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9/22/2006
THE HUGO AND MAHMOUD SHOW
CATEGORY: Moonbats, Politics

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One of the more interesting developments in the post cold war world has been the endless comedy engendered by various thugs, hypocrites, dirty necked galoots, and bloodthirsty tyrants who have been thrown up by mobs, mullahs, and militaries across the world since the wall fell.

The entertainment value in watching the rank anti-Americanism, the twisting of history, the deliberate lies and exaggerated rhetoric has been immense – better than the first episode of Survivor anyway. And in their own ways, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have shown that each have missed their calling in life. Instead of being brutal tyrants oppressing the masses of their people, they very well could have been paired up to star in their very own sit-com. Or better yet, how about “The Hugo and Mahmoud Comedy Hour?”

The physical contrast is funny enough; Chavez – big, beefy, goat face ugly with a personality that seethes below the surface, ready to erupt at a moment’s notice. And Ahmadinejad – small, slight, elfish with that mischevious “Leave it to Beaver” smile as if to say “Don’t turn your back on me or I’ll drop a nuke in your soup!”

Almost like Laurel and Hardy. In fact, the similarities there would be striking. Chavez in a bowler hat with a little mustache, waddling alongside the vapid looking Ahmadinejad who sometimes appears to be half-asleep. The trouble they get into and then manage to get out of – usually as a result of random events having nothing to do with their own innate intelligence – is a perfect metaphor for their own careers.

In fact, the world has not seen their like very often. Idi Amin or perhaps a young Ghadaffi had the comic sense of the duo but not the messianic sense of mission or the real potential for troublemaking. The fact that both received long, sustained applause at the UN for their speeches should make every network executive in New York drool in anticipation of what their next act will look like.

Indeed, both didn’t disappoint. “Hugo Does Harlem” could be made into a Comedy Channel Special:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, appearing Thursday at a Harlem Church for an oil-for-poor event, repeated his ‘devil’ reference hurled a day earlier at President Bush during a speech at the United Nations.

“They told me that I should be careful after I called him the devil — and I think he is the devil — because he might kill me” Chavez told a crowd packed into the Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Harlem.

“But, I place myself in the hands of God,” he said.

The laugh-o-meter went off the scale with that last remark. This bodes well for ratings although the Comedy Channel already has their fair share of Bush Bashers in Stewart and Colbert. Perhaps they could sell the script to “The Home and Garden Network” or even “Animal Planet?”

As for our radioactive elf, the Iranian President, he took yesterday to lecture the Council on Foreign Relations about the Holocaust and history;

Maurice R. Greenberg: He has been quoted many times, including last evening, that the Holocaust needs to be explored as to whether or not it really occurred. And he says, “Well you know, every time somebody tries to do that, they get imprisoned.” Well, the reason some have been imprisoned is because it’s against the law in some places to deny that the Holocaust occurred.

Of course it occurred. And when he said that, I responded: “Listen, I went through Dachau during the war. To suggest it didn’t occur is simply a lie.” So he turned around and asked me how old I was, to determine if I was old enough to have been there. And then he changed the subject.

Q: So that was the extent of it?

MRG: Yes, but then there was a lot of follow up on that. He wanted to know why there was an objection to have professors and historians explore whether or not it had occurred. The fact of the matter, obviously we said, is that it’s a recognized fact that it occurred; it was 6 million Jews that perished in the Holocaust and that any single individual that denies that is not only wrong but is also trying to be revisionist of history.

[snip]

MRG: I think it’s almost impossible to do business with him as long as he has those views. He says: “Why should the Palestinians suffer even if there was a Holocaust? What does one have to do with the other?” I mean, they have nothing to do with each other. We don’t link them together. And we discussed that. They’re not linked.

He thinks the Palestinians should be permitted to return, that’s never going to happen. If the Palestinians returned to Israel, they’d swamp the country and there wouldn’t be an Israel. But he doesn’t want an Israel.

Q: It sounds like he didn’t make any effort to try to reach out…

MRG: No, no. There was no effort to reach out. He’s offensive. He’s smug. He’s a danger.

Not too much in the yucks department but more of a cereberal humor – something that might play better on The Sci-Fi Channel or maybe as a fall replacement for Keith Olberman on MSNBC.

Either way, American TV executives should take a long hard look at these two comedians. Not only would their anti-American rants play well in certain parts of the country, but they’d have that coveted 18-29 male demographic in the bag.

By: Rick Moran at 6:42 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)

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9/21/2006
THE RICK MORAN SHOW - LIVE

Join me this morning from 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM Central Time for The Rick Moran Show on Wideawakes Radio.

A pot-pouri of stuff today; politics, Chavez, Ahmadinejad and some other goodies. Don’t miss it!

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By: Rick Moran at 6:50 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

AN ISOLATED HOUSE
CATEGORY: Blogging

First, I apologize for the screwiness of my blog today. Evidently, if you have clinked a link to a specific post on this site, you get an error message redirecting you to the blog’s general URL.

It may be a problem with the server. Or I could have screwed something up myself. Either way, I have Blogs About Hosting looking into the problem and hope to have things resolved later this morning.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

NOTE: I also just discovered why I haven’t gotten any comments or trackbacks since 4:15 yesterday afternoon. The same Blogs About error message occurs if you try and leave a comment or trackback.

The fact that I haven’t heard from anyone about this is disturbing. I feel so isolated and alone.

Can anyone read what’s on this blog at the moment?

UPDATE

Okay…Things are back to normal now. Very weird. I guess it was a problem with the way the site was resolving archives or something. Anyway, all is well now.

BTW - If you are a subscriber to this blog via Bloglines and if you’re not able to access the site or my feed, let me know.

By: Rick Moran at 6:26 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (5)

THE GROUND ZERO MEMORIAL NIGHTMARE THAT ALMOST WAS
CATEGORY: History, Politics

Curt over at Flopping Aces has a detailed look at the 9/11 Memorial built by the State of Arizona that illustrates what the far left International Freedom Center would have done with the memorial at Ground Zero.

You will recall that the original proposal for the Memorial included a 300,00 square foot exhibit of “the history of freedom” that would have included all sorts of extraneous left wing baggage about America’s sins of omission and commission over the years. Not to mention that the Board of the IFC was made up of some of the most unbalanced Bush haters in America. The actual Ground Zero Memorial would have taken up around 50,000 square feet and would have been buried underground.

What is fascinating about the Arizona 9/11 Memorial is that it goes to the heart of what the left actually thinks about that seminal day in American history. It isn’t a question of 9/11 being a tragedy – every American believes that. But as we saw with the liberal’s reaction to The Path to 9/11, The Narrative of that day must, by necessity, give short shrift to the role of Osama Bin Laden and the hijackers and concentrate instead on supposed American policies that led to the attacks.

In this way, blame can be easily shifted to America herself. And by highlighting America’s sins at the expense of the sins of the hijackers or even the courage and bravery of our citizens on 9/11, it also validates every leftist critique of American policy since the end of World War II. Viet Nam, our Latin American policies, the Cold War – the left’s historical narrative (skewed and twisted out of all proportion and reason) stands as a stark reminder that hijacking history in this manner is almost as great a sin as hijacking airplanes and flying them into buildings. In short, they are murdering the innocents and their memories all over again.

Get a load of some of things that the “memorial” wants us to “remember” about 9/11:

  • “Erroneous US air strike kills 46 Uruzgan civilians (7/1/02)”
  • “Congress questions why CIA & FBI didn’t prevent attacks.” (6/3/02)
  • “Violent Acts Leading US to War”

Some see a crescent (representing Islam) when looking at the design of the memorial, although I think that may be reading too much into it. The problem with the Arizona memorial as with the now defunct plan for the memorial at Ground Zero is very simple:

Why can’t we just design and build a loving and powerful remembrance of what happened on September 11, 2001 only? Why is it necessary to include events and history that has absolutely nothing to do with what happened on that horrific day?

An inkling can be found in this Arizona history teacher’s anger at the whole idea of a 9/11 memorial in the first place:

In his fiery e-mail, Johnsen wrote: “What happened on September 11th was indeed tragic. Other adjectives would apply as well: unethical, immoral, shameful, needless, heartbreaking, unacceptable, etc. In my view, however, what it was not was a ’senseless’ tragedy … any more than it was ‘unthinkable’ … To me both terms suggest just a tad too much that there was simply no conceivable reason for 9/11 to have happened.”

He later writes: “It seems to me that attacking Americans through terrorism is making sense to more and more people. That’s scary. However twisted the logic may be that would bring people to commit and/or sanction such indiscriminate violence, it would be illogical to deny that it happens in response to something.”

[…]Johnsen closes his e-mail by suggesting the school “resist the Pavlovian nationalist platitudes for a change, and instead transcend our shock, grief and anger” into examining what part, “if any, U.S. policies play in breeding such hate and violence against us” and “begin engaging in democratic dialogue and coalition-building.”

No, I’m not making this moonbat a spokesman for the entire left. His extremist views would undoubtedly be rejected by many liberals. But his shifting of blame for the attacks from those who perpetrated the obscenity to America is telling indeed. For this is part and parcel of what the leftist members of the IFC had in mind with their “Freedom Center” being placed on the sacred ground of the collapsed towers.

Not content with simply honoring our dead and commemorating the survivors while telling the story of who carried out the attacks and the nature of that enemy, the left by definition must include “context” in any re-telling of the 9/11 story. That “context” would validate their post-9/11 political critiques of the Bush Administration as well as legitimize their ideological and historical criticisms of America herself.

As it stands now, the Freedom Center will be several blocks removed from Ground Zero as it should be. And the Memorial? As with the entire site, the project is hopelessly bogged down thanks to political squabbles and a curious inertia that seems to have gripped everyone involved. Five years after the attacks, New York politicians can’t seem to get their act together. And it’s long past time that they do.

By: Rick Moran at 5:49 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)

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9/20/2006
IRAQ STUDY GROUP TO RECOMMEND “QUIT OR COMMIT”
CATEGORY: War on Terror

The Iraq Study Group (I wrote about them here) held a press conference yesterday during which nothing much was revealed publicly but that off the record chats with the Group’s members told the story; it is likely that when they present their recommendations to the President after the November elections, they will present him with a couple of pretty stark choices. We can make a supreme effort to internationalize that conflict while at the same time talking to Iran and Syria and getting them to halt their support of the insurgency. Or we can leave.

Eli Lake of the New York Sun:

According to participants in that meeting, the two chairmen received a blunt assessment this week of viable options for America in Iraq that boiled down to two choices.

One plan would have America begin its exit from Iraq through a phased withdrawal similar to that proposed this spring by Rep. John Murtha, a Democrat of Pennsylvania and former Marine. Another would have America make a last push to internationalize the military occupation of Iraq and open a high-level dialogue with Syria and Iran to persuade them to end their state-sanctioned policy of aiding terrorists who are sabotaging the elected government in Baghdad.

In actuality, the fix has been in from the beginning with the formation of this Group. Given its makeup, it is more than likely that the ISG was set up to provide our national leaders as well as members of both parties political cover for an Iraq exit.

This is a time honored exercise in Washington. Whenever a problem is just too sticky to be resolved in a normal political way, form a Commission and take cover behind its recommendations. The list of the use of such a device is long; social security, Medicare, base closings, the solution to racial riots (Kerner Commission) to name a few.

Will Bush acquiesce in this charade? Much could depend on the outcome of the November elections. If the Republicans hang on, Bush may thank the blue bloods for their recommendations and continue his own way. If the Democrats take control, he will probably be forced to listen closely to what these national security wise men are proposing and throw in the towel on Iraq.

Because, let’s face it. There is no way on God’s green earth that any sort of international force is going to come to the rescue of the United States in Iraq. Hell, they can’t even get 15,000 troops to sit down in the southern Lebanese desert and play cards while Israel and Hizbullah gear up for round 2 in their war for the survival of the Jewish state. And Syria and Iran are perfectly content to continue their support for the murderous insurgents and terrorists who are bleeding Iraq white. Why not? At the moment, they are winning.

Kevin Drum:

So: Bush should either plan to withdraw from Iraq or else open up talks with Syria and Iran. It’s hard to know which of those two options he’d loathe the most, and even with Baker delivering the bad news it’s hard to see Bush agreeing to either course. By the time the ISG delivers its recommendations officially, though, he might not have much of a choice.

Indeed, things are really starting to turn for the worse in Iraq even with our stepped up presence in Baghdad. In a countermove, the insurgents have attacked all over the country:

The U.N. reported that 3,009 people were killed in Iraq during August, a slight decrease from July’s toll of 3,590. The report warned that although the numbers decreased at the beginning of the month, they escalated again by month’s end, especially in Baghdad.

The current level of violence, the report said, “is challenging the very fabric of the country.”

The trend in the national figures echoed recent statements by the Baghdad morgue, whose reports on deaths in the capital have been most often cited in tracking civilian casualties from sectarian fighting and the insurgency.

These past few weeks have been even bloodier than usual in the capital, with a torrent of execution-style killings coming despite an American-led crackdown. Even as U.S. commanders have focused on Baghdad, attackers have struck in northern and western parts of the country in what appears to be a coordinated campaign.

Another 46 bodies were recovered today in the capitol. Attacks on US forces are increasing although this was to be expected given our more aggressive posture. And in perhaps the most disheartening news, Prime Minister al-Maliki may not have the political cohones to do what is necessary to fight for his government’s survival:

Four months into his tenure, Mr. Maliki has failed to take aggressive steps to end the country’s sectarian strife because they would alienate fundamentalist Shiite leaders inside his fractious government who have large followings and private armies, senior Iraqi politicians and Western officials say. He is also constrained by the need to woo militant Sunni Arabs connected to the insurgency.

Patience among Iraqis is wearing thin. Many complain that they have seen no improvement in security, the economy or basic services like electricity. Some Sunni Arab neighborhoods seem particularly deprived, fueling distrust of the Shiite-led government.

Concerns about the toughness of the new government seemed reflected in President Bush’s comments when he met Tuesday with Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani. Mr. Bush said he wanted Iraqis to know “that the United States of America stands with them, so long as the government continues to make the tough choices necessary for peace to prevail.”

One can certainly sympathize with al-Maliki’s situation. On the one side he’s got the Mehdi militia and Badr Brigades jostling for influence and control in the streets while he tries desperately to hold his fractious government together in the face of horrific sectarian violence. If he authorizes the Americans to go full bore after Mookie al-Sadr and his militia, Baghdad becomes a war zone – Beirut of the 1970’s. But in the meantime, the radical cleric continues his efforts to undermine the government by carrying out sectarian attacks that sap the confidence of the people and kill their hope for the future.

The question of whether there is or isn’t a civil war anymore is moot. There are a variety of reasons for so many dead Iraqis and sectarian differences are only one of them. There is also targeting of government workers, Iraqis involved in reconstruction, locals cooperating with American forces, anyone who speaks out against al Qaeda, and the innocents who are simply murdered in car bombs and terrorist attacks or who get caught in the cross fire between the insurgents and the Americans.

Through all of this, al-Maliki dithers. Bush aides are angry at his seeming inability to make a decision. In reality, there are too many factions, too many voices to appease. And Maliki seems to be at a loss as to how best to proceed. His relationship with al-Sadr – who seems to be supporting him in the councils of government while undercutting his position in the streets by carrying out massacres of Sunnis – has prevented the Iraqi army from forcefully disarming the goons with the guns.

ISG Co-Chair Lee Hamilton, who also was co-chair on the 9/11 Commission has been quoted as saying that the next 3 months in Iraq will be critical. While not being specific, one gets the feeling that the ISG will give Maliki that long to prove he is up to the task of dealing with the crisis in the streets. If not, the ISG recommendations will probably reflect the reality that it is time for either a massive increase in our own forces or a humiliating withdrawal.

There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, that when asked how we were going to leave Viet Nam, President Kennedy said half in jest “As soon as we can put someone in power who will ask us to leave.” Perhaps Bush should keep that story in mind when James Baker and the ISG come calling after the election.

By: Rick Moran at 4:12 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (12)

THE RICK MORAN SHOW - LIVE

Join me this morning from 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM Central Time for The Rick Moran Show on Wideawakes Radio.

Today we’ll look at the upcoming “Day of Rage” by Muslims – street protests against the Pope. We’ll also look at both the President’s and Ahmadinejad’s speeches at the UN yesterday and a possible turnaround for Republicans in the November election.

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By: Rick Moran at 6:51 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

“DAY OF RAGE?” WHAT NEW.
CATEGORY: War on Terror

Is it just me or are the flights of rhetorical nonsense emanating from the Muslim world regarding the Pope’s remarks getting more surreal as we go along?

We’ve seen murder, mayhem, and arson from our peace loving Muslim brethren over the last few days, all in response to a perceived insult from someone who’s been dead for more than 700 years. Now, I agree that’s a lot of lost time to make up for but there’s got to be a limit to the rage exhibited by the adherents to the Religion of Peace. I mean, isn’t there a statute of limitations on hyper-emotional outbursts and unreasoning hatred?

Silly me.

I suppose we should all be comforted by the brilliant idea advanced by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, a noted Muslim scholar, who has torn a page from the Abbie Hoffman School of Grievance Mongering and called for a “Day of Rage” for Muslims on Friday:

“I urge Muslims to take to the streets on the last Friday in the month of Shaban, to express their anger in a peaceful and rational manner,” Qaradawi, chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS), told Al-Jazeera’s Al-Shari`ah and Life program late on Sunday, September 17.

“Muslims should be wise in their anger,” he stressed, warning against attacking churches, individuals or property

And if one wants evidence of a towering state of denial among moderate Muslims about the nature of these protests, all you have to do is read this next quote from the article linked above in Islamonline:

The prominent scholar regretted that some Christian places of worship had been attacked over the past few days.

“It is unfortunate that such a mistake was made by a man who represents one of the largest denominations in Christianity,” Qaradawi said.

“It is unfortunate as well that the pope insulted a great religion whose followers are up to one billion people.”

I may be missing something but do you see anything in what the Sheik said that indicates he regrets that “some Christian places of worship had been attacked?” I see him not knowing that the Roman Catholic Church is not “one of the largest denominations” in Christianity but the largest by far. But what you don’t see is a connection between what was written in the article and what was said by the scholar. If this is what passes for “regret” on the part of moderate Muslims, we are in deep trouble.

Mike Lee of ABC News tries to be helpful in explaining why, even if the protests on Friday turn violent, it isn’t the Muslims fault:

But why do Islamic leaders use what many Westerners regard as inflammatory language?

Because it is not inflammatory, at least not in the context of Islamic culture. “We must not try to interpret Islamic terms and cultural signals by using our Western ideas,” said Fawaz Gerges, a professor in the department of international affairs and Middle Eastern studies at Sarah Lawrence College, and an ABC News consultant. Gerges pointed out that in Islamic culture “ghadab” means anger or frustration. A day of rage does not mean a day of jihad (war), added Gerges.

Mimi Daher, a Muslim woman working in the ABC Jerusalem bureau, explained that the Grand Multi in Jerusalem reflected this cultural mindset today when he said, “Muslims have to express their anger. Was the pope expecting Muslims to clap their hands to him while hurting their faith and prophet? Of course not. We call on Muslims throughout the world to react in a disciplined manner, according to our Islamic faith.”

I believe what the Pope may have been expecting is exactly what occurred; an illustration for his thesis about reason and violence in the name of religion. The fact that this has passed completely over the heads of his intended targets shouldn’t surprise us. Nor should it surprise us that Muslims would lift whole passages out of the “aggrieved minority” PR handbook to try and elicit the Pavlovian response by western liberals to blame themselves for the violence. Eric at Classical Values:

That difference is what we in the West naively call civilization. We tend to assume that all people want to be civilized. The enemies of civilization don’t. They want to kill us. For things like looking at the wrong pictures. For quoting obscure Byzantine emperors. And what do we do?

We apologize, because among civilized people, an apology is seen as the civilized thing to do when someone is offended. The problem is, uncivilized people see apologies as weakness. No number of apologies is ever enough. Which means one is too many.

No, it is never enough. And that’s why this “Day of Rage” will not be the end to Muslims venting their “grievances” against any and all perceived slights against the Prophet or Islam. Mike Lee once again helps us understand by obscuring the larger truth:

There are at least two important reasons why Muslims react with such passion when the Prophet is called into question. First, to Muslims, Mohammed represents an absolutism. His is the absolute prophecy. To question that is to challenge the foundation of their belief system. As for Westerners making jokes about Christ, or movies that question the teachings of the church, many devout Muslims will ask, “Why don’t the Christians defend their prophet more vigorously? Just because some of you Christians don’t stick up for your Christ, don’t ridicule us for sticking up for Mohammed.”

I’ll allow my favorite Catholic, The Anchoress, to answer that:

There are important distinctions not being made here. Muhammed, for all that he is praised – for all he is “absolute” – was still a man, and Islam (as far as I can tell) does not claim him to be more than man. All of the bloodshed and anger we’ve been witnessing, for example, over the Danish cartoons, has been in vengence of perceived slights about a man who – however blessed by God – was still simply a human being.

Christ on the other hand is not a “prophet,” (although this is how the Muslims understand him), and he is not simply a man. We Christians believe and assert that He is God, identified as the second part of the Triune God (whose Trinity might be best understood as “Body, Mind and Spirit of God – Christ being the Body). He is also our Savior. And Christians DO defend Christ against the bigoted mockery and disrespect of the unbelievers in our midst…we just don’t do it by calling for their deaths, threatening them with death or running into the streets to burn things, destroy things and get folks worked up enough to kill people, and we would like it – the whole world would really, really like it – if the adherents of Islam could possibly learn to defend their prophet without feeling the need to do all of this violence and raging.

As I wrote yesterday, Muslim apologists like Juan Cole chalk the violence up to a post-colonial hangover, a gene that was surreptitiously planted in Muslims by evil westerners that turns itself on whenever Islam is insulted.

The politically incorrect explanation is cultural. We have a people “out of time” – that is, their world is not in sync with the 21st century calendar. Couple that with the inability of their institutions to make the leap across time to bring them into the modern, globalized world and what we have is a crisis in expectations.

The key, of course, is the Muslim faith itself. As Mike Lee points out, Mohammed represents absolutism. His dictates are not open for debate or discussion. In this sense, the Koran is not an interpretive text in the same way that most westerners see the Bible. And while most Muslims like most Christians honor their religious strictures in the breach, it is the values and lifestyle laid down by the Prophet that permeates life in Muslim lands.

Some more “moderate” Muslim countries like Indonesia and Malaysia seek to intermix ancient cultural traditions with Koranic law while adopting some of the material values of the west. What you get in Indonesia is a powderkeg. Bitter end Muslims are seeking to carve out a separate Muslim country to distance themselves from the disease of modernity and their tactics are remarkably similar to what their co-religionists in the Middle East use. Other nations with large Muslim minorities like the Philipines and China are witnessing similar efforts.

Perhaps it is time to ask if Islam is capable of “modernizing?” The first step would be some kind of self-examination, something The Anchoress wonders about:

But listen, the Muslims quoted above have said this “Day of Rage” is not “Jihad.” They’ve said they need the world to see that they are “aggrieved,” again. So good, say I; do it. Have your day of rage. Let the world see how very, very angry you are. But when you’re done raging on Friday and it comes to Saturday…then what? Then will you be ready to sit down and talk about your faith and your grievances, like adults? Finally? Will that be the point at which you can settle down and talk to the rest of humanity like human beings, in the same respectful tones you say you seek?

What do you think will happen after your “Day of Rage?” Do you think the world will offer you Benedict XVI, so you can slaughter him and dance in his blood? That’s not going to happen. So, you need to plan on how you’re going to deal with the world the next day. Because you can’t keep on raging. That simply won’t do. It’s getting more than a little tiresome.

Indeed, it appears that Islam does not lend itself much to the kind of introspective examination that led Martin Luther to nail his 95 theses to the door of a church. And if you asked a Muslim participating in that “Day of Rage” just what he was going to do on Saturday, we may not want to know the answer.

By: Rick Moran at 6:28 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (12)

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9/19/2006
JACQUES GOES THE WEASEL

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FRENCH PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC EXPRESSES SURPRISE AT A REPORTER’S QUESTION ABOUT IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM

I am running out of English language adjectives to describe what a dirty rotten, low-down, double-crossing, two-timing, floor four-flushing, loutish galoot French President Jacques Chirac is. And since there really are no nasty sounding adjectives that I could use in French (a beautiful language, music to the ear), I’m going to try some in German:

Chirac ist ein Schurke.

(Chirac is a scoundrel.)

Der französische Präsident hat das Gesicht eines Kojoten.

(The French President has the face of a coyote.)

Ich habe Schildkröten als altes Jacques besser schauen gesehen.

(Ive seen better looking turtles than old Jacques.)

Thank God for the Anglo Saxons. There’s something marvelously guttural about the German language, alternately spitting and swallowing words. It’s the perfect language to express the absolute and utter disdain I feel for the French President at this moment.

What has our wussy friend done now? Oh, nothing much. Just undermined the position of the United Nations Security Council, the United States, the European Union, and anyone else trying to get Iran to stop enriching uranium. In what only can be described as a towering conceit born of a false sense of French superiority in diplomatic affairs, the weasel has offered to allow Iran to continue enriching uranium until “formal” negotiations begin:

In an effort to jump-start formal negotiations between six world powers and Iran over its nuclear program, President Jacques Chirac of France suggested Monday that Iran would not have to freeze major nuclear activities until the talks began.

Over the years, Mr. Chirac has consistently taken an extremely hard line against Iran both in public and private. But his remarks in a radio interview could be interpreted as a concession to Iran, whose officials have said they will not suspend their production of enriched uranium as demanded by the United Nations Security Council.

“Iran and the six countries together, we must first find an agenda for negotiations, then start a negotiation,” Mr. Chirac told Europe 1 radio. “During this negotiation I propose that on the one hand, the six refrain from referring the issue to the Security Council, and that Iran refrain from uranium enrichment during the duration of the negotiation.”

Anyone want to guess how long it will take to find that elusive “agenda” that Chirac says is necessary to come up with before formal negotiations begin? As long as the Iranians will be able to continue to work toward building a bomb, it may take years to come to an agreement.

Is that the extent of Chirac’s perfidy? Hardly:

Ahead of what is now certain to be a contentious meeting with President Bush today, President Chirac of France reneged on his previous support for a united international approach to halting Iran’s nuclear program.

In two interviews on the eve of his trip to Turtle Bay to attend the U.N. General Assembly, Mr. Chirac threatened to restart negotiations with Iran. His comments called into question the united position of the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany, whose foreign ministers had said that unless Iran suspended enrichment by the end of August, the council would consider punitive measures.

“I don’t believe in a solution without dialogue,” Mr. Chirac told Europe 1 radio. “We must, on the one hand, together, Iran and the six countries, meet and set an agenda, then start negotiations.”

The French president added, “I suggest that the six renounce referring” Iran to “the U.N. Security Council and that Iran renounce uranium enrichment during negotiations,” according to an Associated Press translation.

(HT: Malkin)

Not even the insufferable DeGaulle would have pulled something like this. Chirac’s contempt for his European partners and his intense dislike of America could end up burying us all unless someone takes him down a peg or two. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with the lickspittle for at least another 7 months. Elections are scheduled for next year at which time it is possible Anglo-French relations could take a turn for the better.

One of the candidates on the right is Nicolas Sarkozy. He has expressed a strong desire to improve relations with the United States, even going so far as to say nice things about America both in France and here during a recent visit. Of course, that won’t erase the virulent strain of anti-Americanism among ordinary Frenchmen – especially those on the left. And the far right, with their hyper-patriotic notions of the French nation as a world power (not to mention being ferocious guardians of French culture and language that they feel is under constant attack by us yanks) looks at America with suspicion.

Where France does exercise world class clout is among the so-called non-aligned nations. And with the French wavering on sanctions against the Iranians, members from that bloc may be getting cold feet:

But though the steering group appeared to be diverging yesterday, with some nations calling for more dialogue and others urging a more muscular stance, there were also indications it could expand.

[snip]

With Mr. Chirac’s remarks, France joins China and Russia, whose officials have expressed strong reservations about imposing sanctions, making a Security Council decision on punishing Iran unlikely. “We, too, don’t like sanctions,” Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters at Turtle Bay yesterday.

Bush administration officials, as well as British diplomats, indicated Mr. Chirac’s change of tack was not part of a coordinated new strategy for the international group. The American ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, told reporters that the Iranian nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, did not even bother to explain his country’s decisions to council members.

“The discussions with Iran appear to have come to a stop, in the sense that Mr. Larijani, whom we expected in New York, is not here,” Mr. Bolton said. “We are now 18 days, by my calculation, after the August 31 deadline. Our position remains unchanged: Unless there is a full and verifiable suspension of uranium enrichment activities, we will seek sanctions in the Security Council.”

Leave it to Bolton to remind the UN of its responsibility. The idea that the Democrats refuse to confirm this guy is just incomprehensible to me. He has been a breath of fresh air not only representing America’s interests very well but also in his advocacy for making the United Nations Security Council into a serious body that serves the cause of peace rather than the laughingstock of thugs and dictators that it currently is.

Iran is still on the agenda at the Security Council. I hope that Bolton can hold them together long enough so that at least a formal vote can be taken on sanctions in order to reveal who is standing in the way of putting pressure on the Iranians to halt their drive to acquire nuclear weapons.

And at the head of the pack of betrayers and renegers; Jacques Chirac. Perhaps we can impose on Ahmadinejad to have his picture taken kissing the French President on the cheek. Thanks to the weasel Chirac, he’s already gotten his 30 pieces of silver.

UPDATE

Commenter John points out that the correct adjective is “four-flusher” not “floor-flusher” that I had originally. Must brush up on my poker nomenclature.

Also, I couldn’t resist. Two commenters have mentioned the perfect epithet to call Chirac: Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey. Here it is in German (courtesy Alta-Vista):

Käse, der Auslieferungaffen ißt

By: Rick Moran at 12:09 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (17)

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THE HOUSE IS UNDER ATTACK!
CATEGORY: Blogging

Very sorry for the slow loading of the site this morning. For a while, the site was completely down.

I am informed by Blogs About Hosting that the problem is a DDOS attack on the server. They are handling it and things should be back to normal within a few hours.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

By: Rick Moran at 10:54 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

THE POPE’S DILEMMA
CATEGORY: General, WORLD CUP

This article originally appears in The American Thinker

Since his election to the papacy in April of 2005, Pope Benedict has bent over backwards in an effort to assuage the concerns of Muslims over issues that place them in conflict with the west. It is therefore something of a surprise that he would knowingly challenge radical Islamists by quoting a long dead 13th century Byzantine vassal Emperor on the “evil and inhuman” practice of forced conversion to Islam.

The fact that both his words and intent were twisted by the fanatics in order to gin up the emotions of their ignorant followers should not have come as a surprise to the Pontiff given similar reactions to other faux “outrages” like the Muhammed cartoons and the fake story about the desecration of the Koran by US soldiers at Guantanamo. This makes one wonder if indeed the challenge was deliberate and designed to augment his main thesis regarding radical Isam; that violence and reason are incompatible and therefore, ungodly.

What is surprising about Benedict’s challenge is that he had given no inkling up to now that he was interested in rocking the boat when it came to relations between Rome and the Muslim faith. He had actually condemned the publication of the Muhammed cartoons saying:

“In the international context we are living at present, the Catholic Church continues convinced that, to foster peace and understanding between peoples and men, it is necessary and urgent that religions and their symbols be respected”.

Benedict added that “believers should not be the object of provocations that wound their lives and religious sentiments.” While many free speech advocates criticized this stance as appeasement, the statements made by Benedict were fully in line with Vatican policy regarding respect for the symbols and beliefs of other religions.

It was thought when the Pope ascended to the throne of St. Peter that he would perhaps offer more of a challenge to radical Islam than his predecessor. In fact, Benedict seemed to go out of his way to avoid this kind of confrontation with Islam. His entreaties to fellow Europeans for interreligious dialogue with Muslims as well as a call for tolerance and understanding of Muslim practices and traditions was felt by some to undercut any effort at Muslim assimilation into European civilization. This may have been unfair given the Catholic Church’s careful nurturing of their relations with mainstream Muslim groups, especially in Europe.

As recently as July the Pope condemned Israel in their war with Hez’ballah, criticizing their attack on a “free and sovereign nation” while telling the people of Lebanon that the Vatican “assures its closeness to these people who already have suffered so much to defend their independence.” The Vatican has also long advocated a separate Palestinian state and Bendict’s recent criticism of Israel regarding the war in Gaza and the West Bank was placed in the context of resuming peace negotiations with Hamas.

The Pope’s solidarity with Muslims doesn’t stop with his condemnation of armed conflicts in Lebanon and Gaza. He has also severely criticized the United States for its invasion and occupation of Iraq. In short, wherever Muslim sensibilities have been touched by Western challenges, the Pope has addressed their concerns in a sensitive and conciliatory manner.

Why then did the Pontiff break with the past and throw down the gauntlet at radical Isamists? The dilemma for the Pope as well as the West has always been a question of whether or not to engage the fanatics by challenging them or try and address their grievances and appease them. Has the Pope finally decided to cast his lot with those who seek to challenge the extremists? It would appear that the Pope has done so and on a plane that he seems uniquely suited to occupy; bringing his considerable intellectual gifts and moral authority to bear in an effort to encourage moderates to step forward and work with him to marginalize the terrorists.

Risk attends both the engagement and appeasement strategies. Engagement, we are told, plays into the radicals hands and strengthens the terrorists. By challenging the fanatics, we create more terrorists and make it more difficult for moderate Muslims to support us. On the other hand, getting to terrorism’s “root causes” appears to be an exercise in futility while agreeing with the extremists critiques of the western response to terrorism only seems to embolden them.

The Pope seeks a higher plane in the conflict. By risking offense, he goes beyond the superficial dialogue between Christian and Muslims of the past and begins a conversation where it should have been all along; on the nature and practice of Islam in the modern world and how that religion can co-exist with a west infused with Christian values.

In this, the Pope’s recent critique of western materialism and secularism which drew plaudits from several moderate Muslim groups in Europe can be seen as a starting point in that it lays out common ground between pious followers of both faiths. And his lecture condemning violence in the name of God also contained several well aimed swipes at those in the west who abandon faith in the name of reason. Both the Pope’s criticisms can be echoed by Muslims opposed to violence in that what even moderates fear the most is that modernity necessarily means the secularization of their culture. They have seen what has happened to Christianity in Europe and are adamantly opposed to the abandonment of Islamic values.

Perhaps the violent reaction to the Pope’s words was anticipated by the Vatican. Even if it wasn’t, the extremists tend to prove the Pope’s point. Unfortunately, even so-called moderate Muslims have been forced to either echo the ignorant criticism of the extremists or keep a low profile.

But once the smoke clears from this episode, there may in fact be a second look by moderates at what the Pope said. This Op-Ed by Souheila Al-Jaada in The Daily Star of Lebanon is encouraging in that regard:

At the same time, rather than lash out at provocative statements, Muslims should welcome such criticisms of the faith because they offer religious leaders an opportunity to explain Islam through dialogue and by example. Muslim leaders should respond by emphasizing the commonalities that bind Christians and Muslims together. They should stress the fact that the two faiths believe in the Ten Commandments. Both revere the Prophets Abraham, Jesus, Noah, Isaac, Jacob and many others. Both religions place the Virgin Mary in high esteem and the Koran includes an entire sura, or chapter, entitled “Maryam,” or “Mary” in Arabic.

But the most important similarity that we must remember is that both religions hold firm to the Golden rule: “Do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

It is those “commonalities” that Benedict can build upon in order to bring moderate Muslims to the task of confronting the violence perpetrated in the name of the Prophet. He has expressed his solidarity in the past with many issues that confront Muslims in their efforts to co-exist peacefully with the west. One hopes that both sides take the opportunity afforded by the controversy to dig deeper than ever before into the complex relationship that has existed between two of the world’s great religions. At stake may be the difference between a world at peace and a world at war. In that sense, they couldn’t be any higher.

By: Rick Moran at 8:59 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (10)

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