Monday, July 31, 2006

The mask comes off

It was a busy weekend. The mask on the Lebanese government came off as the Prime Minister publicly praised Hezbollah and condemned Israel for crimes against humanity. Some estimates now say that as many as 80% of the Lebanese people support Hezbollah.

Mob violence broke out in Beirut and Gaza over Israel’s bombing of a building in Qana, Lebanon. Maybe I missed it but I don’t recall these people protesting the killing of innocent Jewish women and children by terrorists! In fact, I don’t even recall these people protesting the killing of hundreds of Muslims by other Muslims in Iraq! While I have great sympathy for the children who died, I don’t have much sympathy for the protesters.

One Jewish mother wrote, "If you hide behind your baby to shoot at my baby, you are responsible for getting children killed."

These diabolical Hezbollah monsters hide rockets in, and fire them from private residential areas knowing full well that Israel must respond. Hezbollah then uses the dead civilians in their propaganda campaign, and all over the world very stupid people act is if it is all Israel’s fault. Fortunately—in what I thought must certainly be a dream—I saw two separate pairs of Republican and Democratic strategists on TV this weekend who all agreed that the current Mid-East crisis is entirely Hezbollah’s fault and an immediate cease-fire would play into Hezbollah’s hands.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Pictures smuggled out of Lebanon

Before you join the world in its rage over Israel's bombing of a building in Qana, Lebanon, check out these pictures smuggled out of Lebanon (hat tip: An Unsealed Room blog).

Friday, July 28, 2006

Homosexual sex: Why all the fuss?

This morning I’m responding to an excellent question by one of my readers. John asked,

“Even if one believes that being gay is a sin, why do so many believe (or at least, act as if) it is a sin worse than all others? I don't understand the fixation on homosexuals - and I have been a churchgoer my entire life (although I obviously take issue with the politics of the Christian Right).”

His excellent question requires a long response. First, I will acknowledge that some Evangelical Christians are just self-righteous bigots who hate gay people. I have pointed out elsewhere in this blog that Jesus saves his harshest criticism for self-righteous religious leaders who looked down their noses at others (Matthew 23). If I had to guess, I would guess that such self-righteous arrogance is probably a more serious sin in the eyes of God than almost any other sin.
According to St. Paul, we’ve all sinned in the sight of God and none of us has any basis for self-righteousness (Romans 1-3).

Second, I would agree with many Evangelicals who believe that being gay is not sin—the sin is in the behavior, not the orientation.

Third, regarding why some of us believe homosexual sex is more serious than some other sins: I usually don’t engage in theological discussions on the front page of this blog since I assume that most of my readers are not Christians. But since you asked: Leviticus 18 lists a whole host of sexual sins—including homosexuality—and calls these sins “abomination,” perversion, and says that the land was vomiting out the inhabitants because of these sins. So Evangelicals don’t necessarily think homosexual sex is a worse sin than having sex with your father, mother, sister, brother, animal, neighbor’s wife or other behaviors condemned in Leviticus 18, but the writer of Leviticus definitely seems to be placing these sins on a more serious level than some other sins.

Some will argue that we don’t follow the Old Testament any more. It is, of course, true that not even Orthodox Jews follow all of the Old Testament today and it is also true that Christians believe that Jesus fulfilled or annulled some Old Testament laws. But just because some laws may have been temporary does not mean that all laws were temporary (fortunately, we still frown on murder).

I'll resist the temptation to engage in a lengthy theological discussion of this issue, but suffice it to say that for Christians who take the Old Testament seriously, it would seem that God takes these particular sexual sins (Lev. 18) seriously and in fact, I suspect that this is precisely why Paul, according to some interpreters, seemed to place sexual sin in general on a more serious level than some other sins (1 Cor. 6:18).

[One of my responders once provided links to a source that tried to argue that the Bible really doesn’t condemn homosexual sex. I majored in Hebrew and Greek, so I examined the arguments in some detail, and determined that the arguments were, in my opinion, simply examples of casuistry (i.e. arguments which appear to be scholarly on the surface, but upon further investigation are filled with illogical nonsense). People are certainly free to disagree with the Bible, but there can be no serious doubt that the Bible places homosexual sex, along with incest, bestiality, adultery, etc. in a very serious category].

There is another reason; however, that many of us are “fixated” on the homosexual issue. That is because many gay rights activists (note, I did not say all homosexuals) are not satisfied with tolerance. Some want nothing less than full acceptance of their lifestyle, and want their views forcibly imposed on everyone else. Already in Europe, Australia and even Canada, speaking against homosexuality may get you fined or even imprisoned. Even in America, homosexuals in Ohio filed discrimination charges against a librarian who simply recommended a book that was unfavorable toward gay activists. An adoption agency in Boston has to close down because its religious convictions are incompatible with pro-gay public policy. A Christian school in California is being sued because they have behavior codes against sex.

Other examples have been cited in this blog, but the point is that when same-sex marriage becomes part of American public policy, legal experts (also cited on this blog) predict that the coming war on religious freedom is going to be a “train wreck.” And unfortunately, we saw in the case of Bob Jones University, that public policy sometimes trumps the Constitution (I think Bob Jones’ University’s policies were not only racist and despicable, but terrible theology—but the Constitution gives people the right to have stupid theology and I think everyone should be concerned that the government would use tax laws to manipulate or censor religious institutions).

Anyway, some gay activists try desperately to deny or downplay this coming legal train wreck but the assault against religious freedom is already beginning. To argue that it will not increase when same sex marriage is official public policy is either very naive or just plan dishonest.

Finally, some of us are genuinely concerned over people’s lives and heath. Contrary to a very well organized PR campaign, AIDS is not a heterosexual disease. “Former Surgeon C. Everett Koop “admitted under oath in congressional hearings that only about 4 percent of AIDS transmissions worldwide could be traced to heterosexual contact, and that in the United States, only 2.3 percent of AIDS cases came from heterosexual contact, and ‘most of that is in sexual partners of IV drug abusers” (Coulter, Godless, 181). In a book that was largely ignored by the media, a researcher examined dozens of scientific studies on AIDS and concluded that AIDS was transmitted almost entirely through anal intercourse and IV drug use, almost never vaginally (Sex at Risk by Stuart Brody).

The whole idea that AIDS is a heterosexual disease is a PR campaign designed, among other things, to bring in more money for AIDS research. It is one thing if homosexual men want to have sex with each other—it is quite another thing when homosexual activists try to push homosexuality on “undecided” kids and try to make homosexual sex an accepted lifestyle. This is a lifestyle that is causing enormous suffering and is destroying human lives by the millions.

All of this is why some of us think this is such a big issue. Now I have a serious question for you (excuse me for being blunt): How is it that many Christians can seemingly ignore the Bible, ignore what seems to be a clear and present danger to freedom of religion, and ignore the enormous suffering and public health danger posed by the promotion of homosexual, i.e. anal sex? It appears to some of us that some Christians will do anything to be politically correct and to avoid being out of step with whatever happens to be accepted by contemporary conventional “wisdom.”

The next Jihad hot spot: Somalia.

According to the Assists News Service:

"As this is being written, the alliance of Islamist militias known as the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) which has taken control of Mogadishu and most of southern Somalia, is threatening jihad against Ethiopian armed forces that have crossed into Somalia to defend Somalia's UN-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) holed up in the regional town of Baidoa."

"There is every indication that this confrontation, though presently paralysed, will soon break out into open war involving Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea. It will be both a conventional territorial war and a religious war. The conflict will doubtless attract a further influx of foreign jihadis and inflame Islamic zeal and identification amongst the region's Muslims (and other traditional enemies of Ethiopia), seriously impacting and escalating the already perilous situation faced by Christians in the Horn of Africa." For the rest of article, click on Assist News Service.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Breeders

So what happens when gays are in charge of a town? Check out this article in the Chicago Tribune.

Islam, the high moral ground?

The following are excerpts from an excellent article by Mary Ann Sieghart entitled, “What right have Muslims to claim moral superiority?":

“Rarely does a news story bring tears to the eyes. But when I read the account last week of the murder of Samaira Nazir in an “honour killing” (surely an oxymoron), I nearly wept. Here was a bright, articulate graduate who had her throat cut, was stabbed 18 times by her brother and cousin because she wanted to marry a Muslim man whom her family had not chosen.”

“The details were particularly horrific. Her mother stood and watched as she was murdered — how could any mother do that? Her two nieces, aged just 2 and 4, were forced to witness their father stabbing her, close enough to be spattered by her blood — how could any parent do that?”

“Of course, grotesque acts of violence happen in all countries. The West is not free from sin. But what sets this type of murder apart is that the perpetrators believe that what they are doing is morally justified.”

“Of course, many Muslims will be horrified by that remark; they see honour killings as positively un-Islamic. But it is peculiarly galling for Westerners constantly to be dubbed ‘immoral’ by Muslims, to be treated as if Muslims occupy the moral high ground while the rest of us swim in a sewer of moral decadence.”

Read the rest of Ms. Sieghart’s article at TimesOnline

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Now that's terror!

Do you enjoy horror movies? Do you like being scared to death? Don't miss the scariest thing I've seen in a long, long time. Check out the video on Little Green Footballs (July 26, 2006)

Lebanese support kidnapping

According to Ynet News, a survey conducted by a Lebanese institute for research and infomation found that just over 70% of Lebanese citizens support the kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah.

I still have sympathy for "innocent" Lebanese citizens, but I'm not at all sure how many are really so innocent after all. If this survey is accurate, wouldn't it be rather difficult to argue that Hezbollah hijacked Lebanon when over 70% of the people support Hezbollah in the kidnapping of Israelis?

U.N. observation posts in Lebanon

Before any of the facts were known, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan immediately accused Israel of deliberately shelling a U.N. observation post in Lebanon (So much for any pretense of objectivity). My impression has been the many in the TV news media have also been cooking Israel's goose before all the facts are known.

Now, however, LGF is reporting that there may be another side to the story. A UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) press release indicates that Hezbollah has been firing from the vicinity of U.N. observation posts and that Hezbollah actually hit a U.N. observation post (funny, I haven't heard about that in the news media)! The exact quote from the UNIFIL press release states:

"Another UN position of the Ghanaian battalion in the area of marwahin in the western sector was also directly hit by one mortar round from the Hezbollah side last night. The round did not explode, and there were no casualties or material damage. Another 5 incidents of firing close to UN positions from the Israeli side were reported yesterday. It was reported that Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of four UN positions at Alma ash Shab, Tibnin, Brashit, and At Tiri" (UNIFIL pdf document).



Intolerance and the NEA

Earlier this month, the National Education Association completed their 2006 annual meeting in Orlando, Florida. Below, in italics, is the American Family Association summary of NEA actions during that meeting:

- NEA overwhelmingly passed a resolution (B 10) endorsing gaymarriages and adoptions in states where they're legal. Click hereand read the first three paragraphs. http://afa.net/aa071906_02.asp

- NEA recommended that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issuesbe required content for teacher credentialing. (Teachers would beforced to undergo sensitivity training concerning homosexuality beforethey could be certified to teach.) Here is the wording of theresolution: "That NEA advocate for the inclusion of Gay, Lesbian,Bisexual, and Transgender issues in the National Council for theAccreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) teacher education programreview process." NEA has already contacted NCATE about this.

- NEA voted to replace the word "tolerance" toward homosexuality with"acceptance and respect" in union policies. The author of NewBusiness Item 52 used this rationale: "We should teach acceptance andrespect, not tolerance, of those who are different from us whereverappropriate." (The NEA is saying that "tolerance" of the homosexuallifestyle isn't enough, that homosexuality must be accepted andrespected.) Click Here for more information -
http://www.afa.net/AA071906_04.asp

- NEA refused to pass an amendment (I 24) designed to protectstudents against sexual misconduct by teachers. The amendment read "Toprotect the rights of all students, the Association believes sexualcontact between education professionals and minor students isunacceptable." The NEA refused to pass the amendment and referredit back to the Resolutions Committee. Many feel that the NEA refusedto pass the amendment in order to protect teachers who have sex withstudents.

America is a very diverse and multicultural nation and millions of Americans strongly disagree with the NEA’s social agendas. For the NEA to attempt to force their own particular liberal social agendas on teachers, families and children who disagree with them is the height of bigotry, intolerance and even tyranny!

In what would have seemed inconceivable to most of our founding fathers, the far Left has succeeded in separating religion from public education. Maybe the time has come for Congress to pass laws separating social agendas from public education as well. Since that is not likely, and since the education establishment often shows nothing but complete contempt for those who oppose them, the only other solution seems to be for more and more Americans to resort to private or home schooling.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The decent Left vs. the indecent Left

In an article published today, Dennis Prager writes, "I believe the Left has been wrong on virtually every great moral issue in the last 30 years."

He goes on to spell out all of those issues and concludes that "In just about every instance, one could say that the Left was foolish, the Left was naive, the Left was wrong, even that the Left was dangerous. But in all of those cases, one could imagine a decent person holding any or even all of these positions. But we now have a bright line that divides the decent -- albeit usually wrong -- Left from the indecent Left.

What are these issues and what is it that divides the decent Left from the indecent Left? Read, Dennis Prager's excellent article.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Muslim militants kill teacher

Just in from the Bankok Post in Thailand:

"Four suspected Muslim militants on Monday gunned down a teacher in front of a classroom filled with his terrified students, according to radio reporters on the scene in Narathiwat province. Prasarn Makchu, 48, died with a chalk still in his hand, said Thai Radio 98."

Lebanon in bed with Hezbollah?

On July 21 I asked why we should think that the Lebanese government ever had a serious interest in controlling Hezbollah. Today, Michelle Malkin linked to a MEMRI video clip of Hezbollah leader Nasrallah claiming that he spoke to the main political leaders in Lebanon about abducting Israeli soldiers.

Usually I wouldn't believe a word Nasrallah had to say but in this case I find no reason not to believe him. In the absence of any denial by the Lebanese government (and anti-Hezbollah actions to back up their denial) why shouldn't the world community assume that the Lebanese government and Hezbollah are in bed together?

The level of dialogue

Next time someone rants about how Conservatives like Ann Coulter lower the level dialogue remember the name, Betty Williams. Ms. Williams was a one time winner of the Nobel Peace Prize who was speaking to hundreds of children at a recent “Earth Dialogues” forum when she told the kids, “Right now, I would love to kill George Bush.”

Note to U.S. Secret Service: You might want to put Betty Williams on some kind of a “watch list” in case she ever decides to spew her hateful insanity in America.

Knife attack in Memphis

At least one witness said it looked like something out of a slasher-horror movie. Last week a man wielding two knives stabbed or slashed eight people in a grocery store in Memphis Tennessee. The carnage would have been much worse if it weren’t for the fact that another man grabbed a handgun from his pickup and confronted the slasher who then immediately surrendered (Tennessean.Com).

Other knife attacks also recently occurred in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, Texas, Connecticut, Indiana, Ohio, North Dakota, Washington, New York, Nevada, Florida, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Michigan, Kentucky, et al..

When will the government put an end to this carnage? What we need is comprehensive knife control legislation. Knife sellers and manufacturers simply must be held accountable for these heinous acts, and the sale of knives must be strictly regulated. Pocket knives and steak knives simply must go, but plastic butter knives may be allowed as long as they are properly registered with the authorities and regulated to ensure that they do not have serrated edges.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

War with Syria?

This morning, both Ynet News and Debkafile are reporting that Syria is now threatening to enter the war.

Radioactive material headed for Iran

According to Radio Free Europe, a truck, registered in Turkey but hired by a British firm was stopped at the Bulgarian border a few days ago because it contained radioactive materials. This morning, England’s Daily Mail reported that the truck contained ten lead-lined boxes each containing a radioactive soil-testing device. Nkkolai Todorov, the head of Bulgaria’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency said, “The devices are highly radioactive - if you had another 90 of them you would be able to make an effective dirty bomb.” This assessment was apparently confirmed by a leading British expert (Daily Mail, hat tip, LGF).

The incident was also reported in the Turkish Daily News which cited a “U.N. official who asked not to be identified” saying that “it posed no known threat.”

Doesn’t Iran already have nuclear reactors? If they wanted to make a dirty bomb why would they need to collect radioactive soil testers? Nevertheless, the assurance of an anonymous U.N. source is about as comforting as Iran’s insistence that they only want nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Government-forced medical treatment

A sixteen year old boy in Virginia decided, with his parent’s support and supervised by a clinic in Mexico, to use alternative medicine to treat his cancer. Yesterday a judge overruled his decision and required him to “report to a hospital by Tuesday and accept treatment that doctors deem necessary” (AP).

Personally, I think this family’s decision is misguided at best, and the issue is complicated by the fact that the boy is not yet eighteen. But this is not a case in which parents are keeping medical treatment from a young child. Nor is is a case in which the parents are fighting the decision of their teenage son. Wouldn't it be better, in this case, for the government just to butt out. In cases like this, do we really want government interfering in personal medical decisions?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hezbollah rejects cease-fire

According to Ynet news, A senior Hezbollah official has rejected Kofi Annan's call for a cease-fire.

Is anyone surprised?

Hezbollah and dirty bombs?

Citing a “senior intelligence officer in London, WorldNetDaily is claiming that “The British intelligence service MI6 has established that Hezbollah is poised to launch a new 'rain of terror' on Israel with rockets equipped with 'dirty bomb' nose cones” containing “spent nuclear rods from Iran's nuclear programme.” According to the article, the dirty bomb arsenal is believed to be located in the Bekaa Valley and Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, is now desperately trying to locate it. According to Fox News, Hezbollah itself claims that it has “surprises” in store for Israel if a land invasion takes place.

We can only hope that this “senior intelligence officer” was trying to impress the press with supposed “inside knowledge.” If the story is true, and if such attacks take place, the war may, unfortunately, rise to a whole new level.

Humanitarian aid for Lebanon

Israel announced today that it will allow direct humanitarian aid into Lebanon (Haaretz.com)

For those concerned about the humanitarian crisis, please consider giving to Samaritan's Purse which is providing aid to both Lebanese and Israelis caught in the crossfire.

Hezbollah, a proxy for Lebanon?

I heard it again this morning. Ambassador Dennis Ross, former U.S. envoy to the Middle East, said that Lebanon was unable to control Hezbollah. Virtually every news story I’ve ever heard on this subject seems to imply that Hezbollah is an unwanted parasite within Lebanon--a parasite which the Lebanese government is powerless to control.

I’m not sure I understand why we think that the Lebanese government ever had a serious interest in controlling Hezbollah. If the Lebanese government wanted to control Hezbollah, why didn’t they ask for help in stopping Hezbollah’s military buildup along the border of Israel? This buildup didn’t happen overnight, it was in violation of U.N. resolutions, and it wouldn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to see where that would lead.

If the Lebanese government really wanted to control Hezbollah, why are they now coming down on Hezbollah’s side against Israel? Think about it. If the Lebanese government were to help Israel destroy Hezbollah, Lebanon may finally be able to get rid of their Hezbollah parasite—if Hezbollah is really a parasite—and live in peace with Israel. By siding with Hezbollah, the best Lebanon can hope for is a cease-fire with Israel (assuming we avoid world war III), allowing Hezbollah to re-arm and begin the cycle all over again. Yet the president of Lebanon has come down on the side of Hezbollah and both a Lebanese ambassador and the Defense Minister are actually threatening to use Lebanon's army on Hezbollah' side.

So why do we think that the Lebanese government ever really wanted to control Hezbollah in the first place? There may be a very good answer to this. I’d just like to know what it is.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Lebanese army joining Hezbollah?

In an interview on MSNBC just now completed, an ambassador from Lebanon said that it is wrong to think of Hezbollah as an foreign entity within Lebanon. He said Hezbollah is largely made up of Lebanese people. The ambassador also said that the Lebanese army is considering joining the war on the side of Hezbollah.

Kofi Annan calls for immediate cease-fire

About 20 minutes ago, Kofi Annan finished addressing the U.N. Security Council, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Lebanon. While he condemned Hezbollah’s actions as deplorable, he also condemned Israel’s actions as excessive. Several times he repeated his insistence on an immediate cessation of hostilities. Mr. Annan insisted that the captured soldiers be released and called for an expanded peacekeeping force working with the Lebanese government to establish control of the southern Lebanese border. He emphasized that what unites us is our compassion for the victims.

The speech left me with several questions for Mr. Annan. First, where was all this compassion when Hezbollah was killing Jews over the last several years? If the U.N really had so much compassion for Lebanon, why didn't the U.N. do something to stop Hezbollah's military buildup in the first place?

Second, the U.N. was supposed to be monitoring the border in the first place. Why on earth should Israel believe that the U.N. will monitor the border now when the U.N has been so criminally negligent for so many years?

Third, the Lebanese government was supposed to take control of the border years ago with the help of the U.N. Why should Israel believe that Lebanon would keep Hezbollah from attacking Israel now, even if they had the power to do so?

Fourth, Hezbollah does not have a good track record when it comes to following U.N. resolutions. In fact, this whole crisis is due to the fact that for years Hezbollah repeatedly ignored U.N. resolutions! So why should Israel think that Hezbollah would heed a call for a cease-fire? And why should Israel cease military operations when they have no indication whatsoever that Hezbollah will do the same? Why should Israel cease operations when doing so may only serve to allow Hezbollah to re-group, re-arm and attack again?

Finally, Mr. Annan, don’t you think you and the world community should take some responsibility for the this entire crisis since over the years Israel as repeatedly appealed to the U.N. for intervention against Hezbollah and the U.N. has done nothing until now when Hezbollah is being defeated? Are you really trying to protect Lebanon--or Hezbollah?

Gay rights vs Freedom of Religion

When “religious rights” and “gay rights” come into conflict, which side should win? Southern Illinois University is one of the latest to attack freedom of religion by seeking to force a Christian group to include those who openly practice homosexual sex.

In an excellent article in the National Review Online, David French argues that this is not about competing rights at all. He asks:

“Since when has any person of any race, creed, color, gender, or sexual orientation ever had a ‘right’ to join a private, expressive organization when he or she does not share that organization's goals, mission, or values? This is not a ‘right’ that exists in American law. Let's be clear: the case at SIU (as well as the current, similar lawsuits at Hastings, Cal State, and elsewhere) do not involve competing ‘rights’ but instead represents an assault on fundamental and traditional constitutional liberties by identity-group activists who cannot abide the existence of coherent, dissenting views on campus (or, more broadly, in society at large).”

Mr. French concludes, “So, when universities—in their zeal to indoctrinate their students in cultural leftism — seek to stamp out dissent by demanding that Christian groups open their leadership and membership to individuals who are actively opposed to orthodox Christianity, they are not defending any group's "rights" but instead making ideologically motivated demands that would dramatically restrict the fundamental liberties of Christians (and all other expressive organizations).”

Please read the rest of David French’s short, but excellent article at NRO.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"Islam will dominate"

Check out "Little Green Footballs" today (July 19). LGF shows pictures of American Muslims protesting against Israel. One of the signs reads, "Stop Israeli Terrorism" (Funny, I don't recall them protesting when over 1,000 Israelis were being slaughtered by Muslim terrorists over the last five or six years).

Pay particular attention to the sign in the background that reads "Islam will dominate"-- right under a picture of the White House.

"The awful destruction in Beirut

The following is from Allison's "Unsealed room" blog, written from Israel (July 19):

"I turn on CNN.

I see terrible stories about the awful destruction in Beirut. I see a southern suburb that was a Hezbollah stronghold in shambles, I see mothers just like me and children just like my kids who have fled and are now refugees living in a school. Of course, even with the perspective of what is happening in this country (70 Katyushas in one hour this afternoon...) I feel bad. I feel guilty.

And then comes the soundbite. The mother of eight is interviewed by the reporter and declares not only does she support what Hezbollah is doing and has she taught her kids since birth that Israel is evil and destructive, but that she personally would be happy to strap on a bomb and blow herself up if it meant she could kill Israelis."

"What am I supposed to think then?"

Nancy Pelosi and evacuations

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D. CA) recently expressed her anger with the Bush administration for charging American evacuees in Lebanon for their own evacuation expenses. I certainly agree with her when she says, “A nation that can provide more than $300 billion for a war in Iraq can provide the money to get its people out of Lebanon.”

But, as Brit Hume notes, “the president isn’t authorized to reverse the policy.” It was part of a law approved by the Democratic controlled Senate in 2002. And Nancy Pelosi voted for it! So she is criticizing President Bush for something she signed into law! (see Brit Hume, Grapevine, July 18, 2006).

Note to Nancy Pelosi: This kind of hypocrisy is exactly what Americans hate so much about politicians!

NOTE added after the original post: My apologies to Nancy Pelosi. My criticism was unjust. See comments.

The U.N. and attacks on Israel

U.N Secretary General Kofi Annan and others are now talking about the need to send a U.N. peacekeeping force to Southern Lebanon. Talk about sending the fox to guard the hen house!

Israel once occupied Southern Lebanon as a security buffer until a U.N. resolution in May 2000 required them to withdraw. Under this resolution, Lebanon was supposed to guard the border along with U.N. peacekeepers who had been in Lebanon since 1978. The U.N. and Lebanon did nothing to stop Hezbollah from moving in, acquiring thousands of rockets, and killing innocent Jews. In fact, Ambassador Dennis Ross said in a Fox News interview yesterday that the U.N. group in Southern Lebanon has been more of a gateway for Hezbollah’s weapons buildup than a hindrance. Since none of this buildup was a secret to the United Nations, and since it was the U.N. that was responsible for tearing down Israel’s security buffer, doesn’t that make the U.N complicit in the murder of innocent Jews? And some want to send the U.N. back in to provide security?!

All this talk of negotiations, cease-fire, and U.N peace-keepers is misguided at best. The only thing a cease-fire or U.N peace-keepers would accomplish is to provide time for Hezbollah and Hamas to rebuild, re-arm, and kill more innocent Jews—which, of course, is precisely what Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah, Iran and Syria want.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fatah calls for immediate cease-fire

UPI has just reported that "Fatah's Central Committee has urged the United Nations Security Council to take a resolution on the spot for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and Lebanon."

I knew this was coming. Now that Israel is dismantling Hezbollah and Hamas, of course Fatah wants the U.N. to step in. This has nothing to do with peace. They just want to make sure that these terrorist groups are not completely destroyed as viable military forces, and to provide time for Hezbollah and Hamas to re-arm so they can kill more Jews.

Was Israel a mistake?

This morning, Carl in Jerusalem reacts to an article in the Washington Post which said that Israel is a mistake. Carl responsed by providing a very enlightening review of Israel history. He quotes sources from the 1800’s, including an eyewitness report by Mark Twain, to show that prior to 1870 Israel/Palestine was mainly a barren wasteland with malaria-ridden coasts. Only a relatively small number of independent, nomadic Arab tribes lived there and they just considered themselves part the Arab world as a whole, never as “Palestinians.” In fact, a Turkish census in 1844 showed that there were more Jews living in Jerusalem at the time than Muslims. There was even a “large Jewish community in Hebron” until Arabs massacred them in 1929.

Carl argues that “Arabs only came to Israel in large numbers after the Jews returned in the 20th century and started to re-build the nation, thereby creating economic and employment opportunities for Arab immigrants.” Carl then cites Zuhair Mohsen, an early “Palestinian” leader of the PLO who publicly acknowledged in a 1977 interview that “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for or Arab unity.”

Read Carl’s excellent article in his blog, Israel Matzav.

Monday, July 17, 2006

New blog from Haifa Israel

Check out a new blog from Haifa, Israel: Live from an Israeli Bunker.
(Hat tip to Allison: An Unsealed Room)

A proportionate response

China, Russia and others have criticized Israel for a disproportionate response to Hezbollah. Would anyone care to venture a guess as to what Beijing’s response would be if Taiwan began lobbing rockets into China or what Moscow’ response would be if Latvia began kidnapping Russian soldiers?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Rocket fired at Nazareth

CNN, MSNBC and FOX are reporting that a rocket from Lebanon hit upper Nazareth today. Nazareth has a population of about 60,000 and has Israel's largest Arab / Muslim population, though upper Nazareth is largely Jewish. Upper Nazareth is also near the traditional boyhood home of Jesus. Anyone want to venture a guess as to what would happen if any country or group fired a rocket into Mecca or Medina where Muhammad once lived? (hint: remember the Danish cartoons)

Mossad and Iran's nuclear weapons

Haaretz reported today (July 16, 2006) that the chief of Mossad, Israel’s famous intelligence service, is planning to fly to the U.S. to discuss Iran’s nuclear weapons program with senior U.S. officials. The trip which had been planned weeks ago, however, may now be delayed because of the war.

Political capital for Israel?

For personal insights on what life in Israel is like right now, check out Allison's excellent blog, "An Unsealed Room; a window on life in Israel." On July 16, 2006 Allison wrote:

"UPDATE: Ugh, I just checked the New York Times, and this headline -- this whole angle makes me ill. Like anyone is thinking about politics right now. We're all just trying to stay alive here, protect our kids and our homes. Who gives a damn whether Ehud Olmert gets some poll points out of it? What's with the armchair journalism at the Times bureau?"

In America we've been trying to figure that out for a long time, Allison!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A solution to the war

For a good take on the Israeli-Hisbullah war check out Yael's blog from Tel Aviv, Israel (if only world leaders could be this sensible :-)

She also has a good blogroll of people living in Israel, Lebanon and other Middle Eastern Countries.

Iranian attack on Israel?

The Associated Press is reporting that the attack on an Israeli ship was not an unmanned drone as reported in the news, but was actualy a missile fired with the help of elite Iranian troops operating in Lebanon.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A Lebanese perspective

Check out the Lebanese Blogger Forum for a Lebanese perspective on the war.

Made in Iran

The two rockets that hit Haifa, Israel (pop, 250,000) were apparently made and supplied by Iran. These rockets have a range of about 90 miles as opposed to the 12 mile range of the Katyusha rockets that are usually used to shell Israel’s border towns. Unfortunately, this war appears to have the potential for getting completely out of control—Iran has threatened to intervene if the war spreads to Syria (Counterterrorism Blog)

We need to pray that a peaceful resolution will be found before that happens. A good start would be for Muslims to stop shelling Israel’s border towns, to stop sending suicide bombers to kill innocent Jews, and to recognize Israel's right to exist. In other words, we need a miracle.

When emotion wins over facts

Below is my brief summary of an interesting recent article by John Leo, columnist and editor for U.S. News and World Report. He says it better than I can so if you have time, read his article. If not, my summary is below.

Although such prominent leaders as Robert Kennedy and John Kerry continue to believe the 2004 election was stolen, “according to a long and detailed analysis on Solon.com—no hotbed of Republican thought—the evidence Kennedy cites isn’t new, and his argument is filled with distortions and the deliberate omission of key data.”

The problem is that people in our society are too eager to believe assertions that reflect “a widely shared emotion” regardless of whether there is evidence to support it. For example, many believe the 2000 election was also stolen even though the “Civil Rights Commission, which was then firmly in Democratic hands,” failed to support the assertion.

Other examples are the Duke rape case, and the idea that blacks died during Katrina due to racism. President Bush’s detractors keep saying that support for Democracy is a new rationale by the President for keeping troops in Iraq when no WMD’s were found. It doesn’t seem to matter to some that this assertion is factually untrue.

Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry all argued that abortion “rose 25 percent after Bush was elected in 2000.” The fact is that abortion declined slightly. Many asserted that there would be a mass exodus to Canada after the Bush victory in 2004. It never happened.
It was fact-free assertions that lead to Harvard President Larry Summer’s downfall as well. “That’s what happens when emotions are allowed to beat facts.”

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sexual abuse and the press

Yesterday I reported a survey which seems to indicate that 1.8 million kids were abused by teachers in a single year (a very conservative estimate), while the number of abuses by priests averages out to about 220 (not 220 million, not even 220 thousand—two hundred and twenty).

I would think that the outrage by the press would be much greater toward the public schools since an overwhelming percentage of American kids go to public schools and since the number of abuses is astronomically higher in public schools. For example, a Google search for “sexual abuse and teachers” produced over 15 million hits while a Google search for “sexual abuse and priests” produced just under 4 million hits. That’s about what I would expect.

Interestingly enough a Google News search for “sexual abuse and teachers” produced 334 articles while a Google News search for “sexual abuse and priests” produced 492 articles. Even allowing for "false drops", the press apparently wrote more articles about an average of 200 sexual abuses by Catholic priests than they did about 1.8 million (or more) abuses by public school teachers!

Even more telling was a search of the Proquest Newspapers database. A basic search for “sexual abuse and teachers” produced 3,314 hits. A basic search for “sexual abuse and priests” produced 11,565 hits.

Can someone explain to me again how there is no liberal or anti-religious bias in the press?

Islamic Law in Somalia

The following is an e-mail I received yesterday from the World Evangelical Alliance:

“In early June, Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, fell to an alliance of Islamic militias after they had fought for four months against an alliance of warlords. The 'Islamic Courts Union' (ICU) Shura Council will act as a parliament in all areas the ICU controls. Its head, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys (61), is designated as a terrorist by both the US and the UN. Aweys has vowed to enact Sharia (Islamic) Law across Somalia. He has ruled that Muslims who miss prayers will be regarded as infidels and killed. Three Christian men were recently shot dead. Some children of Christian Somali refugees in Kenya have been kidnapped by Muslim relatives and taken to Islamic institutions in Somalia for 'rehabilitation'. The situation in Somalia is dangerous and desperate. Please pray for God to intervene there for the sake of his Kingdom.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sex with priests and teachers

If you had to leave your child alone with someone, would you prefer it be 1) a priest or 2) a public school teacher? Before you answer, consider the following:

There is a research report on the U.S. Department of Education website which analyzes various studies on teacher sexual misconduct with children grades 12 and below. The number of students who have been the victims of sexual abuse by teachers or other school staff ranges from 3.7% to 50.3%, depending on the study.

Although the figure of 9.6% was deemed to be most accurate, let’s give teachers every benefit of the doubt and assume that the lowest estimate of 3.7% was accurate. Given the fact that there were about 49.5 million K-12 students in America the year this study was conducted, that would mean that there were about 1.8 million kids sexually abused by teachers or other school staff—in one year!

To put this in perspective, there were about 11,000 allegations of sexual abuse by priests over a 50 year period (CNN)—or about 220 per year. I was educated in the public school system so my math skills are not the best, but as I recall, 220 is somewhat less than 1.8 million!

Ahh, you may say—but there are more students in the public school system. True enough. There are only about 2.5 million Catholic school students. Let’s see, 220 kids abused by Catholic priests in a year, out of 2.5 million Catholic school students—that comes to about .009%. That’s still significantly lower than 3.7%.

Sexual abuse is often life-destroying for the victims. 220 kids abused is a disgraceful tragedy—1.8 million kids abused is the moral equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction being unleashed against our children every year. Of course this doesn’t even scratch the surface when compared to all the children victimized by other kids. It is long past time to hold our state-run-education system accountable and I can think of no better way to do that than to start implementing school voucher programs to force competition.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sex and the illegal immigrant

Deborah Schurman-Kauflin, Ph.D. from the Violent Crimes Institute conducted “a 12 month in-depth study of illegal immigrants who committed sex crimes and murders for the time period of January 1999 through April 2006….” 1,500 cases were analyzed including rapes, murders and child molestations. These 1,500 offenders had violated a total of 5,999 victims. Dr. Schurman-Kauflin found that approximately 2% of illegal aliens were sex offenders. Based on that figure, she estimated that of the 12 million illegal immigrants in America, 240,000 are sex offenders who have violated about 960,000 victims (drdsk.com).

Think of it—nearly one million innocent American victims, primarily women and children, molested, raped or murdered because our country has, for all these years, refused to address the border security problem! If a private company had been in charge of border security, wouldn't some CEO be facing some serious prison time for criminal negligence?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Thank God for moral violence

“Blessed are the peacemakers.” It should go without saying that peacemaking should always be a goal in foreign affairs and that war should be a last resort. But peace is not the highest goal. "Peace at any cost" is just another way of letting evil triumph. Dennis Prager made this point in an outstanding article entitled, "Thank God for moral violence," first published in May 2002, but re-published July 4, 2006. Excerpts appear below:

"You have to wonder how anyone can utter, let alone believe, something so demonstrably wrong as 'violence doesn't solve anything,' or 'an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind,' or any other pacifist platitudes. These are the moral and intellectual equivalents of 'the Earth is flat.' In fact, it is easier to show that violence solves many evils than it is to show that the earth is round."

"It was violence that destroyed Adolf Hitler and Nazism. Only violence. Not talk. Not negotiations. Not good will."

"It is violence used by police that stops violent criminals from murdering or otherwise hurting innocent people. There are many innocent men and women alive today solely because some policeman used violence to save their lives."

"It was violence that ended slavery in America. Had violence not been used against the Confederacy, the United States would have been cut in half, and millions of black men and women would have remained slaves."

"Vast numbers of people believe what they want to believe or what they have been brainwashed to believe, not what is true or good. For vast numbers of people, it is simply dogma that all violence is wrong. It is a position arrived at with little thought but with a plethora of naive passion."

"Those who say violence never solves anything have confused themselves in other ways as well. They have elevated peace above goodness. Therefore, in these people's views, it is better for evil to prevail than to use violence to end that evil -- since the very use of violence renders the user of it evil."

"…if we never engage in moral violence, it is as certain as anything in life can be that immoral violence will rule the world."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Orwellian world of the Left, II

One aspect of the Orwellian world of the Left that Dennis Prager left out (see Recliner Commentaries, July 6, 2006) was baby-killing, aka abortion. In Godless, Ann Coulter says, “The Orwellian dishonesty about abortion begins with the Left’s utter refusal to use the word abortion…Instead we get a slew of liberal euphemisms for baby-killing: ‘reproductive freedom,’ ‘a woman’s right to control her own body,’ ‘terminating a pregnancy,’ ‘freedom of choice,’ ‘a woman’s own private medical decision,’ ‘a procedure,’ ‘access to health care,’ ‘ family planning,’ ‘’our bodies our selves,’ ‘choice.” (Coulter, 78-79).

Isn’t it interesting that the same Left that views choice as sacred, is so anti-choice when it comes to such things as school vouchers, or allowing organizations (like the Boy Scouts) or companies to decide whom to hire, or allowing schools to decide whom to enroll? The Left will respond saying that choice should be restricted in some cases, and the Right will respond back saying, we agree—but we’re not the ones who are lifting “freedom of choice” up to the level of a sacrament. Our Constitution does guarantee freedom of choice in some areas (speech, religion, press, etc.) but the freedom to choose baby-killing is not one of them.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Saddam al Qaeda connection

Newly translated documents from Saddam’s Iraq demonstrate the connection between the Saddam government, the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Earlier, Recliner Commentaries (June 22, 2006) discussed evidence that Saddam had not destroyed all WMD’s left over from the first war. Isn’t it beginning to look more and more like the war was justified after all?

I’m sure those on the far left wouldn’t apologize to President Bush for their “Bush lied, people died” slander even if we found active WMD's in Iraq, but I would think they would at least have the courtesy to apologize to Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman (I won’t hold my breath). While I disagree with Ms. Clinton and Mr. Lieberman on many issues, I must say that I admire their integrity for standing firm on their decision to support the war with Iraq in the face of rabid opposition from members of their own party--members like John Kerry for example who, now that the war is unpopular, does yet another flip-flop and says he was wrong to support the war.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

New York Court of Appeals on same-sex marriage

In a 4-2 decision today the New York Court of Appeals ruled against same-sex marriage. In one judge’s opinion, "We do not predict what people will think generations from now, but we believe the present generation should have a chance to decide the issue through its elected representatives" (FRC)

Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean apparently doesn’t want the people to decide but would rather have judges impose their (im)morality on people. Dean slammed the court’s decision saying it rested on “outdated and bigoted notions."

The Orwellian world of the Left

Radio talk show host Dennis Prager recently wrote an excellent article contending that by redefining words, “The Left hurts the battle against torture, rape and other evils."

Prager wrote about how the Left often refers to what happened at Abu Ghraib as torture. While lamentable, this is certainly nothing like the real torture many of our POW’s have been subjected to when they were burned, had fingernails torn out, or had hot steel rods shoved up their rectum. Feminist leftists have sometimes defined rape as sex that a woman regrets the next morning (which, according to Prager, is how the statistic was derived which says that one in four women have been raped). This watering down of the term “rape” does a terrible injustice to those women who have been viciously and violently violated.

Although the word “genocide” actually refers to the slaughter of “all members of a racial, ethnic, national or religious group,” some on the Left persistently label as genocide Israel’s retaliation against terrorists or America’s actions toward Iraq. While the Left routinely uses the word “oppressed” to describe what America has done to women, Prager asks, “if American women, the freest women in human history, are oppressed, what term is left to describe the treatment of women in Arab and some other Muslim countries?” At one time the word “racism” was used to describe the views of those who lynched blacks, or of the Nazis who slaughtered Jews. Now, people can’t even oppose race-based affirmative action on intellectual grounds without being called racists.

Finally, Prager points out that “The left regularly charges America's conservative Christians with being anti-Semitic fascists who want to make America into a theocracy. Prager, who is Jewish, says conservative Christians are none of these things but the result of the Left’s attack is that “the battle against real theocrats (Muslim fundamentalists), real fascists and real anti-Semites is compromised.” Prager concludes, “The tragedy of all this is that when evils are defined down, good people are left verbally unarmed when the real evils present themselves. It is yet another way in which the left, intentionally or not, undermines the battle against evil.”

Dennis Prager says it much better than my summary indicates. Read his article in Townhall or http://dennisprager.townhall.com/

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Reducing DWI offenses

A judge in Isanti County Minnesota has come up with a unique way of reducing repeat DWI offences. Judge James Dehn jails offenders in July and December over several years rather than giving the one long jail term. Before every month-long jail term begins the offenders must appear before the judge. If they can convince the judge that they have been sober, employed and have not re-offended, they can skip their month-long jail sentence—until next time. Judge Dehn’s system is apparently working and he has even won an award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (KARE 11). Hat’s off to Judge Dehn!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

White House correction on Norh Korea

According to CNN, Tony Snow at the White House has issued a correction. There were five confirmed missiles fired by North Korea.

North Korea launches six missles

CNN just reported that according to a senior U.S. official in the White House, North Korea has fired six missles so far, including two long range missles.

North Korea: Fourth missile launch

There are now reports that North Korea may have launched a fourth missile (AP). While one of these missiles appears to have been the intercontenental Taepodong-2 missile America has been watching, it reportedly failed only 50 seconds after launch. The United States is now in communication with China, Russia and Japan.

North Korea: Three missiles

The CNN website now contains the following: BREAKING NEWS: North Korea test-fires at least three missiles, one of them a long-range weapon that the U.S. has been monitoring, U.S. sources say.

North Korea missile test

According to CNN, the State Department is reporting that a second missile has been fired by North Korea today. The first missile landed 600 miles from Japan in the sea of Japan.

North Korea missile launch

Fox News and the Associated Press are reporting that North Korea has just fired a missile, though it is not yet clear whether it was the Taepodong-2 missile capable of reaching America.

Yet another slap in the face of freedom

A couple weeks ago Robert J. Smith said that he opposes gay marriages and that according to his Roman Catholic faith, homosexual conduct is “sexually deviant.” Apparently not one to tolerate dissent on this issue, Maryland’s homosexual governor, Bob Ehrlich promptly fired Smith from his job at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Washington Post, FRC).

We've now come to a point in the history of American "freedom" in which people can loose their jobs for expressing a politically incorrect opinion about homosexuality. Not only is governor Ehrlich intolerant, he apparently doesn’t care much for the ideals of freedom of speech or freedom of religion that we are celebrating today. Please read John Leo’s outstanding article on this issue: “Gays have emerged as a new protected class in America.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Mt. Soledad and Supreme Court

Breaking News: Earlier today, Justice Anthony Kennedy, acting on behalf of the U.S. Supreme Court, issued a stay in the Mt. Soledad Case (See Recliner Commentaries, June 30, 2006). (BPNews)

Another attack on freedom

The New York Division of Human Rights is now apparently telling a private business owner—in this case the owner of a skating rink—that while “family night” and “teen night” is OK, they cannot have a “Christian skating night” in which they play Christian music, even though the entire community is invited and no one is excluded! To make matters worse, they are also threatening a local newspaper with “aiding and abetting’ unlawful discrimination” by merely publishing the skating rink’s advertisement! (Persecution Times, ACLJ)

Apparently, in this new Orwellian world, the State of New York has re-defined “human rights” in such a way as to exclude freedom of the press and freedom of religion.