Strutting and fretting in an insane world.
Friday, December 06, 2002
Thursday, December 05, 2002
This is the claim of Joseph Smith, that he was a modern prophet. When he was 14 years old, he wanted to join a church but he didn't know which to join. After reading a verse in the book of James in the Bible which told him to ask God, he went into the woods and prayed. In response he had a vision of God and Jesus Christ:
I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other�This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)�and which I should join.
I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all ccorrupt; that: �they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.�
For more up to date evidence, read this. I am wondering why Catholics aren't leaving the church in droves, but maybe searching for truth is something you're taught not to do if you're Catholic.
I was going to comment on Robert Fisk's latest, but what's the point? Trying to keep up with his propaganda isn't worth the time it takes to read it, let alone fisking it.
The fact that his screeds are published under the rubric of Argument, reminds me of the Monty Python arguments sketch. It is really not argument, but contradiction. He doesn't really make points so much as deny history and spout lies. We need a moratorium on Fisk commentary in the blogosphere, since his name is now a synonym for stupidity and dishonesty.
Wednesday, December 04, 2002
Not that I'm surprised, but I found the opening quote in this letter to the editor a little startling. Of course, you won't find it on the ACLU website, but it goes a way toward explaining while the ACLU has been so anti-religious and has manipulated the justice system, not for justice, but to enlist leftist and useful idiot judges to reduce democracy and to give some rights precedence over others.
Tom Friedman isn't always right, but today he is:
We can kill Osama bin Laden and all his acolytes, but others will spring up in their place. The only ones who can delegitimize and root out these forces in any sustained way are Muslim societies themselves. And that will happen only when more Muslim societies undergo, from within, their own struggle for democracy and religious reform.
This is why Iran is important.
Sunday, December 01, 2002
Hmm, I guess is wasn't just me. MSNBC reports on the NYTimes' new editorial slant. In passing, it debunks the Al Gore/Tom Daschle claim that the right wing controls the press:
But it�s the Times that drives the nation�s news agenda�and therefore presents the biggest target. Every day, when its editors send out a list of the next day�s front-page stories, papers around the country alter their lineups�or just run the Times�s stories in their entirety. �The Times has so much accumulated reputational capital that stories that are really ideological are presented as accurate news stories, and can mislead the public,� says Dave Kopel, a conservative press critic with Denver�s Rocky Mountain News.
And to think that we were told we had a free press in this country. Apparently the Times has decided that it no longer has to exercise its quiet control in the background. It's Elsworth Toohey time.
Via InstaPundit.Com, this feat of distortion by Robert Fisk:
Time was when Bali would have been the story of the year, the most violent act in 12 months, to be recalled with horror in December as the most terrible of crimes. But Bali was just the story of the month. [Yes, the real story is the ongoing butchery being practiced worldwide by Islamic apostates in the name of God]And soon, perhaps, the Karachi bombings and the Bali bombings and the Mombasa bombings will be just stories of the week. [Al Qaeda's atrocities are just "stories." It's the defensive reaction of the U.S. and Israel that he sees as monumental.] See how easily we have acclimatised to death on a vast scale? What is to be this week's nightmare? How many innocents will be killed by the time you open next week's Independent on Sunday? [Who knows? But they will have been murdered by Islamists.]
But last week's killings in Kenya and the attempt to bring down an Israeli airliner were far more important than most people realise. [Most people only think it was an atrocity, but he knows it was a huge geopolitical move.] For by bringing Israel into the loop � by allowing Israel to become a partner in President Bush's asinine "war on terror" � al-Qa'ida has ensured that the Arab Muslim world will henceforth give its real if quiescent sympathy to Osama bin Laden. [So, Israel hasn't been on the mind of Arab Muslims until now? Has Fisk been living in a monastery?]
Outraged as many Arabs were at the international crimes against humanity of 11 September 2001, [Are those the Arabs we saw mourning and weeping on TV?] few will object to an attack against Israelis, however cruel, [and they have all been so protective of Jews until now.] while Israel's suppression of the Palestinians continues. If al-Qa'ida is now against Israel, Arabs will give their support. [which has been steadfastly withheld for how long?]
With utter predictability, [What's he saying? That predictability is something bad, or that Sharon's reaction is not one that anyone else would have had?] Ariel Sharon walked into the al-Qa'ida trap. [Ah, it wasn't about killing Jews at all; it was just a ploy to provoke Sharon.] He vowed "revenge" [which Arabs never ever do]. Thus any strike against the al-Qa'ida � by America, by Britain, by Australia � will be seen as an Israeli attack. [Hey, there's an idea that hasn't occurred to them before.] America and Britain and Israel are now fighting on the same side. In the short term � and in his mendacious attempt to link Yasser Arafat with Mr bin Laden � Mr Sharon may have gained some advantage. At last [!], Israel's war on Palestinian "terror" can be placed on the same footing as its new war against al-Qa'ida. No longer will Mr Sharon's ghastly spokesmen have to justify their army's brutality towards Palestinians. Israel is fighting the same struggle of "good against evil" that President Bush invented for us just over a year ago. [Note the use of scare quotes - Israel wants "revenge" for acts of "terror" in a war of "good against evil." Everything al Qaeda has done is justice and the other side is misusing language. Apparently, this is what passes for "argument" on the Independent.]
But for Israelis, there is one big error in all this. [Interpretation: "Having set up my straw man, I will now wow the crowd by demolishing him."] By responding to al-Qa'ida's wicked assault on its civilians, it is taking on a mighty big opponent. [That explains their terrorist tactics. They are too "big" to fight in the open against military forces. ]For Mr bin Laden's men are not the hopeless suiciders that the Palestinians produce from their foetid refugee camps. The Afghanistan-trained men of Mr bin Laden's legion do not spring from the squalor of Gaza or the occupied masses of the West Bank. They are ruthless, highly motivated, intelligent [Their chief weapon is fear. Fear and a fanatical devotion to bin Laden ... Their TWO weapons are . . .] � just for once, William Safire was right when he called them "vicious warriors" [Boy, can Safire write, or what?] � and they may be more than a match for Israel's third-rate intelligence men. Israel's rabble of an army [Yeah, the Israelis are a bunch of girlie-men. He seems to have studied at the Arab News school of journalism.] can kill child stone-throwers with ease. [Isn't this the guy who was yelling about the destruction of Jenin?] Al-Qa'ida is a quite different opponent. [It uses sneak suicide attacks on civilians--yeah, that's really different.] And if Mr Sharon wants to take on Mr bin Laden, he is ensuring that Israel goes to war with its most dangerous enemy in 54 years. [Promises, promises!] Better by far to let the Americans tackle al-Qa'ida � and even they don't seem to be all that successful � than bring Israel into the battle. [Well, that explains why we're going after Iraq, al Qaed was just too tough.]
Now, however, Messrs Bush and Blair will have to watch in silence as Mr Sharon bludgeons the occupied Palestinians into further submission. [Submission?] Israel is now engaged in our war, on our side, [Since when has Fisk considered this OUR fight? He writes as though he'd grown up in a Riyadh slum and been educated in Kabul's boy's schools.] and whatever Israel does will now have the imprimatur of the "war on terror". Israel is now on the side of the good guys and if it kills nine children when its air force wants to assassinate a Hamas leader, the White House will not even be able to call it "heavy-handed". (Incidentally, it's instructive to note that while the child-killing in Gaza was "heavy-handed" in the words of Mr Bush's spokesman, Ari Fleischer, the killing of 12 Israeli soldiers and policemen was described by the same gentleman as a "heinous crime".) [So, get ready for Fleischer to celebrate all future killings of children.]
But let's move to one side for a moment. [Where has he been sniping from all along?] Has anyone spotted something amiss about the latest episode in the "war on terror"? [Yeah, we haven't caught all of al Qaeda yet.] Has it dawned on any of the chickenhawks [And where did you get your military training Mr Fisk?] in the US administration or in Downing Street that they are losing the initiative? [And if they are, it wouldn't have anything to do with the interference of the U.N., now would it?] Has anyone noticed that Mr bin Laden is writing the script? [I thought it was the French and Russians.] Al-Qa'ida attacks New York so we attack Afghanistan. [No, we attack al Qaeda wherever we find it.]Al-Qa'ida attacks in Bali and the Australian government re-pledges its support for America. Al-Qa'ida threatens America and so we murder four of its members in Yemen. [Don't you mean "murder"?] And our governments � even the Irish last week � respond not by protecting us, not by uniting in a new, inspiring system of international justice, but by producing laws that will diminish our freedoms, our rights and our liberty. Under attack by al-Qa'ida? Let's tap into the telephones and emails of our innocent citizens. Let's frisk every Muslim who goes through our airports. Let's spy on our own people. [Slow down Bob, you're frothing at the mouth!] How Mr bin Laden � hardly a man of humour, as I can personally attest � must be smiling. [Yeah, I've noticed that too. All skulls appear to be smiling.]
Now Americans have got to live with the Department of Homeland Security. The Teutonic roots of this name � Homeland translated as Heimat in the Reich � are perhaps best ignored for the present. [But not here. Germany was once ruled by Nazis; English descended from Anglo-Saxon, a Germanic language; the U.S. and England speak English! It all falls into place!] But already, travellers in the US are finding themselves targeted at airports because of their skin-colour or their religion or their jobs. [Like white, Catholic Nuns? I only wish they had some logical point in deciding whom to search.]
Here's just one small example. I've recently finished another series of lectures at American universities. Americans are great people; they are bright ["at least the ones who attend my lectures and agree with me."] and they want to learn the truth about the Middle East, not least because they realise that their newspapers and television stations lie to them about the region [i.e. they've already been brainwashed to believe that the NYTimes and the WaPo are right wing rags.] I give my lectures free of charge. The Independent and Independent on Sunday have thousands of readers in the US and we journalists have a duty to talk to them. [Hey, this guy deserves a Nobel Peace Prize! ] But on this last trip, I notched up my 21st consecutive "random" security check at an airport boarding gate. Every time I travel on an American aircraft, up pops this little coding on my boarding card and all my hand-baggage is taken to bits. [He's lucky to have a visa. I'm sure it had nothing to do with his attitude.]
Now I don't mind this at all. [Then, why mention it?] The security staff are polite, underpaid [by their vicious, capitalist pig oil-baron masters! It's not their fault. They're just good proletarians like me.] and often very friendly � I even persuaded one to turn up at my talk in Manhattan � but the origin of my journey, Beirut, or the number of pariah visas [Hmm. So he's getting stopped merely because he's been to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Indonesia and Pakistan in the last six months, and surely that doesn't justify caution.] in my passport or perhaps just my reporting, has got me on to the American security list. [Sure, everybody in America, especially airport security workers.] The boarding card "security" coding is in fact quite easy to decipher � and if a numbskull like me can work it out, be sure that the bad guys can � [Actually, you had it right with the "pariah visas" crack.] but the point is that, yet again, a perfectly law-abiding civilian is paying the price for Mr bin Laden. [Not quite. According to al Qaeda, there are no civilians in this fight, but I'm sure his suffering is greater than the passengers on those 9/11 airliners.]
So here's a few thoughts. Why must we let al-Qa'ida write the script? [Why does anybody let this guy write anything?] Why don't we set up the machinery of real international law? [Run by people as objective and unbiased as Mr. Fisk?] Why don't we talk about "justice" rather than revenge? [So, killing murderers is not justice, but letting your people be slaughtered without lifting a finger to stop it is?] Why don't we have international tribunals so that those who wish to kill us can have their time in court? [Fine, if he'll deliver the leaders of al Qaeda to Brussels, we can get this started. Or does the ICC have its own marshalls?] I don't want al-Qa'ida's members blown to pieces in Yemen by Mr Bush's hit squads. [Where would you like them blown to pieces?] I want to see them tried, fairly and by due process. [Just like the occupants of the World Trade Center had.] Of course, the Americans will whinge and whine about this. [That's rich, coming from Fisk!] They will rabbit on about how Americans may be taken to court for political ends, about how American troops might be liable for war crimes trials [--for proof that their worries are well-founded, read the rest of this sentence--] � and given some of their behaviour in Afghanistan, I can well see why they would worry about this. I can see, too, why Mr Sharon would worry that he, too, could end up in court on war crimes charges for his involvement in the massacre of Palestinians at Sabra and Chatila in 1982. [And then there was Joshua's massacre in Jericho.] I don't know if Mr Sharon is guilty. [But I'm sure he is.] But I think he deserves a fair trial.
No, I'm not equating al-Qa'ida and Mr Sharon, [Of course not.] nor am I associating the innocent with the guilty. But it's time we [WE? Who invited him to the strategy session?!] wrote the script to this terrible conflict. It's time we stopped crushing our own freedoms. It's time we talked about law and fairness and justice. [And wore more paisley, grew our hair and had more sit-ins. Kum by Yah!] Not just for criminals. But for the whole Middle East.
I hereby award Robert Fisk the Molly Ivins award for clueless ranting and irrelevant screeds.