Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Solution for the Middle East

Stolen from Stephen Pollard, who stole it from Samizdata:

"I think we should take Iraq and Iran and combine them into one country and call it Irate. All the pissed off people can live in one place and get it over with."

-- Denis Leary

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Bethlehem Christians Break Their Silence Over Muslim Treatment by Khaled Abu Toameh, himself a Palestinian Muslim.

Rowan Williams - our favorite archidiot - loves to blames the Jews for the condition of the Bethlehem Christians, but Jews do not appear to be in the forefront here, as Bethlehem Christians break their silence over their treatment by Muslims.
According to the families, many Christians have long been afraid to complain in public about the campaign of "intimidation" for fear of retaliation by their Muslim neighbors and being branded "collaborators" with Israel.

But following an increase in attacks on Christian-owned property in the city over the past few months, some Christians are no longer afraid to talk about the ultra-sensitive issue. And they are talking openly about leaving the city.

...Fuad and Georgette Lama woke up one morning last September to discover that Muslims from a nearby village had fenced off their family's six-dunam plot in the Karkafa suburb south of Bethlehem. "A lawyer and an official with the Palestinian Authority just came and took our land," said 69-year-old Georgette Lama.

The couple was later approached by senior PA security officers who offered to help them kick out the intruders from the land. "We paid them $1,000 so they could help us regain our land," she said, almost in tears. "Instead of giving us back our land, they simply decided to keep it for themselves. They even destroyed all the olive trees and divided the land into small plots, apparently so that they could offer each for sale." When her 72-year-old husband, Fuad, went to the land to ask the intruders to leave, he was severely beaten and threatened with guns.

"My husband is after heart surgery and they still beat him," Georgette Lama said. "These people have no heart. We're afraid to go to our land because they will shoot at us. Ever since the beating, my husband is in a state of trauma and has difficulties talking."


A Christian businessman who asked not to be identified said the conditions of Christians in Bethlehem and its surroundings had deteriorated ever since the area was handed over to the PA in 1995.

"Every day we hear of another Christian family that has immigrated to the US, Canada or Latin America," he said. "The Christians today make up less than 15 percent of the population.

People are running away because the Palestinian government isn't doing anything to protect them and their property against Muslim thugs. Of course not all the Muslims are responsible, but there is a general feeling that Christians have become easy prey."

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What's Wrong with this Picture?

New evidence of Iran's role in Iraq will be made in Baghdad by the chief spokesman for the multinational forces in Iraq, Major General William Caldwell. The Directorate of National Intelligence worked over the weekend to clear new intelligence and information that sources inside the intelligence community said would implicate Iran in deliberately sending particularly lethal improvised explosives to terrorists to kill coalition soldiers.

The plan to present the evidence will coincide with a presentation this week by Ambassador Khalilzad to the press detailing the charges against Iranian operatives affiliated with the country's Quds Force arrested in the last six weeks in three raids.

The decision to go public with new evidence on Iran's role in fomenting Iraq's civil war and in working with terrorists killing American soldiers marks a change in strategy for the Bush administration, which has until now provided scant evidence to the public about Iran's role in the Iraq conflict. Since the president unveiled his new war strategy on January 10, leading Democrats have challenged claims of Iran's role and intentions in the Iraq war.

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Separate Bathrooms for Muslims?

It's separate bathrooms for Muslims now in LaTrobe University in Australia. And why is that?
Victorian Muslim community leader Yasser Soliman said the washrooms were necessary.

He said the separate facilities were also due to concerns from non-Muslim students.

"Muslims need to wash their feet before prayer and in the past there have been complaints about them washing their feet in sinks, so this is a happy medium," he said.

Mr Soliman said most universities provided Muslim-only prayer and washrooms for students.

A La Trobe University spokesman said the washrooms were established with the advice of senior Muslim religious leaders.
Why not simply install a lot sink in the antechamber of the prayer room?

Jimmy "Too Many Jews" Carter

Last week I reported on the story circulating about how Jimmy Carter decided he needed a quota against holocaust surviving Jews on the Holocaust Memorial Council.

This week, the NYSun provides more detail on the story. First Professor Freedman confirmed all the details of the story that had appeared in WND last week, except that it was Elie Wiesel who had picked the members of the committee, not himself. He then added:
Mr. Freedman told us that Carter saw the idea of a Holocaust Memorial "principally as a political gimmick." He "in effect politicized the idea" and saw it as a means of getting "political support from Jews" but at the same time he didn't want to "alienate other potential constituencies," and so wanted more Polish Americans, and other ethnic groups, who claimed to be equally affected by the Holocaust.

Mr. Freedman did stress that Carter's domestic policy adviser, Stuart Eisenstadt, who came up with the idea of the Holocaust Memorial Council, did support the memorial "on the merits" -- not like Carter who did it for political reasons. Freedman said, "I think Carter's motivations were very different."

Professor Freedman also stated that he had told this story privately for years, but this was the first time word had reached a reporter interested enough to follow up with him.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Doggone Good Pet Tricks

The best doggone good pet tricks you've ever seen:


Saturday, January 27, 2007

John Kerry Among Friends At Davos

John Kerry announced this week he was not going to run for President this election cycle, leaving him free to "speak truth to power" by proclaiming that America is an international pariah among an audience of the like minded.

Hot Air has the video

Here he is posing, from left to right, with Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Abdullah Gul, Foreign Minister of Turkey, Ahmed Mahmoud Nazif, Prime Minister of Egypt, Adil Abd al-Mahdi, Vice-President of Iraq, Mohammad Khatami, former President of Iran, and John Kerry, Senator from Massachussetts, U.S in a group photo after a plenary session on the Middle East during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007.

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Shoot to Kill

Bush, at long last, has changed the rules of engagement for soldiers in Iraq, giving them the order to kill or capture Iranian operatives.
A senior US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the outlines of the Post report and stressed: "The most important job is to protect US troops on the ground and prevent Iran from meddling in Iraqi affairs."

"If we get information about Iranian agents or networks operating inside of Iraq and actively providing weapons or support to insurgents, we are going to go after them," the official said.

"Over the fall, we were receiving additional information indicating Iranians were becoming more and more involved," the official added.
What took Bush so long? This seems basic to me, leading me to wonder if his briefing panels were not shielding him from home truths about the situation in Iraq. This lack of hands on approach is often what leads his adminisration into incompetencies.

Newt Gingrinch recently made some excellent proposals as to how the President should manage Iraq. Here they are, noted by Kate O'Beire in the Corner.

“1.Place General Petraeus in charge of the Iraq campaign and establish that the Ambassador is operating in support of the military commander.

2. Since General Petraeus will now have responsibility for victory in Iraq all elements of achieving victory are within his purview and he should report daily to the White House on anything significant which is not working or is needed

3. Create a deputy chief of staff to the President and appoint a retired four star general or admiral to manage Iraq implementation for the Commander in Chief on a daily basis.

4. Establish that the second briefing (after the daily intelligence brief) the President will get every day is from his deputy chief of staff for Iraq implementation.

5. Establish a War Cabinet which will meet once a week to review metrics of implementation and resolve failures and enforce decisions. The President should chair the War Cabinet personally and his deputy chief of staff for Iraq implementation should prepare the agenda for the weekly review and meeting.”
As someone whose name I've long since forgotten commented some while ago, having Newt in the Presidential race will be a good thing. He'll never win, but his presence will help to raise the level of intelligent policy discourse. Of course, so will Rudy. In fact, seeing Rudy and Newt together, debating issues, will be a real treat.

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Everything Old is New Again

And now for some more Carter Derangement Syndrome:


Cox and Forkum reprise their cartoon from 1/26/06 due to it recurring relevancy.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Too Jewish Sounding for the Holocaust Committee!!

Suddenly, it has become socially acceptable for liberal Jews to come out of the closet with their first hand tales of Carter's implicit anti-semitism and irascibility about Jews; the floodgates are now wide open.

It's become a trend. I suspect we'll hear more and more stories in the near future - stories that liberal Jews have been repressing all these years in the service of God's knows what - perhaps merely their own closeness "to power" or some kind of odd "respect for the office". Perhaps they all believed these examples had occurred in isolation. Or, perhaps they did not want to draw attention to it and make a fuss. God knows the reason.

Thus, in the last several weeks we learned that Jimmy Carter lent his personal support to the family of a Nazi, in a bid for leniency for the Nazi.

And now comes the latest tale.

Apparently, after Carter helped found the American Holocaust Committee, in itself a noble deed, he decided that there would be an unspoken quota! on the number of Jews on the board. OF THE HOLOCAUST COMMITTEE!
[Monroe] Freedman, [the council's former executive director,] says he was tasked with creating a board for the council and with making recommendations to the White House on how best to memorialize the Holocaust.

He told WND he sent a memo to Carter's office containing recommendations for council board members.

He said his memo was returned with a note on the upper right hand corner that stated, "Too many Jews."

The note, Freedman said, was written in Carter's handwriting and was initialed by Carter.

Freedman said at the time the board he constructed was about 80-perent Jewish, including many Holocaust survivors.
[Emphasis mine]

There's also the matter of his referring to the Holocaust recently as "the so-called Holocaust."

As Ace points out, its clear that Carter believes that the Holocaust was a terrible thing. But it's also clear that his expression gives away the kind of idioms that spring to his mind of late.
[T]he fact that this locution springs to his mind while speaking extemporaneosly kind of suggests who he's been reading and talking to of late, no?

Also, make note of the distinction that Ace draws between Palestinian moderates and extremists.

Moderates are the Holocaust deniers; extremists are the Holocaust enthusiasts,

[Hat Tip: Douglas Stanley, Jr.]

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Israel: A Stiff Necked Country

Israel: A Stiff Necked Country

That's not my opinion, by the way; rather, its my translation of Jimmy's belief that Israel was "intransigent."

I guess he believed he had the God's eye view, that he shared God's perspective and God's judgement on Israel so closely.
Carter's distrust of the U.S. Jewish community and other supporters of Israel runs deep. According to former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Carter's feelings on Israel were always ambivalent. On the one hand, he felt Israel was being intransigent; on the other, he genuinely had an attachment to the country as the ‘land of the Bible.'"

This quote is taken from Ken Stein's review of Jimmy Carter's book; Stein, you will recall, was the first to resign from the Carter center, after the recent publication of Carter's infamous book. Leading to the unavoidable conclusion that it is not a good idea to piss off publicly someone who worked with you over the years so closely that he understands the nature of your thought mechanisms. And feels betrayed enough by you to reveal the kind of mind you have and your intellectual shortcomings in public.

And this Ken Stein does, in a judicious and rational way, peeling off the mask on Carter's methodology and biases.

As we collaborated on The Blood of Abraham,[2] Carter's first book about the Middle East, I witnessed Carter's passion, determination, and stubbornness. He was capable of absorbing vast amounts of information, and he had an extraordinary capacity to recall detailed points and concepts almost verbatim months after reading them.

Carter's preferred method in writing the book was to lay a brief and somewhat selective historical foundation for each chapter and emphasize the contemporary. I sought to anchor each chapter more deeply in history and political culture. He had little patience for precedent or laborious recapitulation of history. Too often it interfered with his desire to find action-oriented solutions, which befit his training as an engineer. For Carter, history and ideology bestowed unwanted moorings and unnecessary rigidities; they shackled the pragmatism and flexibility of the would-be negotiator.

So, too, Stein exposes the kind of malicious hatred Carter held for Menachim Begin, to the extent that he preferred knowingly to print inaccuracies in past books after him - even when those inaccuracies have been pointed out:
While Carter lauds Begin for his intelligence, a point he has repeatedly made when speaking to my students, [ed. adds: well of course - he is a "clever Jew"] his animus toward the late Israeli leader is limitless. This became evident when we were writing The Blood of Abraham, and Carter insisted on asserting that Begin "wanted to expand Israeli borders to both sides of the Jordan River." In fact, this is anachronistic. True, this had been Begin's view prior to Israel's independence in 1948, but it was not, as Carter implied, Begin's position after his twenty-nine years in the Knesset (parliament) or during his premiership. During chapter editing, I brought the error to Carter's attention. He declined to correct it.

During the difficult negotiations between Egypt and Israel, Carter and his advisers tried to get Sadat to engage in a collusive scheme: They would encourage Sadat to make "deliberately exaggerated" demands. The White House would then intervene to "compel" Cairo to scale back its demands in exchange for Israeli concessions. Then-national security advisor Brzezinski explained that Washington would "apply maximum leverage on Israel to accommodate," by keeping the West Bank's political future on the table for future negotiations. That Carter risked possible Israeli-Egyptian peace in an effort to extract greater concessions from Begin underscores the tension in their relationship.

It's fascinating to find out as well, the effect these political manipulations had on Begin, once he learned of them. He was so angry that he refused to see Carter various times when Carter was in Israel, blaming it on illness.
On our 1987 trip to Israel, Begin refused to see Carter, citing health reasons, but Begin's personal secretary told me it was because of the way Carter had treated Begin.

It is not surprising, moreover, to have confirmed for us by Ken Stein that Carter blames his loss in 1981 on Begin and not on his own huge failures as President.

What's that they say in Christianity again?

Do not criticize the speck in your neighbor's eye, before you remove the log from you own.

Carter, however, would prefer to blame the "Jews" for being a stiff necked people. Not so much the Gd's eye view when it comes to seeing himself, is it.

But no matter, for the man still possesses missionary zeal. And a belief in his own godlike vision:
Carter has come to scorn those who disagree with him. On his recent book tour promoting Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, whenever an interviewer disagreed with a premise or challenged Carter's views, he would respond, "It is obvious you did not read my book." This is Carter's way of chiding the interviewer for not accepting his wisdom. When Carter says, "Everything in the book is accurate; it is correct," he seeks acknowledgment that he possesses a privileged understanding of the conflict's fundamental truths and should, therefore, be accepted as someone qualified to apportion blame.

Another example of this godlike vision is here:
Carter is convinced that he himself was the essential ingredient to enable the Egyptian-Israeli peace. However, Carter does not understand how fortunate he was to have in Begin and Sadat two leaders who needed agreement. Each possessed vision and courage and faced a common adversary in the Soviet Union. This reality welded them into uncomfortable but necessary interaction. Had Carter continued his diplomacy into a second term, he would not have found Israeli and Palestinian leaders possessing any degree of urgency for a solution. There is no evidence that the Arafat of the early 1980s was more willing to compromise or abandon terror than the Arafat faced by Clinton. Nonetheless, Carter believes his negotiating skills could bear fruit where Clinton failed. His conviction is so great that he need not read Ross's account.

This article is a must-read demythologization and deconstruction of the ex-President. Please read the entire thing, available here.

Hat tip, Michael Rubin in the Corner. And scroll the Corner for more commentary on it.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Yemenite Jews flee their homes following threats by extremists

Some 45 Jews of Sa'ada county in Yemen left their homes after being threatened by radical Muslims, the Saudi daily Al Wattan reported on Monday.

According to the report, the extremists told the Jews to leave their homes within ten days, after which time they will be exposed to abductions and looting.
I hadn't realized that there were any Jews still living in Yemen, but apparently there are a few hundred still, who are made to pay special dhimmi taxes to the government for protection.
They blame their strife on the oblivious Yemenite government, which refuses to offer them assistance. The Jewish community, say its members, does not have efficient communication channels with the regime that would allow it to influence its actions.

The Jews under threat contacted local authorities and demanded fair treatment as ordinary Yemenite citizens. They told the authorities among other things that Islam imposes taxes on Jews in return for protection and security.

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Nick Cohen on the Anti War Left

Nick Cohen, raised a principled liberal, where even the decision of what fruits and vegetables to buy was a moral decision, from his own account, did not knowingly come into contact with a Conservative until he was 13.
I still remember the sense of dislocation I felt at 13 when my English teacher told me he voted Conservative. As his announcement coincided with the shock of puberty, I was unlikely to forget it. I must have understood at some level that real Conservatives lived in Britain - there was a Conservative government at the time, so logic dictated that there had to be Conservative voters. But it was incredible to learn that my teacher was one of them, when he gave every appearance of being a thoughtful and kind man. To be good you had to be on the left.
And of course a lot of liberals are to this day raised with these kinds of assumptions - assumptions that act as blinders. How do you reconcile the dogma with which you are raised and that colors your worldview - that all good people are, by definition, liberals - with facts on the ground that challenge that assumption.

He tells us this for a few reasons. On the simple level, in the narrative of his changing political stance, this was his innocent starting place. It also gives him "liberal creds." Without them, he would be all too easy to swipe away. He'll still be easy to discount from the conversation, as an apostate who lost his faith, but recounting his narrative might lead to some dislocation among other individuals and strengthen them in their sense of jarring disjunction, as reality and political orthodoxy diverge from each other.

Moreover, Cohen's adolescent sense of dislocation appears to mirror, indeed even foreshadow, the much greater sense of dislocation from the left that he experienced since 9/11 and, particularly, since the discourse about the Iraq War began to burgeon in 2002-2003 and on. So that, they found themselves even unable to oppose Abu Musab Al Zarqawi:
Journalists wondered whether the Americans were puffi ng up Zarqawi's role in the violence - as a foreigner he was a convenient enemy - but they couldn't deny the ferocity of the terror. Like Stalin, Pol Pot and Slobodan Milosevic, they went for the professors and technicians who could make a democratic Iraq work. They murdered Sergio Vieira de Mello, one of the United Nations's bravest officials, and his colleagues; Red Cross workers, politicians, journalists and thousands upon thousands of Iraqis who happened to be in the wrong church or Shia mosque.

How hard was it for opponents of the war to be against that? Unbelievably hard, it turned out. The anti-war movement disgraced itself not because it was against the war in Iraq, but because it could not oppose the counter-revolution once the war was over. A principled left that still had life in it and a liberalism that meant what it said might have remained ferociously critical of the American and British governments while offering support to Iraqis who wanted the freedoms they enjoyed.

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Giant Comet in the Sky

The brightest comet in 40 years lights the sky. It's around 140 million kilometres (87 million miles) from the Earth.

The comet consists of a head bigger than Mount Everest and a tail that stretches 30 million kilometres into space.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

For Dorothy Dunnett Fans

Hey, I got Lymond! Without [much] cheating!

Which Lymond Character Are You?

Congratulations, you're Francis Crawford of Lymond, for a time the Master of Culter. You're the hero and the focal point of everything. You're the quintessential romantic hero: brooding, mysterious, witty, informed, gentle, sensitive and all the rest. You should, perhaps, consider doing the dishes once in a while and speak in your native tongue when possible. In other words, show off a bit less. It won't kill you.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Threshold of Soul

In an interview at the Jerusalem Post, Velvel Greene, retired former NASA scientist and professor at Ben Gurion describes the effect of his first meeting with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, before he became religious. It's a transformative moment, a moment of religious epiphany.
His first sight of the Rebbe was at a 'Farbrengen,' a lively hassidic event where the Rebbe would speak. "I was in New York on business and Rabbi Feller called to say a Farbrengen would be held at Chabad headquarters. He said I should go, so I did. The Rebbe spoke in Yiddish, so I understood the words, but I didn't have enough Jewish knowledge to comprehend most of it. The whole event amazed me: There was the Rebbe - educated in math and science himself - who spoke of the 'soul' as something real, not just an idea. And listening to his every word were a thousand Chassidim, working guys, just like me. But for them, everything the Rebbe said had critical importance for their lives today."

As the Rebbe spoke, Greene recalled a Bialik poem he'd memorized as a child. "In one of his poems, Bialik wrote about standing on the threshold of existence, looking into the depth of the Jewish soul. That's what I did at that Farbrengen. It was my epiphany."
It's an interesting term in this context, threshold. And key to the mystical experience of coming closer to God. With the Rebbe providing the portal for him to look through to the other side.

In ancient Hekhalot mysticism, there were seven thresholds to pass through in the experience of drawing near to God. Each level represented an ascent in closeness.

As for this image of the Rebbe, I'm reminded of the passage in Hagigah 15a the beginning of which is cited in reference to Rabbi Akiva to describe his ascent above: "Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee." (Song of Songs 1:4)

One imagines that Rabbi Akiva presented a similar clarity and depth of soul for his followers that is here transcribed in this moment of epiphanic transformation.

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Harridan of the Sea

From the New York Post

But she's doing it for the children!

That is, the children of Del Monte's investors.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

In a Q&A at the Independent, with questions sent in from online readers Martin Amis was asked:
What is the most depressing thing about Britain you have observed since your return? And the best? GRANT MULLIN, Surrey

The most depressing thing was the sight of middle-class white demonstrators, last August, waddling around under placards saying, We Are All Hizbollah Now. Well, make the most of being Hizbollah while you can. As its leader, Hasan Nasrallah, famously advised the West: "We don't want anything from you. We just want to eliminate you." Similarly, when I went on Question Time the other week, a woman in the audience, her voice quavering with self-righteousness, presented the following argument: since it was America that supported Osama bin Laden when he was fighting the Russians, the US armed forces, in response to September 11, "should be dropping bombs on themselves!" And the audience applauded. It is quite an achievement. People of liberal sympathies, stupefied by relativism, have become the apologists for a creedal wave that is racist, misogynist, homophobic, imperialist, and genocidal. To put it another way, they are up the arse of those that want them dead.

[Hat tip: Stephen Pollard]

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The Saudis Finally Got the Damned Memo

Bush must feel relieved.

Remember when the Democrat talking points told us that in the fall, just before the 2004 elections, Bush was going to whisper in Saudi ears to increase oil production and the price of a barrel of oil would drop astronomically in order to assure "his popularity" before the election?

Well it finally happened, only two and a third years to late. So I guess, in the manner of truthiness, we can say the Dems were right, after all. It's just that their forecast came a bit too early.
Prices fell in early trading after Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister, Ali al-Naimi, said his country has 3 million daily barrels of spare capacity and will push ahead with projects to expand output. Oil futures plunged yesterday after al-Naimi said he saw no need for an emergency OPEC meeting to consider further cuts in output.

``The Saudis are saying that they don't want to be the swing producer,'' said Bill O'Grady, director of fundamental futures research at A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. in St. Louis. ``The Saudis have made substantial cuts, unlike a lot of the other OPEC members. Oil in a $40 to $50 range suits the Saudis much better than oil at $70.''
And the only reason that it suits the Saudi's better, is because it suits the Iranians much, much worse. No wonder that Ahmadinejad was huddling so closely with that kuffir Chavez last week. But it doesn't seem to have done any good, except to reinforce the Saudis in their decision to keep oil production constant.

This Saudi-Iranian hostility could keep gas prices low for some time. Which might work out to be another "mistake" caused by the blundering Bush policy in the middle east.

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The Saudis Finally Got the Damned Memo

Bush must feel relieved.

Remember when the Democrat talking points told us that in the fall, just before the 2004 elections, Bush was going to whisper in Saudi ears to increase oil production and the price of a barrel of oil would drop astronomically in order to assure "his popularity" before the election?

Well it finally happened, only two and a third years to late. So I guess, in the manner of truthiness, we can say the Dems were right, after all. It's just that their forecast came a bit too early.
Prices fell in early trading after Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister, Ali al-Naimi, said his country has 3 million daily barrels of spare capacity and will push ahead with projects to expand output. Oil futures plunged yesterday after al-Naimi said he saw no need for an emergency OPEC meeting to consider further cuts in output.

``The Saudis are saying that they don't want to be the swing producer,'' said Bill O'Grady, director of fundamental futures research at A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. in St. Louis. ``The Saudis have made substantial cuts, unlike a lot of the other OPEC members. Oil in a $40 to $50 range suits the Saudis much better than oil at $70.''
And the only reason that it suits the Saudi's better, is because it suits the Iranians much, much worse. No wonder that Ahmadinejad was huddling so closely with that kuffir Chavez last week.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Michael Oren Talk Tonight at B&N, NY

Excuse the late notice.

ME scholar, Michael Oren is speaking tonight at B&N, 7:30, Broadway and 82nd St., NYC, on his new book, Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present.

I meant to post this last week, but it slipped my mind. I was reminded today, when reading his interesting editorial in the LATimes:
THE STALLED U.S. mission in Iraq has prompted calls for a return to "realism" in American foreign policy. Instead of striving for freedom and national cohesion in the Middle East, realists argue that the U.S. should negotiate with Syria and Iran and abandon the dream of remaking the region on a democratic, federated model. Realists claim that replacing a faith-based policy with an agenda based solely on economic and strategic interests will return the United States to its traditional posture in the Middle East.

In fact, long before the rise of radical Islam and even the discovery of oil, Americans worked to bring liberty and human rights to the Middle East. For well over 200 years, U.S. citizens have sought to endow Middle Eastern peoples with the same inalienable liberties Americans enjoy at home.

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The Cost of an Infamous Kiss

Remember this? A scion of Naturei Karta kissing up to 'Jad at the world Holocaust Denial Conference. I discussed it here.


Turns out that Moshe Aryeh Friedman's wife didn't much like the image either, and has left him, fleeing to her parents Satmar community in Williamsburg, New York. She is now seeking help on obtaining a divorce. Good for her. It couldn't happen to someone more deserving of it.

Friedman's British naturei karta colleague has been banned from Britain by the Jewish community in the United Kingdom. I suppose that works out to excommunication.

BTW, there are even some Saudi Muslim writers outraged by Iran's behavior hosting the Holocaust conference. Memri translates and YNET reports.
Saudi journalist Yusuf Al-Swaidan, writing in the Kuwaiti al-Sayassah newspaper, described the conference's attendants as "the new Nazis."...

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Do Demographics Determine Destiny?

Here's a demographic perspective on what is fueling the current surge in Muslim fundamentalism.

It's worth considering because the model it uses accounts for a great deal, including Europe's current antipathy to fighting. And probably also accounts for why America is a mixed country - as opposed to predominantly pro or anti-war, given that our figures are slightly above replacement.

Gangland slayings in the Palestinian territories this week have pitted the Islamist gunmen of Hamas against the secular forces of Fatah. The killings defy civilised norms: in December even children were targeted for murder. But the killings also defy political common sense. Ariel Sharon's wall cuts terrorists off from Israeli targets and what happens? The violence - previously justified with the cause of a Palestinian homeland - continues as if nothing had changed, merely finding its outlet in a new set of targets. This makes it appear that Palestinian violence has never really been about a "cause" at all. The violence is, in a strange way, about itself...

Since 1967, the population of the West Bank and Gaza has grown from 450,000 to 3.3m, 47 per cent of which is under 15. If Mr. Heinsohn is right, then Palestinian violence of recent months and years is not explained by Israeli occupation (which, after all, existed 30 years ago) or poverty (the most violent parts of the Muslim world are not the poorest) or humiliation. It is just violence...

If you follow this argument to its logical end point, then the religion of Islam, the focus of so much contemporary strategic discussion, is a great red herring. Islamic countries are certainly growing in importance. They will make up a quarter of the world a decade from now. Of the 27 biggest youth-bulge nations, 13 are Muslim. But if there is a clash between civilisations, it is not a civilisational clash. Religion can be a convenient rationalisation for violent people who do not want to think of themselves as conventional criminals, but this problem is not unique to Islam.
I'm not saying that this is the only factor in the current war, but it is hard to argue against the fact that demographic trends do have a big role, if at times one that is largely unconscious in the populace that it is driving, in determining the outlook of individual nations. Fascinating and scary the way this works on us.

It makes me wonder what German population growth was like between the two wars. Must have been astronomical, if this model is correct.

Hat Tip: Random Jottings

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

From Michael Totten in South Lebanon

Michael Totten and Noah Pollack visit South Lebanon guided by Said and Henry, who work for the Lebanese Committee for UNSCR 1559, an NGO which closely advises the Lebanese government and the international community on the disarmament of illegal militias in Lebanon. From the safety of the Christian village of Ein Ebel just outside Bint Jbail, Henry discusses the situation in Lebanon.
“We have been screaming about this conflict for 30 years now,” Henry said as he dealt himself a hand of Solitaire from a deck of cards in his pocket. “But no one ever listened to us. Not until September 11. Now you know how we feel all the time. You have to keep up the pressure. You can never let go, not for one day, one hour, not for one second. The minute you let go, Michael, they will fight back and get stronger. This is the problem with your foreign policy.”

“Since 1975 we have been fighting for the free world,” Said said. “We are on the front lines. Why doesn’t the West understand this? America can withdraw from Iraq, you can go back to Oregon, but we are stuck here. We have to stay and live with what happens.”
More of Arafat's legacy. He sowed chaos and death wherever he strode.

In retrospect, though, it's interesting to note that Arafat's use of Lebanon for war against Israel - a Sunni incursion - was soon followed by the Iranian revolution.

We are still living in the aftermath of these two disastrous events.

Arafat and Khomeini in hell looking up at the world, at Gaza, at South Lebanon, at Jenin, at parts of Iraq:

Arafat says to Khomeini: This is the world that we made. Isn't it wonderful?

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Who Conquered the ME and When

A Cool animated map showing the progression of who conquered the Middle East and when.

5000 years in 90 seconds

Faux Klingons are Running the War!

Congressional Eloquence at its peak:

Animal Affection

Otherwise known as Friday smushy blogging.

I saw this story a few days ago, and I lurved it. And now it is circulating on Drudge and I decided what the hay! It's adorable enough to post.

Ana Julia Torres, who runs the Villa Lorena animal shelter in Cali, Columbia fed and nursed Jupiter the African lion back to health years ago after it was found abused and emaciated in a traveling circus.

"It is amazing to see an animal like that be so sweet and affectionate," said Torres. "This hug is the most sincere one that I have received in my life."

**My attempt to load the squishy but adorable vid, available at the link above, has temporarily been stymied. And given the hour and the closeness to Shabbat, I'll have to leave it as is for now.

Shabbat Shalom, y'all.


The Art of Counterprotesting

Friend of KesherTalk, Pamela Hall, helped lead a counterprotest against the anti-war protest in Manhattan's Times Square last night.

And for her trouble, we're pleased to note, she got quoted in the AP, where she made eminent sense:
A band of pro-war protesters on the other end of the island yelled for passers-by to ignore the anti-war rally. The group held a large sign that said "Warning - Leftist protesters trying to demoralize our troops."


"They say they are supporting our troops, but they are lying," said Pamela Hall, a member of the United American Committee. "You can't support someone if you don't support what they are doing. It's disrespectful."

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Demographics Rule

In my opinion, something that will determine the political stance of China in the coming decades not only will be the path of its industrial revolution, and its sizable population, but the very pertinent fact of the huge and growing population disparity between men and women:
China will have 30 million more men of marriageable age than women by 2020, making it difficult for them to find wives, according to a national report.

The gender imbalance could lead to social instability, the report by the State Population and Family Planning Commission warned.
By way of example, think of the social instability in Moslem countries, where wealthy men often possess several wives, making the marriage market far more difficult for poorer men. Similarly, years ago I read an article discussing how the economics in Middle Eastern Arab countries - and particularly Gaza and the West Bank - was forcing higher and higher the age at which men married for the first time. In some cases creating very long engagements. In other cases, it heightened large age differentiations in couples, a man in his 40s marrying a girl in her late teens or early 20s.

It's little discussed in the MSM, but it strikes me that this is a societal failure which has silently bolstered the rise of fundamentalism.

Young men at their peak deprived of licit sexual activity abet a militant posture within government.

We'll have to await to see what happens in China, but this has been a disaster in the making for decades. Not to mention the human tragedy of aborting millions upon millions of female fetuses.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

More Please

US forces have stormed an Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil and seized six members of staff.
The troops raided the building at about 0300 (0001GMT), taking away computers and papers, according to Kurdish media and senior local officials.

The US military would only confirm the detention of six people around Irbil.

Tehran said the attack violated all international conventions. It has summoned ambassadors from Switzerland, representing US interests, and Iraq.
Now that the Bush Administration is finally doing what we want, the only question is why it didn't start on this path much, much earlier.

Malaise, incompetence, fear of taking a harder line, ignorance?

I'm grateful for the change in policy, and I hope this is the start of a harder line towards those sowing terror and confusion in Iraq and their proxy master in Iran. But, really, this is the approach he should have been using for at least the last two years, instead of allowing Iran and Syria to control the stakes. What kept him from it?

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14 Members of the Carter Center Resign Due to Carter's Recent Book

From the letter sent by 14 members of the Carter Center announcing their resignation, now published in the WSJ:
The facts in dealing with the conflict are these: There are two national narratives contesting one piece of land. The Israelis, through deed and public comment, have consistently spoken of a desire to live in peace and make territorial compromise to achieve this status. The Palestinian side has consistently resorted to acts of terror as a national expression and elected parties endorsing the use of terror, the rejection of territorial compromise and of Israel's right to exist. Palestinian leaders have had chances since 1947 to have their own state, including during your own presidency when they snubbed your efforts.

Your book has confused opinion with fact, subjectivity with objectivity and force for change with partisan advocacy. Furthermore the comments you have made the past few weeks insinuating that there is a monolith of Jewish power in America are most disturbing and must be addressed by us. In our great country where freedom of expression is basic bedrock you have suddenly proclaimed that Americans cannot express their opinion on matters in the Middle East for fear of retribution from the "Jewish Lobby" In condemning the Jews of America you also condemn Christians and others for their support of Israel...

You wrote that UN Security Council Resolution 242 says that "Israel must withdraw from territories" (p. 38), but you know the word "must" in fact is not in the resolution. You said that since Mahmoud Abbas has been in office there have been no peace discussions. That is wrong. You wrote that Yassir Arafat told you in 1990 that, "The PLO has never advocated the annihilation of Israel" (p. 62). Given that their Charter, which explicitly calls for Israel's destruction, was not revised until the late 1990s, how could you even write such a claim as if it were credible?

You denied on Denver radio on December 12 that Palestinian Prime Minister Haniyah said he would never accept or negotiate with Israel. However the BBC monitoring service reported just the opposite. In fact Haniyah said: "We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our jihadist movement until Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are liberated. When presented with this fact you said, "No he didn't say that, no he did not do that, I did not hear that." These are not points of opinion, these are points of fact...
In other words, in the world according to Carter, even if Haniyah said it, he can't hear,la,la,la,la.

So, it's an open question for now, I think. Is the man, now in his early 80s, going senile, or is he merely letting his true instincts out; or has senility removed his reticence to flaunt certain aspects of himself that have always been there.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Abir: Ancient Jewish Fighting Techniques Made New

In early November, Rabbi Lazar Brody put up a post that discussed the backgroud of the Abir Aluf - the Grandmaster of Abir, Yehoshua Sofer and the historical roots of Abir, the martial art he (re)established.

Fascinating stuff. Who knew that there was a tradition of Jewish fighting, based on ancient techniques, that lingered in Yemen? And that, in the 1920s, King Abdulla Ibn Hussein of Transjordan had Jewish bodyguards, trained in this ancient fighting technique.

This week, Rabbi Brody added a clip showing the Abir Aluf, bio here in action. If you have an appreciation for martial arts, this vid is well worth watching. Yehoshua Sofer holds 7th Degree black belts in Korean Kuk Sool Won, Hapkido and a 6th Degree black belt in TukGong Musool (designed for elite military and intelligence agents in S.Korea)

Plus, if that kind of thing bothers you, no worry of avodah zara - idol worship. Always a plus. I've studied Krav Mega in the past - which I enjoyed tremendously, and keep meaning to resume - but it is true that it does feel like a mish-mash, inauthentic, as far as martial arts go, in that there is no cohesive spiritual side to it.

Years ago when I lived in France, I had an amazing Taekwon Do instructor who often happened to make the point that the warrior ethic of Taekwon Do went hand in hand with Buddhism, to achieve a body and soul in harmony, each to strengthen the other.

Which makes Krav Mega, I suppose, the anti-religious step-child of the martial arts.

From the information provided, the only problem I see is there doesn't seem to be a women's school yet. Or a New York branch.

To quote Michael Ledeen. Faster Please.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Life in the Kuffrocacy Otherwise Known as Britain

Who is a modern Cassandra now?

Irony of ironies, could it be the Observer?
An undercover investigation has revealed disturbing evidence of Islamic extremism at a number of Britain's leading mosques and Muslim institutions, including an organisation praised by the Prime Minister.

Secret video footage reveals Muslim preachers exhorting followers to prepare for jihad, to hit girls for not wearing the hijab, and to create a 'state within a state'. Many of the preachers are linked to the Wahhabi strain of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia, which funds a number of Britain's leading Islamic institutions...

The 12-month investigation ... recorded a deputy headmaster of an Islamic high school in Birmingham telling a conference at the Sparkbrook mosque that he disagrees with using the word democracy. 'They should call it ... kuffrocracy, that's their plan. It's the hidden cancerous aim of these people.'

On a similar note, Richard Landes, at Augean Stables, points to a comment at Jihad Watch that illustrates the threatening attitude of some Muslims in Britain - and the police compliance that prevents members of the public from pushing back against these new mores by legal means through police intervention.

No doubt - this is his method of maintaining community relations.

As that shrill modern Cassandra otherwise known as the Observer notes:
In a statement to Channel 4, Lord Ahmed, the convener of the government's Preventing Extremism taskforce, said he was worried about the programme's consequences: 'While I appreciate that exaggerated opinions make good TV, they do not make for good community relations.'

Community relations uber alles. Too bad, though, it only works one way.

Another preacher says: 'The time is fast approaching where the tables are going to turn and the Muslims are going to be in the position of being uppermost in strength and, when that happens, people won't get killed - unjustly.'

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Squick to the Millionth Degree

In his new book, Terry MacAuliffe reports that Arafat repeatedly rubbed his leg under the table at a dinner in Washington in 2000.

The idea of this has me gagging into my cereal. It's Arafat. Rubbing leg. Enough said.

Oriana Fallaci was the first, I believe, to report that Arafat was gay; she observed the eye-contact and body language between him and his bodyguard during her interview with him.

Here's also a very interesting book review on the current state of Islam and homosexuality; it is a fairly informative review dealing with how fundamentalism has complicated the situation for homosexuals in Islam, a phenomenon that had long been tolerated. See too here.

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Teddy Kolleck and James Jesus Angleton

Two fascinating stories about the relationship between Teddy Kolleck, former mayor of Jerusalem, who recently passed away aged 95 and James Jesus Angleton. Teddy Kolleck was apparently instrumental in establishing close ties between Israel and the US, and one way he did so was by the quality of the intelligence he passed from Israel to the US, including key information on the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

From Michael Ledeen:
Few Americans know of the unique role Kollek played in this country's history, when he was the right arm of David Ben-Gurion. I know about it only because, many years ago, the Forward newspaper asked me to write a serialized novel about Kollek and the CIA's legendary chief of counterterrorism, James Jesus Angleton...

Relations with America at the time were strained. Many top U.S. intelligence, diplomatic, and military leaders believed Israel was a communist cats' paw in the Middle East. It was a socialist country, after all, and the Soviet Union was one of the first countries to recognize Israeli independence.

And from Debkafiles, the personal recollection of Giora Shamis:
It was in fact Kollek's personal tip to [James Jesus] Angleton that led to the exposure of the notorious British Oxford Ring of British Soviet spies, Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and George Blake.

Very little is known of the late mayor’s cloak and dagger career because he chose to keep it dark.

However, on one of the rare occasions when he offered a glimpse of his past, Kollek invited Giora Shamis, currently chief editor of DEBKAfile, to join him and a visitor, an old undercover buddy, Anthony Cavendish of MI6, in May 20, 1998 at the King David Hotel, Jerusalem. Both were long retired by then.
Read the whole thing.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Memories of Arik

An excerpt of Sharon's final days from Uri Dan's last book on Sharon, An Intimate Portrait.

On January 2, 2006, at 5:15 p.m., my friend called me for the last time from his car. He was going to Sycamore Farm, where he was to dine with his family. Arik was still shuttling between his office and Jerusalem and his farm in the Negev, despite the advice of his doctors, who urged him to stay near the Hadassah hospital. He detested his official apartment, where he felt like he was suffocating.

“Get well soon!” I said to him. “Forty cretins are waiting for you to get them elected to the Knesset!” Instead of losing his temper or trying to calm my “extremist” fervor, Ariel broke into the thundering laughter that so many Israeli comedians liked to imitate. No, he wasn’t fooled by the political maneuvers of his current allies. That laugh still resonates in my ears, like a cry of truth.

Sharon fell into a coma a year ago today.

Uri Dan himself died on December 24, 2006.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Reported "In A Stable Condition"

Pajamas Media is noting that there is a report of the death Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

We wish him much stability.

Meanwhile, has Iran entirely suppressed the results of its recent elections?

Because worse than Khameini as Supreme Leader would be that crazy apocalyptic nutter, Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi (born 1934), who is Ahmadinejad's spiritual leader.

A nice unstable Iran could turn out to be a big help for the US position in the short term.

In related news, Drudge has an unlinked headline reporting that President Bush will nominate Zalmay Khalilzad, the current Moslem-American ambassador to Iraq, as the new US ambassador to the UN. That looks to be a good choice for a few reasons - the Democrats cannot possibly filibuster it for any rational reason and he can call bullshit on anyone making up data points about the Middle East. From what I understand, he did a widely respected job in Iraq.

Kim Priestap at Wizbang points out that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon may select Khalilzad as Undersecretary General for Political Affairs, one of the most important jobs in the UN, setting the stage for an entirely different UN, hopefully a competent non-third world one.

Pan's Labyrinth

I saw Pan's Labyrinth over the holiday weekend; and unlike the vast majority of films these days, I was still puzzling over the meaning days later. I've been unhappy with it the last few days because I felt the final scenes forced me into a perspective that I thought essentially negated the very story premise that I had watched during the course of the movie.

Last night I figured out the exegetical work around. And now, happily, I don't have to puzzle anymore; though I'm also sure there's a lot left of the movie I haven't yet worked through.

The last movie I saw, by the way, that took so much work to figure out was Hero. And like Hero, the exegetical solution to the film has to do with absence.

Spoilers for Pan's Labyrinth below.

Anyway, this is what I came up with last night.

I finally solved the magic trick of the movie. It takes place in first person serial - that means that there are several points of view that show us individual first person perspectives on the situation in Pan's Labyrinth. None of them is the authorial viewpoint, the perspective that shows us the correct interpretation of events, though Ofelia's comes closest; they are only their own viewpoint - and thus no one voice is the arbiter of what actually happened.

So we have Ofelia's POV - whose name inevitably makes us think of a dead, mad, young innocent girl. In this tale, Ofelia has a foot in two worlds. And she is the mediator between.

Then we have scenes from the POV of the fairy. The camera distinctly cuts away from Ofelia for the first time and shows us how things look from his POV.

Then we have the faun. That makes two points of view from the fairy world.

We also have Vidal, the cruel tyrant from the Spanish civil war.

Then we have Mercedes. Thus, to match, we are shown scenes from two characters in the "real" world.

The faun and Vidal parallel. They are both scary, violent authority figures -

Mercedes and the fairy parallel. Both are brave helpers who believe in Ofelia and love her.

At the end of the movie, Ofelia is shot and as she is shot she sees herself successfully returning to her own kingdom in the fairy world. But as she is dying, the POV moves away from her; and by the very end of the movie, the perspective we are given shows Ofelia merely dying, and we, thus, are maneuvered into drawing the necessary corollary - that her magic universe is suddenly and curdlingly diminished to the fantastic imaginings of a young girl who went too far into her own labyrinth. Which got her, tragically, killed. All of this reflects Mercedes perspective - and what we know is that Mercedes does not believe in magic.

Thus, the conclusion we are led to reflects Mercedes view of the world. A young girl dies by standing up for good against an insane tyrant and it is a great tragedy. And after the tears and deep heartache for another innocent killed by a cruel man in a cruel war, it's all over.

Except for the feeling of purposelessness that this viewpoint leads us right to, with no means of retreat, like the cliff edge of the void.

Yet, this stark view of the universe negates the entire narrative of Ofelia's tale - the tale we've just watched for the past few hours - so that the film leaves us on a troubled note. This perspectival disjunction is unsettling; it makes only a very grim sense of what we have seen. Which tends to render the entire film empty. But this very disjunction works as an exegetical siren call, leaving us desirous of working through the disjunction of the movie to film it out.

Consider again. The drastic change in perspective, from Ofelia to Mercedes is the effective narrative "magic trick," that convinces us everything we saw was a story that Ofelia made up and thus "not real"; from that point on, from the moment of Ofelia's death, we no longer have access to Ofelia's POV. We only see Mercedes' view of what occurred. And she, a redoubtable lady, does not believe in all that childish nonsense; for her, caught up in the tragedy of war, deaths of innocents are tragic and heartbreaking. And there is no meaning to them beyond the senselessness of what just occurred in the fight for freedom.

But elsewhere in the film we were already told that after Ofelia "died" all memory of her would be forgotten except small signs for those who could see them.

And Mercedes, certainly at that tragic point in her life, is unable to see any small signs.

But her POV is only one POV of the whole. It is the ending note, one note of resolution. But the story already told us in its own terms what happens to Ofelia.

So I would say that Mercedes' perspective is pshat - the plain line reading of the text. But what is also true, in the story's own terms, is that the character who mediated the two universes is no longer present.

Hence, there are the other levels of exegesis to consider: remez, drasha and sod (hints, allegory, secrets/mysteries), and these aspects of exegesis give us leave to interpret the tale differently. And we should not expect, in a story of this complication, for all points of view to be consistent - when are they ever?

So in the end, the audience gets to decide which story he saw based upon his own character, his perspective, his penchant for things and his view of the world; was it a magic tale? Or a story of an insane girl caught up in war? Is Ofelia's complete absence from the finale an indicator? Or does it merely signify her death?

Or should they regard the multiplicity of viewpoints, and no clear authorial solution, as the multiplicity of the universe, where often times different perspectives on the world are at war with each other.

Anyway, I feel better now that I have resolved my exegetical difficulty. I knew there was something lurking there then the surface appearance.

It just took me a while to dig for the key to open the lock.

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All Manner of Heresy May Arise, Has V'helilah

In an attempt to compete with their Muslim fundamentalist breathren, Ultra Orthodox Rabbis charged with determining education policies in the ultra orthodox community have come out with a Ban on Education for Women.
A committee of rabbis formulating the education policy in the ultra-Orthodox community has prohibited women's continuing education programs and severely restricted other study courses, thus blocking the advancement and development of haredi women's careers.

This is a devastating economic and professional blow to thousands of women teachers, who are the primary breadwinners in the ultra-Orthodox community. It is also a drastic regression in haredi women's ongoing process of moving ahead in their studies and career and in improving their economic situation.

The repercussions on the teachers and the ultra-Orthodox education system are tantamount to an earthquake, as the haredi newspaper Yated Neeman called it. The issues at the heart of the ultra-Orthodox society are at stake - the limits of education, the norm requiring women to be the breadwinners while their husbands study and, above all, the authority of the rabbis and functionaries to foist restrictions on the increasingly frustrated public.

In recent years, the reforms in the continuing education programs have not pleased the rabbis, who object to women's "academic" studies. The conservatives warned of women's "career ambitions," fearing they would now be able to break out of the "teaching ghetto" and find other jobs than teaching. Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv was quoted in Yated Neeman objecting to teachers' enrolling in "all kinds of other education programs without any supervision of rabbis on every detail".

He warned that without close supervision and determining the content, "all manner of heresy can creep into those programs."

The rabbis were mostly infuriated by the psychological subjects in the teaching programs. Freud and Western psychology had always been a red rag to them.
Our authors are playing games - a red rag, meaning that the subject matter is as impure to them as menstrual blood. And there is also the inevitable bull comparison leavened in - the subject makes them so mad, they charge instinctually. Moreover, there was the recent kerfuffle when the Rabbinic committee on Modesty - a committee made up of all men - continued their millenial commitment to banning the color red for women. Red being an immodest, attention seeking color in which to adorn oneself.

Most of all, one can't help thinking that the rabbis don't want any women analyzing their power and control issues. Or reflecting on the fact that once haredi women begin earning a lot of money, it will inevitably change the dynamics at home, and this is an easy way to head off that problem.

All in all - an absolutely shameful and deplorable decision. Though I wonder if it a bit like closing the gate once the horses have already fled the stable.

Will the status quo eventually prevail?

Or, now that they have been introduced to the advantages of higher education, will the women and perhaps the community at large - decide that the rabbis on this particular committee do not know what they are talking about and create in effect a grass roots movement to effect change from the ground up. There are certainly historical precedents for the rabbis coming around to the minhag of the people.

And will the rabbis in return make this the staging ground for an all out ideological war?

I can't help but think about Poland early last century - when the women began to assimilate at a great rate because they were offered secular education and no religious education - at which point the Bais Ya'akov school system for Haredi girls was founded to counter this move towards the women assimilating by offering them a baseline religious education. Perhaps this was a preemptive move by the rabbis to cut off greater secular education among women, lest they begin assimilating once they, too, receive their secular higher education.

But in the end, they seem dead set on keeping women in terribly compensated jobs, and the haredi world, with their huge families, living in or near poverty conditions. Do they believe that is spiritually beneficial?

To me that seems like the last shreds of exilic thinking strangling any oxygen to the brain. If this is how they propose to help the haredi world flourish until Messiah comes, it seems to me that Messiah will tarry quite a while still.

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