Thursday, October 26, 2006

9 Reasons I'll always be a Conservative

In all fairness to my earlier post, "10 Reasons I'll Never Be a Liberal," I found the opposing view at a blog called Villanous Company. I probably could have written it myself, but Cassandra says it much better.

She writes:
What It Means To Be A Conservative

1. Conservatives believe that while many matters are open to debate, there are also some eternal truths. We do not believe right and wrong are flexible concepts, wholly dependent on one's frame of reference.

Like Liberals, Conservatives are skeptical of censorship and celebrate free and open debate. Moreover, we understand that in a society where people use threats or intimidation to force their views on others, enforcing the rules is needed or our rights become meaningless.

One cannot "fairly and open-mindedly consider the truths of others" if speakers are shouted down or forced off the stage, no matter how distasteful their ideas may be. The way to defeat inferior ideas is with better ideas, not with brickbats or heavy-handed threats of government censorship.

2. Conservatives believe we have an obligation to live together peaceably and tolerate each other's differences, but we have no duty to subsidize, support, or lend our approval to choices we find wrong or destructive. Responsible adults understand we must all make our own way in life. While we have no right to interfere with the lives of our neighbors, they have no right to reach into our pockets and ask us to pay for the consequences of lifestyle choices we find difficult to understand or approve of.

We do not ask them to change what they are doing. We only ask that they not expect us to fund lifestyles we don't agree with. Live and let live. This, to us, is the true meaning of tolerance.

3. Like Liberals, Conservatives believe individuals ought to participate in public debate. However we are not inclined to force them, or round them up like cattle come Election Day. We believe voting is an individual responsibility, and we have seen what happens when liberals load first-time voters who don't understand how to fill out a ballot, or know the names of the candidates or what they stand for, onto buses on election day to swell the ranks of Democrat voters.

These people are not stupid, but they are not prepared to vote and the nation is not well served by sending an uninformed electorate to the polls. The nation is also not well served when the parties exacerbate racial tensions at election time.

4. Conservatives see government as a social contract in which individuals freely and intelligently barter some small part of their freedoms for mutual protection from the more rapacious elements of human society. This is a factor which Liberals often forget, preferring to take the benefits of government protection while giving up none of their freedom. This is an unworkable proposition. With their inherent suspicion of all authority liberals cede too much power to the press, setting up a completely unelected and unaccountable fourth branch of government which openly defies the law with complete impunity, releasing classified information at will, blowing federal terrorism investigations, interfering with law enforcement, and defying grand juries. Liberals are fond of talking about reproductive freedom and choice, but their rhetoric conveniently ignores the fact that men have exactly zero reproductive choice:

Legally, from the point of view of a woman: the fetus is a lump of tissue which may be excised at will if she subsequently regrets having conceived a child. It imposes no obligation or legal duty unless she chooses to accept it.
Legally, from the point of view of the man: the fetus is a human being which must be allowed to live, even if he subsequently regrets having conceived a child. It imposes an absolute and irrevocable legal duty, regardless of his wishes in the matter.
This one, I don't really agree with all that much. I'm still pro-choice (see my comments at the end of the article)

5. Conservatives believe that justice ought to be blind. There should not be different laws for whites, blacks, Latinos, females, gays, or other demographics. We are not blind to the fact that humans can and do discriminate, but we do not believe the law should, in addition to the thousand injustices and inequalities which exist in nature, impose additional unfairness via our justice system.

How does a human system weigh unfairness? How do we compensate individuals for the hardships imposed by skin color? Gender? Nationality? What if there are offsetting factors? What then? Does that rich black kid who ends up at Harvard get the same compensation as a poor black kid from the inner city? How about the poor disadvantaged white boy from West Virginia with the alcoholic parents? Does he get nothing, just because his skin is the wrong color? Isn't that institutionalized racism? Or is it just Liberal values in action? Equal protection is often what liberals call a "code word" for making exceptions in treatment based on race or gender. Enforce the laws strictly, across the board, regardless of gender or skin color. Period.

6. Conservatives believe people have a fundamental duty to help themselves and they will be stronger and better if they develop the habit of self-reliance rather than dependence on government. We don't believe people are helped by programs that sap personal industry and initiative and undermine family bonds, as Daniel Moynihan warned in the 1960s. Rather, we prefer to see the private sector handle charitable giving, perhaps with tax incentives to encourage donation. This is a more ethical alternative to forcibly appropriating the paychecks of the more productive members of society to support less productive members, regardless of the wishes of the former.

7. Most conservatives don't wish to see entanglement of church and state either. The difference between liberals and conservatives here is that conservatives understand the purpose of Establishment Clause was to protect the free exercise of religion, not to drive all mention of God from public life. Even non-churchgoing conservatives like me are offended by the ACLU's open persecution of Christians and Christian symbology. Not every historic cross on a county or city seal amounts to state sponsorhip of religion and the miscasting of abortion as a religious debate is beyond dishonest. There are atheist liberals who oppose abortion and religious conservatives who are pro-choice. The Left's near-obsession with, and paranoia about, religion is as good a proof as any that the Party of Tolerance and Diversity, isn't.

8. Conservatives understand that our individual liberties are bound up in many of those larger societal rights liberals love to decry. Try exercising your so-called "individual" rights (your sexual freedom, perhaps?) once the city you live in has eminent domained your home right out from under your feet, a lovely court decision for which you may thank the liberal half of SCOTUS and its stunning disregard for the original, and quite plain, meaning of the Public Use clause. There is such a thing as competing interests, like the tension between freedom and security. Liberals like to argue, because we already have security, that personal freedom should somehow be unlimited. But without the former we will not long possess the latter. They are inextricably intertwined.

Our fellow humans prey on the helpless and on children and liberals (in addition to championing some very valuable causes) have also championed some pretty worthless causes like the freedom to view child pornography (which is illegal) and the freedom of ten year old girls to get abortions without their parents finding out. Personally I am not convinced a ten year old girl really needs the freedom to have sex with pedophiles. She is not a "woman" yet, so it is neither a "woman's right to choose" nor a "woman's sexual privacy" that is at issue. But apparently this shocking opinion makes me some sort of snake handling Jesus freak, though I don't attend church and am something of a libertarian.

Not all individual freedoms are worth protecting.

9. In response to the liberal statement of belief below, conservatives believe government must protect us also. What we believe, however, is that liberals often assert the rights of individuals over the collective right of society to be secure, often to a degree that is unreasonable. A good example is the NSA wiretapping brouhaha. Most Americans when polled don't object to having the NSA monitor and sample from a large number of calls. They understand the risks and they don't wholly trust the government, but they also understand the risks of inaction, and on balance they trust our own government more than they do the terrorists. Liberals, on the other hand, have allowed their dislike of this administration to lead them to make statements like "the administration is more of a danger to our freedoms than the terrorists".

The bottom line is that they may well believe that, but they don't have the right to allow their subjective doubts and fears to imperil the rest of us, and unless and until Congress is willing to call a halt to the NSA program (and so far it is not) they need to stop with the conspiracy theories. The truth is that democracy is functioning exactly as it should. They are simply outnumbered and their side didn't win the argument. Get over it.

Liberals believe government must protect the safety and security of the people, for without such protection liberalism is impossible. This, of course, is less a tenet of liberalism than a reply to those who attack liberalism. The accusation that liberals are unwilling to protect the nation from internal and external dangers is false. Because liberals respect competing values, such as procedural fairness and individual dignity, they weigh more carefully particular exercises of government power (such as the use of secret evidence, hearsay and torture), but they are no less willing to use government authority in other forms (such as expanded police forces and international diplomacy) to protect the nation and its citizens.

10. Conservatives believe there is an inherent tension between the rights of the accused and the safety of law abiding citizens. Therefore government must intelligently balance the rights of accused criminals against the rights of crime victims and ordinary citizens to be secure in their homes and on the streets. There is no liberty without security. On the extreme end of the scale, when we have liberal judges defining pedophilia as a disease and letting defendants off because they're "sorry" (there's an inconvenient truth for you), something is wrong. This is about as fair to your average liberal as tarring all conservatives with the excesses of the religious right, but it is liberal philosophy carried to the illogical extreme: individual rights trumping societal rights. Yet liberals can and do tar conservatives with that broad brush - all the time.

I copied the piece in it's entirety, and I also captured where it is in my link to the Villainous Company website, so that you can view the comments appended to this piece.

Like many of us, I have right-leaning and left-leaning reactions to certain issues....i.e., what makes me a LIBERAL Republican is my pro-choice stance, which is in direct opposition to most conservatives. It is my opinion that when she got too old to need an abortion for any reason, Jane Roe became a hypocrite, and I refuse to go down that pathe, even though I've passed my prime childbearing years also. I believe that abortion needs to be a safe and legal option for any woman who is pregnant with an unwanted or unplanned child. Until abortion was legalized, women still had them, they just died more often because of unsterile back street clinics, or worse, untrained "doctors" who shoved any and everything into a woman's vagina in hopes of causing a spontaneous abortion, not the least of which were wire hangers, which would perforate the uterus and cause massive infection, and in some cases, death. It needs to stay legal.

Of course, I don't advocate abortion as a means of birth control, and I'm sure there are women out there that abuse this procedure because they're too lazy or stupid to protect themselves in other ways, and further, I believe that if you're too stupid to know you're preggers before the first three months are up....well, too bad. You're stuck. And, make sure you give that baby up for adoption once it's born, because you're way too stupid to be a mother, and too irresponsible to raise a child. So, I guess in some ways, I'm conservative about abortion, too!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Blogging Gas Prices for Posterity

Just so we can keep track of it, the price of gas at the corner gas station in my neighborhood just went down to a new low of $2.12 this morning.

On Wednesday, September 13, I noted that gas had fallen to $2.40.

I saw a news story on the Today show this morning, where they pointed out that lots of people think the low gas prices are being manipulated by the gas companies for W's benefit just before the election, and speculated that gas prices will be going up after the election. Well...DUHHHHH.

What's after the election? The Holidays! Thanksgiving and Christmas...the high holy days of travel. Of COURSE the gas prices will go up for the holidays, just like they do in the summer. The question is, when they go back up, will they go back to the $3.00 range, or stay more reasonable? Time will tell....

Monday, October 23, 2006

Interesting Website Alert

I was reading LaShawn Barber's Corner today, and she linked to a marvelous blog about the Duke Rape Case. It's called Crystal Mess. If you're interested in a well written view of the case, mosey over.

Today's essay is an answer to a newspaper column by Cash Michaels, on the recent 60 Minutes episode on the Case. Mr. Michaels contends that the program didn't present a "balanced" report, and proceeds to lay out his arguments, which Crystal Mess proceeds to shred in a most methodical manner. The author doesn't give his name or much about himself, but I 'magine he's been to law school, and his writing has a real bite to it. I found his style very informative and entertaining to read, in spite of the gravity of the subject.

Sitting down to pen his latest article, entitled How '60 Minutes' Failed The Fairness Test, published Thursday in the Wilmington Journal, Cash Michaels made an affirmative and despicable decision. By-passing the wholly appropriate opportunity to drive the final nail into the coffin bearing Mike Nifong's dwindling election hopes, Michaels consciously elected instead to channel South Park's Johnny Cochran and, in so choosing, staked his place among those doing their part to keep those hopes alive.

Cash will feign insult at the accusation, and protest that he has never, and CAN'T, tell the electorate how to vote. He's free to speak, and I'm free to tell him to shut up. Simple. Cash is acutely aware of the sway his opinions hold over the local black community. He may deny undertaking to endorse or decry the endorsement of a particular candidate. He cannot deny that he is deeply trusted and eagerly looked to for guidance by his flock, and that his pronouncements have the practical effect of spurring black community action largely in accordance with, and furtherance of, his views.

Michaels has often claimed that he reports upon the Hoax as an "entire process," rather than a "football game," merely noting what he sees and hears. In the very next sentence of his linked musings, however, he chides that, "when somebody says I'm "waffling," they made the grave error of assuming I was on their side." He will respond that I have mis-interpreted that statement. He will say that he wrote it to convey that he does not have a side. Shut up.

It's worth the read.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Kinky Friedman - Future Governor of Texas?

My friend and fellow blogger, M. Simon, has a very interesting post on his blog today, regarding our friend and candidate for Governor of Texas, Kinky Friedman. Now, I found it very interesting that a guy who doesn't even live in Texas, would be interested in the Governor's race, let alone blog about it.

The article he referenced, appears in the online edition of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, and is written by a reporter named Matt Labash.

Mr. Labash writes:
When it comes to black, Kinky Friedman picks up where Johnny Cash left off. He wears a black bull-rider hat, black boots, and a black belt with a buckle the size of a Mini Cooper hubcap. Over his black pearl-button shirt, he mixes things up a bit. He'll either wear the black leather vest, given to him by Waylon Jennings, or the black "preachin' coat," cut by Manuel, the famed former head tailor of Nudie's in Nashville.

In the airy, pastel atrium of the Ambassador Hotel in Amarillo, Ma and Pa Frontporch do double takes at the breakfast buffet, pausing by the Froot Loop dispenser, saying, "Isn't that . . . " when they spy the dark rider with bandito facial hair hunched over his omelet, skimming the newspaper. Kinky looks less like a Texas gubernatorial candidate than a desperado fortifying himself to knock over a stagecoach.

As I join his table, he welcomes me warmly. I've read a stack of Kinky stories on the plane, so I know how it works: Kinky is a shtick-Tommy gun, so if you tape eight hours of interviews with him, but are looking for original material, you know you'll have to throw seven out right off the top. Most of it will already have traveled several times around the
world. He's pro-recycling: He calls it "rotating the crops." And so I try to peel the onion a bit, getting right down to his raw, vital essence--not political, but musical.

Kinky (so named for his "Jew-fro," as the ladies at Supercuts call it) is most famous these days for trying to become the first independent governor of Texas since Sam Houston in 1859. For two decades prior, he was known for his 17 well-reviewed comic-mystery novels, with himself cast as the protagonist ("I'm not afraid of anything, just that I may have to stop talking about myself for five minutes," he's said). But it was as head cheese-maker in Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys that he first entered public consciousness.

Before that, Kinky did a two-year Peace Corps stint in Borneo, where he introduced the locals to Frisbee while they introduced him to betel nut and hallucinogenic rice wine. Perhaps under the influence of it, he conceived the Jewboys. When Kinky got back to Texas in the early '70s, Austin had become a hothouse for outlaw country heroes who'd said adios to the slick sounds of Nashville in order to do some honest-to-God songwriting. Cosmic Cowboys and gypsy troubadours like Michael Martin Murphey, Jerry Jeff Walker, Billy Joe Shaver, and other guys with two first names walked the land.

Read the rest here.
It's a very well written article, at times laugh-out-loud funny, and overall I thought it was pretty informative.

It definitely talks about Kinky's strategy for winning the election. His campaign manager is the same one Jesse Ventura used for his gubernatorial run in Minnesota, and he surprised the political establishment in that state by actually winning. And the way he won was to bring out the college vote. He was spectacularly successful in getting lazy, politically apathetic college kids to actually get out of bed on election day, and go vote. Evidently, Kinky is trying to do the same thing.

Trouble is, he doesn't fit the multicultural, feel good, left wing sort of politician archetype that college kids are indoctrinated to be attracted to. He's actually fairly conservative on some things (fiscal conservation, border security) and fairly liberal on others (gay marriage). He also smokes....great big, smelly cigars! And he sprinkles his speech liberally with all the taboo words and phrases that get most people tagged by the politically correct as racist, mysoginist, and homophobic.

He freely admits that he has little political experience (he ran for JP in his home district years ago, and lost), and in a State House as contentious as the one in Austin, one wonders, even if he were to actually get himself elected by popular vote (read: Will of the People), would he have the political chops to actually accomplish what he wants to do? Will the "old guard" political establishment shut him out? Will he have the political clout to cut deals with the old guys who've been around the State House since God was a boy? I'm not so sure.

I do know this, however, that Kinky has certainly pumped some much-needed life into what is usually a dry-as-dust gubernatorial race in Texas. Mix in "One Tough Grandma," Carol Keeton Strayhorn, who, by the way, is just as much a showman as Kinky (when Kinky and Carol turned in their petitions to get on the ballot, they both had way more signatures than were needed, but Carol saw fit to trumpet her submission by delivering over 100 boxes to the Election Commission. Kinky turned in 12), the uber-liberal Chris Bell, and a beleaguered Rick Perry, and it promises to be a pretty amusing and exciting time coming down to election day in Texas.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Star Trek as Fascist Fantasy

Gotta love the Captain. Ed Morrissey, of the Captain's Quarters Blog has an essay up today suggesting that Star Trek has much in common with fascist ideology. He quotes another essay, written by Dr. Kelley Ross of Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys, CA, entitled "The Fascist Ideology of Star Trek."

Dr. Ross postulates:
Star Trek typically reflects certain political, social, and metaphysical views, and on close examination they are not worthy of the kind of tribute that is often paid to Star Trek as representing an edifying vision of things.
In a 1996 newspaper column, James P. Pinkerton, discussing the new Star Trek movie (the eighth), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), quotes Captain Picard saying how things have changed in his day, "The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force; we work to better humanity." Perhaps Picard never stopped to reflect that greater wealth means greater material well being, which is to the betterment of humanity much more than any empty rhetoric. But this is typical of Star Trek. A first season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode called "The Neutral Zone," has Picard getting up on his high horse with a three hundred year old businessman who is revived from suspended animation: The businessman, naturally, wants to get in touch with his agents to find out what has happened to his investments. Picard loftily informs him that such things don't exist anymore. Indeed, poverty and want have been abolished, but how this was accomplished is never explained. All we know is, that however it is that people make a living, it isn't through capitalism as we know it. Stocks, corporations, banking, bonds, letters of credit -- all these things seem to have disappeared. We never see Picard, or anyone else, reviewing his investment portfolio. And those who still have a lowly interest in buying and selling, like the Ferengi, are not only essentially thieves, but ultimately only accept payment in precious commodities. In the bold new future of cosmic civilization, galactic trade is carried on in little better than a Phoenician style of barter, despite the possibilities of pan-galactic banking and super-light speed money transfers made possible by "sub-space" communications. ...

If daily life is not concerned with familiar economic activities and the whole of life is not informed with religious purposes, then what is life all about in Star Trek? Well, the story is about a military establishment, Star Fleet, and one ship in particular in the fleet, the Enterprise. One might not expect this to provide much of a picture of ordinary civilian life; and it doesn't. One never sees much on Earth apart from the Star Fleet Academy and Picard's family farm in France -- unless of course we include Earth's past, where the Enterprise spends much more time than on the contemporaneous Earth. Since economic life as we know it is presumed not to exist in the future, it would certainly pose a challenge to try and represent how life is conducted and how, for instance, artifacts like the Enterprise get ordered, financed, and constructed. And if it is to be represented that things like "finance" don't exist, one wonders if any of the Trek writers or producers know little details about Earth history like when Lenin wanted to get along without money and accounting and discovered that Russia's economy was collapsing on him. Marx's prescription for an economy without the cash nexus was quickly abandoned and never revived. Nevertheless, Marx's dream and Lenin's disastrous experiment is presented as the noble and glorious future in Star Trek: First Contact, where Jean Luc Picard actually says, "Money doesn't exist in the Twenty-Fourth Century."

So what one is left with in Star Trek is military life. Trying to soften this by including families and recreation on the Enterprise in fact makes the impression worse, since to the extent that such a life is ordinary and permanent for its members, it is all the easier to imagine that all life in the Federation is of this sort. Not just a military, but a militarism.

Read the rest here.

Now, I can see where Capt. Ed is coming from, I'm inclined to be more ambivalent about it than he is. I can see the correlations to our present-day Earth, however, Star Trek belongs to the science fantasy genre of television, and....well, it's fantasy.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but when you're writing fantasy, you try to get as far away from where you are in the cosmos when you write it. In other words, if you're fantasizing, your fantasy world would be perfect. Of course there would be no money, no starvation, no disease, no pestilence, no wars, no violence, and the problems you would face in a fantasy world, would be, by logical definition, different on a grand scale from what any ordinary person would face in an ordinary world. A fantasy world is no ordinary world, because it would be, well...perfect!

If you're writing a fantasy, you're going to, I would think, put your wish-list into it for the ills of whatever world you live in at the time you write that fantasy. If there is famine and pestilence and violence in your ordinary world, those things will no longer exist in your fantasy world. If you're unattractive or shy in your world, in your fantasy world, you're ten feet tall and bulletproof.

Of course, present day leftists and liberals do fantasize a utopian world where everybody is green, we all have what we need according to our needs, and everybody loves each other and gets together every day to sing "Kumbayah" and hold hands, but that's purely a fantasy, too, because liberals believe in the ultimate goodness of man, which isn't reality. Some people are just born evil and they stay that way. You can't breed envy and greed out of people any more than you can breed out 10 fingers. That's why none of those leftist "isms" (communism, socialism, humanism) works in practice. None of those ideologies taks in consideration man's natural propensity for evil.

I'll continue to love Star Trek in all it's forms, just because I appreciate it for what it is, and what it was, in it's time. For me, it was just great entertainment, and at the time, I guess I was too young to catch whatever political message there was.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Democrats - The Mature Party!

Just when I think Howard Dean can't be any more stupid, he surprises me by doing just that. What in the world moved him to decline an invitation to be on the TODAY Show this morning, just because he would be sharing the screen with the RNC Chairman, Ken Mehlman? They actually had to resort to having the former Chairman of the DNC on instead, which IMO makes Dean look really petty. Is it me, or does this sort of childish, I'm-not-going-if-HE'S-going-to-be-there attitude reflect well upon the liberal left? I think not. I still can't understand how Dean got the job in the first place, unless it was due to the Kos Kids' influence in the DNC.

You would think that Dean would jump at the chance to bash the Republicans in any forum, on any day, at any time....after all, isn't that his job description as Chairman of the DNC? Sure looked like Mehlman was doing his job....where was Dean?

Real mature, there, Howie! I guess this is the sort of behavior we can count on after the Dumbocrats lose the 2008 presidential race, too, huh?

Leak to NYT May Have Been Found

It seems that the Dumbocrats are at it again. Ed Morrissey, over at the Captain's Quarters has a blog post about this today. Seems that there was a certain Democratic Staffer on the House Intelligence Committee (sounds kinda oxy-moronic doesn't it?) has been suspended pending an investigation.

Here's an excerpt of that post:
With the election pending, the temptation would be to look at this as an electoral issue, but it's not going to have that kind of impact. Leaks do not generally come from one party or the other; they do usually have political motivations, though, and it's always been more likely to have been a Democrat than a Republican for a number of reasons. Democrats have been shut out of the oversight process and would be more likely to lash out in this manner. Their opposition to the programs, at least after their exposure, also provides another motive. However, I doubt that people will consider the staffers when it comes time to vote for their representatives.

What is the problem with these people? Why do they feel like they can take an oath not to reveal this type of intelligence, then do it anyway for a mere political agenda? Do these people suffer from delusions of grandeur, or think that they're heroes of some sort by "bringing down" programs that actually help defend their fellow citizens from terrorist attacks? Obviously the Dumbocrats can't be trusted with the security of our nation, if they're so ready and willing to divulge state secrets merely because they disapprove of the present administration, which, will be gone in 2 years anyway!

What part of "George W. Bush is a lame duck" don't they understand? They're beginning to remind me of the Palistinians, who made it perfectly clear by electing Hamas that they hate the Israelis more than they love their children. Evidently, the Dumbocrats hate GW more than they love their country. Sad. Very sad.

And these are the folks that some Republicans would let into power just to "teach the R's a lesson?" What are you, nuts?

All the more reason to vote Republican in this, and any other election, unless of course you want to learn Arabic...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A New Feature - Local Restaurant Reviews

I'm adding a new feature to my blog today. Restaurant reviews. Occasionally, from now on, I will post my own review of places that I go to eat.

As a smoker, it's getting increasingly hard to find places, besides my own home, where I can enjoy a meal, and then enjoy a cigarette afterwards. The following restaurants are smoker-friendly, which is unimportant to a non-smoker, but is of paramount importance to those of us who still puff.

Today I will review 2 such places, to start off the new feature.

First up on the list is Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, on Hwy 290 East, in Elgin, Texas. Jalisco is a family-owned Mexican restaurant. They feature many of the classic mexican dishes, like enchiladas, tacos, tortas and more. For me, their crispy tacos are the best! Homemade tortillas, crispy fried with ground beef, lettuce, tomato and cheese. They have a very resonably priced lunch menu, that features combinations of many of their excellent dishes. If you're a smoker, it's paradise. They have a large back room where you can puff to your heart's content after your meal. The staff is very friendly, and the service is great. Prices are reasonable.

The next one is a restaurant that I just discovered today. City Cafe, in downtown Elgin is a wonderful old restaurant, located on Main Street in the heart of the old city of Elgin. For those of you who aren't from Texas, you don't pronounce it like the brand of watch, the "g" is hard. Founded in 1910, the location is in a wonderful old building, which they spiced up with murals painted on old bricks. They have a wonderful lunch counter, or you can take a table in either the smoking room, or the adjacent dining room. Today, I had their lunch buffet, which featured pot roast, real mashed potatoes and braised carrots in butter sauce. This restaurant is probably not for those who count calories or cholesterol, but for those who yearn for comfort food, this is certainly your place!! The staff was both friendly and helpful, as I couldn't make up my mind about what to try, so I asked the waitress for her opinion, and.....she gave it to me! Prices are a little on the high side for lunch, but not unreasonable. I understand their desserts are pretty good too, but I'll have to save that for my next'll give me a reason, besides great food, to go back!

Why am I reviewing restaurants in Elgin you ask?? Well, because I work in that area, which, even though it's a suburb of Austin, is still pretty much farm land, and good places to have lunch are few. Heck, I got excited when they opened a new KFC/Long John Silver's down the road!! You gotta be pretty bored with the local cuisine to get excited about a new KFC....

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Now THIS is Funny!

I just happened to stumble upon this blog at Town This is part of an essay written by a man who calls himself Jimmy Carter, and he seeks to overthrow the government in Austin, and install his own regime.

Mr. Carter writes:
My fellow Texans...

My associates and I have come to the conclusion that we here need a change of pace. Therefore, I have developed a plan for taking over the hands of government in Austin and installing my dictatorship.

Why a dictator you ask? First and foremost I think it is the funniest word in the English language. Just try to seperate the first syllable from the second two and keep from laughing. Second, less beauracracy.

First order of business will be to secede from the United States and once again become a Nation of our Own.

As a new and Independent Nation I will immediately declare War on Oklahoma. As all Texans know we have special genes that make us hate all things Oklahoma. After having conquered Ok. we will then have breakfast.
Oklahomans will be made to wear a pink bonnet, shorts, black socks, and sandals when visiting Texas so as to be easily identified and avoided.
The joke that every Texan learns first:
Why doesn't Texas float off into the Gulf of Mexico?
Because Oklahoma SUCKS!!

Oklahoma will be given to the first person who brings me a keg of beer, a "log" of Copenhagen, and a new, bright and shiny, brass cuspidor.

Speed limits will be abolished. On the interstate, if you are passing someone on the righthand side you are allowed one free shot at the tires of said passey for driving too slow in the left lane. There will be no "Special" parking designations, if you can drive you can park at the back of the lot at Wal-mart next to me.

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys will be the official band of Texas. It will be illegal to hurt, injure, kill, mock, or insult any member or any of their work.

President Roanld Wilson Reagan will replace fdr on the dime. We will mint a special coin with the likeness of John Wayne on the front and the back will contain the "Canon of San Jacinto" with its motto "Come and Get It!" This coins' worth will equate to exactly the purchase price for a case of beer. While making a "beer run," it would be convenient to simply toss the clerk a coin and not wait in line.

It will be legal to treat abortionists with the same care and consideration that they give to a Mother's child.

Vegetatians will be rounded up and dropped over California at 15,000 feet.

I love this guy. Read the rest of the essay here. It's definitely worth the read!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ten Reasons I'll Never Be A Liberal

What It Means To Be A Liberal

Taken from an article in the Chicago Tribune, written by Geoffrey R. Stone, Law Professor at the university of Chicago.
Mr. Stone writes
For most of the past four decades, liberals have been in retreat. Since the election of Richard Nixon in 1968, Republicans have controlled the White House 70 percent of the time and Republican presidents have made 86 percent of the U.S. Supreme Court appointments. In many quarters, the word "liberal" has become a pejorative. Part of the problem is that liberals have failed to define themselves and to state clearly what they believe. As a liberal, I find that appalling.

1. Liberals believe individuals should doubt their own truths and consider fairly and open-mindedly the truths of others. This is at the very heart of liberalism. Liberals understand, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once observed, that "time has upset many fighting faiths." Liberals are skeptical of censorship and celebrate free and open debate. Yup, just as long as it coincides with what THEY believe in. They have no problems censoring debates and anything else they don't agree with. Columbia University, anyone? Instead of listening politely to the speaker, Columbia University students decided that storming the stage and shouting the opposition down was the order of the day. Real champions of free speech there, huh?

2. Liberals believe individuals should be tolerant and respectful of difference. It is liberals who have supported and continue to support the civil rights movement, affirmative action, the Equal Rights Amendment and the rights of gays and lesbians. (Note that a conflict between propositions 1 and 2 leads to divisions among liberals on issues like pornography and hate speech.) All programs and ideas that have wreaked untold damage on those it was meant to help, i.e., the poor and black. In my opinion, welfare has done nothing for blacks except reduce black men to sperm donors. They have been replaced as providers for their families by the ubiquitous "welfare check." And we wonder why they go to jail in such alarming numbers, way out of proportion to their percentage of the population.

3. Liberals believe individuals have a right and a responsibility to participate in public debate. It is liberals who have championed and continue to champion expansion of the franchise; the elimination of obstacles to voting; "one person, one vote;" limits on partisan gerrymandering; campaign-finance reform; and a more vibrant freedom of speech. They believe, with Justice Louis Brandeis, that "the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people."Yep, the Liberals believe in voting, all right! They believe that the dead should still vote, that convicted felons should vote, and that illegal aliens should have the vote, too! Who cares if they don't have that pesky citizenship? The Liberal philosophy is "Vote Early, and Vote Often!!

4. Liberals believe "we the people" are the governors and not the subjects of government, and that government must treat each person with that in mind. It is liberals who have defended and continue to defend the freedom of the press to investigate and challenge the government, the protection of individual privacy from overbearing government monitoring, and the right of individuals to reproductive freedom. (Note that libertarians, often thought of as "conservatives," share this value with liberals.) As long as We The People are in charge, of course. When it's the Republicans in charge, it's Bushitler all the way!

5. Liberals believe government must respect and affirmatively safeguard the liberty, equality and dignity of each individual. It is liberals who have championed and continue to champion the rights of racial, religious and ethnic minorities, political dissidents, persons accused of crime and the outcasts of society. It is liberals who have insisted on the right to counsel, a broad application of the right to due process of law and the principle of equal protection for all people.
And it's those same Liberals who want to treat terrorists like mere criminals, give them lawyers, and hold trials. They just don't seem to get the idea that terrorists do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Geneva Conventions, and although I'm sorry for John McCain's experience in a Vietnamese POW camp, today's terrorists do not wear uniforms, and do not represent a particular country. They don't DESERVE protection, as they don't recognize Western laws anyway.

These are also the same Liberals who would have your school aged children reading about Dick and Lane, instead of Dick and Jane. They want to make homosexuality not just an "alternative" lifestyle, but they want it to be considered mainstream, and the aggressive Gay lobby wants to indoctrinate YOUR children that homosexuality is OK. Well, it's not a mainstream lifestyle. I have gay friends, and I don't have any problem with them practicing their lifestyle if it makes them happy. What I DO have a problem with is the idea that it's a NORMAL way of life. It's not. As far as I'm concerned, there are plenty of civil documents that can be used to address the issues that gays think marriage will solve, i.e., who can be in the emergency room when someone is dying (living will), inheritances (a regular will) and breaking up (a contractual agreement, signed and witnessed). They don't NEED marriage, per se, what they WANT is to have homosexuality accepted as normal. Sorry, but it isn't normal.

6. Liberals believe government has a fundamental responsibility to help those who are less fortunate. It is liberals who have supported and continue to support government programs to improve health care, education, social security, job training and welfare for the needyest members of society. It is liberals who maintain that a national community is like a family and that government exists in part to "promote the general welfare." Sorry, but I'm grown and don't need the government to be my DADDY. What ever happened to personal responsibility and civic duty? All the problems that occurred in New Orleans would never have happened if all those poor blacks had been encouraged to DO FOR THEMSELVES, instead of waiting on DADDY to come bail 'em out. The welfare mentality is killing our country. What ever happened to "Ask not what your Country can do for you, but what YOU can do for your Country." JFK must be twirling in his grave. WELFARE DOES NOT WORK. Handouts don't work. There is no dignity in handouts. Welfare should be a hand UP. What part of that don't the Libs understand?

7. Liberals believe government should never act on the basis of sectarian faith. It is liberals who have opposed and continue to oppose school prayer and the teaching of creationism in public schools and who support government funding for stem-cell research, the rights of gays and lesbians and the freedom of choice for women. Well, this may be the one point the Libs and I somewhat agree on. I'm in favor of stem cell research, and I'm also pro-choice. I realize that this doesn't quite jibe with the image of a conservative, but that's why I call myself a Liberal Republican. I really don't understand why they need to take the phrase "under God" out of the Pledge of allegiance, though. This country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and the lips need to get over it. If you're not religious, great, I'm not, but I respect the idea of God, and I respect the Judea-Christian principles that our country was founded upon. I believe there MUST be morals in any society that wishes to survive.

8. Liberals believe courts have a special responsibility to protect individual liberties. It is principally liberal judges and justices who have preserved and continue to preserve freedom of expression, individual privacy, freedom of religion and due process of law. (Conservative judges and justices more often wield judicial authority to protect property rights and the interests of corporations, commercial advertisers and the wealthy.) Judges are appointed to INTERPRET the law, not MAKE the law. Until the lips get the difference, I hope the only Presidents choosing Judges will be conservatives, who want the Judges to STICK TO THE CONSTITUTION.

9. Liberals believe government must protect the safety and security of the people, for without such protection liberalism is impossible. This, of course, is less a tenet of liberalism than a reply to those who attack liberalism. The accusation that liberals are unwilling to protect the nation from internal and external dangers is false. Because liberals respect competing values, such as procedural fairness and individual dignity, they weigh more carefully particular exercises of government power (such as the use of secret evidence, hearsay and torture), but they are no less willing to use government authority in other forms (such as expanded police forces and international diplomacy) to protect the nation and its citizens. Boy, Anita that the truth! Trouble is, they're willing to use the government to impeach and otherwise harass conservatives! The Libs flat cannot be trusted with national security. They can't even be trusted to reform immigration. If they had their way, they'd just throw open our borders and actively encourage the Mexicans to take back California, Texas and parts of Arizona and Nevada. The Libs idea of "diplomacy" is to throw all kinds of money at Kim Jong Il, and then turn a blind eye when he goes back on their "deal" before the ink is even dry. They're all about appeasement, and will never learn that appeasement does not work.

10. Liberals believe government must protect the safety and security of the people, without unnecessarily sacrificing constitutional values. It is liberals who have demanded and continue to demand legal protections to avoid the conviction of innocent people in the criminal justice system, reasonable restraints on government surveillance of American citizens, and fair procedures to ensure that alleged enemy combatants are in fact enemy combatants. Liberals adhere to the view expressed by Brandeis some 80 years ago: "Those who won our independence ... did not exalt order at the cost of liberty." Innocent people, eh? Like Mumia? Like Tookey? Please, the ACLU needs to be disbanded and done away with. We're harboring Marxist/Lenonist/Communist traitors in our own ranks, and the rot is corrupting our society from the inside.

How the Left Enables Terrorism

Dr. Sanity has a great blog article today on why/how the Left in this country enables terrorism. She is a phychiatrist, and addresses the psychosocial aspects of the narcissism of the Left in regard to giving aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war.

It is my contention that the Democrats, the MSM, the Left (including feminists, communists and socialist dead-enders) and various other assorted groups I choose to comment on do exactly that: wittingly or unwittingly, they enable, support, or facilitate terror and terrorists

However, in their current toxic iteration; and because they seem to have taken over the previously tolerable Democratic Party, I can no longer ignore them. Their unbelievable behavior over the past 5+ years has consistently provided aid and comfort to an enemy that is simply the greatest threat to civilization in my lifetime. Whether their behavior is conscious or not, I really don't care. The results are the same.

And, if you don't think that their enabling behavior has caused considerable death, destruction and other serious consequences to our country and our military, then you are not looking at the big picture of what is going on in the world today. If you do not understand that all their activity and bluster; all their slogans and hysteria are designed to make the United States lose this war, then you are extremely naiive. Take a look at what they are doing. They have attempted to obstruct the prosecution of this war on every front. They have deliberately and with malice aforethought managed to create the impression that our military forces are composed of brutal thugs; while at the same time they coddle the real brutal thugs we are fighting. Rather than being the "loyal" opposition, they have descended at times, I believe, to actual treasonous behavior. The Democrats, in particular, have shown repeatedly that they hate George Bush and Dick Cheney more than they love this country. The Republicans, as I have said many times are bad enough with their slippery and opportunistic behavior patterns, but the Democrats are completely despicable.

As one commenter put it: the Republicans suck like Hoover vacuum cleaners, but the Democrats are a bleeding black hole of corruption, opportunism, and malignant narcissism.

Read the whole post here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What the Hell?!?!

What the hell is our world coming to? What kind of immoral, rudderless, spineless, godless society could produce not one, but two monsters, who, in one week, would inflict their nihilistic, narcisisstic, selfish grievences against the world on innocent children? And then, to compound their crimes against humanity by giving them a salacious, slimy, sexual element??

When grown men will invade a school, bent on doing violence to little girls? What the hell is wrong with them? According to news sites, the perpetrator in the most recent shootings in Amish Country was "getting even" for some perceived slight that allegedly happened when he was 12 years old!!! WTF? This guy, basically marked out 12 little girls for death, that he'd never set eyes on before yesterday. They had done nothing to him, had no connection to him whatsoever, none of their families had a connection with him, so he was "getting even" with 12 little girls he didn't know from Adam.....Why??? Why execute 12 little girls, innocents for crissakes, you've never seen before? Why not take your revenge, if you must, on whomever it was that abused you, broke your heart, yada, yada....??

What about the one in Colorado?? That's even worse, because the poor people of Colorado are already traumatized for a generation because of the shootings at Columbine High School several years ago. Geeze, can it get any worse? Of course it can, and it did last week, when a 50-something man, again with the grievences, infiltrated a high school, took over a classroom, molested and sexually assaulted half a dozen girls, and then killed one on his way out of the world. Why are they sexually assaulting young women they've never met, to get even with society?? WTF???

Are men more highly sexualized today or have they always been pigs and it just wasn't as widely known? Why are these guys not just killing, but sexualizing little girls? Is the American moral compass broken? Are we all sick at the core like this, but some of us just control it better? Is this a personal disease or is society sick?

I'm sure that the plethora of easily accessed pornography on the internet, the violence that saturates our society, explicit and violent rap lyrics, cartoons, sexually explicit videos and explicit video games, as well as poor parenting, and lack of significant adult guidance leads some of these people down the path less righteous. But, I'm also afraid that Pandora's Box is open, and there's no way to "unring" the bell. Our society is just slowly sliding down the path to wrack and ruin.

In the above 2 cases, I would wager that sexual abuse was at the root of why these two monsters committed their atrocities, but that doesn't excuse in any way what they did, and the only upside to this whole, horrible mess is that they had the good grace to at least off themselves, and save the states the cost of prosecuting them, and it saved the families of the slain girls the agony of having to confront the monsters who murdered their children.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Thomas Sowell on "Peacemongers"

Writer Thomas Sowell has some very interesting thoughts on the "Peace Mongers." He contends that peacemongering has done nothing but put off the inevitable wars, and, in the end, make them worse than they needed to be.

Very interesting reading.

One of the many failings of our educational system is that it sends out into the world people who cannot tell rhetoric from reality. They have learned no systematic way to analyze ideas, derive their implications, and test those implications against hard facts.

“Peace” movements are among those who take advantage of this widespread inability to see beyond rhetoric to realities. Few people even seem interested in the actual track record of so-called “peace” movements — that is, whether such movements actually produce peace or war.

Take the Middle East. People are calling for a cease-fire in the interests of peace. But there have been more cease-fires in the Middle East than anywhere else. If cease-fires actually promoted peace, the Middle East would be the most peaceful region on the face of the earth instead of the most violent.

Was World War II ended by cease-fires or by annihilating much of Germany and Japan? Make no mistake about it, innocent civilians died in the process. Indeed, American prisoners of war died when we bombed Germany.

There is a reason why General Sherman said “war is hell” more than a century ago. But he helped end the Civil War with his devastating march through Georgia — not by cease fires or bowing to “world opinion,” and there were no corrupt busybodies like the United Nations to demand replacing military force with diplomacy.

There was a time when it would have been suicidal to threaten, much less attack, a nation with much stronger military power because one of the dangers to the attacker would be the prospect of being annihilated.

“World opinion,” the U.N., and “peace movements” have eliminated that deterrent. An aggressor today knows that if his aggression fails, he will still be protected from the full retaliatory power and fury of those he attacked because there will be hand-wringers demanding a cease fire, negotiations, and concessions.

That has been a formula for never-ending attacks on Israel in the Middle East. The disastrous track record of that approach extends to other times and places — but who looks at track records?

Remember the Falkland Islands war, when Argentina sent troops into the Falklands to capture this little British colony in the South Atlantic?

Argentina had been claiming to be the rightful owner of those islands for more than a century. At no time did the British have enough troops there to defend them. Why didn't Argentina attack these little islands before?

Before there were “peace” movements and the U.N., sending troops into those islands could easily have meant finding British troops or bombs in Buenos Aires. Now, “world opinion” condemned the British just for sending armed forces into the South Atlantic to take back their islands.

Shamefully, our own government was one of those that opposed the British use of force. But fortunately British prime minister Margaret Thatcher ignored “world opinion” and took back the Falklands.

The most catastrophic result of “peace” movements was World War II. While Hitler was arming Germany to the teeth, “peace” movements in Britain were advocating that their own country disarm “as an example to others.”

British Labour Party Members of Parliament voted consistently against military spending and British college students publicly pledged never to fight for their country. If “peace” movements brought peace, there would never have been World War II.

Not only did that war lead to tens of millions of deaths, it came dangerously close to a crushing victory for the Nazis in Europe and the Japanese empire in Asia. And we now know that the United States was on Hitler's timetable after that.

For the first two years of that war, the Western democracies lost virtually every battle, all over the world, because pre-war “peace” movements had left them with inadequate military equipment and much of it obsolete. The Nazis and the Japanese knew that. That is why they launched the war.

“Peace” movements don't bring peace, but war.

Islam Wants to Conquer the World

Another banned op-ed, German Professor Egon Flaig's piece on Islam....sure to be on the Islamic Hit Parade, coming to an Infidel near you! (Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin)

"For we want the flag of Islam to fly over those lands again, who were lucky enough, to be ruled by Islam for a time, and hear the call of the muezzin praise God. Then the light of Islam died out and they returned to disbelief. Andalusia, Sicily, the Balkans, Southern Italy and the Greek islands are all Islamic colonies which have to return to Islam's lap. The Mediterranean and the Red Sea have to become internal seas of Islam, as they used to be".

These are not the words of Al Qaeda, they were taken from the programme formulated by the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan Al Banna, in a speech. The Brotherhood today has millions of adherents and spread out far beyond Egypt. Its intellectuals are working in Europe and the United States; they count as "moderates" and are treated accordingly by the media. Re-conquest of "lost" territory according to plan is part of the agenda of states, that is political communities, fighting about territorial power. How can it be part of a religion's programme? Is Islam a religion like any other?

Since the beginning of the classical period between the ninth and the eleventh century Islamic jurists have divided the world into two parts, namely the "House of Islam" and the "House of War". This dichotomy is independent of where Muslims live in large numbers, or even form the majority, but depends on where Islam rules supreme - by applying Shariah - or where it does not rule. So, this dichotomy is not religious in nature, but political. Between these two parts of the world naturally exists a state of war, until the House of War is no more and Islam rules the world (Sura 8, 39 and 9, 41). Thus, according to classical teaching, for the Muslim community there is a duty to wage war against the disbelievers, until those either convert, or submit. This war is called jihad.

While Jesus' missionary call meant to convert all peoples, but to leave their political order untouched, Islam's aim is to submit all non-muslims politically, but to leave their religion untouched, if it is a religion of the book. God's general call to jihad is based on surah 9, 29. It is true though, that minute factions of islam did not accept this interpretation. The Shiites accept it, but demand that a true imam must be leading the Muslim community (and has been waiting for such a one for more than 13 centuries), so that for the time being they only feel bound to defensive jihad, in the case of attacks on the Muslim community.

On the other hand, the other factions, e.g. the so-called Kharijites, have radicalised the content of Sura 9.29: for them, jihad is an individual duty of each able-bodied muslim, which counts as a sixth pillar next to the other five cardinal duties. In the consequence of such teachings: when everyone has to either take part in the collective war against the unbelievers, or, should the Muslim community be too weak for the time being, has to wage war alone or in small groups, then assassinations and terror attacks are right. What the Kharijites demand for offensive jihad, most proponents of orthodox Sunnah-teachings demand for defensive jihad: when Islam is being attacked, or islamic territory is being invaded by infidels, jihad becomes an individual duty, e.g. a fatwa of the Grand Mufti of Cairo's Al-Azhar university - against Israel - leaves no doubt about that. Any enemy power that acts according to the Hague rules of warfare and strictly distinguishes combatants and non-combatants will be in great difficulty. The state of war lasts so long, until the House of War is destroyed, and the world is conquered. This is why Majid Khadduri calls Islam a "divine nomocracy on imperialist foundations". Peace treaties, which Islamic rulers closed with non-Islamic rulers, were only considered as cease-fires; this is why as a rule, they were only closed for no more than ten years. Two schools of jurisprudence permit no more than three to four years of peace. The short deadlines made it possible for the militarily superior Muslims to constantly blackmail their adversaries; this way throughout the centuries huge amounts of money and humans went to the Muslim side. When the paradigm of power shifted, Muslim rulers had to change their practice.

Thus in 1535 Suleiman the Magnificent made a peace with the French king which was to last for the lifetime of the Sultan - a break with tradition. Christian theologians tried to define, in the face of a plurality of states, what could be deemed a "just war" and what could not be deemed such. To wage war just in the interest of faith for the most part was not considered just. For Muslim scholars on the other hand, the "house of islam" is a political unit, which does not permit internal war, therefore only war for the sugjugation of infidels was considered legitimate and even a duty, as the famous fourtheenth-century scholare Ibn Chaldun categorically states: "In Islam the jihad is prescribed by law, because it has a universal calling and is supposed to convert all of humanity to Islam, be it of their own free will, or by force".

The rules of engagement for jihad are flexible. According to Khadduri, anything is possible, from mercy to mass enslavement to mass killing, just like with Greeks and Romans. This is a fundamental difference between the holy war of islam and of Old Testament Judaism, which prescribed the killing of all males outside of Israel, and the killing of every living thing within Israel (Deuteronomy 20, 10-20). We usually are outraged at what the Crusaders did in Jerusalem in 1099. Yet, the Crusaders acted in accordance with the ius bellum of the times, Muslim conquerors did the same all the time and everywhere: 698 they hit Carthage, in 838 Syracuse; the notorious vesir of the Cordoban Caliphate, Al Mansur, led 25 wars in 27 years against the Christian realms of northern Spain, enslaving, destroying, laying waste. They hit Zamora (981), Coimbra (987), Leon, Barcelona twice (985 and 1008), then Santiago de Compostela (997).

The worst destruction was wreaked by the jihadis on Byzantine Anatolia, which was then still full of cities; the massacre of Amorium (838) has remained a symbol for a long time; the urban culture of Anatolia never recovered from it.

The Seljuk Alp Arslan had entire Armenian cities massacred, the worst being the capital Ani in 1064. Bat Ye'or's evaluation therefore is more than justified: "Its lack of measure, its regularity and the systematic character of the destructions, which Islamic theologians had decreed to be law, make the difference between jihad and other wars of conquest".Certainly, mass enslavement remained the favourite aim of the wars. That was the way in which, as early as the eight century, the biggest slave-holder society developed that world history has ever known; it demanded a permanent influx of new slaves, transformed the African continent into the biggest supplier of slaves, a destiny which Europe narrowly avoided.

The incredible speed, in which in 90 years an Arabian empire spanning from the south of France to India developed, with no single conqueror guiding the expansion, is unique. The world's most succesful imperialism was admired by no less than Hegel: "Never has enthusiasm as such done bigger deeds". If "enthusiasm" could do such a thing - what was its source? The answer is simple: martyrdom. Something happening in 963 in Constantinople may illustrate this: the emperor Nikephoros Phokas had just swept the Muslim invaders from Crete; now, he was planning a big war, to liberate eastern Anatolia and northern Syria from muslim rule. A council should help him: he pleaded with the bishops, to elevate soldiers dying in the war to the status of martyrs. Paradise would then have been assured for those soldiers. The patriarch stood up against the emperor: no church council could be empowered to anticipate God's decision, only God could decide on eternal salvation.

A scene of historical significance. The emperor knew what was at stake. Again and again, the Byzantians had to witness the Muslim troops fighting with a ferocious courage that the Christians could not emulate. Fallen Muslims were considered martyrs of the faith and marched straight to paradise. The concept of a martyr is fundamentally different in the two religions. Christian martyrs imitate the passion of Jesus, passively submit to torture and death; Muslim martyrs are active fighters.

Decisive for the warriors' acceptance of death was the firm promise of eternal salvation for those who die for the faith (surah 4, 74-76). Muslims should withstand a tenfold force (surah 8, 66-67); retreat was judged to be acceptable by later scholars if the enemy was at least double as strong, as Khadduri describes. As the decisive factor in any war is the fighting human being and his readiness to sacrifice himself, being on a par technically with the Arabs and Seljuks - in the long run, they had to succumb, if their morale was not of the same kind. Higher readiness to die is an enormous advantage in a fight- foolhardy operations can be waged and dashing manoeuvers to surprise and confuse the enemy; in that way, victory can be forced, that is technically and materially almost impossible, and battles are won, that would be lost under the usual circumstances.

Nikephoros knew about the military consequences of surah 4, 74-76; he was the first who tried to correct the conceptual military disadvantage of the Christian religion. But the bishops of the Eastern Church found themselves incapable of manipulating their theology in a way to create warlike martyrdom. This was it. The Byzantine emperors had to wage their heavy defensive wars against the permanent Saracen and Seljuk aggression without the help of religion, where they needed that help most.

Only the Western Church changed the theological-political situation: when Pope Urban II called the first crusade in 1095, he promised the Christian warriors forgiveness for their sins: fallen crusaders avoided divine judgement and were put on a par with martyrs in that respect, although they were denied that name.

The Pope as head of a monarchic church did just that, what the Council of Eastern bishops had not been able to do: he dispensed salvation. The papal church now could have the kind of "holy war" islam had been waging for centuries. What is the difference between Crusade and jihad? A Crusade could only be called by the Pope, and thus remained a rare occurence - compared to the countless, neverending and ubiquitarian jihads of the islamic world.

And the goals of the Crusades remain precisely defined; in November 1095, Urban II defined reason and aim of the crusade: "it is obvious, we must give help to our brothers in the east as soon as possible. The Turks and Arabs have attacked them and have invaded the realm of Romania (Constantinople) and by invading the lands of these Christians ever more deeply, they won seven battles, killed or captured a huge number of the Christians. If you don't oppose them now, the faithful servants of God in the Orient will not withstand this storm much longer". The first Crusades were meant to either help Christians in need, or to liberate the holy places in Palestine or to liberate Christians that had been subjugated by Muslims. On the other hand, the Muslim scholars always kept firm to their final goal, to conquer the "house of war" and subjugate all infidels.
Urban II was right. Had Constantinople fallen in 1100, the enormous military power of the Turk armies would have plagued Europe four hundred years earlier. Then the manifold European culture probably would never have been: no free urban constitutions, no constitutional debates, no cathedrals, no renaissance, no scientific boom, because in the Islamic world, free - Greek! - thinking was dying just at this time. Jacob Burckhardt's evaluation - "A stroke of luck, that Europe as a whole could ward off Islam" - means, we owe about as much to the Crusades, as to the Greeks' victory against the Persians.

But, have the Crusades not been abused? Certainly. Crusades "derailed" and were "abused", like the one that led to the conquest of Christian Constantinople in 1204. But that happened much more often with jihads. When slaves became scarce, emirs did not merely wage wars against non-Muslim peoples, who had to be enslaved anyway, but more and more often against Islamized peoples, under the pretext, that they were no true Muslims. That happened mainly in Africa and against black Africans, e.g. when first in 1468 Songhay and then the Moroccans in 1552 invaded Mali, or when in the 18th century religious reformers waged their jihad against Muslimized Hausa cities, which led to the creation of the Sokoto-caliphate - containing the third largest number of slaves after Brazil and the American south. Africa to this day suffers from the consequences of this permanent jihad with its genocides and mass-enslavements

Well, and what was the political order that the Muslims waged their holy wars for with such vehemence and success? For Shariah. A political order, which for one strictly separates masters from the subjugated and secondly takes political and social order away from human influence for the most part. Let's talk about the first aspect: According to the Shariah, the Muslims are masters, the followers of other "book religions" - Christians, Jews, Parsees, Buddhists, are subjugated, Dhimmi. These were not religious minorities, but huge majorities, especially in Syria, Anatolia or the Christians of North-Africa.

The subjugated were not allowed to carry weapons, they were unarmed, thus not 'real men'. Christians and Jews had to wear special colours or pieces of clothing (this discrimination was the origin of the "Judenstern") so as to be visibly "dhimmi"; they were not allowed to ride on horseback, only on mules, to remind them of their subjugation; they paid a special tribute (jizyah), that they had to pay personally, while being given a slap on the head. They had to let themselves be beaten by any Muslim, without being allowed to defend themselves; if a dhimmi retaliated, his hand would be cut off, or he would be executed. A dhimmi's witness did not count against a Muslim, who only had to pay half the fine for any crime committed against a dhimmi, and could never ever get executed for any such crime. On the other side, the most cruel methods of execution were reserved for the dhimmi.

Even the discrimination against the Jews, installed by the Western Church in the 4th Lateran Council in 1215, four hundred years after Islam, and which seems so barbarian to us, did not intend and did not lead to such a degree of humiliation and demeaning of people. A special horror was brought by the Turkish rule: from 1360 up to a fifth of Christian children were abducted into slavery. They were forcefully converted. The number of slaves through four centuries must have been millions; hundreds of thousands of choice boys among those were raised to be fanatical Muslims and elite fighters, the notorious Janissaries: a politic meant to systematically increase the Muslim population and slowly exterminate Christians. It was successful. "Dhimmitude" put non-muslims in a state of radical "otherness". To call people in this state "second class citizens" is a euphemism.

In the same way national socialism divided humans into master-race and subhumans on racial grounds, so Shariah did it on religious grounds. As the first world-religion, Islam created an apartheid, where Christian or Parsee majorities were colonised and slowly Islamized. Islamic tolerance meant: tolerate the subjugated as humiliated and demeaned. All this is well known via studies about "dhimmitude". But who wants to hear about the millions of victims?
Islam religiously "cleansed" huge territories: the second Caliph made the Hijaz, Arabia except Yemen "judenrein" and "christenrein"; the alternative was either to convert, or to be forced into emigration. Except for some Old Testament cases no religion ever before had done that. In the same way the Almohadis and Almoravids "cleansed" Spain after the breakdown of the Caliphate in 1031: tens of thousands of Jews and Christians had to either convert or flee to the Christian north of Spain, or the Levant. Certainly, English and French kings and the kings of Spain later on did the same - they applied the Muslim recipe in doing it. And the pogroms? Since the Caliph Al-Mutawakkil (847-861) waves of persecution again and again hit the Orient and North Africa, where Jews and Christians were forcibly converted, kicked out or massacred. The destruction of churches went on and on right until the century before last. Slowly, the rosy picture of Muslim Spain created by European anti-imperialism in the 19th century loses its fake colours. A scrupulous study of documents shows a different picture below that. In 889 in Elvira and in 891 in Seville, there were massive pogroms against Christians. In Moroccan Fez in 1033, 6000 Jews were massacred. 1058 Christian Antioch was forcefully Muslimized with torture and threats of death.

The first large pogrom against Jews on European soil happened in 1066 in Muslim Granada, 1500 Jewish families were killed. In 1135 the Jewish quarter of Cordoba was burnt down, it might be good, not to know the number of people massacred then. In 1159 all the Christians in Tunis had to chose between conversion or death. At this time, the vital Christianity of North Africa was completely wiped out. The pogroms in Christian lands are nothing to be proud of in European history, but their scope lags behind the ones in the Muslim world. We urgently need a comparative study of religious oppression.

Let's talk about integration of the Jews? Nowhere under the rule of Islam, not even in the Spanish Caliphate, were Jews citizens of their own cities, they always remained subjugated. In some German cities - Worms, Augsburg and others - during the high Middle Ages the Jews were citizens, albeit of special legal satus. They had the right to carry arms and were better off than poorer Christian people. Right until the 14th century, when their situation got worse, they were far better integrated than Jews in Muslim Spain could ever hope to be. Who thinks highly of political integration cannot but prefer Augsburg to Cordoba. All this has been well known in academic circles for fifteen years. But who wants to hear it?

To ignore the past means to re-live it. He who keeps on spreading the fairytale of muslim tolerance, stands in the way of those Muslim intellectuals, who seriously work towards a reformation of islam, which started out so promisingly in the 19th century. He steals away their chance to overcome a past, which threatens to become a horrible presence. If the reformers could achieve a radical de-politicization of islam, the muslims could become real citizens of their states. That would leave the highly spiritual religion, which fascinated not only Goethe. Hegel called Islam the "religion of sublime".

What part of this do the Liberals/Leftists not understand? When Hitler said he wanted to conquer the world, nobody listened until it was too blatant to ignore. Are we doomed to repeat history with radical Islamists? Are we going to stick our heads in the sand until they're HERE with their swords at the necks of your families and friends? Do we really want to fight them hand-to-hand in our own neighborhoods? I don't. Do you?

Another Critic of Islam Goes Into Hiding

If Islam is so great, why can't they take critisism? Dr. Robert Redecker writes an op-ed critical of Islam, which has been banned in Egypt, is now receiving death threats to himself and his family, and has had to go into hiding.

What is wrong with this picture? Why does a journalist have to go into hiding because he wrote a critical piece on Islam? Because Islam cannot stand up to critisism...plain and simple. When one starts to question it's dogma, the whole thing falls apart, which is why Muslims don't tolerate questions or critique. Another example of "It's the Religion of Peace, dammit, and We'll Kill You to Prove It!!"


This is the piece that got him in trouble: (Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin)

"What should the free world do while facing Islamist intimidation?

The reactions caused by Benedict XVI’s analysis of Islam and violence highlight the underhanded manoever carried out by Islam to stifle what the West values more than anything, and which does not exist in any Moslem country: freedom of thought and expression.

Islam tries to impose its rules on Europe : opening of public swimming pools at certain hours reserved exclusively for women, ban on caricaturing this religion, demands for special diets for Muslim children in school cafeterias, struggle to impose the veil at school, accusations of Islamophobia against free spirits.

How can one explain the ban on the wearing thongs on Paris-Beaches* this summer? The reasoning put forth was bizarre: women wearing thongs would risk “disturbing the peace”. Did this mean that bands of frustrated youths would become violent while being offended by displays of beauty? Or were the authorities scared of Islamist demonstrations by virtue squads near the Paris-Beaches?

However, the authorization of the veil on the street is more disturbing to public peace than wearing a thong, because it invites complaints against the upholding the oppression of women .This ban represents an Islamization of sensibilities in France, a more or less conscious submission to the diktats of Islam. At the very least it is the result of the insidious Muslim pressure on the minds: even those who protested the introduction of a “Jean Paul II Square” in Paris would not be opposed to the construction of mosques. Islam is trying to force Europe to yield to its vision of humanity.

As in the past with Communism, the West finds itself under ideological watch. Islam presents itself, like defunct Communism, as an alternative to the Western world. In the way of Communism before it, Islam, to conquer spirits, plays on a sensitive string. It prides itself on a legitimacy which troubles Western conscience, which is attentive to others: it claims to be the voice of the oppressed of the planet. Yesterday, the voice of the poor supposedly came from Moscow, today it originates in Mecca! Again, today, western intellectuals incarnate the eye of the Koran, as they have incarnated the eye of Moscow. They now excommunicate people because of Islamophobia, as they did before because of anti-communism.

This opening to others, specific to the West, is a secularization of Christianity that can be summarized thus:the other person must come before myself. The Westerner, heir to Christianity, is he that exposes his soul bare. He runs the risk of being seen as weak. With the same ardor as Communism, Islam treats generosity, broadmindedness, tolerance, gentleness, freedom of women and of manners, democratic values, as marks of decadence. They are weaknesses that it seeks to exploit, by means of useful idiots, and self-rigtheous consciences drowning in nice feelings, in order to impose the Koranic order on the Western world itself.

The Koran is a book of unparalleled violence. Maxime Rodinson states, in Encyclopedia Universalis, some truths that in France are as significant as they are taboo. On one hand: “Mohammed revealed in Medina unsuspected qualities as political leader and military chief (…) He resorted to private war, by then a prevalent custom in Arabia (….) Mohammed soon sent small groups of partisans to attack the Meccan caravans, thus punishing his unbelieving compatriots and simultaneously acquiring the booty of a wealthy man.”

There is more: “Mohammed profited from this success by eradicating the Jewish tribe which resided in Medina, the Quarayza, whom he accused of suspect behaviour.” And: “After the death of Khadija, he married a widow, a good housewife, called Sawda, and in addition to the little Aisha, barely ten years old. His erotic predilections, held in check for a long time, led him to ten simultaneous marriages .”

A merciless war chief, plunderer, slaughterer of Jews and a polygamist, such is the man revealed through the Koran.

Of , the Catholic church is not above reproach. Its history is strewn with dark pages, for which it has officially repentaed. The Inquisition, the hounding of witches, the execution of the philosophers Giordano Bruno and Vanini, those wrong-thinking Epicureans, in the 18th century the execution of the knight of La Barre for impiety, do not plead in the church’s favor. But what differentiates Christianity from Islam is obvious: it is always possible to go back to true evangelical values, the peaceful character of Jesus as opposed to the deviations of the Church.

None of the faults of the Church have their roots in the Gospel. Jesus is non-violent. Going back to Jesus is akin to forswear the excesses of the Church. Going back to Mohammed, to the conbtrary, reinforces hate and violence. Jesus is a master of love, Mohammed is a master of hatred.

The stoning of Satan, each year in Mecca, is not only an obsolete superstition. It not only sets the stage for a hysterical crowd flirting with barbarity. Its import is anthropological. Here is a rite, which each Muslim is invited to submit to, that emphasizes violence as a sacred duty in the very heart of the believer.

This stoning, accompanied each year by the accidental trampling to death of some of the believers, sometimes up to several hundreds, is a rite that feeds archaic violence.

Instead of getting rid of this archaic violence, and thus imitating Judaism and Christianity (Judaism starts when it abandons human sacrifice, and enters civilization; Christianity transforms sacrifice through the Eucharist), Islam builds a nest for this violence, where it will incubate. Whereas Judaism and Christianity are religions whose rites spurn violence, by delegitimizing it, Islam is a religion that exalts violence and hatred in its everyday rites and sacred book.

Hatred and violence dwell in the book with which every Muslim is brought up, the Koran. As in the Cold War, where violence and intimidation were the methods used by an ideology hell bent on hegemony, so today Islam tries to put its leaden mantle all over the world. Benedict XVI’s cruel experience is testimony to this. Nowadays, the West has to be called the “free world” in comparison to the Muslim world; likewise, the enemies of the “free world”, the zealous bureaucrats of the Koran’s vision, swarm in the very center of the free World."