Sunday, September 24, 2006

Forget Che

Since the American left can never find enough nasty, murdering megalomaniacs to toe-suck, the AP gives them their semi-annual Che Guevara paean. Though this one has a good deal more balance than others I've read, it's still giving valuable time and attention to the memory of a man who deserves no more. (And revealingly, though the article is titled, "'Che' Guevara's iconic image endures," the web address for the piece calls it "che_s_mystique_5." Could this be the fifth one this year?!) I imagine the story's been dragged out this time because we're nearing the anniversary of his birth or death, or perhaps Hugo Chevez rings a Pavlovian bell in writer Martha Irvine's mind. "Hey look, a blustering South American loudmouth with dreams of spreading totalitarianism and failed economic policies around the globe! Let's do another piece about Che!"

As usual, the great legacy that keeps Che in our faces is that stupid t-shirt. I hope there's an afterlife, so that he can see what I've seen: two young men strolling hand-in-hand along a Chelsea sidewalk, one of them wearing a Che t-shirt, extra-small, the guy's gym-toned abs rippling beneath Che's pursed lips. Guevara was a vicious homophobe. The only thing better will be the day I sit outside Starbucks on the Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana, sipping an Iced-Che Latte while reading in the Cuban free press about the progress of Castro's trial in the Hague.

In the meantime, if the editors and writers at the Associated Press are so eager to keep doing Che stories, why don't they do one about his penchant for executing dissidents, or the fact that his (and Fidel's) gay-bashing machismo ended up shaping a special police-state apparatus for homosexuals in Cuba, or that once he stepped off Castro's coattails, his armed uprisings failed to achieve anything except making more people dead. Even leftists sometimes admit that Che was a failure in pretty much everything except self-promotion. In 2007 we'll reach our fortieth Che-free year on this planet. Can we resolve to ignore the anniversary and give Ernesto Che Guevara the inattention he deserves? Somehow I doubt it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

That happy, jolly time of year

It's Ramadan again, that marvelous month when Muslims around the world fast from dawn till dusk, eschew gossip and sarcasm, and refrain from anger and violence.

Well, two out of three ain't bad.

To start the month off, Noam Chomsky and Bin Laden have both been reported dead, by Hugo Chavez and the French, respectively. Let's hope the French have better intelligence than Venezuela. Chomsky is alive and still blowing hard. Chances are he'll soon meet with his admirer in Caracas to demonstrate that he remains among the quick. My old admiration for Chomsky's research and writing has not stood up to a second read-through, but I would never wish the man dead. Bin Laden is another matter. Let's hope he saw his last Ramadan last year.

The month of Ramadan begins when the new moon is visible. Apparently not anticipating that his cult would eventually span the globe from Michigan to Thailand, Mohammed did not see the problem that would arise from this. Since mindless, submissive unity is central to Islamic thinking, the possibility that the Dearborn Muslims might still be eating while Medina Muslims are already fasting is clearly cause for crisis. Mohammed's system also relies on the kind of weather more common in deserts than in places the rest of us chose to live (thank you, Sam Kinison). Muslims in Seattle or Brussels could probably make it through the whole lunar cycle without seeing the moon once. Then there's the fact that in a millennium and a half, Muslims haven't caught on that the lunar cycle makes a shitty basis for a calendar, since without constant correction the "months" will shift in place relative to the solar year. And the solar year is the one we need to think about, since it determines the meteorological seasons.

The smallest common multiple of the lunar cycle and the solar cycle is nineteen years, known as a Metonic cycle. Ancients like the Hebrews who wanted to stick to the lunar cycle solved the "drifting" month problem by adding seven extra months here and there in the nineteen-year cycle. This way, some years have twelve months and some thirteen, but at least you know that your holidays, planting and harvesting times, monsoons, etcetera will fall in roughly the same months each year. These extra months are known as intercalary months. With typical rejection of reason and reality, Mohammed wrote into the Quran a prohibition against intercalary months. I guess his astronomers were too fearful of his sword to point out that this obstinacy would condemn the ummah to an eternity of never knowing exactly what date it is, what date any given day in the past was, or what date a particular day in the future will be. Today there are numerous Islamic calendars since different "scholars" come up with different lengths for the months. Turkey, Indonesia, and a few other Muslim nations have settled on mathematically based lunar calendars, which solves the problem of the lengths of the months but not the problem of months drifting within the solar year. Muslims in America may soon follow suit, but they are encountering resistance from the primitivists who hold so much sway in the cult. These are the same geniuses of "Islamic jurisprudence" who still issue fatwas on the topic of istijmar, the glorious Muslim practice of wiping your ass with a rock, just because that's the way Mohammed did it.

Anyway, happy Ramadan, everyone. (Oops, I forgot. No sarcasm allowed.)

Fresh from the Department of Redundancy:
Another reason not to trust Reuters

Surprisingly, Reuters has run an obituary on Pham Xuan An, a North Vietnamese spy they (unwittingly, I hope) provided with cover during the war so he could pass to his communist overlords intelligence on U.S. and South Vietnamese troop strength and positions.

It's awfully short for an obit. But I'm surprised it's there at all. Kind of makes a nice counterpoint to Reuters' whining impotence over its staff's evident fealty to Muslim terrorists.

They just never met a traitor they didn't like.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dear Abby, Muslim style

From the "Islam" Q&A section of today's Arab News:

Who Can Be a Woman’s Guardian?
Edited by Adil Salahi

Q. I want to marry a relative of mine ...

Incredibly, the fact that he wants to marry a relative is tangential to his question. He just wants to know who's going to sign the marriage contract, since her father can't do it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Anti-Bush march in New York City

Rode my bike up to 6th and 37th this morning to see what kind of a crowd the United for Peace and Justice march would draw. They were quite proud of themselves for getting permission from the city to march to the U.N. on the day President Bush would address the General Assembly. All in all, it was pretty bland: the usual crayon-on-cardboard hyperbole, a lackluster "die-in," and a monotonous, repeat-after-me chant led by Jesse Jackson. The weather was nice. And I got to catch a some of Bush's speech on the radio in my cab ride back to where I'd locked my bike.

These leftist/socialist/so-called-liberal events attract quite a range of opinions and characters. After just a few minutes I'd spotted some of the usual birds: muttering lunatics looking nervously up at the traffic cameras, despicable anti-Semites waving Palestinian flags, college students searching for the artistic heart of dissent.

First up, the hyperbole. The theme that we are unwittingly submitting to a Nazi--or fascist, or Orwellian--regime was repeated many times over. It's a take on reality the left would be wise to dump in favor of something less hysterical, given the smirks and scowls of passersby faced with stars-and-stripes swastikas. But the left loves overstatement, so this is what we get:

Bush is Big Brother.

Bush is an "Insane World Criminal." (Is that anything like an "Insane War Criminal"?)

It's not just Bush. America itself is turning Nazi.

Moving on, we have the distortions of reality:

The Loose Change crowd made an appearance.

Not to be outdone were the 911Truth-ers.

This woman apparently thinks democracy is a bad thing, and we need more tyranny around the world to stop the Bush agenda. Or perhaps she's also pro-sex-worker, in which case I guess it's a good thing. Who knows?

This marcher wants victory for "The People's Resistance" in Lebanon and Palestine. If she's really so unembarrassed to support Islamist terrorists, why doesn't she wear a Hamas headband and wave a Hizb'allah flag next time?

This woman thinks that what Kanye West says is worth repeating. Except that Kanye West never said that George Bush hates poor people. He said that George Bush doesn't care about black people. But it sounds like something he might have said, kind of a "fake but accurate" misquote.

These kids were very sharp--the only ones in the march who "made" me as not-on-their-side. Or maybe they thought I was from the FBI. Must be the button-down shirt I was wearing. I should get a neat t-shirt like his. Actually, I should have just asked him to give me his--after all, it's not really "his," is it?

The NYPD were very patient and polite, though I did hear on the radio a few people managed to get arrested.

This guy is my favorite. Couldn't we organize a march and rally just for people who can't figure out what's going on?

A young woman placed tiny plastic soldiers here and there along the crosstown route. I have no idea what it means, but I think it made for a nice photo-op.

The LaRouche Gang showed up. Yikes.

A guy was selling "Zapatista" t-shirts. Someone should tell him that the Zapatistas have become a joke, even in the judgement of the highly sympathetic New York Times. (The article was titled, "At a 60's Style Be-In, Guns Yield to Words, Lots of Words," and it ran on 31 August 2005. It's now trapped in their TimesSelect archives.)

There was one counter-protester, though he wasn't really opposing the UPJ people, he was just an anti-UN protester. I like his sign. Straightforward, clear, insulting but not vulgar. In need of a spell-check, but one can't ask for too much.

The only time I heard a cop start to lose his patience was when a platoon of marchers dropped to the asphalt in a spontaneous (I think) "die-in." The policeman beside my sighed and said, "Oh, you've got to be kidding me!" I think he was afraid that the protesters were going to remain there, blocking the street, until he and the other cops had to haul them off in zip-ties.

After lying there for a few moments, gasping and moaning in a way that struck me as mockery more than street theater, the protesters got up and moved on.

The marchers arrived at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza and were corralled into a pen so they could all face the U.N. building. Oddly, there were four or five other pens. I went to investigate. The first one was occupied by a small group of Muslim Pakistani men who would like Musharref to step down.

I won't pretend to know what their agenda is. Pakistani political rivalries and maneuvering are beyond Byzantine. There are five different Pakistani Muslim Leagues. That's why they have the (N) in their name. And you think we have it bad here with Insane Orwellian Nazi World Criminal Bush(it).

The second pen contained an even smaller group of Thai protesters in yellow t-shirts. In lieu of a banner, they had pinned up this t-shirt on the barrcade:

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin must GET OUT! "Thaksin = Toxin." The UPJ crowd should count it's blessings with Bush. They could have gotten the "Master of Evil." But Thaksin was at that very moment losing his country to a military coup, one apparently endorsed by Thailand's king, since no one sneezes there without his go-ahead. Word of the coup may have reached the yellow shirts, since there weren't very many of them and they didn't seem to have much to protest.

The next corral, adjacent to the UPJ rally, contained a large crowd of supporters of Iranian dissident Maryam Rajavi, who opposes the Islamic Republic with a blend of democracy and Marxism. When the UPJ rally ended, the Iranians got started. Wow, do they know how to throw a rally. The Americans got Jesse Jackson leading the crowd in a droning, halting chant ("This land [repeat one time] ... was made [repeat one time] ... for you [repeat one time] ... and me [repeat one time]" ... I kid you not.) The Iranians got drums, cymbals, horns--playing something melodic instead of the cacophony apparently favored by pacifists. They had photos of the people they want in power (they apparently can agree on whom they want in power), lots of flag-waving, and a stage flanked by two golden lions.

Now that's what the left in America needs!

They also had better signs ...


And funnier cartoons:


All in all, the march wasn't as depressing as I'd expected it to be. There was a strong core of people who are simply anti-war, and though I strongly disagree with them, I'd never want to see their opinions squelched. However, if the rational left hopes to attain any kind of meaningful power, it must find a way to disinvite the conspiracy theorists, lunatics, and vulgarians who always manage to show up for and dominate such events.

Monday, September 18, 2006

AP: Public relations for the mullahs

In case we needed any more evidence that mainstream media in the west are engaged in a deliberate campaign to obscure the nature of Islam, tonight we have the Associated Press giving us an article with this headline:

Iranian leader urges more papal protests

Here's the article's lede:

CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Qaida in Iraq warned Pope Benedict XVI on Monday that its war against Christianity and the West will go on until Islam takes over the world, and Iran's supreme leader called for more protests over the pontiff's remarks on Islam.

Now, I appreciate the way AP Writer Lee Keath puts the jihadis' dream of a worldwide caliphate front and center--it's about time that vision got some scrutiny. It's more prevalent than most casual observers of the clash of civilizations realize, mainly because so many western reporters turn off the mics whenever Muslim leaders start mumbling about how a totally green planet wouldn't be such a bad thing (and they don't mean it in the Al Gore sense). But Al Qaida in Iraq is not what this article is supposedly about, if we're to believe the headline. Plus, what Zarqawi's understudies are spouting should probably take a back seat to the pronouncements of the bearded ones leading the "Death to America" chants while their subterranean minions spin enriched uranium for the purposes of the Religion of Peace. (And while Iran's president is about to treat the U.N. to another earful of mendacity and Persian chest-thumping in the hope that he can just string things along until Bush is out of office.)

Don't hold your breath waiting to find out what exactly "Iran's supreme leader" said, because the writer goes on for another seven hundred words without mentioning him. Perhaps the editor who wrote the headline didn't read the entire article--it's been known to happen. But enough misguided benefit-of-the-doubt. Whether by an editor or by a writer or by an entire staff of fifth-column, Islamist shills, we are being fed pap in place of facts.

Let's jump down to the nineteenth and twentieth paragraphs of the article, where we discover that ...

In Iran, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei used the comments to call for protests against the United States.

Sorry to interrupt, but it is worth noting here that we are once again told that the most significant thing about Khamenei's speech is that he called for "protests." Read on:

He argued that while the pope may have been deceived into making his remarks [Ed. -- I have no clue what this bit of conspiracy theory is about, and the article offers nothing to clarify it. I can only presume that Khamenei is talking about Satan.], the words give the West an "excuse for suppressing Muslims" by depicting them as terrorists.

"Those who benefit from the pope's comments and drive their own arrogant policies should be targeted with attacks and protests," he said, referring to the United States.

We are to be "targeted with attacks and protests"? Oh. Well, nevermind the attacks, tell me more about the protest part.

Let's try a new headline for the AP, and see if they pick it up:

Iranian leader urges more attacks against the West

There, fixed that for ya'.

Beyond belief

From this morning's Times Online:

Al-Qaeda threatens jihad over Pope's remarks

An Iraqi militant group led by al-Qaeda has threatened to massacre Christians in response to remarks about Islam by Pope Benedict XVI that have caused offence across the Muslim world.

The Pope quoted a 14th Century Byzantine emperor who criticised the teachings of Mohammad for endorsing the use of violence, in a speech to an academic audience at a German university last Tuesday.

I think my head is going to explode.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Pope is no dhimmi

It strikes me as ironic how Muslims make headlines these days by alternately murdering infidels and apostates in the name of Islam and then demanding apologies from anyone who points out the difficulty of sharing a planet with them.

The latest person to draw their ire is Pope Benedict, the pontiff who recently pontificated on the nature of Islam by quoting the 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II. Paleologos had the Muslim scam figured out six hundred years ago:

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"

"Evil and inhuman" ... uh oh. Well, as you can imagine, that makes today a "demand an apology" day. But as you can see by the photo below, the demands are beginning to take the form of burning things and angry fist-waving, so tomorrow may turn out to be a "murdering infidels and apostates in the name of Islam" day. At the very least we'll no doubt see some stone throwing and embassy burning. (Does the Vatican even keep embassies in Muslim states?)

Sadly, jihadis around the world have one less infidel to despise today. Oriana Fallaci has succumbed to lung cancer at age 77. She was a brave and intelligent woman, one who saw the truth behind the mask of Islam and was never afraid to speak that truth. She will be missed.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Stupid adverb tricks at the Times

The New York Times pulls another semantic fast one today. Check out this headline:

Danish Antiterror Police Seize 9 Men, Mostly Young Muslims

Now, to native speakers of English, this fairly simple sentence means that at least five of the men seized are Muslim, and no more than four of them are non-Muslim. Conversely, no more than eight of the nine could be Muslim, and no fewer than one must be non-Muslim, otherwise the sentence would have to read, "Danish Antiterror Police Seize 9 Men, All Young Muslims."

Strangely, the fourth paragraph of the article contradicts the headline:

Danish intelligence officials said the men were between 18 and 35 and were Muslims who appeared to have been recently radicalized.

Oh, I get it. The clever editor who crafted that headline didn't mean that the men were mostly Muslims. He or she meant that they were mostly young. After all, that's really the crux of the matter, isn't it? Don't forget, five years ago nineteen young people brought down the World Trade Center. Maybe they were also just mostly young. It takes some time to get that radicalized.

So here's a clarified version of the headline. Let's see if the Times picks it up:

Danish Antiterror Police Seize 9 Men, Mostly Young Muslims Except for One 35-Year-Old Muslim

Boy, do I feel old now.