Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You heard it first here

I don't wish to be upstaged by Wikileaks' Julian Assange, so I would like to remind my faithful readers (and any others who happen on this post), that last June I discussed a news article suggesting that the Saudis would allow Israel to use their airspace to attack Iran's nuclear installations.

So, OK, I didn't have King Abdullah on the record - but I had the story, even if I couldn't confirm it! And I didn't have to smuggle a memory stick of Lady Gaga into a classified area, either. The real story today is not what's secret but what's out in the open press.

Friday, November 26, 2010

More on airport security

No, unfortunately this entry isn't a joke like the last one; it links to thoughtful pieces on airport security by Barry Rubin and Patrick Poole.

Rubin argues (and I agree with him fully) that all the fancy airport screening, before and after this latest 'junk' escalation, is wasteful and irrelevant. As he puts it, "Basically, it can be described as follows: Let's intensively search fifteen million at random--worse, using silly profiling guidelines--in hope of finding one or two terrorists who, if they exist at all, are almost certainly using an innovative tactic that will get by our procedures." He argues that the only real requirement is profiling and checking for terrorists entering on international flights - but of course, profiling is a dirty word.

Meanwhile, Poole has produced a study of ten failures of U.S. domestic intelligence: Islamists who were given positions of trust and access to government at various levels. It's a quick but sobering read, and he includes sources, in case you want to check for yourself.

Bismarck allegedly said (Wikiquotes says it's apocryphal) that God provides special protection for three categories: drunks, idiots and the United States of America. We'd better be careful because we're using up our special dispensation at an alarming rate.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Airport security

Here, from an email that Rachel sent me, is the best solution I've heard to the recurring problem of airport security screening:

"The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners at the airports. It’s an armored booth you step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on your person. Israel sees this as a win-win situation for everyone, with none of this crap about racial profiling. It will also eliminate the costs of a long and expensive trial. You're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter, an announcement: 'Attention standby passengers — we now have a seat available on flight 6709. Shalom!'"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

European history in a nutshell

Here, thanks to Barry Rubin's Facebook page, is a video that will show you a thousand years of European history in all of five minutes. Enjoy, even if it does seem to slide by kinda fast!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More on Murfreesboro mosque

You may have noticed some news items about resistance to building a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Those same reports probably implied -or said outright - that this resistance was a sign of Islamophobia, racism, or some other equally awful thing.

In fact, the lawsuit filed against construction of the mosque attacks the ideology likely to be preached at the mosque. "[B]uild a mosque, and pray all you want—but don’t offer support or refuge for anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, terrorism in our community," its press release stated.

What evidence is there to support this charge? According to an article by Ryan Mauro:

-- One of the mosque's board members, Mosaad Rawash, "had a MySpace page that celebrated terrorism. A pledge was posted that called for Muslims to engage in violent jihad against Israel, as was a poem celebrating the people in Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq who have been, in his mind, incorrectly called terrorists. The page also had a photo exalting two founders of Hamas above a crowd of armed terrorists. When attention was brought to this page, Rawash was suspended but he has since returned to his post."

-- In addition, "the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro’s reading list included works by several extremists including Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, the top Muslim Brotherhood theologian who regularly calls for the violent destruction of Israel, armed jihad and implementing Sharia governance. This reading list was deleted after it resulted in negative press attention.

Sounds to me like this Islamic Center, with its mosque, should never/never receive a permit from any American government entity at any level. The bad news is that our government officials appear not to have understood this basic point; the good news is that ordinary American citizens (probably the ones President Obama says are too angry to think straight) have figured it out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hang in there, Oklahoma!

CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has filed a lawsuit to block implementation of the Oklahoma referendum banning sharia law, and U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange on Monday granted a temporary restraining order.

CAIR argued that the referendum stigmatized Islam; she apparently agreed: "CAIR says the ballot measure would infringe on the constitutional rights of ordinary Oklahomans — including the right to wear religious head scarves in driver’s license photographs, choose Islamic marriage contracts, implement Islamic wills, or to be buried according to one’s religious beliefs."

Some 70% of Oklahomans voted to ban sharia law and CAIR has numerous documented ties to Hamas and jihad but hey, she's a nice lady, isn't she? Too bad she isn't a state judge, or Oklahomans could perhaps follow in the footsteps of Iowans and recall her.

Since Judge Miles-LaGrange thinks Islamic marriage is such a great thing, maybe she should compare notes with British officials. They just closed down Islam Channel for broadcasts promoting marital rape and violence against women, among other things. Gee, isn't Islamic marriage a great institution?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Now here's a factory

Bob sent me this incredible video of Volkswagen's new state-of-the-art factory in Dresden. VW manufactures its luxury car, the Phaeton, here. And you can literally watch them do it, since the factory is transparent. Also, see how they solved the problem of truck traffic to deliver the parts and components to a center-city site.

I've heard that VW wants to make a big push to expand its market share in the United States. I admit I was skeptical, but the thought and money that went into this plant has me revising my vision of VW.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Going bankrupt

To those of you who think tea partiers are exaggerating when they worry about our federal deficits, here's some informed analysis:

"John Allison, who for two decades served as chairman and CEO of BB&T, the nation's 10th largest bank, told CNSNews.com it is a 'mathematical certainty' that the United States government will go bankrupt unless it dramatically changes its fiscal direction."

Questions, anyone?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

'Moderate' Muslims

Jon Stewart, as part of his recent Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Keep Fear Alive to celebrate 'moderation' and 'sanity', asked Cat Stevens to perform as the person who 'pulls us back to sanity'. Cat Stevens converted to Islam years ago and took the name Yusuf Islam. He supported the call to assassinate Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses, and more recently said he agrees with stoning women to death for adultery.

'Right wing' bloggers attacked Stewart for including Islam, but they weren't the only ones. Salman Rushdie complained to Jon Stewart about his choice of performer. Rushdie reports: "I spoke to Jon Stewart about Yusuf Islam's appearance. He said he was sorry it upset me, but really, it was plain that he was fine with it. Depressing."

Apparently the 200,000 people who showed up for the rally also thought it was fine. But featuring Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam was disgraceful, nevertheless. Freedom of speech is a right guaranteed to all by the Constitution and should be defended across the political spectrum. Shame on the left for failing to do so.


Yesterday, the state of Oklahoma approved a referendum banning the application of sharia law. Various Islamic representatives called this fear-mongering that would hurt Muslims; I call it an excellent idea.

While there may not yet be any examples of Oklahoma courts seeking to apply sharia law, that has already occurred in other states. In a notable case in Michigan, the court decided in favor of a husband who divorced his wife by returning to India and saying "I divorce thee" three times. That ruling was overturned on appeal. In Maryland, a judge resisted a similar attempt to substitute sharia for U.S. divorce law. In New Jersey, a judge ruled that a Muslim man could not be guilty of raping his wife because, in Islam, a woman is required to have sex with her husband. That decision too was overturned.

But what people don't realize is that many of the non-judicial 'accommodations' sought by Muslim groups are in fact steps toward the imposition of sharia law. For example, something as simple as setting aside separate swimming pool times for men and women can be interpreted as fulfilling a legal requirement of sharia.

As for increasing fear of Muslims, here's what the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said: "This amendment will create a sense of fear, a sense of Islamophobia in the community, which is really not ethical." CAIR is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood; as a good rule of thumb, anything it condemns is probably very good for the rest of us.

Meanwhile, supporters of the initiative say that their real target is not Muslims but activist judges who think 'customary international law' should trump the Constitution. The supporters hope to have similar initiatives on the ballot in a dozen other states in 2012.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And a London ghetto too

One argument levied against people like me is that you can't generalize about Muslims in Europe because they come from different countries and traditions. But I think you can indeed generalize, and here's an example. My last entry was about Denmark, and this one is about the United Kingdom, but the similarities are striking.

The London borough of Tower Hamlets has been dubbed 'an Islamist republic', complete with its links to an Islamist organization, the Islamic Forum of Europe. As UK journalist Andrew Gilligan concludes:

"Some of my commenters are fond of saying that the borough is an example of 'Third World' politics in the UK. There are indeed similarities – but actually the claim is an insult to the Third World. Bangladesh has got to grips with Islamism; the IFE’s Bangladeshi parent, Jamaat-e-Islami, gets about two per cent of the vote in elections there. No Islamist sympathiser in Bangladesh has unfettered control over a £1 billion budget. Bangladesh, in short, has less of a problem with Islamic radicals than Tower Hamlets."

Muslims may come from many different cultures and traditions, but Islamism is a common trend that jumps over these differences - indeed, jumps over the Shia-Sunni divide. And Europeans have landed in this mess because they have failed to pay attention to its growth and significance. Tower Hamlets, as Gilligan points out, is actually majority non-Muslim, but very few of those voters bothered to cast a ballot in the recent election.

Let's see what happens today with the Oklahoma referendum on banning sharia law. Its sponsors have been condemned for fear-mongering, but I think they're being prudent. (Thanks to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Danish ghettoes

According to the Danish prime minister, "We have some urban areas in which one can ask whether they are Denmark at all.” Indeed, the government has identified some 29 urban areas in which "Danish norms of trust, equality, the rule of law and respect for public authority do not exist."

According to a Danish police official: "We increasingly see a parallel justice system, that is run completely outside Danish laws and regulations. Things are settled by which families are strongest, and who has the most money, together with threats and blackmail. If this is allowed to continue, the young people in these areas will never learn to accept and respect the justice system in Denmark."

You'll notice that neither of these news articles says who exactly it is that lives in these ghetto areas, but I'll give you a hint: I found links to these as well as other articles on the Islam in Europe blog. Gee, what a coincidence!