Vox Rodentae

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Che'? No way man, Jesus Hands Down!

Just a quick musing (okay, not so quick - it's me after all): I was on Assistant Village Idiot's website (also here on blogger, see link), and he mentioned how Kos wants to set up some sort of liberal mega-un-church for disenfranchised lib's, who ache for all the trappings of a well-knit, supportive, Christian community, minus all that Christ stuff and his Message (can't have all that brotherly love cluttering up the place if it means having to embrace folks who yearn to own ATV's, love anything X-treme, eat processed foods and red meat without regard to whether it's been injected with hormones or the like, love NASCAR (that liberal litmus test of white-trashdom), go to County and State Fairs, and watch shows like King of the Hill, Dog the Bounty Hunter-- or for that matter, own a closet/dresser/bedroom floor full of Big Dog or Big Johnson wear!).

They never quite get it, do they? The reason Christians (the Midwest Protestants he's referring to, I guess) gather together (even if maybe the Pastor's wife is is into everyone's business, and Brother So-and-So's Wife gossips about everyone, and the Deacon's Wife is acting above herself, and everyone is driving everyone crazy - as is so often the case in just about any group of people that gather together) is that, deep down they really do share the same belief, in the same message, and most importantly, have the same faith in God's Love. And it's that which draws and binds them together. That and the Christian tradition of loving one's neighbor, and working to help your community -- and I don't just mean with the recycling (which obviously happens to greater or lesser degrees, depending on the parrish - no one's perfect). It's that darn, pesky Jesus guy again - can't we just get rid of him?

What exactly is it that's supposed to draw and bind together the Kos Kids? Mudslinging - while fun in the actual (a good, gooey mud fight is a delight at the right time and place) is dreary and depressing as a full time activity. Complaining? That ought to be a hoot. Maybe that crowd could form its own breakaway sect and provide us with some real entertainment. The sheer viciousness and petty hatred that form the hallmark of his site (and the crowd who frequent it) are nothing but an utter degradation of the entire human condition. (And no, the cutesie comments about "pooties" cannot redeem them.) And for goodness' sakes, what on Earth will they call themselves? I can see it now: The Highly Liberal Four-Square Tabernacle of the All Democratical Kos in Whom We Kvetch. Or maybe The Most Avowedly Non-Un-Anti-In-No-Way-Possibly-Like-A-Church For the Propagation of Lofty Liberal Ideals (Java Included, Free Childcare for EarthFirst Members)... In his short yet entertaining post, AVI wonders who will come, and when, and "How long does he think people will provide free babysitting for an amorphous progressivism?"

I have a really great idea: if all these Kos-acks out there are feeling a little jealous of all those right-wing Repub's supposedly hogging all the community fellowship, why don't they crack open a Bible and actually read it? Jesus was, in many respects, quite the liberal and indeed, quite the revolutionary -- am I crazy in suggesting he could be a subversive hero figure for the new age? We know he was better looking than Che' (I mean, who isn't?), so maybe we could get all those homely undernourished college kids to burn all those dumb shirts finally... Ah, me and my pipe dreams....

I'll have to look into this thing a little more fully - sounds like quite the misadventure to me, and an opportunity for Schadenfreude you could jump into with hipwaders (unless it ever gets off the ground, in which case only deep sea gear would suffice I suspect, *chuckle*). bloop..... bloop....bloop......

Saturday, September 30, 2006

I think Islam needs a lengthy "time out"

Greetings, all! I am back after my lengthy hiatus from the 'net. During this time, I've tried (as much as one can in our digital age) to ignore the Mass Media and all on-goings not directly related to friends and family. It's been quite peaceful. But I can't live in an acorn; it's a big world out there and it's time to get back into the swing of things.

One issue which has captured my interest lately is the tempest in a teapot stirred up in the muslim community (where else? you might well ask) over the address made by the Holy Father at the University of Regensberg during his visit to Bavaria. Now, I'll admit it at the outset: I'm a big fan of the Holy Father. He's a traditionalist, a conservative, an extremely knowledgeable theologian and a scholar of immense (and well-deserved) renown. When he speaks, even if you don't agree with what he says, you can bet that a good deal of thought has gone into his words and he's said them for a reason. So knowing only that the muslim community was miffed with remarks made by Il Papa, I resolved first to study his address in its entirety, and then read about the controversy and defense.

Having done so, I must say it was all pretty much as expected, excepting only that the Vicar of Christ maintained greater circumspection in his remarks than would have a man of less grandeur of spirit. And as have many before me I say the muslim response completely proves and justifies his words. Oh, he released the demanded apology, but thankfully it was merely to say he was sorry people decided to be offended at his words; the only apology merited under the circumstances. I enjoyed both his steadfastness of opinion and refusal to bow to popular (appeasement) pressure, as well as his subtle re-emphasis of his right to free speech - popularly enjoyed in the West, but greatly suppressed in Islamic countries.

One of the most illuminating articles I've read about it is the transcript of an interview from the Jim Lehrer news hour on PBS. It features Moderator Gwen Ifill, Senior Fellow for the Ethics and Public Policy Center George Weigel, and Council on American-Islamic Relations apologist Nihid Awad (yes - this sounds biased, but it's what the man does - he doesn't answer questions directly, but turns his answers into "Western-Oppression of Islam" being the cause of all misery and evil in the world). My impression is that Ifill was more kindly disposed toward Awad (whether through belief or appeasement mode, I don't know), but all he does is trot out the usual exhausted tropes about Islam being the religion of peace, and that it's Western (deliberate) misunderstanding of Islam that perpetuates the violence in the world. Weigel, on the other hand, is stunningly eloquent and to-the-point in his answers, presenting a well-thought out and reasoned theory as to the Pope's motivation in his address. An example of the exchanges:

GEORGE WEIGEL, Ethics and Public Policy Center: Pope Benedict XVI is a world-class scholar, a gentleman, who says what he means and means what he says, so this was not an offhand remark at all. I think he was trying to make three critical points, Gwen. The first is that, in a religious dialogue, genuine dialogue between people of different religious convictions must be based on reason. It can't be based on passion. Secondly, attempts to justify violence in the name of God are themselves irrational and, therefore, impede that kind of dialogue. And, therefore, the challenge I think he was trying to pose to Islamic leaders throughout the world -- some of whom have accepted that challenge -- is to discipline and correct those within their own community who would make the case that God commands the murder of innocents. That's not a basis on which genuine religious dialogue can go forward, and I think it's very important to recognize that, until Islamic religious leaders, scholars, legal authorities develop the capacity to chastise, to discipline their own extremists, every Muslim in the world -- indeed, everyone in the world -- is hostage to the most extreme elements which would claim that violence against innocents is doing the will of God.

GWEN IFILL: Mr. Awad, in listening to the pope's remark and now listening to Mr. Weigel's interpretation, is that the way it struck you?

NIHAD AWAD, Council on American-Islamic Relations: Well, actually, there is a gross misunderstanding of Islam. Dialogue should be based on knowledge, and that knowledge will produce a correct understanding, a mutual respect. And the unfortunate fact is the pope is a top-notch theologian on Catholicism, but he's no expert on Islam. And therefore most of the quotations, if not all, that he cited in his academic presentation were historically inaccurate. I'll just go through them very quickly. Number one, he said that Muhammad commanded his followers to spread the faith by the sword. This was never happened. In fact, historically, it cannot be proven that Muhammad commanded any of his followers to spread the faith with the sword. In fact, it contradicts the second sentence or phrase that the pope has cited, which is a verse in the Koran, chapter two, verse number 256, and it says there should be no compulsion of religion. That's a direct command from the Koran, God's (inaudible) text, that you cannot spread faith with force and it has to be on conviction and reason. So these are historic inaccuracies that the pope has cited, and that's what upsets Muslims and those who know about Islam. The third and last thing is holy war. This is a mistranslation. Although this network and many networks sometimes use the term "holy war," it is inaccurate. There is no term in Islamic text, whether the Koran or the prophetic tradition, the sayings and these of the prophet, that the word "jihad" means holy war.

Okay. Now you can take your chest waders off, and I'll let you pause for a moment or so and absorb the wonderful obfuscations and misdirections of Mr. Awad's reply. I guess he figures no one has or can read the Koran to read those words for themselves. Honestly -- how long will breathing, thinking people keep swallowing this ordure? All evidence presented by the muslim community has shown that the Pope's words were, if anything, not strong enough. And despite AQ bigwig Az-Zawahiri's comments about ignoring Il Papa's words, and "killing him with kindness" (rather ominous sounding, given their source), there have been a disturbing number of violent riots, burnings of the Pope in effigy, anti-Catholic and anti-Christian acts throughout the muslim world (all of which the press coyly reports as "not known whether or not [they] are related to the Pope's words") to support them.

As I've said repeatedly, Islam is a religion that seems to inspire extremely childish and dangerous behaviour in its adherents. Few reasonable people would deny that the worst way to respond to a perceived insult is by behaving in the exact way the insult says you behave. Yet there they were in their thousands, exercising the one "free speech" option available in the mullahcracies of the muslim world: protesting against the West in general, and Christianity in specific, hurling their death threats, burning their effigies and the like. In Somalia a 65-year old nun was shot, but of course the jury's still out in the West as to whether or not it was "related" to the Pope's address. Of course, in Somalia it could just have been for sport, or because she was a woman who knew how to read, but you get the point.

I guess most of us really have taken leave of our senses: either people swallow the tripe hook, line and sinker, or they withdraw in resignation, exhausted by the utter moral depravity and mental gymnastics necessary to live alongside the dhimmi manner of thinking (I'm kind of ashamed to say I'll have to include myself in this second batch). But sooner or later, we'll have to get up and deal with this; I know I'm all the more brutal when roused out to reluctantly deal with aggressive and persistent stupidity -- I suspect I'll be in good company.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

No, I haven't forgotten, nor have I given up!

Dear Readers,
My many apologies for the very long hiatus. I have been attending to some family business and will be finishing up in the next couple of weeks, at which point the words (and bile) will flow once again.
I've been keeping up with the "news and the international catastrophes" (in the words of T.S. Eliot), and will be back soon, raring to go. In the meantime, my best to all of you.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Win One For The Gipper

They're at it again; the Powers That Be in this world seem to be steering us toward an 80's redux now - Israel duking it out with Lebanon, Iran waxing megalomaniacal, Europe going down the can, the UN demonstrating new and creative ways to be even more corrupt, Russia telling the US to get stuffed, China telling everyone to get stuffed, North Korea bullying the South and Japan, and over it all, the threat of nukes wafting gently on the evening breeze. If you close your eyes, you can almost hear Stacey Q in the background...

Well, at least the music was much better in the 80's (Violent Femmes, Erasure, pretty much everything off Just say yes/da/yo/mao). But we're missing something critical right now, something that could make things come out right: Ronald Reagan, actor, patriot and former president, RIP, and Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Britain's famed "Iron Lady" - almost a superhero duo, especially when compared to most of our damp-eyed, appeasing and dhimmified politicians and diplomats of today. Under Reagan, we got a chance to get a breathe of fresh air and be patriots again. When Reagan did something, he did it and didn't waste time afterward justifying himself and apologizing. And the Iron Lady made him look a complete girl's blouse, not stopping for so much as a by-your-leave when it was time to do what she had to do.

No, if we can stave off the padded shoulders, frightening prints, and chinese calligraphy that no doubt kept the citizens of many a Chinatown in tears for ages, not to mention the worst of the 80's pop, an 80's redux might not be so bad: We desperately need to find a good way to dredge up some of that chutzpah. There's nothing worse than a ditherer, especially when he's the person in charge. I don't care if their owner has to be rolled into place; we need someone with big, brass balls to order up a no-holds-barred blitz on the heartland of Islamofascism and obliterate it. I know that many innocents were killed in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (as well as Dresden), but in the end, their losses prevented much greater and more horrific losses should Operation Olympic (the invasion of the Japanese homeland, should the bombings not have worked) have been ordered into effect. And although this proves me unspeakably violent and evil, I have to say that in a land where hatred is fed to babies with their mothers' milk, there are no innocents. We (meaning the US, UK, Israel, Australia - whoever'll stand up with us) need to get our gear in order, get over there, do everything that needs to be done (without regard for the sensitivities of world opinion), pack up when it's all over, and come back home. If someone complains, we can kick them in the backside and send them packing with the message that any further complaints will be handled in a far less amicable manner. The time for pussyfooting and appeasement is over. It's time to get in there and win one for the Gipper!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

In The Midst Of The War Zone

Where did the idea come from that the only casualties in war are supposed to be those of military combatants? For some time now, I've been hearing the wails and cries of various groups bemoaning the horrific number of civilian casualties in the War On Terror, obviously from people with no memory for history.

Civilian casualties and deaths have ALWAYS been a deplorable side effect of war. As a matter of fact, it was only in the 20th century that the concept of the "civilian" or "non-combatant" came to be recognized and acknowledged - before that you were either unlucky or a fool to be caught in the war zone. Indeed, traffic with remaining civilians (generally in the forms of rapine and looting) was considered a form of payment in kind to soldiers way, way back in the day. To believe that you can fight a war, especially a war with the guerilla-type battles our forces fight in currently, while easily avoiding any civilian casualties is nothing short of the grossest stupidity. Even if they weren't all hiding amongst the skirts of their women with babies, along with the little children, which would obviously be asking too much of them.

Yet there is still a distinct difference in the Western policy versus the jihadist one: if/when there are civilian casualties as a result of our military actions, they're never deliberate; they're considered a failure of sorts, a mistake, and deplorable. To the jihadists, it's a cause for celebration and one of their main policy goals. (This exact same can be said for Israel vs. H'bolla - to the Israelis, any loss of life other than that of the terrorists is regretable, for the Hebl's it's just par for the course.)

And we're still the bad guys because... why, again? Oh, because we still haven't noticed how much Cindy suffered dwindled because of her fast, we've let slip our subscriptions to the NYT, and now the Administration's imposition of a merciless Christian theocracy has opened the door to our new, brutal age of Bible camps, sing-alongs, and the barbarous imposition of a barbaric new, crafts-based trade economy (Yarn weavings, and popsicle crucifixes and the like - the horror, the horror...).

For my part, I'm sticking with the Fashionistas: DOWN WITH ISLAM!! SAY NO TO HIJAB! TOSS THE BURQA ONTO THE FLAMES!! Not only are the damn things unfashionable as hell, but they clash like the dickens with my jackboots, and I've only just started to fit my Stormtrooper uniform again. (And, it would be SO mortifying if I kicked in someone's door and tripped on the damn thing on the way in!)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

America Doesn't Raise Us For Death Cults...

In my travels of late, I've heard many a discussion that pulls me back to the Cold War days, as Iran With Nukes* looms on our collective horizon (*this could have been the name of a cool 80's garage band, if it wasn't such a sinister idea). The main question goes something along the lines of: "Do you think the Russians will use their nukes against us?", to which you'd get various answers such as "Probably", "Damn straight they would, commie bastards!!", and of course Sting's song immemorial "If The Russians Love Their Children, Too"(I'm not one for politics in music -with some notable exceptions- but I did like the music for this one). As the Cold War progressed through detente to its drawdown, I think we came to accept that neither party was particularly keen on the idea. Now as I hear the same questions posed about Iran, the answers don't seem quite so straightforward when you toss militant, death-loving jihadis into the equation.

There's a lot of hype (on one end of the pendulum, PC/pro-jihadist CAIR-type org's who insist Islam is the Religion of Peace {huh.yeah} and muslims are Victims of Islamophobia [of which more later], and a vicious smear campaign to suppress them; and on the other, hard-charging Christians and severely patriotic Americans -the love it or leave NOW!! crowd, who are seeing their First Amendment rights disappearing faster than a guinea pig can chew up a carrot) about all of this, which goes far toward obfuscating the real matter at stake here, which is basically this: 1) How are we to deal with the immediate situation between Israel/ Hizbollah, Hamas, Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, and Iran? and 2) Can we come to an accurate estimate of the risk that Iran will or will not use whatever nuclear material (whether it be "dirty" or "clean" and fully developed) against either Israel or US/ Western interests? To answer what is basically one long question in a "to be continued" form, we have to be able to look at ourselves through the eyes of our foes, and therein lies our problem.

When we try to understand the people of the Arab and Persian worlds, both currently and in the recent past, we cannot ascribe our Western views and Judeo-Christian morality to a group of people of whom we have no understanding how they really think of or perceive the world.

Our foes (the muslims involved in this jihadi mindset) are effectively functioning as members of a cult. Their religion, especially as interpreted to them by their controllers (read: mullahs), teaches them that Death is the preferred end state for their current situation (ie. a world currently dominated by non-muslims, which can be won "back" to Islam through the sacrifice of their lives). In reading the Qur'an, or any of its many interpretations, Paradise is a lush and beautiful place, full of material rewards and comforts for the worthy warrior for Allah. For many people in the Arab/Persian worlds, this provides a vital meaning and context to lives that have been informed by little else than the misery of their material situation (face it; even the nicer parts of the Middle East are filthy and miserable, and look even worse from up close), a zero-sum mind-set, and a culture in which the jealousy of a "have-not" for the trappings of a "have" are designed to arouse not a sense of grievance, but an obligation to acquire those specific trappings from the "have" in question.

Nothing in our society or culture prepares us for dealing with an ideology this alien. The founding of our country is based on the diametrically opposite proposition; Ours is the only revolution in history generated to enable men to keep their own property, rather than to gain the property and positions of others.

Until you can really understand that the person who embraces you in love and friendship, looking you lovingly in the eyes and pledging eternal solidarity can also be conspiring with other people to bring about your destruction and probably your death at the very same time, you will never be able to begin to comprehend the Arab world, let alone deal with it, especially on its own terms. I mean this very literally - you really have to jump into the full thought and feeling of this with both feet; in my several brushes with politicking among Arabs and a lone Persian of once high standing (in many cases I was unaware I was even involved in such), there were a good several times I came out distinctly at the bottom for being unknowing, incapable of, or unwilling to indulge in the kind of behaviour that not only would have enabled me to come out on top, but is considered standard in Arab society. It's like meat and bread to them - the tapestry-like weaving in and out of family, social and political threads, coupled with a nearly invisible but highly distinct hierarchy of favours, gift-giving, hospitality, and of course, feuds. The average American has little if any experience with this type of culture, let alone the mindset behind it. Yet it's very important that we learn to decipher this dichotomy, because we're already behind the power curve in addressing our concerns.

In my view we're long overdue in acknowledging and working to fully comprehend this topic. We've tried the measured approach (ie. diplomacy, appeasement, conciliation, and baksheeshing huge amounts of "protection money" to suspicious men with a taste for strong cologne) for the last 30 some-odd years, and this is where it's gotten us. A new approach is obviously in order; might I suggest a trip to the attic to see if we can find where Teddy Roosevelt stashed that Big Stick of his?

Monday, July 24, 2006


I just finished commenting on another blog in reference to PETA's outrage that US forces refuse to evacuate people's "friends" (ie. their pets) with them during the evacuations from Lebanon. It suits my mood this evening to reproduce it here:

I don't think any reasonable person would see a need to deliberately abandon any animal that could feasibly be rescued, but at the same time, when you are conducting a NEO (noncombatant evacutation operation), there is a HUGE amount of material to coordinate (passports, birth certificates, citizenship or immigration/visa papers, shot records, financial paperwork, any and all paperwork to do with children, your job, your possessions, your house/property in the country you're fleeing, and so on and so forth), and they are having to do this on the fly for several thousand people while all of them are in the way of fire. When you add to this the potential of having to house and feed animals (because you know there will be more than just dogs and cats), you'll have to account for all rabies, parvo, feline leukemia vaccinations (and all the gazillion others I can't remember/think of), you'll have to be able to guarantee them a safe berthing space, ensure they'll be in no danger from or especially *no danger to* any and all crew and passengers, not to mention coordinating whether or not the docking port will even receive them. I'm sure there are many other things I've left out. When I was in the Army, serving in Korea, I was the NEO control NCO for our area, and it was my job to ensure that all the civilian contractors, their wives and dependents, and all the military wives and dependents (both command-sponsored and non-command-sponsored) could be speedily evacuated in the event of Dear Leader Kim's desire for a beach party in Pusan. Those were some of the most grueling days I ever had in the Army, let me tell you, and that was just for an exercise! The USN/USMC have to do it for real, under fire, with frightened and possibly hysterical and ungrateful people - it's not a job for the faint of heart. Sometimesyou have to make painful choices about what's most important to you.

The people conducting these NEO's deserve our congratulations for their speed, courage and damned hard work! As I mentioned in the insert, even NEO exercises are grueling, but these Sailors and Marines are doing their country proud and deserve all we can give them in the way of respect. I hope sincerely that the folks they're rescuing are being very grateful to them, because I don't ever want to meet someone who was rescued who would have the gall to complain about it. Ever.