Nov 30 2008

Thinking about the message of Mumbai

Category: Islam,terrorismharmonicminer @ 8:55 pm

Powerline has some cogent observations.

If you doubt any of this, you really, really need to read the books I listed a day or two back.

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Nov 30 2008

Daily Kos mythology

Category: economy,left,taxesharmonicminer @ 10:04 am

On the Daily Kos, we get this narrative about a conservative dad and a liberal daughter:

A blue collar man came home from a long day’s work to find his idealistic daughter had dropped in while doing some local community organizing. Like so many others in his income bracket, he considered himself to be a God fearing conservative, and along with most conservatives, was very, very much against income and capital gains taxes, especially on the rich.

But today he was deeply worried about the economic future of his naive, liberal daughter and his two grandchildren. Based on stories his parents told him about the Great Depression, his own shallow prejudice, and selected morsels of misinformation fed to him by right-wing talk radio, he decided to confront her right there and then for her own good.

He started by calmly and politely pointing out that Barack Obama was a Muslim, not a US citizen, and the President-elect was going to raise taxes on millionaires and force government funded abortions on everyone — even the men. Before the girl had a chance to respond to her father’s breathtaking ignorance, he muttered something about unions being responsible and trailed off. The girl, sensing something more was going on, asked him instead about his own job.

Continue reading “Daily Kos mythology”

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Nov 29 2008

If you want to understand the terrorist threat

Category: Islam,terrorismharmonicminer @ 10:23 am

In India, there are 143 200 known dead (!), and 700 wounded, with the death toll rising, as more bodies are found and people die of their wounds. There will be lots of investigation and speculation, but in the end, there isn’t much doubt that Islamic fascist terrorists are behind it.

There has been one claim of responsibility: a group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen, which e-mailed news organizations on Thursday claiming it had carried out the attacks. The group, previously unknown, may be connected with (or even an alias of) the Indian Mujahedin, which claimed responsibility for several terrorist strikes earlier this year. Indian terrorism experts say that both are likely to have connections to, or simply be renamed versions of, older Indian militant groups such as the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba or the Students Islamic Movement of India. (See pictures of two days of terror in Mumbai.)

Yet the scale and sophistication of the Mumbai attacks – which appear to have involved dozens of militants using assault rifles, grenades and explosives to simultaneously attack multiple targets – raise suspicions of involvement by more than one group, which would involve an unprecedented level of coordination.

“This is an operation of a very new type in India,” wrote Walid Phares on his well-respected Counterterrorism Blog. “The ’emirs’ have sent these armed elements in their 20s to strike at Indian psyche. One goal is to sink the Pakistani-Indian rapprochement … The goal is to target India as a power engaged in the war on terror but also to further destabilize the region, including Pakistan and its neighbor Afghanistan.”

So, my suggestions for reading, if you really want to understand the threat:

The Crisis of Islam by Bernard Lewis

The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright

America Alone by Mark Steyn

The Al Qaeda Reader by Raymond Ibrahim

World War IV, by Norman Podhoretz

The Nuclear Jihadist by Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins

These are each very different kinds of books.  Between them, they provide a reasonably rounded picture of the challenge.  If you have not read these books, and if you get most of your news and understanding about Islamic extremism from TV and the major media, you are probably ill informed about the situation we face.  Do you have enough imagination to foresee the possibility of an event in Los Angeles or Chicago paralleling recent events in Mumbai?  Or something worse?

The analysis of threats involves the same thing as a murder investigation: means, motive and opportunity.  The national security types think in terms of “intentions” and “capabilities”, i.e., there is little threat to the US from Great Britain’s military, even though it has significant capability, because it does not have the intent to attack the USA.

These books, between them, will help you understand the historical background and current status of Islamic extremism, identify the major players and their connections, and understand the steps that have been taken so far to prevent them from further success, as well as chronicling failures and identifying probable future threats.

Or, instead of finding out what’s really going on in the world, you can just hope the government is taking care of it, and that the New York Times is really telling you all you need to know.  Ignorance is bliss, for awhile.  Maybe if we just send more aid, and withdraw all American troops from the world, then they’ll just leave us alone.  Or not.

If, after reading these, you find that you have the desire to read more (and there is a LOT more), you can send email to me at  If there is interest, I’ll post another list.

UPDATE:  In response to a reader email, here is a counterpoint to what some see as the “too even-handed” approach to Islam by Bernard Lewis.  I guarantee you will learn some things.  Do you know what the Islamic doctrine of “abrogation” is?  If not, you need to read this book, because there’s probably a lot more you don’t know, and don’t even know you should be asking.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades by Robert Spencer

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Nov 28 2008

So now the source of the money matters

Category: election 2008,mediaharmonicminer @ 11:41 pm

‘Unbelievable’ sum of money in Ga. runoff –

Republicans are pouring millions into Georgia’s Senate runoff contest in the final days of the race as they try to prevent Democrats from adding to their Election Day gains.

Georgia’s Senate race, one of two still undecided, is drawing national attention as it heads to a runoff Dec. 2. The outcome will determine whether Democrats have a chance to control the 60 seats they need to block Republican-led filibusters.

Both candidates are aggressively fundraising, but Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss is benefiting more from interest groups and large donors than Democratic challenger Jim Martin.

Funny how the corrupting influence of money on elections wasn’t much of a subject during the Obama campaign.

Look for newspaper articles on the homeless to dry up almost entirely after Obama is inaugurated, even though in the current economic times there must surely be more of them. The media is so predictable that it would be funny, if it wasn’t dangerous.

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Nov 28 2008

Economic advice from a guy in a cave

Category: Islamharmonicminer @ 11:31 pm

al-Qaeda No. 2 discusses U.S. economic crisis –

al-Qaeda’s No. 2 leader appeared in a new video Friday calling on Americans to embrace Islam to overcome the financial meltdown, which he described as a consequence of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Appearing in his white turban and robe, Zawahri discussed the roots of the U.S. economic crisis and said it was a repercussion of the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.

“The American economy was afflicted by a downturn and loss of investor confidence in the market following the events of Sept. 11,” he said.

“The modern economy has been destroyed by the strikes of the mujahedeen (in Iraq and Afghanistan) and the usury,” he said, using the Arabic term for holy warriors.

Under Islamic Sharia law, usury, like drinking alcohol, is among the grand sins.

Zawahri then called on the American people to “embrace Islam to live a life free of greed, exploitation and forbidden wealth.”

Now, that’s going to be a big seller.

Convert to Islam. Be poor. Like most of the rest of the world’s muslims who don’t own oil wells and aren’t dictators or royalty.

Have you noticed how much Islam speak can sound like Lefty neo-socialist speak? Just change a word: “Embrace socialism and national health care to live a life free of greed, exploitation and forbidden wealth.”


Nov 28 2008

My Personal Thanksgiving

Category: character,virtueamuzikman @ 12:59 am

I am an Eagle Scout.  I say that with no small amount of pride for I consider it to be one of my proudest achievements.  It is the highest award given by The Boy Scouts of America and it represents a great deal of commitment and hard work.  It also means I had some great fun and amazing experiences during my years in Scouting. Thankfully, (so far) the Eagle Scout Award is still recognized as a major milestone in the life of a young man and a positive reflection of leadership and character.   I know much of my character was shaped through Scouting and I will be forever grateful for how it helped my journey to manhood. I will also always hold a debt of gratitude to the wonderful men who gave of their time so selflessly and who willingly shared of themselves to help me and other boys navigate their path to manhood.

It is only now with the passage of years I can look back with clarity and see ways in which my character was forged.  The lessons were simple but profound, sometimes learned through planned activities many times just in the course of having fun in the outdoors.  Scouting taught me self-reliance when I had to cook my own food or go hungry.  I learned perseverance each time I lugged a full backpack to the top of a mountain.  Honesty and integrity were always before me, modeled by the men who guided me and provided opportunity. Responsibility came as I assumed leadership positions and learned to make decisions that affected others. Teamwork was always a priority in challenges and obstacles that could not be overcome alone.  Resourcefulness came as I learned to survive with only what I carried on my back for days at a time.  Through activities ranging from cooking to climbing, fire starting to map reading, mountain climbing to fence building I traveled the path from boyhood to manhood in the special camaraderie that is Scouting.

Time was always taken to consider character and to learn about virtue, often through stories.  Some of the most profound moments of my boyhood took place around a campfire as I listened to tales of Indian warriors, brave soldiers, intrepid explorers, and other heroes, both real and fictional.  Also from my first recitation as a Tenderfoot Scout to this very day I have never forgotten the Scout Oath and Law – noble ideals, the cornerstone of what it means to be a Scout.

One glance at the news headlines shows our country seems to be shedding virtues like a dog’s winter coat in the spring. Our great nation seems to have lost the virtue of self-reliance – we now have bailouts and handouts.  We don’t honor honesty or integrity, we tolerate lies and corruption.  We have no real leaders, only people who will do and say whatever they must to get what they want.  There is no sense of perseverance, instead we are quick to point a finger of blame and demand “justice” at the first sign of difficulty in our lives.

As for me, I want no bailout, no handout, no benefits I have not earned, no redistribution, rebate, or refund, nothing universal and nothing guaranteed.  I just want the freedom to succeed or fail by the sweat of my brow.  I want to live a life of freedom, virtue, character and strength and I want my children to learn to do likewise. Corny? Perhaps.  But the principles of Scouting were never meant to be trendy, they were meant to build leaders.

Our country has been blessed by many men who, as boys embraced Scouting, followed the Eagle trail, and then applied the lessons learned as adults.  In fact the list is pretty impressive. I am proud and thankful to count myself among them.


Nov 27 2008

The first Thanksgiving

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 10:41 am

There is something peculiarly American in the story of the first Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving Day we are asked to remember what Edmund Burke, in one of the most eloquent phrases to be found in all literature, described as “that little speck, scarce visible in the mass of national interest, a small seminal principle, rather than a formed body”—the tiny vessel, more accurately to be described as a “cockleshell,” the Mayflower, and its hundred passengers, men, women, and children, who sailed on her.

Twelve years earlier, in 1608, they had fled from religious persecution in England and established a new home in Holland. Despite the warm welcome extended by the Dutch, as contrasted with the persecutions they had endured in England, their love for their homeland impelled them to seek English soil on which to raise their children, English soil on which they would be free to worship God in their own way.

Finally, the Pilgrims landed, as we all know, on Plymouth Rock in the middle of December 1620, and on Christmas Day, in the words of Governor William Bradford, 1 they “began to erect the first house for common use to receive them and their goods.”

So was established the first English colony in New England.

Three years later, when the plentiful harvest of 1623 had been gathered in, the Pilgrims “set apart a day of thanksgiving.”

Read it all.

UPDATE:  So, if you read the essay linked above, did you note that it was written in 1955, before the entire panoply of Great Society programs in the 1960s was enacted?

It is common for people to thank God on Thanksgiving for His provision for them.   The problem with this focus is that well-to-do thieves might also thank God for their riches.  I am inclined to think that we Americans should be thanking God for the provision of freedom for us, and we should show our sincerity in those thanks by protecting that freedom, for ourselves and our posterity.  If, as a people, we give up that provision of freedom from God, for a temporary provision of sustenance from our government, we will have made a bad bargain indeed.

Nov 27 2008

Ignorantly decrying ignorance

Category: education,politicsharmonicminer @ 10:22 am

Kathleen Parker has not been my favorite person of late, due to her support for Obama, for what I consider to be trivial reasons, but she quotes an interesting study on voter ignorance. The report from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) on the nation’s civic literacy finds that most Americans are too ignorant to vote. After quoting all the various bits of ignorance on the part of the public about basic historical and constitutional principles and facts, which I’ve discussed before, we are treated to this:
Continue reading “Ignorantly decrying ignorance”

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Nov 26 2008

Obama’s “center-right” economic team?

Category: economy,Obamaharmonicminer @ 9:18 pm

Larry Kudlow, no raving Leftist he, evaluates Obama’s economic team as being predominantly center-right. And this seems to give him hope that Obama is going to talk a Left leaning game, while governing more from the center.

Continue reading “Obama’s “center-right” economic team?”

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Nov 26 2008

Getting a leg up on the rest of us

Category: terrorismharmonicminer @ 7:41 pm

I know, some of you think Ann Coulter should not be allowed in polite society. However, I’m not particularly concerned with being polite to terrorists, and neither is she. Here’s a bit, but the whole thing is hysterically, sadly funny, and well worth reading.

I thought the rest of the world was going to love us if we elected B. Hussein Obama! Somebody better tell the Indian Muslims. As everyone but President-elect B. Hussein Obama’s base knows, many of the Guantanamo detainees cannot be sent to their home countries, cannot be released and cannot be tried. They need to be held in some form of extra-legal limbo the rest of their lives, sort of like Phil Spector.

Continue reading “Getting a leg up on the rest of us”


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