The Media’s Memorial Day

The Media’s Memorial Day
Vol: 104 Issue: 31 Monday, May 31, 2010

The memorial honoring what is now officially known as ‘the Greatest Generation’ was, fittingly enough, timed to open for this year’s Memorial Day. Those who fought World War Two aren’t known as the Greatest Generation just because they endured the challenges of war, although that by itself would qualify its members for the title.

Throughout the history of warfare, the principle; ‘to the victor go the spoils’ generally described the purpose of warfare in the first place. The Axis’ goal was world domination, and they raped every country that they conquered.

But when they were conquered in turn by the Greatest Generation, the victors turned the spoils back over to the vanquished. For the first time in the history of war, (but not the last) nations vanquished by the Greatest Generation could count on emerging from the conflict better off than they were when the entered it.

(This was famously illustrated by the hysterically funny Peter Sellers in the 1960’s movie, “The Mouse that Roared.”)

It is hard to imagine the hardships endured by the men who landed on the Normandy beacheads. The late Stephen Ambrose and WWII historian (and veteran) helped design a computer game called Medal of Honor that simulates the journey from the landing craft to the seawall at Normandy from a first person perspective. (Ambrose oversaw the historical accuracy of the simulation)

Playing it, one wonders how ANY of the flesh and blood heroes it simulates ever actually made it to the seawall alive.

It strains the limits of the imagination to contemplate what it must have been like to be one of the men climbing up the sheer faces of the cliffs at Normandy as enemy forces shot them down from above.

And having survived, imagine the prospect of facing perhaps YEARS more of the same, liberating the whole of Europe, one town at a time.

The Greatest Generation was the generation that, having endured all that they endured at the hands of a determined, sadistic and vicious enemy, left their bitterness on the battlefield and built a world in which most of their children lived out their lives having never heard a shot fired in anger.

The Greatest Generation is also so-titled because of the tenderness with which it is treated by the media. It was the Greatest Generation that built and controlled the great media empires of their time. The veterans who had seen war understood both the cost of war and the price of peace.

They didn’t come home to saturate the pubic with stories of American atrocities against the enemy. They didn’t defame the men who fought and died for freedom, or those who survived to enjoy its benefits.

America’s warriors were portrayed by John Wayne and Randolph Scott, and they weren’t cowards or baby killers. To this generation, they seem corny and almost like caricatures, but to their audiences of the time, they were believable because they reflected the character and nature of the people that they attracted to the theaters.

There were honors and parades and plenty of commentators lamenting the passing of the Greatest Generation (somebody calculated it at 1,057 a day) and there were news cameras all over the place to capture the event — before broadcasting snippets of it in between stories of military misconduct and accusations of war crimes being leveled against US troops fighting in Iraq.

Assessment:

As America honors — and deservedly so — the generation that made America the greatest nation in the history of the world, an ROTC recruit complained to the New York Post Friday, “I’ve been called a baby killer,” by her fellow students at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University.

The future military officer told the paper, “I was thinking, I took an oath to defend their right to call me that.”

The peace and safety that was won by the Greatest Generation is now being defended by troops no less committed to America than were their grandparents, but it seems unlikely they’ll get any parades.

Since none of the other efforts to discredit the administration have borne fruit, the media has decided to attack the current Commander in Chief through his troops.

Consider the efforts that have been tried so far without success;

The war against Saddam was a neoconservative conspiracy, a capitalist conspiracy, a Zionist conspiracy, a Jewish conspiracy, and, according to some, a conspiracy between all the above and the faceless ‘oil companies’, (which are not to be confused with OPEC — the liberals LOVE those guys!)

Howard Dean went so far as to claim Bush knew in advance of the September 11 attacks, but did nothing to stop it. Dean’s comments were immediately picked up by the wire services and flashed to every newspaper editor in the world.

Then there was the effort to claim there is no evidence of a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam. (Despite reams of evidence to the contrary that seldom gets mentioned outside the pages of the Washington Times).

There has been what can only be called a bizarre effort to convince America there is absolutely no evidence that Hussein ever possessed WMD’s, effectively rewriting history as it unfolds.

None of that has worked. So now the mainstream has turned on the military forces fighting in Iraq, representing them as war criminals fighting an illegal war.

Right now, as we honor the sacrifices made by our fighting men in prior wars, there are convoys of reporters scouring Iraq and Afghanistan, looking for former detainees to tell their stories of abuse and torture at American hands.

America is a nation at war. We are in a battle for our national lives, against a world filled with enemies. Even our alleged friends are suspicious of our motives, prepared to accept any story that confirms their pet suspicions, to the point that even when confronted with the evidence, still condemn us for removing Saddam Hussein and his terror machine from power.

And most of the anti-American propaganda abroad is being spread by the liberal media and American politicians so hungry for power that America’s national interests are secondary to partisan propaganda. And the idiots that support them.

The media’s Memorial Day honors those who protected America’s freedom in past wars. As we pray for America, let us remember those who are protecting us right now. May God bless and keep them safe.

Note:  Today’s Omega Letter is a republication from May 30th, 2004.  The more things change, the more they stay the same. The OL will resume its normal publication schedule tomorrow. Happy Memorial Day.

The Christian Caricature

The Christian Caricature
Vol: 104 Issue: 29 Saturday, May 29, 2010

Most of us understand the nature of the Christian character — the New Testament is abundantly clear on the subject.

When one becomes a Christian, one becomes a ‘new creature’ in Christ — the old things pass away, and are replaced by a new heart and a new mind.

The transformation is as unique as one’s relationship with Christ; it takes place in different ways at different speeds — as I noted last week, “each of us is unique — just like everybody else.”

But it is real, and every person who has ever surrendered their lives to Christ has experienced that transformation to some degree. I have been saved for more that thirty years and that transformation is still taking place. It will continue to take place, the Bible assures me, until the day I stand before the Lord:

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

It is that transformed, Christian character that leads us to the understanding that we are each in the process of being transformed — an understanding summed up well by the bumper-sticker slogan; “Christians Aren’t Perfect — Just Forgiven.”

Mature, born-again Christians who understand the individuality of a believer’s relationship with Christ know the difference between a believer who is struggling with the flesh and a hypocrite.

There is no hypocrisy in recognizing something as sin, even if it is a sin that one is still personally struggling with. The hypocrisy comes from pretending it is only sin when somebody else does it.

Hypocrisy comes easily to a Christian — even when on conscious guard against it — even when alone. Especially when alone:

I recall driving down the highway one day and passing a car literally slathered with Christian bumper stickers. As I pulled abreast of it, the lady driving rolled down her window and tossed out a cigarette.

Even though there is nothing in Scripture that makes smoking more a sin than being obese, the first thought that came to my mind was, “hypocrite” — and I know better!

The Lord instructed us to pray that our Father “forgive us our trespasses” as (or, ‘in the same manner’) “we forgive others.”

It is therefore our spiritual character to want to forgive others, almost to the point of being a fault. That is the Christian character. Actually doing it is another story — because Christianity is not of this world.

Jesus said that Christianity is an enemy to the world, and the world is an enemy to it. He went out of His way to remind believers that while they might be in this world, they are not of it.

Which is the reason for the constant internal battle between the character of the world we live in and the character of the Word that lives in us.

Assessment:

The opposite side of the coin is the Christian “caricature”. A ‘caricature’ is “a picture, description, or imitation of a person or thing in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect.”

The world’s view of Christianity does not reflect its character, but instead is more of a caricature. Non-Christians have no frame of reference against which to judge Christianity except by observing its adherents.

Since, by definition, few non-Christians go to church, what they know of Christianity apart from personal observation is fed to them by the media.

Outrageous, prejudiced, and insensitive statements make for great press, so they are often reported, with the implication that these kinds of things are typical of Christians.

Here is what most non-believers know of Christianity, based on what they learn from the press about it:

Pat Robertson called for Hugo Chavez’ assassination. Jerry Falwell blamed the Christmas tsunami on an angry and vengeful God. Then Pat Robertson blamed Him for Katrina. The Catholic priesthood is shot through with pedophiles that were protected by the Vatican for decades.

Among this morning’s headlines is this one: “Minister Arrested in Internet Sex Sting.” The lead paragraph informs readers that,

“a minister from a mega-church in Plano, Texas is facing charges of online solicitation of sex with a minor after being arrested in Bryan, Texas.”

(I’ll spare you the sordid details. Let me just summarize by saying it didn’t do much to dispel the Christian caricature.)

I Googled “Pastor arrested” and got 1,141 hits from the Google news aggregator just now. Here are a few from the first page:

“Sex Cult Pastor Arrested in Texas” (ABC); “Uganda: Pastor Arrested Over Stolen Car” (AllAfrica.com); “Local Pastor Arrested For Armed Robbery” (Rocktown Weekly, VA); “Pastor of Hindsdale Church Arrested” (Chicago Tribune); “Youth Pastor’s Teen Sex Charges” (Newsday) ; “Ex-Pastor Finds Little Forgiveness From Rape Victims in Court” (Philadelphia Daily News)

(These are all different cases, in different parts of the country, different pastors, different crimes — the stories had just one thing in common. They were all published within the last twenty-four hours.)

I am trying to recall the last positive portrayal of a Christian pastor or of Christianity itself by Hollywood and I am drawing a blank.

If there are any, they are crowded out by mental images of Robert DeNiro’s Scripture-quoting rapist in “Cape Fear” or Homer Simpson’s annoying Christian neighbor Ned Flanders on “the Simpsons.”

The tendency to portray Christianity as the ultimate evil disguised as good infuriates Christians — who know better — but this stuff is produced by unbelievers who don’t.

I’ve often noted that America is the world’s representative standard of Christianity. It is seen as the world’s most Christian country, whether it deserves that honorific or not.

In terms of culture, that is undeniable. Nobody (except the Palestinians) would dispute characterizing Israel as a “Jewish State.”

But according to the CIA World Fact Book, only 76.4% of the citizens of the State of Israel self-identify as Jews, 16% Muslims, 2% Christians and the remainder “other.”

The section on America breaks down as follows: Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)

Using the CIA definition of ‘Christian’, America is currently estimated to be 78.5% Christian, making America, demographically, more ‘Christian’ than Israel is ‘Jewish’.

It is small wonder that the popular caricature of Christianity is that of rank hypocrisy. Even less wonder that the jihadists have such success in their recruiting efforts.

During the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, Jesus dictates seven letters to the Apostle John, addressed to each of the seven churches of Asia Minor at the time.

Hindsight being 20/20, theologians have looked back through history and discovered that the character of each of those churches corresponded to the main characteristics of the Christian church during various definable periods of its history.

1. Ephesus 33-100 (the Apostolic Age)

2. Smyrna 100-312 (the Persecuted Church)

3. Pergamos 312-590 (the Faithful Church)

4. Thyatira 590-1517 (the Worldly Church)

5. Sardis 1517-1750 (the Dead Church)

6. Philadelphia 1750-1925 (the Missionary Church)

7. Laodicea 1925-Tribulation (the Apostate Church)

Jesus addressed the following letter to the Christian church of the last days:

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold no
r hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
(Revelation 3:14-19)

The Apostle Paul was writing to the Laodicean Church when he warned, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”

Since God is referencing Israel (76.4% Jews) when He addresses the Jews of the last days, it seems equally reasonable that He is primarily referencing America (78.5% Christian) when He is addressing the caricature of Christianity that is the overall Laodicean Church.

And for the first time in America’s short history, it is perilous to be a Christian in America.

Particularly when one compares Paul’s description of Laodicean society to, oh . . . I dunno . . . . the headlines??

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” (2nd Timothy 3:1-5)

The point is this. For many unbelievers, you may be the only example of the character of Christianity they ever encounter. What they are expecting of you is the caricature of Christianity that they have come to know and consciously reject.

It is up to you to disappoint them.

In Memorial

In Memorial
Vol: 104 Issue: 28 Friday, May 28, 2010

This is the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day is a celebration of freedom and those that defend it.   We celebrate with heavy overdoses of all things American, fireworks, hot dogs, BBQs, picnics, baseball games and so on. 

The fireworks are to remind us that freedom doesn’t come without a fight and the overindulgence in Americana is to honor those that missed the party because they had to pay for it.

Memorial Day isn’t a just the official kick-off of the summer season or an excuse for a long weekend.  It is a day set aside by an Act of Congress in 1971 to honor the veterans of American wars.

Before that, it was called ‘Decoration Day’ since it was first proclaimed by the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. 

In 1868, General John Logan ordered that the graves of the Civil War dead interred at Arlington national cemetery be decorated with flowers to commemorate their sacrifice.

His order included both Union and Confederate war dead.  No matter which side they fought on, they were all American.

In recent years, the purposes of Memorial Day have taken second place to the party aspect — it is more a celebration of summer and less a celebration of freedom and hardly at all about honoring our war dead.

Many of the graves of the fallen are ignored.   In those places in America where flying Old Glory isn’t either illegal or forbidden,  proper flag etiquette protocols call for flying the flag at half-mast until noon to symbolize a nation in mourning.

In one of the last acts and few shining moments of his presidency, Bill Clinton issued Official White House Memorandum asking all Americans to pause for one minute at 3 PM on Memorial Day to reflect on the price paid by our fellow citizens for our continued freedom.

In part, the Memorandum states:

“Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our Nation’s freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.”

Evidently, one day of national reverence is too much for the current White House. On Memorial Day, Vice President Joe Biden will lay the wreath at Arlington National Cemetery on the President’s behalf.

The president has a scheduling confict — he’s on vacation in Chicago.

Assessment:

The dictionary defines ‘honor’ as: “the reputation, self-perception or moral identity of an individual or of a group.”

This weekend is not just the beginning of summer. It is set aside to honor those who make the supreme sacrifice on your behalf. It is a time set aside to pray for those who protect us from harm. It is a time for us to love those who loved us with a love beyond human comprehension.

This weekend, as in past Memorial Day weekends, the networks will be re-running all those great old WWII propaganda movies.  

The ones where the Nazis and Imperial Japanese were evil personified and the American GI is depicted as a salt-of-the-earth guy forced to put down his plowshare to reluctantly pick up a gun and defend his country.

They were called ‘propaganda’ movies and they might have been, but the propaganda message was that America was worth dying for. 

They are stories from a bygone era about a nation united, strong and free.  We don’t see those kinds of stories anymore.  

Duty. Honor. Country.  These are things worth memorializing. 

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Note: Our home is blessed this weekend with the presence of children and grandchildren from near and far.  With your permission, tomorrow’s Omega Letter will be a blast from the past so that we can all celebrate the Memorial Day weekend together. 

May God bless us all.  

China’s North Korean Conundrum

China’s North Korean Conundrum
Vol: 104 Issue: 27 Thursday, May 27, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a press conference that the United States would offer additional briefings and other information to China in hopes it can convince China that North Korea was responsible for torpedoing a South Korean warship in March.

There is a LOT of information packed away in that sentence, not much of it good. (From the Western perspective, anyway.)

Clinton said a 400-page technical report on the sinking by an international team, including experts from the US, led to the “inescapable” conclusion North Korea was to blame and that action had to be taken.

Of course the conclusion was ‘inescapable’.  Torpedoes aren’t zipping around the South China Sea like porpoises. It came from somewhere.

Clinton’s task isn’t to convince China that it was a North Korean torpedo.  Beijing probably knew that before we did.    

We hope China will take us up on our offer,” she told reporters in Seoul, where she was on a one-day visit. “I believe that the Chinese understand the seriousness of this issue and are willing to listen to the concerns expressed by both South Korea and the United States.”

The Korean War ended in a cease-fire in 1953.  A state of war still exists between South Korea and her allies and the North and her allies.  The chief belligerents were the same then as now, essentially Seoul/Washington vs. Pyongyang/Beijing.

But things are different now than they were then.   In 1953, Maoist Communist China was a natural ally of Kim il Sung’s Stalinist Communist regime.  

The modern Chinese economic powerhouse of 2010 finds little in common with North Korea — where it is still 1953.

Beijing has far more in common with Washington where trade between the two nations has fueled China’s transformation into the Next Big Thing in Western investment opportunities.  

But Beijing is still tied by treaty and regional self-interest with the crazy little North Korean dictatorship.  If nothing else, Pyongyang has kept the West slightly off-balance, giving Beijing an edge, one almost imperceptible to us but critical for them.

As long as the West’s attention is focused on Pyongyang, it isn’t focusing on Chinese issues like human rights and slave labor.  Compared to North Korea, China is paradise on earth.

When Washington gets too pushy, Beijing can use Kim Jong il to push back indirectly, thereby accomplishing its will without jeopardizing China’s massive US trade imbalance so favorable to the Chinese bottom line.

Chinese influence in North Korea could be traded for international attention and influence elsewhere. If Seoul or Washington wanted to deal with North Korea or change Pyongyang’s behavior, it must first go to Beijing.

That is why China has been the centerpiece of the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program. Still, Beijing understands what Washington does not. 

Kim is completely nuts.   

Assessment:

A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” – James 1:8

Imagine an escaped serial killer from Death Row on the run.  He is already facing execution – what does he have to lose?

Kim Jong il has the morality of the serial killer.  Out of power, he’d have the life expectancy of Saddam Hussein. 

He has nothing to lose — if warranted, he would think no more nuking Seoul’s 22 million inhabitants than he does starving his own people to support his own lavish lifestyle.

This is what Beijing understands that the Western world — and especially somebody like Hillary Clinton — cannot. Kim Jong il is Osama bin Laden with nukes — but Kim’s ’cause’ is Kim Jong il.

That’s part of the reason why Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun yesterday repeated a call for “restraint” by both sides and said China had no “firsthand information” on the sinking.

“China wants to avoid a conflict on the Korean peninsula, and is concerned that taking South Korea’s side may provoke North Korea into further escalations and even lead to war,” said Shen Dingli, vice dean of the Institute of International Affairs at Shanghai’s Fudan University.

“China is doing the thing that best suits China’s interests and everyone’s interest,” Shen said. “China is not pushing the envelope either on the North Korean side to be aggressive or on the South Korean to punish North Korea with warfare.”

North Korea this week said it will cut all ties to the South in response to the findings of the panel.

According to a report in Bloomberg’s Financial Times, Kim ordered his military to be combat-ready sending the Korean won down 3 percent against the dollar on May 25, the biggest one-day drop since March 30, 2009.

“North Korea is dying, and we can make things worse,” Shen said. “We have assumed North Korea is not a rational actor.”

That’s a diplomatic way of saying that the North Korean leadership is just as nuts as is Kim Jong il. 

China’s intervention in the Korean War was as much (if not more) about keeping the U.S. military from setting up bases along the Yalu River, the border between China and North Korea, as it was about helping out a Communist ally.

The traditional Chinese phrase “as close as lips and teeth,” which it uses to describe the relationship with North Korea, has a second line: “When the lips are gone, the teeth get cold.”

What China is really attempting to do is force Washington to accept a deal that will keep China’s teeth warm.  China doesn’t want war with Washington over Kim Jong il — but when push comes to shove, it won’t give up its buffer zone along the Yalu River, either.

In the event Kim’s government is on the verge of collapse, or if war does break out,  Beijing stands ready to topple Kim from within and install its own Korean leadership in Pyongyang.

That lets China keep its buffer state.  It takes Kim Jong il’s finger off the nuclear button.  The US gets to avoid a conflict and everybody is happy.  

But for Beijing, that is the worst-case scenario.  Right now, everything is under control and everything favors China.  If China supports the US on sanctions, it risks reducing China’s influence over the North, which is bad for everybody.

But if China underestimates either its control over Kim or just how crazy Kim really is, the cost could be thirty thousand US troops stationed outside Seoul and Seoul’s 22 million native inhabitants.

So China is either our best friend.  Or our worst enemy.   AND it is neither — or both — at the same time. 

Tick . . .Tick . . .Tick

Who Squashed the Moderates?

Who Squashed the Moderates?
Vol: 104 Issue: 26 Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A New York City community board voted to approve the construction of an Islamic mosque and cultural center within steps of Ground Zero.

Conservative tea party activist Mark Williams has called the proposed center a monument to the terror attacks. So have many of the family members of the 9/11 victims.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer defended the decision and denounced what he calls “offensive” speech directed at the plan or at Muslims. 

“What I want people to do is to take a look at the totality of what they are proposing,” Stringer said. “What we’re rejecting here is outright bigotry and hatred.”

In Stringer’s eyes, I would be a bigot and a hater because I oppose constructing a mosque near Ground Zero. 

I’ve noticed that those who routinely use words like ‘bigot’ and ‘racist’ almost always do so in the context of defending their own hatred, racism or bigotry.  Only a bigot would automatically assume that opposition to the mosque was prompted by hatred. 

My opposition doesn’t arise from bigotry, but out of respect for America’s war dead.  It isn’t born out of hatred for Islam, but out of love for the families of their victims.

I cannot imagine how I would feel if Gayle or one of my kids had been murdered in the Twin Towers and the first monument to be constructed was an Islamic cultural center. 

But I am pretty sure my first feeling would be pain.  Serious, agonizing, screaming-out-loud pain.   There is no hatred in empathizing with that pain.  There is no bigotry in asking that the mosque be built somewhere else. 

Anywhere else. 

I don’t hate Germans.  But I would object to Germany constructing a monument to Germany on the grounds of a former death camp.    I don’t hate Japanese.  I would object to Japan building a monument to Japan along the road to Bataan.

Somebody has to say it, if for no other reason but to restore balance to the universe.   Let me.

Borough president Stringer is an idiot of the first order.  It makes me a little sick at my stomach to think that somebody this hateful, clueless and condescending has authority over his own children, let alone being a Borough president.

Some might think my calling him an ‘idiot’ is hateful.  Allow me to offer some evidence in support of my contention.

Stringer said he understood the sensitivities of the families of 9/11 victims. If so, he is more than just a bigoted jerk.  Stringer stands as a living testimony to the blind cruelty of the self-righteous Left and the platitudes they cloak themselves with.

“I don’t think anybody wants to do anything to disrespect those families. They made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.   

But if you think it is disrespectful, you are a hater and a bigot.  You know, like the 9/11 families are.   Have you ever heard such idiocy?  How the heck is being MURDERED a ‘sacrifice’ — as if the families had offered up their loved ones to some greater good.

This is what frightens me about America’s future.  Idiots like this guy actually holding positions of authority.

“At the same time, we have to balance diversity and look for opportunities to bring different groups together.”

Balance diversity?  The ENTIRE US Islamic population LESS than 2% — or about equal to the number of Americans that believe they have been abducted by UFO’s. 

But Stringer is by no means the only idiot involved here.  Just the most obvious.  But there are others.  The AP quoted some guy named Bruce Wallace who said he lost a nephew on 9/11. 

“The moderate Muslim voice has been squashed in America,” says Wallace. 

 I’m not sure what bothers me most about that last statement.  His blind faith in the existence of a moderate Muslim voice?

Or his contention that somehow it was ‘squashed’ by someone.  WHO ‘squashed’ the moderate Muslim voice?   When Muslims worldwide stood up to cheer the attacks on September 11th, where were the moderate voices?  Where have they been since then? 

So who squashed the Islamic moderates?

Assessment:

Honestly — I want to scream in fury.  I am almost beside myself with rage.  But my anger isn’t directed at Islam.  

It is at the idiotic arguments being offered and even more so at hearing them picked up and amplified by other idiots thinking that they are taking the higher moral ground.   

Am I a bigot?  Or are these guys monumentally stupid?   I wasn’t sure so I typed “moderate Islam” into Google to see which side of the question I am on.

I didn’t read all the hits.  But in order, the first one was from Foreign Policy Magazine.   It was titled, “The Myth of Moderate Islam.”

The next was a piece by Daniel Pipes entitled, “Identifying Moderate Muslims.”  This was the only ‘positive’ return on the first page, in that Pipes says he believes in the existence of moderate Islam.  And he has the proof.

Pipes believes that because a handful of Muslim clerics and other Islamic groups “found their voices” since September 11.  Pipes was able to find SIX individuals he thought might be moderate and TWO ‘organizations.’ (Out of 1.6 billion Muslims)

The next was from Europe News.  The title says it all; “Moderate Islam?”

According to Islamfortoday.com, the only ones who believe in moderate Islam are idiots like the Manhattan Borough president and dhimmis like Wallace.

“Muslims in general do not like using the term, understanding it to indicate an individual who has politically sold out to the “other” side. In some internal intellectual debates, the term moderate Muslim is used pejoratively to indicate a Muslim who is more secular and less Islamic than the norm, which varies across communities.”

They don’t like using the term because ‘moderate Muslim’ is the functional equivalent to ‘apostate Christian.’

“Both, Western media and Muslims, do a disservice by branding some Muslims as moderate on the basis of their politics. These people should general be understood as opportunists and self-serving. Most of the moderate regimes in the Muslim World are neither democratic nor manifest the softer side of Islam. That leaves intellectual positions as the criteria for determining who is a moderate Muslim, and especially in comparison to whom, since moderate is a relative term.”  Muqtedar Khan, PhD.

Remember where we began.  We started by looking for ‘moderate Islam’.  

The next return to my search was from Frontpagemagazine asking the question: “Is There a Moderate Islam?”

Next is one called “Moderate Islam Does Not Exist” followed by “Beheading Moderate Islam” followed by “Four Faces of Islam”  and only THEN do we find yet another idiot claiming that the voices of moderate Islam have been “silenced” by American “bigotry.”

So, maybe I am a bigot because I can’t find any evidence suggesting the existence of a moderate Islamic center.  There is nothing in the Koran that permits moderation.  

According to the Koran, Osama bin-Laden is a good Muslim.  Moderate Islam is a synonym for ‘apostate Islam’ according to Islamic authorities.   But what do they know?

The best authority is clearly a Manhattan Borough president who, without any evidence in hand apart from his own ignorance, just knows that Islam is a religion of peace and love and worthy of more respect than the victims of September 11th.

And since Wallace ‘lost a nephew’ on 9/11 he is obviously in the best position to unsquash moderate Islam’s voice by building a monument to the ideology responsible.

And anybody who doesn’t agree with them is a hateful bigot.   Except actual members of Islam who take offense at the label ‘moderate’.

They aren’t hateful bigots.  They are the ‘real’ 9/11 victims.   And if you disagree, you’re a hateful, bigoted jerk.  

No offense intended. 

Car 54, Where Are You?

Car 54, Where Are You?
Vol: 104 Issue: 25 Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I am a child of the 1950’s and 1960’s.  I grew up with television — I don’t remember a time before television, but I recall being aware that TV was as new to the world as I was.  

I can recall when TV Guide magazine was just a few pages long and a whole night’s prime-time listings could fit on two sides of one page.  

The TV was much more than entertainment.  It also served me as a time piece and a calendar — if it was “The Lone Ranger” it was 7:00 — if it was “Bonanza” it was Sunday.

But everything was entertaining, from the Mr. Clean animated commercials to the Mr. Ed theme song.   

The commercial jingles and the early TV theme songs found plenty of unoccupied space in my brain, burrowing in deep where they didn’t have to worry about competition.  Back then, I had room for permanent storage.  Now, new data has to compete for temporary rental space.

At least a few of you share my recollection of 1950’s-era sitcom that starred Joe E. Ross as Gunther Toody and Fred Gwynne as Officer Muldoon.  

Car 54, Where Are You?” was eventually remade into a movie, but like most similar efforts, it flopped badly.

It was a good idea in concept, but not so great on film.  A 90-second Joe E. Ross impersonation would have been fun.  Ninety-minutes was eighty-eight too many.  

It wasn’t even my favorite show as a kid — for almost the same reason.   Thirty minutes was twenty too many.  Like the Three Stooges, the original Joe E Ross was only funny for about ten minutes. Much more than that got slightly annoying.

Even when I was a kid it was hard to believe anybody quite that stupid could get a job involving more than two moving parts, let alone one carrying a loaded gun.

But there’s a point to all this.   Wait for it. . .

As I was reading over the top stories of the day on this morning’s Drudge Report, the theme song from one the original TV series popped unbidden and unexpectedly into my brain. 

I could hear it as plain as if there was a TV playing in the background . . . I even recalled all the words:

“There’s a hold-up in the Bronx, Brooklyn’s broken out in fights;
There’s a traffic jam in Harlem that’s backed up to Jackson Heights;
There’s a Scout troop short a child; Khrushchev’s due at Idlewild…
Car 54 – Where Are You?”

Assessment:

The Ballad of Car 54 is a painting of catastrophe and confusion writ large on New York’s relatively small canvas.   It was intended to create the exact image that my young mind instinctively rejected as implausible. 

They were so incompetent that (to me) it wasn’t funny.    If Toody and Muldoon were real cops, then instead of laughing at them, people would be horrified.   

Reading the headlines on today’s Drudge Report prompted all that recollection because it feels like the second half of the program.  

It’s a dream sequence where Gunther Toody is the President of the United States and Officer Muldoon holds all the positions in his cabinet.   

There’s a holdup in the Bronx . . .” 

Oil is flooding up from the sea floor of the Gulf of Mexico, causing catastrophic damage.  The government left BP in charge for six weeks, rather than stepping up early and risking the political damage that would come with each failed attempt.  

Now that BP has been indelibly associated with the failures, any government effort will be an improvement.

But not until after catastrophe becomes crisis.  There is blame that can be assigned to catastrophe.  But now that it’s been allowed to become a crisis, the government becomes the solution

From Obama’s perspective, the spill afforded a political opportunity, provided it was handled properly.  And it was. They just waited it out until the public saw BP as the only responsible face for the catastrophe — Obama can then ride in as the solution.  

The solution will be a moratorium on oil exploration and “a renewed commitment to finding alternative forms of energy” etc, etc., and some kind of ‘international effort’ that will give the UN more power over US sovereignty. 

One linked headline on Drudge this morning reads:  “Congress preparing to quadruple the tax on oil.” Surprise! 

Another reads: “US Plays Down European Crisis But China Worried.”  China is worried but we’re not?

“Brooklyn’s broken out in fights . . .”   

Obama’s latest approval ratings hit a new low of 42% according to one Drudge link.    

Below that is a link to a story calling Obama’s financial reform package “a disaster”  — as the Dow plummets 200 points in the first two minutes of this morning’s trading.

“There’s a traffic jam in Harlem that’s backed up to Jackson Heights . . .”

After six weeks of silence from Washington and Seoul, a multinational UN investigation concluded that North Korea torpedoed and sank a South Korean naval vessel in international waters, killing 44 South Korean sailors.

The US promptly threatened sanctions made the usual scary threats.  But China is backing North Korea.  If China stops lending us money, the Obama ‘spend us into prosperity’ plan will be exposed as the Ponzi scheme that it is.  

America will do nothing. 

Seoul’s bluster was more subdued, given that it is home to 22 million South Koreans living within artillery range of the DMZ.  

Remember when Joe Biden promised that Obama would be ‘tested’?  Kim Jong il is grading his paper right now.

There’s a Scout troop short a child;

Eight people have been charged with separately trying to access President Obama’s student loan records, both during his candidacy and after his election.  Each of them faces a year in prison and a maximum one hundred thousand dollars in fines.  

In 2004, Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger stole top secret documents from the National Archives in an effort to mislead the 9/11 Commission’s investigation concerning an act of war against the United States!

On conviction, Berger’s national security clearance was suspended for three years and he was fined ten thousand dollars.  No jail time.

Khrushchev’s due at Idlewild…

As US forces in Afghanistan prepare for the largest battle of the war so far,  Drudge reports that Obama is planning to skip the Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington to go on vacation in Chicago.

Syria’s Bashar Assad gave Obama a public dressing down saying America has “lost its influence in the Middle East” in advance of Obama’s scheduled visit with Lebanese leader Saad al-Hariri.  

Lebanon’s ‘government’ includes Hezbollah officials in both the administration and its parliament and is a largely a puppet government controlled from Damascus.   

The visit is the brainchild of Obama’s counter terrorism czar John Brennan, who advises the US to reach out to ‘moderate elements’ within Hezbollah as a way of opening relations with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.   

The White House has declared war on Arizona for passing a law they haven’t read that mirrors a federal law that the head of Immigration Enforcement has decided to refuse to enforce.

Ooh! Ooh!  Drudge just posted today’s lead story . . . “Obama’s Redistribution Victory;  Private Pay Plummets, Handouts Soar

 Car 54, Where Are You . . ?

”So Easy Even a Cave Man Can Do It”

”So Easy Even a Cave Man Can Do It”
Vol: 104 Issue: 24 Monday, May 24, 2010

In a research project that lasted close to three years, researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute created cells that were able to grow naturally, by inserting artificially created genetic material which was chemically printed and assembled in forced conditions into a cell.

Put another way, the Venter Institute claims that it created life.  Well, sort of.  It would be more accurate to say that they restored life.   The Venter team used the ‘corpse’ of a bacteria, mycoplama mycoides (more about that later) which they reprogrammed at the genetic level.

(Think Gene Wilder in “Young Frankenstein”.  The Frankenstein monster was made out of body parts stitched together and reanimated.  Their duet, “Puttin’ on the Ritz” keeps replaying in my head.)

But I digress . . . Peter  Boyle’s Frankenstein Monster wasn’t a ‘new’ life or even a ‘new’ creature — how would you portray the creation of new life from scratch in a movie?  The answer is, you really can’t. 

Such a movie would have no frame of reference for the audience.  How does a human mind conceive of something that cannot exist?    The answer remains the same.  It can’t.

It was the father of godless Communism, Vladimir Ilyanovich Lenin, who accidently offered the most startlingly obvious proof of the existence of God.   Lenin theorized that all man could learn about the universe is that which is physical — there is no immaterial or spiritual existence.

To prove his argument, Lenin challenged doubters to try and imagine a new prime color for the rainbow.  Try and visualize a color no one has ever seen before.  

Lenin’s argument was since nothing can be conceived which does not exist, nothing can exist outside the material universe.

The concept of God is that of an immaterial Being that exists outside of space and time.  His existence had no beginning and it has no end.  He is everywhere at once, yet He resides in Heaven.  He is all-knowing, all-seeing and all powerful.   

He created everything out of nothing, yet He exists above and distinct from all creation. Before anything was, He is.

What is the human frame of reference for an immaterial Spirit-Being that fits that description?   This is a big universe filled with everything imaginable. If God didn’t exist, could we have imagined Him? 

Can we imagine a new prime color for the rainbow?   Poor Vladimir Lenin!  He’s gone on to his ‘reward’ — so to speak. 

If Lenin went where his doctrine dictated, he is now explaining to Satan how he formulated the most iron-clad philosophical proof for the existence of God ever conceived.  

I hope that Heaven has instant replay.  Now, that would be entertainment! But once again, I digress.  

Back to the Frankencritter. . .

Assessment:

Venter’s Frankencritter is constructed from ‘body parts’ on the frame of the mycoplasma gentitalium, the tiniest known free-living bacterium.   The mycoplasma gentitalium has just 485 genes, fifteen of which Venter’s team deleted as superfluous.

Venter’s team took parts from mycoplasma gentitalium and combined it at the genetic level with parts from its cousin, mycoplama mycoides.

In the process, Venter deleted some 14 genes from mycoplama mycoides, writing new code to go with existing genes, (and even adding a watermark signature cipher that contains the URL of a website and three quotations — that Venter hopes to patent as a copyright)

The genome was inserted into genome-free bacteria, and the resulting bacteria colonies ALL contained the synthetic genomes, including the copyright watermark. The Frankencritter was able to reproduce itself!  That makes it the very first living creature since creation that had no ancestor.   

The reaction from the secular humanist community was immediate and unsurprising.  At the heart of almost all debates about the existence of God is the question of creation vs. evolution.  And the argument from evolution exists on the shifting sand of new discoveries resulting in evolving facts.

So the argument from Creationism always had the upper hand in one regard.  The existence of life.  Life has always been the one unassailable argument in favor of Divine Creation.  The spark of life that animates what is otherwise a collection of chemicals — that is what was always the major chink evolution’s armor.  

“Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.”   (Take that humanist!)

“Well, maybe a tree.  But Craig Venter can make a bacterium that reproduces itself!”   (Take that, Christian!)

Lost in the debate about whether or not Venter’s team created life or merely engineered a genetic Frankenstein bug, is the fact that Venter’s team was responsible for the existence of a living creature that had no ancestor! 

That is an established fact.  But what is fascinating is any suggestion that it disproves the notion of a Creator God.   Back things up with me for a second and look at what this really proves.

Dr Venter’s team wrote new programming code based on the machine language already encoded into all existing DNA.  Venter’s programming instructed the bacteria to divide and reproduce spontaneously, which is the basic definition of life.  

Rocks can’t reproduce.  They are not alive.  Plants reproduce.  They are alive.  So are bacteria — because they reproduce.  They reproduce because of their genetic programming. 

Taken to its most extreme meaning, Venter’s ability to code a brand-new genetic creature proves only that the primordial ooze theory could have brought forth the first living organism.  But it falls far short of disproving a Creator — it DEMANDS one. 

Venter put a copyright on his gene to ‘prove’ life is possible without a Creator God.  But it couldn’t have happened WITHOUT Venter.  And what’s more, Venter had to use existing, intelligent, logical and humanly- readable language already there to make any of it happen. 

Here’s what it really proves.  Life is so simple even a caveman can do it.  But first the caveman had to find out where God wrote down the instructions. To argue otherwise is akin to following a recipe for baking a cake and then claiming the resulting cake disproves the recipe had an author.  

“I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalms 139:4)