Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Just how hypocritical do Democrites want to get?

I have yet to comment on the Mark Foley scandal mostly because (a) it doesn't interest me much, and (b) it seems like a poor excuse for a scandal.

As I understand it, a congressman sent some suggestive e-mails and had some suggestive online chats with a male page who was under the age of 18. He was found out and has resigned. Have I missed something?

And, yet, Democrites (Democrats + hypocrites = Democrites) - and their media accomplices, smelling blood in the water of the upcoming, mid-term elections, have tried to keep the story alive.

In my opinion, the big story is the hypocrisy of Democrats (only their media accomplices won't make THAT a story, will they?). Well, that and how stupid they must think the average voter is.

Do they really think that none of us will remember all the preaching they did during the Clinton impeachment about sexual conduct being a private matter between two people? Of course they will claim this is really about "the children". But, do you really think there is that much difference between a 16 year-old page and a 23 year-old intern? Isn't there the same suggestion of subtle coercion due to the imbalance of power between the two? Isn't there the same abuse of office? I happen to think there is. In fact, the big difference between the two scandals is that Foley had the good taste to resign.

Even worse is the Gerry Studds precedent. Haven't heard of Gerry Studds? I'm shocked that the media haven't told you about him because his case bears a lot of resemblance to the Foley scandal - except that it reflects badly on a Democrite and Foley is a Republican.

Gerry Studds represented the 10th District of Massachussetts in the House of Representatives. In 1983, Studds admitted to being homosexual (making him the first openly gay member of Congress) and to having had an affair with a 17 year-old page in 1973. Apparently the age of consent for this young man was 17 which made the relationship legal, providing it was consensual which, evidently it was. (This was also, coincidentally, very fortunate for Studds.)

So, let's recap: Foley exchanges some provocative e-mails, is discovered, and resigns. Studds actually has sex with a 17 year-old page, is unrepentant, and goes on to serve seven more terms.

This is reminiscent of the story of Bob Livingston. You don't remember Bob Livingston? Livingston was a congressman from Louisiana who was chosen to succeed Newt Gingrich as the Speaker of the House. During the height of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, it was revealed that he had had several extramarital affairs prompting him to resign. To recap, Livingston, numerous affairs, resigns. Clinton, numerous affairs (come on, you don't really think that his and Monica's relationship was confined to oral sex, or that Monica was the only one, do you?), refuses to resign, serves out his term.

I've said it before, but my own private theory is that in order to be a Democrite, you have to have your sense of shame surgically removed. And, again, none of this would be possible without the complicity of the media.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

An Unreliable Ally

In my opinion, South Korea is our most unreliable ally. Just this week, in the wake of North Korea's [failed] nuclear test and the US' push for UN sanctions, Seoul announced that they would not cooperate and temporarily sever economic ties.

Franky, South Korea's behavior vis-a-vis Pyongyang is positively schizophrenic. In the 1950s, the US and the UN saved South Korea from a Chinese-backed invasion by the north. Now they act as if the North is not a threat to them. And yet they don't seem to mind having American troops risking their lives to protect their country from - wait for it - the North Koreans.

So, why are the South Koreans fighting us so as to maintain economic ties that prop up the most brutal and sadistic regime on the face of the earth?

Fatuous Argument Against the War in Iraq

I just caught the last minute of Andy Rooney's schtick on "60 Minutes". (I know - that was my first mistake.) Rooney was whining about Iraq. I'm not going to go on at length about Iraq. You've already made up your own mind about the war and don't need me to tell you what to think.

I happen to think we have nothing to apologize for deposing a murderous dictator who was going to install his equally murderous sons after he died. I do acknowledge that mistakes have been made in Iraq. That is why strategies are reviewed and revised.

Instead, I'd like to comment on a tired argument that critics of the war keep repeating. Namely, that the "world" doesn't support us.

Excuse me, but isn't this the opposite of the argument you used to get from your parents that "If so-and-so jumped off a bridge, would you?" I mean, by definition each country has its own interests and while some overlap or coincide, many do not. It's easy for a France or a Germany to urge inaction. They aren't seen as representing an entire culture and political philosophy ("the West" and "democracy", respectively) and hence aren't the lightning rods and targets for the malcontents of the world.

A mugger may not support my decision to not walk down a dark alley where he lies in wait. Does that make it wrong?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A further [short] word on "torture"

When considering this question, please don't forget that al-Qaeda training and manuals instruct their fighters to claim torture no matter the circumstances of their treatment.

Gee, you don't suppose that the terrorists know that our media (and groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Red Cross) would lap up such reports with a spoon, do you? Nah. Couldn't be.

Are you kidding me? Pt. 2

I got this story from Drudge Report.

Has this guy lost his mind? That's a rhetorical question as clearly the answer is yes.

Fri Sep 29 2006 09:04:05 ET

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore warned hundreds of U.N. diplomats and staff on Thursday evening about the perils of climate change, claiming: Cigarette smoking is a "significant contributor to global warming!"

Gore, who was introduced by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said the world faces a "full-scale climate emergency that threatens the future of civilization on earth."

Gore showed computer-generated projections of ocean water rushing in to submerge the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, parts of China, India and other nations, should ice shelves in Antarctica or Greenland melt and slip into the sea.

"The planet itself will do nicely, thank you very much what is at risk is human civilization," Gore said. After a series of Q& A with the audience, which had little to do with global warming and more about his political future, Annan bid "adios" to Gore.

Then, Gore had his staff opened a stack of cardboard boxes to begin selling his new book, "An Inconvenient Truth, The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It," $19.95, to the U.N. diplomats. [now that's classy]

Thursday, September 28, 2006

There's a word I'm looking for

There's a word to describe the behavior of the presiding officials of Berlin's Deutsche Oper. What is it? It's right on the tip of my tongue.

It'''s....oh, that's right. It's PANDERING!!

Here's an excerpt (since the Washington Times website requires a login):

Europe found itself embroiled in yet another raging debate over faith and free speech yesterday as German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned against "self-censorship" following the cancellation this week of a Mozart opera in Berlin that producers feared might offend Muslims.

Mrs. Merkel, an avid opera-goer, joined in the near-universal condemnation of Monday's decision by the Deutsche Oper, one of Berlin's three main opera houses, to cancel a planned revival of Mozart's classic 1781 work "Idomeneo" because the production inserts a scene that displays the severed head of the prophet Muhammad.

Opera officials, citing warnings from German security officials, called off the production for fear it would incite violence among the country's 3.2 million Muslims.

This is just growing to sickening proportions. It's one thing for Muslims to impose limits on free speech in their own countries. But for European countries to be cowed into self-censorship is moral cowardice.

And, Muslims should learn that they don't have a right to not be offended when they freely emigrate to liberal Western societies. Quite the opposite. They have a responsibility, a duty, an obligation to respect the values of their host countries. Else they are free to go back to their native countries.

P.S. This is worse than I thought. According to Wikipedia, "The "Idomeneo" production, directed by Hans Neuenfels, shows King Idomeneo staggering on stage carrying the decapitated heads of Neptune, Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad."

So, it's not as if Muhammad is being singled out or Muslims deliberately provoked. And, notice that the opera company didn't cancel the production because they were worried about offending Buddhists or Christians (who happen to comprise a majority in Germany). Like I said, sickening!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More on Hamdam and the Scumbags

My friend Bill Carroll sent me a link to a really good article at The American Thinker about Bill Clinton's temper tantrum on Fox News last weekend. It was a good article but I won't dignify Bubba's outburst by wasting any pixels on it.

Instead, I'd like to point out this excellent article entitled "Rendering the Hamdam v. Rumsfeld Decision" that I found there after reading the one about Clinton

The article is written by Air Force LTC Joseph Myers. In it Myers convincingly rebuts the Supreme Court's logic behind their decision to offer Geneva Convention Article III protections to terrorists. Myers does a much better job of dismantling the Supreme Court decision than I ever could.

One point that Myers does drive home very well is the ludicrousness of one side offering Geneva protections while leaving the other side free to commit any and all atrocities. He reminds us that the Geneva Conventions are an agreement between two or more sides. Not only are the jihadists not a party to these conventions, even if they were, they likely would not abide by them (in the same way that another signatory - Vietnam - didn't.)

I encourage you to read it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saw this one coming

The former governor of New Jersey, Jim McGreevey, has been in the headlines recently. You may recall that McGreevey resigned two years ago amidst revelations that he had been having a homosexual affair. Not only had he been having an affair, but he named one of his lovers to be New Jersey's homeland security czar. Wait. It gets better. Not only was his lover not qualified (he was a poet - that's right, a poet), he wasn't even an American citizen (he was Israeli).

His coming out/resignation press conference was a retch-inducing sight. McGreevey introduced himself as a "gay American". How like a politician to wrap himself in the mantle of the flag for the purposes of salvaging his career!

Now begins the rehabilitation of Jim McGreevey. McGreevey has published a book, "The Confession", and has begun the obligatory talk show whistle stop tour: Larry King, the "Today" show, Oprah Winfrey, etc., where he will be tossed the obligatory softballs.

I watched some of the interview with Matt Lauer of the "Today" show. Instead of asking, how could you put your sex life ahead of your marriage and your solemn duty to defend and protect New Jersey, Lauer began by asking, "What was going through your mind [during the August 2004 press conference]?"

Wow! Talk about hard-hitting journalism! Even worse McGreevey had the gall to reply that it was a "moment of grace". He told a heartwarming story about reading some prayer cards that his grandmother had given his mother and that his mother had given him.

You know, the questions that the "reporters" ask and the answers that the interviewees give are soooo boilerplate that it's a wonder that they even go through the motions. After telling this jaw dropping story about praying, McGreevey said that after reading the prayer he blessed himself and then recited the gay mantra to himself: "This is who I am", as if being true to yourself somehow trumps sacred vows to one's spouse, children and solemn vows to uphold one's elected office. He talks about his public persona being "inauthentic".

What's most sickening is that McGreevey appears to blame his parents and society for his double-life (which included such risky behavior as having anonymous sex with men at highway rest stops). He says that other "cultural minorities" have role models to pass down traditions and stories but he didn't because his parents had the nerve to be straight. To me, this self-serving drivel is just breath-taking.

And, the really sad thing is that in this day and age, for most of society, this selfishness does trump everything. To me that was one of the worst aspects of the Gene Robinson story: his utter selfishness.

Robinson is the Episcoplian clergyman who was elected that church's first openly gay bishop. Let's review, shall we? Robinson is an Episcopalian priest, husband and father of two. Robinson, however, had no problem tossing aside these vows as he pursued his homosexual lifestyle. He divorced his wife (which I would imagine to be in contravention of Episcopalian doctrine - especially for a member of the clergy) and then proceeded to live his life as an openly gay man.

But, why stop there? In 2003 Robinson was elected bishop of the New Hampshire diocese. So, not content to abdicate, Robinson proceeded to tear apart his church by insisting on being installed as bishop of his diocese. This controversy has caused a schism within the US Episcopalian church and between the US Episcopalian church and Protestan churches worldwide.

In other words, nothing - nothing, not his duties as a priest, a husband or a father, not his sense of loyalty towards his church - trumped his right to live as an openly gay man in direct contravention of his own church's teachings.

I just don't think that I am doing a good job of communicating the staggering selfishness of these little, little men. I hope you get the idea.


In this case, WWDD stands for "What Will Democrats Do"

Finally the Administration has reached a compromise with Senate leaders over the treatment of detainees. During the negotiations, the Senate was represented by Lindsay Graham, John McCain and John Warner.

The deal, according to National Review Online's Byron York, will have Congress define in law what constitutes "grave breaches" of the Geneva Convention. This means that the interrogation of captured terrorists will continue. This was a key point for the Bush administration and a victory for them in the deal. President Bush was emphatic that the interrogation of terrorists not be put at risk. According to the president, information gleaned from captured terrorists has saved lives and he wasn't willing to risk that. The defining of grave breaches will also serve to protect those members of the intelligence community and the military involved in interrogation since it will provide a legal standard - a line they may not cross without being threatened with criminal prosecution.

It also leaves to the administration to set penalties for "non-grave breaches". These will be defined by the administration in a series of Executive Orders which will then become part of the Federal Register, and therefore public information.

The deal also defines how the administration may use "secret evidence" (i.e. classified information). It also limits the access that suspects and their lawyers will have to this information. In other words, the deal acts as a safeguard for our men and women in uniform and for the sources of intelligence and the methods used to collect said intelligence.

During this time, Democrats were content to sit on the sidelines and let the Republican trio do the heavy lifting. Now that a deal has been announced, the Democrats will be under great pressure to try and sabotage it. The New York Times, the ACLU and the left wing blogosphere have all already been highly critical of the deal. That is to be expected.

However, six weeks before the mid-term elections, that would be a huge mistake. Being seen as being solicitous to the likes of Ramzi Bin al-Shibh and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed at the expense of our military and the security of the country is not going to play well in Peoria.

Devastating Critique of the Arab World by One of Its Own

Thanks again to my friend Nick Keck for passing this along via e-mail. It is the text of a speech given by an Arab gentleman before the advisory board of a large multi-nation corporation. It's a long but very worthwhile read.

"A View from the Eye of the Storm"

Talk delivered by Haim Harari at a meeting of the International Advisory Board of a large multi-national corporation, April, 2004:

"As you know, I usually provide the scientific and technological "entertainment" in our meetings, but, on this occasion, our Chairman suggested that I present my own personal view on events in the part of the world from which I come.

I have never been and I will never be a Government official and I have no privileged information. My perspective is entirely based on what I see, on what I read and on the fact that my family has lived in this region for almost 200 years. You may regard my views as those of the proverbial taxi driver, which you are supposed to question, when you visit a country.

I could have shared with you some fascinating facts and some personal thoughts about the Israeli-Arab conflict. However, I will touch upon it only in passing. I prefer to devote most of my remarks to the broader picture of the region and its place in world events. I refer to the entire area between Pakistan and Morocco, which is predominantly Arab, predominantly Moslem, but includes many non-Arab and also significant non-Moslem minorities.

Why do I put aside Israel and its own immediate neighborhood? Because Israel and any problems related to it, in spite of what you might read or hear in the world media, is not the central issue, and has never been the central issue in the upheaval in the region.

Yes, there is a 100 year-old Israeli-Arab conflict, but it is not where the main show is.

The millions who died in the Iran-Iraq war had nothing to do with Israel.

The mass murder happening right now in Sudan, where the Arab Moslem regime is massacring its black Christian citizens, has nothing to do with Israel.

The frequent reports from Algeria about the murders of hundreds of civilians in one village or another by other Algerians have nothing to do with Israel.

Saddam Hussein did not invade Kuwait, endanger Saudi Arabia and butcher his own people because of Israel.

Egypt did not use poison gas against Yemen in the 60's because of Israel.

Assad the Father did not kill tens of thousands of his own citizens in one week in El Hamma in Syria because of Israel.

The Taliban control of Afghanistan and the civil war there had nothing to do with Israel.

The Libyan blowing up of the Pan-Am flight had nothing to do with Israel, and I could go on and on and on.

The root of the trouble is that this entire Moslem region is totally dysfunctional, by any standard of the word, and would have been so even if Israel had joined the Arab league and an independent Palestine had existed for 100 years.

The 22 member countries of the Arab league, from Mauritania to the Gulf States, have a total population of 300 millions, larger than the US and almost as large as the EU before its expansion. They have a land area larger than either the US or all of Europe.

These 22 countries, with all their oil and natural resources, have a combined GDP smaller than that of Netherlands plus Belgium and equal to half of the GDP of California alone.

Within this meager GDP, the gaps between rich and poor are beyond belief and too many of the rich made their money not by succeeding in business, but by being corrupt rulers.

The social status of women is far below what it was in the Western World 150 years ago.

Human rights are below any reasonable standard, in spite of the grotesque fact that Libya was elected Chair of the UN Human Rights commission.

According to a report prepared by a committee of Arab intellectuals and published under the auspices of the U.N., the number of books translated by the entire Arab world is much smaller than what little Greece alone translates.

The total number of scientific publications of 300 million Arabs is less than that of 6 million Israelis.

Birth rates in the region are very high, increasing the poverty, the social gaps and the cultural decline.

And all of this is happening in a region, which only 30 years ago, was believed to be the next wealthy part of the world, and in a Moslem area, which developed, at some point in history, one of the most advanced cultures in the world.

It is fair to say that this creates an unprecedented breeding ground for cruel dictators, terror networks, fanaticism, incitement, suicide murders and general decline. It is also a fact that almost everybody in the region blames this situation on the United States, on Israel, on Western Civilization, on Judaism and Christianity, on anyone and anything, except themselves.

A word about the millions of decent, honest, good people who are either devout Moslems or are not very religious but grew up in Moslem families: They are double victims of an outside world, which now develops Islamophobia, and of their own environment which breaks their heart by being totally dysfunctional.

The problem is that the vast silent majority of these Moslems are not part of the terror and the incitement, but they also do not stand up against it. They become accomplices, by omission, and this applies to political leaders, intellectuals, business people and many others. Many of them can certainly tell right from wrong, but are afraid to express their views.

The events of the last few years have amplified four issues, which have always existed, but have never been as rampant as in the present upheaval in the region. A few more years may pass before everybody acknowledges that it is a World War, but we are already well into it.

These are the four main pillars of the current World Conflict, or perhaps we should already refer to it as "the undeclared World War III":

*1. The first element is the suicide murder.*

Suicide murders are not a new invention but they have been made popular, if I may use this expression, only lately. Even after September 11, it seems that most of the Western World does not yet understand this weapon. It is a very potent psychological weapon. Its real direct impact is relatively minor. The total number of casualties from hundreds of suicide murders within Israel in the last three years is much smaller than those due to car accidents. September 11 was quantitatively much less lethal than many earthquakes More people die from AIDS in one day
in Africa than all the Russians who died in the hands of Chechnya-based Moslem suicide murderers since that conflict started. Saddam killed every month more people than all those who died from suicide murders since the Coalition occupation of Iraq.

So what is all the fuss about suicide killings? It creates headlines. It is spectacular. It is frightening. It is a very cruel death with bodies dismembered and horrible severe lifelong injuries to many of the wounded. It is always shown on television in great detail. One such murder, with the help of hysterical media coverage, can destroy the tourism industry of a country for quite a while, as it did in Bali and in Turkey.

But the real fear comes from the undisputed fact that no defense and no preventive measures can succeed against a determined suicide murderer. This has not yet penetrated the thinking of the Western World. The U.S. and Europe are constantly improving their defense against the last murder, not the next one. We may arrange for the best airport security in the world. But if you want to murder by suicide, you do not have to board a plane in order to explode yourself and kill many people. Who could stop a suicide murder in the midst of the crowded line waiting to be checked by the airport metal detector? How about the lines to the check-in counters in a busy travel period? Put a metal detector in front of every train station in Spain and the terrorists will get the buses. Protect the buses and they will explode in movie theaters, concert halls, supermarkets, shopping malls, schools and hospitals. Put guards in front of every concert hall and there will always be a line of people to be checked by the guards and this line will be the target, not to speak of killing the guards themselves. You can somewhat reduce your vulnerability by preventive and defensive measures and by strict border controls but not eliminate it and definitely not win the war in a defensive way. And it is a war!

What is behind the suicide murders? Money is, money and power and cold-blooded murderous incitement, nothing else. It has nothing to do with true fanatic religious beliefs. No Moslem preacher has ever blown himself up. No son of an Arab politician or religious leader has ever blown himself up.

No relative of anyone influential has done it. Wouldn't you expect some of the religious leaders to do it themselves, or to talk their sons into doing it, if this is truly a supreme act of religious fervor? Aren't they interested in the benefits of going to Heaven? Instead, they send outcast women, naive children, retarded people and young incited hotheads. They promise them the delights, mostly sexual, of the next world, and pay their families handsomely after the supreme act is performed and enough innocent people are dead.

Suicide murders also have nothing to do with poverty and despair.

The poorest region in the world, by far, is Africa. It never happens there. There are numerous desperate people in the world, in different cultures, countries and continents. Desperation does not provide anyone with explosives, reconnaissance and transportation. There was certainly more despair in Saddam's Iraq than in Paul Bremmer's Iraq, and no one exploded himself.

A suicide murder is simply a horrible, vicious weapon of cruel, inhuman, cynical, well-funded terrorists, with no regard to human life, including the life of their fellow countrymen, but with very high regard to their own affluent well-being and their hunger for power.

The only way to fight this new "popular" weapon is identical to the only way in which you fight organized crime or pirates on the high seas: the offensive way.

Like in the case of organized crime, it is crucial that the forces on the offensive be united and it is crucial to reach the top of the crime pyramid. You cannot eliminate organized crime by arresting the little drug dealer on the street corner. You must go after the head of the "Family".

If part of the public supports it, others tolerate it, many are afraid of it and some try to explain it away by poverty or by a miserable childhood, organized crime will thrive and so will terrorism. The United States understands this now, after September 11. Russia is beginning to understand it. Turkey understands it well. I am very much afraid that most of Europe still does not understand it. Unfortunately, it seems that Europe will understand it only after suicide murders arrive in Europe in a big way. In my humble opinion, this will definitely happen. The Spanish trains and the Istanbul bombings are only the beginning. The unity of the Civilized World in fighting this horror is absolutely indispensable. Until Europe wakes up, this unity will not be achieved.

*2. The second ingredient is words, more precisely lies.*

Words can be lethal. They kill people. It is often said that politicians, diplomats and perhaps also lawyers and business people must sometimes lie, as part of their professional life. But the norms of politics and diplomacy are childish, in comparison with the level of incitement and total absolute deliberate fabrications, which have reached new heights in the region we are talking about. An incredible number of people in the Arab world believe that September 11 never happened, or was an American provocation or, even better, a Jewish plot.

You all remember the Iraqi Minister of Information, Mr. Mouhamad Said al-Sahaf and his press conferences when the US forces were already inside Baghdad. Disinformation at time of war is an accepted tactic. But to stand, day after day, and to make such preposterous statements, known to everybody to be lies, without even being ridiculed in your own milieu, can only happen in this region. Mr. Sahaf eventually became a popular icon as a court jester, but this did not stop some allegedly respectable newspapers from giving him equal time. It also does not prevent the Western press from giving credence, every day, even now, to similar liars.

After all, if you want to be an anti-Semite, there are subtle ways of doing it. You do not have to claim that the holocaust never happened, and that the Jewish temple in Jerusalem never existed. But millions of Moslems are told by their leaders that this is the case. When these same leaders make other statements, the Western media report them as if they could be true.

It is a daily occurrence that the same people who finance, arm and dispatch suicide murderers, condemn the act in English in front of western TV cameras, talking to a world audience, which even partly believes them. It is a daily routine to hear the same leader making opposite statements in Arabic to his people and in English to the rest of the world. Incitement by Arab TV, accompanied by horror pictures of mutilated bodies, has become a powerful weapon of those who lie, distort and want to destroy everything.

Little children are raised on deep hatred and on admiration of so-called martyrs, and the Western World does not notice it because its own TV sets are mostly tuned to soap operas and game shows. I recommend to you, even though most of you do not understand Arabic, to watch Al Jazeera, from time to time. You will not believe your own eyes.

But words also work in other ways, more subtle. A demonstration in Berlin, carrying banners supporting Saddam's regime and featuring three-year old babies dressed as suicide murderers, is defined by the press and by political leaders as a "peace demonstration". You may support or oppose the Iraq war, but to refer to fans of Saddam, Arafat or Bin Laden as peace activists is a bit too much. A woman walks into an Israeli restaurant in mid-day, eats, observes families with old people and children eating their lunch in the adjacent tables and pays the bill. She then blows herself up, killing 20 people, including many children, with heads and arms rolling around in the restaurant. She is called "martyr" by several Arab leaders and "activist" by the European press. Dignitaries condemn the act but visit her bereaved family and the money flows.

There is a new game in town: The actual murderer is called "the military wing", the one who pays him, equips him and sends him is now called "the political wing" and the head of the operation is called the "spiritual leader". There are numerous other examples of such Orwellian nomenclature, used every day not only by terror chiefs but also by Western media. These words are much more dangerous than many people realize. They provide an emotional infrastructure for atrocities. It was Joseph Goebbels who said that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. He is now being outperformed by his successors.

*3. The third aspect is money.*

Huge amounts of money, which could have solved many social problems in this dysfunctional part of the world, are channeled into three concentric spheres supporting death and murder.

In the inner circle are the terrorists themselves. The money funds their travel, explosives, hideouts and permanent search for soft vulnerable targets. The inner circles are primarily financed by terrorist states like Iran and Syria, until recently also by Iraq and Libya and earlier also by some of the Communist regimes. These states, as well as the Palestinian Authority, are the safe havens of the wholesale murder vendors.

They are surrounded by a second wider circle of direct supporters, planners, commanders, preachers, all of whom make a living, usually a very comfortable living, by serving as terror infrastructure.

Finally, we find the third circle of so-called religious, educational and welfare organizations, which actually do some good, feed the hungry and provide some schooling, but brainwash a new generation with hatred, lies and ignorance. This circle operates mostly through mosques, madrasas and other religious establishments but also through inciting electronic and printed media. It is this circle that makes sure that women remain inferior, that democracy is unthinkable and that exposure to the outside world is minimal. It is also that circle that leads the way in blaming everybody outside the Moslem world, for the miseries of the region. The outer circle is largely financed by Saudi Arabia, but also by donations from certain Moslem communities in the United States and Europe and, to a smaller extent, by donations of European Governments to various NGO's and by certain United Nations organizations, whose goals may be noble, but they are infested and exploited by agents of the outer circle. The Saudi regime, of course, will be the next victim of major terror, when the inner circle will explode into the outer circle. The Saudis are beginning to understand it, but they fight the inner circles, while still financing the infrastructure at the outer circle.

Figuratively speaking, this outer circle is the guardian, which makes sure that the people look and listen inwards to the inner circle of terror and incitement, rather than to the world outside. Some parts of this same outer circle actually operate as a result of fear from, or blackmail by, the inner circles. The horrifying added factor is the high birth rate. Half of the population of the Arab world is under the age of 20, the most receptive age to incitement, guaranteeing two more generations of blind hatred.

Some of the leaders of these various circles live very comfortably on their loot. You meet their children in the best private schools in Europe, not in the training camps of suicide murderers. The Jihad "soldiers" join packaged death tours to Iraq and other hotspots, while some of their leaders ski in Switzerland. Mrs. Arafat, who lives in Paris with her daughter, receives tens of thousands of dollars per month from the allegedly bankrupt Palestinian Authority, while a typical local ringleader of the Al-Aksa brigade, reporting to Arafat, receives only a cash payment of a couple of hundred dollars, for performing murders at the retail level.

*4. The fourth element of the current world conflict is the total breaking of all laws.*

The civilized world believes in democracy, the rule of law, including international law, human rights, free speech and free press, among other liberties. There are naive old-fashioned habits such as respecting religious sites and symbols, not using ambulances and hospitals for acts of war, avoiding the mutilation of dead bodies and not using children as human shields or human bombs. Never in history, not even in the Nazi period, was there such total disregard of all of the above as we observe now. Every student of political science debates how you prevent an anti-democratic force from winning a democratic election and abolishing democracy. Other aspects of a civilized society must also have limitations. Can a policeman open fire on someone trying to kill him? Can a government listen to phone conversations of terrorists and drug dealers? Does free speech protect you when you shout "fire" in a crowded theater? Should there be death penalty, for deliberate multiple murders? These are the old-fashioned dilemmas. But now we have an entire new set.

Do you raid a mosque, which serves as a terrorist ammunition storage? Do you return fire, if you are attacked from a hospital? Do you storm a church taken over by terrorists who took the priests hostages? Do you search every ambulance after a few suicide murderers use ambulances to reach their targets? Do you strip every woman because one pretended to be pregnant and carried a suicide bomb on her belly? Do you shoot back at someone trying to kill you, standing deliberately behind a group of children? Do you raid terrorist headquarters, hidden in a mental hospital? Do you shoot an arch-murderer who deliberately moves from one location to another, always surrounded by children? All of these happen daily in Iraq and in the Palestinian areas. What do you do? Well, you do not want to face the dilemma. But it cannot be avoided.

Suppose, for the sake of discussion, that someone would openly stay in a well-known address in Teheran, hosted by the Iranian Government and financed by it, executing one atrocity after another in Spain or in France, killing hundreds of innocent people, accepting responsibility for the crimes, promising in public TV interviews to do more of the same, while the Government of Iran issues public condemnations of his acts but continues to host him, invite him to official functions and treat him as a great dignitary. I leave it to you as homework to figure out what Spain or France would have done, in such a situation.

The problem is that the civilized world is still having illusions about the rule of law in a totally lawless environment. It is trying to play ice hockey by sending a ballerina ice-skater into the ring or to knock out a heavyweight boxer by a chess player. In the same way that no country has a law against cannibals eating its prime minister, because such an act is unthinkable, international law does not address killers shooting from hospitals, mosques and ambulances, while being protected by their Government or society. International law does not know how to handle someone who sends children to throw stones, stands behind them and shoots with immunity and cannot be arrested because he is sheltered by a Government. International law does not know how to deal with a leader of murderers who is royally and comfortably hosted by a country, which pretends to condemn his acts or just claims to be too weak to arrest him.

The amazing thing is that all of these crooks demand protection under international law, and define all those who attack them as "war criminals," with some Western media repeating the allegations.

The good news is that all of this is temporary, because the evolution of international law has always adapted itself to reality. The punishment for suicide murder should be death or arrest before the murder, not during and not after. After every world war, the rules of international law have changed, and the same will happen after the present one. But during the twilight zone, a lot of harm can be done.

The picture I described here is not pretty. What can we do about it? In the short run, only fight and win. In the long run, only educate the next generation and open it to the world. The inner circles can and must be destroyed by force.

The outer circle cannot be eliminated by force. Here we need financial starvation of the organizing elite, more power to women, more education, counter-propaganda, boycott whenever feasible and access to Western media, internet and the international scene. Above all, we need a total absolute unity and determination of the civilized world against all three circles of evil. Allow me, for a moment, to depart from my alleged role as a taxi driver and return to science. When you have a malignant tumor, you may remove the tumor itself surgically. You may also starve it by preventing new blood from reaching it from other parts of the body, thereby preventing new "supplies" from expanding the tumor. If you want to be sure, it is best to do both.

But before you fight and win, by force or otherwise, you have to realize that you are in a war, and this may take Europe a few more years. In order to win, it is necessary to first eliminate the terrorist regimes, so that no Government in the world will serve as a safe haven for these people.

I do not want to comment here on whether the American-led attack on Iraq was justified from the point of view of weapons of mass destruction or any other pre-war argument, but I can look at the post-war map of Western Asia. Now that Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are out, two and a half terrorist states remain: Iran, Syria and Lebanon, the latter being a Syrian colony. Perhaps Sudan should be added to the list. As a result of the conquest of Afghanistan and Iraq, both Iran and Syria are now totally surrounded by territories unfriendly to them. Iran is encircled by Afghanistan, by the Gulf States, Iraq and the Moslem republics of the former Soviet Union. Syria is surrounded by Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. This is a significant strategic change and it applies strong pressure on the terrorist countries. It is not surprising that Iran is so active in trying to incite a Shiite uprising in Iraq. I do not know if the American plan was actually to encircle both Iran and Syria, but that is the resulting situation.

In my humble opinion, the number one danger to the world today is Iran and its regime. It definitely has ambitions to rule vast areas and to expand in all directions. It has an ideology which claims supremacy over Western culture. It is ruthless. It has proven that it can execute elaborate terrorist acts without leaving too many traces, using Iranian Embassies. It is clearly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Its so-called moderates and conservatives play their own virtuoso version of the "good-cop versus bad-cop" game. Iran sponsors Syrian terrorism, it is certainly behind much of the action in Iraq, it is fully funding the Hezbollah and, through it, the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad; it performed acts of terror at least in Europe and in South America and probably also in Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia and it truly leads a multi-national terror consortium, which includes, as minor players, Syria, Lebanon and certain Shiite elements in Iraq. Nevertheless, most European countries still trade with Iran, try to appease it and refuse to read the clear signals.

In order to win the war it is also necessary to dry the financial resources of the terror conglomerate. It is pointless to try to understand the subtle differences between the Sunni terror of Al Qaeda and Hamas and the Shiite terror of Hezbollah, Sadr and other Iranian-inspired enterprises. When it serves their business needs, all of them collaborate beautifully.

It is crucial to stop Saudi and other financial support of the outer circle, which is the fertile breeding ground of terror. It is important to monitor all donations from the Western World to Islamic organizations, to monitor the finances of international relief organizations and to react with forceful economic measures to any small sign of financial aid to any of the three circles of terrorism.

It is also important to act decisively against the campaign of lies and fabrications and to monitor those Western media who collaborate with it out of naivety, financial interests or ignorance.

Above all, never surrender to terror. No one will ever know whether the recent elections in Spain would have yielded a different result, if not for the train bombings a few days earlier. But it really does not matter. What matters is that the terrorists believe that they caused the result and that they won by driving Spain out of Iraq. The Spanish story will surely end up being extremely costly to other European countries, including France, who is now expelling inciting preachers and forbidding veils and including others who sent troops to Iraq. In the long run,
Spain itself will pay even more.

Is the solution a democratic Arab world?

If by democracy we mean free elections but also free press, free speech, a functioning judicial system, civil liberties, equality to women, free international travel, exposure to international media and ideas, laws against racial incitement and against defamation, and avoidance of lawless behavior regarding hospitals, places of worship and children, then yes, democracy is the solution.

If democracy is just free elections, it is likely that the most fanatic regime will be elected, the one whose incitement and fabrications are the most inflammatory. We have seen it already in Algeria and, to a certain extent, in Turkey. It will happen again, if the ground is not prepared very carefully. On the other hand, a certain transition democracy, as in Jordan, may be a better temporary solution, paving the way for the real thing, perhaps in the same way that an immediate sudden democracy did not work in Russia and would not have worked in China.

I have no doubt that the civilized world will prevail. But the longer it takes us to understand the new landscape of this war, the more costly and painful the victory will be. Europe, more than any other region, is the key. Its understandable recoil from wars, following the horrors of World War II, may cost thousands of additional innocent lives, before the tide will turn."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Even though "Loony Left" is more alliterative...

...the Right certainly has their share of whackos, too. Check out this article from the Nashua Telegraph in New Hampshire.

Ms. Maxwell is wrong about President Bush lacking the legal authority to order an attack on Iran or Syria. He most certainly can under the War Powers Resolution of 1973. According to Wikipedia:

...the War Powers Resolution require the President to consult with Congress prior to the start of any hostilities as well as regularly until U.S. armed forces are no longer engaged in hostilities (Sec. 3); and to remove U.S. armed forces from hostilities if Congress has not declared war or passed a resolution authorizing the use of force within 60 days.

That much is clear. What's really hysterical is this phrase:

...and that radioactive fallout from the use of nuclear weapons in any such attack would endanger people around the world, including herself.

I have not read any suggestion, anywhere (and I tend to follow these things pretty closely), that the United States is considering using nuclear weapons against either Iran or Syria.

What's really sad is that woman's vote is worth the same as mine.

Master of caving

I know that most people will think that I am a knee-jerk supporter of George Bush. That's not really the case. I am really becoming more and more disappointed with him. In fact, I am coming to realize that Bush's two terms will come to resemble Bill Clinton's in the sense that both of their administrations will come to be characterized as "What Might Have Been" presidencies.

First, let me address the elephant in the room. I support the war in Iraq. I don't think America should ever apologize for ousting a murderous dictator. Kim Jong-Il, Bashar al-Assad, and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad should all be on the list. North Korea is an affront to civilization. Have there been mistakes in Iraq? Absolutely. But, say what you will, we are trying to give the Iraqis a chance to have a better future. Are murderous Islamist douchebags trying to block that path? Yes. They are. But at least Iraqis will have a chance which is more than can be said for the people of Syria or Iran or Saudi Arabia or numerous other Muslim-majority countries.

My problem with Bush is that he seems obsessed with winning over unwinnable critics of his policies. Many of the people on the opposite side of the aisle will never give him credit for anything. Let's look at a few examples, and look at how Bush was cowed into giving up many of the key reforms he was looking for while getting nothing in the way of concessions.

Take the No Child Left Behind Act. This was legislation that Democrites had been clamoring for for years. Federal control of education is something that Democrites have wanted for a long time. What Bush wanted in return was some sort of school choice program (i.e. vouchers) so that parents whose children were trapped in failing school districts could opt out. But, Teddy Kennedy and the Democrites wouldn't hear of it. So, instead we got an extra layer of bureaucracy in a cabinet department whose very existence used to be questioned by Republicans. Remember when some Republican figures used to talk of eliminating the Department of Education? When was the last time you heard anyone mention that?

How about the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit? This piece of legislation is the largest entitlement program enacted since the creation of Medicare, during a time when we can least afford it. What Bush wanted was some form of means-testing. What he got was scathing criticism about how the Republicans were a bunch of meanies who wanted to make seniors choose between eating and their medicine. So, means testing went out the window.

Social Security reform was an issue that seemed to be gathering steam. Bush wanted to enact some measure of privatization. He seemed open to other compromises so at to not disadvantage those already in the system. And none of the proposed privatization schemes would have forced anyone to participate. All he wanted was to lessen the burden of an unsustainable government entitlement program and allow younger workers to take advantage of the market system. Instead he got shouted down by the Democrites and the likes of Paul Krugman. When was the last time you heard anyone talk about Social Security reform? Meanwhile, the federal goverment keeps bleeding my paycheck to support this pyramid scheme.

What about the treatment of illegal combatants? I don't think anyone can really argue that terrorists are entitled to Geneva Conventions protections. You can argue that morality or pragmatism dictates that we should grant them those protections, but it is very clear that these prisoners are not entitled to them.

The Bush administration enunciated this for a time. But as has so often been the case, eventually Bush caved and decided that it would grant terrorist scumbags that kill women and children the same protections as soldiers.

This is most infuriating on so many levels. I, for one, believe that the civilized societies of this world need to send a message that some behaviors - targeting civilians, torturing and beheading uniformed combatants among them - are beyond the pale. We need to send the message that by engaging in those behaviors, you forfeit the right to any and all protections. Does there need to be a mechanism whereby we can determine that individuals have engaged in these behaviors? Absolutely. And there is. The Bush administration has set up tribunals that review the status of detainees and determines whether or not they should continue to be detained or be released. These tribunals offer some - but not all - of the due process protections that a soldier or a citizen accused of a crime would be entitled to, and I'm fine with that. The idea that we should extend the same protections as our citizens and soldiers are entitled to is ludicrous. It's also insulting to our men and women in uniform.

Colin Powell argued that the measure was necessary because without it our soldiers' lives would be endangered. Powell's heritage is Jamaican which makes me wonder if he's been smoking ganja. Does he think that our soldiers' lives aren't in danger now? Does he think that Pvts. Menchaca and Tucker wouldn't have been tortured and gruesomely killed if we had only just granted these terrorist thugs at Guantanamo Geneva Convention protections?

I became a conservative because I studied the Soviet Union in college. I quickly decided that the Democrites approach to Cold War relations was deeply flawed. The Lefties seemed to want to conduct relations with the Soviet Union as if it were a state that could be trusted to abide by its agreements. To my 19 year-old eyes, this was suicidally naive. I agreed with President Reagan's assessment: namely that the Soviet Union was an Evil Empire.

I see a lot of similarities between the Democrites approach to the War on Terror and their approach to the Cold War. The difference? Ronald Reagan had the courage to stand up for his convictions. We were God blessed to have him. We could use someone cut from the same cloth now.

The thin skins of Muslims

How is it that everyone is free to criticize Christianity's history, but talking about Islam's bloody past (to say nothing of its bloody present) is somehow taboo?

This is what I call the "running up the score" phenomenon. We, in the West, are way ahead in the game. We are wealthier. We live longer. We have more access to goods and services that improve the quality of life. Therefore, it doesn't really harm us to have Christianity's past (the operative word being past) sins brought up. The Inquisition? Okay. It was bad, but that was six hundred years ago. It's a garbage touchdown late in the fourth quarter when their team is already down 56-0.

Conversely, any perceived criticism of Islam's [much bloodier] past is adding another touchdown and humiliating the losing team. It's why anyone is free to insult or slander Christianity, yet Islam must be handled with kid gloves. Does anyone remember last year's brouhaha over the cartoons of Mohammed? Yet, Madonna is free to don a crown of thorns and pose on a cross in her latest concert tour.

Of course, the Western media are accomplices in this. If they didn't report so eagerly (and slyly join in) the charges leveled by the Islamo-fascists, those who would take us back to the ninth century would have no forum to vent their unjustified spleen. They would then quicky realize that such tactics as inventing slights to their dignity gain them nothing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Yet another reason to keep your kids as far from public schools as possible has this story about a first grader suspended for 10 days for bringing a two-inch water pistol to school.

Exhibit number 1,284,947 that the world is, in fact, going to hell in a handbasket.

The Masters of the Double Standard

As ludicrous as it may sound, there have been several calls for Pope Benedict XVI to convert to Islam. The latest comes from Muammar Gaddafi's son, Mohammed:

If this person were really someone reasonable, he would not agree to remain at his post one minute, but would convert to Islam immediately.

Others calling for the Pope to convert to Islam include imams in Gaza, the West Bank and Pakistan.

Ok, so then by that logic all the Muslim clerics that have made disparaging and slanderous remarks about Jews should be donning yamulkes any minute now, right? Right?

Yeah, I'm holding my breath, too.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Of all the people...

...that should get it, John McCain most patently does not.

McCain was tortured, severely, by the North Vietnamese during his years in captivity in the Hanoi Hilton. And yet McCain is doing more than just about any other figure in U.S. government to warp the definition of torture and hamper our intelligence community and military's ability to obtain useful information from terrorists captured on the battlefield.

Set aside for a moment the fundamental issue that un-uniformed terrorists who do not fight for a nation are not entitled to Geneva Convention protections. McCain's behavior just doesn't make any sense to me. He should be leading the effort to differentiate between aggresive interrogation and torture.

Is it just posturing for a presidential run? Or like former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, is it that the formative experience of his life has clouded his ability to think rationally on questions both directly and peripherally related to this issue?

You may recall that, as a child, Norman Mineta, an American of Japanese descent, was interned along with his family during WWII. I, for one, believe that this forever impaired his ability to think sensibly about matters in which race was a factor - most notably his resistance to the idea of profiling vis-a-vis airline security.

I think McCain is suffering from the same impairment. Surely a man who can no longer raise his arms above shoulder level should be able to recognize that allowing a dog to bark at a terrorist detainee is not torture!

Are you kidding me?

I was catching up on my DC Confidential newsletter from Chuck Muth. The one that I was reading contains a press release from the Letter Carriers' Union (a.k.a. postmen). How's this for chutzpah? The president of the union, one William H. Young, is claiming that postal workers are somehow a line of defense in the war on terror.

As columnist and humorist Dave Barry often writes: I am not making this up. Check out this excerpt from the press release:

The threat to the quality and security of the mail posed by low-wage contract workers cannot be overstated," Young said. "In the midst of a global war on terror, now is not the time to open a hole in the nation's defenses by giving unscreened, contingent workers access to the mail stream.

Young recalled the anthrax attacks on the United States in 2001 and the trust that both mailers and the American people had in highly skilled letter carriers during that critical period. [emphasis added]

Excuse me, but walking a route and putting the mail for 123 Main Street in the box in front of 123 Main Street doesn't strike me as requiring much skill.

Frankly, I think we should abolish the post office and let FedEx and UPS have a crack at delivering first class mail. I would bet you any amount of money you care to name that they could do it cheaper and faster.

Monday, September 18, 2006

If you want to know why most Americans do not trust Democrats to run the War on Terror...

... or much else in this country, check out this quote:

"Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state."

- Rosie O'Donnell, ABC's The View, 9/13/06

Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

Check out this video (complete with translation by Middle East Media Research Institute). Ponder the concept of Islam as a "religion of peace" as you listen to this sermon by an Imam in the West Bank.

Thanks to my friend Nick Keck for sending me this link.

Enough already!

When are we in the West going to stop being held hostage to the "hurt feelings" of Muslims? And when are we going to start to attack back by pointing out the obvious irony in their response to such perceived slights?

I refer to the uproar over remarks by Pope Benedict XVI at an address he made at the University of Regensburg. In the speech made by the Pope at an academic conference he referred to the writings of the 14th-century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus. Palaeologus wrote "that prophet Mohammed was evil 'such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'" (Also, a small technicality: a Byzantine emperor is not a Roman Catholic.)

So Muslims all over the world marched and protested. Seven churches in the West Bank have been attacked over a three day period. An Italian nun was murdered in Somalia by Muslims in what has been suggested as an attack that could have been sparked by the Pope's remarks.

Does anyone else see the irony here? When are we going to stop putting up with it?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Terrorism and Islam are not race!!

So how come the TSA refuses to profile passengers based on their religious affiliation or ties to terrorist groups? I don't recall hearing about any Baptists committing any terrorist acts. I'm sorry but there is a strong correlation between a person's religion and their likelihood to commit terrorist acts. I know you have all read the e-mail where it lists all the terrorist attacks from Munich, 1972, to Beirut, 1983, to New York, 2001, and how they were all committed by Muslim males between the ages of 16-60.

So, why are we ignoring the obvious? I plan on writing Senators Allen and Warner and Representative Moran and asking why. Now, that the ineffectual and pathetic Norman Mineta has resigned as the Secretary of Transportation, whose whole policy towards securing our airlines was clouded by his experience as a Japanese-American internee during WWII, surely we can do better.

I fly - a lot. And I am mad as a hornet that I can't bring toothpaste or cologne or Cherry Coke on the damn plane. Before every trip, I stop at the same newsstand and buy four magazines (Computer Gaming World, PC Gamer, Maximum PC, and The Atlantic monthly), a king-size Kit Kat and 2 Cherry Cokes (one for the plane ride because stupid United "features" Pepsi - yecch! - and one for after I arrive at my destination).

Only now I can't do that because some of some malcontent, British-Pakistani Muslims. Great!

Before I sign off, I ask you to consider a larger question: do Muslims, as a group, get along with anyone? I mean, is there one country where Muslims co-exist as part of a multi-cultural society? Look at the US after 9/11. Muslims make up about 2-3% of the Muslim population. And yet after America was attacked, they were bleating about a backlash (which never materialized) against Arabs in America. That's chutzpah, folks!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The parallels are obvious

Check out this article from Oregon Live. It's an article about a 36 year-old mother of two who is about to lose her job as a classroom aide because of a silly law that says that people who commit certain crimes can't work in Oregon's school systems.

The article starts out by relating a story from 1963 about a 17 year-old who ran a stop sign, hit another car and accidentally killed a high school classmate. The driver of the vehicle was none other than our First Lady, Laura Bush. The article tells the reader that although Ms. Bush could have been charged with vehicular manslaughter, she wasn't, and hence was able to go on and lead a productive life.

The article is trying to draw a parallel between the case of Mrs. Bush and that of the subject of the article, Kieya Walker. When Walker was 17 she shot and killed her boyfriend while he was sleeping. She was subsequently charged with and convicted of murder.

Of course! I mean, the parallels are obvious and huge.

Now, one is perfectly free to argue that a law that says that people convicted of certain crimes can't work in the school system is unjust and should be changed. And the fact that Walker has truly changed her life and become an upstanding citizen is certainly laudable. But to suggest there is a parallel between an auto accident that results in a death and murder is specious, if not subversive, logic.

Then again, isn't that the kind of reporting we've come to expect from the media?

Pet Peeve #147

This has nothing to do with any of the normal stuff that I usually write about. It's just one of the many things that pisses me off.

Like people that try to get on the elevator before letting others get off. Or people that stand in doorways. Or people that won't get the hell out of the left lane.

So, what I want to know is, when did lemons in my soda become mandatory? Now, every time I'm in a restaurant - and this includes the restaurants here in Maputo - I have to fish out a damn lemon out of my Diet Coke. A lemon that I didn't want in the first place and now is going to waste.

Now I have to remember to ask the waiter to hold the damn lemon. Great!

How's this for gratitude?

I ran across this item on the Internet.

Sooooo. The United States goes into a war zone and evacuates a bunch of U.S. citizens (most of whom were "dual-citizens"). Then, eschewing normal procedure, the Department of State waived the fees that they charge for evacuating U.S. citizen.

Why? To pander to the mythical "Arab street", of course.

Now, I would argue that one could have reasonably predicted that some form of military violence was likely to occur in Lebanon (considering that the country has been experiencing some form of conflict for approximately the last 32 years). In other words, those Americans were there by their own choice, mired in a situation that was totally predictable. Yet we didn't charge them for the evacuation. This is unlike the situation last year in Asia when we evacuated U.S. citizens from areas that were hit by the tsunami - a phenomenon that is much less predictable than the Hezbollah-provoked destruction that rained down on Lebanon.

And what do we get for this effort? A lawsuit.

That's right, folks. The American-Arab Discrimination Committee is suing Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld, charging that they mismanaged the evacuation efforts.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

Nina Chahine, 19, who with her family was among the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said her wedding in the southern city of Tyre was set for July 13.

The wedding had to be postponed as family members fled the outbreak of the war, she said.

"We were on the road and the first bridge was bombed and we drove home and all the other bridges were bombed and there was absolutely no way for us to get home," Chahine told reporters outside federal court in Detroit.

"We were all American citizens and there was no way that anybody helped us. No communications nothing. I was on my way to my wedding fearing death, basically."

Chahine said her immediate family spent about $20,000 to return to Detroit via Syria and Jordan.

Dear Nina,

Here's a tip: Don't get married in countries that house illegal militias that attack other countries and hence are likely to come under counter-attack!

Crap like this sure makes me want to rush right out and rescue people from dilemmas of their own making.

Friday, August 25, 2006

PLEASE don't tell Ma!

I know I mostly use this space to vent my spleen on how Democrats and liberals are screwing up the world, but I DO have a sense of humor (honest!). Here's an item I found VERY funny.

(Once again I am cribbing from my hero, James Taranto. But he gets paid to find these things, while I have to catch-as-catch-can in between NIV training sessions and server migrations.)

Prosecutors say a 29-year-old man traveling with his mother desperately did not want her to know he had packed a sexual aid for their trip to Turkey.

So he told security it was a bomb, officials said.

Madin Azad Amin was stopped by officials on Aug. 16 after guards found an object in his baggage that resembled a grenade, prosecutors said.

When officers asked him to identify it, Amin said it was a bomb, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto.

He later told officials he lied about the item because his mother was nearby and he did not want her to hear that it was part of a penis pump, Scaduto said.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Write your Congressman today!

Today I was reading online about the illegal immigration cause celebre: Elvira Arellano. A quick Google search will tell you that Ms. Arellano is an illegal immigrant who is currently holed up in the Aldalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois. She has been granted "sanctuary" by the congregation's pastor, Walter Coleman.

The pro-illegal immigration lobby is hoping that her case will attract national attention and sympathy for the [self-imposed] "plight" of illegal aliens. Really, though, there is nothing special about her case. She entered the U.S. illegally in 1997 and was deported shortly thereafter. Within days of being deported, she again entered the U.S. illegally. In 2002, she was convicted of working under a false Social Security number and ordered to attend a second deportation hearing. Shock of all shockers, Ms. Arellano failed to appear at her hearing. Of course, like many other illegals she had a child in the United States.


In Arellano's case, she is using the fact that her son is an American citizen as leverage to gain sympathy so that she can be rewarded for breaking the law. First, there is no law that says that she can't take her son and raise him in Mexico. Second, she is claiming that her son has health problems that require him to stay in the United States. What are these "health problems"? She claims that her son has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and severe separation anxiety. So, let me see if I understand this: her son is a normal, rambunctious 7 year-old who misses his Mommy.

This is just offensive to me. I wrote Senator George Allen, Senator John Warner and Representative Jim Moran and urged them to introduce or support legislation that closes this loophole.

If you want to be my friend, you start by knocking on my door - not breaking into my house!

Friday, August 04, 2006

A picture is worth a thousand words

This picture pretty much sums up the difference between the IDF and Hezbollah.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Qana, a.k.a. Jenin Redux

Remember the "Jenin massacre"? In April 2002 Israel was accused of wholesale slaughter of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank town of Jenin. Breathless news accounts reported hundreds dead ("martryed") at the hands of the IDF.

However, as it turns out the Jenin massacre wasn't exactly a massacre. A United Nations investigation of the "massacre" reported that the actual number of Palestinians killed was 52. Of those, 22 were civilians. On the other side, 23 Israeli soldiers were killed.

The IDF suffered a relatively high number of casualties because they ordered house-to-house clearing of the neighborhoods where Palestinian fighters were hiding. And, the Palestinians likely wouldn't have suffered 22 civilian casualties if their "soldiers" didn't insist on using civilians as human shields.

Fast-forward to 2006 and replace the name "Jenin" with the name "Qana". It's the same incident all over again. The Arabs triumphantly proclaim, "Massacre!!" It's a "Gotcha" moment - almost as if the Arabs are glad the Israelis killed their civilians. And, yet, rather than take a few days and investigate, the usual suspects (Reuters, BBC, The New York Times) parrot the
Arab claims.

I'm sorry but this sort of one-sided treatment only hurts Israel. The Arab groups that are trying to destroy Israel don't care about human life. This should hardly be a sensational claim given that the Arabs resort to human shields and suicide bombers.

It's the soft bigotry of low expectations. We don't really expect civilized behavior from Arab terrorists, but our media scream like bloody murder when our side mistakenly kills even one innocent civilian. Not a peep when some terrorist bombs innocent civilians and tortures and kills our soldiers. It doesn't really hurt Hezbollah, Iran or Syria to get this kind of negative press - and it's rarely truly negative. It's usually more like "bending-over-backwards- to-be-neutral". It helps them and hurts Israel to have page one, above-the-fold headlines screaming, "Israeli Massacre". And the average news consumer can be forgiven for missing the three-line, page 28 "Correction" that says, "Ooops. Sorry. There was no massacre."

I urge you to do some more reading on Qana. It already looks as if there may have been hours difference between the Israeli strike and the explosion that brought down the building. And, surprise, surprise, the body count is actually turning out to be lower than was initially claimed.

There's a great example of this behavior in the excellent Spielberg film, "Munich". In one scene, an Israeli cabinet minister proclaims that the post-Munich hit teams are un-necessary because the Israeli Air Force had already hit back by bombing the Palestinian camps in the Bekaa Valley. "At least 60 dead," he says. Later, when one of the assassins is "interviewing" the Fatah representative in Paris, he claims that the Israelis bombed refugee camps, killing "at least 200".

Why do we continue to give the benefit of the doubt to the enemy?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Agenda in Ads?

Sometimes I think I am one of the few people that watches advertisements closely and critically. For at least ten years I have been saying (although not on these pixels) that the people that create advertisements in this country have a liberal agenda. Over the next two or three days, do a little, informal experiment. See how many times you notice the following things:

  • Fathers are optional.
  • Men, and especially white men, are portrayed like idiots (when they are portrayed at all).
  • When showing groups of more than three people who are not family, it is always a mixed race group (except when it is a group comprised exclusively of minorites, which seems to be permissible).
  • Minorities are presented in disproportional numbers.
  • Really young boys have to have cool, "punk-rock" hair-styles. (This doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the blog. It just pisses me off.)
You can interpret these trends however you like. Me, I happen to have a bit of a problem with the first two, and no problem with the second two. I'll explain why in a minute. First I want to tell you about the ad that I just saw.

This is the first time I've seen this spot; I have no idea how long it has been running. The ad is for the Ford Freestyle Crossover sport utility vehicle. It shows a seemingly happy family. Dad, Mom (Mom is driving - I am watching a replay of this on TiVO as I describe the ad and I didn't notice this the first time), two kids (one of each, natch ) and a dog. They are obviously on a weekend outing. They stop at a fruit stand. Parents are bonding with children. They arrive at the beach. Then the drive home. Pulling into the driveway. Home, sweet home! Then the ad cuts to Dad taking out bags from the back of the Freestyle (500 miles on a tank of gas!).

Wait, what's this? Dad is hugging little sis, and there, blurry and indistinct but undeniably there, is Mom still behind the wheel. Cut to shot of Dad hugging both kids.

"Thanks for inviting me this weekend."


"All right, guys. I'll see you next week."

"Bye, Dad."

Cue graphic: BOLD reaches out. Voice over: "Bold moves. They happen every day."

This ad, to me, gets to the heart of one of the things that popular entertainment has lost: its aspirational mission.

Sure, when we watch old movies today, they seem corny. There's no foul language. No sex or nudity. Barely any kissing. No drug use. No violence or gore. It's not as if the writers, directors, producers and actors of the day didn't know about such things. Of course, they did. Many of them lived lurid off-screen lives. But they also seemed to feel an obligation to provide better fare.

Critics will argue that such entertainment doesn't "keep it real" (O how I loathe that phrase!). I would argue, so what? What's so great about "real"? Real is coarse and harsh. Real doesn't inspire you to be better. Sure, brutal and harsh entertainment can remind you of the behavior to which you can aspire, but that's negative reinforcement. Heroin is bad. I get it. You won't catch me watching Requiem for a Dream twice (my burning love for Jennifer Connelly notwithstanding - I fell for her hard in Labryinth).

I wouldn't be surprised if, when the Clios (the Oscars of advertisements) roll around, this ad were nominated. I can just imagine some breathy critic proclaiming it's "daring" and how it shows a family that looks more like an American family of 2006.

That's all well and good. Really. It is. But what's so bad about entertainment that reminds us that we can be and do better?

The travesty that is Hamdam v. Rumsfeld

Another thing I have been meaning to comment on was the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision handed down by the Supreme Court. There have been plenty of legal analysts who have commented on the details of the opinion and the correctness of the decision. Obviously I don't have the same level of expertise so I am going to comment in a more general way.

Hamdan has already had some disastrous effects, chief among them being the Pentagon's decision to extend the Geneva Convention's Common Article 3 protections to illegal combatants. The experience of the farcical Moussaoui trial should have been warning enough to the Bush administration and the Pentagon as to the unsuitability of treating terrorism as a law enforcement problem.

That trial took four years and cost many millions of taxpayer dollars and the result was that we couldn't even sentence to death a person who, by his own admission, wanted to fly a jet into some structure full of people and was trying to achieve that end. And, why was his life spared? His father was abusive. And some people in France treated him badly because of his race. And, so for that, the American taxpayers can pay to feed and clothe him for the rest of his life. Wonderful.

(As an aside, I will just state that I don't think Moussaoui was the "20th hijacker". I think he was a wanna-be and a stooge and executing him would have granted him his fervent desire to become a martyr. That being said, I can understand and sympathize with the desire to execute him.)

And, now the Pentagon, rather than interpreting the decision as narrowly as possible has ruled that these illegal combatants are entitled to many of the same protections as our soldiers.

A point that I have tried to make in the past about the Bush administration is this: they can't repeat can't win over their critics. No matter how hard the Bush administration tries (see No Child Left Behind, Medicare prescription drug benefit, out of control federal spending), they get crucified for it anyway. How much goodwill have these kinds of policies won them from the Krugmans and Dowds and the crowd? None. Zilch. Zip. Why not govern your principles and slough off the rhetorical slings and arrows?

I don't know why not. I do know that our enemies are not stupid and these kind of decisions are what emboldened them to attack us in the first place. Combine the Hamdan decision with the equally misguided McCain anti-torture amendment and one can see that we are rapidly painting ourselves into a corner in which we will find that our forces are hamstrung in their ability to find, fix and kill the enemy, while the enemy will find himself free to commit any and all atrocities.

Think about it: every day you hear and read stories about an enemy that targets women and children and there is little or no outrage. Conversely, some terrorist cretin gets a hangnail and there are hundreds of stories and editorials decrying the American "evil empire". This is the same attitude which has clouded the reporting on the Israeli incursion into Lebanon and it's despicable.

Well at least she's at the right school

On this blog, I crib from the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal's Best of the Web. I try not to do it too much, but some things are just too priceless to let pass.

Like this example. Taranto excerpts a few lines from a poem that a graduate student at UC-Berkeley wrote. Now, this woman's love poem to Hezbullah is bad enough. However, more than making up for her frightening poetry is the rebuttal poem from blogger "Iowahawk". Read on:

Hezbollah Groupie

One Cecilia Lucas, a graduate student at UC Berkeley, has penned a "love poem for Hizbullah." We kid you not. Here's a sample:

You were born out of death to a life in a cage
Where bombs are not the only reason people die
Fed by the violence of hunger and homelessness
Raised by colonialism
Your heart and your will still grew strong

You scare me
Not just because they tell me to be scared
Not just because they repeat, repeat, repeat
The story of 1983
Begging me to understand
Americans are worth more than Lebanese

We suppose a certain romanticization of nihilistic political violence is a common enough form of adolescent rebellion, though one suspects young Miss Lucas is getting egged on by her professors, many of whom no doubt are liberal baby boomers who never outgrew their own adolescence.

Ah well, the best way to respond to this sort of thing is with mockery, as blogger "Iowahawk," writing under the nom de plume "Omar Walid Muhammed, Chairman, Hezbollah Poetry Club," devastatingly does, in a poem called "I Love You Too, Cecilia Lucas":

You were born in the Valley to a life in a suburban cage
Encino, where mean girls and cheerleaders
Drop bombs of hate on the unpopular girls
Shy poetry club chicks like you
With 1480 SATs and early admission to Berkeley
Fed by the violence and lookism of the dance squad
Raised in a four bedroom colonial
They wouldn't let you wear your Che T-shirt to prom
But your heart and your armpit hair still grew proud and strong

You scare me too
Not just because you have that Code Pink Manson girl freak-vibe
Not just because you repeat, repeat, repeat
All those quotes from your dog-eared volumes of Chomsky
and Zinn
and Edward Said
Begging me to understand
Can't we just hold each other
Instead of talking, talking, talking
About your Masters thesis?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Benefit of the Doubt?

While I was in Libya, there were a lot of "stories" in the news about the "massacre" in Haditha, Iraq. For those of you who have spent the last six months in a cave, Haditha is a city in the al Anbar province in eastern Iraq. U.S. Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Division, are accused of killing 24 Iraqi civilians in an apparent reprisal for the killing of a Marine by a roadside IED.

As I read these stories, and the related stories about the torture and killings of Privates Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker. A rather obvious question occurred to me. In fact, it was so obvious that I wondered that I hadn't asked it before.

Why does our media give the terrorists the benefit of the doubt?

Think about it: the overwhelming majority of our men and women in uniform behave with admirable restraint and are good ambassadors of our country. On those rare occasions when members of our armed services commit crimes it's our own military that uncovers the abuse and prosecutes the offenders. (Think Abu Ghraib.) Either that, or the press uncovers the wrongdoing and the military then prosecutes the accused. (Think My Lai.)

The terrorists on the other hand can be - and are - characterized by their lack of restraint. They target civilians. They use hospitals, schools and mosques to hide fighters and store weapons, essentially turning their populace into human shields. Rather than treat captives humanely, they torture and murder them. In short, they inflict terror.

It seems pretty obvious to me that our fighting forces are the mirror image of theirs. Let's face it: if we wanted to go in and murder, rape and pillage, we could. But we haven't. Part of the credit for that goes to the restraining influence of the Fourth Estate. Part, but not all. A large part of the credit goes to the culture of the services themselves.

And in the Abu Ghraib and Haditha cases there seems to be an almost "Gotcha!" attitude. As if the reporters couldn't wait to pounce on the accusations of malfeasance by our military.

Oh, and lest we forget, even soldiers and Marines are entitled to a presumption of innocence.

Long time, no blog, Pt. II

Wow! I can't believe it's been three months since I've written anything. I go through peaks and valleys with the blogging thing. Some months I get on hot streaks and will jam out several posts a day. Lately, I've been in a valley.

For some reason I always feel compelled to post an update on what I have been doing in the interim (as if that is some kind of excuse). The truth is sometimes I get disheartened because I don't have very many readers and a lot of the times I think, "Why bother?"

And as I look back at my last "Long time, no blog" post, I can see that I already kind of recently did the "what-have-I-been-up-to" thing so I'll try to keep this short. Then I will get back to the real business of explaining how Democrites and liberals are ruining the world for the rest of us decent folk.

I spent almost all of May in Vietnam. It was a welcome respite from Saudi Arabia. I didn't really get out of Saigon. I basically just relaxed, shopped and enjoyed the pho and cheap massages.

After that I was home for about two weeks before my next assignment - Tripoli, Libya. Libya was pretty interesting in a challenging sort of way. I went there with another colleague to install the systems needed to process visas and American citizen services, and to train the staff to use the software and hardware. Unfortunately, my colleague developed a really bad cases of hives our second day there and she ended up leaving two days later. That left me with a lot of work to do and very little time to do it.

So what started as a two week trip turned into a four week trip. I worked most of the time since the embassy is located in the same hotel where I was staying. I did manage to get out and see some of the city. One Saturday, I did hire a car and went to ruins of Leptis Magna. Leptis Magna was the largest city the Romans founded in Africa. The ruins are large and very well preserved. Most of the statues and figures have been defaced but a lot of the inscriptions are still legible. There is also a very large ampitheater and several fora. It reminded me of the Roman ruins outside of Amman that we visited while we lived in Jordan in the 1980s.

Tripoli didn't make that much of a lasting impression on me. It reminded me a lot of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (not a good thing). It was really hot (regularly above 100 F) but not as humid. Similar to Jeddah and Beirut, it has a long Corniche (ocean-front road). I did trek out to one of the beaches in town to collect some sand for my roommate Jamie's father (who is a former Marine).

Tripoli reminded me of Saudi Arabia in other ways, too. For example, there is the prohibition against alcohol and the near ban on almost all forms of public entertainment. Most Libyan women wear the abaya and nijab (the head scarf and veil that together make up the hijab) but it is not required as in Saudi Arabia. Also, unlike Saudi Arabia, women are allowed to drive.

Where Libya differs from Saudi Arabia is in the socialist character of the government. Muammar Qadafi (mostly just called "the Leader") is essentially a Nasserite (i.e. a Pan-Arab socialist). He calls Libya the "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya". Jamahiriya is an Arabic word that translates into "state of the masses". The word derives from the fact that Qaddafi claims Libya is a "direct democracy" governed by the people through local councils.

More properly, Libya is a Soviet- type "cult of personality" similar to what I saw in Turkmenistan. Everywhere you go there are posters and billboards celebrating the Leader. Last month, most of the signs seemed to be celebrating the Leader's 36th year in power. (I would have thought that he would have waited for a milestone year, but I guess he probably celebrates every year in power.)

After I had been there for three weeks I started hanging out with one of the guys that works in the Consular Section. Ali is a Libyan who grew up in Egypt. He is a commercial pilot by training but is understandably having trouble getting employment in the wake of 9/11. What I found is that in Libya, like Saudi Arabia, there is fun to be had you just have to know somebody. We went out to a birthday party of a friend of his one night and drank Libyan moonshine. I don't know what it was made from, but it tasted like aguardiente or venado or some other clear white liquor. Not a strong taste and you can mix it with anything.

He also took me to a place called al Hufra. It's a series of restaurants co-located with the fish market. What you do is stroll among the fish stalls and select your fish for dinner. Then you tell the guy which restaurant you are eating in and they bring your fish to you. It was very good and, as you might imagine, very fresh.

I got home from Libya on July 12th which almost brings us up to the present. Since I've been back I have been getting geared up to move (again). I just found out that I am assigned to go to Recife in September so I am going to get married at the end of the trip. After that I will be in Hamburg in October.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Capitol Hill Follies

If Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D.-GA) had any sense of class or decency (and the evidence suggests that she doesn't), she'd send a bottle of champagne to Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D.-RI). Ok, maybe not champagne. Maybe a nice fruit basket.

McKinney is the cretin who accused the Capitol Hill Police of being racists for trying to enforce the rules. McKinney tried to bypass a metal detector - which she's allowed to do, provided she's wearing the pin which idenitifies her as a member of Congress, which she wasn't. When a police officer tried to stop her, she assaulted him and then held press conference after press conference claiming the incident was racially motivated.

Well, in a way, she's right. Like most of her generation of black "leaders", McKinney plays the race card every chance she gets. When her party was outmaneuvered in Georgia and her district gerrymandered to where Democrats were the minority, she claimed it was based on race. It couldn't have had anything to do with the fact that earlier, during her first stint in Congress, right after the 9/11 attacks, she accused President Bush of complicity in the worst attack ever on U.S. soil. Naahhhh. Had to be "whitey". McKinney suffers from "Carpenter's Syndrome". When you're a member of the racial grievance industry....

Lucky for her, Ted Kennedy's son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy came along to bump her out of the news cycle. What a piece of work this guy is! Early Thursday morning (about 2:45 a.m.), Kennedy slammed his car into a Capitol Hill Police barricade at the corner of First and C Street. He staggered from his car claiming to be late for a vote even though the House had been closed for hours. Capitol Hill Police wanted to perform field sobriety tests, but their supervisor ordered them all to leave the scene. Then the supervisor drove Kennedy home!

Kennedy claims he wasn't drinking. A waitress at a nearby bar, the Hawk & Dove, says otherwise. So do the Capitol Hill Police officers on the scene. They thought Kennedy was drunk and wanted to give him a sobriety test. Only their boss decided it was his duty to play chauffeur to this privileged git.

Where to begin? How about at the beginning? I mean, you have to feel a little sorry for this guy since the deck was stacked against him from birth. His parents are Joan and Ted "Manslaughtering Cheater" Kennedy. Talk about being pre-disposed to alcoholism! It would be a minor miracle if he weren't a booze hound.

Now, Patrick Kennedy is 39 years old - basically my age. In 1987, while a student at Providence College (what's the matter? had Harvard already met their quota for Kennedys?) he did a stint in rehab for cocaine abuse. Do the math - he was 20! He has since developed a reputation for a guy who uses his famous name and office to get special treatment. There's video tape of him from three years ago trying to avoid an airport security checkpoint. When confronted, he berates and shoves the checkpoint attendant - a woman. Whatta guy! Earlier this year he was involved in another auto accident in his home district where he was apparently speeding through a parking lot.

Kennedy claims that he has a problem with prescription medication. He has wrapped himself in the victim's mantle and has checked himself into rehab. I would ask if he has a sense of shame, but knowing he is the son of Ted Kennedy, the question's rhetorical.

Now, if you or I crashed a car into a police barricade and staggered out reeking of booze, there's likely nothing we could do to avoid a field test. This would be followed by a night in jail, a date in court, a court-ordered alcohol education program, substantial fines, increased insurance premiums, and restricted driving privileges.

Not little Patrick Kennedy. Instead, he's going to get a six-week vacation and a date on the Oprah Winfrey show.

The Kennedy clan have gone from being "American royalty" to the Jackson family of politics and we have descended into a full-scale celebritocracy.

Where is the outrage?

Long time, no blog

Greetings, loyal readers! (Or reader, as the case may be.) It's been about two months since I vented my spleen about the state of the world. Since I am easing back into this, I thought I'd catch everyone up on what's been going on these last eight weeks.

I last blogged from Tirana, Albania. I was there for work, as usual. Frankly, Albania ain't much too look at, but I was glad to get the assignment again since my brother and sister-in-law are there. I should amend my earlier statement. Tirana isn't much to look at. I'll bet there is plenty of beautiful Balkan countryside in Albania, I just didn't get to see it. If you are ever considering traveling to that part of the world, I recommend not going there in February. It wasn't particularly cold, but it rained nearly the whole time we were there (almost three weeks).

After Albania, I spent the rest of March stateside crawling the walls, waiting for my next trip. Luckily my next trip was a vacation to Brazil. I took my Mom down to Recife to meet my girlfriend, Ana Maria Bezerra Sales. I also delivered an engagement ring to Ana making her my fiancee. We spent four days in Brazil and had a really good time. I also took the Foreign Service Written Exam (the first step towards becoming a Foreign Service Officer) at the U.S. Consulate there. I was sorry to leave Brazil and Ana but my next trip beckoned.

I'm writing to you from my next destination, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This is my fourth trip to Jeddah. I have to confess: I pretty much loathe Saudi Arabia. It's hot and dusty and no fun at all.

What's to like? Not much. For starters, what infuriates me the most is how the Saudis subjugate their women. I mean, can you imagine living in the 120 degree heat of the desert and having to wear a long, black dress and a black headscarf when out in public? It's nigh on cruel and unusual punishment. Frankly I think the men here know that they don't have what it takes to truly love and please a woman and so they subordinate them. I gotta hand it to them, though. They've brainwashed the women into thinking it's for their own good, while the men walk around in their long, white dresses.

Your average Saudi doesn't work - at least not much. For that they have all manners of foreigners. From Americans and Europeans to perform the skilled labor (lawyers, engineers, doctors) to Pakistanis and Bengalis to do all the menial labor (domestic servants, food service, sanitation). They are obsequious towards the former and condescending, bigoted and cruel towards the latter. Again a reflection of their so-called "manhood".

You have to time when you go out for a meal because they close all the shops during prayer time. I would have much more respect for the Saudis and their puritannical culture if I didn't know it was rank hypocrisy. I mean, I would respect their piety if they all, or at least a significant number of them, stopped to pray during prayer time. But they don't.

As for the prohibition on alcohol, that's looked at with a wink and a nod. Everyone knows that in the homes of the rich and powerful and the royals, alcohol is consumed. In fact, it's rumored that it is the royals who are largely responsible for what traffic there is in drugs and alcohol in the Kingdom. And they are well-known party people as soon as they set foot outside the Kingdom.

In all, I highly recommend that you NEVER come to Saudi Arabia, if you can at all help it. Stick to Brazil. Better food, better weather, better women.

Luckily I am getting out of this gilded hell-hole tomorrow night. I fly from Jeddah to Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Minh City. I was there in 2004 and had a great time. I can't wait to get there. I'll write you once I get settled in.