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Articles Posted in May & June 2008

 

Law and the wives of others

(29June 08) “...How does a modern, plural democratic society deal with the desire of some minority groups to observe cultural norms at odds with the law of the land? It is a question that has been asked with increasing force in recent years..... this idea of equal treatment has itself come to be seen as racist. Rather than demanding that people be treated the same despite their differences, multiculturalists demand that people be treated differently because of them, hence different laws for different groups.... democracy requires that whatever our loyalties or beliefs, we abide by the decision of the majority and not opt out every time we disagree....What is unacceptable is for religious or cultural groups to call on the power of the state to help enforce their own codes of speech and behaviour....” Law and the wives of others , The Australian “... Many multiculturalists retort that there is nothing universal about modern universal norms. They are Western interventions and should not be imposed upon non-Westerners...British sociologist Tariq Modood defines equality as "not having to hide or apologise for one's origins, family or community but requiring others to show respect for them, and adapt public attitudes and arrangements so that the heritage they represent is encouraged rather than contemptuously expect them to wither away " . Under this view, polygamy is an ancient Muslim tradition going back to Mohammed....When Australian Muslims demand the right to polygamy, they are not seeking to return to an authentic past. After all, an authentic Muslim past would contain no notion such as rights that are a modern invention. Rather, what they are seeking to do is to use an invented past to shape the present. The demand for legally recognised polygamy is an attempt to reshape the relationship between Muslim communities and the state and to assert the right of so-called community leaders to define the needs of their community. That is another reason it should be resisted....”

The Apocalyptic Mind

(21 May 08) “....It was only to be expected that former US vice-president Al Gore would give this month's Burmese cyclone an apocalyptic twist.... Apocalyptic beliefs have always been part of the Christian tradition. They express the yearning for heaven on earth, when evil is destroyed and the good are saved. In their classical religious form, such beliefs rely on signs and omens, like earthquakes and sunspots, which can be interpreted, by reference to biblical passages, as portending a great cataclysm and cleansing. Thus, apocalyptic moments are products of a sense of crisis: they can be triggered by wars and natural disasters.....In his latest book, Black Mass , the philosopher John Gray discusses how political doctrines like Marxism colonised the apocalyptic vision in prophesying the destruction of capitalism as the prelude to the socialist utopia. But political messianism was an offshoot of 19th-century optimism. With the collapse of optimism, contemporary apocalyptic belief lays more stress on catastrophe and less on utopia....For example, in his book Flat Earth News , the investigative journalist Nick Davies reminds us of the millennium bug panic. Newspapers everywhere carried stories predicting that computer systems would crash on January 1, 2000, causing much of the world to shut down. The subtext was familiar: those who live by technology will die by it.....” The Apocalyptic Mind , Robert Skidelsky, Guardian “....Misreporting of science is now so routine that we hardly notice it. Faith-based science seems a contradiction in terms, because the scientific worldview emerged as a challenge to religious superstition. But important scientific beliefs can now be said to be held religiously, rather than scientifically.... This is the second doomsday scenario of recent decades, the first being the Club of Rome 's prediction in 1972 that the world would soon run out of natural resources. Both are "scientific," but their structure is the same as that of the Biblical story of the flood: human wickedness (in today's case, unbridled materialism) triggers the disastrous sequence, which it may already be too late to avert. Like Biblical prophecy, scientific doomsday stories seem impervious to refutation, and are constantly repackaged to feed the hunger for catastrophe....The danger is that we become so infected with the apocalyptic virus that we end up creating a real catastrophe - the meltdown of our economies and lifestyles - in order to avoid an imaginary one. In short, while a religious attitude of mind deserves the highest respect, we should resist the re-conquest by religion of matters that should be the concern of science.

The Omniphobia Epidemic

(20 May 08) “.....We're afraid of ozone and CO2. We're afraid of smog and cigarette smoke. We're afraid of Republicans because they are warmongers, and of Democrats because they are in utter denial of the real world. We're afraid the earth is warming -- or freezing. Our bee populations are now collapsing .  A new kind of voracious ant is invading. Only 20,000 polar bears are left in Alaska, way down , from, oh, about 20,000 previously.... We're afraid of drilling for too much oil. But we're also afraid of pumping too little oil. We could switch to nuclear-powered electric energy, like the French have done , but that word "nuclear" just turns people off. Nuclear plants might just go up in a mushroom cloud some day, or so the naïve believe. We could exploit our huge coal reserves, but coal looks dirty . See the pattern? It sounds like omniphobia to me, the fear of everything . Omniphobia was never seen before in the annals of medicine, at least not before the most media-maddened society in history. (That's us.) But you can't miss it today. Omniphobia is all around us, and it'll get us in the end....” The Omniphobia Epidemic , James Lewis, American Thinker “....Let me add a new phobia for your personal delectation. Remember, CO2 is what you breathe out. Oxygen is what you breathe in. We know that CO2 will destroy the earth through fire and ice, according to the celebrated scientist Al Gore and the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. But did you know that long before we burn, a hundred years from now, innocent little oxygen will kill you? It's a fact.....Unfortunately, with every breath you take you get more oxygen, and make more free radicals.... Oxygen isn't the safest molecule in the world. It's practically the scariest.....So what can we do? We are not supposed to breathe out because we're polluting the planet with CO2. We're not supposed to breathe in, because we're putting killer oxygen into our bodies. We can't pass gas, because methane is a greenhouse gas. We can't eat meat because animal protein is destroying the earth. And we can't plant and eat veggies, because trillions of plants around the globe just keep on putting out ... more oxygen .....”

A complete list of things caused by global warming

All on 0.006 deg C per year! 

I will be your doctor

(6 May 08) “….A Chief doctor at a major hospital reveals how our frontline medical system is in chaos. But many don't care, he says, until they need emergency treatment. I work in a public hospital emergency department, so that means any time you are in my part of the world, you are potentially my patient – you, your family, your friends. Tomorrow could be the day that a bad thing happens to you and your life is changed forever. That heart attack you knew was coming sooner or later, the crash on the freeway, the toddler found face-down in the swimming pool. Tomorrow, you could be rushed to my hospital – and I'll be doing my best to help you….My team and I save people's lives for a living. We are good at it, and enjoy it….So what isn't good? Put simply, our emergency departments – the place every ambulance rushes to – are already clogged with people. You'll notice that from the time you arrive. It may be some time before we can find a space for you. Only the sickest people get immediate attention: the ones who can't breathe, the ones who are unconscious. If that's you tomorrow, I'll see you as soon as you arrive and I'll use my skills and experience to stop you from dying, work out what's wrong with you, give you the immediate treatment you need and then move you on to another doctor who specialises in your kind of problem….” I will be your doctor , Sunday Mail “…As your doctor, I warn you that when you come to my emergency department tomorrow your experience may not match All Saints with a neat solution after 47 minutes plus ads. I will do the best I can to keep you alive and get you where you need to be. That's all I can do….Politicians and powerbrokers: I am your doctor, too. I know you have private medical cover; I know you have a good GP and other specialists who look after you well. But tomorrow it may be you who collapses while walking the dog, it may be you collected by the BMW that lost it on the corner, it may be your child who is hurt on the school excursion…No one is going to check for a private health insurance card. They'll bring you to me and I'll be your doctor then. How prepared and capable do you want me be?To all of you who are my patients: I am doing the best I can under the circumstances. I can't save everyone. I can't be right every time. I won't be able to get to you as quickly as I would like, and nowhere near as quickly as you would like…..And please be understanding. It's hard enough keeping you alive without being abused while I'm doing it…..

The “B” Vocabulary of the EU: Brussels bans Jihad

Note, This story is from April 2007, and gives some context to the story below

(4May 08) “....The Daily Telegraph has published a story that should concern anybody who believes that by pussyfooting around we will remain in denial about the threats facing Europe and the West.... Last year, this website already reported about the EU's attempts to control language and introducing a ‘B vocabulary.' As Orwell wrote : “The B vocabulary consist[s] of words which [have] been deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only [have] in every case a political implication, but [are] intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them.” ..... The Daily Telegraph on 12/4/2006 responded to a Reuters report that the EU is developing this ‘non-emotive' Lexicon....” The “B” Vocabulary of the EU: Brussels bans Jihad , The Brussels Journal  “....The Lexicon seeks to restrict and replace terms such as Islamist, fundamentalist & Jihad. The words ‘Islamic Terrorist' would apparently be replaced with ‘Terrorists who abusively invoke Islam'. However the Lexicon is being kept secret from journalists. It appears the EU not only wants to restrict freedom of speech but to restrict information on the restrictions it imposes...What is particularly concerning is the way that the British authorities have responded to the story. What, pray do they mean by this: “Details on the contents of the lexicon remain secret, but British officials stressed that it is there as a helpful aid ‘providing context' for civil servants making speeches or giving press conferences....”

Investigative Project Releases Government Memos Curtailing Speech in War on Terror

“He who sets the definitions, determines the perceived solution” (and therefore the outcome) Joseph Goebbels (attributed to)

(4May 08) “....The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is refusing to identify the "influential Muslim Americans" and "leading U.S.-based scholars and commentators on Islam" who met with Secretary Michael Chertoff in helping shape a softer approach to government lexicon about terrorists and their ideological motivations.... DHS and the State Department's Counterterrorism Communications Center each issued reports urging government employees to avoid words like "jihad," "mujahedeen" or any reference to Islam or Muslims, especially in relation to Al Qaeda. The Investigative Project on Terrorism is making the documents available for the first time here and here .... Among the recommendations not reported previously: "The experts we consulted debated the word ‘liberty,' but rejected it because many around the world would discount the term as a buzzword for American hegemony." and "The fact is that Islam and secular democracy are fully compatible....So America, after serving for more than two centuries the sanctuary for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, is being asked to minimize liberty against fanatics bent on a global religious state. The memo doesn't offer examples to show where Islam and secular democracy have reinforced each other, or explain how Shariah law, the imposition of religion into state affairs, is "fully compatible" with secular democracy... In other writings, MPAC's more nuanced approach involves accepting, not isolating, terrorists. It repeatedly has lobbied to remove Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hizballah from the U.S. list of designated terrorist groups......” Investigative Project Releases Government Memos Curtailing Speech in War on Terror , Steve Emerson “....One prominent Muslim American who wasn't consulted is physician M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. In response to an e-mail from the IPT about the memos, Jasser said the suggested changes could diminish American understanding of the ideological motivations behind those who threaten our security: In Muslim majority nations the radicals call themselves Muslims, Islamists, and Jihadists in Arabic and every other language with little time spent admonishing society not to call them what they call themselves..... For the USG to paternally dismiss the self-described nomenclature of ‘jihadists' and "Islamists" is to in fact embark into a realm which really is an internal struggle within the consciousness of the Muslim community. We should call the terrorists what they call themselves. Once any Muslim, let alone non-Muslims, begins to determine who is and who is not qualified to define ‘jihad', ‘Muslim', or ‘Islam' they are creating a clergy and a ‘church' with a communication and excommunication process. That is exactly what the likes of Bin Laden and other radical Islamists want. "Words matter," the DHS report says. They sure do. That's why hiding the very language and ideological justification used by terrorists from the American people is misguided at best.... mainstream Muslims, shouldn't need us to serve as language police to protect them from those who use their religion to terrorize the world...”.

Saudis' secret agenda

(4May 08) “....The Saudi Government - largely through its embassy - is believed to have funnelled at least $120 million into Australia since the 1970s to propagate hardline Islam, bankroll radical clerics and build mosques, schools and charitable orgnisations. But the Saudi cash that has flowed into Australia, that also allegedly has paid the allowance of hardline Canberra cleric Mohammed Swaiti, who has publicly praised jihadists, is dwarfed by the $90 billion Riyadh is believed to have pumped into promoting Islamic fundamentalism internationally.....Last September, weeks before Bush talked up Saudi Arabia's role in curbing radicalism and terror, his Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Stuart Levey, accused Riyadh of failing to prosecute terrorism financiers. "If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia," Levey said. "When the evidence is clear that these individuals have funded terrorist organisations, and knowingly done so, then that should be prosecuted and treated as real terrorism because it is."......In Australia, Griffith academic Mohamad Abdalla has defended his decision to seek the grant, saying the money came with no strings attached. But critics, including the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's national security project director Carl Ungerer, say this is naive and the money is part of a Wahhabist "hearts and minds" campaign being waged by the Saudis in the Muslim world.....” Saudis' secret agenda , The Australia “....Last month, Britain's MI5 director-general Jonathan Evans reportedly told his Government that the Saudi Government's multimillion-dollar donations to universities, along with other funds from Muslim organisations in countries such as Pakistan, had led to a "dangerous increase in the spread of extremism in leading university campuses". His warning came just days after the Higher Education Funding Council for England held a special meeting to confront fears that Saudi donations were unduly influencing universities.... (Steve) Emerson, best-selling author of American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us, says Saudi Arabia should be allowed to bankroll religious initiatives in the West only when it becomes open to the idea of religious reciprocity. "I think there should be a law requiring religious reciprocity for funding coming from regimes that restrict religious freedom on their soil," he says. "Saudi Arabia does not allow the practice of any other religion, bars the operations of churches, confiscates Bibles ... As such, there should be laws passed by Western governments prohibiting Saudi donations to universities until and unless Saudi Arabia operates a pluralistic religious environment....”

For other interesting features be sure to visit April 2008

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