Thursday, June 02, 2005

No EU constitution - for now

Dutch 'no' vote wins easily in high-stakes referendum heads Expatica.

And it's true. Inspite of Left, Center- and rightwing parties urging, cajoling, almost threatening the Dutch to vote Yes, they voted No.

I wonder how long it will take until they either force it upon us. Or revise it ever so slightly and then implement it without further consultation. Or even just keep asking us the same question until we accept defeat.

It's good to see the Dutch come to the polling both in such numbers. I am worried though that the desillusion will be huge when they see it didn't make any difference.

Lindsey spells it out

At WorldNetDaily, Hal Lindsey tells of the shock he felt when President Bush effectively betrayed Israel, in public.
The Israelis are reeling from the body blow delivered them by President Bush following his meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. In one pronouncement, Bush totally scuttled all the hard-fought, blood-bought gains Israel has made in the three wars forced upon her.

All peace negotiations and concessions by Israel in the pursuit of peace with the Muslim Nations and Palestinians since 1949 have been rendered null and void.

President Bush's astonishing and unexpected statement reversed long standing American policy. In his joint statement with Abbas, he declared that any final status changes in the peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians must be mutually agreed to on the basis of the 1949 armistice lines.

To my horror, this statement is the greatest betrayal of Israel committed by any American president in history.
If you think he's exaggerating, think again. No other US president, not even the despicable Dhimmi Carter, has told Israel that unless the 'Palestinians' agree otherwise, the 1949 'Auschwitz' borders are its final borders.

Lindsey has it exactly right.
It is a dead certainty that the Palestinian side isn't going to agree to a united Jerusalem with Israel. East Jerusalem was in Arab hands in 1949. A return to the 1949 armistice lines puts it in Arab hands again.

The Western Wall was in Arab hands in 1949. So was the Temple Mount. Making the 1949 armistice lines the basis for mutual agreement means Israel must negotiate with the Palestinians until they agree to give up their claim to the Dome of the Rock or until Israel agrees to give up its claim to the Temple Mount and all of Biblical Jerusalem.

Neither will happen. What is Bush thinking?

Based on this new equation, there is nothing left for Israel to negotiate. Victory: Palestinians. Method: Terrorism. Is it possible that President Bush didn't consider the implications?
No Hal, that is highly unlikely. Whatever his motive, Bush said exactly what he meant to say. And it's never very difficult to determine the motive: Who stands to gain?

The theme of this blog is this: Israel is alone, and should rely on no one. It has no friends in this world (countries at least), only opportunistic alliances at best.

Bush has proven me right. Although I'd rather have been wrong.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Don't need religion

I've had discussions with rabbi's, priests and laymen alike about from where to draw morals from if not from (a) God. Who says what is wrong and right if not an authority above us all?
I say empathy should guide us. Love even. Peter Schwartz at CapMag has this Ayn Rand-inspired article, and it in turn inspires me. I give it here in full,
Copyright © 2005 Ayn Rand® Institute (ARI). All rights reserved.
Does morality depend upon religion? Most people believe it does, which is a major reason behind the appeal of the religious right. People believe that without faith in a supernatural authority, we can have no moral values--no moral absolutes, no black-and-white distinctions, no firm demarcation between good and evil--in life or in politics. This is the assumption underlying Justice Antonin Scalia's recent assertion that "government derives its authority from God," since only religious faith can supposedly provide moral constraints on human action.

And what draws people to this bizarre premise--the premise that there is no rational basis for refraining from murder, rape or anarchism? The left's persistent assault on moral values.

That is, liberals characteristically renounce moral absolutes in favor of moral grayness. They insist, for example, that criminals should not be reviled, but should be seen as tragic products of their "social environment"--that teenage mothers are just as entitled to welfare checks as wage-earners are to their paychecks, and that to deny welfare benefits for a child born into a family already receiving welfare is, as the ACLU declares, to "unconstitutionally coerce women's reproductive decisions"--that America is morally equivalent to its enemies, with our own policies having provoked the Sept. 11 attacks and our "unilateralist" actions in Iraq being no different from any forcible occupation of one nation by another.

Repulsed by such egalitarian, anti-"judgmental" absurdities, many people disavow what they regard as leftism's essence: secularism, and turn to religion for their values.

But this is a false alternative. Secularism is simply a viewpoint that disclaims religion; what it embraces, though, may be rational or not. And the absurdities of the left stem precisely from its irrationality--its pervasive emotionalism, its insistence on doing whatever "feels right," its contention that there are no fixed truths, its credo that morality is anything one wishes it to be. The left maintains that no objective principles exist to validate moral judgments. From its multicultural equalization of all societies--savage or civilized--to its belief in an indefinable, "evolving" Constitution, the left rejects the logic of objective standards and enshrines the arbitrariness of subjectivism. Thus, what the left's opponents should disavow is not secularism per se, but rather the replacement of a religious variant of unreason--blind faith--with a secular variant: blind feelings.

The real alternative to the leftist claptrap is a morality of reason. Such a morality begins with the individual's life as the primary value and identifies the further values that are demonstrably required to sustain that life. It observes that man's nature demands that we live not by random urges or by animal instincts, but by the faculty that distinguishes us from animals and on which our existence fundamentally depends: rationality.

With reason as its cardinal value, this code of individualism espouses fixed principles and categorical moral judgments. It demands, for instance, that the initiation of force--the antithesis of reason--be denounced and that an unbridgeable moral chasm be recognized between the criminal and the non-criminal.

Since life requires man to produce what he needs, productiveness is a moral value--thereby making moral opposites out of the industrious worker and the parasitic welfare recipient. Since life requires man to use his own judgment rather than submissively accept the assertions of others, independence is a moral value--making moral opposites out of the person (or nation) acting on his own rational convictions and the one deferring to the consensus of his neighbors (or the U.N.). Since life requires the mind, man's political system must allow him to use it, i.e., freedom is a moral value--making moral opposites out of America, the defender of liberty, and America’s enemies, who seek liberty's destruction.

A morality of reason counters the relativism and the undiscriminating "tolerance" of the left.

It also counters a morality of faith, and establishes a genuine "culture of life." Individualism upholds your sovereignty over your life--and refuses to subordinate the preservation of that life to, say, the preservation of embryonic stem cells in some petri dish. Individualism defends your inalienable right to your life, including your right to end it--and evaluates, say, opposition to assisted-suicide as a desecration of human life, since forcing someone to live who wishes to die is no less evil than forcing someone to die who wishes to live.

There is indeed morality without religion--a morality, not of dogmatic commands, but of rational values and of unbreached respect for the life of the individual.
Why is this important? In short, if people surrender their own system of rules and morals to that of a book, of a religion, then they also abdicate the responsibility for their actions. It then lies with the author of the book.

This abdication is in fact the reason people cling to religion. The inability or unwillingness to take responsibility for your own life, and the way you live it. Blaming or praising God for whatever happens in your own life, wether you had any control over it or not, is easier than facing life yourself for a lot of people.

Peter Schwartz makes the case that rationality (which in this case is made up of universally identical values) should be our guiding light.
"...The individual's life as the primary value".
What more is there? What more does one need?

'Palestinians' surprised again

When Iraq invaded Kuwait, the 'Palestinians' were the only ones in the world who rooted for Saddam. Openly. They were hostile to the Kuwaiti's, and were begging Saddam to bomb Israel as well, which he obligingly did.

Quelle surprise when the Kuwaiti's expelled the traitorous Arabs the moment Saddam had his ass handed to him by the US-led coalition forces. The 'Palestinian' sentiment was idiosyncratic anyway, because there were tens of thousands of 'Palestinian' labourers in Kuwait, totally dependant upon the goodwill of the oil despots. Most were kicked out the moment the oil ticks were back in the saddle.

And now the same thing is happening again. In
Following reports that Palestinians have been involved in the latest wave of terrorist attacks in Iraq, Palestinian Authority officials on Sunday expressed deep concern that the new Iraqi government would deport thousands of Palestinians.

The Palestinian community in Iraq consists of some 200,000 people, who are mostly located in Baghdad. Saddam Hussein granted the Palestinians special privileges and paid for their accommodation and education.
Ok, so the love was mutual.

I still remember the
US $25.000 rewarded to the families of 'Palestinian' homicide bombers. So I'm not all that sympathetic, and I'm not all that surprised at the Iraqi reaction either:
Another official here said Palestinians living in the Iraqi capital were being systematically harassed by Iraqi security forces. He claimed that most of the attacks were being carried out by Shi'ite soldiers serving in the Iraqi army.

Wajih al-Aghbar, 30, a Palestinian who has been living in Iraq for many years with his wife and three children, was recently transferred to a hospital in Nablus after being tortured by Iraqi security personnel.

Aghbar said he was stopped by members of the Iraqi National Guard as he was on his way to work in Baghdad.

"When they discovered that I was a Palestinian, they handcuffed and blindfolded me and took me to prison," he said. "They beat me severely and cursed me repeatedly. They told me that we Palestinians are terrorists who carry out suicide attacks that threaten world peace and security
[Emphasis mine - Ed].

They told me to leave Iraq immediately."
Even the other Arabs know their 'Palestinians' when it comes down to it. And you know what they say: One good Arab deserves another.

Abbas believes

Abbas thinks "Suicide bomb era may be over". So he's not sure? If he doesn't know, who does?
"We have started to deal with the culture of violence," he said. "We stopped the culture of violence and the Palestinian people have started looking at it as something that should be condemned and it should stop." Asked on ABC whether the suicide bombing era had ended, he said: "I believe it is over."
He must be unaware of the fact that this year alone, 52 TEENAGE homicide bombers have been arrested at checkpoints and such.
Nevertheles, I feel so reassured. This man is so much
better than Arafat.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Could Kerry have said this?

I wrote earlier about some recent quotes from US president Bush. Other people also noted the enormity of his statements.
The most unsettling, if not shocking remark by the president was a direct reference to the 1949 “Armistice lines” agreed to by Israel and Jordan at the end of the War of Independence. Those lines, the famous “Auschwitz borders” as they were called by the late Israeli Labor-party statesman Abba Eban, leaves Israel’s heavily populated coastal plain, just 9-11 miles from the border of what would be Palestine.

Not only are none of the major settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, such as Ma’ale Adumim included in those borders, but neither are the Western Wall, the Old City of Jerusalem, the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot, Gilo, Neve Yaakov, East Talpiot, Pisgat Ze’ev (to name a few), nor the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway (Route 1) as it crosses into the Latrun area.

Yet President Bush, standing next to the man whom he would like to become the first president of Palestine, told Abbas and the rest of the world, that the reference point for negotiating the future boundary between the two states was the 1949 lines, and that any change to that border “must be mutually agreed to” between Israel and the Arabs.

In other words, as far as Bush is concerned, Abbas must approve Israel's annexing the Western Wall or even part of the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem highway to the Jewish State. Conversely, without his agreement, those areas are slated to be part of an independent State of Palestine.

Where then, is the great quid-pro-quo for the Gaza withdrawal, the highly-touted and heavily-marketed Bush promises to Sharon that the U.S. recognizes the facts on the ground in Judea and Samaria, the settlement blocs that preclude a withdrawal to the 1949 Armistice lines?
Good question. Where is the quid-pro-quo? I'll tell you: IT IS IN THE TOILET. Where Sharon belongs.

The Americans are our friends only slightly more than Saudi Arabia is. Israel must take back Gaza. Now.

And I'm beginning to fear I owe an apology to those I called dumbasses for favoring Kerry over Bush. Talk about flip-flops. This makes me physically ill.

In case there was any doubt about MY feelings

I've read "Onward Muslim Soldiers" by Robert Spencer. I've also followed closely all the debates between him and his detractors, and one thing about those 'discussions' stands out more than anything is the tactic his opponents use: Never debate the actual points, always attack the person making them. It is the same 'strategy' Muslims make when engaging Ayaan Hirsi-Ali when she exposes Islam's medieval attitude towards women.

It's a tactic born of necessity of course. There's really no actual argument to be made in favor of Islam. I don't want to go into the particular verses of the Koran and the various Hadith (but I will if you challenge me), but quite apart from its intrinsic Jihadist nature the Koran is overwhelmingly mysogynistic. Women are nowhere near equal to men as far as Mohammed was concerned.

I don't blame Mohammed for this (I blame him for lots of things, but not for this). In the 7th century, no one else in the world thought women were equal either, but the rest of humanity has moved on since then. And Islam has not. It has remained a 7th century cult, with a strong longing for paradise through violent death in this life, with utter contempt for non-Muslims, and loathing of women.

The Old Testament is full of statements, stories and directives that in the 21st century are nothing short of outrageous. Mandatory death sentences for just about any offense. The wholesale slaughter of defenseless people. An angry and vengeful God massmurdering human beings because he was offended.

But that book is thousands of years old. Jews and Christians have moved on, and you no longer find people willing to take literally the death penalty for adultery, sodomy, apostasy and the rest of the trespasses God deemed punishable by death. Jews and Christians have evolved into using their Bible as a guidebook, instead of as a lawbook containing literal rules.

Islam has not evolved in a similar way. Its followers still feel that a Muslim cannot convert to another religion. They feel that mistreating the Koran is a capital offense. They feel that women should not vote. They feel that a woman's testimony is half the worth of that of a man in a court of law.
They feel that followers of other religions are mistaken and inferior at best, subjects to conversion, Dhimmitude or death at worst.

They feel that way because Islam prescribes it, and the fact that these are 7th century concepts makes no difference to them, as it does to Jews and Christians. This makes dealing with Muslims on an even footing impossible for all practical purposes. Dialogue between individuals or groups requires at least a shared framework of reference with which both are familiar and at ease. This framework does not exist. Today's Jews and Christians no longer see the Bible as an absolute. Today's Muslims do see the Koran as such. It is to be taken literally.

And this is a problem in two ways. The West is just about incapable of imagining another person taking a book such as the Koran or the Bible literally. We cannot conceive of a human being living his life guided by rules and concepts which to us are insane and ridiculous when taken literally. We see the Bible as analogical at best, and we just naturally assume, no, we KNOW that Muslims must surely feel the same way about their Koran.

But they don't. Muslims really still strife for the world domination of Islam, or at the very least believe it will happen, and that that is as it should be. Muslims really do feel that Judaism and Christianity are corrupted versions of Islam, which is the perfect and final word of God. There may be several ways that the infidels may come to see the truth, but that we will, of that there is no doubt.

Communicating with such people is like talking to cannibals, dressed in your bathing suit. We may all agree that the weather is nice. We all want our children to do well. But all the time, they're looking at us as their next meal. We exist in different planes.

Communication is impossible, and it will be until they revise their view of the world, and the place of their religion and themselves in it.
Problem is, no one in the West has this as a priority. While the Muslim world is rapidly forcing its barbaric, 7th century religion, and the life that goes with it, on us. Until, all our modern technology notwithstanding, we will live for all intents and purposes, under the rule of 7th century barbarians.

To me, Islam is the religion of the Insane.