A More Correct Definition of Tolerance

The International Herald Tribune reports that the Netherlands’ Labor Party is moving toward a more realistic definition of what it means to accommodate Muslim immigrants, many of whom have refused to do the one thing necessary to deserve it – assimilate.

Lilianne Ploumen, Labor’s chairperson:

Ploumen says, “Integration calls on the greatest effort from the new Dutch. Let go of where you come from; choose the Netherlands unconditionally.” Immigrants must “take responsibility for this country” and cherish and protect its Dutch essence.

Not clear enough? Ploumen insists, “The success of the integration process is hindered by the disproportionate number of non-natives involved in criminality and trouble-making, by men who refuse to shake hands with women, by burqas and separate courses for women on citizenship.

Ploumen is exactly correct – assimilation into the social mores of their new homeland’s culture is imperative for the long-term sustainability of the host nation.

The lesson that the Dutch Labor Party has learned is one that has global applicability.  Western nations may well be importers of external labor; nevertheless, they are not obligated to import the undesirable social tendencies inherent in the immigrants’ countries of origin. 

Therefore, honor killings, polygamy, and female genital mutilation should be checked at the door.  Emigration requires those sacrifices and others to ensure the cultural integrity of the new homeland for it’s that very integrity that creates the economic and social circumstances that encourage immigration in the first place.

As for the host countries, the Dutch realization is particularly profound:  It is perfectly acceptable – in fact, it’s actually a duty – to expect and demand that immigrants give up those aspects of their native culture that conflict with their new home.  Likelihood of assimilation should be a key criteria by which immigrants are screened prior to admittance, even if their purpose is primarily to work in the host country.

Labor’s line seems to stand on its head the old equation of jobs-plus-education equals integration. Conforming to Dutch society’s social standards now comes first. Strikingly, it turns its back on cultural relativism and uses the word emancipation in discussing the process of outsiders’ becoming Dutch.

It’s time we all accept and adapt to the reality that, in addition to welcoming valuable diversity, we must also defend our cultures, before it’s too late.

Muslim Violence and America

MPACUK, a British Muslim “empowerment system” according to its web site, says that it will no longer apologize for the acts of Islamic terrorists.  This video, MPACUK says, explains why Muslims have turned to violence against their “executioners”:

Quite a lot of build up just to end by blaming America for the world’s problems.  Same sad song, Nth verse.

Although it would be wrong to say that the U.S. blameless in regard to its current low level of esteem around the globe, the nearly 20 years since the end of the Cold War have caused a lot of people living in countries that should remember the very real danger they passed through thanks to Uncle Sam’s protection to forget the world security dynamics of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.

Yes, during the Cold War the U.S. supported bad people in Iran, Chile, and Nicaragua, among others, and fought bloody, ambiguous wars in Korea and Vietnam that prematurely ended or shattered many innocent lives.

But an objective observer has to question the degree of injury the U.S. dealt directly to Muslims even during the height of its obsessive Cold War zeal.  Arguably the worst thing the U.S. has done to followers of Islam was to set up the scenario through which the Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in Iran in 1979 and set up a totalitarian Islamic state that is still controlling speech and thought in Iran today while ensuring that no economic or social progress can be made there. 

As for America’s recent folly in Iraq, it’s a matter of common knowledge that the vast majority of Iraqi dead were killed by other Iraqis and imported Muslim terrorists and not by American troops.  True, we probably should not have deposed Saddam Hussein; however, that doesn’t change the facts about who did what to whom afterward.

No, Muslims’ anger toward the U.S. is primarily about Israel – the Jews who must be destroyed for Islam to be satisfied.

Understand that while the Palestinians in Israel have been aligned with Muslim nations and terrorists groups for several decades, there was not a great deal of Islamic fervor among residents of Palestine prior to that strategic alignment.  Neither is Jerusalem of any particular consequence to Muslims, historically speaking.  Its value is as a ransom, the prized possession of another faith held hostage.  Fundamentally, it’s America’s support for the Jews makes that us the enemy of Islamic radicals, not our actions in the world, though those often hurt relations as well.

MPACUK’s claim that America has made Islam violent is a fabrication.  Where are the murderous Vietnamese, who by rights should be setting off bombs in New York with all the fervor of a radical Wahabi?  They don’t exist.  Radical Muslims chose the path of violence deliberately, because they believe in it and that it can achieve their aims for them. 

But suppose you are a 16-year-old Muslim male with an opportunity to consider your potential futures and make a logical decision about how to spend the next 6 years of your life.  What makes more sense, becoming a foot soldier in the mullahs’ terrorist army or getting an education and making a place for yourself in civilized society?  The latter option is clearly more advantageous for you and your progeny save for one consideration:  Islam.

This is particularly obvious when one reads articles like this one in which the Houston Chronicle reports that many Egyptians are too poor to afford meat during the Eid al-Adha.

Their lives don’t have to be that way.  There’s nothing inferior about Arabs’ genes, intellect, or abilities.  But they, like the Iranian and Iraqi people, are hobbled by their governments and the prison of their religion.

“What does it say about me, and this country, when I have to ask the butcher to give me bones that he used to throw to the dogs?”  An Egyptian woman asked rhetorically.

What indeed.  One thing is certain: the rhetoric that terrorist apologists like MPACUK push on Muslims everywhere does absolutely nothing to help them ensure better lives for their children.  Quite the opposite.

5 Hostages Killed in Mumbai Jewish Center

In the aftermath of a raid by Indian commandos, CNN reports that 5 hostages have been found dead in the Mumbai Jewish center that had been attacked and held by terrorists.  No word was released as to the hostages’ identities or whether they were killed in conjunction with the commando raid.  The total death toll resulting from the terrorist attack is now at approximately 125.

As suggested in Stratfor’s analysis of the attack’s consequences, India may be lurching toward casting the blame on neighboring Pakistan. 

Welt Online:

As anger mounted, India blamed “elements“ from Pakistan for the coordinated assault on its financial capital, which seemed designed to scare off foreign executives and tourists. Pakistan said the two countries faced a common enemy.

Fox is now reporting the terrorists has having heretofore suspected but unstated connections to militant Islam and possibly to Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi:

“Do not bring politics into this issue. This is a collective issue. We are facing a common enemy and we should join hands to defeat the enemy.”

Pakistan and India do share a common enemy – rogue, animalistic terrorists with no decency or morality and no nationalistic allegiance – and joining forces to eliminate this threat to world security would be an excellent idea.  How realistic that goal is given Pakistan’s seeming inability to police its own territory is questionable at best.

Personally I think that Stratfor’s report is overly pessimistic.  The Mumbai attacks are a shock to India, but they undoubtedly understands that controlling militant terrorists is difficult under the best of circumstances and that the circumstances in Pakistan’s tribal regions are far from that.  Politics may enter into the mix once the dust settles, but it seems to me unlikely that Pakistan’s government will have been involved and that India will, despite the required saber rattling, recognize that.

What these attacks signify is that Islamic terrorism is far from defeated despite being largely rooted out of Iraq.  They are well-armed, trained, and funded and can strike, at least in small numbers, if not wherever they want, in unexpected places and do major damage to innocent people and civilian infrastructure.

Furthermore, it’s worth remembering that there are no lengths to which these murderers will not go in their attempt to cow the rest of the world into submitting to their unholy vision of what the world should be like.  Events in Mumbai should serve to refresh that fact in our memories.

Mumbai Under Terrorist Attack; 80 Dead

A previously unknown terrorist organization called the Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for multiple brutal, synchronized attacks in Mumbai, India.  The Times of India reports least 80 people have died so far, with perhaps 200 more people held hostage

A later report indicates that the Indian Army stormed the Hotel Taj and the Oberoi Trident, capturing 9 terrorists alive.  Reports on Twitter indicate that at least 1 terrorist was killed, while the Times reports 2 of them are dead.

New Zealand’s One News speculates that Deccan Mujahideen name is meaningless and perhaps a simple alias for Al Qaeda.  That’s unclear at this point, as are the motivations behind the well-planned and vicious attacks, and I wonder if it’s important.

What is clear is that the world is a dangerous place and it’s still filled with murderous misanthropes like those that killed hundreds in Bali and thousands in New York City. 

There are two ways to respond to attacks on civilization by such savages:  capitulation or confrontation.  The effects of the former are clear – Sharia, anyone? – which is why the policy of confrontation pursued by the Bush administration is, if not a marvel of success, at least an attempt to deal with terrorists on a proactive basis. 

The fact that he’s largely gone it alone – particularly since John Howard was defeated in Australia last year – is quite simply a disgrace free countries everywhere.  Thus emboldened, this latest batch of terrorists have left Mumbai feeling the effects of an appeasement that should never have happened.

U.N. Faith Forum an Oxymoron

The United Nations ineffectiveness has been well-documented, as has its predilection for granting voice, credence, and credibility to some of the world’s worst leaders.  Now comes perhaps the ultimate contradiction: Saudia Arabia will preside over the U.N.’s 2-day conference on religious tolerance.  Yes, the same Saudis who not so long ago flogged a female rape victim, etc., etc.

This sums it up well:

"Saudi Arabia is not qualified to be a leader in this dialogue at the United Nations," said Ali Al-Ahmed, a Saudi national who serves as director of the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs. "It is the world headquarters of religious oppression and xenophobia."

Presidential Debate Review

Here are my comments about the first McCain/Obama debate:

Obama:  “although we’ve heard a lot about Wall Street, those of you on Main Street I think have been struggling for a while, and you recognize that this could have an impact on all sectors of the economy.

And you’re wondering, how’s it going to affect me? How’s it going to affect my job? How’s it going to affect my house? How’s it going to affect my retirement savings or my ability to send my children to college?”

I’m not sure that Obama has a clue what Main Street is thinking.  Because we know that we’re getting screwed by our so-called leaders, whether we allow the bailout to happen or not.  And we don’t believe in Washington’s ability to solve the problem that we – all of us – created.

Obama:  “we also have to recognize that this is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policies promoted by George Bush, supported by Senator McCain, a theory that basically says that we can shred regulations and consumer protections and give more and more to the most, and somehow prosperity will trickle down.

It hasn’t worked. And I think that the fundamentals of the economy have to be measured by whether or not the middle class is getting a fair shake.”

Fair shake?  What is that, exactly?  And who says we’re not getting it?  Does the middle class have the opportunity to give its children the best education in the world?  Do we have the opportunity to live in homes and shop in supermarkets that are the envy of the world?

Of course we do.  It’s ludicrous to say that the American middle class hasn’t had the most opportunity of any middle class in human history.  But we’ve bungled those opportunities by settling for mediocre government-run school and may have ruined our future by completely mis-managing our finances.

When exactly is someone with the moral authority to be heard – if there is such a person in this country – going to stand up and tell us the hard truths that we know and refuse to acknowledge?

McCain:  “have no doubt about the magnitude of this crisis. And we’re not talking about failure of institutions on Wall Street. We’re talking about failures on Main Street, and people who will lose their jobs, and their credits, and their homes, if we don’t fix the greatest fiscal crisis, probably in — certainly in our time, and I’ve been around a little while.

But the point is — the point is, we have finally seen Republicans and Democrats sitting down and negotiating together and coming up with a package.

This package has transparency in it. It has to have accountability and oversight. It has to have options for loans to failing businesses, rather than the government taking over those loans. We have to — it has to have a package with a number of other essential elements to it.”

Loans to failing financial companies?  No, I don’t think so.  Far better to buy the bad loan portfolios outright and manage them as a investment that happens to be owned by the people.

That may mean making some unpleasant decisions such as evicting some “homeowners” who have little or no ability to repay loans, even on favorable (unprofitable) terms.  Can a government agency find the courage to do that?  I doubt it, myself, but taking ownership of the bad loans allows direct action to be taken.  Giving public money to collapsing banks, on the other hand, is like peeing in the ocean.  Where the money goes, no one will know.

Obama:  “there are folks out there who’ve been struggling before this crisis took place. And that’s why it’s so important, as we solve this short-term problem, that we look at some of the underlying issues that have led to wages and incomes for ordinary Americans to go down”

If we’re going to go there, let’s at least tell the truth.  We spend much more money on our education system than any other comparable nation and are getting poor results.  Young American workers are by-and-large less capable and less motivated than foreign counterparts.  And our businesses are burdened by higher corporate tax rates than in all western nations save one.  The world has become a more competitive place and we’ve failed to keep up.  That’s a fact and it’s directly responsible for our relative decline in wealth.

Obama:  “the nurse, the teacher, the police officer, who, frankly, at the end of each month, they’ve got a little financial crisis going on.

They’re having to take out extra debt just to make their mortgage payments. We haven’t been paying attention to them.”

Better questions would be, “Have they been paying attention to themselves?  Have they invested in their own education?  Have they invested in their own marriages?  Have they made appropriate financial decisions based on their income and future ability to maintain it?”

In many cases the answers are no, no, no, and no.  And that’s the government’s fault?  No.

McCain:  “I have a fundamental belief in the goodness and strength of the American worker. And the American worker is the most productive, the most innovative. America is still the greatest producer, exporter and importer.

But we’ve got to get through these times, but I have a fundamental belief in the United States of America. And I still believe, under the right leadership, our best days are ahead of us.”

Productivity and innovation are subjective terms.  American industry as a whole is very inventive; however, much of this comes from the upper echelons.  Joe Sixpack does not enjoy the competitive advantage that educated workers have over foreign workers.  Spend a day in an American public school and you’ll understand how little the up-and-coming generation understands the notion and importance of raw economic competition.

McCain:  “Senator Obama didn’t mention that, along with his tax cuts, he is also proposing some $800 billion in new spending on new programs.

Now, that’s a fundamental difference between myself and Senator Obama. I want to cut spending. I want to keep taxes low. The worst thing we could do in this economic climate is to raise people’s taxes.”

Obama:  “absolutely, we need earmark reform. And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.

But the fact is that eliminating earmarks alone is not a recipe for how we’re going to get the middle class back on track.”

Again in Obama’s mind it’s the middle class that needs to be helped by government.  Why?  We’ve had every opportunity we could reasonably ask for to help ourselves.  If we valued financial stability, we could have lived within our means and not gambled on doomed real estate schemes.  We could have saved more and spent less.  We could have forced real reform onto a broken public education system.  But we didn’t care.

Now Barack Obama thinks that new government programs will revive the middle class?  Not going to happen.  It’s government programs that cut the heart out of American workers in the first place by excising the need to provide value through their work in the marketplace.

Obama:  “Senator McCain talked about providing a $5,000 health credit. Now, what he doesn’t tell you is that he intends to, for the first time in history, tax health benefits.

So you may end up getting a $5,000 tax credit. Here’s the only problem: Your employer now has to pay taxes on the health care that you’re getting from your employer. And if you end up losing your health care from your employer, you’ve got to go out on the open market and try to buy it.”

McCain’s taxation of employer-provided health benefits is an abomination.  The plan offers $5,000 in tax credits for health insurance.  This isn’t bad if you have a good job, because your employer probably covers at least half of a family’s medical insurance.  Even so, there wouldn’t be much left over, to say nothing of those families whose employers offer little or no assistance with health insurance.  And then McCain would tax those companies who do?

It would be more honest to simply ban employer health care benefits since that would be the effect of McCain’s plan.  Just get rid of them and companies can add a bit to employees’ base pay.

This would not be such a bad option if health insurance itself were banished along with employer contributions.  Then people would realize that, yes, they must face the consequences of their eating, drinking, and smoking, as well as the relative quality of their DNA and living environments.  We’d be on our own and paying cash for medical care like our grandparents did but at least we’d know where we stood.

Obama:  “We have to fix our health care system, which is putting an enormous burden on families. Just — a report just came out that the average deductible went up 30 percent on American families.

They are getting crushed, and many of them are going bankrupt as a consequence of health care.”

Are they?  Medical cost increases are certainly not helping anyone, but that’s not what is forcing Americans to default on their home loans, not if we’re telling the truth.

Obama:  “The third thing we have to do is we’ve got to make sure that we’re competing in education. We’ve got to invest in science and technology. China had a space launch and a space walk. We’ve got to make sure that our children are keeping pace in math and in science.”

Yes, that’s very true.  But how does he propose to make them care enough to want to keep pace with people they’ve never met?  The competition is real but we don’t acknowledge it for what it is:  the end of American economic power, should we lose.

And it’s all about caring.  A dedicated American student/worker has no equal in terms of potential productivity.  One lacking in dedication is no better than a Chinese peasant working in the field.  Where is the moral center that instills the desire to excel to come from?  Certainly not from soulless, Godless public schools.

McCain:  “We have to have wind, tide, solar, natural gas, flex fuel cars and all that but we also have to have offshore drilling and we also have to have nuclear power.

Senator Obama opposes both storing and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. You can’t get there from here and the fact is that we can create 700,000 jobs by building constructing 45 new nuclear power plants by the year 2030. Nuclear power is not only important as far as eliminating our dependence on foreign oil”

Yes.  Renewable energy is great and we should pursue all forms of it until their viability is demonstrated one way or another, as ethanol has been shown to be a fool’s panacea.

But it’s hard-code nuclear and coal-based power plans that are going to have to do the bulk of the work for the next few decades, probably for the rest of my lifetime.  Considering it takes 10 years to get a nuclear plant on-line it’s a disgrace than no significant construction has been done on any plant since 9/11.

Obama:  “John, it’s been your president who you said you agreed with 90 percent of the time who presided over this increase in spending. This orgy of spending and enormous deficits you voted for almost all of his budgets. So to stand here and after eight years and say that you’re going to lead on controlling spending and, you know, balancing our tax cuts so that they help middle class families when over the last eight years that hasn’t happened I think just is, you know, kind of hard to swallow.”

That’s like a mallet between the eyes.  The Bush administration has been a disaster on so many levels.  On every level, really, except for having the fortitude to stick it out in Iraq, a place we never should have gone but once we went in, we owned the problem.  That’s perhaps the only major decision Bush 43 has made correctly since invading Afghanistan.

Spending?  He’s no conservative and has poisoned the Republican party with his inability to manage American taxpayer’s money.  McCain is tainted by association, even though I think his desire to cut spending is real enough.

McCain:  “I went to Iraq in 2003 and came back and said, we’ve got to change this strategy. This strategy requires additional troops, it requires a fundamental change in strategy and I fought for it. And finally, we came up with a great general and a strategy that has succeeded.”

“There is social, economic progress, and a strategy, a strategy of going into an area, clearing and holding, and the people of the country then become allied with you. They inform on the bad guys. And peace comes to the country, and prosperity.

That’s what’s happening in Iraq, and it wasn’t a tactic.”

McCain’s one and only true selling point is that he alone among presidential contenders was right about Iraq.  He does know how to make the hard decisions, there’s no denying it.  But that decision, right as it was, is in the past now.

Obama:  “Now, keep in mind that we have four times the number of troops in Iraq, where nobody had anything to do with 9/11 before we went in, where, in fact, there was no al Qaeda before we went in, but we have four times more troops there than we do in Afghanistan.

And that is a strategic mistake, because every intelligence agency will acknowledge that al Qaeda is the greatest threat against the United States and that Secretary of Defense Gates acknowledged the central front — that the place where we have to deal with these folks is going to be in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.”

Pakistan, indeed.  The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has perhaps doomed the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan by leaving only Islamic-oriented parties to fill the vacuum left by her death and Pervez Musharraf’s inevitable implosion.

We cannot start a war on the ground with Pakistan.  Not ever and certainly not after stretching our military thin on two fronts.  Now it may be too late to crush the terrorists lurking inside Pakistan.  It is not too late to secure Afghanistan’s borders to a reasonable degree, but that country effectively has a terrorist nation on its border because we failed to finish the job there while we had the chance.

Obama:  “No U.S. soldier ever dies in vain because they’re carrying out the missions of their commander in chief.”

That’s bullshit, frankly.  If those missions are pointless or the follow-up that’s required to ensure success is not forthcoming, any casualties taken would have been in vain.  4000 Americans have died in Iraq and their deaths will be pointless if Iraq becomes another Iran.  Or Pakistan.  That cannot be allowed to happen.

Obama:  “we are also going to have to, I believe, engage in tough direct diplomacy with Iran and this is a major difference I have with Senator McCain, this notion by not talking to people we are punishing them has not worked. It has not worked in Iran, it has not worked in North Korea. In each instance, our efforts of isolation have actually accelerated their efforts to get nuclear weapons. That will change when I’m president of the United States.”

I think that’s correct.  McCain likes to bluster about Ahmadinejad and the evil he’s perpetrating on the work and say that he’s not going to allow it, as if there’s going to be a duel at high noon.  But Ahmadinejad is only the public face of Iraq, not the real power in the country.  Think of him as a particularly nasty little brute of a PR flack fronting for the Islamic mullahs.  These people need to understand, at the very least, that we’re prepared to confront them in every hotspot of Islamic terrorism, in every major country and city around the world, just as we did with the Soviets during the Cold War, that their maniacal brand of evil will not be allowed to spread unchecked through the world and particularly not into Israel, the U.S.’s only true ally in the Middle East.

To do that we should meet with Iran and deliver the message clearly.

Obama:  “we also have to affirm all the fledgling democracies in that region, you know, the Estonians, the Lithuanians, the Latvians, the Poles, the Czechs, that we are, in fact, going to be supportive and in solidarity with them in their efforts. They are members of NATO.

And to countries like Georgia and the Ukraine, I think we have to insist that they are free to join NATO if they meet the requirements, and they should have a membership action plan immediately to start bringing them in.”

Surprisingly aggressive for Obama to come right at the point like that.  But it’s absolutely the right thing for those countries and the world.  If Russia wants to go communist again that’s their business.  But they have no right to inflict their will on neighboring nations that are trying to foster democracy and freedom after generations under Soviet occupation.  They deserve our support and that of the other NATO countries, should they have the courage to provide any.  McCain understands this completely, so Obama’s sudden hawkishness is simply an admission of reality, in my view.

McCain:  “I can tell you that I think America is safer today than it was on 9/11. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a long way to go.”

I think it’s clear that we are safer from external enemies than we were on 9/11.  The record has proven that.  But we’ve given the federal government new and undesirable powers to reach that point and it’s imperative that challenges to these unconstitutional actions continue to be brought forward so that the current status quo does not become a permanent fact of life here.

McCain:  “Senator Obama still doesn’t quite understand — or doesn’t get it — that if we fail in Iraq, it encourages al Qaeda. They would establish a base in Iraq.

The consequences of defeat, which would result from his plan of withdrawal and according to date certain, regardless of conditions, according to our military leaders, according to every expert, would lead to defeat — possible defeat, loss of all the fragile sacrifice that we’ve made”

Obama:  “we’ve got challenges, for example, with China, where we are borrowing billions of dollars. They now hold a trillion dollars’ worth of our debt. And they are active in countries like — in regions like Latin America, and Asia, and Africa. They are — the conspicuousness of their presence is only matched by our absence, because we’ve been focused on Iraq.”

In the long view, Obama is undoubtedly correct.  But the truth is that it simply doesn’t matter.  We made a mistake, we broke Iraq, and we need to put it back together again.  We can do it, as has now been proven.  But the future will not take care of itself.  The Chinese can afford to wait us out; their advantage in terms of manpower gives them a certain luxury to do so.

Net-net, I’m reading the transcript thinking that Barack Obama got the better of McCain by a narrow margin, primarily by pointing out that, for all of our recent successes in Iraq, the world is more dangerous than it was 8 years ago and America’s place in it is, to the average observer, somewhat less secure than it was only a couple of weeks ago, before our national blinders came off.

Ironically, that’s all the more reason to vote for John McCain.

Putin Blames U.S. for Georgia

Vladimir Putin is a bad boy and, like all bad boys, has a propensity for telling lies whenever he thinks he can get away with it. 

image

Today Vlad says that, in spite of the fact that it’s Russian troops in Georgia, the U.S. is behind the fighting in that country and that “American citizens” – dare we say spies? – were there too.

In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Matthew Chance in the Black Sea city of Sochi on Thursday, Putin said the U.S. had encouraged Georgia to attack the autonomous region of South Ossetia.

“U.S. citizens were indeed in the area in conflict,” Putin said. “They were acting in implementing those orders doing as they were ordered, and the only one who can give such orders is their leader.”

What a shock this must be to President Bush.  Not only is Vlad a bully with no soul, he’s also looked into W’s eyes and divined his plan to start a civil war within the borders of one of our better allies in the region.

This is most likely a classic case of the aggressor blaming the victims in order to justify his actions.  After all, you don’t think that Russia had anything to do with the troubles in the Georgian provinces, do you?  Surely they weren’t sending men into Georgia to incite rebellion.  Must have happened all by itself.  Right.

Personally I think that if the people of a region large enough to sustain itself as a national entity want to break away from the mother country that they ought to be allowed to go their own way.  Witness the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey, as well as the Basques in Spain.  Why should an unwanted government be forced down people’s throats simply to preserve artificial national borders? 

Power and economics are the reasons, of course.  But the latter is more of a perceived issue than a real one.  Corporate entities break up and re-align on a regular basis in order to arrive at a more efficient set of operations.  Why can’t governments simply allow people to determine their own destinies?

I’m sure that’s a laughable view to a man like Vlad Putin, a dictator with a penchant for having his way and a big dream of re-uniting the Soviet Union.  He’d like nothing better than for bits of that failed nation to break away and make themselves easy pickings, just as in Georgia.

All Vlad needs is someone to blame for his actions.  Doesn’t have to be true, obviously.

Back in Black

So there I was on vacation when Russia – ne the Neo-Soviet Union – decided to use the distraction of the Olympics to disguise their attempt to start WW III.  The disguise failed, needless to say, but Vlad the Bad’s calculation that the U.S. would do nothing, indeed can do nothing, seems to have been well-founded.  Red isn’t what it used to be; the Russian bear is back, this time in black, like Mr. Putin’s heart.

As a follow-up to my last post questioning the purpose of Islamic society given its propensity to destroy other, better nations and religions, consider the same query as relates to Russia.  Yes, Georgia stupidly gave Putin an excuse to invade the “rebellious” territories by killing civilians there.  But the invasion is less about the innocent lives lost in the region than it is about Russia’s wounded pride.  Seeing an opportunity to kill multiple birds with a single stone, Putin acted.  Now a relatively democratic government teeters on the brink of collapse, an important oil pipeline to the west is threatened, and Russia’s military reputation is on the rise.  All in a day’s work for the 21st century’s slickest agent provocateur, Vladimir Putin.

All of which is to say, after the spin and lies are stripped away, that Russia is behaving like a spoiled child who, unable to admit that its perception of reality was amiss and accept its failures for what they were, instead chooses to rebel against the civilized world by spreading dangerous weapons and failed political ideologies into the hands and minds of the worst people on Earth.

Vlad’s polished exterior may have lulled a gullible Mr. Bush into believing his lies.  Shame on anyone who falls for the man’s assurances again – the Russian bear is back on the prowl.  The bear is hungry, make no mistake, and destruction will follow wherever he roams.

Purpose

After a grueling spring and early summer I’m on vacation with my son this week. Yesterday we hopped a jet and within 3 hours were 1000+ miles away from the baking sun of central Texas – nice. The flight was smooth and on-time and everything about the experience was exactly as it should be, with one exception – airport security.

Not that’s it’s not needed – the opposite has been proven by terrorists on multiple occasions. What’s wrong with security isn’t the appropriateness of it given the world situation and it isn’t the implementation either, uneven as it is.

No, the problem is with the existence of a need for security. See, there’s two kinds of people in the world, he said, oversimplifying things a tad – those who make order out of chaos by creating “goodness” and those who do the opposite. There are also two kinds of ideological philosophies that can be distinguished by their actions using the same criteria.

So on the one hand we have western democracies, countries that acknowledged individual rights and have created wealth and stability wherever they’ve rules, and on the other the medieval forces of Islam on the other. One is a set of societies that have a purpose rather eloquently expressed by the symbol of a jet airliner while the other is determined to halt human progress at the boundary it established for itself centuries ago and whose most revealing actions have been the destruction of the others’ greatest achievements.

What is the purpose of such a society? And should it be allowed to gain power over people who reject its repressive methods and stagnant theocracy? Or should it be opposed and, ideally, be forced to confront its own shortcomings before ascending to the world stage?

These are legitimate questions and you, despite what Muslim activist groups and those who practice too much political correctness would have you believe, are entitled to ask them.

Fundamentally, the question is this: Which model for the future of mankind is better, A or B?

A) B)

It’s really not any more complex than that.

With regard to questions of the world, as opposed to those of faith, is there another, more important question?  I don’t think so.  Therefore, this question should color all analysis of politics and its figures, workings, and elections.

For Americans, who understands this question and the correct answer better, John McCain or Barack Obama?

Independence Day Lesson

Today’s lesson in why it is imperative for Americans to remember and fight for our way of life comes from England where two school boys were given detention after a teacher tried to force them to pray to Allah during a school exercise.

Parents were outraged that the two boys from year seven (11 to 12-year-olds) were punished for not wanting to take part in the practical demonstration of how Allah is worshipped.

They said forcing their children to take part in the exercise at Alsager High School, near Stoke-on-Trent – which included wearing Muslim headgear – was a breach of their human rights.

One parent, Sharon Luinen, said: "This isn’t right, it’s taking things too far.

"I understand that they have to learn about other religions. I can live with that but it is taking it a step too far to be punished because they wouldn’t join in Muslim prayer.

"Making them pray to Allah, who isn’t who they worship, is wrong…

Luinen is correct, of course, and the parents’ outrage entirely justified, in particular because of the inherently alien nature of Islam with regard to British society.

And the most salient point of all:

"…if Muslims were asked to go to church on Sunday and take Holy Communion there would be war."

England, along with the rest of Europe, is floundering, societally speaking, because of an inability to confront Islam directly.  Pointing out that Islam does not belong in Western Europe would be an epic breach of political correctness.  As such it cannot be done, regardless of the need.

Meanwhile, European school children are being subjected to inane exercises in multiculturalism like the one described above.  The result, whether intended or not, is the appeasement of those who spread Islam through the west and the punishment those who recognize the danger that spread brings with it.

Worse still, religious and civil authorities who ought to be the ones standing firmly behind English and western democratic norms are leading the appeasement agenda.  Witness Lord Phillips’ incredible statement in which he said:

"There is no reason why sharia principles, or any other religious code, should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution…"

On the contrary, there is every reason why Sharia should be denied a foothold in the English legal system.  Islamic law is incompatible with the most fundamental conventions of western democracies, including the rights of women to live as equals with men and the recognition of civil authorities as the supreme ruling body of the land, among others.

Think it can’t happen here?  Think again.  Multiculturalism and the political correctness it requires are both well established in this country as well.  When the systemic conflicts begin to take place here, will Americans have the fortitude to reject the relativism that such political correctness demands and stand up for the American way in the court rooms and legislatures of this country?

I hope so.  Damn few other countries are.

Happy Independence Day!