The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Old Toons

The month-long reaction of all western governments and the vast majority of MSM to the Danish cartoon controversy is not, as many people believe, unique to 21st century political correctness. Peter Costello, the Tresurer of the Government of Australia, gave a speech (Hat Tip: Tim Blair in which he discussed another cartoon controversy that has an eerie similarity to today’s headlines. It too involved murderous fascists bent on world domination, and wrongheaded politicians and media types who believed that appeasement would make it all go away.

Costello tells the story of David Low, a London-based cartoonist during the 1930s who some called “the Twentieth Century's Greatest Cartoonist.”

Whilst in some quarters in Britain Hitler was attracting admiration, for David Low, a natural democrat and liberal who distrusted totalitarianism, Hitler was a regular target of attack and ridicule.

Low's regular depictions of the Fuhrer caused enormous diplomatic problems for the British Government, but they were to prove remarkably prophetic. Throughout the decade he portrayed the German dictator as a ludicrous, vain, pompous fool with unbridled ambition.

In 1933 the Nazis banned the Evening Standard and all newspapers carrying Low's work because of a cartoon he had drawn depicting Germany's withdrawal from the League of Nations.

In 1936 during the Berlin Olympic Games Low received his first request to tone down his depiction of Hitler in the interests of "good relations between all countries".

In 1937 the British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax visited Germany and met with the Propaganda Minister Goebbels, who told him that Hitler was very sensitive to criticism in the British press, and he singled out Low for attention.

Lord Halifax contacted the manager of the Evening Standard to see if Low could be toned down. He said:

"You cannot imagine the frenzy that these cartoons cause. As soon as a copy of the Evening Standard arrives, it is pounced on for Low's cartoon, and if it is of Hitler, as it generally is, telephones buzz, tempers rise, fevers mount, and the whole governmental system of Germany is in uproar. It has hardly subsided before the next one arrives. We in England can't understand the violence of the reaction."

His attempt to influence newspaper management was unsuccessful, so the Foreign Secretary then decided to speak with Low directly. At their meeting, this is how David Low described Lord Halifax's explanation.

"Once a week Hitler had my cartoons brought out and laid on his desk in front of him, and he finished always with an explosion. That he was extremely sore; his vanity was badly touched... So the Foreign Secretary asked me to modify my criticism, as I say, in order that a better chance could be had for making friendly relations... The Foreign Secretary explained to me that I was a factor that was going against peace.' `Do I understand you to say that you would find it easier to promote peace if my cartoons did not irritate the Nazi leaders personally?' `Yes,' he replied. `...I said, "Well, I'm sorry." Of course he was the Foreign Secretary what else could I say? So I said, "Very well, I don't want to be responsible for a world war. But, I said "It's my duty as a journalist to report matters faithfully and in my own medium I have to speak the truth. And I think this man is awful. But I'll slow down a bit." So I did."

Meanwhile Hitler within a month invaded Austria. Low felt vindicated and went back to his old ways. Low said:

"...I was good for about three weeks. Then Hitler bounced in and invaded Austria, showing that he had given our Foreign Secretary a run-around, had taken him for a ride. I considered that let me out, so I resumed criticism."

It was no surprise when after the war it was revealed that Low was high on the Nazi's death list.

It wasn't only Hitler complaining about Low. In 1938 Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain singled out Low while appealing to newspapers to temper their critical commentary of Germany. Chamberlain said:

"Such criticism might do a great deal to embitter relations when we on our side are trying to improve them. German Nazis have been particularly annoyed by criticisms in the British press, and especially by cartoons. The bitter cartoons of Low of the Evening Standard have been a frequent source of complaint."

Replace the names and dates and we see history repeating itself. The echos grow louder as each day passes.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Echoes – Growing Louder

It’s a small story – one that was mentioned only briefly in a few MSM outlets and ultimately drowned out by the now infamous Cheney Hunting Accident. And yet, it is worthy of comment.

Over a month ago, a young Jewish man, Ilan Halimi, was kidnapped in Paris by a terrorist gang of French Moslems, calling themselves “the barbarians.” From YNet:

For three weeks, the "Barbarians" detained and tortured Ilan Halimi. When he was found on February 13, he was naked, handcuffed after being dumped near railway tracks in a Parisian suburb. He suffered from severe burns covering 80 percent of his body. Traces of cigarette burns, iron burns, and various cuts (made by knives and scissors) covered his body. He passed away in an ambulance before reaching the hospital.

Police arrested about a dozen suspects so far. The gang leader's was finally arrested in the Ivory Coast where he went into hiding two days after Ilan's death. The "baits" used to trap Ilan, three women, are also among the suspects.

However, there must have been many witnesses to the crime, which spread over weeks. The shrieks and screams brought on by torture must have been heard by some of those living in the building where the horrific scenes were taking place. Yet not one soul, not even one anonymous caller, alerted the police in the suburb of Bagneux.

Not one resident of the Moslem neighborhood in which Halimi was tortured for 20 days and then murdered knew of this atrocity, no one helped, no one called police? No surprise, but echos of a time past in another European country.

Not a single voice from the Left condemned the torture and murder of an innocent young Jew. Yes, I understand it’s an “isolated case,” but since the “horrific” treatment of Moslem prisoners at Abu Graib prison caused such consternation, you’d think this significantly more horrific event might warrant a comment. It didn’t. No surprise, but echoes of a time past when the Left chose appeasement and silence in the presence of true evil.

In my last post, I discussed suicidalism -- an ideology that argues that good and evil are relative and debatable. Those who are perceived to be “victimized” get a pass when they commit evil acts. It’s a convenient mindset for the Angry Left, because it allows them to look the other way when their “victims” act like true barbarians.

Wretchard of the The Belmont Club comments:

Notions of good and evil, now derided as hopelessly old-fashioned, were the old bulwarks of mental sanitation. They permitted the public to possess a sense of outrage, a reflexive fear of things that call softly and menacingly out of dark places. They could bring out the village with torches and pitchforks against the Forces of Darkness.

Good and evil was later identified through the mechanism of free speech. But until recently the existence of right and wrong itself was unquestioned. Debate had closure; there were goals worth striving for; causes worth fighting for; and beauties worth dreaming of. Today the sense of right and it's inseparable companion Free Speech stand on the edge of illegitimacy. The light is about to go out from want of air: Ilan Halimi -- and other canaries -- have expired in the coal mine.

And so, the echoes grow louder.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


A intriguing post at the Armed and Dangerous blog discusses a fusion of Marxist ideology and modern day Islamist thinking into something called Suicidalism. In the post, the basic tenets (memes) of suicidalism are listed:

• There is no truth, only competing agendas.
• All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.
• There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.
• The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.
• Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
• The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)
• For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
• When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.

It should come as no surprise that these memes (attributable originally to none-other than Joseph Stalin) are a checklist for the angry-Left (e.g., Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan) in the USA. In fact, others refer to this mindset as post-modern Leftism. Armed and Dangerous comments:

Another consequence of Stalin’s meme war is that today’s left-wing antiwar demonstrators wear kaffiyehs without any sense of how grotesque it is for ostensible Marxists to cuddle up to religious absolutists who want to restore the power relations of the 7th century CE. In Stalin’s hands, even Marxism itself was hollowed out to serve as a memetic weapon — it became increasingly nihilist, hatred-focused and destructive. The postmodern left is now defined not by what it’s for but by what it’s against: classical-liberal individualism, free markets, dead white males, America, and the idea of objective reality itself.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I’m concerned about the historical parallels between of Islamism in the first decade of the 21st century and Nazism in the decade of the 1930s. I also worry that the Suicidalism meme espoused by the angry Left and often adopted (with subtlety) by the MSM will force us into isolationism and/or inaction and/or appeasement. Unfortunately, none of these will cause Islamosfascism to disappear, but they could ultimately lead to a reaction from the Right that is frightening. Again from Armed and Dangerous :

…if the Islamists achieve their dream of nuking “crusader” cities, they’ll make crusaders out of the U.S., too. And this time, a West with a chauvinized America at its head would smite the Saracen with weapons that would destroy entire populations and fuse Mecca into glass. The horror of our victory would echo for a thousand years.

I remain more optimistic than this. I think there is still an excellent chance that the West can recover from suicidalism without going through a fevered fascist episode and waging a genocidal war. But to do so, we have to do more than recognize Stalin’s memes; we have to reject them. We have to eject postmodern leftism from our universities, transnational progressivism from our politics, and volk-Marxism from our media.

The process won’t be pretty. But I fear that if the rest of us don’t hound the po-mo [post modern] Left and its useful idiots out of public life with attack and ridicule and shunning, the hard Right will sooner or later get the power to do it by means that include a lot of killing. I don’t want to live in that future, and I don’t think any of my readers do, either. If we want to save a liberal, tolerant civilization for our children, we’d better get to work.

Indeed, the angry-Left memes paralyze action and allow evil to grow. At the same time, should evil achieve its goals and hit us with a horrific attack (e.g., a nuclear weapon explodes in a major U.S. city), the far Right reaction (probably justified at that point) would take us all to a place that no one wants to visit.

Indeed, “we’d better get to work.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Runaway Models

When I was a young engineer, I developed a sophisticated mathematical model to predict the wear characteristics of a metal cutting tools (I know, not very exciting). My computer-based model considered all important variables, produced sophisticated tabular data, and generated graphical charts that wowed the uninitiated. The results of many computer runs made an argument for substantial redesign of the cutting process. There was only one problem, the mathematical model was incorrect!

Models, no matter how sophisticated, can be wrong – dead wrong. And therefore, the results that they produce are useless.

The old saying “garbage in, garbage out” is applicable to computer-based models that are correct. But when software (and its underlying model) is incorrect, even “good data in” will invariably result in “garbage out.”

The argument for global warming or extreme climatic change is based solely on mathematical models. Climatic models use regression analysis and other sophisticated statistical techniques to predict global temperatures, sea levels, and greenhouse gases, not over the next month or year, but for time periods extending to 100 years! Global climate is an extremely complex system, and as such it is extreme hubris -- on the part of environmentalists and researchers -- to claim that these models are (1) inherently correct and (2) accurate over a 100 year period. (It’s worth noting that we currently have trouble predicting the weather more than 10 days in advance). And yet, based on data derived from these models (and selective present day measurements) environmentalists declare global warming a “fact.” It isn’t.

I don’t know if human-induced climatic change is occurring, and I would submit that no one else does either. The global warming hypothesis is worthy of study, but it does not yet justify broad-based legislation or international treaties. Maybe someday it will, once the hypothesis is proven. Then again, maybe the hypothesis is dead wrong, and the human intervention mandated by legislation and treaties will have severe and unintended side effects.

In an off-topic comment posted at The Belmont Club, Wretchard states:

The world has been warming and cooling for a long time. What Global Warming asserts isn't that the world is warming or cooling but that it's warming and cooling according to a particular model. Near as I can tell the Global Warming models are regression equations. Michael Crichton makes the point that complex systems are not reliably modeled in this way and that in the recent past, the same type of regressions were used to assert Global Cooling.

The Global Warming models may be completely wrong, partially right or right in some way. But as I understand it, the assertion is that we have enough confidence in this regression model to climate-engineer the other way. That's a very large claim. The Kyoto advocates are calling for caps, which actually translate to job losses, which translate to statistical deaths from hunger, inability to afford health care, etc. to pay for this climate engineering experiment. You really couldn't convict a single person of murder on the standard of proof the Global Warming folks have, yet we seem willing to bet a whole lot of farms on it.

Yesterday I spoke to someone who said that the Andaman Islands were sinking because the seas were rising. I asked that person to go down to the Sydney Opera House and tell me if it had gone under. "Why?", the question came back. "Because the sea level in the Andaman Islands will not rise separately from the sea level in the Opera House", I answered. But as you can guess, the answer was not convincing. Deep down some people think the Andamans are going under while their beachfront property isn't just because the environmentalists say so.

But many might argue that we’d be better off safe than sorry – honor the environment just in case. What’s the harm?

Consider Wretchard’s further comment on the Kyoto Protocol, an international effort to respond to the predictions of global climatic models:

One of the things that has always bothered me about Kyoto Protocol is that they never examined the downstream effects of poverty far enough. Putting caps on US and EU industrial output may cut back on the production of "Greenhouse gases" but it also reduces the export markets of the developed world, which results in job losses in poor countries.

That pushes people into subsistence livelihoods. They leave the factory and eke out a living [by] farming in the country. They burn down brushland, plant a few crops of spuds, ruin the soil, move on further into the forest. And it does this to people in the millions and tens of millions. Taken far enough it is an extremely destructive environmental practice. That's an effect in a complex system, a system whose characteristics are not well or wholly modeled in the Global Warming carbon climate models which has reduced the variable of interest to a single one which they are going to adjust with UN treaties.

Of course, the MSM spends no time with these subtleties, instead breathlessly reporting that Arctic ice caps are melting (while failing to report that Antarctic ice is increasing) and predicting that the coastal US will be underwater in 100 years plus or minus. That’s what some models predict, but they’re models, not crystal balls.

I guess what bothers me is the sanctimonious attitude of many environmentalists. They cherry pick the data, promulgate selected 100-year models that portend disaster, and forget they every action they suggest has consequences that go far beyond their objectives. This might be okay if the models were provably accurate and the data were scientifically representative of global climate. But they aren’t.

Friday, February 17, 2006


As I observe the events of the past months unfold, I'm drawn to the history of the 1930s. During the 30s, the Nazis—history’s marquee fascist ideology—were ascendant. All the signs were there—a charismatic, if irrational, leader; intolerance of any culture but their own; the cultivation of virulent hatred focused on defenseless minorities (Jews, gays, gypsies); an emphasis on revisionist history; a rush to develop powerful offensive weapons; visions of expansionism, and ultimately world domination—all actions that telegraphed violence and outright war.

And yet, many people refused to see the signs, hoping against hope that reason would prevail, that the signs were just bluster, that negotiation or appeasement could dissuade the fascists from the chosen path. As a teenager, I read the history of the 30s with dismay. I asked myself: “Why didn’t more powerful countries step in and stop the Nazis before they grew too powerful to stop? Why did we wait until a World War was the only remaining option, until 20,000,000 people died? I didn’t know the answer then, but I do now.

Most of us have an innate sense of evil. We feel it on the inside, even if we can’t prove it conclusively on the outside. But in civilized western cultures (particularly in Western Europe and the US where tolerance, multiculturalism, and related philosophies dominate), we tamp down our sense of evil, thinking that it can’t be as bad as it appears, hoping that if we just wait it out, evil will dissipate.

We shy away from any preemptive action again evil, demanding conclusive proof that what we sense is, in fact, what is real. So we wait, and wait, and wait. Until evil acts against us in ways that we can no longer ignore, until countless innocents have suffered. Then, we react. We did it in the 1930s, and I fear we’re doing it all over again today.

In an article published four months ago, Tony Blankley of The Washington Times wrote:
Radical Islam, sometimes accurately called Islamo-fascism, has all the "advantages" the Nazis had in Germany in the 1930s. The Islamo-fascists find a Muslim population adrift, confused and humiliated by the dominance of foreign nations and cultures. They find a large, youthful population increasingly disdainful of their parents' passive habits.

Just as the Nazis reached back to German mythology and the supposed Aryan origins of the German people, the radical Islamists reach back to the founding ideas and myths of their religious culture. And just like the Nazis, they claim to speak for authentic traditions while actually advancing expedient and radical innovations.

The Islamo-fascist mullahs encourage young Muslims not to turn to their parents for guidance on choosing a wife (or wives). Nor are young Muslims to be guided by parental or community disapproval of making an individual commitment to jihad. They are allowed to drink alcohol, shave their beards and commit what otherwise would be judged immorality in a Muslim -- in order to advance jihad.

I’m probably overly sensitive to this issue because I’m the son of a Holocaust survivor (you know, the Holocaust that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggests never happened), but I have a really bad feeling that Blankley’s analogy is not overwrought.

It’s really hard to look evil in the eye. Most of us prefer to look away, thinking of more pleasant things or imagining that evil’s demonic gaze is something else, something non-threatening. It’s even harder to throw the first punch -- to stop evil before it grows too strong to stop without great loss and heartache.

And so, we sit and wait.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Give 'em Shelter

This morning, CNN and other media outlets are reporting that FEMA has purchased over 10,000 trailer homes for Hurricane Katrina victims in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama at a cost of well over $300 million. Problem is—the trailers are sitting in an Arkansas field, unused, and slowly sinking into the mud. Worse, they may have to be junked.

If this travesty were unique, it would be upsetting. But when you couple it with other examples of FEMA's incompetence, including the widespread distribution of FEMA debit cards (to hurricane victims) that have been used to purchase tattoos, porn, and liquor, it’s almost laughable. Our tax dollars at work!

Waste and incompetence in Federal programs is not news. Some would argue it’s simply the cost of doing business. Dishonest “victims” who game the system established to help them is also not news. Others would argue that many good people get necessary aid from the system, and the bad seeds are a necessary evil. They’re probably right, but it is kinda sad.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Today, our local paper (The Sun Sentinel) ran a Toles cartoon featuring a US military veteran who had a double amputation. When the cartoon was originally published in The Washington Post it prompted a rare written response by the DoD’s Joint Chiefs of Staff who argued that it was offensive to military personnel. Although I didn’t like the cartoon and found it in poor taste, I shrugged and moved on.

Like most newspapers in the US, The Sun Sentinel refuses to publish the now infamous Danish Cartoons, arguing that their publication would violate the paper’s self-imposed requirement for religious tolerance.

Who can argue that religious tolerance is not a worthwhile goal. It is.

Let’s go a little further. On Sunday, The Sun Sentinel published a feature article on “hate groups” throughout Florida. Neo-Nazis, the KKK, even the JDL (?), were listed among these despicable groups. Oddly, not a single Florida-based Moslem group with ties to Middle East terrorists was noted. Even the MAS (see my last post)—a front for the Muslim Brotherhood and located right up the road in Tampa—failed to appear in the article.

There’s something creepy about the actions of The Sun Sentinel, and more broadly the majority of US media, that is exemplified by a “walking on eggshells” attitude when something offensive (or even negative) might be published about Islam.

Diane West of the The Washington Times addresses this state of affairs when she writes:

We need to learn a new word: dhimmitude. I've written about dhimmitude periodically, lo, these many years since September 11, but it takes time to sink in. Dhimmitude is the coinage of a brilliant historian, Bat Ye'or, whose pioneering studies of the dhimmi, populations of Jews and Christians vanquished by Islamic jihad, have led her to conclude that a common culture has existed through the centuries among the varied dhimmi populations. From Egypt and Palestine to Iraq and Syria, from Morocco and Algeria to Spain, Sicily and Greece, from Armenia and the Balkans to the Caucasus: Wherever Islam conquered, surrendering dhimmi, known to Muslims as "people of the book [the Bible]," were tolerated, allowed to practice their religion, but at a dehumanizing cost.

There were literal taxes (jizya) to be paid; these bought the dhimmi the right to remain non-Muslim, the price not of religious freedom, but of religious identity. Freedom was lost, sorely circumscribed by a body of Islamic law (sharia) designed to subjugate, denigrate and humiliate the dhimmi. The resulting culture of self-abnegation, self-censorship and fear shared by far-flung dhimmi is the basis of dhimmitude. The extremely distressing but highly significant fact is, dhimmitude doesn't only exist in lands where Islamic law rules.

This is the lesson of Cartoon Rage 2006, a cultural nuke set off by an Islamic chain reaction to those 12 cartoons of Muhammad appearing in a Danish newspaper. We have watched the Muslim meltdown with shocked attention, but there is little recognition that its poisonous fallout is fear. Fear in the State Department, which, like Islam, called the cartoons unacceptable. Fear in Whitehall, which did the same. Fear in the Vatican, which did the same. And fear in the media, which have failed, with few, few exceptions, to reprint or show the images. With only a small roll of brave journals, mainly in Europe, to salute, we have seen the proud Western tradition of a free press bow its head and submit to an Islamic law against depictions of Muhammad. That's dhimmitude.

Not that we admit it: We dress up our capitulation in fancy talk of "tolerance," "responsibility" and "sensitivity." We even congratulate ourselves for having the "editorial judgment" to make "pluralism" possible. "Readers were well served... without publishing the cartoons," said a Wall Street Journal spokesman. "CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons in respect for Islam," reported the cable network. On behalf of the BBC, which did show some of the cartoons on the air, a news editor subsequently apologized, adding: "We've taken a decision not to go further... in order not to gratuitously offend the significant number" of Muslim viewers worldwide. Left unmentioned is the understanding (editorial judgement?) that "gratuitous offense" leads to gratuitous violence. Hence, fear — not the inspiration of tolerance but of capitulation — and a condition of dhimmitude.

"Tolerance," "responsibility" and "sensitivity" are all virtues that each of us should adopt. But when do these virtues become something else—something dangerous? I think it’s when "tolerance," "responsibility" and "sensitivity" are driven by the vain hope they will mollify an “aggrieved” party who exhibits none of these virtues.

Americans don’t like and have very little respect for “brown-nosers.” If you don’t have respect for yourself and the courage to criticize behavior that is irrational and dangerous, behavior that threatens or subjugates defenseless people, you have no right to expect that your enemies will have any respect for you.

I hope we’re not becoming quasi-dhimmi. Because the closer we get to dhimmitude, the stronger our enemies become.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Tampa and the MAS Olympics

There are well over one billion Moslems around the world. The vast majority, I am convinced, are good and peaceful people who care little for the goals and ambitions of Islamofacsists. They quietly go about their lives, but in doing so, they do nothing to stop their religion from being hijacked by fanatics.

One billion is a very big number, and that’s a problem. If only 10 percent of the Moslem people are sympathetic to the Islamofacist ideology, there are 100 million people who practice a very different form of Islam than the brand labeled a “religion of peace.” And if only 1 percent of the 100 million are true believers (i.e., they would act on the Jihadi dictates of Islamofascist Mullahs), that still leaves 1,000,000 potential Jihadis that mean to do us harm. My estimates may be incorrect (I suspect the percentages are actually higher), but regardless, I hope you see the problem.

But maybe you don’t.

“All of these crazies are in Indonesia, or Afghanistan, or ‘Palestine,’ or Iran, or Pakistan, and besides,” you say, “we haven’t had a terrorist attack in the USA since, well, 9/11. What’s all the concern about? These guys aren’t in our backyard.”

Yeah … they are.

Tampa, Florida is in my backyard. Joe Kaufman at discusses a group, called the Muslim American Society:
From March 11th through the 12th, the Muslim American Society of Tampa will be holding its MAS Olympics 2006. The two-day event will comprise of the standard kids sports – basketball, football, soccer, volleyball – things certainly that would appear wholesome and not present the general public with any grounds for pause. However, given this group’s propagation of radical Islamist beliefs, there are a number of reasons why this event should concern everyone who cares about the welfare of children and the safety and security of the United States.

The Muslim American Society of Tampa (MAS-Tampa) was incorporated as a “Domestic Non-Profit,” in October of 2003. The registered agent of the group was/is Mohamed Moharram, and he has since acted as MAS-Tampa’s President. The group was created as a subsidiary of the national Muslim American Society (MAS), which was founded ten years earlier.

According to its website, MAS is “a charitable, religious, social, cultural, educational, and not-for-profit organization… a pioneering Islamic organization, an Islamic revival, and reform movement that uplifts the individual, the family, and the society.” However, to those involved in the war against terrorism, MAS is nothing more than an American arm to the violent Muslim Brotherhood, the organization from which such groups as Hamas, Al-Qaeda and the Egyptian and Palestinian Islamic Jihads were brought into being.

In a full-length investigative report by The Chicago Tribune, entitled ‘A rare look at secretive Brotherhood in America,’ it is stated: “In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation's major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members… When the leaders voted, it was decided that Brotherhood members would call themselves the Muslim American Society, or MAS...”

The fact that this group is operating within America’s borders (with apparent immunity) is alarming to say the least. But when one discovers how much involvement with and influence this group has over children, that alarm becomes even more heightened.
One of the main thrusts of the Muslim American Society is to provide intensive forums for young Muslims. This is done through the MAS Youth Division, which has established dozens of youth centers across the United States, one of which is in Tampa…

Kaufman goes on to describe some of the Website content and then comments:

... the amount of unrestrained violence and hatred contained on the [MAS-Tampa] site is so voluminous one has to wonder how this organization was ever able to fly below Homeland Security’s radar screen.

On MAS-Tampa’s website, in the “e-Library” section, there are many Islamic-oriented texts, some much larger than others. Found inside these texts is an overwhelming amount of material with respect to the subjects of jihad (holy war) and how Muslims should deal with members of other religions.

Regarding jihad, one can view the following quotes in MAS-Tampa’s “e-Library”:

“A Muslim must always worship Allah and wage jihad until death in order to reach his ultimate goal… Therefore the steadfast Muslim will achieve this goal either through a lifetime of effort or through sudden death as a martyr… Regularly make the intention to go on jihad with the ambition to die as a martyr. You should be ready for this right now, even though its time may not have come yet.” (Fathi Yakan, ‘To Be a Muslim’)

“First: we Muslims have not discharged the duty of jihad that is compulsory for everyone of us in many Islamic countries to liberate the Muslim land from usurpers and aggressors in Palestine, Eritrea, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and other Muslim republics (and cities) of the Soviet Union, and other similar places in China, Ethiopia and Thailand, etc… no force can stand in our way today if we act in earnest and devote our efforts to conveying our Call to the whole world.” (Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, ‘Priorities of the Islamic Movement’)

“God will cause the jews to be defeated. Earth shall be filled with muslims as a vessel is filled to the brim with water-the entire world shall recite the same Kalima (Islamic declaration of belief) and worship shall be offered to none else except God Almighty.” (Abul Ala Mawdudi, ‘The Finality of Prophethood’)

“The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.’” (‘Sahih Bukhari’)

Remember, MAS-Tampa is located in Tampa, Florida. The children who read this hateful material reside in Tampa, Florida. Tampa Florida is as American as apple pie.

In closing, it’s worth mentioning that our major South Florida newspapers have not, to my knowledge, written a single article on MAS or their philosophy, or their Website. Wonder why that is? Tolerance, I suppose.

For the second straight post, I again quote Thomas Mann: “Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.”

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Politicians and the MSM are pulled in opposite directions as they attempt to grapple with the ever-expanding, cartoon-related violence that has spread throughout the Moslem world. They abhor any attempt to muzzle a free, democratic press and condemn the mindless violence that has resulted in burned embassies, a number of human deaths, and thousands of death threats to the authors of the cartoons. But they cling to the idea that religious tolerance is worthwhile at all costs, even if it means muzzling the press and promulgating empty apologies to Islamofascists.

But worse, it turns out that the MSM has been taken in by the Islamofascists. Although virtually every US media outlet has reported that images of Mohammed are forbidden, there is NO prohibition in the Koran against drawing images of Mohammed. In fact, an Egyptian Newspaper published the cartoons in October, 2005, and there wasn’t a peep out the Egyptian (Moslem) readership. The Belmont Club comments:

And now it turns out that these cartoons have been circulated in the Muslim world, in Egyptian newspapers to be precise, as far back as October 2005. Amir Taheri says the Multiculti "intellectuals" have been humbugged. Taken. Sold some phony interpretation of Islam the way you would take a rube to the Olive Garden for Italian food, Taco Bell for Mexican, or serve up chop-suey and General Tso chicken as authentic Chinese cuisine. According to Taheri the whole "you can't portray Mohammed" injunction was largely drummed up by snake-oil salesmen who found a ready market of people ready to fall all over themselves in the West.

So why is it that the MSM tiptoes around this issue, refusing to print the cartoons so that the American public can see just how “offensive” they are or are not?

As I noted in an earlier post (Cartoons), much of the MSM (and many on the left) encounter cognitive dissonance when they consider cartoon related violence:
Many surveys indicate that editors and journalists in the main stream media tend to be left of center. This story presents them with cognitive dissonance. First, anything claimed offensive to Islam is a violation of political correctness and most editors and journalists subscribe to PC wholeheartedly. Second, any attempt to control the media violates freedom of the press and speech and is therefore a violation of a MSM birthright. Third, the Europeans have, in recent years, been held up as examples of nuanced, advanced culture, very PC, very peaceful -- not at all like the "blundering" US.

Yet, in this case, the Euros blatantly violate PC (with very little nuance) while at the same time those who feel offended (Moslems) violate freedom of the press [and react with mindless violence]. The US is not involved. Editors and journalists have had trouble sorting this out, and until recently, have chosen to make it a non-story, hoping that the dissonance will dissipate. It hasn't.

Representative of this is a recent Boston Globe editorial which stated: “As with the current consensus against publishing racist or violence-inciting material, newspapers ought to refrain from publishing offensive caricatures of Mohammed in the name of the ultimate Enlightenment value: tolerance.”

But exactly what are we tolerating? An Islamofascist ideology (NOT a religion) that would destroy every freedom we hold dear? An Islamofascist ideology that encourages mindless violence, the murder of Infidels (unless you’re Moslem, that’s you!), and the subjugation of millions of their own people? An Islamofascist ideology that’s working hard to acquire nuclear weapons?

Thomas Mann, a Nobel prize winner (in Literature) who escaped Germany just before another fascist element—the Nazis—took center stage, once said: “Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.”

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


In a recent post ( Welfare Reform – ME Style ), I commented on the recent election of Hamas as the representative party of the Palestinians. I held out little hope that the election of this band of terrorist thugs would help the situation between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Today, in a must-read article in the on-line Wall Street Journal, Fouad Ajami provides useful insight into the Palestinian election and suggests that some good may yet come out of it.

This was not a defeat of President Bush's "diplomacy of freedom" that has just played out in Gaza and the West Bank. The claim that the bet on Arab democracy placed by the president has now been lost is shallow and partisan. These were Palestinians who voted a mix of incoherence and legitimate wrath at a ruling political class that had given them nothing but false bravado and fed them on a diet of maximalism [the fantasy that a powerful leader would obliterate the Israelis and give all Israeli land to them]. For decades, the outside world had asked precious little of the Palestinians. Arafat, the Maximum Leader of their movement, had never owned up to any historical responsibility, and there were always powers beyond waiting to bail him out, to wink at his deeds of terror, to subsidize the economy of extortion and plunder that he and his lieutenants, and his security services, had brought with them to the Palestinian territories in the aftermath of the peace of Oslo.

Ajami suggests that the election of Hamas was predictable.

From the fury and the ruin of the second intifada, Palestinian society had emerged empty-handed. What it had going for it was the power of Israel's political center, the historic decision on the part of mainstream Zionism to be done with the moral and political burdens of occupation, and to be done with its entanglement with the Palestinians. The most unlikely of political leaders, Ariel Sharon, before illness caught up with him, had picked up the mantle of the late Yitzhak Rabin. It was time to get Gaza out of Tel Aviv, and time to let the Palestinians shape their own political world. Arafat's political heir, Mahmoud Abbas, would try to wean his people away from the addiction to failure and maximalism. He was an ordinary leader for a postheroic era; he wore no kaffiyeh, packed no pistol at his side. He was not enthralled with his image and his place in Palestinian history. The problem lay in his weakness: He had promised to cap the volcano in the Palestinian street. One Law, One Authority, One Gun, he had proclaimed. But the political culture of Palestinian nationalism had succumbed to the romance of violence; authority issued from a good throwing arm and from the rifle. Mr. Abbas could not deliver: The warlords of the security services, and the diehards of Hamas, were masters of their own domains.

And that in the broader ME conflict, ‘autocracies and terror are twins.”

It was not historical naiveté that had given birth to the Bush administration's campaign for democracy in Arab lands. In truth, it was cruel necessity, for the campaign was born of the terrors of 9/11. America had made a bargain with Arab autocracies, and the bargain had failed. It was young men reared in schools and prisons in the very shadow of these Arab autocracies who came America's way on 9/11. We had been told that it was either the autocracies or the furies of terror. We were awakened to the terrible recognition that the autocracies and the terror were twins, that the rulers in Arab lands were sly men who displaced the furies of their people onto foreign lands and peoples.

This had been the truth that President Bush underscored in his landmark speech to the National Endowment for Democracy on Nov. 6, 2003, proclaiming this prudent Wilsonianism in Arab lands: "Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe, because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place for stagnation, resentment and violence for export." Nothing in Palestine, nothing that has thus far played out in Iraq, and scant little of what happened in other Arab lands, negates the truth at the heart of this push for democratic reform. The "realists" tell us that this is all doomed, that the laws of gravity in the region will prevail, that autocracy, deeply ingrained in the Arab-Muslim lands, is sure to carry the day. Modern liberalism has joined this smug realism, and driven by an animus toward the American leader waging this campaign for liberty, now asserts the built-in authoritarianism of Arab society.

Ajami suggests that the Palestinians will tire of the rantings of Hamas just as they tired of the corruption and ineffectiveness of Fatah, and as a consequence, elect more reasonable and responsible leadership that might have a chance to improve their lives. I just hope it doesn't take them 30 more years.
To be sure, there are the "usual suspects" among the Arabs who are averse to the message and to the American messenger, and our pollsters and reporters know the way to them. But this crowd does not reflect the broader demand for a new political way. We have given tyranny the patience of decades. Surely we ought to be able to extend a measure of indulgence to freedom's meandering path.

To quote one of Israel’s greatest statesman, Abba Eban: “it seems that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” In this case, I hope Ajami is right, and Abba Eban is wrong. Time will tell.

Friday, February 03, 2006


After more than four months of relative silence, the MSM in the US has finally begun to cover the Arab world’s protests concerning newspaper cartoons of the Prophet, Mohammed.* Stated simply, many Moslems believe that their religious doctrine trumps freedom of the press, even when the press publishes in a Non-Islamic, democratic country. That anything even remotely offensive to Islam must be banned outright. That refusal to ban such materials is a catalyst for violence.

An article in the The New York Times provides background:

The trouble began in September in Denmark, when the daily Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons lampooning intolerance among Muslims and links to terrorism. A Norwegian magazine published the cartoons again last month, and the issue erupted this week after diplomatic efforts failed to resolve demands by several angry Arab countries that the publications be punished.

Moslems argue that the cartoons are offensive, and from their point of view, I’m sure they’re right. Like many cartoons, they are not in the best of taste.

And yet, the Moslem community appears considerably less offended when cartoons and articles in newspapers throughout the Moslem world continually contain blatantly anti-Semitic material. Very few, if any “moderate Islamic voices” condemn this material.

Jewish groups have protested over the years, but not once have they advocated violence against the cartoonists or the citizens of the countries in which the Arab newpapers publish. They have never invaded an Arab embassy protesting anti-Semitic material, nor have they threatened people with weapons or issued “Fatwahs” associated with the material. Islamists have done all of these things, and threaten to do more. Very few, if any, “moderate Islamic voices” condemn this Islamist reaction.

My message to Moslems is simple: You can’t have it both ways. If you feel no need to condemn anti-Semitism in your newspapers, it seems a bit hypocritical to protest cartoons lambasting Mohammed in European newspapers. But then again, I’m trying to use reason to argue a group out of a position they never reasoned themselves into.


Absolute must reading on the broader cultural implications of this controversy, the WoT, and the relationship between Islam and the West can be found at The Belmont Club. Spend a few moments reading it.

* It's reasonable to ask why MSM coverage was delayed for so long. I think the reason is this:

Many surveys indicate that editors and journalists in the main stream media tend to be left of center. This story presents them with cognitive dissonance. First, anything claimed offensive to Islam is a violation of political correctness and most editors and journalists subscribe to PC wholeheartedly. Second, any attempt to control the media violates freedom of the press anjd speech and is therefore a violation of a MSM birthright. Third, the Europeans have, in recent years, been held up as examples of nuanced, advanced culture, very PC, very peaceful -- not at all like the "blundering" US.

Yet, in this case, the Euros blatantly violate PC (with very little nuance )while at the same time those who feel offended (Moslems) violate freedom of the press. The US is not involved. Editors and journalists have had trouble sorting this out, and until recently, have chosen to make it a non-story, hoping that the dissonance will dissipate. It hasn't.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

WoT = WaO

In last night’s State of the Union address, President Bush argued that American’s must go into detox and rid ourselves of our “addiction” to oil. He is absolutely correct, but his past policies, and the policies of every administration in my lifetime, belie his words.

Our dependence on oil is a significant national security issue. An editiorial in the New York Times correctly notes:

American overdependence on oil has been a disaster for our foreign policy. It weakens the nation's international leverage and empowers exactly the wrong countries. Last night Mr. Bush told the people that "the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons," but he did not explain how that will happen when those same nations are so dependent on Tehran's oil. Iran ranks second in oil reserves only to Saudi Arabia, where members of the elite help finance Osama bin Laden and his ilk, and where the United States finds it has little power to stop them.

Stated another way, the war on terror (WoT) is equivalent to a domestic War against Oil (WaO).

WoT = WaO

If we win the WaO, we'll have a higher likelihood of prevailing in the WoT.

As a nation we have the technology, the expertise, and the capacity to wean ourselves from foreign oil imports within 10 years (not the 20 years the President suggests). What we seem to lack is the political will and the fortitude to suffer short-term pain (higher prices, smaller vehicles) for long term independence and security.

I only hope that the current administration pursues the WaO with the same steadfastness that they prosecute the WoT. We’ll see.