The Islamic Center of the Piedmont

 
My posts about Jamaat ul-Fuqra and the Muslim Teachers College have prompted many emails from readers with tips and additional information about Muslims in remote rural locations. One of the tips concerned an “Islamic Center” near Reidsville, NC. As soon as the opportunity arose, I made the road trip to our southern neighbor to see what I could discover.

Williamsburg, NC


Islamic Center of the PiedmontAfter several misdirections and some wild-goose chasing, I found the place in question. It is called the “Islamic Center of the Piedmont”, and is located in a 1930s-era school building, just outside the small town of Williamsburg, not far from Reidsville.

Unlike the other rural Muslim locations I have visited, the Islamic Center is not hidden away, but is prominently located on a fairly busy secondary road, NC 87. The building is large and well-tended, and even boasts its own water tower in back.

Islamic Center of the Piedmont


It is divided into two large sections. The southern block seems to be the meeting area. I knocked on the door, but no one was there. A peek through the side window showed an ordinary looking lounge or meeting room, with a photo of a mosque on display.

Shad Interior DesignThe northern block was probably originally the school gym, and now boasts a sign for “Shad Interior Design.” No one answered the door on this side, either. At the back of the warehouse area on the north block is a large loading bay, presumably used by the interior design company.

After leaving the center, I talked a businessman named Lewis who has an office just up the road. He told me that the Muslims have been there a few years, and that they meet once or twice a month. According to Lewis they are not African-Americans, but look “Middle Eastern”. He said they seem to be professional people, doctors, lawyers, and so on. He didn’t know of any organizational name.

Lewis said that there used to be a used tire and rubber business renting the warehouse space in back from the previous owners. He wasn’t sure if the previous arrangement has continued under the Islamic Center, but we saw no tires or any other indication of a rubber business.

The Islamic Center of the Piedmont seems innocuous enough. A web search for “Shad Interior Design” reveals just one mention in an Eden business directory, and nothing significant can be found for the Islamic Center of the Piedmont.

According to Lewis, there is a mosque in downtown Reidsville associated with the Nation of Islam. Its imam is notorious for racist diatribes against whites. Perhaps the “Middle Easterners” of the Islamic Center felt uncomfortable associating with such Muslims, and decided to start their own organization…?

Readers with any further information about the Islamic Center of the Piedmont are invited to comment, or send an email.

"Toying With Treason"

 
A New York Post opinion piece got it right: The New York Times is “toying with treason” and has been for some time. Labeling The Times the “self-styled paper of record”, The Post thinks the Old Grey Doxy has plans to attempt to have its former loyal leftists return to the fold — the ones it lost when it reported on Saddam Hussein’s WMD:

     Yet the paper has done more than merely try to embarrass the Bush administration these last few months.
It has published classified information — and thereby knowingly blown the covers of secret programs and agencies engaged in combating the terrorist threat.
The most notorious example was the paper’s disclosure some 10 days ago that, since 9/11, the Bush administration has “secretly” engaged in warrantless eavesdropping on U.S.-based international phone calls and e-mails.

The Post thinks that the Times, along with CNN and CBS, are trying to affix an impeachment proceeding against the President. This is a subject I’ve heard from leftists since Bush’s first election. They are still angry that he’s in the Oval Office and if they can help it, he won’t stay there — even if it means endangering our counter-terrorism activities. These are people who don’t mind being dead right; the important point is to be “right” and get Bush out.

As the Post points out, Bush has precedent on his side: two Democratic presidents who used warrantless searches:

     both the last two Democratic presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, used warrantless searches — and strongly defended them as fully justified under the authority granted the president by the Constitution. In fact, the Washington Times reports that Clinton expanded their use to purely domestic situations — such as violent public-housing projects.

And here’s the motivation for the Times’ behavior: according the LA Times, the NYT editors were aware that a book by the author of the article was going to be out in a few weeks, but the Times wanted to have an “exclusive” so the author ran with the story (I haven’t chased down the link to this story from the LA Times but I’ll post it when I do).

The Post doesn’t stop there, however. It lists some of the Old Lady’s many sins, including needless exposure of an undercover operation by the New York City Police Department. Then it asks:

     Does The New York Times consider it self a law unto itself — free to subversively undercut basic efforts by any government to protect and defend its citizens?
The Times, it appears, is less concerned with promoting its dubious views on civil liberties than with undercutting the Bush administration. The end result of the paper’s flagrant irresponsibility: Lives have been put in danger on the international, national and local levels.
The ability of the nation to perform the most fundamental mission of any government — protection of its citizens — has been pointlessly compromised.

This issue is going to have serious blowback for the Times and for people like them. Do you think they’re looking out for our best interests? I sure don’t. The Times, CNN, CBS, NPR, and the other unscrupulous agents of sedition need to learn that freedom of speech does not mean license to say whatever gets your agenda across, no matter the cost to our country as a whole.

This is an issue receiving wide coverage in the blogosphere, left and right. The former hope to get to impeachment. The latter are divided: some libertarians will object to any surveillance on principle — their belief doesn’t change for convenience’s sake. But many on the right will agree that war gives the Executive branch extraordinary powers. Back before the Left turned into lemmings they thought so, too.

My favorite online curmudgeon, Bill Quick, thinks the Times is running scared because the NSA has sicced the Justice Department on the old bird. Mr. Quick is often right in his predictions; let’s hope this one goes his way when he says:

     Yeah, and I’ll bet every one of those “privacy advocates” was cowering under a desk in either the NYT’s newsroom, or its editorial offices.

Maybe someone will get pictures.

Imploding?

 
Blogs are doing the heavy lifting for the MSM while the latter grunts and groans on its rocky slide into boring irrelevance.

An example: Peace Like a River has an excellent summary of the current conditions in Iraq. Full of links, a mortality table, and an openly stated question which he answers quite satisfactorily:

An insurgency collapsing inward?

     Make no mistake, the enemy still has a lot of fight left in him. He still has the capability to kill and to do damage. Yet, I want to point out there may be signs the insurgency is being squeezed into a region whose circumscribed boundaries are drawing inward. I’m not saying the insurgents can’t operate outside this region, just that they are finding it harder to find areas outside this region where they can plan, move, and find shelter.

This is a rich post. I don’t want to simply cut and paste. Instead I urge you to follow the link and read for yourself. It’s well-paced, has some encouraging stats, and then shows clearly what remains to be done. Especially see his link to the newest press release about the number of recent captures. A lot of work is obviously being done by the Iraqi Army.

Do yourself a favor and check in with reality. Scroll down the page and read Fighting the Real Propagandists. His ability to research and assemble his material is admirable.

With bloggers like this, information continues its distributive drive. And the Old Lady continues her plodding downward path, shedding employees as she goes. Ah, if she were only intelligent enough to slough off Paul Krugman…

Old Islam Rule: Bite The Hand That Feeds You

 
One has to feel some sympathy for satirists these days. Many of the “real” news stories belong to some surreal post-parody genre. Reading one of these articles slackens the jaw; reading very many probably does more brain damage than grain alcohol. The only cure for reading these bizarre stories is laughing all the way down the page. Or moving on the comics section — which is actually where they belong.

To give you a feel for post-parody, consider the mock trial coming up in February, which will probably generate enough heat to keep the immediate environs toasty:

     The Arab Lawyers Union, a Cairo-based organization which includes twenty-four national bar associations of Arab countries, has decided to hold a moot court hearing against “war criminals who harmed Arabs and Muslims,” the Arab media reported Tuesday.

Common sense makes one want to ask who is being mooted first. Saddam Hussein? Hamas? The ISI in Pakistan? The security forces in Egypt? Mubarak? How about digging up Arafat and starting with that bag of bones? He could be joined by the patron saint of beheaders, al-Zarqawi.

Probably not. This is the Middle East, after all — the place where Alice went to live after her experiences in the Looking Glass. This is fantasy-land, Michael Jackson’s refuge from the storm, this is Dhimmitude Central where the only good Jew is a dead one…except even death doesn’t make him acceptable.

Nope, it’s ol’ George and Tony and Ariel up on charges. The Evil Ones have been chosen by these 400,000 Arab lawyers to go to the top of the Devil class::

     …the Union drafted a list of “war criminals” topped by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
In the “indictment,” Prime Minister Sharon is accused of crimes against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, while Blair and Bush are held accountable for “war crimes” in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Does this sound familiar? Are we not once again in the Senate basement with the Democrats holding their mock impeachment of Bush a few months ago? Amazing parallel in the mind sets of these two groups, isn’t there?

But it gets even better. It gets to “you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up” levels:

     The mock trial will be held at the Union’s headquarters in Cairo in February with organizers expecting to lure personalities like Nelson Mandela, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad, and former Algerian president Ahmed Ben Bella to act as judges.

This news report seems to have the correct verb spotted here: these “personalities” will indeed be “lured.” Let’s not ask what the bait is beyond vainglory and a large dose of envy.

But that’s not all. The most useful kafirs idiots are waiting to be invited: London Mayor Ken Livingstone, British MP George Galloway, and … ta da… the non-kafir, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrama Sabri, are expected to be called for jury duty.

The criminals in question will have their indictments delivered to their respective embassies in Cairo. No doubt they will be trembling behind the curtains. Meanwhile, that renowned and respected global barrister, Ramsey Clarke, will be their chief prosecutor.

Well, maybe Saddam Hussein will have his own special mass grave dug in time so that by February ol’ Ramsey can move on to Cairo to get things hotted up for Saint Valentine’s Day.

I can’t wait to see whatever version of this story The New York Times cooks up writes. With their staff of intrepid reporters, never fear. You know it will be the kind of first-rate journalism we’ve come to expect from those pages, the ones decorated by Maureen Dowd and Paul “Never-Once-Right” Krugman, and Jayson Blair. Oops. Never mind.

Write it in your calendar now: Cairo. February.



Hat tip:Muscular Liberals

Haute Couture

 
Updated — Photos have surfaced!

Well, Google searches have hit us again. Yesterday and today the recurring search was for “Vienna Bush posters”, “Vienna Bush Queen”, “Vienna Bush Queen posters”, etc.

These unfortunate folks, looking for something more exciting, turned up at Gates of Vienna. Finally I found what they were looking for:

     Austria has launched its presidency of the European Union by unveiling posters of naked figures wearing masks resembling the Queen, Jacques Chirac and George W. Bush.
The images, part of a government-funded campaign, have provoked outrage in Vienna even before the country takes over the EU’s helm from Britain on Sunday. The naked man and two women are shown in sexual poses together on a roof. The Bush mask is worn by one of the women.
The posters, the fruit of a project called 25 Peaces, will be on display throughout the Austrian capital on 400 billboards until January 24.

Well, if you’re Austrian, that’s your tax dollars at work. Doesn’t that bring a thrill of pride to your heart?

There’s more:

     Taxpayers are contributing 10 per cent of the cost of the £7 million project, which involves 75 European artists working under the umbrella title euroPART. The rest of the money is from private sponsors.
The images of the naked trio were designed by Carlos Aires, 31, from Madrid. He said they depicted “the most recent changes in Europe and the resulting spacial constructions”. The project’s organisers called them a “direct criticism of globalisation”.

Of course! That nasty old globalization. Nothing like royal nudity to drive the point home with the lumpenproletariat.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any photos of the billboards to display for our readers’ edification. None of the news stories has one, and Google images can’t find any so far. According to Reuters, the entire collection of photos is available here, but the link is no good as of post time.

So we’ll have to wait a while longer for our prurient anti-globalization thrills.

Ah, Europe! Long may you continue to propagate your enlightened culture to the rest of us poor buffoons!

Until sharia is instituted, that is. Then there will be no more pornographic images on billboards. Then no representational images whatsoever will be allowed. Just eight-foot high inscriptions in elaborate Arabic calligraphy calling the faithful to prayer…



Redoubtable commenter Wally Ballou, the finest googler in Christendom, has located photos of the offending billboards. As he says, “If you’re offended, don’t blame me. They are pretty stupid — even for government art.”

Gates of Vienna is a family site, so I cropped off the subversive portions of anatomy. Click the link to see the whole picture, plus others.


.


You’d think with all that tax money they could buy better likenesses of famous public figures. That looks more like Elton John than Queen Elizabeth.

Gosh, We’re Up There With LGF!

 

Over at Little Green Footballs, Charles notes that Mr. Wolcott is on a tear. I’ll bet James’ palms are growing hair again and he’s out for blood. Funny, I thought the full moon wasn’t till the 14th of January. Maybe they do things differently atVanity Fair? They must have some special exemption.

Personally, I love Mr. Wolcott. His sneer at Gates of Vienna brought us wonderful traffic, for which I am most grateful. He’s even on my “things to be grateful for” list…and I noticed his blurb on a Kingsley Amis book so he must be hot stuff, no?

The important thing is, he got our URL right. Even now, we still get an occasional click through out of his old post. Every little bit helps, so keep those trollers coming.

Hugs and kisses from the inmates at the zoo, dear James…

Well, maybe not kisses. To judge by your ad hominem attacks you have a potty mouth and obviously weren’t Raised Right. Someone should have a Serious Talk with your mother. Not to mention your rhetorics teacher. Naughty, naughty.

Charles’ post:

Pro Journo Venomfest

     Several readers have emailed to let me know that Wolcott was spitting some more venom my way; his latest says that people who comment at LGF are “a pathological rash,” uncivilized brutes with a “decapitation complex” who get off on “death porn.”
That’s some mighty fine word-slingin’. Good to see that professional Vanity Fair journalists are still keeping that tradition alive.

Indeed. Though I do think calling the writers at VF “journalists” is a bit harsh.

Freedom for Egyptians Takes on WaPo

Gateway Pundit has a link to further depredations of WaPo. This paper appears to have the integrity of Grima Wormtongue in its approach to “gathering” the news.

Freedom for Egyptians is complaining about a recent WaPo article written by Hala Mustafa, whom the Egyptian blogger claims is from within Mubarak’s regime. The only disclosure by WaPo on the author comes at end of her article saying that the writer is editor of the Al-Ahram Foundation’s quarterly journal al-Dimuqratia (Democracy). We would have to dig pretty far — which I intend to do after I post — to know who or what this person is, but Freedom for Egyptians describes her as “one of the Egyptian regime’s stooges and informers” and claims Mustafa damaged Egypt’s reputation with her “repulsive message.”

If you read the whole article, you come away with the impression that change in Egypt is futile, not because of Mubarak, but because of the omnipresent, omnipowerful security services, which rule everything:

     Even the NDP Policies Committee — established three years ago as the party’s vehicle for reform — could not escape the clutches of the security services, which promoted a group of phony reformers to positions of influence and visibility in a false response to America’s call for political change. Meanwhile, genuine liberal voices were excluded, making reform from within impossible. Such practices are not limited to the highest ranks of the party: Recruitment for all positions is based on loyalty to security authorities rather than merit, qualifications, political background or experience.

The problem Freedom for Egyptians has with this article and its writer is the subtlety of the message, which is defeatist and tells us to shrug our shoulders and walk away. A Gallic shrug, perhaps:

     So the message that this article is trying to send to the Bush Administration, stop trying introducing reform, democracy and freedom because it will be cosmetic because it is the Secret State Security that decides not the US! And if President Bush wants to do anything it can only happen with their consent. But the article did not mention who is running this secret state security so that the US could talk to…or whether they get their share from one billion dollar plus aid that the US pays to Egypt annually!

Freedom for Egyptians is disgusted with WaPo for being so gullible and so dismissive of the crimes in the Middle East:

     It revolts me to see that the Washington Post promoting and giving space to the supporters of tyranny and dictatorship that the Bush Administration is trying to curb their evil. The paper is not helping to build confidence with the Egyptians or Middle Eastern readers but rather causing confusion. I beg the American press to stop hosting tyrannical regimes’ figures and aides!
If the Washington Post does not mind the mass graves found in the Middle East, the lack of freedom and democracy, the continuous violations of human rights, people living under poverty line because of oppression and tyranny, unprivileged peoples, I do not think it supports those who kill the US troops, those who attacked the US in 9/11, kidnappers who slay innocent people from different nationalities, those who terrorize our lives and threaten to blow us anywhere whenever they get a chance.

So, essentially what our blogger is saying is that the Post either (a) didn’t do its own homework in checking out this writer; or (b) doesn’t care.

Imagine there’s no WaPo
It’s easy if you try
No more slimy stories,
No more easy lies…

NOTE: Follow the link to Gateway Pundit (above) to see how they treat women who try to vote. I just couldn’t post that picture. But you ought to see it. Makes us realize how advanced things are in Iraq.



Update: The Gateway Pundit link has been corrected! Many thanks to all who emailed and commented.

Move America Forward. Faster, Please.

 
Thank heavens! There is now an alternative to Move On Dot Org (no, I don’t supply links for moonbats but I will work for their opponents). In the free section of the online Wall Street Journal, an advocacy group based in California, Move America Forward, is featured.

This group is probably not new to you. However, Dymphna lives a sheltered-from-media kind of life so I’m playing catch-up here.

So far, so wonderful:

     Move America Forward has raised more than $1 million, mainly in small donations, over the past two years. The group grew out of the successful 2003 effort to recall Democratic California Gov. Gray Davis. It was officially founded in 2004 by Mr. Russo, whose company provides office space for the organization; Melanie Morgan, a conservative San Francisco radio host; and Howard Kaloogian, a Republican former state assemblyman seeking the congressional seat of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who resigned recently after admitting to taking bribes from defense contractors.

First things first, though. Move On Dot Org is complaining about its rival and proving what we always knew; they can dish it out but they can’t take it. Just like all the other extremely thin-skinned, easily offended Fools on the Left:

     “When you have people participating in partisan activities with nonprofit dollars, that’s really something the IRS needs to look at,” says Tom Matzzie, the Washington director of the liberal advocacy group MoveOn [Dot] org, another frequent target for Move America Forward’s rhetoric. “An organization with a shady tax status participating in partisan activities and saying things that aren’t true is a rogue element in American politics.”

On the other hand, an advocacy group funded by the likes of George Soros and Michael Moore is on the side of the angels? Ummm…can they spell m-e-n-d-a-c-i-t-y? These people take money from a guy who likes to ruin national monetary systems and they feel morally fit to complain about oppostion? There’s a middle term missing in their equation.

Here are some of the projects Move America Forward has sponsored:

  • supported John Bolton’s nomination to the UN
  • led a campaign to support the policies in place at Guantanamo Bay by selling I [Heart] Gitmo bumper” stickers
  • sent pro-war protesters to Cindy Sheehan’s camp in Texas
  • sponsored a parallel counter-Cindy Sheehan bus tour of war supporters that culminated in a large rally in Washington
  • sent five conservative talk show hosts to Iraq for a week to counter the biased anti-American press at home
  • collected and sent $2.8 Million in pharmacy supplies to Afghanistan & Iraq
  • keeps up a regular flow of pro-military, pro-war commercials.

It’s about time that Republicans with the savvy and connections and experience are making the kinds of moves that the Republican Party (best featured with a picture of Dumbo before he got smart) has either not seen or hasn’t the spine to initiate.

The website tour is worth a look. They feature past events and a look at what they’re currently doing. My favorite is their petition to boot the UN out of here. Yes, I certainly do realize the quixotic nature of such a campaign. Nonetheless I endorse it heartily and plan to sign it.

Go on, make your day: sign a petition to get the UN out of America. If nothing else, it will make you feel better — or at least feel less helpless about the fact that a kleptocracy is taking up valuable space in our country. If you want to put this in perspective, read David McCullough’s “1776” — it makes this task pale in comparison. Besides, it proves that we’ve kicked bigger fish out of here before. We can do it again.

That’s Move America Forward. It’s about time.

FUD??

 
L’Ombre de l’Olivier has a juicy post you ought not miss. He fisks the WaPo sneer — he terms it “a hit piece”, deservedly so — about Bill Roggio’s efforts to report from Iraq.

First he gives you the lay of the land: when the big guys want to destroy the smaller competition they put into operation something called FUD — i.e., spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about the little guy’s product. It sounds like a solid technique and has probably worked well for companies whose integrity is already so compromised that a little more destruction isn’t going to add substantially to their karmic load.

But, as he points out, this time it’s not working for the legacy media. The only people who’ll go along with this kind of assassination were never going to read Roggio anyway. No loss there.

Yes…I am going to suggest you read the whole thing. For one thing, he’s a bonanza of links to pertinent information regarding this contretemps. For another, he has a good overview of the strategy and tactics involved:

     This all looks like a classic case of the stodgy incumbent being shaken up by nimbler new competitors who are benefitting from some disruptive innovation and as I noted at the beginning, FUD is the standard response of the incumbent to this attack. Another response, which we may also see here, is for the incumbent to attempt the divide and conquer routine on its competitors. In this case the labelling of Roggio as a “conservative” may well be an attempt to get left wing citizen journalists to pile on in the hopes of splitting the threat. Now this doesn’t in any way mean that all newspapers are about to go the way of the dodo and be replaced by bloggers but is it a sign of a vulnerability and tied with other vulnberabilites such as craigslist and ebay attacking the classified markets it could be a sign that the print parts of the MSM are about to die.

From his blog to God’s eyes. May the limbs of the MSM fall off one by one. May their heads roll down the rut they created by always running in place while they mouthed lie after lie after dissembling lie.

Oh never mind. Just make them go away. Make them get real jobs and let the people with the background expertise report on stories.

It sure would be a welcome change from the ignorant and superstitious “Henny-Penny-the-Sky is Falling” screech we’ve been subjected to for the last two generations. It’s no wonder the rate of clinical depression has increased. All those damnable scare stories would be enough to do anyone in.

Imagine there are no journalists.
You don’t even need to try.
No doom and gloom from TV
And the printer’s ink’s run dry.
Imagine all the people
With Global warming threats all gone…

Imagine there’s no newsprint
It isn’t hard to do
No lies to spread, no venom,
No haters left to spew.
Imagine all the people
Free from TV news…

Well, you get the idea…go read L’Ombre de l’Olivier or I’ll subject you to more execrable parody.

Let Me Tell You Something, President Bush

I Could Scream: Examining the plight of women under Islam

I wasn’t going to post on Nour Miyati’s suffering again. I swore I wouldn’t. Maybe I thought if I didn’t put up anything, then it would all just go away. However, being an ostrich has real limits. And if we aren’t at least willing to bear witness to another’s agony, then do we have the right to speak at all?

What the Saudis have done, what they have permitted to be done, to Ms. Miyati is so inhumane that it almost beggars description.

Let’s begin with some background from previous posts.

First of all, this woman didn’t go to the authorities — her owner dropped her bruised and battered body at the hospital, denying any responsibility for her condition:

     A 25-year-old maid who came to Saudi Arabia as a guest worker will leave behind most of her fingers and toes and part of her right foot when she is repatriated to Indonesia. In addition to the amputations, necessitated by gangrene, several teeth had been knocked out and she is in danger of losing an eye as a result of severe beatings.

Slavery in Saudi Arabia 2005 That was back in April of this year. I warned then that she would be under the aegis of sharia law, and thus her life — being a mere female, Muslim or not — wasn’t worth much. I also noted that the jerks who did this to her would be let go. Prince (at the time) Abdullah, busy doing a quick cover-your-ass move, stuck his big nose into it, insisting that she get good care and transferring her to the lad-de-dah King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center. Abdullah even sent the Health Minister over to check on her. They both declared her experience at the hands of her employers “disgusting”.

That was then. In May, things started to go sideways. All of a sudden, it wasn’t the employers’ fault. Or if it was, they were only guilty of neglect. But the maid, she was really the guilty party. That woman had the nerve to accuse her owners employers of mistreating her. Therefore she had violated the law by making false allegations. Here are my remarks in May, followed by the hideously criminal medical report from a bunch of Saudi butchers with M.D. after their names:

     Brutalization is not just a family affair in Saudi Arabia. The state is a willing and eager partner. And it can twist arms with a mighty force, especially arms with hands whose fingers are missing. On the one hand, there is the medical committee’s report:
A medical committee set up by Riyadh Governor from a number of specialists from the Ministry of Health concluded that the maid suffered wounds and bruises to her body, “suggesting she has been the victim of violence and that the gangrene could not have been caused as a direct result of beating and that it probably was caused by an inherent disease suffered by the patient.”

Her “inherent disease” is simply the grinding poverty which drove her to seek employment far from home. She wound up in Hell. The “inherent disease” of the Saud tribe is corrupt, terminally evil governance. These spawn of Stalin are unspeakable.

Now, to bring you up to date, in case you’ve managed to avoid this until now. It’s hardly “news” anymore, since it’s been floating around the blogosphere for awhile. The Religious Policeman (whose blog is dedicated “In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter”) had a few sardonic things to say about how judges arrive at their numerology when it comes to handing down lashings for false allegations:

     …But we [he is referring to the Saudis] have lost our 14th-Century pre-eminence in Maths. And we are dealing with a crime against an Indonesian here, and they are Third World, and she is a woman, and there are plenty more on the next 747 from Jakarta.

But that’s not all. After all, didn’t the Indonesian woman change her testimony? That just shows you can’t trust these people. And she must be punished for changing her testimony. So more Maths. If you get 35 lashes for causing someone to lose fingers and toes, and knocking out several of their teeth [these were the charges against her owners employers ], then for changing your testimony, you should get….

A Riyadh judge sentenced an Indonesian maid, who accused her sponsor and his wife of torturing her, to 79 lashes yesterday.

So I got that wrong, as well. And the ironic thing is that, if we lashed people across the hand instead of across the back, then she wouldn’t feel it, because she’s lost her fingers. But Indonesian housemaids never seem to have any luck.

The Religious Policeman has further accounts of the depraved physical punishments meted out in his native country, but I can just barely get through this one so I won’t elaborate further. You can follow the link if you wish.

Anyone with a shred of human decency who was unfortunate to have been born a citizen of that Saudi hell hole should find another country ASAP. Like yesterday. A decent human being could not, in good conscience, ally him or herself with this depravity.
For the rest of us, there is nothing we can do. You can’t throw money at evil. You can’t wish it away. You can — as I did — hide from it because it’s so painful to think about. To those of our readers who believe in the efficacy of prayer, I ask that you join me every morning in doing just that. Pick your time and place and give this woman’s plight a moment of your soul’s attention.

And you, Barbara Walters, will get whatever it is you deserve for giving these creeps legitimacy by interviewing them. May you be chained forever to the degenerate King you babbled with. May you both endure an eternal interview with one another. I can’t think of a more fitting existence for you both. If you had any heart at all, woman, you’d be using your influence to collect some funds for this victim of the Devil himself. But you won’t lift a finger, will you? On to the next celebrity.

And let me tell you something, President George Bush. If you ever hold hands with one of these degenerates again…then I pity you. You, sir, know better than anyone — since you are privy to information not available to the rest of us — what horrors these Saudi princes are. If you do not speak out before you leave office, then God have mercy on your soul. It would take an immensity only God possesses to forgive you for colluding with them in the name of whatever policy you have in place.

Basta!

The BIG Story of 2005

Via Little Green Footballs:

Austin Bay is taking comments on your suggestions for the biggest story of the past year.

So far, it’s everything from Katrina to Benedict XVI, with a few suggesting the Middle East changes. I agree, those are some big sea-changes all right. Sea changes in a desert? Hmmm. Need new metaphor.

My favorite comment (so far) was this:

     I’d say the undeclared war on President Bush being conducted by elements in the CIA, the MSM, the Democrats, and the Washington establishment is the big story of 2005.

Yes. As in history repeats itself, Mr. Lincoln.

I suggest you take a gander at what others have to say and perhaps opine there your own self.

Pilate’s Question Never Goes Away

 
Over at Belmont Club, Wretchard has posted a provocative piece entitled “Who Is a Journalist?” He makes this point, among others:

     The Ranting Professor correctly says that both the US and enemy sides are consciously engaged in an information war. What is overlooked, I think, is that in the battle for credibility accuracy matters. If their claims to superior accuracy were undoubted, the mainstream media can easily afford to ignore the amateurish efforts of a few soldiers and bloggers to get ‘the other side of the picture’ out. In terms of professional writing skill, press credentials and technical support, Mr. Roggio with his scrounged up $30,000 can hardly hope to compete with professional journalists backed by Fortune 500 companies. That he and others like him are considered a threat says more about the mainstream media than anything else.

And evidently those on the Left call “amateurs” like Bill Roggio suspicious because he managed to raise the thirty thousand dollars that afforded his trip to Iraq. Yet many bloggers and commenters could stand up and say they were the contributors to Roggio’s effort — and that further, his legitimacy lay in the fact that he was invited by the military, based on what they saw as his accurate reporting of the war.

All of us had various motives for making our donations to Mr. Roggio’s excellent adventure. My impetus was driven by the fact that he would need ten thousand dollars just to cover the insurance on his person for the few months he was there. Since he had children, the insurance seemed essential to me, and thus some of our money went into the pot.

With Michael Yon, my motivation lay in the fact that he couldn’t afford the kind of camera he needed for his work there. Given the already incredible photos he was producing, I was moved to donate to him, too.

At one point, Wretchard quotes Mr. Cockburn, he of The Nation, who claims that Iraq is disintegrating. In fact, here’s the whole quote from Belmont (you don’t think I’m actually going to link to that magazine, do you?):

     Iraq is disintegrating. The first results from the parliamentary election last week show the country is dividing between Shia, Sunni and Kurdish regions. … The election marks the final shipwreck of American and British hopes of establishing a pro-Western secular democracy in a united Iraq.

Wretchard follows Cockburn’s remarks thusly:

     It is totally irrelevant to question Mr. Cockburn’s motives, intelligence or literary style. The only source of legitimacy that matters is whether Mr. Cockburn’s journal of events is accurate.

Wretchard’s remarks are cogent. However, one of the commenters, wizard, had this rejoinder:
“The only source of legitimacy that matters is whether Mr. Cockburn’s journal of events is accurate. “

     I disagree. If characterizations were not the main product this would be true, but factual accuracy (or lack thereof) is only perhaps 5% of most articles.
For instance “Iraq is disintegrating” could be viewed from 360 perspectives. There certainly is a lot of change, and one could make a case for this. Does the author mean that Iraq will become multiple nations within X years?
No! Why not? Because the precision of language which many of us grew up with no longer exists in journalism.
It turns out that Iraq really IS disintegrating, but the term “disintegrate” no longer has much of a meaning at all… just a feeling of discontent.
We are now in the stream-of-consciousness era where facts are malleable, see fake-but-accurate. They really meant that. Really.
The article is just an impression, a snapshot in time, with no awareness of old concepts like history and its implied objective observer.
Someone once said that words mean things. Well, they used to — but anyone asking “what is a journalist” is now just a self-admitted anachronism.
Today’s word-smiths are much more like Enron Accounts, and when asked What is 2+2, they reply with nary a wink: “What would you like it to be?”

This is a forceful argument and deserves close reading. However, wizard’s opinion — that the question raised: “who is a journalist?” is already anachronistic — jumps the gun. In other words, it is anachronistic in the other direction. The time has not yet come to stop asking — and responding to — queries about what comprises journalism and journalists.

The question itself may even be in the subset of those questions regarding the most important issue of this generation: what is information and how will it be generated now that the gatekeepers are being pushed out of the way?

Note that this is merely another way of asking, with Pilate, “What is Truth?” Of course, he washed his hands after posing the question.

Muslims Running the U.S. Embassy in Egypt

 
The New York Post (free; registration required) reports that the US State Department has begun to investigate charges that “hard-line” Islamic employees in the US Embassy in Egypt have been engaged in routinely denying visas to Coptic Egyptians — i.e., Christians — for some time.

     Hundreds, possibly thousands, may have been wrongly denied visas, sources said.
In a recent meeting organized by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), top State Department officials were told that these employees, who conduct prescreening interviews and translations, appear to have unusual influence over a process that is supposed to be controlled by Americans.
“This is a widespread problem that we have been aware of for some time. Now, however, there are people stepping forward and are making formal complaints,” said Father Keith Roderick, head of the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights, who attended the meeting.

The news story did not say where the meeting took place or how Rep. Wolf came to organize it. There is no mention of it on his website, nor is there — at the moment — any other related story on Google news.

However, the stories have been out there for awhile. This is from a Coptic site, dating from November of this year:

     If you are a Coptic Christian, try to apply for a visa at the American Embassy in Cairo, once you pass through the gate, you will feel as if you are inside a mosque in Afghanistan. Posters of “Islam is a religion of Peace”, “Islam means peace”, “The life of Muslims in the US”, “Islam is the fastest growing religion in the US”, in addition to images of American mosques are posted everywhere in the American embassy in Cairo.
If you are not a Muslim, try to apply for a job at the US embassy in Cairo, you will wait and wait forever without a response, because – according to an embassy employee – your application will be shredded in pieces and thrown in the garbage by the director of the embassy HR, who is a veiled fanatic Muslim woman.
Over the past few years, the number of Coptic employees at the US embassy in Cairo has declined significantly, while the number of Muslim employees has increased significantly.
And according to visa applicants, who are Copts, embassy consular officers sometimes ask if they are going to the US to talk about the Muslim persecution of Christians in Egypt!
It happened again today. A Coptic applicant for a visa was asked if she had intended to go to the United States in order to talk about the persecution of Christians in Egypt! She was then denied the visa. (The name of this individual and the details on this incident are available upon request). If the US has declared a war on terror, it ought to look into its own backyards, and at its gates overseas. We believe that an investigation is long overdue over the behavior of some ‘fanatical’ and “extremist” employees at the US embassies overseas. How do such individuals pass a background check?!

Good question. If you want email a query regarding the subject, here’s a good place to start: [email protected] — Obviously, the email address for the US Embassy in Cairo. Makes you wonder though. Who exactly reads these emails first? The American foreign service officers or the Egyptian employees?

Whoever has more information on

  • the meeting called by Representative Wolf,
  • or the “investigations by the State Department,
  • or what role “The Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights” plays in all this,

please share what you know and we’ll put it up.



Hat tip: Larwyn. Thanks!

Council’s Choices: (1) Advice for the Eternally Disgruntled; (2) The Labyrinth of Secrecy

 
Watcher's Council Dr. Sanity’s post on Victimhood easily took first place in the Council nominations. It reminds me of the shock I had the first time I saw the word “victimology” in some magazine article or other. They weren’t using the word satirically so I knew right then we were in trouble. If someone takes a process and plunks “-ology” on the end of it, you ought to tiptoe away.

Unfortunately, this one has become so widespread you can no longer escape. “Victim” and “Abuse” have been so devalued and trivialized that they no longer have real meaning outside the ghettoes of Academe. However, in case you’ve been under a rock these last twenty years — sleeping off a binge, perhaps — then hasten to read the good doctor’s “Idiot’s Guide to Victimhood.” It is especially important to read it if you’re planning to be one. And like any good writer, she draws you in immediately with a list of the advantages of victim status:

     This brief guide is for those searching for an expedited pathway into the exalted status of Victimhood. Becoming a victim –as we all have learned from famous TV stars, prominent politicians; religions, races, and even nations–is an advantageous state of being in many ways, several of which are:
-You are not responsible for what happened to you
-You are always morally right
-You are not accountable to anyone for anything
-You are forever entitled to sympathy
-You are always justified in feeling moral indignation for being wronged
-You never have to be responsible again for anything,,,

In my years working at a woman’s shelter I had the opportunity to speak with many such people, mostly women — but not exclusively so. With experience, I learned which women were going to be hardest to deal with: those who came in saying, “Dymphna, make him stop hitting me”; and those who wailed, “it isn’t fair.”

To the “make-him-stop” group I would ask if they thought their abuser loved them. Invariably, the answer was in the affirmative. Of course he “loved” them, he just needed to stop hitting, punching, etc. I would then ask if they had requested of this loved one that he stop using them for a punching bag. They’d look at me like I had two heads and the impatience with my obviously retard-o questions would begin to show. “I’ve asked him over and over again. The children have begged him. His mother is mad at him for how he treats me.” Pause. Then I would ask, as gently as possible, if all the people who loved him couldn’t get him to stop whaling on her why did she think a stranger would have any effect?

That either ended the session with one of us huffy (not I) or the woman would begin to see, just a little, that asking doesn’t mean getting. It was a small but important step.

The women who wailed that it wasn’t “fair” were much harder to deal with. These were women who — should the abuse escalate or if it involved heavy drug use — could wind up dead. Their abusive environment was viewed as something they didn’t deserve and therefore “shouldn’t have to” protect themselves against. They lacked a mature intuitive sense and were likely to leave themselves open to danger. The most egregious case of this nature was a woman I worked with who was shot and killed by her abuser when there were police officers in the house.

So go read all of it. Make sure your kids don’t spout any of these privileged positions. You’ll be saving them a lot of future pain. Say what you will about Bill O’Reilly, he knows how to teach kids to look out for themselves. Any child (or adult) who took his book(s) to heart would refuse to buy victimology as a valid perspective.

First place in the non-council nominations was Volokh Conspiracy’s essay, “Legal Analysis of the NSA Domestic Surveillance Program.” This is not a casual post; it is dense and thorough. However, Orin Kerr is an excellent teacher: he lays out the questions first, provides his caveats and tentative answer, followed by his reasoning and how he arrived there. The first two paragraphs of this essay may be the best introduction to a thicket of national intelligence and security that you will find anywhere.

     Was the secret NSA surveillance program legal? Was it constitutional? Did it violate federal statutory law? It turns out these are hard questions, but I wanted to try my best to answer them. My answer is pretty tentative, but here it goes: Although it hinges somewhat on technical details we don’t know, it seems that the program was probably constitutional but probably violated the federal law known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. My answer is extra-cautious for two reasons. First, there is some wiggle room in FISA, depending on technical details we don’t know of how the surveillance was done. Second, there is at least a colorable argument — if, I think in the end, an unpersuasive one — that the surveillance was authorized by the Authorization to Use Military Force as construed in the Hamdi opinion.
This is a really long post, so let me tell you where I’m going. I’m going to start with the Fourth Amendment; then turn to FISA; next look to the Authorization to Use Military Force; and conclude by looking at claim that the surveillance was justified by the inherent authority of Article II. And before I start, let me be clear that nothing in this post is intended to express or reflect a normative take of whether the surveillance program is a good idea or a bad idea. In other words, I’m just trying to answer what the law is, not say what the law should be. If you think my analysis is wrong, please let me know in the comment section; I’d be delighted to post a correction.

These two paragraphs could serve as a model for anyone attempting to explain a difficult subject. Where he goes from there will elucidate your understanding of the NSA situation. Somewhat. And then you’ll read the comments and decide a good stiff drink is in order. You’ll be right, too.

Check out the other posts on The Watcher’s blog. There’s one on Planned Parenthood’s machinations which will make you wonder about that group. If you didn’t already. By the way, did you know one of its founders, Margaret Sanger, was an enthusiastic proponent of eugenics? No wonder that group makes moral decisions that resemble intellectual pretzels devoid of common sense or human decency. Just saying…