Saturday, August 06, 2005

On a Weekend

I was intrigued by a snippet in the National Journal which referred to Joseph Stalin's plans for a final Terror.

Stalin was planning his own version of the Holocaust to rid the U.S.S.R. of its Jewish citizens. ... Newly discovered documents show that in February 1953, Stalin authorised the construction of four large prison camps in Kazakhstan, Siberia and the Arctic north. Officially they were for all classes of dangerous criminals, but it is far more likely that Stalin was preparing for a second Great Terror - aimed at the millions of Soviet citizens of Jewish descent. ...

A search led to a book review of Brent and Naumov's Stalin's Last Crime, largely about Uncle Joe's abortive project to launch a new wave of repression so huge it would put his efforts of the 1930s into the shade.

Though the Great Terror of the late 1930s is widely viewed as the height of Stalin's purges, the number of arrests actually peaked in the early 1950s, and Stalin was planning hundreds of thousands more on the eve of his death in 1953. These arrests were spurred by the "doctors' plot," a supposed conspiracy among Jewish doctors to kill members of the government and destroy the U.S.S.R. at the behest of the Americans. Brent, the editorial director of Yale University Press, and Naumov, executive secretary of Russia's Presidential Commission for the Rehabilitation of Repressed Persons, trace how Stalin himself put together ... (a plan) ... to accomplish several goals: to purge his Ministry of Security and upper ranks of government; to defuse the potential threat posed by Soviet Jews, many of whom had ties to the U.S. and the new state of Israel; and to provide fuel for an armed conflict with the U.S.

This was pretty heavy stuff, but then Stalin had the dubious distinction of killing many more people than Adolph Hitler, so anything was possible. As I didn't have the book, I scoured its book reviews until I found the location of the four giant planned death-camps where Stalin intended to succeed where Hitler had failed -- Kazakhstan, Komi, and Irkutsk. The final Final Solution. The attraction of exploring Communist archaeology is based in part on the fascination for the grotesque. It is what morbid minds study in the absence of real alien monster artifacts. It is a tableau of the inconceivable, made all the more startling because it was real. Stalin even attempted to master time by mandating a five-day week (after he had tried a six-day week) reasoning there was no earthly reason why it should run to seven. The Economist explains Stalin's point of view.

Most people greet the weekend with gratitude. But some economists view it with puzzlement. Why, they wonder, does the bulk of the population rest on the same two days each week? Why does everyone's week end at “the” weekend? From an economic point of view, it would surely be more efficient to stagger days of rest throughout the week. That way, expensive pieces of equipment would not lie idle for two days in seven, and infrastructure would be less congested the other five.

One person impressed by this logic was Josef Stalin, who rationalised the Soviet calendar in 1929. Workers were given every fifth day off, but their shifts were staggered, so that factories could run without interruption. The staggered week appealed rather less to the people who worked it, however. According to Witold Rybcynski's 1991 book about leisure, “Waiting for the Weekend”, Stalin's four days on, one day off, was unpopular, even though it was less onerous than the six-day week that preceded it. Families and friends rarely had the same day off; administrative staff rarely worked at the same time. After less than three years, the staggered working week was abandoned.

There's a boutique tourist market for traveling the "Road of Bones" -- a road to a mooted gold mine ordered by Stalin which conveniently killed those who built it from starvation. (An enterprising fellow called Milford posted photos he took on motorcycle journey along the route, where it is said, building each meter cost one prisoner's life. ) Here was a place, as the Telegraph puts it, where:

Armed only with pickaxes and wheelbarrows, prisoners, among them the founder of the Soviet space programme, generals and intellectuals side by side with common criminals, hacked and hewed at permafrost in the hunt for gold.

The landscape of Communism from East Germany to Cambodia, from North Korea to Cuba deserves to preserved as a monument to the greatest act of hypnotism in history. Piers Brendon, writing in the Dark Valley, described the pilgrimage of Western intellectuals to this palace of horrors, intent upon discovering paradise. And discover it they did.

Before setting off for Moscow in 1932 to experience "the veritable future of mankind", Malcolm Muggeridge made a bonfire of bourgeois trappings, including his dinner jacket. Arthur Koestler endorsed the slogan at the frontier  -- "Change trains for the twenty first century". ... Muggeridge ... soon perceived the truth and mocked the gullibility of other visitors. Lord Marley denied that official lies could have been told about the Five Year Plan -- "Think how ashamed the Soviet Government would be if it were discovered that their statistics had been falsified" -- and believed that the authorities permitted food queues in Moscow because they "provided a means for inducing the workers to take a rest". Edouard Herriot was convinced that the milk shortage was due to the large amount allocated to nursing mothers. George Bernard Shaw expressed his confidence that the Soviet Union was free from hunger by declaring that he had thrown his supplies of Western tinned food out of the train window ..." (from the chapter Stalin's Revolution)

But the El Dorado wasn't there; and the really big historical question is why it took the best minds of the West more than 50 years and countless lives to discover that elementary fact. This monumental self-hypnosis calls into question our collective ability to know; and when politicians and media talking heads speak with perfect assurance about "religions of peace" or alternatively, about a "death cult" with bloody borders, how certain are we that our epistemology is any better than that of the 20th century intellectuals?

164 Comments:

Blogger Doug said...

Lessons still to be learned:
.Why Russia has to turn left towards it’s communist past to avoid an authoritarian future.

Nevertheless, competent public opinion polls (including recent Levada Centre polls) leave no room for the imagination: the people support the communists. 97 percent of Russians want free education, 93 percent say that pensions should not be lower than the living wage, 98 percent say people’s pre-reform savings must be returned to them. Also, 81 percent want a return to the direct election of governors, 59 percent back the institution of single constituency deputies. This is actually the program of Russia’s next authorities — state paternalism and democracy, freedom and justice together, on the same side of the fence.

So in spite of all the tricks, the communists will win anyway. And their victory will be democratic, corresponding completely to the electorate’s will, one way or another, at the elections or without (after) them. The ’left turn’ — a turn towards communism — will happen. And the army of the current authorities’ successors will no longer be legitimate.

8/06/2005 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger Carl O. Witz said...

Great post, as always. With regard to your final comment, I sometimes wonder why exactly do we still have a large number of troops in Germany, South Korea (resented by the citizens there) and Okinawa (also resented?). Sometimes, when I'm in a dark mood, I wonder how much we differ from the old Warsaw Pact, except that we're more successful.

Then I have a couple of beers and I feel better.

8/06/2005 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

This monumental self-hypnosis calls into question our collective ability to know; and when politicians and media talking heads speak with perfect assurance about "religions of peace" or alternatively, about a "death cult" with bloody borders, how certain are we that our epistemology is any better than that of the 20th century intellectuals?

I think this is profound and potentially troubling. However, we live in a world of imperfect information and imperfect perception of the available information.

Given that, how are we then to proceed in the face of potential threats? My argument is that when faced with a threat, such as radical Islam, which states goals that include the destruction of our civilization, we should err -- if it be erring -- on the side of taking the threat with deadly seriousness and absolutely eliminating the threat.

8/06/2005 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Well Wretchard it is worth noting that one side during the run up to the dissolution of the Soviet Union had it far more right than wrong. That was the side that simply looked at the evidence of the Soviets and called it like it was. It is also worth noting that the same sort of people who saw through the Soviets people like Winston Churchill, are seeing though the veils of Political Correctness and wishful thinking and realizing that Winston's quote was accurate: The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities - but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.

8/06/2005 06:48:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

Lesson: Don't trust the MSN.

One thing Joe Stalin had going for him was the help of the NY Times to deflect his murders (and his ability to kill approximately half of his top military commanders who disagreed with his politics).

In a WSJ discussion of the Beatles' Paul McCartney rock concert (where McCartney played "Back in the USSR" which is actually a rhetorical slap to the USSR) role of the KGB's head of operations Felix Dzerzhinsky (Iron Felix) is recapped with the atrocities of Stalin's men [1]. A commentator further elaborated on the KGB:

Ron N. - San Francisco

I find it so strange to read that Mr. Putin, a general in the KGB, is hosting a music festa in St. Petersburg, formally Leningrad, where it was reported a few months ago that a KGB graveyard 40 miles from the city had just been found with over 60,000 bodies; all had the signature of the KGB in the back of the head, the single bullet hole.

Flex Dzerzhinsky's statue going back up in Red Square? This is like a statue of Himmler being erected in the Tiergarten in Berlin. Although "Iron Felix" sent to their deaths more people than Himmler, for some reason Dzerzhinsky's name isn't known as well. But the KGB had a department known as Department 6, the Disinformation Branch, which did a tremendous job of coverup. Even the New York Times fell for it when Walter Duranty, the Times bureau chief in Moscow, said that 10 million didn't die under Stalin's first five-year plan; Duranty even got a Pulitzer for writing the coverup
[2]...


[1] See: A City on the Edge

[2] See: Free Association

8/06/2005 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

I had a European tell me a few days ago that the dictatorship of North Korea was the will of the people, because its security apparatus and military were staffed by so many apparently willful citizens. I asked her if the 20% East Germany membership in the Stasi meant it to was popularly based.

The ignorance is still with us.

8/06/2005 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

Today we have the internet, blogs, cellphones, instant messaging, satellite communication, . . . .

There is no excuse for people not to know what is going on, virtually anywhere in the world. Only a total moron depends exclusively on the mainstream media for his information.

Journalism school graduates were never known for their brilliance, for good reason. Not before graduating, and certainly not afterward.

8/06/2005 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

People will believe things they hear or read over things they see. Its a human flaw - a trap.

8/06/2005 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger romanesq said...

This site is like a strong light of truth if I can say so without being completely over the top.

This past week's efforts and the comments section filled with so many thoughtful and cogent analysis. I can only tip my hat to Wretchard, or as I like to say Rikard.

Personally, I don't know anywhere else to even get half of what is on display here. Pure bliss.

As for the Soviet model and Uncle Joe, will have to read more on this as it is new. But I have to say, Duranty was no fool and played an eager game to suck up to Stalin.

As I recall Muggridge described as the biggest liar in the world. The actual quote was more classic.

I salute again the fine efforts here all around. Just beautiful work.

8/06/2005 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

red river:
"People will believe things they hear or read over things they see."

More importantly, people will see things that fit what they want to believe much more readily than they will see or hear things that conflict with the reality they wish existed.
The New York Times wanted to believe the Soviet Communists were creating a new model, a Utopian society where everyone was equal and men lived in peace and harmony. They were so willing to believe it that they didn't allow themselves to see anything that was at odds with the rosy picture they drew.
Today, many want to (need to) believe Islam is the RoP and will find evidence everywhere to support the idea (and will discount or minimize countervailing views).
One very significant difference today is the existence of alternative avenues of information. No longer are the New York Times and other MSM players the gatekeepers of information.
For those who are still able to keep an open mind, left or right, more and more information is available from which to derive a world view that correponds more closely to reality.

8/06/2005 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger The Long Rooster said...

Solzhenitsyn wrote a interesting chaper of Stalin locked up in his secure Kremlin room, paranoid and plotting his next purge. I believe the chapter is in Cancer Ward.

8/06/2005 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

Wretchard writes: "This monumental self-hypnosis calls into question our collective ability to know; and when politicians and media talking heads speak with perfect assurance about "religions of peace" or alternatively, about a "death cult" with bloody borders, how certain are we that our epistemology is any better than that of the 20th century intellectuals?"

The question is a good one, with an intriguing oblique reference to Islam as a "death cult."

This morning I just finished reading a three-part essay by Donald Sensing about "jihadism" and how it is transforming Islam into that which Wretchard describes.

You can read the whole thing here.

So, back to Wretchard's question: How can we be sure our epistemology is any better than the intellectuals of the 20th century?

Answer: Find intellectuals with better epistemology, starting with Donald Sensing.

8/06/2005 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Zeno said...

Great post. Wretchard, sometimes your texts are just brilliant. I guess not even VDH is as good as the Belmont Club in its best days.

8/06/2005 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...

Hmmmm.

"This monumental self-hypnosis calls into question our collective ability to know ..."

Or as I like to put it:

Most people are idiots that talk out of their ass. And if they're intellectuals or pundits, then it's a foregone conclusion that ass-talking is what's going on.

8/06/2005 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger Fresh Air said...

We forget how strong a lure modern utopias were. Yes, Karl Marx started the whole business, but many derivations and permutations dotted the bookshelves of millions. Edward Bellamy's utopian dream, Looking Backward, [click here for free ebook], published in 1881, was like The South Beach Diet for intellectual fools. It sold 1 million copies.

Even avowed capitalists, like King Gillette, the founder of the razor company, were suckered into believing the world could be a tranquil place if only the appropriate leaders would ascend to their rightful place in the temple of control.

Gillette, BTW, designed a utopia where the bulk of the population of the United States would live in massive, connected housing projects. It had to have an inexhaustible source of water and power so he of course chose...Buffalo, NY.

8/06/2005 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

I think the truly marvelous thing to behold in the west has always been the loathing of their own culture and its heritage by people on the left.They are so easily useful idiots for tyrants and monstrous ideologies.Thus in the 60's the pampered children of privilege became Weathermen or Red Brigaders while the sons of factory workers died in Asia or quietly went to work and built lives and families.When we venerated Ronald Reagan and Billy Graham they eulogized Che Guevara and Chairman Mao.
Nowadays small town southern boys and the kids from the lost rust belt factory towns strap on Kevlar and go off to heroic feats in ancient Mesopotamia while the historical memory of leftist fools goes no deeper than some effeminate pasty faced little singer in a whining angst ridden band.
God help us that there are enough of us who consider freedom worth bleeding for.

8/06/2005 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Now comes Harvard educated Noel Ignatiev, an academic at Harvard’s W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African-American Research. Dr. Ignatiev is the founder of a journal, Race Traitor, which has as its motto, "treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity."

The journal’s purpose is "to abolish the white race."

A statement by the editors on the web site says that the new abolitionists "do not limit themselves to socially acceptable means of protest, but reject in advance no means of attaining their goal."

Dr. Ignatiev does not believe his agenda is controversial. He writes:

"The goal of abolishing the white race is on its face so desirable that some may find it hard to believe that it could incur any opposition other than from committed white supremacists." Thus does he put whites on notice. If they oppose their abolition, they are "white supremacists."

According to Dr. Ignatiev, "The key to solving the social problems of our age is to abolish the white race."

"Make no mistake about it," he says, "we intend to keep bashing the dead white males, and the live ones, and the females too, until the social construct known as ‘the white race’ is destroyed--not ‘deconstructed’ but destroyed."

Yet, Dr. Ignatiev believes that it is self-evident that whites in their homelands should be abolished.

Where did he get this view? His only education was at Harvard where he received two graduate degrees.

Is Harvard embarrassed? No. Dr. Ignatiev [ignatiev@fas.harvard.edu] is showcased in the current issue of Harvard Magazine.
Getting rid of whiteness is not controversial at Harvard, because it is the business of American universities.
University Genocide

8/06/2005 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The opposite side of the coin:
Mark Helprin's Jeffersonian Retreat

8/06/2005 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Helprin piece reminded me of these don't miss photos from Ellis Island.
Ellis Island Photos

8/06/2005 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger sunguh5307 said...

I think it's the 'conceit of modernity' that communism and other alternatives to capitalism appealed to. Perhaps in the past it was religious fanatics. But this 'utopian modernity' has definitely darkened the world for a good century, IMHO.

That is why people will always be shocked when someone like Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan comes along, throwing all those static beliefs into an uproar and undermine the statist urge to manage and control. Or even with corruption and monopolization, a small company can adress an unmet need, like talk radio in the U.S. It's only half of the marketplace, you know. And this is becoming fast applied to other elements of the world too as a general challenge to the 'status quo'.

It seems a psychological safety valve for those who are averse to competition and it's unmerciful shifts. Which is why so many still want to find solace in these discredited institutions, and are willing to accept these awful 'aberrations' for their safety.

http://pmclassic.blogspot.com/2005/08/conceit-of-modernity.html

8/06/2005 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

It seems a psychological safety valve for those who are averse to competition and it's unmerciful shifts. "
---
Very well put!
And not just psychological:
The Academics, Journos, and etc get to live their lives of luxury in their little Kremlins despite their (sub) mediocrity.
(Walter Williams is so fond of reminding us that the NEA's ranks come from the bottom of the educational barrel.)

8/06/2005 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Sometimes we can never be sure. The world is a big place, and even the smallest village in the remotest deserts of Arabia has currents and tides too complex and too numerous to reduce to an article, or an essay, or even a large tome. The dangers of miscategorization and misinterpretation rise as our attention and our patience fall, until we find ourselves battling for one soundbite over another when both may be dangerously wrong, or, more often, both inadequately right.

September 11, if it did anything, broadened our attentions and enlargened our world. We had fooled ourselves into nonchalance, willingly hypnotized by the coziness of a predictability that wasn't, but our circumscribed lives never really existed, not in the way we thought. There was a blackness in the wilderness that we had chosen to ignore, until one fateful day it stepped into the light to spark a fire of its own. By this terrible new flame we saw that the danger, through our inattentiveness, had grown and multiplied. Darkness was everywhere, yet we knew what we had to do.

The enemy cannot be defined by what he is, for his mutations and permutations are many; instead, it is much easier to understand what he is not. I look around at the decency of our lives and the economy of our people; I gaze in awe at the prosperity and happiness that liberty and hope afford, and the enemy becomes very clear. We are in a fight with darkness itself, and darkness can only be known by its relationship to the light.

8/06/2005 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

Having given up the search for a Grand Unifying Theory of Political Behavior very early in the undergraduate experience; there are still some observations that have stood the test of time as explanatory models. One is "The Imp of the Perverse"

There seem to be some psychological profiles that are unable, for whatever reason, to accept conventional wisdom and reject it out of hand. They then go on to construct or find social constructions that allow them to stand outside convention. They are the downstream salmon in a world where their brethren are all going up.

Reasons? Fear of loss of the self, weak personal boundaries or the need for distinction. Take your pick. But, people who would wear black or become Trots seem to be part of the human condition.

Where the West, especially the US, ran into trouble is that during the 60's many of the hereditary blackboard monitors and perennial student body officers seemingly abandoned much the bourgeois social analysis of their parents.

The hypocritical facts that many of them now drive Beemers and are avid latte consumers is less important than the fact that their socio-political constructs are still part of our dialog, have become embedded in politics,education, media and the arts and have power in the sense of influence and control.

These are the very people that Orwell warned us against. The inheritors of the Fabian gradualist tradition. But, their analysis has run completely out of explanatory power and has become "duck speak". Formuliac hexes and spells, like trying to use a buggy whip as an automobile accelerator.

Is it any wonder that the rise of the blog has scared them so? Blogs like the Belmont Club and many others are speaking our truth to their power.

Examining history, as this essay does, are important counter measures in the continuing deconstruction of the socialist myth.

The best part? It is not buried in an obscure journal on the fifth floor or the library.

8/06/2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

As George Orwell once said, "Some things are so stupid, you have to be an intellectual to believe them."

I somethimes think that Western civilization has two modes, one when it is at least half-seriously under attack, and another when it is not. It can be a lot more attractive in the former mode than in the latter, as unprecedented levels of affluence and security give people the freedom to lead staggeringly silly fantasy lives.

The Romans oscillated in exactly this way for hundreds of years, until one last time when they didn't get their act together quick enough, and Rome was occupied and sacked in just a few months. Apparently the invaders had been primarily looking for yet another payoff, and were as surprised as anyone and not entirely pleased when resistance collapsed and they found themselves in charge.

8/06/2005 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Most people believe that everyone else is fundamentally like them. Differences are seen as small differences of approach or differences of opportunity or signs of mental illness. In fact there are fundamental and irreconcilable differences among people and among societies.

This is part of the problem with multi-culturalism, which assumes a certain similarity among people from different cultures that really isn't there.

The long time taken to see Stalin for what he was is in large part because westerners couldn't believe what he was.

I suspect that the only way for westerners to change their opinions of other cultures is based on wedge issues. 9/11 should be a good one regarding our view of the Muslim world.

The belief that others are like you afflicts non-westerners as much as westerners, perhaps more. They think we're like them and we think they're like us, and we're both wrong.

8/06/2005 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Dragon's Breath said...

Stalin's Last Crime also suggests that Stalin's correspondence apparently shows that he was planning for a war in Europe and the Middle East. The authors suggest that more on this is coming in terms of research and writing.

8/06/2005 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

The belief in communism is a substitute for the belief in God. I believe humans are hard wired to believe in God/s. If one becomes an atheist or if one stops believing in the traditional gods of his/her society one does not loose ones need for religion.

Marx wanted to be the new Jesus Christ. Most every leftist since (Chomsky eg.) has wanted to be Jesus. This explains the need for lefties to believe in their weird dogmas.

It also explains why, in order to change their minds, you need to give them a new religion.

8/06/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger corbusier said...

Although it is mostly a survey of people from the last two hundred fifty years, I strongly recommend Paul Johnson's book "Intellectuals". He covers a few twentieth century intelletuals who were rabid apologists for Stalin. It seemed they each had some psychological pathologies in common, as well as sociopathic tendencies.

When the discussion turns to how so many bright people could delude themselves about Soviet Russia so overwhelmingly during the 1930s, I can't help but recall what the novelist Ayn Rand was up against. Sure one can argue that her novels weren't of the highest sophistication, or that she even had a few unresolved social pathologies, but what she produced and championed was quite courageous.

It's quite easy to point out other contemporaries of hers who were more articulate for the cause of freedom and capitalism, but she produced something by which the masses could more easily access these ideas. Bearing in mind the anti-intellectual impulse among most in American society, "The Fountainhead" is probably one of the few doses of any kind deep philosophical probing many readers will have ever gotten in their lives.

I'm no objectivist, and don't regard Rand's philosophy per se as original or coherent, but Rand's novels did a great service in partly stemming the tide of socialist and nihilistic thinking in the U.S. My French father credits the availability of books like hers to the distinctive American intellectual landscape his homeland would never profit from.

8/06/2005 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

common cents:

That's an old chestnut and not too useful since it inevitably leads to the hot flaming of religious and non points of view.

I know that the "...God that Failed" argument is still popular. Just not very useful. We have to back further away to another level of abstraction to begin.

Hard wired? I don't think so. There is a lot of evidence in physical anthro that points to beliefs in a metaphysical world such as ochre burial rituals and corpse orientation. But, these may simply point to the fact that humans and proto humans were starting to develop that annoying habit of asking, "Why?". And, "Because" wasn't cutting it anymore.

8/06/2005 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger ipw533 said...

All the signs were there in 1953 that before his untimely death Stalin sought to initiate a second [i]Yezhovshchina[/i]. His elevation of arch-rival Beria to the Politburo was meant to allow a top-down purge of Soviet society from its highest levels, and the so-called "Doctors' Plot" was to have been catalyst modeled after the Kirov murder of 1934. That much appears to be pretty much accepted among scholars of the USSR.

What's not so well known was that in the late 1940s Stalin authorized the creation of the [i]Komitet Informatsii[/i] (KI; Committee for Information), nominally tasked with nuclear espionage. Personnel were drawn from the GRU (military intelligence) and the state security organs (later reorganized as the KGB); the majority was drawn from the latter, and the bulk of those selected came from "internal" rather than "external" directorates. Simply put, they were enforcers with a smattering of real spies as a veneer.

When Feliks Dzherzhinskiy died and Menshinskiy took over the GPU, Stalin built his corps of murderers under Yagoda and later Yezhov quietly; when they were ready Menzhinskiy conveniently died (Yagoda was a chemist and had a reputation as a poisoner).

It seems to me that the KI, disbanded a few years later, was an incubator for the state security killers who would have carried out Stalin's anticipated last purge. The other events were precursors; fortunately, Stalin died before the catalyst could be acted upon and Beria was disposed of before he could fill the void....

8/06/2005 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

ipw53:

Good points about precursors to another Terror. Good thing, in a sense, that Beria had a thing for pubescent young women. His personal behavior was pretty well known and gave his opponents some rope.

8/06/2005 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

Andrew Scotia

"it inevitably leads to the hot flaming of religious and non points of view."

Isn't this exactly what the marxist inspired left does?

"Hard wired? I don't think so."

Ok, its only been hard wired for the last 35,000 years for which we have evidence.

So, what is your explanation for the extremely bright believers in Communist utopia, in spite of a tremedous amount of first hand evidence? The "the downstream salmon theory" is a step up in abstaction? How did the "downstream salmon" become downstreamers? I didn't see the mechanism in your comments?

8/06/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger jakita said...

Lots of good comments here re the attractions of marxism/socialism--

Many people who get a salary don't understand basic economic laws, like the role of supply and demand in establishing price and the effect of price controls on supply. That's why free universal medical care and other socialist ideas seem appealing. Crude socialism will always attract the uninformed.

Yesterday I was trying to find references to Karl Popper's "vulgar marxism"--a term that seems appropriate to describe a lot of leftist thinking. I stumbled via google into a crazy world of marxist writings, which reminded me once again of the need by so many "bourgeois intellectuals" to come to a "contrarian" view of economics.

The point of this long post--there will always be silly people attracted to marxism/socialism because it seems so simple to provide "free stuff" if you really really want to. The concept is childish and uninformed, but appealing.

Free enterprise is much harder to explain. It requires charts, graphs, and statistics. Economics is a complicated subject. The average person will never understand it.

A parallel would be this: before the Wright Bros.,most people thought that flying machines would have flapping wings, like birds. The principle of the airfoil is complicated and counterintuitive. It takes more knowledge of the physical world than does just looking at birds flap their wings.

I hope this makes sense. I could spend all day trying to rewrite this post, but maybe you all will get what I mean. Socialism looks obvious but doesn't work. Free enterprise not obvious but does work.

8/06/2005 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger ipw533 said...

Good points about precursors to another Terror. Good thing, in a sense, that Beria had a thing for pubescent young women. His personal behavior was pretty well known and gave his opponents some rope.

One of Beria's associates with similar proclivities was a chap named Dekanozov (sp?); he was appoined the USSR's ambassador to the UN and was arrested after Beria's coup attempt (which foreshadowed the 1991 attempt at Foros) was crushed....

8/06/2005 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

how certain are we that our epistemology is any better than that of the 20th century intellectuals?

-Wretchard, don't be certain and you will ok. The great mistake of many intellectuals is that they seek some sort of epistemological guarantee and this is often an idea like this: "if I deny my own self interest, my own privileged class and education, and seek to help the underprivileged, like a good celibate priest, then I must be in the right."

But, as it turns out, self-denial is not the road to truth; someone who knows some truth may choose a form of self-denial as a way of realizing a greater self through exchange with others (finding oneself in others), but you don't find truth by denying or ignoring what motivates you, as an intellectual, in the desire to be right. Only a learned humility in face of uncertainty about your own desires and virtues and in recognition of the worldly evil in which you share, is an epistemological guarantee precisely because it isn't a guarantee.

Yesterday I spoke of "death cults at home and abroad". I have no doubt that some such exist, because I have known self-destructive feelings myself and have come to study them and see why they are a widespread problem; and because the world is full of information and discussion on such questions. The area for doubt is in determining how widespread or intense these "cults" are and whether or not I still share something of the self-denying psychology in my desire to speak to a common good.

8/06/2005 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

The Romans oscillated in exactly this way for hundreds of years, until one last time when they didn't get their act together quick enough, and Rome was occupied and sacked in just a few months. Apparently the invaders had been primarily looking for yet another payoff, and were as surprised as anyone and not entirely pleased when resistance collapsed and they found themselves in charge.

meme, this reminds me of the rumour about George Bush, that he didn't expect to defeat Al Gore, but he ran in order to raise his profile because he really wanted to become Commissioner of baseball.

8/06/2005 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

This monumental self-hypnosis calls into question our collective ability to know; and when politicians and media talking heads speak with perfect assurance about "religions of peace" or alternatively, about a "death cult" with bloody borders, how certain are we that our epistemology is any better than that of the 20th century intellectuals?

Well, Wretchard, considering the sources of information you mention -- the politicians and the media -- I don't think our epistemology has to be in question if it doesn't jibe with those two. And don't forget the mandarins in academia, another source of pseudo-knowledge.

What we know is always open to revision based on experience. The epistemology of the groups you mention is definitely not "open" to anything. Not even with a generation of evidence to show them the consequences of mistaken premises...

There are lots of ways to manage the truth. For example, Hams is holidng a poster competition, the point of which is to offer a prize to the best portrayal of Israel's unilateral and voluntary retreat from the Gaza strip as a reaction of desperation because of the might of Hamas...what a crock.

Hamas Is Having A Poster Contest

The facile thinkers who made a relgion of the relativity of knowledge are the ones least likely to be capable of truly knowing anything in depth.

~D

8/06/2005 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger david bennett said...

-------------------------------
But the El Dorado wasn't there; and the really big historical question is why it took the best minds of the West more than 50 years and countless lives to discover that elementary fact.
----------------------------


This statement is nonsense. It was certainly not the "best minds" that mantained their faith in the USSR. Indeed even on the far left it was mostly discredited by the sixties t though an idiotic love of rivals China and North Vietnam did take hold and helped sabatge the new left.

An "anti anti communism" did get lots of support because communism was used as a bogeyman to tar any dissenting view.

But overall the battle against the USSR was a major committment if at times uneven. The battle against Americans has not been. Thus the lie that liberals believed in the USSR.

Democrat JFK was elected in part by a nonexistent missle gap, LBJ extened the battle in SE Asia, Humprhrey was a cold warrior, Jimy Carter began reversing the military cuts that took place under Nixon and Ford.

8/06/2005 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger sunguh5307 said...

Re: David Bennett calling nonsense

Of course it wasn't the 'best minds', that is something of a strawman, intended or not. Actually, Stalin and the Comintern had a sophisticated plan aimed at the influential, rather than the 'best'. These included many famous journalists, screenwriters etc- just read any selection from 'Red Star Over Hollywood' to get a glimpse of how the Communist Party strove to increase their influence, and how we're dealing with it still to this day.

The fact of the matter is they were able to exploit this 'weakness' of our democratic society to influence our strategic decisionmaking process. This is why the actions of VVAW and Kerry's leadership were so divisive- again, intended or not they were speaking directly from the platform our enemies. Kind of hard to reconcile.

From the late 1800's people have been looking for something to 'save them' from the evils of competition and chaos of competition. Marx and his followers were able to satisfy this perceived spiritual gap for many. I don't think that's so hard to accept.

But now that the historical record is out, we can say yes, Ayn Rand was courageous for standing up to it in her own way, and we also see how amazing it was, in the context of their times, for the aforementioned Maggie Thatcher and RR to kick the sclerotic legs out from under the Evil Empire.

I agree with truepeers comment on maintaining a certain level of skepticism regarding the epistemology of today. Yet we can still look to the past to see how others suffered or excelled in great times of change such as now, impressed with how similar it is rather than the differences of scale or sophistication. But in the meantime, Don Sensing is definitely a good place to start as well.

8/06/2005 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger ErnieG said...

I was so impressed at the time that I lifted the following from the July 2002 Imprimis, published by Hillsdale College. It was taken from a speech by Mark Helprin. It was only a side remark, but he absolutely nails multi-culti non-judgmentalism:

"Several years ago, I was speaking in a university town in Massachusetts. By some quirk which I hope never to see reproduced, and before I knew what was happening, I found myself debating my entire audience on the subjects of human sacrifice and cannibalism. These well-educated and polite people -- only a few of whom would actually have murdered or eaten one another -- who had sons and daughters, Ph.D.s, and BMWs, were defending the Mayan and Aztec practice of human sacrifice -- that is, in the main, of children -- and the South Sea custom of cannibalism. It wasn't that they were for such things: they weren't. It wasn't that they were not against them: they were. It was that to take the position that human sacrifice and cannibalism are wrong is not only to reject relativism but to place oneself decisively in the ranks of Western Civilization, such a position being one of its characteristic distinctions, and this they would not do. They were ashamed to do so, and they were afraid to do so."

8/06/2005 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger sunguh5307 said...

Sorry, Vietnam Veterans against the War (VVAW) doesn't seem so clear in this font.

8/06/2005 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

So David Bennett, you or those for whom you speak were never so dumb as to believe in the USSR, OR "the Americans". So what's the belief, exactly? what's the post-communist, post-capitalist pie in the sky? Seriously, I would really like to know what "the best minds" of the left believe. For the life of me, I don't see anything but resentment against the world that is, and some mystical belief in what ought to be. Nor, on the part of those who grandstand intellectually, do I see much support for the many humble little projects into the problems of reality that are out there. "The best minds" believe in magic, I'm starting to think. And if you tell me they were quick to reject the magic of the USSR, I only tend to believe it all the more. At least the USSR existed.

8/06/2005 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Wretchard, it all depends on who "our" is.

After repeated and embarassing failure I abandoned my "big ideas" and adopted as exactly as I could that precious paradime of the Bible. Then, lo and behold my "intellect" improved enough for me to be allowed into civilized company.

It looks like the Bible just happens to be the truth about man's creation and decent and salvation. It is wise to the ways of all men including Stalin and his sick kind.

There is nothing new under the sun. Cain was a murderer early on.

What do you have that you did not receive?

God's creation was all good to start with and Adam was probably better than any ten men alive today. It has been downhill from there. By comparrison we are twisted mutants holding on to civility by our fingernails.

But we have the word which foretold all this. Abandon your own mind and adopt the mind of Jesus Christ and have confidence we know up from down by the Spirit and not by instinct like an animal.Renew your mind with the word. Rejoice always in HIS sure truth and be free indeed.

Thank you for providing me with this opportunity to expound.

God bless one and all.

8/06/2005 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Common Cents,

You are right that we will never be able to lose the idea of God. If one unlikely day we are all atheists, the idea of God will still be meaningful to us and we will still have to deny our belief in it.

I don't think that this is because belief in God is "hard-wired". None of our ape cousins demonstrate any such belief. Rather, it is because the idea of God inhers in the origin of language or symbolic consciousness, in the kind of language that only humans have. In other words, the name of God was the first word.

On the other hand, since our brains have evolved for the last two or three million years in tandem with language, the question of whether we are talking about hard or software cannot be entirely solved. But do human children raised by wolves believe in God? probably not

8/06/2005 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

My cat thinks I'm god except for all the times she doesn't.
...I'm one of them easily deluded types Mr. Bennet writes about.

8/06/2005 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

utopia parkway writes The belief that others are like you afflicts non-westerners as much as westerners, perhaps more. They think we're like them and we think they're like us, and we're both wrong. And posits that Them and Us will never be able to co-exist because we are basically different.

Upon reflection, I think I must disagree with this. We are told there is a "hierarchy of needs" that is common to the human animal. Everyone -- Them and Us both -- needs shelter, water, food, sleep. The Basics. I'm guess that Muslims and Arabs also need to drink the same amount of water, eat the same number of calories, and sleep 8 hours a day to be healthy.

The hierarchy then goes to Safety Needs, Love Needs, Esteem Needs and Self-Actualization. Again, my guess is that Arabs and Muslims have the same desire to safety and love -- see their off-professed desire for "peace and stability" being more important than anything else.

Where we start to diverge, Them and Us -- is in the Esteem Needs and the Self-Actualization. As has been noticed Islam and the Middle East is an honor-based system, while the West values the individual more than the group.

Islam has a very weird idea of Self-Actualization so that every aspect of the current human life is aimed at the afterlife, and there is *no* self-actualization in this life. Deciding to become a suicide bomber is one way of standing up and saying, "Yo! this is me, and here I am," so that we can see the need to imprint "I was here" upon the world is decidedly present in jihadists, too.

The point I'm trying to make is that I do not think that Them and Us are different, not the basic animal. The cultures are different, certainly, and I'm not at all sure they can mutually co-exist. But it seems to me that your red person, your yellow person, your brown person, and your pasty pink white person all basically want the same thing. And that is a chicken in the pot, a car in the garage, and enough extra left-over for a few beers and some fun every few days. If we could guarantee the Muslims those basics, I wonder if the Esteem and Self-Actualization might not follow in a more satisfactory fashion.

8/06/2005 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The difference between "us" and "them" is that we have a greater understanding of what is possible.

It's a mental thing. We have left the cave.

8/06/2005 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Today genocide has a home in the educational system"
I'm a little disappointed in that I expected C4 to catch my editing job on my post before. This is what I left out:
"The Washington Times reports that Dr. Ignatiev is himself Jewish. If Jewish intellectuals and Israeli political leaders can be believed, Jews have a cultural and racial consciousness. Israel is the Jewish homeland, and Israelis seem determined to keep it that way. Can anyone imagine a gentile at an Israeli university founding a magazine devoted to abolishing the Jewish race?

Yet, Dr. Ignatiev believes that it is self-evident that whites in their homelands should be abolished.
Where did he get this view? His only education was at Harvard where he received two graduate degrees.
"
---
As of ten years ago, or so, Dave Horowitz could only express his puzzelment at why a disproportionate number of Jews fell for Communism in this country, and since then leftism often including the Blame America First types.
A reflection of the Russian heritage of many?
(figured the forum is staying way too mellow today)

8/06/2005 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The capacity to believe in God is hardwired. The belief, as a particular idea, is not. A large distinction.

The only hardwired thoughts we have are the emotions, which are chemical states. The rest come from experience.

Experience supplies impression, ideas come later.

8/06/2005 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Race Traitor.org .

. Harvard Magazine - Abolish the White Race

8/06/2005 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

truepeers: "If one unlikely day we are all atheists, the idea of God will still be meaningful to us and we will still have to deny our belief in it."

But only as an historical reference. I'm not advocating atheism, but I don't understand the import of the statement.

One member of a set of opposites always implies the other, right? The existence of an idea tells us nothing about it. Humans excel at extrapolation and transposition.

8/06/2005 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristedes,
Instincts are more than chemical states, right?

8/06/2005 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

truepeers,

But you are surely right about a human raised by wolves.

8/06/2005 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

One of the most durable parables is that of the evil spirit which turns on its conjurer. Marxism was regarded, in its day, as the highest product the Western intellect. One of Franklin Roosevelt's advisers likened it to 'the moral top of the world on which the sun always shines'. The remark reminded me, somehow, of the final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark: the caressing spirits of death. The belief that "spirits" can take on a material existence in this world has gone out of fashion, but if you substitute the word "meme" in its place, the idea is not so far-fetched. What materialized over New York on September 11 except a meme of concentrated hate? What drives a suicide bomber except a different kind of possession?

Yet we who are so careful of needles and sharps; who lock up our guns and keep medicine out of the reach of children are careless of our memes. They can't hurt us, can they?

8/06/2005 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Instincts are not thoughts, they are reactions. Mindless reactions. I was speaking of thoughts, like hunger or fear.

8/06/2005 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristedes,
I understand, but the question remains as to your explanation of them.
(If you would.)

8/06/2005 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Many instincts don't have to have something to react TO.

8/06/2005 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

It astounds me that people living in New York City can seemingly so effectively act as though we still live in a Pre 9-11 world.

8/06/2005 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Never Forget has been forgotten for many.

8/06/2005 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Doug, re Horowitz and Ignatiev, the problem for the Jew thinking of leaving the ghetto over the last few hundred years, has been that modern secular society is not all the Enlightenment say it is: free of religion, or even fundamentally different from religion. In fact, modern secular society is an outgrowth of Christianity and, in fact, the desires of modern secular people have exactly the same anthropological structure as the desires of people in the old world ruled by ritual. An advertisement for an SUV appeals to the sacred source of shared human significance in just the same way as a ritual appeals to the sacred thing, place, and sign that it remembers.

I'm not saying the modern secular world is equivalent to Christianity or Christendom, just that that's where it came from and so it is marked in various ways by its origins.

So, what's the already monotheistic Jew to do in finding his way into this vaguely Christian new world order, given that there is a lot of prejudice against him for being a Jew? While he may be too proud, or too sure of the truth of his own religion to become a Christian, he will likely find very attractive a range of organizations and ideas that give him a foot into this "Christian" world without him needing to become an explicit Christian.

Hence, for example, the popularity of Freemasonry among Jews in western Europe and the US. Hence also, the popularity of Communism among a later generation. That any self-respecting Jew would follow Marx, given that Marx was a horrific antisemite, is something of a mystery. But then Marx, as an ethnically Jewish son of a recent convert, was trying to find just such a role by which a Jew, without identifying as Jew or Christian, could play his part in the political order of a modern world made by Christians even to the extent that this world is antagonistic to traditional Christianity.

Do not blame politically crazy Jews on Judaism; the blame, not that I think there is any reason for finger pointing, is on the modern world, a world made, incidentally, by Christians. And I love them for it.

8/06/2005 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Gotta admire Horowitz for choosing truth over the easy path.
...but then the path became far from easy when we were surrounded by those that decided to take there hateful rhetoric more seriously.
Finally hard truth becomes blessed relief.

8/06/2005 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

their

8/06/2005 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Gentlemen and Ladies; there is no evidence for evolution. There is no evidence of a dog evolving into a rangadang or anything else. Everything reproduces after its kind as it has done since the beginning. There is no new genetic information just the destruction of the old. The "scientists" the "knowers" shop their rocks. They send them to many different "labs" till they get the date they want. There are over three hundred different dating methods out there. You can get any number you want. There is no barcode on a rock telling you how old it is.

The religion of Evolution is not new. Evolution is a subcategory of pantheism. Pantheism is the worship of the dirt. Everything is god. Evolution is the religion of Star Trek and the Devil. Every flying saucer encounter spews pantheism. Evolution is the end of morality and the mind and the work of the enemy.

I don't worship the dirt. I worship the God who took the dirt and formed Adam and breathed into him eternal spiritual existence; and Adam birthed me.

Real science supports creation.

Talk about ongoing delusions!

Later.

8/06/2005 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sparks,
Many good evolutionary thinkers are not atheists.

8/06/2005 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"God bless one and all. "

8/06/2005 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger donl said...

At least 7 dead, 20 injured in Sicily plane crash
Reuters Photo: An undated computer-generated picture of an ATR 42-500 twin-engined turboprop airplane.
Nice blog, I am learning from the posts.

I am here new york style cheesecake recipeif you like to visit

8/06/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

truepeers:
"If one unlikely day we are all atheists, the idea of God will still be meaningful to us and we will still have to deny our belief in it."

"that modern secular society is not all the Enlightenment say it is: free of religion, or even fundamentally different from religion."

There's a connection there, right?

8/06/2005 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Anybody know how wretch became adblog flypaper about 3 weeks ago?

8/06/2005 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Jakita writes"Socialism looks obvious but it doesn't work".It doesn't work because it ignores human nature.If human beings were altruistic at heart and committed to the common good then we could all march bravely arm in arm to a socialist worker's paradise.
Unfortunately,what the USSR and the other socialist utopias became were massive frauds where the worst monsters prevailed and the masses were ground under the boot heel.
David Horowitz's conversion came as a result of seeing the Black Panthers up close and personal not as the revolutionary vanguard but a coterie of street criminals like Huey Newton and psychopaths like Elaine Brown.Oh the naivity of leftists!

8/06/2005 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Today, on Aug 6, a certain anniversary of some note, I tend to think of another aspect of Western Intellectual Delusions.
Not only did numerous Western intellectuals serve as apologists and cover-up artists for Stalin, they also are responsible for some truly awesome Opportunity Lost costs.
Imagine, if the self-annointed elites had been pointing to Hiroshima and saying "Take heed tyrants! We will always beat you! We will strip away the very boundaries of the universe to find ways to obliterate our enemies. We will always win! Remember that. So don't even think of trying something!"
What might that have yielded?
Instead we had Hiroshima described as a crime and "anti-trumphilism" conferences in NY City (Source: the book "In Denial")the year AFTER the USSR crumbled, designed to warn against crowing about - or even admitting that we won the Cold War.
What might have been.... If the elites had been as courageous enough to call those who defend incredibly competant heroes - instead of baby-killers.

8/06/2005 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

P.S. I note that the book Stalins Last Crime is available for as little as 75 cents from certain internet sources. It is now on my "to read" list. Thanks Wretchard!

8/06/2005 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Myth of Men on the Moon meets Buzz Aldrin.
"Imagine, however, how it would feel to know that if your engine stopped and you couldn't start it again you would certainly die, even though millions of people knew exactly where you were, you were in constant radio contact with friends, and there was no immediate threat to your life. The only resources to sustain your life were what you were carrying yourself, there was no possibility of getting any more food or water, nobody could get to you to help, and all this was happening on television. This was the situation facing the men who walked on the moon, and the bravery of these men is almost beyond the imagination of the rest of us, particularly the courage of the first, who could look to no precedent of anyone having done it and survived.

Contrasted to these heroes is a group of idiots who claim that nobody has ever gone to the moon. On September 9, 2002, one of these clowns, Bart Sibrel, accosted Buzz Aldrin and demanded that Aldrin swear on a Bible that he had really been to the moon. Buzz decided that an appropriate response to some lunatic coming up to him in the street and calling him a liar was to settle things quickly because there was nothing to discuss, so he punched Sibrel's lights out and then went on his way. Sibrel (who is 37) is now whining to anyone who might care that a 72 year old man beat him up. Fortunately, nobody is caring. I usually don't condone violence as a means of settling arguments, but in this case I will make an exception. I didn't think I could have a higher opinion of Buzz Aldrin but now I have. He should be congratulated."

8/06/2005 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Jakita -

Socialism looks obvious but doesn't work. Free enterprise not obvious but does work.

NO.

Both systems have their successes and failures. Socialism in lack of accountability and concentration of power in the hands of a few. Free enterprise in failure to solve certain essential human needs that must be met by government or charity. Also, the tendency of unfettered free enterprise to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few, which leads to corruption, oligarchy, dictatorships.

By enacting "socialist" reforms - countries like Britain, Germany, and the USA have essentially saved capitalism from the unacceptable societies that pure social Darwinism and plutocracy produce.

And we have learned that charity is insufficient to correct structural dysfunctions because charity largely slaps salve on the wounds of injustice, and doesn't address injustices.

For example, socialism 5-year plans failed because they failed to incentivize success and discourage failure. Free enterprise in America failed to bring utilities and infrastructure to poorer areas of the country - or manage a healthy economy. It took FDR to save capitalism by creating a social safety net and extending the American dream to the half that lived without adequate education, electricity, phones, running water.

Soviet communism failed, and in Europe there is growing recognition that socialism has reached limits in over-regulation and rewarding parasitism. At the same time the Chicom model is kicking America's ass. The whole free enterprise movement in Latin America is collapsing as it only concentrated wealth in the hands to the greediest and most powerful - leading to a sharply lowered stanfard of living in most LA countries and a strong political move back to the Left. But N Korea, a dismal state, is testimony to socialist failure. So too many African nations.

The system that is in greatest need of reform in America is health care. Canada, Europe, Asia manage a system that is 40% cheaper than America's with a higher average life expectancy. And America's system is designed primarily to enrich a a small privileged class of nursing home owners, medical professionals --over being designed for helping the many..The result is failing to cover 1/7th of America's population (hard working blue collar citizens) while giving full care to illegal aliens. 1 million medical bankruptcies a year. More employers dropping health coverage as global labor resources require them to cut to remain competetive...

It is not so simple as free market works and socialism should be avoided because it always fails - it looks like the real national successes must be hybrids of the two systems - with the worst national failures seen where the "purists" of either system have power...

8/06/2005 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Aristedes: "But only as an historical reference. I'm not advocating atheism, but I don't understand the import of the statement.

One member of a set of opposites always implies the other, right?


Not only as some academic historical reference. I think that even if humanity were to go through several generations in which everyone was an atheist, there would remain an emotionally meaningful and ever present need for people to deny belief in God, and there would remain the likelihood that belief in God would be reborn.

Belief, or not, is not merely a logical opposition. Belief and logic are dependent on the fundamental mystery by which language first emerged. The belief in God is related to the fact that once there is language in the world, there is something that transcends the worldly world of things. (where is it that you think these signs we are using and sharing reside? They are surely not imprinted on our neurons. We associate sounds and letters to invoke them, according to established conventions, but that doesn't explain where they reside. They only exist among us, above us? where?)

Even if you kill and devour the sacred cow, you do not lose the memory of the sacred being that was once formerly incarnated in the cow (or so it seemed). Similarly, even if you kill your belief in God, you do not lose the anthropological fact that you continue to remember, or have a sense of, some sacred being: the eternal source or guarantee of a shared human significance on which our use of language depends and to which it appeals. And since you don't lose it, you have to explain it, if only in human, anthropological, terms. And so you will remain in need of denying that sacred being has anything to do with a God beyond the human world. But you'll never be able to prove it. That's kind of hte connection Doug.

8/06/2005 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trangbang,
We mustn't forget that Love Bug Commie Angela Davis is still in the employee of U.C.
. RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY .
Soon, however, even that conviction was set aside and a new trial was ordered. In July of 1970, then, Huey was indeed set free from jail. Thousands greeted him.

The celebrations seemed meaningless in light of the July 7, 1970 murder of 17 year old Jonathan Jackson (George Jacksons brother) in the incident that gave rise to the famous arrest and trial of Angela Davis. The question of Huey's freedom was nearly forgotten when well known Party leader Eldridge Cleaver, living in exile in Algeria, challenged the Party's agenda of social programs and proposed a terrorist one. By the end of 1970, Cleaver was expelled from the Party in a nasty riff that culminated in the murder of Party loyalist Sam Napier in New York. Still, the Party continued to build its programs and move its agenda, as it began to consolidate its efforts in its home base of Oakland, California.

Over the next few years, until 1973, the Party maintained and built its agenda, despite the brutal assassination at San Quentin prison in August of 1971 of Party field marshal and author George Jackson. Nevertheless, in 1972­3, the Party entered into electoral politics in Oakland by running Bobby Seale and Elaine Brown for public office...

8/06/2005 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Truepeers,
I like it!
(more than most 'cause I understood the whole thing!)

8/06/2005 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Doug,that that Panther propaganda screed still exists is proof positive that leftist political insanity is incurable.Eldridge Cleaver went on to an odd journey through Republicanism,Christianity and being a Moonie.The most successful post Panther conversion was Bobby Seale cookin' some fine barbecue as the story goes.I hear he's trying to trademark the Panther name for a new brand of hot sauce.
I wonder if the old Panther sistahs like Kathleen Cleaver and Erica Huggins still have the two foot afros.They were kind of cool.
On a more somber note,have you ever heard the rhetoric of the late Khalid Muhammed of the new Black Panther party.It was positively frightening.Fortunately the venom in his system brought on a tumor.Rumor has it he is Mohammed Atta's cellmate in hell."You were expecting 72 what,boy?"

8/06/2005 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

Truepeepers:

Why won't we ever be able to lose our concept of God? Is there any society that we know of that was atheistic. The Aborigines of Australia may have been separated from the rest of humanity for 30,000 years, they have a concept of spirit worship or religion. There is no society that we know of that was without some sort of religion (and I include spirit/ancestor worship as religion).

It could be that this is all an artifact of the development of language although there is evidence of Neanderthal's having a concept of "the world beyond".

It could be that it is simply a function of having a larger brain.

What if there is an innate need to believe in something larger than yourself? What if you no longer believe in Christianity or any other organized religion? What would you do? Wouldn’t you have to fill the emptiness in that part of the brain with some sort of belief?

I think you might make up your own religions like environmentalism or Marxism or post modernism.

"But do human children raised by wolves believe in God? probably not"

May be not, but I would say they do have theological thoughts. They know there are mysterious powers out there that control their lives. They know thunder exists, they know they exist, they may know people who existed but know longer. In whatever symbolic language they use they are curious about these things and I would posit that this curiousity inevitablely leads to theological contemplation.

8/06/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

An interesting observation by Wretchard that for over 20 years, the (1)Western intelligensia and (2)media covered up the truth about the Soviet Union. So is it possible for the same groups to do the same with Radical Islam?

I would say - no - and add a 3rd player, (3)the centers of wealthy capitalism..

(3)The capitalists and bankers were curiously supportive of Lenin and Stalin. Yes, they starved Russia of capital, but were eager to make money off trade and resources. In todays world, the big bucks donors to Bush are among the most reticent to confront the Muslims...because huge money is being made off oil, gas, and arms sales - and terrorism was thought until recently by global capitalists to be a minor irritant to doing business.

(2)The media did a masterful job. From 1917 to when America and the Soviets squared off in 1946, very few negative stories and cinema depictions of the Communists ran in the West, excepting of course the fascist countries, Catholic media organs, and non-Jewish owned independent newspapers. The sad truth was Jews were Communism's biggest booster and ensured papers they owned like the NYTimes, LATimes, Philly Inquirer did not say discouraging things, nor Jewish owned radio chains, nor Hollywood. Before the 50's, after the purge of Communist Jews, there was no major movie produced critical of the Soviets or Communism - an incredible accomplishment of the organized cells of Communist sympathizers. Almost as slick as the Jews propaganda attempts to say they, the Founding Fathers of Bolshevikism were Communism's greatest victims (the never launched if it existed at all Doctor's Plot purge) along with their "Victims of McCarthyism" schtick.. They followed a hilarious pattern in WWII. Strongly in favor of attacking Hitler, then strongly opposed once Molotov&Ribbentrop went kissy kissy, then all demanded we fight the Nazis once their beloved Soviet Union was attacked.

The radical Muslims will not get the same treatment because they are most intolerant towards Jews and can only rely on non-Jewish owned media to either cover or not coverup their atrocities. While Jews have less media control than they once did, the radical Muslims have not made friends with the Indian or Asian media powerhouses...and even the mostly Jewish-free European media senses that the Islamists - unlike the Commies - harbor few of their Leftist values.

(1) The role of the intelligensia shielding Islamoids is also highly in doubt. Communism was seen, even by the non-Jews in the academic world, as an extension of the long progressive struggle and a long-awaited counterpoint to staid Victorianism and heartless industrialization. While half of the American Communist Party and the Soviet Bolsheviks were Jews, in Europe, their adherents in unions, intelligensia had less Jews - but less Jews were made up for by Gentile elites that had for generations worked on the premise of fashionable dislike for the societies they had achieved a favored place in, by luck of the draw of birth.....For every NYC Jew singing the International, there was a snobbish Anglican Brit at Cambridge leading a similar chorus. With the radical Islamists, there are no central unifying leaders, no global movement - just pockets of diseased intolerance attempting to elevate the most hateful elements of religion and directing that hatred against unbelievers. A movement not PR'd by smooth, savvy media disinformation experts that the Soviets had in oversupply. THe Left and it's wings in the intelligensia only have solidarity with the ISlamoids with respect to them both hating America, both hating Zionism, both hating Western societies but with different expectations of that hate. A western Lefty marches with Islamoids denouncing - say - Aznar of Spain - but the Lefty wants gay rights, more "tolerance", 50% of all appointments to be women, no military action....While the Islamoid he has temporary cause with wants none of those things...In fact, they probably would like to kill off the same Lefties if they could get away with it -- and plan to kill if they ever get power over the Lefties unless the Lefists do a 180 and renounce most of what they believe in in favor of Sharia.

So, Lefties, blind but not stupid, are under no illusions that they would have a favored spot under Sharia like they imagined they would under Communism. The indiscriminant Islamoid violence, the Islamic rape gangs preying on girls in Melbourne's outskirts, or good socialist PC Swedish girls whose car breaks down in Stockholms suburbs before the cops can rescue them from a crime unimaginable in Sweden before Islamoid refugees came. The problem the Islamoids face is obvious. There are no barriers of slick Jewish media and limited access, travel in the Soviet Union to shield the Left in the West from the obvious...yes, it IS a thrill to Lefties to see Jewish buses bombed and US Marines killed, but they know they too are on the list...

8/06/2005 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trangbang,
Missed the tumor brain rhetoric.
Angela looked pretty nice in her ever so chic Afro also.
Too bad inside it was ugly.
---
I was right in the neighborhood when the Jackson Bro shot up the Courtroom and murdered the judge, however.
Heavy days and nights
Meanwhile, right up the road, Jim Jones was preparing his Clan for the big trip South, his evil deeds covered up nicely by the SF Democrat Politicians and local media.
Bath house HIV facts were also covered up nicely by the same perps.
Dave Horowitz wrote about it in California Magazine at the time, but that was about as far out as it got, along with Randy Shiltz, who was dying of AIDS.
California Magazine also did an article on Jim Jones to no avail.
"EST" was big too! Werhner somebody, right?
...and Johnny Taliban was but a glimmer in his avant-garde parents imaginations.
Bay Area Water Maybe?

8/06/2005 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Victims of McCarthyism" schtick..
Dave Horowitz' father refused to go along with the Party that was claiming he was being persecuted for being a Jew, rather that for being a Commie.
---
At least some of the Commies then had more character than "moderate" Democrat Pols of today.

8/06/2005 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Jesus Christ is the WORD.

He is the Word of God. Heaven and earth shall pass away but My Word (Jesus) shall not pass away.

In the beginning was the Word and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. This is from the Gospel of John.

God spoke the world into existence.

The Bible is good reading. Reading WORDS.

Regards.

8/06/2005 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"A movement not PR'd by smooth, savvy media disinformation experts that the Soviets had in oversupply."
---
Not that CAIR isn't doing it's utmost, with all kinds of help from the ACLU.
...and lack of Armies of Disinformation is made up for by Saudi Dollars to DC, and to the media.

8/06/2005 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The celebrations seemed meaningless in light of the July 7, 1970 murder of 17 year old Jonathan Jackson (George Jacksons brother) in the incident that gave rise to the famous arrest and trial of Angela Davis. "
---
I guess he got "murdered" after he carried out his Capital Punishment sentencing of the Judge!

8/06/2005 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

'peers

Elegant argument. But, so what? That and two bucks will get you a cup at Starbucks. (It really IS good coffee, isn't it?)

I don't believe in God because of some ethereal have-to, protoplasmic or otherwise. And certainly not because it's the righteous thing to do.(sorry 'cents, I just ain't that good) I believe in God because I was smacked in the face with His reality and my need for Him. Up close and personal. Sometimes I even resent Him for it.

This cuts thru all the religious b.s. (pro and con) and makes me have to deal with Who He is. I'm not interested in the 'oughts'. (told ya) I couldn't do 'em anyway.

You mitigate very convincingly for a belief in God, and in the same space speak as though He doesn't exist. I mean, crap or get off the pot! Does God work in the affairs of men, or not? Don't patronize with high-flying rhetoric something that is absolutely NOT rhetorical.

8/06/2005 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

wretchard said...
One of the most durable parables is that of the evil spirit which turns on its conjurer. Marxism was regarded, in its day, as the highest product the Western intellect. One of Franklin Roosevelt's advisers likened it to 'the moral top of the world on which the sun always shines'. The remark reminded me, somehow, of the final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark: the caressing spirits of death
///////////////////////
Interestingly, Battlestar Galactica on Friday nights works on just this theme. (In the far far future) the human race has created a group called the Cylons who have evolved and become superior to humans. The entire human race is destroyed but for something less than 50,000 people. And they are constantly hunted. Curiously the humans speak in terms of gods and goddess while the Cylons speak in terms of God. And the Cylon theology is pretty good. The friday night science fiction serial looks almost as if it was a retelling of the exodus story only instead of the hebrews escaping the egyptians into the desert with the promised land beyond--its the egyptians escaping the hebrews into the desert where the promised land beckons.

A helpful story to understanding communism is the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. His brothers sold him into exile. Because of his excellent character and his gift for dream interpretation he suceeds in the house of pharoah. He interprets the
dream of the pharoah to mean that there will be seven years of feast followed by seven years of famine. So the the pharoah puts him charge of his house. Joseph prepares well for the seven year famine during the seven years of feast. The pharoahs graineries are full. When the famine begins however, the people are unprepared. Soon they are buying from the pharoah's warehouse. When the money runs out they sell their animals, then their lands and finally themselves. They become slaves to the pharoah. Joseph is the chief administrator, the second in command of all Egypt. It is good to be chief administrator in a land of slaves. Joseph brings his family from Israel because they too are starving. They are treated well.

So ends Genesis.

In the 1930's communism among NYC's jewish community -- was considered to be not just a kind of secular judaism somewhere to the left of liberal judaism--but also a way to get ahead. Perhaps Joseph was the model. Why? Because under communism the people are slaves to the state. No one owns property. The state owns everything. Theologically, if there is no God--as is the case for communism, then man is the highest power on earth. And at the top of the pecking order-- the God Kings of Egypt would have wept with envy for the sort of power that stalin wielded. Lenin was embalmed by much more up to date methods than the embalmers of old Egypt but they showed a similiar concern for the leaders who were once 'the moral top of the world on which the sun always shines'.

Therefor, for jews in the soviet union a good position to hold in a communist/pharonic system is that of administrator--just like Joseph.

Hitler killed 6 million jews in the late 30's-40's.

A helpful way to understand the McCarthy era in the USA is to understand that it occured less than a decade after WWII and at the same time as the period of the Doctor's plot in the soviet union.

knowledgeable communists in the USA would have known about the build up toward stalin's pogrom. the trial of the rosenbergs would have looked to them like a show trial that stalin put on before he did his purges.

so its quite understandable the fear that gripped the new york jewish community during the rosenburg trials. what if? there are a zillion novels set in the 1950's which chronicle the terrible anxiety that would grip one new york jewish character after another. what if there are Nazis in New Jersey? how about goebbels under the brooklyn bridge. nobody but nobody mentions stalin. all the writers were liberal.

The way the McCarthy period was understood for decades afterwards by the new york/LA jewish community was different from that of the rest of the country. The rest of the country was given the picture by the liberal media of a mccarthy who cast unreasoned and unreasonable suspicions on the innocent. new york/LA jewish community was given to understand by liberal leftists and communists that the left had protected them from an American pogrom. (And therefor american jews owed the left their allegiance.)

It was an amazing piece of Jiu-Jitsu because what the Jewish left did was impute on the American right what they knew to be case of the stalinists.

Needless to say, a pogrom was never in the cards.

Reagan was a teflon president because he understood the Jiu-Jitsu. He worked in hollywood for years and suffered from Hollywood's black listing because of his anti communism.

20 years after his days at HUAC nixon had more visceral enemies than did kerry with the swift boat veterans 30 years after his time in nam.

The fall of the berlin wall ended the glory days of atheism.

American jewish leftists began to lose their mantle of "protector of the jews" in the mid 90's.

After 1995, with the NSA's declassification of the venona cables and russians opening up nkvd/gru/kgb files from the 1940's & 50's it became clear that mccarthy was right.

These days when I hear someone accusing someone else of McCarthyism--what I see is the accuser trying to hide fire with smoke. Especially when we're talking about moslems.


The last time I did a round trip air fare was two weeks ago on vacation to yellowstone. I made a mistake and wore a shirt with a metal button. I'm a swm. They did the usual metal detector test. On the flight back I was pulled out of the line because the computer flagged that I had been double checked on the way out.

I got through but I was inconvenienced and a little embarrassed.

Homeland security is an inconvenience and embarrassement for air travelors and illegal aliens alike.

8/06/2005 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger xyzzy said...

Shouldn't the link to the National Journal be accompanied by a health warning?

8/06/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Doug,
Perhaps Mr. Ignatiev has been reading too much of Edward Said?

Jews, Arabs, Turks, Kurds, Persians, Europeans, Slavs, are all Caucasians. We all belong to the white race.

8/06/2005 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

C4: writes (2)The media did a masterful job. From 1917 to when America and the Soviets squared off in 1946, very few negative stories and cinema depictions of the Communists ran in the West, excepting of course the fascist countries, Catholic media organs, and non-Jewish owned independent newspapers. The sad truth was Jews were Communism's biggest booster and ensured papers they owned like the

i found lot's of back up for his position at the http://www.stormfront.org website... nothing like a white supremists's website about the "jews" to lend crediblity..

at this point, every time that C4 states "the jews" is now suspect for bias...

NOTHING he says about the JEWS should be taken at face value, and when possible, looked up to be dispproved..

8/06/2005 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

BTW,

The Russian sub was raised successfully with all seven sailors alive.

8/06/2005 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Perversely, Stalin and Hitler both advanced the cause of red fascism by their very awfulness. Today's commies and fascists have the two great--and a half dozen lesser--monsters to point to, whenever their "system" is criticized. "Look," they say, "...we survived these psychopaths who happened to've taken over The Movement on the strength of personality...these tyrants that would've killed The Movement if The Movement didn't have intellectual truth going for it!" And there ya go--another inarguable Big Lie. Try to tell them that their system guarantees these cultic figures will rise to leadership, and you get the "prove it" rejoinder. History always promises them something new just around the corner.

8/06/2005 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Relax Porky. Cedarfart is one of us. You do realize he's a Mossad agent?

8/06/2005 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Seven sailors feeling reborn. Three cheers for a display of pure technical ability that just can't be put into words. Not by me, anyhoo. The very idea, flying in tools and techs from the other side of the planet, to cut the sub free in 1000' water and get the guys to the surface during their last hours of oxygen...ahh, great, fellas--just plain great!

8/06/2005 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

PC^KILLA said...
"Doug,
Perhaps Mr. Ignatiev has been reading too much of Edward Said?
"
No doubt an admirer, but moronic academic sellout pretty well covers him I think.
---
Poor Larry Summers:
Doomed from the start, not even a liberal ex Clintonite deserves his fate, esp one that arrived with some standards intact.
Then came the idiot Black Rapper, revered by the intelligentsia.
The nerve of Larry asking him to actually DO something academic!
Off to Princeton having brought the wrath of Harvard Faculty down on Larry's head.
Lately Larry proving his evil credentials by being so evil that he gave a strong, professional lifetime "scientist"/feminist MIT professor a case of the vapors.
Didn't know he had to read the likes of Ignatiev until seeing so on W's link.
Quite a site, that!
So now Larry's given the fems 50 million to make things that much worse!

8/06/2005 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Buddy,
Cynical talk Radio:
The Russians go to China to play war games, and to the west to get rescued!

8/06/2005 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Over the next few years, until 1973, the Party maintained and built its agenda, despite the brutal assassination at San Quentin prison in August of 1971 of Party field marshal and author George Jackson."
---
I think he was assassinated trying to escape(!), but cannot swear by it.

8/06/2005 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger miklos rosza said...

remember the DC sniper? john muhammad and his teenage helper? remember how long it took the police to get over their outdated "20-30 yo white male" profile?

look out if we see black islamic terrorists, radicalized in prison, here in the USA. at a time when the worst thing you can say about anyone is that they have ever had a racist impulse or thought.

8/06/2005 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Doug -

Yep, as our rescue gear is packed away, the Russians and Chicoms start "Commonwealth 2005". China now accounts for 70% of Russia's weapons sales, mostly top of the line, high tech missile stuff and aircraft carrier kiling systems.

The Chicoms have 700 billion in currency reserves burning a hole in their pockets and a burning need to catch up technologically.

All those Walmart dollars have to be spent on more modern infrastructure, weapons, or loaned to Bush to underwrite his tax cuts for the wealthy... The Chinese are write in that only about 10% of their trade surplus loot is being used on weapons designed to take Taiwan or sink the US Navy if it gets too close.

Already rumors are that Commonwealth 2005 will be used as a de facto arms fair with Chicoms riding in Russian Bear, Backfire bombers and idled Victor III nuke subs to see if the Chicoms wish to send some Walmart, Home Depot, Electronics Emporium trade dollars Russia's way to get a nice bomber fleet eqippped with anti-ship missiles and the modern Russian nuke subs...

Meanwhile, the US in shrinking its submarine and carrier fleets, and attempting to demilitarize the Mid-West and Northeast.

8/06/2005 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Nahncee 3:23 PM,

You said that I said that: Them and Us will never be able to co-exist because we are basically different.

What I said was: there are fundamental and irreconcilable differences among people and among societies

I didn't mean that we couldn't co-exist. We co-existed with the Soviets for many decades. We had a truce with them. The option of open warfare with them, although advocated by some after WWII, was so unpleasant that we co-existed for a long time.

The irreconcilable differences have to do with the primacy of individual rights and the rule of law, as Wretchard stated in a recent post. It is those societies, cultures, religions and countries that subjugate individual rights and impose tyrannies on their people that we have irreconcilable differences with. We have co-existed with them in the past and will again. They recognize that our mere existence is a danger to them and many work to weaken and destroy us. The Soviets were going to "bury us" and said that we'd "sell them the rope with which they'd hang us." Eventually their society came apart at the seams.

WMDs, of course, affect our ability to co-exist with such societies, at least long term. We've come to realize that the tyrannies are the source of terrorism, both intentionally and inadvertently.

I think that he basis of the various tyrannies is different. The Soviets, China, the Islamofascists, NKorea and the rest came to their tyrannical rule in different fashions and I think that some are more deep seated than others, which returns your hierarchy of needs. I think it may be more deep seated in Islamic society than it was in Soviet society.

BTW, does the suicide bomber agree with the hierarchy of needs? Does the man who says "give me liberty or give me death?" "Live free or die?"

8/06/2005 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Meanwhile, the US in shrinking its submarine and carrier fleets, and attempting to demilitarize the Mid-West and Northeast"
---
But we're sprinkling Predator Drone Squadrons around like little Pork Kibbles for those all important Borders between No. and So. Dakota, Kansas and Missourri, etc., so what's to worry?

8/06/2005 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

They'll be FORCE MULTIPLIERS if the Kansans take on their Missourri cousins.

8/06/2005 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

64% of Russians Blame UK Authorities for London Blasts.
FSB recommends end to civil liberties in UK.

8/06/2005 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger doolz said...

The landscape of Communism from East Germany to Cambodia, from North Korea to Cuba deserves to preserved as a monument to the greatest act of hypnotism in history.

I'm just in the process of rereading MacKay's 'Extraordinary popular delusions and the Madness of Crowds' at the moment. I considered Communism to be a modern day delusion MacKay would excoriate were he alive, but also the insane Bush-hatred (and West-hatred) in the West.

8/06/2005 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Excuse for the following post:
"The attraction of exploring Communist archaeology is based in part on the fascination for the grotesque. It is what morbid minds study in the absence of real alien monster artifacts."
---
Any excuse is better than no excuse at all, right?
---
. Man dies after sex with horse .
...no law violated, just the horse.
Female caller from Washinton to Limbaugh said the law is that it's not illegal unless it can be proved that the animal did not enjoy it.
Rush mused about how that could be proved, and decided it could not be if the animal has a cigarette afterwards.

8/07/2005 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Unfortunately, these people were very diligent in filming their activities," Sortland said of a viewing task detectives have found unpleasant.

Police were still reviewing the recordings to determine the range of activities, according to the commander.

8/07/2005 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Statistics would point to the man being a Democrat .
Seattle Identified As No. 3 Election Fraud 'Hot Spot' In America, Says Legislative Fund

8/07/2005 05:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Adults Now in Charge .
Hill said the talks stalled after North Korea insisted on receiving a light-water nuclear reactor, part of a U.S. aid package offered in 1994.
Providing such a reactor "is simply not on the table," Hill said. But "perhaps people back in Pyongyang need to hear it directly," he added.
"They began to insist on a light-water reactor and wanted it included in the common document," Hill said. "This parted company with the rest of the delegations."
Hill on Friday challenged the North's insistence on retaining a peaceful nuclear program, pointing to its record of converting a research reactor for weapons use
.

8/07/2005 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pyongyang says it will not give up such weapons until Washington discards its "hostile policies" toward the North, removes any nuclear threat from the Korean peninsula and normalizes relations with the country's Stalinist government.

8/07/2005 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Charles!

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1123121935674
.
.
Solar project could advance 'green' fuel

The production of nonpolluting hydrogen fuel could be facilitated by innovative solar technology successfully tested on a large scale at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. Scientists say it also promises to expedite the storage and transportation of hydrogen.

The chemical process behind the technology was originally developed at Weizmann on a scale of several kilowatts. It was then scaled up to 300 kilowatts in collaboration with scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, Institut de Science et de Genie des Materiaux et Procedes – Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France, and the ScanArc Plasma Technologies AB in Sweden. The project is supported by the European Union's FP5 program.

Hydrogen, the most plentiful element in the universe, is an attractive candidate for becoming a pollution-free fuel of the future. But nearly all hydrogen used today is produced by expensive processes that require combustion of polluting fossil fuels. In addition, it is very difficult and expensive to store and transport the gas. The new solar technology tackles these problems by creating an easily storable intermediate energy source form from metal ore, such as zinc oxide.

With the help of concentrated sunlight, the ore is heated in a solar reactor to about 1,200 C in the presence of wood charcoal. The process splits the ore, releasing oxygen and creating gaseous zinc, which is then condensed to a powder. Zinc powder can later be mixed with water to produce hydrogen for fuel, and zinc oxide, which is recycled back to zinc in the solar plant. In recent experiments, the 300-kilowatt installation produced 45 kilograms of zinc powder from zinc oxide in one hour, exceeding projected goals.

The process generates no pollution, and the resultant zinc can be easily stored and transported and converted to hydrogen on demand. The zinc can also be used directly, for example, in zinc-air batteries, which serve as efficient converters of chemical to electrical energy. Thus, the method offers a way of storing solar energy in chemical form and releasing it as needed.

"After many years of basic research, we are pleased to see the scientific principles developed at the institute validated by technological development," said Prof. Jacob Karni, head of Weizmann's Center for Energy Research.

"The success of our recent experiments brings the approach closer to industrial use," added engineer and project leader Michael Epstein.

The concept of splitting metal ores with the help of sunlight has been under development over the course of several years at the Rehovot institute's Canadian Institute for the Energies and Applied Research, one of the most sophisticated solar research facilities in the world, which has a solar tower, a field of 64 mirrors and unique beam-down optics. Weizmann scientists are currently studying metal ores other than zinc oxide, as well as additional materials that may be used for efficient conversion of sunlight into storable energy.

8/07/2005 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Chutzpah Defined: I have rights!

8/07/2005 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Explaining to Italian authorities that he "preferred" not to be extradited to Britain — isn't that special? —
Osman insisted that he was no "terrorist." After all, "We didn't want to kill, just sow terror."

8/07/2005 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

...But idiots are often very useful in illustrating the appeal of fascistic cults.
Intellectuals are too good at covering their real psychological motivations with verbiage.
It turns out that the famously "homegrown" terrorists of the London bombings were much more like John Walker Lindh or even the Patty Hearst types of the 1960s and '70s.
Radical chic may be as a big a part of the story as radical Islam.

We've always understood this was the case to a certain extent. Osama bin Laden's prattling about the Crusades, for instance, merely shows how poisoned Islamism is by Western Marxism and anti-imperialism. Muslims used to brag about winning the Crusades.

.It was only after the West started exporting victimology that Islamic and Arab intellectuals started to whine about how poorly they'd been treated.

8/07/2005 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

To a certain extent, radical Islam in Europe has taken the place of third-world Marxism — hardly a big leap when you think about how many Vietnamese "revolutionaries" were trained in Parisian salons.

It's all about fighting capitalism, American "imperialism," modernism, etc.
Marxism no longer provides a workable model, but the Islamists think sharia might.
At the same time, like fascism and Communism before it, radical Islam provides a sense of purpose and meaning for losers and misfits who blame their misfortunes on "the system" (variously defined as the ruling class, the Jews, the capitalists, Col. Sanders, etc.).
In this sense, Islamism is less about religion than ideology, and less about ideology than it is about alienation and low self-esteem.

This is just one reason why poverty is such a silly explanation for terrorism. Most of the 9/11 attackers, like the London bombers, were squarely middle class, and the leadership of al Qaeda is downright wealthy.
My guess is that most of these losers would be miserable living in the utopia they're fighting for.
And should it ever arrive, they shouldn't bother replying to the knock on their door by yelling, "I have rights!" Their kind of people don't bother knocking.
Jonah Goldberg

8/07/2005 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Karensky said...

Wretchard,
Good point on you post. The academy can be be predictable to get things wrong on a consistant basis. The what if scenario is a great parlor game or a great CIA game. LeCarre wrote about it very well in the Smiley series. My "what if" game looks into What if Truman hadn't dropped the bomb?

In this anniversary of the de rigour small "l" liberal group think of the lamentations of just how bad we are for dropping the bomb on the noble Japanese is just too, too much a demonstration of near sighted thinking. Rarely do we hear any analysis of Truman's thinking.
Sure we get the MacAurthur line of hundreds of thousand allied (read American) war losses from an invasion of the island of Japan. A very real scenario given the losses from the invasion of Okinawa. How many Japanese lives were saved from the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? We will never know as the question makes the intent unknowable, to borrow a point of inquiry put forward by Donald Rumsfeld.
Here is my what if as it regards the ETO. Whar if we hadn't nuked Japan and went forward with the invasion of the home island?
Looking at the world at the time of VE Day this is what we see; Western Europe devestated, no workable governments from the USSR to the English Channel, millions of hungry, cold and lost Europeans all while the USA is pulling massive numbers of troops out of Europe in anticipation of the invasion of Japan. The only functunal Governments were in Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Soviets and Great Britan (though vastly enfeebled from the loss of India, Burma and it's colonies).
Looking at the post war history Stalin was actively probing for weak spot in the future western alliance from Iran to the Sudaitenland. Observe the three way machinations in Yugoslavia, Austria, Greece, Italy and France. WWII was over and WWIII had started!
One now ponders what was in Truman's thinking whether to drop or to invade. With Churchill out of power, the only four-star General who had a clear view on the Soviets, Patton, suddenly dead and all of Europe with their hands out for food did this have any Great Game givens for Harry?
I position is thus, had the USA not dropped the bomb on Japan Europe would be speaking Russian. Stalin would have done what Hitler could not-conquer Europe! His organization was vastly superior to Hitler's with department 6, SMERSH, and fifth columns throughout the continent of Europe. Some of the most effective partisans in France were Communists. Looking at the strong progress made by the post-war Communist parties in Italy, France, Austria and Great Britan Stalin would have had many allies and welcoming partners.
In the end, we have history as we know it. We nuked the Japanese into submission and surrender. The beneficial side effects were to scare the liven sh** out Uncle Joe whereby he trod uncommonly softly around western Europe and if the histories of that period predicted, would have bugged out of Prague and Hungary had Truman or Eisenhower said boo.
he was reeling from his folly of supporting Hitler at the end of the war, there really were Politburo members looking at his throne with possibilities in mind. There has been much speculation as to the real causes of Stalins death. With his attempts to set up yet another purge/pogrom surely Kruschev, Kosigyan and Beria had it in the back of their minds that they would be next fodder for Lefortovo. The Doctor's Plot was a very real scenario for Stalin to clear away his real and imagined opposition now that he could not follow on his victory over Hitler with a victory of Europe.
Karensky

8/07/2005 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/print/200305/baer

of course we "know" - there is another great trajectory which I've talked about many times and is clearly perceivable in dozens of writers and events. Read this link above about the House of Saud - i.e., the nomads set on the throne of a sea of oil.

Look at the Middle East: this is what happens when "post-colonial" grievances are indulged to the extent of compromising grand strategic frontiers. This is what happens when, for example, you "nationalize" oil, just because "it's the right of the people" who happen to live (even if they have no way of even extracting it, let alone putting it to use, themselves).

This is all ridiculous. And the results are predictable - except to the extent of the extravagance that Locke's tyrant-in-a-state-of-nature will lead him to.

Russians - whose national culture is about 200 years old and consists largely of alternate displays of abject self-consciousness and Mongol juggernauts - and Arabs - who have been living as tribes FOREVER. What does Arab culture even consist of? Tribalism? Islam (i.e. the-universe-as-tribe)? Do they have poets? Do they have thinkers? I've just read Ibn Khaldun, for example; to credit this person with writing the "first example of modern history" is just self-evident bullshit. I love how this entire interpretation of the genius of the Arabs depends complete ignorance of the Byzantine world. And if they do have these people, do they honor them? In what way? Nothing is in evidence but worldliness, sloth, aggression, repression, ignorance, amnesia. What is their language like? Does anyone know? Why does nothing seem to exist on their history for 800 years? Is anyone really even that impressed that Arabs developed algebra at some point in the ferment between cultures? I mean, wow, great - you did one thing - who gets points for just one thing besides the class moron or troubled child?

But the greatest ignorance, of which I course am guilty, is: why is anyone surprised?

History is about to take a very swift turn in the direction of co-opting the Arabs, and damnit better sooner than later. They've proven they have no idea what they're doing.

What they need, in my humble opinion, is the Cleisthenes solution. When faced with instituting democracy, it was a way of breaking the conflict among Greek tribes. How? Impose order, then when you set up the government, no one gets to be a boss where your tribe is. If you're a Sunni, we send you to Najaf. If you're a Kurd, you be governor in Baghdad. And if that doesn't work, you pull out the partition plan for Germany 1945, and you divide that shit up.

Enough: if there're going to be nuclear weapons lying around and these civilizations are not just going to have to rely on the boats and horses that they could manage on their own, then their contining barbarism is of enormous and urgent importance, beyond anything the bogeyman of China and great-state politics can muster. We must address this now, right now, as it is, not as some pantywastes would like it to be.

8/07/2005 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

Salman Rushdie has some interesting things to say about the necessity of an Islamic equivalent of the Restoration. You can read the whole thing here.

8/07/2005 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ah--except Islamic Fundamentalism IS the Reformation.

Revolutionary, puritan, literal, harkening back to the ways of the founders, aggressive, fomenting wars, justified by grievances - real and imagined - against the existing order...

Yes of course there are differences. But "Reformation" does not imply the pluralistic tolerance of officially antagonistic denominations - only the wars which ensued from the Reformation and exhausted the combatants did that. The treaty of Westphalia which established the basic groundwork of the nation-state is the basis of the super-version of that enshrined in the UN charter today - again, as the result of gigantic wars.

We shall see if the spirit of democracy can transform the region, wed to tribal bickering, and invent a parliamentary analogue that will acquire the broad legitimacy required to effectively rule and exert dominion over the means to violence. It's early yet. But this is the Reformation, I think. Look at Islam: dar al-Harb, dar al-Islam. House of War, House of Submission. These are theological terms. It may also be a religion of peace in some sense other than in the peace of submission, but even within a religion indsiputably committed to pacifism, love and forgiveness the Reformation set off a comparative blood bath.

8/07/2005 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Hans Storrie said...

US to pull out up to 30,000 troops from Iraq
In a classified briefing to senior Pentagon Citing unnamed senior military officers and Defense Department officials, the newspaper said the assessment by General John Abizaid, head of the Central Command, ...
Hans Storrie
Simplifying UK Lottery and Euro-Millions Syndicates.
http://www.LotteryWinMadeEasy.com

8/07/2005 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Common Cents,

There have been many conceptualizations of god(s) historically among all the different tribes and nations, and for every one there has surely been a non believer. The reason I think atheism can never eliminate a meaningful idea of god is that I believe the idea emerged at the origin of human language and if this is correct, the understanding of language (and I assume all human languages share in a common origin) or human consciousness will always depend on it. We understand all institutions this way (and language is our first institution). For example, as long as there is a USA, people will have to understand their nation and themselves by re-learning the stories of the nation’s founding, or accept being confused. Similarly, as long as there is language, people will have to understand themselves by asking how it came into being. That is what religion has, traditionally, provided for.

As for children raised by wolves. I would not say they can have symbolic language, or theological thoughts, or any notion of existence. These are things we can only learn by being part of the human community and could never learn if our socialization were solely by wolves. Biologically we have the brains for language, but we still need the cultural infrastructure to make it work.

Anybuddee,

you are right that my arguments have an agnostic flavor. That’s what I am. But I don’t think that my uncertainty on the ultimate questions makes me less capable of putting faith in what we’re doing in this world, perhaps quite the opposite. (When you ask “so what”, this is the answer: my faith has been strengthened by these ideas, which need not impress you, as long as they can serve as an improvement for some of those who have suffered faithlessness.) Furthermore, to the extent I pray and have some conception of the divine it is probably more in line with Jewish thinking about waiting for the unfigurable Messiah than the Christian, not that I am entirely pure bred in this respect, for better and worse.

8/07/2005 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Charles!

Did you follow the action in the Zinc futures? :P

8/07/2005 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

epistemology...

interesting point...

you 1st show us uncle joe's final final solution, based on hitler's final solution

then you show us stalin's 5 day work week idea..

(then the story of the fool's gold)

then the idea of current death cults...

again, i am prejudiced.

As I see it....

Kill the jews by hitler
Kill the jews by stalin
Kill the Jewish idea of shabbat...
new issue, kill the jew by islam...

I'd say I see the truth clearly, as one on the pointy side of the epistemology/kant/rambam pov..

the knowledge of death camps attempted to be used and used... is a whole lot realer than the "beliefs" of the murderers..

8/07/2005 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What is it about worldliness, sloth, aggression, repression, ignorance, amnesia, etc, that's wrong?
Who are we to judge?

8/07/2005 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Doug,Re:Chutzpah defined
Newsmax has a post about Sheik Omar Bakri,the looney toon British iman who called 9/11 "wonderful",exhorted the slaughter of infidels and declared
Britain to be Dar alHarb(the land of war).Now he is being deported(being deported from the planet with a hollow point under the head scarf would be more fitting)He said deportation would be unfair because it would be hard on his four wives and junior jihadi offspring.
It seems Bakri gets a car and $450 bucks a week from the British welfare office and lives in a $350,000 house.He's probably suffering from demented cleric syndrome.

8/07/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Bubba Thudd said...

Regarding the human tendency towards theism, a friend of mine who is working on an Artificial Intelligence project speculates that it is an unintended consequence of how the human mind functions.

We humans have what he describes as “pareodotalism” (sp?), which is a tendency to see patterns, often where none exist. This explains why we have such concepts as stellar constellations, and why we see shapes and figures in the chaotic swirls of clouds or the face of Elvis in a taco.

Pareodotalism is a huge advantage, as it provides a logical shortcut to our perception of the outside world. He tried to explain it with the following analogy, which I’m sure I will get wrong, but it goes something like this;

Teaching a robot to recognize an object has been very difficult. Basic geometric shapes (cubes, spheres etc.) are not too bad, because they have a definite shape that can be easily described by mathematical formula. But teaching a robot to recognize, for example, a wolf is almost impossible. Not only does a wolf have a very complex shape, it changes shape as it moves. Thus trying to teach a robot to recognize a wolf using standard Boolean logic would require an enormous amount of data. Even if a robot were to have data regarding every physical permutation possible in wolf-kind, if it were to see a pair of wolf-ears sticking up from behind a rock, it would not register “wolf”.

Humans, on the other hand, working with the fuzzy-logic of pareodotalism, are capable of making the leap from seeing a couple of wolf-ear shaped objects sticking up behind a rock and thinking “wolf – danger!” and thus avoid being eaten. One of the “holy grails” of AI research, he tells me, it to find a way to get a computer to think in this manner.

The survival advantage of this approach is obvious, but one of the unintended consequences is a large number of false-positives. When man began to consider the larger world, pareodotalism forced him to make patterns of the apparent chaos, and he projected from his own experience. Thus superstition and religion arose; this explains why most early deities were little more than an extrapolation of a tribal patriarch.

8/07/2005 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

When man began to consider the larger world, pareodotalism forced him to make patterns of the apparent chaos, and he projected from his own experience. Thus superstition and religion arose; this explains why most early deities were little more than an extrapolation of a tribal patriarch.

-this explaination has the appeal of reference to some empirical observations about how the mind works, but with respect, it doesn't explain much.

What does it mean "to consider the larger world"? None of our ape cousins show any more than an inkling of anything like religion or superstition and yet they survive perfectly well in this world as long as we do not destroy their habitat. They are obviously able to see patterns in the world conducive to their survival. But this survival need not entail their use of religion or symbolic consciousness. Why?

I would suggest to your friend that he will create the great AI machine when he can make the machine fearful of its own mortality at the hands of its fellow intelligent beings. In other words, I think religion emerged as a survival tool that served the internal needs of a community in conflict, a protohuman community that could no longer be organized by an animal pecking order. To solve some crisis, they created for the first time a sacred center around which they now worshipped (instead of relating one-on-one, semi-privately, in pecking order style) as a means of deferring or regulating their collective violence. This sacred center where they placed both an untouchable (at least for a time) appetitive object, and performed the sign that gave meaning to this object as sacred, or untouchable, i.e. beyond their worldly conflict, created a paradoxical difference between their perception of things and the signs with which they now represented things. Their minds became occupied with this difference as attention oscillated between symbol and thing. This was the basis of our esthetic consciousness and powers as our minds now began to evolve with selection for linguistic competence.

I'm not sure what you mean by early deities, but the most primitive peoples seem to worship supernatural forces that they model on natural forces or animals (e.g. there are relatively few human figures in the cave paintings that are our earliest evidence of art/religion). They so figure supernatural forces because they don't have any inkling of how the supernatural emerges from their humanity, if indeed it did in the first instance. And when they do begin to have Gods with what become known as "human" traits, it is the humans who model themselves on their idea of the Gods, rather than vice versa.

This is a very counterintuitive point that is difficult to grasp. But the profane world is an erosion or forgetting of the sacred that is primary in human history and consciousness. In other words, what is now human was first imagined as divine, a divinity that language presupposes but cannot locate. When the first sacred sign emerged, it could not have been a representation of a pre-existing identity or consciousness, because the latter is only possible once the sign has emerged. This is why social contract theories of human origins don't work: they depend on ascribing human reason to those who make the contract to become human. But with what human reason could the not-yet-humans have contracted to become human?

Humanity either creates itself, or it is created, out of a divinity that is first posited without reference to the protohuman grouping that will model itself on this creation. The first sign represents the sacred center, not the desiring, human, periphery.

8/07/2005 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

'peers

That's cool. I'm all for honest agnosticism. (which to me is an oxymoron - or should be. Given that my definition of an atheist is more like a dishonest agnostic)

I guess I'm very utilitarian about faith. I don't see it as something you have, but something you do, or use. I don't marvel much about my hands, (unless I see an amputee) I just use them. Thanklessly. Jesus referred to faith in the same fashion, as a servant. (Luke 17) And He seemed to take it for granted that everyone had it, and was miffed when they didn't use it.

So the question I believe He will ask is: (if indeed He is the judge) "what did you do with your faith?" Or do you choose to believe or do you choose to disbelieve. Abdication of the choice is of course a choice by default.

Jesus claims to be God. John, Paul and the author of Hebrews ascribe to Him the work of creation. He says it's possible to know Him and that this is the essence of eternal life. But it starts with a choice of faith that accepts what He says about Himself (however fantastic) is true. Then He responds to that faith with assurance. Personal proofs.

But sometimes He answers the honest, seeking heart with revelation. Sort of giving the proofs before the faith. I have not seen this to be the usual method. Indeed, Thomas was exception among the eleven. The rest got chewed out for unbelief. (Come to think of it, so did Tommy Boy)

What He wants is interaction. A relationship. Just start relating. That's an act of faith He honors. You're making it harder than it is. I suppose that's why He said you must become as a little child. Tell that big brain to chill and just choose. With your heart.

8/07/2005 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Update on incomplete Darwin Award Questionnaire:
Question:
"What was he thinking?"
Disposition:
Can't Ask, Can't Tell.

8/07/2005 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trangbang:
Two Birds, etc:
Could save the dough on that hollowpoint and finish filling out that questionnaire:
Just be sure not to wait too long to ask the question.

8/07/2005 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Jesus claims to be God. John, Paul and the author of Hebrews ascribe to Him the work of creation. He says it's possible to know Him and that this is the essence of eternal life. But it starts with a choice of faith that accepts what He says about Himself (however fantastic) is true. Then He responds to that faith with assurance. Personal proofs.

It was my understanding, never exactly claimed that

8/07/2005 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

Pork,

You're kidding right. You're doing the "if you can't bedazzle 'em... baffle 'em.." right?

John 10:36 - "Why do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son?' "

John 8:58 - "I tell you the truth," Jesus said, "before Abraham was born, I AM" (and yes, He used the tetragrammaton. Only one of several times)

John 1:3 - Through Him, all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.

Colossians 1:16 (Paul)- For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth. (The whole passage, v.13 thru 20 is about Jesus)

Hebrews 1:2 - but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.

8/07/2005 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

but anybudee
arn't we all god's son? or daughter

8/07/2005 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

All the New Testament was written second hand, and heavily edited and translated.
It is not autobiographical, the Koran is.

8/07/2005 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Anybudee said...
Pork, You're kidding right. You're doing the "if you can't bedazzle 'em... baffle 'em.." right?

no...

John 10:36 - "Why do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son?' "

we are all g-d's kids, that aint the same as saying I AM GOD

.....John 8:58 - "I tell you the truth," Jesus said, "before Abraham was born, I AM" (and yes, He used the tetragrammaton. Only one of several times)

are we not all with g-d before we are born?

..John 1:3 - Through Him, all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.


dont understand that one..

Colossians 1:16 (Paul)- For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth. (The whole passage, v.13 thru 20 is about Jesus)

this is Paul speaking, but not jesus...?

Hebrews 1:2 - but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.

again, I am just as much g-d's son as jesus... dont mean i am g-d

Sorry, i am not convinced that "jesus" said I am G-d

If he did, well, let's say i'd say, hey cousin, get a grip... Yeah your a Jew, and Your mother thinks your perfect, but I'm your cousin, and trust me, you aint g-d or perfect....

8/07/2005 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

des

Yes

But Isaiah says it best: "All we, like sheep, have gone astray, each one has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

He is the restoration of sonship that Adam, and all of us since, gave away. What He did was good enough for God to restore us to the place Adam gave away.

8/07/2005 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Rat, you say the Koran is "second hand", I have tried to get an answer to this before. I think Islam is just an inferior system of goverment designed in an age when it was normal to intergrate the church and government for better control. Jonah Goldber made the same point only he said "in this sense". I don't think there is another sense.

8/07/2005 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

d.h.
I wouldn't disagree with that assessment. I do not think allah dictated the book to Mohammed, as is the claim. The 'unedited' word of allah so to speak. Many people, about a billion I'm told, do believe that the Koran is the literal 'word of allah.
I think it is the word of Mohammed, by Mohammed and for Mohammed.
By the same token I've never believed that Joseph Smith 'wrote' the Book of Mormon.

8/07/2005 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

Pork

I don't get you. What in the world were you taught?

I'm a midwesterner, my exposture to Jews was limited to the clothier who my dad played golf with and my get-high buddy from college (his dad was a biochem prof) {not mine tho, he'd a flunked me, 'cause I turned his kid on}

T don't know what you were taught. But your lack of knowledge about orthodox christianity baffles me, in that serious christians are about the best friends Jews and Israel have in this world. Serious followers of Jesus love Jews even though Jews appear to hate them. Not logical is it. Smells like Him tho, doesn't it?

Your points:

He received worship. He forgave sins. He healed. He gave out eternal salvation.

This guy either is God, or He's a liar or He's nuts. (unless you know of some other option)

are we all with God...
I don't know.

don't get that one...
the context is John talking about Jesus

Is this Paul speaking...
yes, letter of Paul to the Colossians

I am just as much God's son as Jesus...
If you truly understood what you just said, we wouldn't be disagreeing. That's the WHOLE point of Jesus. Adam was the original son of God. Family.

last points-
refer to above Jesus certainly spoke, taught and acted like God. Whether He was or not, He leaves to you personally.

8/07/2005 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Pork I don't get you. What in the world were you taught?

dallas & ohio

...I'm a midwesterner, my exposture to Jews was limited to the clothier who my dad played golf with and my get-high buddy from college (his dad was a biochem prof) {not mine tho, he'd a flunked me, 'cause I turned his kid on}

sorry...

...T don't know what you were taught. But your lack of knowledge about orthodox christianity baffles me, in that serious christians are about the best friends Jews and Israel have in this world. Serious followers of Jesus love Jews even though Jews appear to hate them. Not logical is it. Smells like Him tho, doesn't it?

I dont hate people who have different belief, i like all ethcial people inspite of the childish beliefs, including my own...

Your points: He received worship. He forgave sins. He healed. He gave out eternal salvation.

3 out of 4 aint bad... many receive worship, many forgive, and even more heal, as for eternal savation, you already had it with the noahite 7...

...This guy either is God, or He's a liar or He's nuts. (unless you know of some other option)

well to proclaim that the "g-d" of the Israel can be a man is pagan and not monothiesm, nor is it in line with historic Jewish teaching at that time, to confusion with orthodox christianity it wants jesus to be BOTH the promised jewish messiah and G-d almightly... from the original POV that is not possible.

.....are we all with God...
I don't know.

all humans contain a spark of holiness...

don't get that one...
the context is John talking about Jesus

ok, again, it aint jesus speaking, it's john

Is this Paul speaking...
yes, letter of Paul to the Colossians

again, not jesus speaking...

I am just as much God's son as Jesus...
If you truly understood what you just said, we wouldn't be disagreeing. That's the WHOLE point of Jesus. Adam was the original son of God. Family.

I agree, all people are g-d's kids, not just Jesus and noone is better in the eyes of g-d, not even jesus

last points-
refer to above Jesus certainly spoke, taught and acted like God. Whether He was or not, He leaves to you personally.

no to me he spoke and acted like a jew from 2000 yrs ago pissed off at the romans and the temple cult..

sorry, what christians want to believe is not necessarily what jesus himself taught or spoke, that is why many modern christians are having problems with the messiah/god thing...

which is it?

cause he couldn't be both and according to the rules of the monothiesm...

man is man..

but from a jewish POV, again, if your "beliefs" make you a good person, then we can be happy..

ethical actions over faith....

8/07/2005 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

Nooooooo,

You're missing THE point. This is not a debate. There are no judges. There will be no badges. This is real life.

Jesus claims to be the Jewish Messiah. YOUR Messiah. He claims to be God - the Jehovah of the Torah. He said in John 8:24 "If you do not believe that I am He, (at this point, He was wrangling with the Pharisees about whether He was the Messiah) you will die in your sins."

I didn't make this stuff up. I COULDN'T make this stuff up. But He said it. It either is true or it's not. And you either accept it or reject it.

8/07/2005 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Anybudee said...Nooooooo,
You're missing THE point. This is not a debate. There are no judges. There will be no badges. This is real life.

Yep, real life...

Anybudee said... Jesus claims to be the Jewish Messiah. YOUR Messiah.

Many "claimed" to be the promised jewish messiah, however none have been it..

if so, the lion wuold have laid with the lamb, the sword would have turned into plowshares...

it really is for the jewish people (all) to decide, not the gentile who is our messiah...

Anybudee said...He claims to be God - the Jehovah of the Torah. He said in John 8:24 "If you do not believe that I am He, (at this point, He was wrangling with the Pharisees about whether He was the Messiah) you will die in your sins."

For man to be g-d is a sin.. (sin to use your words)

Anybudee said...I didn't make this stuff up. I COULDN'T make this stuff up. But He said it. It either is true or it's not. And you either accept it or reject it.

I'll reject that my cousin is the G-d of israel, i can understand people's confusion after all he was jewish... but sorry, for man to claim he was/is the g-d of israel smacks of paganism

if you want to know WHY he aint at the MINIMUM the Jewish messiah let me know... it's easy

8/07/2005 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

It is necessary to preach the gospel to the Jews first, because as the Dear knows, He put your ancestors thru hell getting His salvation into the Earth. That's one reason why followers of Jesus love Jews, even tho the Jews hate them. Paul speaks of this in the book of Acts.

I have tried to present the gospel of Jesus Christ as plainly and succinctly as I could. I hope I have not misrepesented Jesus' message to you. If you have any friends who are evangelicals, you could get a second opinion on any point I have made. I sincerely just want to see you There.

Shalom

8/07/2005 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Anybudee said...
It is necessary to preach the gospel to the Jews first, because as the Dear knows, He put your ancestors thru hell getting His salvation into the Earth. That's one reason why followers of Jesus love Jews, even tho the Jews hate them. Paul speaks of this in the book of Acts.

How many times and for how many years must we be preached to?

Please dont tell me who I hate cause paul tells you so, paul was a schmuck. my motto..

I respect all ethical people inspite of the stupid, childish beliefs, including my own.


Anybudee said.. I have tried to present the gospel of Jesus Christ as plainly and succinctly as I could. I hope I have not misrepesented Jesus' message to you. If you have any friends who are evangelicals, you could get a second opinion on any point I have made. I sincerely just want to see you There.

Not to worry, I understand and totally reject and corporeal nature of the G-d of Israel as defined by gentiles. The G=d of Israel has not form or shape, nor can die, nor can split off into sons or holy ghosts...

Funny thing, again, you get your panties in a wad about messiah/g-d belief and have good ethical behavior (i hope) whereas the islamists actually do have a very pure for of monothiesm and yet they murder..

which leads me back to my other motto on life...

"dont be a schmuck"

8/07/2005 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard -

That thought you had on memes was very well said, your visualizing it as the problem of the spell turning on the sorcerer and that image of the spirits wreaking death on the villains in "Raiders" made a strong impression.

Frankly, it created a new meme with me.

I suppose the bitch of it is people don't really know a dangerous political meme - until it is beyond the point of pulling back. It starts with a grievance, typically, but then partisans get it intensify it until it burns them or others.

Some of the more banal have been the Clinton dislike going nutso into a raging fight against the Devil Bubba himself - and costing the Reps heavily in the 1998 elections. Or Bush-hatred eradicating sensible arguments against some of Bush's more boneheaded policies and making objections to policy so personal and outlandish that Bush won part of the Independent vote by default.

And then there is the lethally self-destructive meme - where griecance grows to dislike that grows to hatred that grows to rage that grows to maniacal loss of control in launching murderous violence which is ineffectual and only makes the practitionioners escalate the violence until they destroy the object of their venom or must be physically destroyed themselves. And 20-20 hindsight will of course give us all the missed opportunities where such a meme could have been frozen or reversed to harmlessness.

Islam is somewhere on that lethally self-destructive meme.

History of course will tell us how far in the progression things got 20 years from now with certainty. For now we can wonder, and fight to prevent it from getting worse.

8/07/2005 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

I am only half-way completed in my reading/perusing of the amazing posts which this thread has generated. On the topic of epistemology, I have to defer to Bernard Lonergan, S.J. Essentially, the method itself is not easily "distillable" to a formula, since it consists of 80% perspiration and 20% inspiration. We labor to apply what we indisuputably know, as that body of knowledge stands the test of time. However, life does not consist of "Groundhog Day" reruns, so we are perplexed at times when our vast store of knowledge cannot cope with "new things." So, Lonergan uses the example of Archimedes at the Baths of Syracuse to explain how it is we achieve breathroughs: they are fortuitous, or in the language of Catholic theology, a "gift" which owes its intervention to the fact that it is no accident that we are where we are supposed to be. We are surprised and we are inspired, because we are laboring and because the Divine also labors to get through to us. Sometimes there is a meeting of the minds.

Utopians no longer want to live in a world such as this. They want the formula and they want it all neat and tidy. They are obsessed with control over themselves and others (though their self-knowledge is impressively paltry and could never permit self-control). They don't want to work, experience risk, experience failure, experience struggle with their own limitations.

Mr. Bennett's error is not so much one of disingenuously setting up a straw man so much as being astoundingly un-subtle in his understanding of just how ordinary intellectuals can be. The extraordinary ones can laugh at themselves and even revel in their own limitations. They enjoy the struggle and eschew the torpor of mind which attends being ever so systematically inerrant.

8/07/2005 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Bubba Thudd,Methinks the thud was your head exploding from the sheer pomposity of your argument.To quote a few philosophers of note:
"I've got a head full of ideas that is driving me insane"
-Robert Zimmerman
"Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy"
-Jackson Browne
"Professing themselves to be wise they became fools..."
-Paul's letter
to the Romans
P.S.What does pareodotalism have to do with Joseph Stalin or anything else in this maddog world?

8/07/2005 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger gethky said...

Hope you don't mind that I copied your post in my "Sampler" blog where I have collected other great works from such serious, high-minded bloggers as yourself.

8/07/2005 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

PC^KILLA said...

yes I saw that piece on weitzman institute the other day. there's a couple different angles of attack. this is one of them. today's slashdot.org has a piece which also lists the ways scientists are attacking the problem.
http://hardware.slashdot.org/hardware/05/07/25/1848202.shtml?tid=232

I don't think zinc prices are driven by hydrogen speculation but rather like oil--zince prices are driven by rising demand and low supply.

Here's a pretty good article and graph on the subject.
http://www.playstocks.net/Jan-mmi.htm

check out this tool which measures a meme over time.
http://www.realmeme.com/Main/miner.jsp

8/07/2005 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger sugar said...

Bubba Thud

That was some great stuff you posted there regarding AI. Im wondering if you've seen the last issue of Wired. The prediction is AI will be born via the Internet. There will be an internet operating system like Skynet in the movie Terminator. The sum of computers attached to the web by 2015 will be like a neural net that will have the processing power that will finally rival the brain. Google is currently pouring research into such an operating system.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.08/tech.html

8/07/2005 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

bloomie,
Wretch had a post that kind of touched on that, or our discussion got around to something similar, but I don't recall the details right now.

8/07/2005 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Anybuddee, i read your 4:01 just before a visit with my girlfriend who had some issues to work through. I decided to follow your advice and just drop the pride and ego and put faith into action in the simple desire to interact and relate. It seems to have worked. Thanks.

8/07/2005 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Charles and Killa,
. Shortages Stifle a Boom Time for the Solar Industry

8/07/2005 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger sugar said...

Doug

Thanks. I'd definitely want to read it if you can recall...

8/07/2005 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bloomie,
Not identical, but you might be interested:
. Fair and Balanced

8/07/2005 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The interest for me is the current and ever increasing power of near instantaneous communication, allowing blogstorms such as Rathergate.

8/07/2005 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I humbly call it
"The Communal Mind."

8/07/2005 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger PresbyPoet said...

Two points.
The most important thing we can ever learn is that we don't know. Not what we don't know, but that we don't know it. Until I know I don't know, I can't learn what I need to learn to know what i don't know.

Judas was quite sure he knew that Jesus was the Messiah. He was quite sure that he (Judas) knew the Messiah was supposed to wipe out those pesky Romans. From this came the worst act of betrayal ever.

The more certain I am, the harder it is for me to find the truth. Geologists of the 50's were sure continents didn't move. So sure, they brushed aside any evidence that they did. They were blind to the truth.

"Global warming is coming, and it will be bad", seems an article of faith to many. It may be coming, but there is no proof it will be bad. Again, the danger of certainty.

Your best help may come from your enemy, if he shows you where you are wrong.

On the subject of God:
There seems to be a place in the brain designed to create religious experiences. While a simple answer is that our brain causes all experiences, and so this "proves" gods are all in our minds, what if this spot is where we do hear God?
What if it truly is possible to hear God?

How do we know It's God we hear?

8/07/2005 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Poet,
My cat is currently madly chasing her own tail, occasionally even growling at it.
(or her tail is "telling her" to quit biting it)
Luckily, exalted entity that I am, my behavior has always been totally different.
...and I cannot tell a lie.

8/07/2005 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

One of the problems with the Islamic religion is that it can easily be manipulated. Thus, any so called "cleric" can incite hate and violence. It's a circular chain of thinking which only leads to hate and despair.

It starts with kuffar (unbelievers) who are to be converted or destroyed and gets worse. Next is the use of 'taqiya' or lies to deceive the kuffar (unbelievers). Then comes the pillaging of the kuffar for economic gain. Then, the final solution - destruction of all kuffar. When that fails despair sets in. Or, as Sir Winston Churchill succinctly put it: The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities - but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world... Let's take a look at a modern example.

[Sunday Times On Line]:

...Sunday Times reporter spent two months as a recruit inside the Saviour Sect to reveal for the first time how the extremist group promotes hatred of "non-believers" and encourages its followers to commit acts of violence including suicide bombings... The reporter witnessed one of the sect's leading figures, Sheikh Omar Brooks, telling a young audience, including children, that it was the duty of Muslims to be terrorists and boasting, just days before the July 7 attacks, that he wanted to die as a suicide bomber... Last week Omar Brooks stirred controversy with televised comments, but they were carefully chosen to avoid appearing to incite violence. On Saturday, July 2 he had been more forthright...

[Terror as a common tool]

Speaking to a group of teenagers and families, he declared it was imperative for Muslims to "instill terror into the hearts of the kuffar" and added: "I am a terrorist. As a Muslim of course I am a terrorist." The 30-year-old [Sheikh Omar] said he did not want to go to Allah while sleeping in his bed "like an old woman". Instead: "I want to be blown into pieces with my hands in one place and my feet in another." {note that neither Sheikh Omar or any of his children have self-explode for Allah but, he encourages others to that act}

...[A Times] reporter became a member of the sect three weeks before the July 7 bombings. From the start he was taught that it was his duty to destroy the kuffar {the standard hate training}. Moderate Muslims who did not believe in the overthrow of the British government and its replacement by an Islamic state were held in equal disdain {note, the ease with which groups who don't follow hard-line Islamofascists are labeled enemies and must be punished}. Within days of joining, he witnessed seven Saviour Sect members beating up a member of the moderate Young Muslim Organisation in an East End street because they believed he had insulted their version of Islam {Joe Stalin would be proud}.

...After the [7/7] attacks that claimed 52 lives, another key figure, Zachariah, justified them by saying that the victims were not "innocent" people because they did not abide by strict Islamic laws {back to the old kill the kuffar line}. In the immediate aftermath [of the 7/7 attacks] the sect's leader, Omar Bakri Mohammed, said: "For the past 48 hours I'm very happy." Two weeks later he referred to the bombers as the "fantastic four".

[Taqiya or lies being used]

...In public interviews Bakri condemned the killing of all innocent civilians. Later when he addressed his own followers he explained that he had in fact been referring only to Muslims as only they were innocent: "Yes I condemn killing any innocent people, but not any kuffar." Yesterday Bakri said he had no connections to a group in east London but said that he did attend prayers and preach to up to 15 people. He denied using the words "fantastic four"

[Economic warfare]:

...They are so opposed to the British state that they see it as their duty to make no economic contribution to the nation. One member warned our undercover reporter against getting a job because it would be contributing to the kuffar (non-Muslim) system. ...Instead, the young follower, Nasser, who receives £44 job seekers' allowance a week, said it was permissible to "live off benefits", just as the prophet Mohammed had lived off the state while attacking it at the same time.... paying car insurance was seen as supporting the system. "All the (Saviour Sect) brothers drive without insurance," he said...

See: Inside the sect that loves terror

hat tip to Lfg

[Taqiya explained]

See: Taqiya [lies] explained

As can be concluded, the Muslim religion can be easily manipulated. It's a slippery slope - which is quite steep. The religion starts off with an 'Us verses Them' attitude - the kuffar must be converted or killed - and there are no "civilians" in the kuffar land - they all must die. Next, it perfectly proper to lie to the kuffar - even when your in the kuffar's country. This is total disreguard for the law.

It's also perfectly permissable to plunder the kuffar's economic system - he is the enemy you know! This part is particularly attractive to lazy shiftless people including criminals (akin to the "Money for nothing and your chicks for free" refrain).

It's OK to defraud credit card companies because they charge interest - the charging of interest if not allowed by Islamic law (just fees and maybe a cut of the profits). So a true believer should not pay his credit card.

Now, drinking of alcohol is somewhat bad - but the ingestion of the drug Khat is Good (when it is fresh Khat is 50% as potent as methamphetamine). Well it's good when you are fighting the kuffar but, some believers frowned upon drug use. Which leads to the question of who is a true "believer" and who is not.

Is it your Muslin neighbor who has an occasion drink? Is it your Muslim coworker who is "supporting the economic system of the kuffar?" Further, is it his cat - it eats meat and must be kuffar. If so should not he or the cat be killed? Is every one that is not in your 'click' kufar? Is everyone except OBL kuffar?

My point is the "Religion of Peace" can easily be twisted to justify everything from theft to mass murder. And, unfortunately, it has in many instances. But, retaliation follows. This retaliation can be quite harsh.

[British getting a stiff backbone]:

FIVE hundred radical Muslim extremists are to be deported by the [UK] government, the News of the World can reveal.

Immigration officials have already been given a list of names —compiled by MI5—and told to begin proceedings. The first could be sent back to their homeland over the next two weeks... Among the first to be deported will be a DOZEN radical clerics. But hundreds of other foreign extremists, including some Islamic bookshop owners, writers, teachers and website operators will also go... Secretary Charles Clarke will begin the process when he returns from holiday this week. He will issue deportation orders and the people will be forcibly booted out
.

See: FIVE hundred radical Muslim extremists are to be deported

8/08/2005 01:15:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Thanks for another great post ledger.

8/08/2005 04:18:00 AM  
Blogger anybudee said...

Pres-

Sorry, life called.

In answer to your excellent question, "How do we know it's God we hear?"

The simple answer is: How do you know anyone's voice? By getting to know that person.


1st John seems to be a primer for christianity.

1Jn5:1 - Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves His Child as well.

4:15 - If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.

1 John 5:13 - I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

It does make a difference that this knowledge is in the heart (spirit, subconscious) not in the head. This is the same level as conscience and intuition. We were designed to live from our hearts, but instead traded for what was behind door number two.

5:10 - Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart...And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

Once the spirit is alive, you can access it's perceptions.

3:24b - And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us.

Romans 8:16 - The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

1 Cor 2:12 - We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. (The second half of 1Cor2 develops this more thoroughly)

8/08/2005 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger George M Weinert V said...

Continued from last comment -

American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us
Steven Emerson
Free Press
Paperback
304 pages
February 2003

A cold guiding hand, fueled by money and power, plays a manipulative
behind-the-scenes game in the years leading up to the Watergate
scandal. The audacious goal: to secure the Oval Office for one of
the richest, most ambitious politicians of the era. Click here for
more on John Fitzgerald's The Amendment.

In the months after 9/11, a media brouhaha grew around the figure of
Sami al-Arian—Palestinian, long-time U.S. resident and tenured
computer-science professor at the University of South Florida. The
commotion erupted with broadcasted exposés on Fox News’ The O’Reilly
Factor and NBC’s Dateline, which alleged that al-Arian, while
serving on the USF faculty, provided pivotal fundraising and
organizational aid to the notorious terror group the Palestinian
Islamic Jihad. Resembling the likes of Hamas and Hizbollah, the PIJ
is known for suicide bombings in the Gaza Strip and the beheading of
“collaborators” who favor a nonviolent answer to the Palestinian
question. Among cited evidence of al-Arian’s suspect probity
generally and his venom toward Israel specifically was a dated
videotape of the professor shouting the unambiguous phrase, “Death
to Israel,” at a Cleveland mosque.

Despite such disconcerting language, there straight away came
journalists to defend al-Arian, his entitlement to continued
professorship, and his right to free speech (no matter how odious).
These writers were, namely, op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof of The
New York Times and a fiery Eric Boehlert of the e-zine Salon.
Boehlert, specifically, concluded that the networks, “ruined an
innocent professor’s life” by “pandering to anti-Arab hysteria” in
the wake of 9/11.

Before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, few
in the media paid attention to, much less investigated, al-Arian’s
Florida-based activities. Early exceptions, however, were the Tampa
Tribune’s Michael Fechter and, most notably, former CNN
correspondent Steven Emerson. Emerson had asserted the professor’s
PIJ ties as early as 1994, when his documentary The Terrorists Among
Us: Jihad in America, aired on PBS. The program claimed that
al-Arian was not only involved with the PIJ but actually spearheaded
U.S.-based support for the terror group.

Now in the important but scattershot American Jihad: The Terrorists
Living Among Us, Emerson chronicles his 12-year investigation into
several domestic hubs for international terrorism and specifically
extends his argument that al-Arian acted as the PIJ’s North American
frontman for more than a decade while at USF. In a chapter devoted
exclusively to the professor, Emerson submits al-Arian managed two
nonprofit organizations in the 1990s that were created ostensibly to
advance interfaith relations, but that actually functioned as
fundraising and operational fronts for the PIJ in the United States:
the Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP) and a
university-affiliated think tank, the World Islamic Strategic
Enterprise (WISE).

According to Emerson, the ICP acted as the mouthpiece for the PIJ
and regularly published anti-Jewish, anti-America, and pro-terrorism
vitriol under the direct oversight of al-Arian. The ICP also
organized annual conventions in various American cities and invited
speakers from a veritable who’s who of Islamic terrorism, including
Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman (the blind Egyptian cleric who was
convicted in 1995 of conspiring to bomb the WTC and other New York
City landmarks). More important, ICP conventioneers raised money for
Palestinian “martyrs” and their families and incited terrorist acts
against specific targets, including American interests.

Emerson claims that, through WISE, al-Arian maintained intimate ties
with several dubious (to say the least) characters. Among them were
Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, former WISE administrator, former USF
lecturer, and later worldwide PIJ leader; Tarik Hamdi, former WISE
board member and later courier for Osama bin Laden; Bashir Nafi,
WISE director of research and executive PIJ member (deported on visa
violations in 1996); and al-Arian’s brother-in-law Mazan al-Najjar,
former WISE operations officer and suspected PIJ operative (also
deported on visa violations in 2002). Given the compelling evidence
that Emerson lays out in American Jihad, it is certainly reasonable
to conclude that al-Arian knowingly advanced the PIJ’s hate and
brutality under the cover of nonprofit goodwill and a state-funded
educational system. And as Emerson writes, al-Arian’s case
exemplifies today’s insidious methods for cultivating Islamic
terrorism on American soil:

“The formula was simple: use the laws, freedoms, and loopholes of
the most liberal nation on earth to help finance and direct one of
the most violent international terrorism groups in the world.”

Ironically, organizations like the PIJ use America’s peculiar rights
of free expression and religious tolerance — rights often
inaccessible in Muslim-dominated governments — to pursue the path
toward Khalifah, a world dictated by a wholly intolerant faction of
Islam. Emerson reminds us that the FBI traditionally has had no
authority to monitor what appears to be, on its face, merely
inflammatory free speech; consequently, the FBI could do little
initially to investigate people like al-Arian, without material
cause. (Moreover, before passage of the Patriot Act in October 2001,
incriminating classified intelligence could not be shared with
domestic law enforcement for use in criminal prosecution.)
According to Emerson, other groups such as Hizballah and the
“original infiltrator” Hamas have freely used American bases to
foment Islamic terrorism. Hamas has long insinuated itself into such
innocuous-sounding places as Bridgeview, Illinois; Richardson,
Texas; Tucson, Arizona; and Herndon, Virginia. Hamas received
millions from the Richardson-headquartered Holy Land Foundation, a
charity that solicited donations for "needy Palestinian children,
health clinics, and schools," according to the group’s pamphlet. The
foundation’s assets were ultimately frozen by presidential order in
December 2001.

Other nonprofit Islamic groups that officially renounced the acts of
9/11, like the Muslim Arab Youth Association, nevertheless provide
important opportunities for jihadists to spread hate and plan
criminal activities. Emerson reveals that organizations like MAYA
create “the sea in which the fish swim.” Likewise, many U.S. mosques
— among them, the Al-Farooq center in Brooklyn and the Bridgeview
Mosque in Illinois — have been usurped by militant Islamists in an
effort to recruit, network, fundraise, money launder, equip, and
plan for terrorist acts.

A pervasive theme throughout American Jihad is the shifting traffic
of elusive characters in a global terrorist network. One example is
Ramzi Yousef, a Pakistani who underwent terrorist training in
Afghanistan, joined the Filipino terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf,
masterminded the 1993 WTC bombing while living in Jersey City, and
conspired to assassinate the pope and blow up American jets over the
Pacific while back again in the Philippines. To expand the influence
of the PIJ, al-Arian attempted to orchestrate a merger with Hamas.
Emerson quotes the professor in a government-confiscated letter:
"The link with the brothers in Hamas is very good and making steady
progress, and there are serious attempts at unification and
permanent coordination."

Emerson packs a whole lot more — too much, really, for a single,
coherent book — into American Jihad. Included are analyses of the
1993 WTC bombing conspiracy, the insensitivity of U.S. law
enforcement toward terrorist threats before 9/11, the roots of
contemporary jihad and specifically of al Qaeda, and the dilemma of
moderate Muslims in a subculture bullied (and worse) by militant
Islam. There are also appendices cataloging suspect nonprofit
Islamic organizations in America and a primer on the roots of
militant Islam.

Certainly Islamic terrorism is an unqualified snake pit, and Emerson
deserves enormous credit — despite considerable barriers (including
death threats) — for attempting to paint a comprehensive image of
this extremely complex evil. But Emerson overshoots his theme in
American Jihad — that is, the infiltration of Islamic terrorism into
the United States — and thereby submerges his book in too much
fragmentary information. For example, chronicles of his travels to
the Middle East add little to his exposé, and appendix material far
exceeds the necessary background.

Also Emerson has a particularly irksome penchant for showing himself
as remarkably prophetic of the 9/11 horrors. Nevertheless,
post-publication developments do, in fact, support many of Emerson’s
early contentions. For instance, Sami al-Arian was finally arrested
in February of this year on the basis of a 50-count federal
indictment alleging conspiracy to commit racketeering and murder,
among other crimes. Co-indicted were two of his former WISE
associates, Shallah and Nafi, still at large. With respect to these
late developments, journalists Kristhof and Boehlert have been
stunningly silent.

© 2003 by Barbara J. Martin for Curled Up With a Good Book

http://americanjihad.blogspot.com/

8/09/2005 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

That's chilling stuff George M Weinert. One wonders just how far the tentacles of Jihad have spread in American and other countries like UK and Australia. One would assume with $85 billion backing al Qaeda that many people and even web posters would be marked as targets. Remember Steven Vincent and his murder. I am surprised that CJ of LGF has not been a target - or even Wretchard.

(and, thanks Doug I try to do my part)

8/09/2005 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger silver said...

The "enterpising fellow" who took the photos got run over in Africa in March.

8/09/2005 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger james wilson said...

The simple answer is, they weren't the best minds of the West. It is very much like the constantly repeated phrase "but they meant well". No, they didn't. They meant to think well of themselves. That, they accomplished.

8/10/2005 08:14:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger