Sep 02 2009

Ten for Tark: UPDATE

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 9:22 pm

Hugh Hewitt reports on the Ten for Tark campaign, that may get Senator Reid’s attention that he is in great political peril if he allows Obamacare to pass through the Senate.

the campaign [is] to send a message [to] the Senate Majority Leader that Obamacare has got to be shelved. I hope some of my colleagues on the radio dial pick up on the effort to send a very loud message to Senator Reid. Nothing gets an incumbent’s attention like a check to his opponent, and thousands and thousands of checks to Tark should hopefully see Senator Reid talking with his colleagues about the political peril that Obamacare creates for all of them, even those who can look forward to excellent funding support from unions and teachers.

Go to the link above. It has a link where you can donate $10 to Danny Tarkanian (thus, Ten for Tark), who is the challenger to Harry Reid in the 2010 election.

Anyone can afford this.  And the message to Reid is simple:  there’s lots more where this came from, and if you let this Obamacare mess pass through the Senate (and he DOES have the power to stop it), then you can expect to lose your seat in the Senate.  Period.

BTW:  this is not unrealistic.  Polls are showing that Reid is already trailing in the 2010 election, by quite a lot for an incumbent with a relatively unknown challenger.  So this is a time when the judicious application of pressure may actually produce a result.  Reid is vulnerable, and he knows he is, and that may be enough to get him to see reason in the matter, however he chooses to present it to the press and his Democrat friends.  This wouldn’t work against a politician in a secure seat, but this time, Reid is vulnerable, just like Daschle and Foley when they were in leadership roles in Congress.

After you make your $10 donation on Tarkanian’s site, send the receipt, along with a polite note, to Senator Reid, explaining your position briefly and clearly.  Be nice.  But be clear that you plan to give more to Tarkanian if Reid doesn’t kill the Obamacare legislation.

Time to stand up.

h/t:  hugh hewitt

UPDATE:  It looks like Danny Tarkanian’s campaign has spent some of the money they got in the Ten for Tark promotion.  Here’s the video:

Sep 02 2009

So What’s New?

Category: Clinton,humoramuzikman @ 6:00 pm

So I am scanning the Drudge report this morning, as I do most days, and this headline catches my eye:
BOOZE, HOOKERS: Clinton orders probe into guards at U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan...

So naturally I think to myself, “yeah, so…?”

It was only after a more careful examination of the headline that I realized it was NOT about Clinton using hookers and booze….

Imagine my surprise.

Sep 02 2009

Muslim denunciations of terrorism: how should we evaluate them?

Category: Islam,media,terrorism,theologyharmonicminer @ 9:02 am

It has become common for Muslim apologists, responding to the criticism that Muslims don’t condemn terrorism, to quote this imam or that, saying something that seems like a criticism.  Most of us in the west have little ability to determine the worth of these “criticisms.”  Is this something being said one way to the west, when the media are listening, and another way to the Muslim audience?  Is it a carefully worded “sympathy for the families of the dead” or is it a full-throated condemnation of the terrorist act as unIslamic and immoral, without equivocation or ambivalence?  After all, we give sympathy to the families of justly executed murderers.  Such sympathy hardly constitutes condemnation of the judge, the jury, the law or the executioners.

Another response is to say that the west is just as morally ambivalent about its own failings.  This article compares Muslim reluctance to condemn clear moral failure on the part of other Muslims to the tendency by modern Americans (including in the North) to whitewash the Confederate role in the Civil War, to call great generals of the South “heroes,” etc., when in fact they were fighting for a “state’s right” to protect the chattel ownership of human beings.  Of course, that war ended 145 years ago… there was less tendency in the North to be ambivalent about it at the time.  And this highlights another tendency of Muslim apologists, to point at western history, because there isn’t much they can point to now that compares to bombing African embassies, 9/11, the London Tube bombings, the Spanish train bombings,  the incredible carnage wrought in Iraq by Al Qaeda, the BATH killers, the Shia killers, the Indonesian Islamist killers, the Pakistani killers in Mumbai, etc., etc., etc., ad endless nauseam.

Occasionally something like this appears: Indian Muslims under pressure in Mumbai aftermath

“We strongly believe terrorists have no religion and they do not deserve a burial,” said Maulana Zaheer Abbas Rizvi of the All India Shia Personal Law Board, a body for framing Muslim laws.

This is good, but it’s in the same league as the pastor of a large church in Oklahoma condemning Timothy McVeigh, with perhaps tepid support from his denomination, but not much from a national umbrella church organization like the National Council of Churches or the National Association of Evangelicals, let alone wider Christendom.   The Shia are a distinct minority in India at about 10% of the approximately 100 million Muslims.

It’s tempting to put all Muslim denunciations of terrorism in the same category, but it’s a mistake.  It is not unusual for (especially) moderate Muslims to denounce the murder of other Muslims by Islamists.   How many of those same people say anything about rocketing Israeli civilians?

Even CAIR “denounces” terrorism, all the while it supports it via the Holy Land Foundation’s funneling of cash to Hamas.  Denunciations of terrorism, lacking specifics of who did what to whom, are cheap.  Ask CAIR to condemn a specific jihadi’s murder of innocents and all you usually get is, “We condemn all terrorism.”  And that’s code for, “We’re not going to name names.  And Israel is a terrorist nation.”   A ringing moral condemnation does not begin with, “Yes, but…”

So regarding Muslim denunciations of bad behavior by Muslims, some discernment is required.  Yes, you can find the occasional scholar or Imam who denounces it (though it often lacks those specifics).  But is it a scholar who is important in the Muslim world, or merely one who is popular with western elites as a “moderate spokesperson”?  It is well documented that many Muslim spokespeople say one thing in English to western media, and something else entirely to their own people, in their own language.  When a “Christian” murders an abortionist (which happens about once every ten years in the USA), virtually EVERY Christian leader speaks out against it instantly, in practical terms, including very conservative anti-abortion activists, both Protestant and Catholic.  You don’t need to look for “moderate Christians,” or “Christian scholars,” or something.  The Jerry Falwells, James Dobsons, Bishop Chaputs, the Popes, Pat Robertsons, Christian leaders of every stripe, Christian academics, the National Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals, virtually every pro-life group and conservative talk-show host will condemn in unison the murder of the abortionist “in the name of Christ.”  And this is the response to only ONE person’s murder “in the name of Christ,” about every ten years.

Is it possible to contend that there is anything even remotely close to this in the Muslim world?  Instead, we see people dancing in the street at the murder of thousands.  We see a “compassionately released” terrorist, reponsible for the deaths of hundreds, greeted as a conquering hero by national leaders and clerics (most recently in Lybia, but it’s a common pattern, isn’t it?).   Imagine if Timothy McVeigh had driven his diesel-laced fertilizer truck up to the Al-Hussein Mosque in Cairo, instead of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and said God told him to do it.  When the Egyptians released him on “compassionate parole” in 30 years (you’re laughing hysterically, right?), do you think his return would be celebrated by the President of the USA, national religious leaders, an adoring press, and public acclaim?

One “out” that is sometimes taken is to say that there is “no recognized single leader” in Islam.  But there isn’t in Christianity, either.  If you consulted with the Pope, the Archibishop of Canterbury, the National Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals, maybe some worldwide Protestant denominations and a few national Orthodox churches, and they all agreed, you could reasonably say “Christianity has spoken.”  And they all condemn the murder of abortionists, even though most are pro-life (with the notable exception of the National Council of Churches organizations, of course, which mostly represent dying denominations).

As I understand it, there are four “schools” of Islamic jurisprudence in Sunni Islam, and two in Shia Islam.  Those schools have well-known leaders, perhaps two or three important ones in each case.  It would be most persuasive if THOSE leaders spoke in unison that the murder of non-Muslims by jihadis is immoral and unIslamic.  But people in the west don’t listen clearly.  Some of these guys have “expressed sympathy” for the families of the killed on 9/11.   That is not the same thing as a ringing condemnation of the acts of the terrorists, and the public assurance to their own people, in their own people’s native languages, that the acts were sin, were unIslamic, would have been condemned by Muhammed, and did not earn the perpetrators a place in paradise.  Has THAT happened?  Or should we accept the PR statements of “moderates” who know that they’re talking to the western media in English or French?  Does Islam even teach that it is a sin to lie to non-Muslims for the sake of protecting the reputation of Islam?   Google “Al-taqiyya.”  (Qur’an 3:28: “Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers. If any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah; except by way of precaution, that ye may guard yourselves from them”.  This verse has been used, it seems, to justify lying to infidels in the defense of Islam.)

Let’s be really clear.  Imagine that 20 “Christians” hijacked four airliners filled with people from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Iran, and flew them into, say,

1) the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca at full occupancy,

2) the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina during the hadj, and maybe

3) the Haghia Sophia in Istanbul during Friday prayers, along with aiming one at

4) the palace of the Saudi family in Riyadh.

The entire Christian world would rise up in breathless horror.  Can you imagine the SCOPE of the reaction, the revulsion, the utter shame, and the rejection by the Christian world that this had anything to do with Christ or Christianity?  Can you imagine the thousands of recriminations that Christians would direct at each other, the self-examination, the zillions of study sessions to reinforce traditional Christian teaching on murder that would result in churches, christian schools and colleges, etc.?

Would we be willing to settle for a nice statement from the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dayton and an obscure professor of “Christian studies” somewhere that “we’re sorry for the victims’ families”?  Would we immediately put out PR statements hoping that this wouldn’t lead to “Christophobia” and “hate crimes” against innocent Christians?  Would we have to look for cherry picked Christian spokesmen to say “moderate” sounding things to the media?  And let’s be clear:  would Christians in ANY Muslim plurality nation be anywhere near as safe as Muslims have been in the USA after 9/11?

And would even the most conservative Bible Belt town in the South have a spontaneous dance of joy in the public square over the murder of those godless infidels, by right-thinking American boys with scout knives who hijacked airliners full of unbelievers?

I am waiting for an Islamic cleric in a prominent position in one of those six schools of Islamic jurisprudence to say that the killers of 9/11 are most likely in Hell, and belong there under Islamic teaching, as do those who are now emulating them.

And the notion that all six schools’ major representatives will make such a statement?  I suspect the Lord will return first.

Sep 02 2009

George Will’s opinion on staying in Afghanistan: UPDATE

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 7:00 am

In Afghanistan, Knowing When to Stop

forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent special forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.

Genius, said de Gaulle, recalling Bismarck’s decision to halt German forces short of Paris in 1870, sometimes consists of knowing when to stop. Genius is not required to recognize that in Afghanistan, when means now, before more American valor, such as Allen’s, is squandered.

Read the whole thing. I’m not sure what American military leaders would say about Will’s perspective… but it is interesting that it comes from the “center right.”

UPDATE:  The riposte was not long in coming.