Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Explosions Reported at Ohio Mosque

It will be interesting to see how this develops.

Two explosions caused minor exterior damage at a mosque complex about two hours after evening prayers, and federal agents joined the investigation. No injuries were reported and police hadn't found any witnesses to the Tuesday night explosions at the Islamic Association of Cincinnati mosque. ...

One explosion damaged an overhead glass panel in a front entryway at the mosque, and the other damaged a door on a porch at an adjacent house. ...

The mosque is about a mile from the University of Cincinnati campus and near several churches and Hebrew Union College.

It doesn't sound like was an accident. Doors don't usually tend to explode. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Australian Rock and the Muslim Hard Place

Remember, this is a tiny, fringe minority. Police in Australia raided several homes and uncovered a cache of weapons.
They allegedly discovered a payload of weapons including smoke grenades, an ammunition re-loading machine, a pistol, knives, arrows and a slingshot, both in a house safe and in Sanders' brown Ford, which bore the sticker "Anglo-Saxon and proud".
Sounds very similar to what happened in France last week.

But wait, there's more. Australian "white supremacists" have taken a page from the Islamist Propaganda Handbook and posted at least two videos "glorifying the Cronulla riots."
The first of at least two videos, entitled The Battle for Cronulla, was posted on the white nationalist website Stormfront on the first night the rioting erupted at the beachside suburb. This video has already been downloaded 1700 times.

A second video, labelled 'Cronulla Oi!, was posted on Saturday and had been downloaded about 400 times by yesterday afternoon. The overtly racist videos encourage violence against non-whites and warn any other ethnic group to stay out of Cronulla.

The Battle for Cronulla is presented by "White Nationalist TV". After featuring skinheads in German iron crosses and three-bladed swastikas, it closes with the message: "Not white, not welcome in Cronulla".

The second video is set to a song about race war by heavy metal band Screwdriver and features a montage of images showing white rioters bashing helpless victims. It also features an image of a police officer trying to rescue a victim, emblazoned with the words: "Race traitor".
Not quite up to Islamist snuff-film standards, but I'm sure that these guys, at least in their own minds, are just getting started. As predicted, the unwillingness or inability of a political order to address the consequences of Muslim immigration leads to radical movements.
If people who are angry and anxious have no choice among existing political parties they will find an outlet somewhere else. If professional, moderate parties are seen as sell-out or cowards likeminded people will find another way to express their political beliefs.
Stormfront hosts an anti-Muslim propaganda video? There's gambling in the saloon? None of this is surprising. The popular outrage in Australia presents the government with a serious dilemma: crackdown or co-opt. Either response involves real risks.
If they don't have a legitimate political party the rightists will go underground and organize in secret. They could assassinate leftist or Islamist politicians or start a campaign of arson attacks against mosques. ...
If the governments allow rightists to contest elections they risk losing votes and polarizing the electorate and further radicalizing the Muslim population. And allowing the rightists into mainstream political discourse is no guarantee that underground groups will not commit assassinations or other criminal acts.
The sad part is that most people, both ethnic Australians and Muslims, are not on either extreme. But the dynamic currently at work pushes people toward one end or the other. As events unfold and pressure increases, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay in the middle. Polarizing times tend to, well, polarize.

The government walks straight into the rightist political trap every time it is seen protecting mosques while churches burn. This provides a propaganda victory to thos who claim the government is betraying their culture and they must take action outside the law. On the other hand, the government faces the same dilemma with Muslims, who, though smaller demographic, have a more impressive history of terrorism and mass violence than white supremacists. And of course any terror attack in Australia will unleash a native backlash, which creates better footage for propaganda videos, which movitates people to further violence, etc.

Point being, no government can simultaneously appease both extremes or the large number of their passive supporters. The government and society in general cannot calm the rightist's anxieties without cracking down on what the locals see as Lebanese crime and anti-social behavior. However, any crackdown will be seen as intolerant and anti-Muslim. The government faces nothing but bad choices and risk on all sides.

Neither the white supremacists nor the Muslims can be bought off or co-opted. This is a zero-sum game. Welcome, Australia, to the clash of civilizations.

The Sound of the Present Order Breaking Down

I agree with Ahmadinejad on this point.

"The world is on the verge of change, and more than before we can hear the sound of this present unstable order breaking down."

I can hear it. Can you? Some days it's a distant creak. Other days it's deafening, as another support beam of the world order buckles under the strain.

Can you hear it? The collapse of IEAE and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is imminent. Iran ratified the NPT under the Shah in 1970 and agreed to the Additional Protocol in December 2003. When Iran goes nuclear, after years of negotiations and IAEA inspections, the hollow shell of global non-proliferation will implode. It’s an old adage that when novelists win the Nobel Prize, their best work is already behind them and they are not long for this world. It looks like the same is true for the IAEA. El Baradei’s Nobel acceptance speech will be the Agency’s epitaph.

Can you hear it, stress fractures spreading through the UN, chunks of the façade crumbling away? The General Assembly cannot muster a simple majority to condemn one member for threatening the annihilation of another, despite the fact that this is the organization’s most basic value. Even if, after a long circuitous route, violators are eventually referred to the Security Council, no action is taken because the Council is perpetually paralyzed by its veto-wielding members, due to corruption, conflicts of interest or duplicity. The specter of the League of Nations looms ever larger. We are only waiting for our Abyssinia.

“When the Italians had invaded in October 1935, the Abyssinians had appealed to the League of Nations for help. The League did two things:

  • it condemned the attack
  • all League members were ordered to impose economic sanctions on Italy.

It took six weeks for the sanctions to be organized and they did not include vital materials such as oil.”

Sound familiar? Replace “Italians” and “Abyssinians” and you’re reading tomorrow’s headlines.

Can you hear it, the foundation of the EU subsiding under the weight of a continent and its history (even as the proprietors insist on adding a new wing)? Can you hear the native creatures crawling in through the cracks even as the owners toast their eradication? Can you hear the tell tale heart beating beneath the Turkish rug?

Can you hear it, the Saudi monarchy wheezing with fatigue and decrepitude, barely conscious, mumbling with senility? Can you hear the continuous pumping of the life-support mechanisms? Can you hear the Nasarist regime struggling to stay upright amid the shifting sands, knees and hips grinding while it leans on an expensive, US-made walker?

Can you hear it, the whispering throughout Damascus, in bathrooms and backseats, in slums, mosques, and army bases, the hushed codes of escape plans and conspiracies? Can you hear metallic snaps, as cash-filled suitcases are locked, as pistols are cleaned and loaded?

The sounds of the unstable present order breaking down. Listen closely. You can hear it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sleeping with the Shi'ite Fishes

Friday, someone attempted to whack Iranian President and genocidist-in-training Ahmadinejad. One of his bodyguards was killed. A driver and a second bodyguard were wounded. The official explanation from the Iranian government is that the hit was organized by "bandits."

Eastern Iran has been the scene of frequent police clashes with drug-smugglers and bandits.
Many people throughout the blogosphere assumed that this was the work of Israelis or anti-regime forces. Let's calm down kids. The Iranian government is a theocratic veneer on a gangster state run by a Shi'ite clerical mafia. I've seen a lot of gangster movies. The good guys, whether Israelis or the US, do not go around trying to rub out the don. This was the work of other gangsters.

Some say this is the work of more responsible forces in the Iranian government, embarrassed by Ahmadinejad's lunatic ravings. Again, don't get too excited. Remember, Sollozzo, the thug who had Don Corleone shot, was less scrupulous than the Godfather. This failed hit could easily be the work of people far more sinister than Ahmadinejad; people who share his intentions but who are less prone to tell the world in such uncertain terms. As Don Corleone told Sonny, "Never tell anyone outside the family what you are thinking."

Don't get me wrong. Ahmadinejad is a dangerous man but he's Sonny Corleone. He's charismatic but wears his emotions on his sleeve. There could be far more menacing figures behind the scenes, waiting for the right time. Ahmadinejad could be very useful to these people as a martyr, as a beloved leader "executed by Zionists and Crusaders," giving them the popular support for their extremely ruthless plans.

Like any mafia family, the Shi'a gangster state has its internal factions, divisions and betrayals. We are, I think, still waiting for Michael to show himself.

Update: More on the attempted assassination at Regime Change Iran.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Assault Rifles, Explosives Found in France. Lack of Opportunity Cited.

French weapons cache found, suspects arrested.

Police say they found weapons in a garage in Clichy-sous-Bois, including several pounds of explosives, AK-47 and Famas assault rifles, revolvers, ammunition, balaclavas and bulletproof vests.

The best part is that all this was in the garage. How very bourgeoisie! Can't you just see it? Between the tool box and the paint cans, behind the recycle bin next to the ladder - a stack of AK-47s and boxes of plastique.

They believe the weapons were used for armed robberies in France to help finance jihad, or holy war, and that some of the money was given to al-Zarqawi's group.

But I am sure that more government investment in the community will eliminate this sort of thing. Guys like this just want the chance to integrate into French society, right?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Silly Seriousness of Silly People Being Seriously Silly

You have to see this to believe it. A pdf of an ad in Monday's NYT by a group called The World Can't Wait. Sure, it has the usual Bush-as-Hitler stuff and uses the required slurs "fascist" and "fascism" several times. But the interesting part was the utter collapse of faith in the Democratic Party and yes, even in the democratic process itself.

"There is not going to be some magical 'pendulum swing.' People who steal elections and believe they're on a 'mission from God' will not go without a fight. There is not going to be some savior from the Democratic Party. This whole idea of putting our hopes and energies into 'leaders' who tell us to seek common ground with fascists and religious fanatics is proving every day to be a disaster, and actually serves to demobilize people."
Wow. Timothy McVeigh couldn't have said it better himself. I had no idea things were this bad. (Help! Help! I'm being repressed!) What are we to do? After leading us to the edge of armed insurrection, what do these anti-democrats, these 21st Century Francos propose? A campaign of assassination? Mob attacks on regime installations? Does our only hope lie in mass violence against the State?

No. A demonstration. THAT'S their big answer? We're supposed to be suffering under the iron fist of fascist religious fanatics determined to "radically remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come." And their solution is to (seriously, this is a quote) "Bring the Noise"? They want to make a lot of noise during the State of the Union Address. Woo, I can feel the fascist religious fanatics quaking in their jackboots. Can't you hear them in their bunkers? "We only have God on our side and they have drums, banging pots and car horns."

The silliness is stunning even from the Hollywood/media elite who have refined silliness to an industrial product. The signatories include the usual suspects Gore Vidal, Vonnegut, Pinter, and Steve Earle and the Jane Fonda-Martin Sheen-Alice Walker trifecta. But Jonathan Kozol? Somehow Cornel West of Princeton manages to sleep at night despite the millions of fascist dollars that flow into his employer every year. (I'm sure
Dietrich Bonhoeffer took Reichmarks from Hitler right up until he was executed.)

This is silly because none of these people, from "Imam Tabib Adbur-Rashid, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood" to "Howard Zinn, historian" believe what this. None. This is a rhetorical document in the worst sense of the phrase. They don't believe Bush is a fascist or like Hitler. They haven't lost faith in the Democratic Party. I'll bet my Christmas binus thath in 2 years these same people will be out working for the very "savior from the Democratic Party" they now denounce.

How do I know these people aren't serious? Because their actions speak louder than they hysterical words. When Thomas Mann realized what Hitler and the Nazi Party intended for Germany he fled to Switzerland.
By 1936 he was living in the US. Mann even convinced W.H. Auden to marry his daughter Erika to get her out of the Germany. (This was significant since both were homosexuals.) Thomas Mann didn't stay in Germany, making millions for crappy films and organizing noise demostrations. And Mann wasn't alone. Lots of Germans fled the Third Reich before the War.

If you seriously believe your government is run by fascists you don't bitch, you leave. Didn't these Hollywood bozos see
Love and Death? After Napolean invades Russia, Sonja asks Boris, "Are you suggesting we fight?" Boris replies "No, I'm suggesting we flee. F-L-E-A. Flee. Luckily I was Freestyle Fleeing champion two years in a row."

Also, if these people really believed Bush was a fascist who "will not go without a fight" the very last thing they would want to do is gather in large groups. Fascists love handling large demostrations the old fashioned way, with bullets. Didn't they watch Tiananmen Square? For a bunch of ex-Maoists they seem to have forgotten their Mao. I thought political power grows from the barrel of a gun, not the banging of a drum.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Shots Fired at Christmas Carolers. World Yawns.

"Sydney's Catholic Archbishop George Pell said bullets were fired at a school staging Christmas carols in Sydney's west on Monday night."

A school staging Christmas carols! Where is the outrage? Yesterday police gathered to protect a mosque that was not attacked. What does that tell you about the police priorities? (And you can bet if shots were fired at a mosque it would be headline news around the world, complete with riots in Pakistan.) Of course, the reporter doesn't have the slightest idea who could have fired the shots. The notorious 'white supremacists'? Neo-cons? Crypto-Zionist agitators?

Meanwhile the potential for violence increases. "Police also said they found 30 Molotov cocktails and crates of rocks stockpiled on rooftops, as hundreds of local surfers gathered at Maroubra Beach." Tick tock.

While most of the lazy media rewrites the same 'Australia-as-racist-society' stories, at least one guy gets it. "There is so much more to this than racism. And we're fooling ourselves if we pretend otherwise. ... Recognising human nature means that multiculturalism, though a fine sentiment, can only work if we unite behind a core set of values."

This core set of values does not include gangs of Lebanese men who "intimidate people, regularly threaten people within their vicinity with violence, drive around in large groups screaming abuse at people from cars with their music blaring, regularly brawling, etc."

These core values do not include "harassment inflicted by groups of these men - comments on our appearances, racist comments on our Australian background, unwanted touching, being followed while walking home by groups of men in cars (I was once followed all the way home - have never been so scared in my life), sexually explicit remarks while alone, with friends or with boyfriends, unwanted called-out invitations to have sex with groups of them, etc".

If the police or authorities won't do anything about this behavior, what do you expect the Aussies to do? Those who blame it on racism or alcohol or some other boogyman are only fooling themselves.

Update: Two members of the staff at St Joseph the Worker Primary School in South Auburn "discovered bullet holes in their cars and more than 20 shells were recovered from the scene.

The Catholic Church says it is especially concerned at the targetting of Christmas celebrations at a school attended by children as young as five. The carols service at Holy Spirit Primary School in Lakemba has now been cancelled." (ht: Jihad Watch)

Note that yesterday police blocked the streets around the Lakemba Mosque to protect it against rumors of attack. While Catholic schools cancel carol services police guard mosques. What message does this send?

The Archbishop sounds pissed, at least as far as Archbishops go. "I am deeply concerned about the targeting of Christmas celebrations at schools for students as young as five years old. The attack was apparently motivated by religious intolerance. This has no place in Australia today." The Auburn school community is not some lily-white, blond and blue-eyed Aussie stereotype. It is "predominantly Lebanese, with Filipinos, Chinese and Anglo families also represented". Now who exactly are those supremacists again?

The attacks are not limited to gunshots or to this one church school. "Earlier in the evening, about 400 parents and children were singing carols when a group of youths of Middle Eastern appearance verbally abused them. ...

A church in Macquarie Fields, also in Sydney's west, was damaged in the early hours of yesterday morning, suffering minor fire damage after what police believe was an incendiary device was thrown through the front door."

Gunshots, incendiary devices, verbal harassment of grammar school children and their parents. This is not the work of a drunken mob of Aussie surfers or a few neo-Nazis. These are attacks by Muslims against Christians in a Christian country during the Christmas season. If I were an Aussie I would be more than "deeply concerned". And I wouldn't be reaching for something as soft and tender as a mere cricket bat. Oi, oi, indeed.

Monday, December 12, 2005

"People Are Fed Up"

National News Nine has posted a selection of letters regarding the Cronulla riots. Very interesting. A few quotes from female writers.

Yes there is a bigger cultural problem. I am sick to death as an anglo australian female of being stared at disgustlingly, stalked by cars walking down my own street, intimidated on trains at the shopping centre and now at the beach. Unfortunately those displaying this bullying behaviour happen to be young middle eastern men. - Tracey, New South Wales (NSW)

Incidents like the one at Cronulla have been simmering for a long time. The ugly scene at Cronulla is only the tip of the iceberg. This will get worse. People are fed up. - Jodi, NSW

I am 21 years old and I am not a rascist person. I went to an all girls school and hated the fact that I had to see 'Aussie suck, lebs rule' enscribed on our school desks. ... Aussies are defending the Aussie man's right to live freely how we used to before gang violence was brought in from overseas. I agree with the riots and why they are fighting because no one will do anything to protect Aussie's - all government seem to care about is protecting everyone else except their own! - Cheryl, NSW

Australians have had enough of the politically correct nonsence that is continually shoved down our throats. Australia is our country and if people do not like our WESTERN traditions they have no business here. Do not try to change us into something we are not. Are we angry about apologising for our Christianity? Yes we are. - Cathy, Queensland

This is a problem that has been simmering for years. As a Cronulla resident, I have experienced first-hand the intimidation and abuse inflicted by groups of young lebanese/middle eastern males on people such as myself for simply minding their own business in their own home suburb. The government should have stepped in to calm this issue a long time ago - we are sick of pandering to these gangs of thugs and yesterday was the outcome of years of frustration. - Claire, NSW

This kind of thing has been brewing for many years, I am 28 years old and as a 17-21 year old i always got "skippy" comments from ethnic males as I had blonde hair. - Shannon, NSW

As a former resident of The Shire for 21 years, I do not condone the brawling of the weekend, but I can understand why the locals are upset, and from the article it wasn't the locals causing the stabbings and attacks on vehicles. Up until a couple of years ago Cronulla was an extremely safe place to go. - Louise, ACT

Are these the voices of neo-Nazis? Or are these the voices of very frustrated people?

Rebellion, Racism and the Media

From The Australian

Sydney exploded into a second night of race warfare as tensions between rival ethnic gangs escalated into a series of late-night revenge attacks on white Australian males across the south and west of the city.

Shots were fired as groups of young men from western Sydney picked fights in and near Cronulla, the scene of Sunday's ugly mob attacks on anyone of Middle Eastern appearance.

Maybe I'm overly sensitive. Maybe it's just me but "a series of attacks on white Australian males" is racism, isn't it? Those are racist attacks. I believe the "young men from western Sydney" are Lebanese immigrants, not that the media will tell you this. Note that they "picked fights" yet shots were fired. I don't think you pick a fight by firing shots.

I don't recall yesterday's "ugly mob attacks" being described as either revenge (for an earlier attack on lifeguards) or as picking fights.

Again, maybe I'm sensitive. But I'm reminded of Alain Finkielkraut. "When an Arab torches a school, it's rebellion. When a white guy does it, it's fascism." Apparently the Australian media have taken this to heart. When Lebanese gangs target white Australians, it's revenge and picking fights. When native Australians attack Lebanese, it's a "ugly mob attacks" of neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

But I'm sure it's just me. After all, I'm sentitive.

UPDATE: Here's a peach. Every report I've read, including this one, describe yesterday's mob "chanting racist slogans." The one I've seen most involves the word "Leb", short for Lebanese. Nevermind that Lebanese is a term for nationality, not race. I know that distinction is too much to ask of the media. How would you describe this? A mob of "men of Middle Eastern appearance" hurled bottles, smashed cars and screamed "Get inside, you Aussie c---s, if you don't want to get hurt." (I assume you can figure out the word.)

So, is "Aussie c---s" a racist phrase? I doubt the media will claim the Middle Eastern mod chanted racist phrases. That becomes very problematic for the media worldview. Again, to paraphrase Finkielkraut: when a group "young men of Middle Eastern appearance" chants "Aussie c---s" it's unfortunate. When an "alcohol-fuelled mob" of Australians chant "Lebs," it's racism.

Nationalism and Racism in Australia

"Personally, I think it is only the beginning."

"We have witnessed this weekend amongst the worst violence that I have ever seen in my policing service of 40 years," Police Commissioner Ken Moroney said. "Never in my working life did I ever imagine a mob, a drunken mob, turning on a woman, an innocent woman, who happened to stray into their path."

What gets me is how quickly the media describes the native Australian mob as "white supremacists" yet we never read the phrase "Islamic supremacist." Are the Aussies rioting really white supremacists or are they just anti-Lebanese / anti-Arab / anti-Muslim? Did these so-called white supremacists attack all non-whites? Or did they just attack people of Arab descent, which in this case means Lebanese immigrants? Is this a "race riot" or is it a local backlash against a particular group of immigrants? The crowd chanted "F--- off, Lebs!" Sure it's ugly, but to my ears that is anti-Lebanese and anti-immigrant but not the same as chanting "white power."

Yes, there were skinheads and neo-Nazis involved, hundreds of them. But I don't believe that the crowd of 5000 were all or mostly white supremacists. I don't believe these people share the ideology of white supremacism in the sense that they believe all non-whites are biologically inferior to whites. They aren't attacking Chinese or other non-white ethnic groups, at least in the reporting I've seen. I suspect most of these people are Australian nationalists. Hence, "the mob started singing Waltzing Matilda" and chanted "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie ... Oi, Oi, Oi". Nationalism is entirely different from white supremacism. The media and government elites may find that repugent. You might think that's ugly and repulsive. But nationalism and white supremacism are very different ideas, attitudes and motivations. By labeling the problem as racism the authorities will go about proposing the wrong solution to the wrong problem.

A race riot is only solved by changing the subject who holds that belief since the victims cannot change their race. But nationalist riot is solved both by adjusting the attitudes of the nationalists (the ubiquitous calls for 'tolerance') and by changing the attitudes of the victims, in this case the Lebanese immigrants. They cannot change their race but they can become Australian in their values and behaviors. Listen to the Aussies. Are these the rants of neo-Nazis who hate all non-whites? Or do they have specific grievances with members of a particular ethnic community?

"I've got a four-year-old girl and a boy who's 11, and they see these bastards come here and stand around the sea baths 'cos their women have got to swim in clothes and stuff, or they see them saying filthy things to our girls."

"Look, these Lebs are coming here and giving us shit and we're not going to take it any more."

"We crew here. You flew here." (Variations include "We grew here. You flew here.")

The Lebanese "come here, they disrespect the women, they disrespect the beach. They just, they just leave a lot of hate here." "It wasn't until two lifeguards got beaten up that everybody said, you know what? And I'm sorry for the language, but fuck this."

Listen to "friends and long term local residents Sue and Marilyn." Speaking of the Lebanese: "The thing that scares me is what is Australia going to be in 50 years time? I've got a 10-year old grandson, and what is it going to be like for him, unless they can change the law, and I don't think that'll ever happen now. I mean, they've got no respect. They've got no respect for any of our laws."

Listen to State Liberal MP for Cronulla, Malcolm Kerr: "Well, there's been a history of trouble of these gangs basically insulting, abusing people. That's turned to violence on a number of occasions, and then you had last Sunday, where a couple of lifesavers were injured. ... People have been abused, spat on, insulted, ... So there has been that level of antisocial activity, that level of bad behaviour, and I think the population are now finding that intolerable."

So, Cronulla is a hotbed of racism? Listen to the local Turkish kebab shop owner. "The problem is I think they (the Lebanese immigrants) come in groups, just to… these locals feel uncomfortable, because they start teasing the girls and this, that. I think it's not very right, because I've been here six years, never had a racial problem, they never called me racist or you're Turk, what you doing here, this that. I was happy with here."
"Hamish Fitzsimmons: So as a person of Turkish descent, you've never had any trouble at all?"
"Halouk: No, no, not at all."

The Australian government and media will paint this as an outbreak of Aussie racism and label the thousands of rioters and their tens of thousands of supporters as Nazis. No one will dare ask about the root causes. No one will try to address the concerns of the non-Nazis in the crows because the official line will be that they were all Nazis. Meanwhile the Arab attacks and counter-Attacks will be portrayed as a legitimate response by a victimized community. At best this defers the problem for the future, when it will be much worse.

The Age gets close to the real issues. "The questions to be asked of political leaders, and law-enforcement chiefs, are these: how was it that community relations in Sydney's south degenerated to the point where young toughs of Middle Eastern origin felt entitled to harass girls on the Cronulla beachfront, only to beat unconscious a volunteer lifesaver who sought to restore some decorum? " ...

"Clearly, there has been much anxiety and tension in this part of Sydney for some years. Allegations in 2001 that Lebanese youths had specifically targeted Anglo-Australian girls for gang rape became a white-hot issue after a local Islamic leader argued the young women ought to accept some blame for their attitudes and dress sense."

I think the riots and attacks have much less to do race than with what the Aussies consider to be acceptable public behavior, especially toward women, and how the Lebanese act. The "Lebs" don't act Australian. The Aussie resent being told to tolerate people who act intolerably. The Aussies resent having to change their behavior to accommodate people who won't accept the community standards. Sound familiar?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

"Fascism in America will lead to Death Camps for Minorities"

Looking at my Sitemeter this morning I saw that someone was directed here based on a Yahoo! search for the words "fascism in america will lead to death camps for minorities". That combination of words points to the October 2004 Archives. Just so you know, The Wraith is number 28 on the list. Number 1 is a deranged site called Number 2, big surprise, is the DemocraticUnderground.

Leaving aside the slim possibility that the searcher was goofing around, what the hell is going on? Can anyone outside of a mental hospital really believe such utter nonsense? Death camps for minorities? This isn't even possible in the most hyperactive Philip Dick-style flights of imagination. There's a better chance that Sauron will rematerialize and marry Shakira in Mecca on Easter Sunday. (All hail Shakira, Dark Queen!)

Note to all the paranoid teenager dystopian fantasists: don't drink so much cough syrup while watching the Matrix. Try to breathe more between bong hits.

And after college, when you tour Europe, don't spend all your time chasing girls and complaining about American culture. Take a train east. Instead of scaring your dorm buddies with comic-book tales of imaginary death camps, tour a real one. Visit Auschwitz-Birkenau. Learn what a death camp was like up close. Look at the pile of eyeglasses, the mound of artificial limbs. Stare at the Calvary scene scratched into a stone prison wall by a human fingernail. Wander back into the unthinkable vastness of the camp, sprawling to the horizon. Touch the barbed wire, the train rails. It's not the fever dream of grad students or a graphic novel or a video game. It really happened. Then come back and we'll talk.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Wraith Revised

New layout! New colors! Same ridiculous content! And now ad-free.

Let the celebrations begin.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Insurgents? Terrorists? Pixies?

Earlier I wrote a post at the Infidel Bloggers Alliance where I accepted the argument of Rep. Murtha regarding a withdrawal from Iraq. I followed where it took me. That was so much fun I decided to try it again.

Today, in response to the President's speech before the Council of Foreign Relations,
Murtha said this:

Now, let me tell you the major problem we have. You heard the president talk today about terrorism. Every other word was "terrorism." Let me separate terrorism from insurgency. ...

Bin Laden said he attacked the United States because of the troops in Saudi Arabia. That's terrorism. Terrorism was in London. Terrorism was in Spain. Terrorism was, obviously, in the United States.

That's completely separate from what's going on in Iraq. Iraq is an insurgency. ...

Now, let's talk about terrorism versus insurgency in Iraq itself. We think that foreign fighters are about 7 percent -- might be a little bit more, a little bit less. Very small proportion of the people that are involved in the insurgency are terrorists or how I would interpret them as terrorists.

Wow. That is some juicy stuff. Since kausfiles has already nailed the "this man seems confused argument" I'll move on.

As best as I can understand it, Murtha's distinction between "insurgents" and "terrorists" rests on whether they are foreign or domestic. Hence the importance he places on the idea "that foreign fighters are about 7 percent" of our enemies in Iraq. Let's accept that distinction as the key to determining who is a terrorist and who is an insurgent. But before we go any further, let's examine the three attacks Murtha mentioned.

Clearly, as Murtha said, the men who carried out the 9/11 attacks were not American citizens. Therefore, under his criteria, they were terrorists. That's easy. The 3/11 attacks in Madrid were carried out by a mixed group of al Qaeda-related militants:
Moroccans, Algerians and at least one Spaniard. Mostly foreigners, even if some were natives or long-term residents of Spain. Again, terrorists.

Three of the four 7/7 bombers were native Brits, born and raised. The other was Jamaican-born but married to a British native. Unless you're going to make the nationalist claim that the children of Pakistani immigrants can't be British, then this was an attack by local people against what they considered to be an illegitimate government. Therefore they were insurgents.

Onward. Let's accept Murtha classification system look at some key conflicts.

Jemaah Islamiyah is responsible for several attacks in Indonesia, including the October 2002 bombing that killed 202 people, mostly Australian tourists. Insurgency. Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines? Insurgency. Hezbollah? Islamic Jihad? Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the group that assassinated Sadat? Insurgencies all.

Let's widen our view.
ETA, the Basque groups that just detonated 7 bombs to mark Spain's Constitution Day? Aum Shinrikyo, the religious group that released nerve gas in the Tokyo subway system? Both groups are comprised of local people, native born to the nations they are fighting. Insurgencies.

Are these too abstract and distant from US concerns? Let's stick close to home.
The Weather Underground? The Symbionese Liberation Army? Both were groups of native, local fighters, determined to overthrow a government they saw as oppressive and illegitimate. Insurgencies, again.

Let's get even closer to home.
Eric Robert Rudolph was born in Florida. His religious beliefs lead him to view the current regime as responsible for perpetrating great and continuing evils. He bombed the Olympic Games, a nightclub frequented by homosexuals and lesbians, and a clinic that performed abortions. Given Murtha's criteria why is he not considered an insurgent?

You can see where all this leads. Timothy McVeigh. American Insurgent. Can I expect to see him labeled as such in future articles concerning "the Events of April 19, 1995"? Someone should ask Rep. Murtha.

The point is that Murtha's distinction is a silly one. You can call them insurgents or terrorists. You can call them Minutemen (if you're a fat, self-obsessed tool.) The point is this: the insurgents/terrorists/pixies we're fighting in Iraq are the same people who have attacked us all over the world and here in the US. Don't take it from me. Listen to the Number 2 pixie.

Princess of Whines

First, read Barbara Streisand's letter to the LA Times canceling her subscription. Read carefully. There will be a quiz afterward.

Second, read Jonah Goldberg's piece. Here's where your careful reading of Ms. Streisand's letter pays off. With all her money you'd think she could spring for an editor. Even part-time. What the hell is her personal assistant doing anyway?

And will someone please, remind me again why she is famous? It keeps slipping my mind.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Iranian Bomb and the Logic of Deterrence

Iran is months away from the point of no return in its quest for an atomic weapon. For a very detailed and free crash course on the situation download Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran from the Strategic Studies Institute.

I know many of you are thinking that the Israelis or even the US will bomb the Iranian installations and that will be that. Sadly, it's not going to happen. Iran will develop the capability to build atomic bombs. Period.

All of us should start to think seriously about what this means. Some say that Iran can be deterred. After all, it seemed to work against the Soviets. Deterrence was based on the concept of MAD, mutual assured destruction. I do not believe this will work for several reasons.

During the Cold War, it was the stated, public policy of the US to threaten the annihilation of virtually all Soviet citizens in a nuclear exchange with the USSR. We had more than enough thermo-nuclear warheads to utterly obliterate the Soviet state and Russian civilization. American citizens accepted this gruesome policy because we knew that our existence was at stake. Not 'our way of life' or 'our values' or 'our interests' but our existence. Iran simply does not pose the same threat. Iran may harm the US. Iran may threaten our interests in a geopolitical sense. But Iranian atomic weapons and missiles do not seriously threaten to destroy tens of millions of Americans and blast our civilization into dust.

This alone changes the calculation. And it feeds into another change since the Cold War: we have lost the domestic Cold War deterrence mentality. As I said, Americans accepted that their government threatened to kill tens or hundreds of millions of people because Americans themselves felt threatened. Without this personal threat I doubt that Americans will accept a policy of nuclear death on a vast scale.

If the Iranians sneak an atom bomb into New York and kill tens of thousands of people, will we utterly destroy their civilization? Will we retaliate with a nuclear strike that kills 70 million people and ends thousands of years of Persian civilization? Or will we go for a 'measured' response of, say, only destroying the regime and the military?

This is not MAD because the Destruction is neither Mutual nor Assured: they cannot destroy us and we will not destroy them. It may sound morbid but it was the Destruction part of MAD that made it work. Attempts to calculate something like "I will risk losing X for the chance to achieve my objective" are undermined by MAD because X always equals everything. Not just the regime or the military but the villiages, cultural assets, even the very landscape.

This lack of assured destruction puts the mullahs in an entirely different situation from the Soviets. The mullahs can make a calculation that the Soviets could not. Suddenly X equals something less than everything; it equal a real number. For example, is it worth losing even a few million Iranians if they can achieve their objective, whatever that may be? After all, Shi'a Islam and Persian culture will continue even if the regime is destroyed and millions killed. This, from their perspective, is a rational calculation, not pure madness.

The ayatollahs aren't Marxists, who, for all their evil, were a mutant strain of the Western philosophical tradition. The ayatollahs are theocrats of a mystical religion with a strong martyrdom complex. Who can say what their calculation will be based on? Who knows how a deterrence founded on Western secular rationalism will play out with a regime run by religious scholars trained in entirely different traditions of decision-making and logic?

Bad things are ahead. Bad indeed.

Cross-posted at the Infidel Bloggers Alliance.

Chessboxing: Future King of Sports

When I was in college back in the Dark Ages I invented a game called Drinking Chess. Every time you lost a piece or were placed in check, you had to take a drink. Our preferred drink was a double-shot of vodka cut with a little white wine or Gatorade. A brutal, nasty little game best played by 19 year-olds with too much free time. Since then I haven't played much chess except when I occasionally lose a game to my laptop.

These guys have created the ultimate chess combination sport - Chessboxing. (ht: Daniel Drezner)

The basic idea in chessboxing is to combine the no.1 thinking sport and the no.1 fighting sport into a hybrid that demands the most of its competitors – both mentally and physically.

In a chessboxing fight two opponents play alternating rounds of chess and boxing. The contest starts with a round of chess, followed by a boxing round, followed by another round of chess and so on. In every round of chess the FIDE rules for a ´Blitz game´ apply, in every boxing round the AIBA rules apply with the following extensions and modifications: In a contest there shall be 11 rounds, 6 rounds of chess, 5 rounds of boxing. A round of chess takes 4 minutes. Each competitor has 12 minutes on the chess timer. As soon as the time runs out the game is over.

Fantastic. What a sport! This should be in the Olympics. I have a heavy bag in my garage. I even took a few lessons last year. Sadly for me the competitors must be under 34. Maybe they'll start a senior division.

Think about other sports that would combine a strategic game with a combat sport. Greco-Roman wrestling and checkers - Grec-kers! Fencing and batgammon - Fencegammon! Kendo and dominoes - Kendominoes! The possibilities are endless.

A Lesson

Before the hate mail starts let me just say that I am not advocating this behavior. It was wrong and it was a crime. But you have to admit it is a little bit funny.

University of Kansas religious studies professor Paul Mirecki has been in the Kansas news recently over a class he planned to teach. 'Originally called "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies," the course was canceled last week at Mirecki's request.'

He also received a lot of bad press for some of his emails. 'One recent e-mail from Mirecki to members of a student organization referred to religious conservatives as "fundies," and said a course describing intelligent design as mythology would be a "nice slap in their big fat face." Mirecki has apologized for those comments.'

Wow, was that stupid. I'm not a PhD and I know better than that. Well, guess what Dr. Dumb-Ass? This is freaking Kansas, not the Upper West Side. People don't take kindly to insults to their religion or their "big fat faces." The good doctor was taken to school yesterday morning and taught a valuable lesson.

Mirecki reported he was attacked around 6:40 a.m. in rural Douglas County south of Lawrence. Mirecki told the Lawrence Journal-World that he was driving to breakfast when he noticed the men tailgating him in a pickup truck.

"I just pulled over hoping they would pass, and then they pulled up real close behind," he said. "They got out, and I made the mistake of getting out."

He said the men beat him on the head, shoulders and back with their fists, and possibly a metal object. ...

Mirecki told the student newspaper, the University Daily Kansan, that he spent between three and four hours at the hospital. He said his injuries included a broken tooth.

"I'm mostly shaken up, and I got some bruises and sore spots," he told the Lawrence Journal-World.

Again, I don't support this. It's wrong to beat up professors (or bloggers for that matter). But if you bait people by denegrating their deepest beliefs they just might get mad. Keep in mind that it's not like he called Scientology or Islam a myth. There aren't that many Scientologists or Muslims in Kansas. He attacked Christianity. You'd think a religious studies prof would know that the vast, overwhelming majority of Kansans are Christian.

More than that though. The good Dr. Broken-Tooth would probably never even consider teaching a class labeling Islam a "religious mythology." That would be insensitive. (And if he did I'm guessing he would get a lot more than a broken tooth.) The logic being that it's appropriate to insult the deepest beliefs of almost all the residents of the state (whose taxes built the institution and pay his salary) but it's inappropriate to insult the beliefs of small minorities.

But I'm speculating here. Perhaps the Professor will recuperate and teach a new class. I suggest "Resisting Religiously-Inspired Violence: Facing Threats from Minor Assaults to Suicide Bombers - a Global Perspective."

Monday, December 05, 2005

We Are Losing

“Psychologically and politically, the withdrawal phase has already begun.”

We are losing the “War in Iraq”. Not the physical war, not the concrete events in the actual country called Iraq. We are losing the “War in Iraq,” the story of the war, the rationale for fighting. Psychologically, politically, emotionally, visually and in a common everyday sense of narrative we are losing.

We will withdraw. You can call it 'drawn down', or 'troop readjustment', or 'force reduction'. You can call it Samantha but it will be withdrawal. It’s just like bin Laden has said: we can’t take casualties; our morale is low; we are a paper tiger.

Theoretically we may have best military the world has known. Our troops are the best trained. We spend more money. We have more high-tech widgets. Yada, yada, yada. All this looks great in parades and on paper. We have a mighty fighting force but we lack the will to use. What's the point?

Not that many years ago, during the Cold War, it was the declared policy of the United States to threaten hundreds of millions of people with nuclear annihilation. It wasn’t a secret agenda or a back channel diplomatic trick. This was the openly accepted military and political policy of Democrats and Republicans for years and years. I grew up with this. Now we can’t shoot at a mosque without our own citizens wringing their hands.

We’ve lost 2000 troops in Iraq, including those who died from accidents and illnesses. We are seriously contemplating leaving Iraq because of 2000 deaths in nearly 3 years. This generation will endure the greatest military-political defeat in US history because the public, not the military, has simply lost the will to continue. Give Zarqawi credit. A criminal thug from Jordan will force the so-called greatest military on Earth to fly home and lick its minor wounds.

We are losing the War Against Jihad. Iran is months away from the point of no return in its quest to build atomic weapons. We will not stop it. We will negotiate and hold talks and threaten sanctions. Then we will talk about negotiating a conference to discuss possible sanctions. Then we will propose sanctions as a topic for debate. Then we will lose the debate. Then Iran will test a bomb in the desert. There will be a period of media hysteria. Then Paris Hilton will convert to Islam and the topic will change. Our government will learn to live with the Iranian Bomb, even as the mullahs spread the technology to the worst people alive.

We are losing Europe. In the last 6 months we have seen British born suicide bombers attack London, weeks of nation-wide rioting by Muslims in France, and an ethnic European, Belgian-born female suicide bomber attack Iraq along with her Belgian-Moroccan (or Algerian) husband. Yet the biggest topic in Europe today is if there are secret CIA prisons holding the most dangerous of the captured jihadists.

We are losing ourselves. The President celebrates the Eid ul Fitar feast at the end of Ramadan but Boston rename its Christmas Tree “Holiday Tree” so as not to offend anyone.

I would love nothing more than to be proved wrong.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Insert Waffle Joke Here

Yesterday I submitted my first post to the Infidel Bloggers Alliance. This is a variation on that theme.

Maybe the Muriel Degauque suicide bombing was just a combination of sexual-linguistic misunderstanding. Perhaps Muriel felt unfulfilled by her less-than-tender Muslim husband (after all jihadists aren't known for being generous lovers). Enveloped in the warm darkness of her burka, Muriel fantasized about the awkward but enthusiastic embrace of a lean, smooth man-child. And if one young lover is pleasing then 72 would be, well, heaven.

So Muriel, the girl next door, was lonely, isolated, untouched. Her second husband Issam, the Belgian-Moroccan death-worshiper, thought the "little button" was what triggers an explosive vest. It had been a long time since she'd experienced la petite mort. While Issam watched Al Jazerra, Muriel figured that ‘the little death’ wouldn’t really do it for her. She needed something, well, bigger, more powerful, longer lasting. Next thing you know she's in Iraq driving a car packed with explosives, itching with anticipation for la grande mort. I believe she was, yet again, unsatisfied.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Marriage - Belgium Style

Apparently in Belgium one of the joys of marriage is planning a dual suicide bombing. A married couple who was arrested in Antwerp on Tuesday night in a large-scale federal anti-terror sweep were poised to depart for Iraq to carry out a suicide attack, police and judicial sources have confirmed.

Even distance and separation only fills the wives hearts with love - love of exploding themselves. The partners of several suspected terrorists being detained in Belgium are ready to carry out suicide attacks in Morocco, it was reported on Thursday. The claim was made in a police statement by Mohamed Reha, a Belgian of Moroccan ancestry who was arrested in Morocco earlier this month.

Charming, eh? Belgium just sounds better and better every day. "She told me that many Muslim women whose husbands were arrested in Belgium would like to become involved in Jihad, the holy war. She asked me to help them by finding someone to train them and supply them with explosives."

Who wants to start a Belgium Suicide Attack Pool? The easy money says there's an attack inside Belgium in 2006. Now that the jihadists have Muriel Degauque as a martyr and recruiting poster girl the clock is ticking.

What are the Belgian authorities going to do? Search all the Muslim women in all the train stations and public spaces? Even the ethnic Belgians? Don't hold your breath infidel reader.

Tick tock Brussels. Some marriages produce more than resentment and debt.

Belgian Leftists Riot against Len Pen

From Expatica: The visit to Ghent of French extreme-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen sparked riots on Wednesday night. About 30 left-wing protestors occupied a crossroads in Ghent city centre where the public who wanted to listen to Le Pen's talk had to pass by. Police eventually intervened and used force — including the use of police batons — to remove the protestors from the road junction ...

Aah Belgium. It's not just home to Moroccan jihadists and their suicidal convert wives. But don't worry dear reader. The Leftists failed.

In front of an audience of more than 200 Flemish people and encircled by the yellow Flemish Lion flags, Le Pen was then able to give his reading — in French.

Illegal Immigration 2

My reply to comments to the post below, Illegality is Crime. Duh.

The government has a basic duty to control the borders and regulate who comes and goes. That is one of the fundamental responsibilities of the nation-state and has been for centuries. Control over the border and a monopoly on legal violence are two of the hallmarks of the nation-state. Call me old fashioned but I am a big fan of the nation-state and see no reason to weaken it or dilute its powers. BTW, I am not what goes by the term ‘conservative’ as it is used in popular discourse. I am conservative in the sense that I want to conserve many aspects of our way of life. I do not believe in unlimited free trade. What the commenter means by conservative is closer to libertarianism.

If the American people voted to increase immigration to 50 million I would accept that. However, they would not do so. Indeed most (really all) polls on this subject show that Americans of all types support reducing legal immigration. I am a democrat in the sense that if most people, over a long period of time want to reduce immigration then I believe immigration should be reduced.

I refuse to accept the all-too-easy dismissal of my cultural concerns as “Aryan” or racist. I am a "culturist" in that I value our culture. If you think that makes me a wild-eyed reactionary or a brownshirt then I pity you for you are truly lost. Preserving our culture, however you choose to define that, is a worthy cause and an important undertaking. It is neither parochial nor shortsighted. In many ways culture, our unique American culture, is our greatest treasure and passing it down to future generations is our duty. Whether you define American culture as baseball and hamburgers or Abstract Expressionism and Henry James novels it is unique in world history and something to be valued, not disparaged and taken for granted.

If you are an American, our culture permeates your person from your body language and your speech (including how being a native speaker of American English has shaped the muscles in your jaw and face) to how you interact with others to your most basic values. To reject this, to reduce it to merely a set of transactions, is to deny some deep part of oneself. I am not a cultural purist trying to put my version of Americana under glass safe from the dirty hands of foreigners. I know that cultures change over time. I expect that and I welcome it. American culture is remarkably flexible and accommodating to outside influences. This is part of its near-universal appeal and one of its greatest strengths. But it is neither large enough nor strong enough to simply absorb another country of 100 million people who speak a different language, have widely different historical experiences, values and customs.

The government clearly has a right to tell you who you may hire. You cannot employee children in most industries, for example. You cannot hire ex-convicts in certain circumstances. People without security clearances cannot be hired for lots of public and private positions. You cannot hire people without certain qualifications, for example certified doctors or pharmacists. I do not see how one can serious argue that there is a right to hire an illegal alien without either advocating the abolition of the nation-state or professing a desire for simple anarchy.

This country was built on a faith in human freedom but not an unlimited faith and not unlimited freedom. The Founders harbored no illusions regarding human nature, unlike the naiveté that is rampant today. I do not believe any of the Founders would have advocated unrestricted immigration. Throughout our history we have had periods of more open immigration policy and periods of more restricted immigration policy. Both are part of our national political traditions. Today, the Left and corporate interests are united in spreading the myth that open immigration is the only tradition. The Left does this out o f ideology. Corporations do it out of greed. In any case it is factually wrong. Until the 1960s we had quite a restrictive immigration policy.

Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime. The victims are numerous but largely anonymous. Taxpayers, citizens and those who work here legally, foot the bill for health care and education of illegals. This includes bi-lingual teachers and texts for K through 12 schooling. In many states illegals pay in-state tuition for state colleges and universities. This is a direct cost of thousands of dollars per student per semester. We pay for the infrastructure used by illegals. We pay for policing, judging and incarcerating illegals. Low wage workers, especially manual laborers, pay in reduced wages or lost opportunities. Then there are the intangible costs to our culture at large.

The question that I have not seen raised in any discussion of illegal immigration is this: why is Mexico so poor? They share a border with the largest economy in the world. They have oil. Yet Mexico has persisted in its poverty for decades while other nations have risen. In 1950 Korean was a war-torn nation just emerging from a long and brutal occupation. It spoke a unique language and had virtually no natural resources. Yet today Korea is a vibrant economy. Look at India. A nation independent for a little over 50 years that was born during violence and mass migration, a nation without a common language - yet today a vibrant economy.

This is a post for another day but I'd like some answers: Why is Mexico so poor?