If these celebrities and politicians are really so concerned about the environment you would think they would either stump up the money to get the insulation work done, or put pressure on their local councils to relax planning restrictions and so bring down the cost of the work.
But then why should they, when from the comfort of their heat-leaking but character-filled mansions they can simply lecture the rest of us on where we travel, what we eat, and every other aspect of how we live our lives?
Sunday, February 15, 2009
It would be funny if it weren't so scary: Miliband and Vaz support Wilders ban but haven't seen Fitna
Here's the video. The fun starts around 3.00:
If Miliband has seen the film, then he’s lying; if he hasn’t seen it, he’s guessing.Turns out he was guessing. From Harry's Place, via Andrew Stuttaford at The Corner:
Miliband, having watched Fitna, obviously feels it does ’stir up hate, religious and racial hatred’.Also at The Corner, Mark Steyn has a good post on the subject:
But, hold on… When asked by the interviewer if he had actually watched Fitna he responded that he had not and didn’t need to as he already knew what was in it!
Fitna is a 16 minute film, easily accessible online. Is it really so much to ask that our political overlords bother to watch a film before condemning it and supporting its creator being barred from the country? How is Miliband any better than Muslims who screamed about The Satanic Verses without bothering to read it?
If young Muslim girls are being kidnapped and forced into marriage with their first cousins, the British Home Office minister will suggest that these matters are best handled discreetly and informally. If young Muslim girls are being murdered in "honor killings", the Chief Commissar of the Ontario "Human Rights" Commission will explain that they're a "small commission" and they have to be able to prioritize and that Mark Steyn is a far greater threat to the Queen's peace than killers of Muslim women.It's truly terrifying that Britain is being run by people this ignorant, and this arrogant. With the Tories apparently not offering much more in the way of backbone than the fascist bureaucrats of Labour, it's hard to see how Britain can pull out of this tailspin towards what Steyn calls 'civilizational suicide'.
But, if you don't threaten violence, if you don't issue death threats, if you don't kill anyone, if you just make a movie or write a book or try to give a speech, the state will prosecute you, ban you or (in the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali) force you to flee your own country.
In their appeasement of thugs, buffoons like Miliband and the Tory squishes across the House of Commons on the Opposition benches are making it very clear that the state accords more respect to violence than to debate.
Update: Thanks to Hot Air for linking.
I've also been linked by a blog called Het Vrije Volk, which appears to be a conservative outfit based in the Netherlands - thanks guys, and welcome freedom-loving Dutchmen! If anyone would like to tell me what the blog's called in English (and what the '100%' line under the title means), I'd be grateful. And make sure you visit Pajamas Media too.
Update 2: From Ed in the Comments...
"Het Vrije Volk" translates as: "The Free People". The "100%" line says that the blog is 100% free from any government control or interference. You may have noticed that the url links to a provider in the USA and that's why the Dutch Government can't touch it. It is, nevertheless, as sad sign of the state of my country that the blog's adminstrators thought that necessary.
Friday, February 6, 2009
From the Jerusalem Post:
UNRWA informed the IDF on Friday that it is suspending its humanitarian aid deliveries to the Gaza Strip after Hamas stole supplies the United Nations organization had transferred to the Palestinian territory.
The seizure of the 200 tons of supplies took place Thursday night and in response, UNRWA officials informed the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration that it was suspending its deliveries to the Gaza Strip until further notice. The supplies confiscated included flour and other basic commodities.
The transfer of 40 truckloads of humanitarian supplies - some 800 tons - planned for Sunday has already been canceled.
It was the second time this week that Hamas stole UN supplies transferred to the Gaza Strip for impoverished Palestinians.
The first incident took place Tuesday evening when armed Hamas police broke into a Gaza warehouse packed with UN humanitarian supplies and seized thousands of blankets and food packages.
In Gaza, the ownership of aid confers power, and Hamas desperately needs to hold on to power after starting a war which wrecked the Strip, and damaged it militarily.
At least the UN locally is starting to speak out. But what about the UN bosses in New York? What about the EU, and all those politicians who are so quick to protest about suffering Palestinians when the suffering is inflicted by Israelis? And where's the media outcry?
Then again, the MSM is fond of reminding us that Hamas is a legitimate government, and a 'humanitarian organisation' - maybe they're just frustated by the UN's inefficiency.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
And now it's emerged that Aribert Heim, a concentration camp 'doctor' who butchered hundreds of Jewish inmates, and who was number two on the Simon Weisenthal Center's wanted list, converted to Islam and apparently spent the last 30 years of his life in Egypt.
The Telegraph reports:
Nazi hunters had believed Aribert Heim, who reportedly killed hundreds of inmates with poison injections to the heart and removed his victims' organs without anaesthetic, was hiding out in Chile, where he was believed to have an illegitimate daughter.The New York Times piece on Heim is here. It's a fascinating story, but the Times plays down the significance of Heim's moving to Egypt and conversion to Islam.
However, the German state broadcaster ZDF announced on Wednesday that it had discovered that Heim spent nearly 30 years in the Egyptian capital before dying of bowel cancer.
In a joint investigation with the New York Times, ZDF said it had discovered that Heim became a Muslim in the early 1980s and renamed himself Tarek Fared Hussein.
After the war, he practised in West Germany as a gynaecologist but went missing in 1962 as police prepared to prosecute him.
It's no coincidence that Heim made his home in a country that at the time was hell-bent on destroying the state of Israel, and found a spiritual home in a religion whose more radical adherents aspire to the mass-murder of Jews, and have a predilection for cruelty, murder and mutilation. But the Times apparently doesn't want its readers jumping to any conclusions.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
A Palestinian Authority Arab who stoned cars in Samaria was killed by one of his own rocks, police have concluded. A Jewish man held in connection with the death has been released.
The Arab teenager hurled heavy stones at Israeli-owned vehicles along a Samaria highway last Tuesday evening. He managed to hit one car, which was driven by a resident of the nearby town of Emmanuel.
Fearing further attacks, the driver fired a single shot in the air to frighten away the stone-thrower. He then contacted local security officers to report both the attack and his own response.
A short time later, Israeli paramedics received a report of an Arab teen found unconscious and badly wounded next to a highway. The teen suffered a serious head injury that appeared to be a bullet wound. Medical personnel rushed to the scene but were unable to save the young Arab, who died a short time later.
Police originally believed that the resident of Emmanuel who reported firing in the air had in fact fired at his attacker, killing him. The man was arrested and questioned. However, an initial forensic report showed that the attacker had not been killed by a bullet, and the detainee was released.
A final forensic report, released over the weekend, showed that the attacker was killed when a stone he threw hit the car driven by the man from Emmanuel. The stone hit the car's tire and bounced back at high speed, hitting the attacker and leaving him with a fatal head injury.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Jenin redux: BBC and others report Hamas figures for Gaza dead as fact, ignore Israeli counter-claims
The BBC (along with Sky) is right not a broadcast an appeal which is, in effect, raising funds for the temporarily defeated side in an ongoing conflict. The public are free to donate to those charities if they want, but supposedly impartial news organisations should not be promoting the appeal.
If anyone's in any doubt about the emotive and political nature of the ad the BBC refused to run, here's how the New York Times described it:
As shown on Monday night, the video focused heavily on the plight of Palestinian children — small boys and girls wounded and sobbing, being rushed into hospital emergency wards and, at one point, a parent clutching a tiny white shroud. Other scenes were of apartment blocks collapsed into piles of twisted steel and rubble.But in the case of the BBC, 'supposedly' is the operative word. While it claims the moral high ground in the row over the appeal, its reporting on the aftermath of the Gaza fighting continues to betray a bias the effects of which are far more insidious than the effects of broadcasting of the DEC ad would have been.
As I've written in a piece for Pajamas Media, the BBC, along with much of the rest of the world's media, is continuing to report Hamas's figures for the number of people killed in the conflict, without mentioning that the figures are disputed, and without reporting Israel's own figures, which suggest that a majority of the casualties were Hamas fighters. Here's the paragraph on casualties in today's lead BBC story on Gaza:
The Israeli offensive in Gaza killed about 1,300 Palestinians, of whom 412 were children; 21,000 homes were destroyed or badly damaged. Thirteen Israelis were killed during the three weeks of violence.In another report, in which the BBC's Christian Fraser attempts to manufacture an Israeli 'war crime' based on uncorroborated claims by Palestinians, the BBC again states as fact that 400 children were killed in the Israeli assault:
One of the most alarming features of the conflict in Gaza is the number of child casualties. More than 400 were killed. Many had shrapnel or blast injuries sustained as the Israeli army battled Hamas militants in Gaza's densely populated civilian areas.Bizarrely (and belatedly) the BBC is actually running a story on the conflicting casualty claims here, yet in its lead stories, both on the web and on TV, it continues to use the Hamas-approved numbers.
As I said, the BBC isn't alone. Here's a Reuters story about the DEC row, which will have been repeated by news outlets around the world:
But the BBC and Sky, which have 24-hour news channels watched in the Middle East and have closely followed Israel's three-week war in which 1,300 Palestinians were killed, have said they will not broadcast the appeal.And here's CNN:
The conflict, which began December 27, has left more than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.The New York Times, meanwhile, at least carries the Israeli claim of a slightly lower number of deaths, but again neglects to mention that many of the Palestinian dead were combatants:
About 1,300 people were killed, according to medical officials in Gaza (Israeli military officials have put the number at about 1,200), and more than 5,000 were reported injured.Compare these figures with the claims of five or six hundred dead, and reports of many empty beds in Gaza's hospital, from the Italian journalist Lorenzo Cremonesi, and with the latest estimates from the IDF:
A continuing IDF investigation into the number of civilian Palestinian casualties during the Israeli offensive in Gaza indicated that only 250 of the fatalities were civilians.As I point out in my Pajamas piece, we're unlikely to ever get a definitive death toll for this latest conflict - Gaza under Hamas has been a basket case at the best of times, and the latest fighting has only added to the chaos. And which numbers you believe will probably depend largely on which side you support in the conflict.
The military estimates that between 1,100 and 1,200 people were killed during the offensive. Some 700 of are believed to be militants and most are believed to be Hamas operatives.
The IDF is still trying to ascertain the identity of the remaining fatalities, but security sources said many would probably turn out to be militants as well. "Hamas is familiar with the numbers and is doing everything it can to concealed them," said an IDF source.
But if the MSM is happy to report as fact uncorroborated claims from a regime made up of liars, murders, torturers and crooks, it shouldn't have a problem reporting conflicting claims made by the military of a free and democratic nation, whose statements and actions are subject to intense scrutiny by its own media and courts.
Instead, the figure of 1,300 dead Gazans - mostly civilians and including over 400 children - has now been incorporated into the mythology of Palestinian victimhood, and is being used to incite hatred against Israel worldwide.
We've been here before, with Jenin in 2002 and Lebanon in 2006. There will never be peace in the Middle East so long as myths continue to be reported as news, and it's hardly surprising that the outlook remains bleak when much of the world's media shows no interesting in uncovering and reporting the truth.
Thanks to Rusty and Carl for linking.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Shafiq normally does a better job of playing the 'moderation' game - so, for example, he was vocal in his condemnation of Sudan for arresting Gillian Gibbons, the British teacher who allowed her Sudanese pupils to name a teddy bear Mohammed. Shafiq has a good feel for mainstream public opinion, and doesn't try to defend the more outrageous behaviour of his co-religionists. But, as I've written in this piece on the Harry row for Pajamas Media, the mask slips when the issues become more nuanced (the article also touches on the double standards of other Muslim 'activists', and the media).
Shafiq has attacked Tony Blair for having the temerity to suggest that some British Muslims should do more to integrate, and the Pope for merely quoting a 14th-century emperor who was critical of Islam. He also criticized the decision to award a knighthood to Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie, on the grounds that Rushdie’s exercising of his right to free speech was offensive to Muslims, and has condemned the publication of The Jewel of Medina, a 'racy' book about the Prophet Mohammed by U.S. author Sherry Jones (I wrote about that row here). Before the Harry story broke Shafiq was accusing the Israelis of behaving like Nazis in their assault on Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
And now the mask has slipped again. Like Harry, Shafiq has discovered the pitfalls of opening your mouth without first engaging your brain.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
My brother Steve is in the middle of his six-month tour in Helmand, helping to co-ordinate artillery support for troops in the field from the British base in Musa Qala. He just sent a batch of photos, including this great shot of a US Marines CH-53 Super Stallion taking off from the base in the early morning (double-click for full-size image):
From the Telegraph:
The Telegraph reports that the ransom money was lost at sea, although it's not clear if all the money was lost, or if the three survivors managed to hang on to their share. Either way, karma has apparently has managed to achieve what the world's navies couldn't.
Five Somali pirates who released a Saudi supertanker have drowned with their share of a reported £2 million ransom after their escape boat capsized.
Residents and pirates in the Somali port of Haradhere told the Associated Press that the boat, which was carrying eight men, overturned in a storm after dozens of pirates left the Sirius Star following a two-month standoff in the Gulf of Aden.
Three of the eight pirates managed to swim to shore but five were believed to have drowned.
My girlfriend had a similar experience a few weeks back. A taxi driver overcharged her, and when she complained he became abusive and threatened to call the police. My girlfriend, not wanting to make a scene, paid up. The taxi driver drove out of our street, hit a patch of ice and crashed into a bus stop.
Sadly though, he held on to his money.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Make sure you read the rest of the coverage at Pajamas, particularly Victor Davis Hanson.