Kidnapped by Japan - How A Mother's Dying Wish Led To A Father's Unimaginable Loss

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Abortion Art

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In a era when depravity is the norm this initial report out of Yale University about Aliza Svarts, an undergrad art major seemed horrific but believable:

Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself "as often as possible" while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process....

The display of Aliza Shvarts' project will feature a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery of Green Hall. Shvarts will wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around this cube; lined between layers of the sheeting will be the blood from Shvarts' self-induced miscarriages mixed with Vaseline in order to prevent the blood from drying and to extend the blood throughout the plastic sheeting.

Aliza Shvarts will then project recorded videos onto the four sides of the cube. These videos, captured on a VHS camcorder, will show her experiencing miscarriages in her bathrooom tub, she said. Similar videos will be projected onto the walls of the room.
As it turns out, the above was something of a hoax, perpetrated, of course for the loftiest of reasons:

The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body," said Helaine S. Klasky, associate dean and vice president for public affairs in a statement sent to "Ms. Shvarts is engaged in performance art. Her art project includes visual representations, a press release and other narrative materials."

"She is an artist and has the right to express herself through performance art," Klasky wrote.
Before the story was revealed to be a fake it met with considerable outrage in some quarters,

"It’s clearly depraved. I think the poor woman has got some major mental problems," National Right to Life Committee President Wanda Franz said. "She’s a serial killer. This is just a horrible thought."
Several news outlets, including Fox News picked it up and Yale launched an investigation that found the story to be a fraud, but the University was not sufficiently alarmed with Ms. Svarts, her subject matter and her duplicity to prevent her exhibition from going forward. Instead they have fallen back on that oldest of liberal excuses for letting trash corrupt the culture; its art.

The stomach-turning display will be showcased next week — complete with depictions of blood samples and videos purporting to be from the terminated pregnancies.

Critics on campus have said the display sounds like a shock-and-awe look at the highly sensitive issue of abortion and called it a sick stunt to get attention. The abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America also condemned the exhibit.

"This 'project' is offensive and insensitive to the women who have suffered the heartbreak of miscarriage," NARAL's communication director Ted Miller said in a statement.

But Shvarts has said the goal of the project is to encourage debate and discussion about the connection between art and the human body.

"I hope it inspires some sort of discourse," Shvarts, whose age was withheld, told Yale's newspaper. "Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it's not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone."

Of course it isn't, Ms. Svarts.

Yale has actually accomplished what would ordinarily be the impossible. It has found something so vile and reprehensible that it has gotten the National Right To Life Committee and the NARAL Pro-Choice America to agree.

How much you want to be Ms. Svarts gets an A?

Cross-Posted on Liberty Pundit

An update on this madness can be found at Webloggin'

Wizbang is talking about it, too.

Hating The Pope - Bill Maher's Audience

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When Bill Maher launched into his now infamous verbal assault on the Pope the other day you might have wondered where such hate-filled rhetoric would be greeted favorably. The answer can be found by consulting the left-wing media (From the Huffington Post):

JohnFromCensornati See Profile I'm a Fan of JohnFromCensornati
I love it!
The Nazi pope tells us that our nation's promise fell short for blacks and Indians!
It fell kinda short for the boys the catholic church raped, too.

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 03:43 PM on 04/17/2008
brainlego See Profile I'm a Fan of brainlego
and women, and gays, and some science (holes in condoms)

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 03:58 PM on 04/17/2008
thatsitfortheotherone See Profile I'm a Fan of thatsitfortheotherone

Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 03:54 PM on 04/17/2008
underdog See Profile I'm a Fan of underdog
The pied Poper
did scuffle on by
through throngs of needy believers
attracted to lies

Or from The Guardian:
I hate the Pope. Wholeheartedly, gut-wrenchingly hate him. I hate him for sitting around in his white frock, luxuriating in the infinite wealth of the Vatican while casually denying condoms to the dying of Africa. I hate him for condemning the poorest of women to early death by childbirth. And I pretty much hate, by extension, the Roman Catholics whose devotion permits his tyranny to thrive.
While we're at it, I hate the people in the sinister church at the end of my street...

Or from the
Both Joseph Ratzinger and the Islamists calling for his decapitation believe they have direct access to an invisible supernatural being called "God". Both believe this God wills them to make decisions that have led to the horrific deaths of tens of thousands of people. Both believe this God finds secular democratic Europe disgusting, an atheistic bog dominated by a "culture of death." Both hate feminism and gay rights and sexual freedom. Both believe they are infallible, and that the billions who refuse to follow them are incurring the wrath of the Creator of the Universe. The only real difference is the name they give to this creature, and a few added textual tweaks on either side.

The tragedy is that when there are so many good reasons to hate Joseph Ratzinger...

The ideology that says that that every culture must be "honored" and respected, that no culture is better than any other has found a culture it can hate, that it can mock, that it can revile. It is the culture of Christianity, of Catholicism. The Left really has no choice but to hate the Pope. He speaks of the importance of truth and the evils of relativism. His faith is a challenge to them. And when challenged their reaction is to hate. It is their nature. They can't help themselves.

Say hello to Bill Maher's audience.

Cross-Posted to Liberty Pundit

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Of Fatheads and Fishermen

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While Pope Benedict XVI was talking about the vacuity of moral relativism today, Hugh Hefner hanger-on and unfunny "comic" Bill Maher was giving an example of what the Holy Father was talking about.

Maher's TV show, Real Time appears on HBO. Many people are calling and cancelling their subscriptions until HBO takes Maher off the air. If you have HBO, why don't you?

Bruce, Michelle, Jeremiah And Their Discontents

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I like Bruce Springsteen's music; always have. Born to Run, Thunder Road, Pink Cadillac and all the rest are great songs with interesting lyrics, catchy hooks and a way of sticking in your head. And Bruce is a helluva performer, putting on shows of legendary length and power. But I really don't give a damn who Bruce thinks should be President.

On Wednesday he announced in a letter that he was supporting Barack Obama for President saying that,

"He has the depth, the reflectiveness, and the resilience to be our next president," the letter said. "He speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that's interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit. A place where '...nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone.' "
Well. What is he talking about? Where exactly in Obama's shallow mantra of "hope" and "change" does Springsteen see "reflectiveness"? Barack Obama is the most liberal Senator in the Senate, with policies that were old when Ted Kennedy was thin. Where does Bruce see nuance?

In all the time I've followed his career I can't remember a single instance where Springsteen ever encountered a conservative. Everything he says of his political philosophy is couched in words that could have been said by Woody Guthrie. His songs, while filled with force and yearning are also filled with images of an America stuck in a romanticized depression-era angst. His lyrics are throw-back lyrics where the union-man slaves along gettin' no break, and goes home to his wife whose hopes are gone and whose kids 'er hungry an' hurtin'. While there is certainly hardship in the US this is a country where the average poor person has cable and air conditioning. Bruce doesn't seem like he he knows he's living in an America with the Internet, and Medicaid and welfare and social programs on social programs let along 401k's and IPods.

And that is the problem with other Obama friends and family, too. Michelle Obama the other day appeared on The Colbert's Report.Here she was, a Princeton and Harvard graduate, a lawyer, a wealthy woman and the wife of the man who may well (God help us) be the next President of the US. And she was angry, dropping into ungrammatical language to whine about her upbringing which while not John Kerry wealthy was still orders of magnitude ahead of the average income level of much of the rest of the world. But then Michelle Obama always seems to be angry. Instead of seeing the miracle of a nation like the US where the descendant of slaves could accomplish all that she has, she acts like she is still suffering the indignities of the Jim Crowe days. In her head she lives in another era and can't see that America has made good and wonderful changes.

And not only is Barack Obama's wife lost in the past so is his pastor. Jeremiah Wright's ranting at an America that no longer exists (and in some cases never existed) has been documented extensively enough that there is no need to show it again. But he too can't seem to recognize that we are not living in some fictionalized America-of-the-past where FDR was the George W. Bush of the 1940s, supposedly knowing about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in advance.

Barack's chants of hope and change start to ring hollow when it becomes obvious that so many of those closest to him and those who are attracted to him don't seem able to see that things have changed already. How can Obama bring "change" (and we won't even get into the question of what kind of change he wants to bring) when his world seems so full of those he don't know what it looks like when it is staring them in the face?

Bruce may have been Born To Run but maybe its time he stopped running and looked around him. He might be surprised to see what year he's in.

Welcome Words

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On a beautiful sunny day on the South Lawn of the White House today President Bush and a crowd of 13,000 met Pope Benedict XVI (on what is also his 81st birthday) in the largest gathering of the the Bush presidency. With flags flying, the Marine Band playing and a 21 gun salute as background the President and the Pope delivered remarks that were remarkable for their affirmations of faith, truth and life and for their rejection of the moral relativism that pervades modern society.

I can't begin to improve on their words or expand on them in any meaningful way so I present them here in their entirety without further commentary.

South Lawn
10:38 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT BUSH: Holy Father, Laura and I are privileged to have you here at the White House. We welcome you with the ancient words commended by Saint Augustine: "Pax Tecum." Peace be with you.

You've chosen to visit America on your birthday. Well, birthdays are traditionally spent with close friends, so our entire nation is moved and honored that you've decided to share this special day with us. We wish you much health and happiness — today and for many years to come. (Applause.)

This is your first trip to the United States since you ascended to the Chair of Saint Peter. You will visit two of our greatest cities and meet countless Americans, including many who have traveled from across the country to see with you and to share in the joy of this visit. Here in America you'll find a nation of prayer. Each day millions of our citizens approach our Maker on bended knee, seeking His grace and giving thanks for the many blessings He bestows upon us. Millions of Americans have been praying for your visit, and millions look forward to praying with you this week.

Here in America you'll find a nation of compassion. Americans believe that the measure of a free society is how we treat the weakest and most vulnerable among us. So each day citizens across America answer the universal call to feed the hungry and comfort the sick and care for the infirm. Each day across the world the United States is working to eradicate disease, alleviate poverty, promote peace and bring the light of hope to places still mired in the darkness of tyranny and despair.

Here in America you'll find a nation that welcomes the role of faith in the public square. When our Founders declared our nation's independence, they rested their case on an appeal to the "laws of nature, and of nature's God." We believe in religious liberty. We also believe that a love for freedom and a common moral law are written into every human heart, and that these constitute the firm foundation on which any successful free society must be built.

Here in America, you'll find a nation that is fully modern, yet guided by ancient and eternal truths. The United States is the most innovative, creative and dynamic country on earth — it is also among the most religious. In our nation, faith and reason coexist in harmony. This is one of our country's greatest strengths, and one of the reasons that our land remains a beacon of hope and opportunity for millions across the world.

Most of all, Holy Father, you will find in America people whose hearts are open to your message of hope. And America and the world need this message. In a world where some invoke the name of God to justify acts of terror and murder and hate, we need your message that "God is love." And embracing this love is the surest way to save men from "falling prey to the teaching of fanaticism and terrorism."

In a world where some treat life as something to be debased and discarded, we need your message that all human life is sacred, and that "each of us is willed, each of us is loved" — (applause) — and your message that "each of us is willed, each of us is loved, and each of us is necessary."

In a world where some no longer believe that we can distinguish between simple right and wrong, we need your message to reject this "dictatorship of relativism," and embrace a culture of justice and truth. (Applause.)

In a world where some see freedom as simply the right to do as they wish, we need your message that true liberty requires us to live our freedom not just for ourselves, but "in a spirit of mutual support."

Holy Father, thank you for making this journey to America. Our nation welcomes you. We appreciate the example you set for the world, and we ask that you always keep us in your prayers. (Applause.)

POPE BENEDICT XVI: Mr. President, thank you for your gracious words of welcome on behalf of the people of the United States of America. I deeply appreciate your invitation to visit this great country. My visit coincides with an important moment in the life of the Catholic community in America: the celebration of the 200th anniversary of elevation of the country's first Diocese — Baltimore — to a metropolitan Archdiocese and the establishment of the Sees of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville.

Yet I am happy to be here as a guest of all Americans. I come as a friend, a preacher of the Gospel, and one with great respect for this vast pluralistic society. America's Catholics have made, and continue to make, an excellent contribution to the life of their country. As I begin my visit, I trust that my presence will be a source of renewal and hope for the Church in the United States, and strengthen the resolve of Catholics to contribute ever more responsibly to the life of this nation, of which they are proud to be citizens.

From the dawn of the Republic, America's quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation's founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the self-evident truth that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature's God.

The course of American history demonstrates the difficulties, the struggles, and the great intellectual and moral resolve which were demanded to shape a society which faithfully embodied these noble principles. In that process, which forged the soul of the nation, religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time, too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideas and aspirations.

In the next few days, I look forward to meeting not only with America's Catholic community, but with other Christian communities and representatives of the many religious traditions present in this country. Historically, not only Catholics, but all believers have found here the freedom to worship God in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, while at the same time being accepted as part of a commonwealth in which each individual group can make its voice heard.

As the nation faces the increasingly complex political and ethical issues of our time, I am confident that the American people will find in their religious beliefs a precious source of insight and an inspiration to pursue reasoned, responsible and respectful dialogue in the effort to build a more human and free society.

Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience — almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad. The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good, and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one's deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate.

In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good. Few have understood this as clearly as the late Pope John Paul II. In reflecting on the spiritual victory of freedom over totalitarianism in his native Poland and in Eastern Europe, he reminded us that history shows time and again that "in a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation," and a democracy without values can lose its very soul. Those prophetic words in some sense echo the conviction of President Washington, expressed in his Farewell Address, that religion and morality represent "indispensable supports" of political prosperity.

The Church, for her part, wishes to contribute to building a world ever more worthy of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God. She is convinced that faith sheds new light on all things, and that the Gospel reveals the noble vocation and sublime destiny of every man and woman. Faith also gives us the strength to respond to our high calling and to hope that inspires us to work for an ever more just and fraternal society. Democracy can only flourish, as your founding fathers realized, when political leaders and those whom they represent are guided by truth and bring the wisdom born of firm moral principle to decisions affecting the life and future of the nation.

For well over a century, the United States of America has played an important role in the international community. On Friday, God willing, I will have the honor of addressing the United Nations organization, where I hope to encourage the efforts underway to make that institution an ever more effective voice for the legitimate aspirations of all the world's peoples.

On this, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the need for global solidarity is as urgent as ever, if all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity — as brothers and sisters dwelling in the same house and around that table which God's bounty has set for all his children. America has traditionally shown herself generous in meeting immediate human needs, fostering development and offering relief to the victims of natural catastrophes. I am confident that this concern for the greater human family will continue to find expression in support for the patient efforts of international diplomacy to resolve conflicts and promote progress. In this way, coming generations will be able to live in a world where truth, freedom and justice can flourish — a world where the God-given dignity and the rights of every man, women and child are cherished, protected and effectively advanced.

Mr. President, dear friends, as I begin my visit to the United States, I express once more my gratitude for your invitation, my joy to be in your midst, and my fervent prayers that Almighty God will confirm this nation and its people in the ways of justice, prosperity and peace. God bless America. (Applause.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

First Stuart Smalley, Now This?

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No. God, no.

Stop Jimmy Carter

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Ahmed Yousuf
by krs601
"We hope that Mr. Carter's visit will help to change the climate and push the world community to engage with Hamas," Ahmed Yousuf, Hamas' top political adviser in the Gaza Strip, said In an interview with Aaron Klein, Jerusalem bureau chief for and author of 'Schmoozing with Terrorists'.

In a previous post we pointed out how Jimmy Carter's meeting with leaders of the terrorist organization Hamas was just the latest example of both his famously bad judgement and his anti-semitism. The enthusiasm expressed by the Hamas official above should prove the point for anyone who might have doubted. Though advised not to go by the administration and even members of his own party, Carter, whose ego is apparently as large as is incompetence is giving aid and lending credibility to Israel's and America's enemies. At the very least he should be prevented from indulging in his mad desire for personal diplomacy. Enough is enough.

China Stinks

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The environmental movement loves to pound the US for not signing the Kyoto Protocol and big business for putting profits ahead of a clean environment. Despite what various environmental groups and the msm would have you believe, in many important ways the environment in the US is actually improving. But China's hosting of this year's Olympics is taking the spotlight away from the US and calling attention to China's environmental problems. And they are massive.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald:
BEIJING has unveiled drastic pollution measures for the Olympic Games, including a two-month freeze on all construction, in an admission that despite spending about $18.4 billion in the past decade to reduce smog, the capital's air quality remains a formidable challenge.

It comes as a University of California report to be published next month suggests that China's carbon dioxide emissions have been underestimated and China probably overtook the US as the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2006-07, the BBC has reported.

All construction in Beijing must stop from July 20 to September 20 when both the Olympic and Paralympic Games will have finished. The unprecedented shutdown will leave Beijing eerily quiet.

Although all Olympic venues are virtually completed, other key projects such as the fast rail link between the new international airport and downtown, plus hundreds of other private and public building and infrastructure projects are still under way.

Another 19 heavy polluting industries, including steel and petrochemical plants, will have to slash emissions by a further 30 per cent or risk total closure. All quarrying, cement production, outdoor spray painting and other outdoor use of toxic solvents will be banned. Petrol stations, oil and gas tankers and oil depots that have not finished installing equipment to reduce petrol fumes will also be shut.

The situation is so extreme that it threatens to affect athlete's performances.
Some Olympic teams, including the US and Britain, have developed masks for their athletes to use. Others, including Australia, are conducting their pre-Games practice outside China and planning to fly to Beijing at the last possible moment to minimise exposure.
While the current focus on China's environmental disaster revolves around the Olympics and Beijing, the problem is, of course far greater and goes well beyond Beijing. According to The Daily Green:
..China will have increased its CO2 output by 600 million metric tons in the first decade of the 21st Century. That is more than five-times as much carbon as participating nations have pledged to cut under the Kyoto Protocol. And several nations are not on pace to meet their targets.

The analysis lends credence to the Bush Administration's contention that any international framework for reducing pollution must include China and other rapidly developing nations.

The fact is that capitalist countries are far better stewards of the environment than are communist countries and developing nations as well. Capitalism provides incentives to keeping the environment clean as cleanliness increases efficiency and more efficient systems are more profitable systems.
Despite the Left's obsession with capitalist evils, their statist solutions simply don't work. Anybody who doesn't believe this can don a face mask and head over to Beijing to ask the Olympic athletes. They'll be the folks with the face masks and the medals.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Pope in America

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The arrival today of Pope Benedict XVI is a welcome event. It is always interesting to watch the reaction of the msm, which loves the pomp and ceremony that invariably accompanies Papal visits but is also hostile to the Pontiff, forever looking for weakness in the church and seeming to revel in the difficulties that it faces.

The press is especially conflicted with this Pope, who has expressed disagreement with the Iraq War, which they are sure to mention with joyous regularity. But George Weigel, one of the the most astute observers of the Holy See has insights that the media is likely to either miss or ignore:

In my own conversations with senior Vatican officials over the past 18 months, I have been struck by the fact that the debates of 2002-2003 are over. That there was serious disagreement between the U.S. government and the Holy See prior to the invasion of Iraq is, and was, obvious. Today, however, the page has been turned, and despite what Winters’s Vatican leakers may be telling him, the people who make the decisions tell me, as they have told the Bush administration, that a precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be a disaster for both Iraq and the entire Middle East.

Pope Benedict will likely urge President Bush to demand that the Iraqi government be more assertive in defending the Christian minority population of Iraq; but that means more and stronger American involvement in the evolving politics of Iraq, not the end of an “occupation.” As for a papal “denunciation” at the U.N., Winters and his friends among Catholic Democrats are likely to be disappointed; Benedict XVI is far too shrewd to give fall campaign sound-bites to Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton (either of whose victory in November would cause nightmares for the Holy See at the U.N. and other international agencies).

There is much for conservatives to like in Benedict, a man who has little use for moral relativism and is fully aware of the dangers a radicalized Islam presents.
Nor would a pope who thought in Eurocrat terms about world politics have appointed as his “foreign minister” Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, a man who combines extensive experience of Islamist aggression (he was formerly papal nuncio in Khartoum) with a fondness for the United States and a clear-eyed view of the weaknesses and corruptions of the present U.N. (where he served for three years). Furthermore, Benedict XVI and Archbishop Mamberti are both fully aware that the “dictatorship of relativism” of which then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger warned just prior to his election as pope is not only being imposed across Europe by radically secularist governments like the Zapatero regime in Spain; it is also being imposed by the E.U. bureaucracy, the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the European human rights courts. Rather than the pope and Mamberti being driven by the “Brussels-think” in the permanent Vatican bureaucracy, it is far more likely that this pontificate will continue to challenge those default positions; it may even start the process by which the defaults are decisively changed.

Benedict has had large shoes to fill, following as he has the unusually popular and successful Pontificate of John Paul II. Benedict XVI may not have the personal dynamism of his extraordinary predecessor but Americans would do well to get to know him better as his intellect, natural conservatism and devotion to God are resources that America would be wise to tap.

Cross-Posted At Liberty Pundit

High Noon In The West

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The invaluable Daniel Pipes has written an article on what he sees as the three most likely possible futures for Europe:

Europe may constitute a mere 7 per cent of the world's landmass but for 500 years, 1450-1950, for good and ill, it was the global engine of change.

How it develops in the future will affect all humanity, especially daughter countries such as Australia that still retain close and important ties to the old continent. I foresee potentially one of three paths for Europe: Muslims dominating, Muslims rejected or harmonious integration.

The first scenario, Muslims dominating, is most famously articulated in Mark Steyn's America Alone. In this possible future, Europe does not wake from its current cultural and demographic stupor. Native Europeans are currently at nowhere near population replacement levels. Liberal guilt, coupled with Socialist economics and moral relativism (highlighted by a rejection of religion) has lulled the continent into a suicidal stupor from which it doesn't wake. Islam, though lacking in the inner dynamism of Western civilization retains its religious fervor coupled with a resentment of the West and a fecundity that leads it to swamping the continent.

The second scenario, Muslims rejected, posits a future in which Europe , at the 11th hour, rouses itself from its stupor and pushes back against the Muslim influx. The result is likely to be bloody and difficult, requiring not just the likely expulsion of large numbers of Muslims but a reconfiguration of dead-end European Socialist economies and a muscular reclamation of European culture.

The final scenario is favored by "most politicians, journalists, and academics, but it has little basis in fact." It basically posits a future in which the idea of either the old style conception of the "melting pot" or the current in-vogue multicultural idea takes hold and Muslims and Europeans mingle happily, happily reveling in the gorgeous mosaic Jesse Jackson likes to bleat about.

Looking around at the current social landscape of Europe it is depressingly easy to assume that the first scenario in which Muslims eventually become ascendant while shunting aside Western culture in the process, is even now taking place. Pipes however, while hardly being an optimist in this matter is a realist first and makes this final point:

Forecasting is difficult because the crisis has not yet struck. But it may not be far off. Within a decade, perhaps, the continent's evolution will become clear as the Europe-Muslim relationship takes shape.

The unprecedented nature of Europe's situation also renders a forecast exceedingly difficult. Never in history has a civilisation peaceably dissolved, nor has a people risen to reclaim its patrimony. Europe's unique circumstances make the outcome difficult to comprehend, tempting to overlook and virtually impossible to predict. With Europe, we all enter into terra incognita.

Whatever the outcome, it will have tremendous ramifications for the US, either pointing the way to our own future or acting as a cautionary tale that might cause us to develop strategies that might yet save the ideals of the West, the best of which have have yet to be equalled by any other culture.

Cross-Posted at Liberty Pundit

Monday, April 14, 2008

Aye, Matey - UK Says Pirates Welcome

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From Britain comes news of its continuing mad dash to oblivion as reported by this story:

THE Royal Navy, once the scourge of brigands on the high seas, has been told by the Foreign Office not to detain pirates because doing so may breach their human rights.

Warships patrolling pirate-infested waters, such as those off Somalia, have been warned that there is also a risk that captured pirates could claim asylum in Britain.
What makes this story particularly interesting is the reasons for this new concern for the civil rights of these scurvy dogs:

The Foreign Office has advised that pirates sent back to Somalia could have their human rights breached because, under Islamic law, they face beheading for murder or having a hand chopped off for theft.
Before commenting further it is important to point out that piracy isn't really indulged in by such charming folks as Johhny Depp's Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. In reality they tend to be a bit less whimsical:

In 2005 there were almost 40 attacks by pirates and 16 vessels were hijacked and held for ransom. Employing high-tech weaponry, they kill, steal and hold ships’ crews to ransom. This year alone pirates killed three people near the Philippines.
So the Brits are fearful of letting these vicious murderers get tried by Islamic courts because the possible punishment is so severe. What makes this more than a little ironic is the fact the Britain has, of late, shown some degree of receptivity to the idea of allowing Islamic Sharia' law gain a foothold in Britain, in some cases supplanting British law (as reported in this post). The apparent thinking here is that Islamic law is too terrible to subject sea-faring, often foreign criminals to but British citizens on terra firma should be accepting enough of multiculturalism and diversity that that same Sharia' law should be acceptable to them.

Following last year's humiliating capture of 15 Royal Navy sailors by Iran, this is just the latest example of the Navy's participation in the Long Sundown of the British Empire. Hail Britannia, indeed.

The Naked Democrat

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"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising, then, that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Barack Obama is touted as being the most articulate of the candidates running for President this year and these comments, which have caused such a firestorm over the past few days prove that sometimes such powers of articulation can be dangerous. Obama's words articulated how the Left really sees the American people. His mistake here was that he actually said what the Democratic party believes to be the truth.

Democrats believe in the primacy of the elites in government whose job it is to order the world for the rest of us. Statists like Obama and his devotees on the Left believe that people need government to safely organize their daily lives. Dem's believe that people cannot be trusted to choose their own health care, they cannot be trusted to buckle the seat belts in their cars and should be forced to do so for their own good by government. People need government to tell them what food to eat, how to be sensitive, how to raise their children. Obama's comments are completely in keeping with that line of thought as they highlight what happens when government isn't leading properly and people are left to their own devices; they "...cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." In other words without a Barack Obama leading them and seeing to it that they all have jobs people will devolve into a superstitious, hate-filled mob.

Almost more remarkable than Obama's loose tongue has to be Hillary Clinton's extreme cynicism in attacking him for it.

"Sen. Obama's remarks are elitist and out of touch," she said. "they are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans, certainly not the Americans I know, not the Americans I grew up with, not the Americans I lived with in Arkansas or represent in New York."

Her comments are, of course true but Clinton's entire career, her writings and her policies show her to be every bit the out of touch elitist she accuses Obama of being. The thesis of It Takes a Village, her bestselling book is that people are incapable of ordering their lives as individuals; they need the community (read: government) to help them. Part of Hillary's longstanding devotion to children's issues is her desire to view children as independent of their parents, once decrying the idea that "families are private, non-political units whose interests subsume those of children." Her attack on Obama, which she is trying to portray as principled outrage is, in fact nothing more that the most hypocritical of political calculations.

But in this episode lies the seed of good news for Republicans if they can recognize it and are smart enough to use it to their advantage. The kind of elitism and disdain that Obama's comments reveal is a subtext of all of liberal ideology. Although it is too early to gauge the political impact of his comments it is likely that they will damage Obama in the Pennsylvania primary on April 22. People don't like to be looked down on. John McCain and the Republican party need to hold the Democrats' feet to the fire by exposing the condescension that is at the heart of the whole liberal agenda. Not only would it be smart political strategy, it has the nice benefit of being true. Now that is the kind of "straight talk" that might really give people hope for change.