Stephen W. Browne Rants and Raves

November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephen W. Browne @ 4:21 pm

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.”
-Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1328)

It’s Thanksgiving again, though this will appear in the “Black Friday” edition of the newspaper I work for.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is popularly known as Black Friday, because of the heavy shopping on that day, which takes many stores out of the red and hopefully back into the black for a while.

Since ancient times, agricultural peoples have held festivals of thanksgiving around harvest time. In ages when crop failures meant starvation in the coming year, it’s a safe bet the thanks were pretty heartfelt.

Our Thanksgiving follows traditions going back to Old Testament times, but has evolved some very American features.

On December 4, 1619, 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred on the north bank of the James River.

The group’s charter proclaimed the anniversary of their landing a day of thanksgiving. “We ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

In 1621 the celebration at the Plymouth Plantation we think of as the first Thanksgiving was held after a successful growing season, following the first dreadful winter in which half the colonists died of starvation and disease. Fifty-three pilgrims and 90 Indians feasted for three days. The meal included: wild turkey, corn, squash, boiled pumpkin and cranberries, all native to America and introduced to Europeans by the Indians.

During the Revolutionary War, George Washington proclaimed a Thanksgiving in December, 1777 as a celebration of the victory over the British at Saratoga. As President, Washington proclaimed on October 3, 1789, the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the new government of the United States.

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, celebrated on the final Thursday in November, 1863.

Thanksgiving became a national holiday on December 26, 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill setting the fourth Thursday of November as the official date of Thanksgiving.

All of these celebrations were held during, or immediately after dark and terrible times.

I’m spending this Thanksgiving Day with my family, which is something to be thankful for.

Then I’m going to Wisconsin to visit one of my half-dozen oldest friends, who’s undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.

I’m taking my son – at my wife’s suggestion. I don’t think many American women would have suggested that. He won’t understand now, but in years to come he’ll learn the central lesson of Thanksgiving – appreciate what you’ve got because things could be a lot worse.

I don’t have a lot of money right now, but I’ve got a job. That’s certainly something to be thankful for these days. Furthermore I love my job, and believe me that makes life a lot more pleasant than the alternative. The most miserable job I’ve had in my life paid about four times my present income, and I couldn’t wait to leave it behind.

And I’ve got a family. That makes up for some miserable holidays spent alone.

My life has turned out such that if I didn’t wake up tomorrow, I’d have no complaints. (Well of course I wouldn’t because I’d be dead, but you know what I mean.)

Bad times I’ve lived through make me thankful for my present happiness. Which makes memories that will sustain me should bad times return.

And Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

November 21, 2009

Class act!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephen W. Browne @ 9:36 pm

No class versus all class, and do note this has nothing to do with one’s position on the Democrat’s health care proposal.

The Hill reports that Jessie Jackson, arbiter of Blackness said, “We even have blacks voting against the health care bill,” at the Congressional Black Caucus reception honoring the 25th anniversary of his run for president.

“You can’t vote against health care and call yourself a black man,” the Hill reported him saying.

The remark was a clear shot at Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to vote against the House version of the health care legislation.

Davis replied in a written statement to the newspaper.

One of the reasons that I like and admire Rev. Jesse Jackson is that 21 years ago he inspired the idea that a black politician would not be judged simply as a black leader. The best way to honor Rev. Jackson’s legacy is to decline to engage in an argument with him that begins and ends with race.”

Class!

And get the understated reproach at Jackson’s sellout.

Jackson later reportedly said that he “didn’t call anybody by name and I won’t.”

Chickenshit.

What is so sad about Jessie Jackson is, unlike Al Sharpton, Jackson actualy had some integrity once. As late as 15 or so years ago he’d have flashes of truthfulness – which he’d then back down from or his spinmeiters would well, spin.

Now he’s a shakedown artist who solicits protection money in the form of contributions to his foundation or lucrative dealerships for his kids, in return for insuring that discrimination complaints against corporations go away – or come up if they refuse to play ball.

Coward. Sad. He doesn’t even have the guts to be a run-of-the-mill leg-breaker extortionist.

But this Artur Davis guy – he’s got my attention and I’m going to look into him.

November 19, 2009

War in heaven?

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 8:15 pm

Note: My weekend op-ed in the newspaper.

President Obama just made another gaff his supporters are frantically trying to excuse, justify or explain away.

On his state visit to Japan, Obama bowed deeply in what all Japanese recognize as submission, first to Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, then to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

Some of Obama’s opponents say they are appalled. They’re lying. They are delighted.

Others are just puzzled. Obama took a lot of flack for bowing on bended knee to the king of Saudi Arabia last April. His people explained it as due to the difference in their heights. The video tells a different story. Why would he open himself to that kind of criticism again, especially after he didn’t bow to the Queen of England shortly thereafter?

Once and for all, American citizens do not bow in submission to foreign monarchs. This is NOT politics, it’s protocol. Any American citizen is the social equal of any foreign king.

This is merely the latest of a series of protocol gaffs from this administration.

When the Obamas met Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen gave them one of the earliest known copies of William Shakespeare’s Henry V, and the original sheet music of John Newton’s “Amazing Grace.” The Queen gave Obama daughters a doll house replica of Windsor Castle with a functioning train station, and a prize Shetland pony. Michelle Obama was given a ruby ring once worn by Queen Victoria.

In return Obama gave the Queen a shopping bag from the Duty Free shop at Heathrow airport containing: a signed paperback copy of Dreams of My Father, a bottle of Johnny Walker Scotch, a CD of ABBA’s greatest hits (with 2 for 1 sticker still on it,) ten bags of M&Ms with the presidential seal on them, and an iPod with Obama’s speeches.

“How delightful,” Her Majesty said.

When British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited the U.S. he brought Obama a pen holder crafted from the timbers of the 19th century British warship HMS President, whose sister ship, HMS Resolute, provided the wood for the Oval Office’s desk.

The White House responded with 25 DVDs of American movie classics – which won’t play on British DVD players.

The British press were both scornful, and anxious Obama was signaling an end to the “special relationship” by calculated rudeness. Symbols mean something in diplomacy and wars have been fought over them.

This would be appalling in any president of any party. If you doubt this, I invite you to consider how you’d feel if your own children displayed such disregard for long-established manners and customs. Would you excuse their behavior or advise them to correct it?

So what the heck is going on? This behavior from a president who advertises himself as deeply familiar with foreign cultures, and the first “Pacific president.” And the president is not supposed to know all of this stuff himself, he’s got staff who are supposed to take care of this kind of thing. Someone’s not doing their job.

The Chief of Protocol with the rank of an ambassador, is charged with advising the president on these matters and briefing him before meetings with foreign dignitaries.

According to the Chief of Protocol’s website the duties of the office include, “Accompany the President on official visits abroad. Propose and purchase gifts to give foreign leaders and receive reciprocal gifts on behalf of the President, First Lady, Vice President, Secretary of State and spouses.”

The current Chief of Protocol is Capricia Penavic Marshall, a first-generation American born to a Mexican mother and a Croatian father. That’s quite an inter-cultural background.

She is also a long-time Clinton associate, former Social Secretary to President Clinton and senior advisor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Interestingly, the chief of protocol customarily travels with either the Secretary of State or the President. However the White House has announced Marshall will travel with Clinton but not with the President. The White House will create a new position for someone to travel with Obama and direct protocol matters. In other words, the Secretary State has her own Chief of Protocol.

If I were the paranoid type, I’d suspect Hillary was sabotaging her boss to position herself for an upset nomination in 2012.

Or perhaps the president just regards Marshall as Hillary’s aid, not his. Whatever it is, either the chief of protocol is not talking to the President, or the President isn’t listening.

I think it means there’s war in heaven.

And by the way, it’s been announced that White House Council Greg Craig, formerly special council to President Bill Clinton, will step down in favor of Robert Bauer, Obama’s personal attorney.

November 15, 2009

The trial of the… uh, ratings season?

Filed under: Terrorism — Stephen W. Browne @ 9:44 am

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others are going to be tried in New York for the murders on 9/11.

You don’t need me to list all of the responses, they’re all over the place.

On the pro side, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it was “fitting” they should face justice near where the victims were murdered.

Ordinarily I’d say yes. This isn’t an ordinary case.

Andrew McCarthy, is the former federal US prosecutor who led the case against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman for his role in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombings. He is also the author of ‘Willful Blindness: a Memoir of the Jihad,’ which looks very good sitting on that stack of books by my bed that doesn’t seem to grow any less tall as time goes by.

(I will read it in time. Right now it’s just that I know damn well too many people are suicidally denying the reality that our civilization is at war with an implacable enemy. The book will be handy in filling in the details, but I don’t need convincing of what I can see with my own eyes.)

McCarthy said, “It’s a massively stupid decision when we’re at war with them. We have to give them all kinds of information about our methods of intelligence that can only make them more efficient at killing us.”

Worse, it’s been pointed out that in a civilian court they’ll have the protection of the Miranda decision. Which could very well mean that all confessions (boasts actually) will be thrown out – and all evidence collected later from leads provided by the waterboarded Mastermind of 9/11.

It’s a legal doctrine that goes under the poetic name of “the fruit of the poisoned tree.” Unless you can establish with a pretty high degree of certainty that the evidence would have emerged in the course of the investigation anyway, all downstream evidence collected after the first lead was illegally obtained, must be excluded.

It may not matter however. These guys are probably dying to boast of their deeds. In open court. With cameras. Broadcast to the whole world. Making them even bigger heroes back home, and perhaps martyrs.

What I haven’t seen in the media so far is this: anybody consider that juries can be intimidated?

If I were a juror, I’d like to think I’d have the huevos to defy any threats on my life.

It doesn’t work that way if the threat is to my family.

We’re about to find out what the Irish Republic has known for a long time. Trying terrorists in open court is dangerous.

Justice systems in the Western world were designed to deal with criminals, not soldiers and terrorists. The Irish tried IRA terrorists in camera. And they don’t release the names of the jurors.

But of course no trial lawyer would be sleazy enough to make sure the names of the jurors were publicly available. Heavens to Betsy surely not!

Hey, do you suppose Sheik Rahman’s lawyer Lynne Stewart is still disbarred? Perhaps she could be a consultant.

November 14, 2009

Three questions about jihadism

Filed under: Terrorism — Stephen W. Browne @ 10:53 am

After the Ft. Hood attack, President Barack Obama voiced the concerns of the mustn’t-tar-all-Muslims-with-the-terrorist-brush-and-we-need-to-reach-out-to-moderate-Muslims, etc, etc, crowd.

“I think it is very important for us to recognize that we have a battle or a war against some terrorist organizations, but that those organizations aren’t representative of a broader Arab community, Muslim community.

“I believe we can win over moderate Muslims to recognize that that kind of destruction and nihilism ultimately leads to a dead end.” –President Barack Obama

I agree.

I am going to point out again that I have lived in Saudi Arabia and in general liked the people. I’ve have quite a few Muslim friends, among whom I have the reputation of being a pretty well-informed amateur Arabist.

And furthermore, in those infrequent moments I wonder about my soul, the spiritual tradition that I find most interesting is Sufism.

(By the way, it’s illegal to call yourself a Sufi in Saudi Arabia. Islamic jihadists hate it with the passion otherwise reserved for Jews. And I should add that most of my knowledge of Sufism comes from the writings of author Idris Shah, and I have no idea if he’s a typical Sufi.)

So here is my question Mr. President, and all those who remind us after every jihadist attack that the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists:

If that Muslim “silent majority” would rather not be involved in a war with the West, why do you imagine they are overwhelmingly silent on the issue, with the exception of a few incredible courageous ones such as Wafa Sultan and Irshad Manji?

(That is, when they’re not dancing in the streets for joy at the news the Great Satan has been attacked again.)

Could it be that they’re terrified to speak out? Terrified if they do, they and their families will be killed?

(Which could also be a charitable explanation for why they dance in the streets too. Or maybe they just hate our guts.)

Now here’s the Final Jeopardy question: if that is in fact the case, what do you imagine is going to bring the moderate majority over to our side? Conciliation, denial of the threat, offers to meet the jihadist half-way?

Or: implacable hatred, refusal to negotiate on any other basis than “F*** with us and you’re dead,” and resolute will to hunt our enemy down, kill them, and expell all their sympathizers from our countries?

If you were a moderate Muslim who just wanted to live a normal life, what would you think was more dangerous to you and your family; siding against the jihadists, or siding against the reasonable, conciliatory, president of the United States who believes all enmities can be talked out?

Now here, consider Jonah Goldberg’s take on those who deny the reality of jihadist war against the West. I have enormous respect for Jonah Goldberg’s opinions, and cannot repeat too many times that you need to read, “Liberal Fascism.”

“I am more sympathetic toward this reluctance to state the truth of the matter than are some of my colleagues on the right. There is a powerful case to be made that Islamic extremism is not some fringe phenomenon but part of the mainstream of Islamic life around the world. And yet, to work from that assumption might make the assumption all the more self-fulfilling. If we act as if “Islam is the problem,” as some say, we will guarantee that Islam will become the problem. But outright denial, like we are seeing today, is surely not the beginning of wisdom either.”–Jonah Goldberg

Jonah, this is a very reasonable concern, but I wonder if anyone has considered the other end of this.

Is it possible that what most maddens the Islamists is the militant refusal to take them seriously?

When they say, “We are at war with you,” and the left commentariat responds by ignoring, or figuratively patting them on the head and saying, “Oh you don’t really mean that,” can you imagine how insulting and patronizing that is?

Few things are more insulting than discounting and militantly refusing to take you and your opinions seriously.

When they tell us how much they hate us and want to destroy us, a genuine respect for their dignity and ours (and I am not being facetious) requires us to take them seriously – i.e. treat them as adults and enemies, not children throwing a tantrum.

And which attitude is most likely to open the possibility of negotiation? Respect enough to take them seriously, or condescention and patronizing?

Third question, for the moral equivalence, Christianity-has-its-fanatics-too crowd.

Among liberals it is an article of faith, that people of faith in America suffer from neuroses and mental illness due to sexual repression.

Though that’s been overstated, I’ve met enough Catholics (largely Irish I hate to say) and fundamentalist Protestants who show it’s not a totally invalid stereotype.

(I’ve also met lots of Catholics from the admirable scholastic tradition and many warm and joyful rural Protestants who aren’t the least hung-up.)

So how come this analysis is never applied to fundamentalist Wahabists?

You want to talk sexual repression? These guys are raised never even seeing an unveiled woman who is not their mother or sister.

And, if their mother or sister refuses to keep her place, as chattel only a little above domestic animals, they are obligated by strong social pressure to murder her.*

It’s called “honor killing.”

So how come it has never occured to the liberal crowd that fundamentalist Islam has created a society that drives a critical number of its young men murderiously insane from sexual frustration?

Just asking.

*This is not a long-standing tradition throughout the Arab world though. My friend Ali Alyami, Executive Director, The Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, once told me when he was growing up in the Ismaili region of the Kingdom, boys and girls used to associate together. He said there were dances, women went unveiled (as Bedouin women do today) and if a young bride had a baby six or seven months after marriage, nobody got bent out of shape.

November 10, 2009

Americans All!

Filed under: Eleagic mode,Terrorism — Tags: — Stephen W. Browne @ 7:15 pm

I just had a look at the names and pictures of the 13 victims of Major Hasan’s attack of Sudden Jihad Syndrome, which brought back a memory from my childhood.

In Newport, Rhode Island, tucked away on a side street just off the old town square is the Newport Artillery Company museum/HQ.

By an odd bureaucratic fluke, the company was never officially deactivated after the Revolution and so can technically claim to be the oldest unit of the U.S. Army. A charming fiction of course, but it’s a really fine museum. The members still have colonial-style uniforms and I believe a canon.

Among the exhibits was a propaganda poster from WWII, and I mean good propaganda. The graphic, if memory serves, was a soldier standing (I think, it’s been a very long time) in a graveyard. Along one side of the poster is a roster of obviously ethnic names: Polish, Irish, German, Italian, whatever.

Blazoned across the top were the words, “Americans All!”

The role of the dead at Ft. Hood:

Maj. Juanita Cole, 55 (Was her maiden name Hispanic or did her folks just like “Juanita?” That happens in this country.)

Maj. Libardo Caraveo, 52

Capt Russell Seager, 51

Capt. John P. Gaffaney, 54

Staff Sgt. Justin DeCrow, 32

Sgt. Amy Krueger, 29 (During WWI anyone named “Krueger” would have come in for a lot of suspicion and harassment. She joined the Army after 9/11 and vowed to get Osama bin Ladin. Sometimes, in degenerate ages it takes a woman to do a man’s job.)

Spc. Frederick Greene, 29

Pfc. Michael Pearson, 22

Pfc. Aaron Nemelka, 19 (Jewish? Slavic? I wonder how much “harassment” he got as a kid for his name?)

Pfc. Kham Xiong, 23 (Is that Cambodian? Did his parents flee the Killing Fields? Is it Chinese, perhaps from one of the ethnic minorities of China? We owe it to him to get it right.)

(UPDATE: He was Hmong, a tribal group in Vietnam with a strong warrior tradition who sided with the U.S. during the war.)

Pvt. Francheska Velez, 21 (Hasan got a twofer with her – she was pregnant.)

Spc. Jason Hunt, 22 (A fellow-Okie. He must have gotten some ribbing down at Ft. Hood during the annual OU-Texas football games.)

Michael G. Cahill, 62 (John Q. Civilian – except the enemy has made plain enough there ain’t no civilians in this war.)

Americans all. Gunned down by a man whose family was taken in by this country. Who was given a costly education in return for service in the military – in the higher ranks with honors and dignity. Not as an enlisted man, officer’s houseboy or hash slinger in the mess.

This is three straight posts on one subject, and I’m sorry I’ll quit now. Right after this.

I want him dead. I want him executed, hanged with a hemp rope. I want his mouth stuffed with pig’s flesh, his body wrapped in the skin, and I want him buried in a pig yard.

And if anyone objects, I want us to rise up as a nation and say, “GOT A PROBLEM WITH THIS? COME AND GET YOU SOME.”

November 9, 2009

Allahu akbar!

Filed under: Terrorism — Tags: , — Stephen W. Browne @ 6:47 pm

Well lo and behold, it seems Major Hassan had links to at least two of the 9/11 hijackers. He evidently attended the same jihadist-friendly mosque at the same time. Coincidence of course.

More worth reading on the Fort Hood massacre from Bruce Bawer.

Living in Norway, I get CNN International, which is different from CNN in the U.S., though when major stories are breaking in the U.S. the international network often switches to the U.S. feed for hours at a time. CNN International’s sponsors are disproportionately Middle Eastern airlines, tourism authorities, and such; so it was that in between ads for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, for Abu Dhabi tourism, for some art show in Abu Dhabi, and for the Dubai World Championship, not to mention cozy promos for an apparently soft-feature series called Inside the Middle East (presented “in association with Qatar Foundation”), CNN reporters kept hammering home the line that Hasan had been the victim of anti-Muslim prejudice by his military colleagues. Repeatedly they read out, and showed onscreen, a long statement from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) condemning the massacre — never mentioning, of course, CAIR’s well-established terrorist links.

Here in Norway CNN International was my only real TV option. Our cable system doesn’t offer Fox News, though it does offer Al-Jazeera, BBC News, and Sky News, all of which offered only spotty, repetitious coverage of the massacre. It was a deeply frustrating experience. In the hours after Michael Jackson’s death CNN International had stayed with the U.S. feed continuously, focusing on nothing other than Jacko’s life and death. This time around, however, the network kept cutting away from the U.S. feed and from the massacre in order to give us international news, including endlessly repeated sports reports and other trivial material. They seemed determined not to treat this as a truly major story.

Bruce Bawer is a gay American who has been living in Europe (Norway and the Netherlands) for several years now. He is the author of While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within and Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom.

I mention he’s gay because it’s relevant, and I’ve been meaning to do a post on gay intellectuals like Bawer and the incomparable Lee Harris, author of Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next State of History, and The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam’s Threat to the West.

Get them, for God’s sake you can order used copies of Harris’ books for a nickel. Few things will prepare you as much to navigate your way through the Long War.

The reason gay is relevant in their cases is that they are intellectuals, in the finest sense of the word, who realize they have the most to lose from the craven capitulation of the West to the jihadists.

More from Bawer.

Then, after Cooper was over, we got a “special edition” of Larry King Live hosted by Wolf Blitzer. This one really took the cake. By way of “illuminating” Hasan’s actions, Blitzer interviewed a panel of — no, not experts on Islamic jihad, but psychiatrists. Blitzer endlessly repeated the mantra that Hasan had been “taunted” for being Muslim, had feared going to a war zone, and had ultimately gone “berserk,” and the docs echoed this line. “He did not reach for help when he should have,” lamented one panelist. Another opined: “It sounded like it got to be too much for him.” Yet another told us: “All kind of people need help who aren’t getting help. … He was feeling picked on by his colleagues. … He was strained. He was scared.”

This is not idiocy, this is what the Uniform Code of Military Justice calls “pussilanimous conduct in the face of the enemy” – at best. What CNN is doing is selling out their country and their civilization for ratings and advertising revenue.

Remember that after the invasion of Iraq CNN admitted they knew of many of Saddam Hussein’s crimes against humanity, but chose not to report on them for fear of… having their Baghdad bureau closed down.

Let’s ponder that for a moment. CNN made themselves accessories during the fact at best, accomplices at worst, in torture and murder. And not because they feared for their lives, feared torture, feared for their families – but because they didn’t want their office closed down.

Also see Victor Davis Hanson.

Herein he cites a press release about Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Neapolitano.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The U.S. Homeland Security secretary says she is working to prevent a possible wave of anti-Muslim sentiment after the shootings at Fort Hood in Texas. Janet Napolitano says her agency is working with groups across the United States to try to deflect any backlash against American Muslims following Thursday’s rampage by Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a Muslim who reportedly expressed growing dismay over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s official. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

And check out Phyllis Chesler.

Quickly, reflexively, without waiting for more of the facts to emerge, the mainstream print media (I am talking about the Paper of Record) has already decided that Major Hasan is a tormented “innocent” who must have snapped under alleged conditions of extreme provocation and humiliation. Indeed, today, the headline in the New York Times about this story is: “Little Evidence of Terror Plot in Base Killings” with a sub-heading of “Investigators Say Major at Fort Hood Faced Many Pressures.”

However, there is no sub-head. If there was, it’s been taken down.

But do check that one out. It’s a concoction of dubious speculations, and pretty much everything asserted as fact has been contradicted by actual evidence.

It is becoming increasingly evident that a lot of people have a lot to answer for for this.

Hassan of course, and any possible accomplice. There are reports of a meeting with someone described as Middle Eastern, and of Hassan asking friends to use their computers to email from a number of accounts.

As I’ve said, it is very important that Hassan face the death penalty.

It is becoming equally important that certain officers face courts martial for dereliction of duty and cashiered in disgrace. Yes they were afraid of being stignatized as “anti-Muslim” if they reported Hassan’s ravings.

So what? Commissioned officers aren’t supposed to be cowards. That’s not what we pay them for.

And, we have to revive the concept of treason and be unafraid to call it what it is.

Of course it ain’t going to happen. Not yet.

November 7, 2009

Mediations on Fort Hood

Filed under: Media bias,News commentary,Terrorism — Tags: — Stephen W. Browne @ 10:06 am

First of all, let me refer you to Mark Steyn’s post  on the Fort Hood murders.

“When it emerged early on Thursday afternoon that the shooter was Nidal Malik Hasan, there appeared shortly thereafter on Twitter a flurry of posts with the striking formulation: ‘Please judge Major Malik Nadal [sic] by his actions and not by his name.'”

Answer to the Twits – No.

As in no I am not going to ignore the fact that, 1) he’s Muslim, 2) the American-born child of Palestinian immigrants, 3) outspoken in proclaiming his enmity to the United States and solidarity with Jihadists, 4) a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army who accepted a half-million-dollar education from the U.S. in return for service in the armed forces.

Which adds up to, aside from murderer, traitor. 

Steyn further notes,“Concerned Tweeters can relax: There was never really any danger of that — and not just in the sense that the New York Times’s first report on Major Hasan never mentioned the words “Muslim” or “Islam,” or that ABC’s Martha Raddatz’s only observation on his name was that “as for the suspect, Nadal Hasan, as one officer’s wife told me, ‘I wish his name was Smith.’”

Which is why I’m not inclined to let the Army off the hook either. And in my humble opinion, neither should the families of the victims.

“You need to lock it up, Major,” cautioned his superior officer, Col. Terry Lee.

“Lock it up,” refers to Major Hasan openly declaring , on multiple occasions, statements to the effect of, “I’m on their side!”

Does anyone else see how seriously weird it is that the U.S. Army is browbeaten by PC and the secular religion of tolerance to the point it cannot bring itself to discharge an open sympathizer with the enemy?

Well now he’s gone and acted on his convictions, and nobody is the least bit surprised.

This comes two weeks after Faleh Hassan Almaleki of Glendale, Ariz., ran over  lovely but “too Westernized” daughter Noor.  She lingered for a while and died three days ago. It’s called an “honor killing.” The frequency of these in Europe is a scandal they are trying desperately to ignore, and it’s becomming too damned common here.

Noor Almaleki’s brother commented, “One thing to one culture doesn’t make sense to another culture.”

No actually it makes perfect sense to me. His culture regards women as property, mine regards women as people.

Now I’m going to say something that was a cardinal sin when I was getting my M.A. in Anthropology. They are wrong, we are right.

And not only are they wrong, their culture, on this point at least, is evil. As in, people with these attitudes should not be allowed to immigrate to our country. Hell, IMHO they should not be allowed to live on the same planet as the rest of us.

When not militantly ignoring Hasan’s origins, the bleeding-heart commentariat is Viewing With Alarm the horrible possibility of an “Islamophobic” pogrom.
 
Anybody notice that Hasan has all by himself committed more acts of anti-kafir violence than the sum total of anti-Muslim acts of violence committed by the other 300 million Americans since September 11, 2001.

To my knowledge, and please bring any other incidents you might know of to my attention, there was precisely one murder apparantly motivated by anti-Muslim rage after 9/11 – and whether that counts is problematic since that homicidal nut case killed a Sikh, not a Muslim.

Oh but he was harassed you see, and he “snapped.”

In a word, bullshit.

No comissioned officer is “harassed” by a subordinate. Or at least not more than once.

Now I’m going to indulge in a historical digression, please bear with me.

At the beginning of the Second World War, there was a sizable population of ethnic Japanese in this country, who came under quite a lot of suspicion. They were not “harassed,” they were imprisoned, ripped off, insulted and in general treated in ways that are, and should be, deeply embarrassing to our country.

They were however, given the opportunity to prove their loyalty. Many enlisted in the Army, often directly from internment camps. Japanese-Americans formed the 442 Regimental Combat Team, which became the most highly-decorated unit in the history of the U.S. military and earned the nickname “the Purple Heart Battalion.”

Other ethnic Japanese served clandestinely in the Pacific as translators.  

They proved beyond doubt their loyalty to America, and won the fervent loyalty of their white officers, some of whom stood up for them to bigoted superiors.

And one more thing, of the Japanese in the internment camps who reached a different conclusion and decided they would not become Americans, 1,327 renounced their citizenship and were repatriated to Japan via neutral countries.

My point? If our hard-one tolerance, and the forming of a united national identity among people of diverse origins is a Good Thing and worthy of preservation, then we have the right to defend it.

No, if this represents the progress of  mankind beyond small-scale familial/tribal loyalties towards something like that elusive goal of the brotherhood of Man, we have the obligation to defend it, on behalf of all mankind.

How?  Steyn suggested in his book  ‘America Alone’  we should ) Recognize that our civilization is under attack – and that we could lose, and 2) Stop committing civilizational suicide by subsidizing our enemies and stand up for ourselves.

Some suggestions as to how; for one the government should seek the death penalty for Major Hasan. That’s not only justice, it’s an appropriate message.

For another, you say the majority of Muslims in this country are peaceful, law-abiding and loyal?

Prove it.

There is no exact equivalent of the 442 Regimental Combat Team in the military, but there is the Association of Patriotic Arab-Americans in the Military.

Is there a civilian support group? Are the authorities receiving actionable intelligence on terrorism from the Muslim community in the U.S.?

As for C.A.I.R. if they say they condemn Hasan’s actions, that they are not in fact an above-ground front for Jihadism – again, prove it. Quit suing for insults to Islam, we’ve got something called free speech in this country, and if you can’t live with it then you’re free to leave.

That goes for everyone who is not sure whether they can embrace our American cultural traditions. You know,  freedom of religion (including having to swallow criticism, even insults to yours,) freedom of speech, equality of women, that kind of stuff.

We need to make it very clear to everyone who comes to live here; if you can’t live with this then – you, can’t, stay.

P.S. Check out Cinamon Stillwell’s reprint of an article from a couple years back detailing incidents of Sudden Jihad Syndrome.

November 6, 2009

Why Berlin matters

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics,Social Science & History — Tags: , — Stephen W. Browne @ 4:11 am

Note: This is my weekend op-ed.

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” President Ronald Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, 1987.

This Monday, Nov. 9, Berlin will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with a “Festival of Freedom” at the Brandenburg Gate. Hundreds of thousands are expected to attend the gigantic street party.

Attending the ceremonies will be German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan, former leader of the Solidarity movement and first president of free Poland Lech Walesa, and Mikhail Gorbachev, last leader of the Soviet Union.

Significantly, the Chinese government has blocked a German website celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall because Chinese bloggers were using it to talk about human rights in their own country.

Conspicuous by his absence will be US President Barack Obama. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will stand in for him at the celebrations.

Obama, who found time to jet to Copenhagen to lobby the Olympic Committee on behalf of Chicago, is apparently too busy to attend.

I think by now it is becoming increasingly evident both to those of us who like Obama, those who don’t like him, and those who would like to like him if we could only understand his thinking, that our president is being very badly served by his advisors.

It seems not a single person in the president’s inner circle sees this could be the defining moment of his administration, an occasion to use his considerable rhetorical gifts to speak words that would go down in history alongside Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall!” and John F. Kennedy’s “I am a Berliner.”

Why Obama himself does not see this is mystifying.

The communists in East Germany started building the Berlin Wall on August 13, 1961.

At first it was just a high wall. In time hundreds of miles of barbed wire were added, guard towers with searchlights and machine guns, a wide strip of concrete with embedded metal spikes, tank traps to prevent vehicles from ramming the barriers, and buried microphones to detect tunnels. Guards always patrolled in pairs, and partners changed frequently to prevent them from conspiring to escape together.

Nonetheless thousands escaped. But not without cost.

The Potsdam Center for Historical Research has determined at least 136 escapees were killed at the Berlin Wall during the 28 years it divided Berlin. Among them were 98 who were shot, killed in accidents or took their own lives while trying to get over the wall. Most were young men between the ages of 16 and 30. Eight were women. Eight children died in escape attempts, five of whom were preschoolers or elementary students who drowned in the waters at the border. One baby, whose parents escaped successfully, was smothered. These figures are almost certainly low.

Then in 1989 the wall fell, marking the end of an empire that between 1917 and1987 murdered an estimated 61,911,000 of their own people.

And miraculously, the casualties during the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellite states were in the low hundreds.

Chancellor Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, recently said, “… I wanted to use this opportunity today also to express our gratitude, my gratitude, to the American people for the support that the American people have given us throughout the process leading up to German reunification, and I think it something that I would like to later on say it very clearly also in my speech to both houses of Congress. And let me tell you that this is something that we, the Germans, shall never forget.”

The question remains, have we forgotten?

November 3, 2009

And another question…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephen W. Browne @ 1:57 am

I was listening to the radio today, and there was a mention of the Bush-era tax cuts expiring.

SINCE WHEN DO TAX CUTS EXPIRE DAMMIT?

When did this pathetic excuse for an electorate accept the fact that taxes are the reality and cuts the exception? 

Why don’t tax hikes expire?

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