Friday, March 31, 2006


1 I said, "I will (A) guard my ways that I (B) may not sin with my tongue; I will guard (C) my mouth as with a muzzle while the wicked are in my presence."

2 I was (D) mute and silent, I [a] refrained even from good, and my [b] sorrow grew worse.

3 My (E) heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: 4 "LORD, make me to know (F) my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how (G) transient I am.

5 "Behold, You have made (H) my days as handbreadths, and my (I) lifetime as nothing in Your sight; surely every man at his best is a mere (J) breath.

6 "Surely every man (K) walks about as [c] a phantom; surely they make an (L) uproar for nothing; he (M) amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.

7 "And now, LORD, for what do I wait? My (N) hope is in You.

8 "(O) Deliver me from all my transgressions; make me not the (P) reproach of the foolish.

9 "I have become (Q) mute, I do not open my mouth, because it is (R) You who have done it.

10 "(S) Remove Your plague from me; because of (T) the opposition of Your hand I am perishing.

11 "With (U) reproofs You chasten a man for iniquity; You (V) consume as a moth what is precious to him; surely (W) every man is a mere breath.

12 "(X) Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; do not be silent (Y) at my tears; for I am (Z) a stranger with You, a (AA) sojourner like all my fathers.

13 "(AB) Turn Your gaze away from me, that I may [d] smile again before I depart and am no more."

-Psalm 39

Bird Flu or the Beaver Gargle of Ache?

I'm sick and I gotta go to work. Is there a worse combination of circumstances that doesn't involve being in the skyscraper a hijacked airliner smashes into?


UPDATE 4:17 PM: I made it through the day. Beats me how, but I made it. Now to make it home and pour myself into a warm, comfortable bed for about sixty hours.

Blogging and bathroom breaks not withstanding, of course....

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Deferred Gratification

16 The Spirit Himself (A) testifies with our spirit that we are (B) children of God, 17 and if children, (C) heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, (D) if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (E) are not worthy to be compared with the (F) glory that is to be revealed to us.

19 For the (G) anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for (H) the revealing of the (I) sons of God.

20 For the creation (J) was subjected to (K) futility, not willingly, but (L) because of Him who subjected it, [a] in hope 21 that (M) the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation (N) groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

23 (O) And not only this, but also we ourselves, having (P) the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves (Q) groan within ourselves, (R) waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, (S) the redemption of our body.

24 For (T) in hope we have been saved, but (U) hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?

25 But (V) if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for (W) we do not know how to pray as we should, but (X) the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and (Y) He who searches the hearts knows what (Z) the mind of the Spirit is, because He (AA) intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that [b] God causes (AB) all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are (AC) called according to His purpose.

29 For those whom He (AD) foreknew, He also (AE) predestined to become (AF) conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the (AG) firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He (AH) predestined, He also (AI) called; and these whom He called, He also (AJ) justified; and these whom He justified, He also (AK) glorified.

-Romans 8:16-30

An Immigration Policy Picture Worth A Thousand Palabras

via Polipundit.

Poor Russ Feingold...

A panel of former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges yesterday told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that President Bush did not act illegally when he created by executive order a wiretapping program conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA).

The five judges testifying before the committee said they could not speak specifically to the NSA listening program without being briefed on it, but that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not override the president’s constitutional authority to spy on suspected international agents under executive order.

“If a court refuses a FISA application and there is not sufficient time for the President to go to the court of review, the president can under executive order act unilaterally, which he is doing now,” said Judge Allan Kornblum, magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida and an author of the 1978 FISA Act. “I think that the President would be remiss exercising his constitutional authority by giving all of that power over to a statute.”

What? You mean this wasn't on the front page? Well, imagine if the judges leaned the other way. Where do you think this story would have been?

[H/T: Polipundit]

JASmius adds: Never mind Feingold, how about Snarlin' Arlen? The above can't be what he wanted to hear at all....

Moron McKinney

I'm sure you've all heard about Cynthia McKinney striking a police officer yesterday afternoon. She wasn't wearing her ID badge and that officer had the audacity not to know who she was! I couldn't believe it when her district sent her back to Congress after voting her out two years before. This woman is just STUPID. Now, turns out she's got a temper problem, too. Michelle Malkin has a great roundup of this. Check it out.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Bold Entrance

14 Therefore, since we have a great (A) High Priest who has (B) passed through the heavens, Jesus (C) the Son of God, let us hold fast our (D) confession.

15 For we do not have (E) a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been (F) tempted in all things as we are, yet (G)without sin.

16 Therefore let us (H) draw near with (I) confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

-Hebrews 4:14-16

The Best Of Times, The Worst Of Times

Great column by Ed Feulner over at the Heritage Foundation.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….” That Dickensian description of Europe during the French Revolution holds true for American conservatives today.In the modern American edition, though, the two cities of our tale are not Paris and London. They’re “Washington, D.C.” and “everywhere else.”

Beyond the Washington beltway, these are the best of times for conservatives. The vast majority of Americans embrace traditional social values and basic conservative policy principles such as limited government, rule of law and open markets. Spurred by prudent tax cuts, the economic expansion continues apace, with millions of new jobs created yearly, unemployment near record lows and inflation firmly in check. The best of times, indeed.

Yet conservatives who dare look at what’s happening in Washington can hardly be blamed for thinking it is the worst of times.

That's true, and Feulner goes on to describe how, although the Republicans have done a lot of good during their tenure so far in the majority, they have dropped the ball quite a few times, too. Such is to be expected of humans, I guess, but I think the overall biggest disappointment from any conservative I've talked to is the explosion of government spending on non-defense items. We have too many RINOs, just enough to stop any real spending reform. And no, I'm not letting Bush off the hook. I love the guy and I think he's a great president, but he needs to find his veto pen and wield it.

That having been said, I think most of America knows what a fine, decent man President Bush is, for all his faults. He does what he says he is going to do. This fall the Republicans need to keep reminding voters of the words of Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, John Murtha et. al. regarding our troops and our mission in Iraq. They need to ask, "Are these the type of people you want in charge of our national security?" How can the answer be anything other than a resounding NO!!?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Keep Going For God

1 It is (A) good to give thanks to the LORD and to (B) sing praises to Your name, O Most High; 2 to (C) declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your (D) faithfulness by night, 3 with the (E) ten-stringed lute and with the (F) harp, with resounding music upon the (G) lyre.

4 For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You (H) have done, I will (I) sing for joy at the (J) works of Your hands.

5 How (K) great are Your works, O LORD! Your (L) thoughts are very (M) deep.

6 A (N) senseless man has no knowledge, nor does a (O) stupid man understand this: 7 that when the wicked (P) sprouted up like grass and all (Q) who did iniquity flourished, it was only that they might be (R) destroyed forevermore.

8 But You, O LORD, are (S) on high forever.

9 For, behold, Your enemies, O LORD, for, behold, (T) Your enemies will perish; all who do iniquity will be (U) scattered.

10 But You have exalted my (V) horn like that of the wild ox; I have been (W) anointed with fresh oil.

11 And my eye has (X) looked exultantly upon my foes, my ears hear of the evildoers who rise up against me.

12The (Y) righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, he will grow like a (Z) cedar in Lebanon.

13 (AA) Planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish (AB) in the courts of our God.

14 They will still (AC) yield fruit in old age; they shall be [a] full of sap and very green, 15 to declare that (AD) the LORD is upright; He is my (AE) rock, and there is (AF) no unrighteousness in Him.

-Psalm 92

Card Folds

Got a snippet of time here and thought I'd weigh in on something timely for a change. In this case, Andy Card's resignation as White House Chief of Staff:

White House chief of staff Andy Card has resigned and will be replaced by budget director Josh Bolten, an Administration official said Tuesday.

President Bush was expected to announce the shake up during a meeting with reporters later Tuesday morning in the Oval Office of the White House.

The move comes amid a sharp decline in Bush's approval ratings and calls from Republicans for the President to bring in new aides with fresh ideas and new energy.

Card came to Bush recently and suggested that he should step down from the job that he has held from the first day of Bush's presidency, said the Administration official.

I, personally, am not sorry to see Card go, as he was pretty much a RINO anyway. I suppose we can be grateful that he was more of a technocrat than an ideologue or policymaker, as evidenced by the disaster he created the one time he strayed in that direction (i.e. pushing Harriet Miers for the SCOTUS). Having said that, we can only hope and pray that the long-circulating rumors that he was to be John Snow's replacement at Treasury will not now be realized, as rather than merely rendering that Bush-underrated post functionally invisible, Card would likely take it in a decidely Rubinesque direction.

As for the "shake-up" spin, we can thank Fred Barnes and other righties with too much time on their hands for spoon-feeding the press that irritating meme....

Hey Jim! This Is For You!

When I saw this over at Newsmax, I just HAD to get Jim's take on it...

It’s "too soon” for Hillary Clinton to run for president because she still has "sexual power,” says sexually powerful actress Sharon Stone.

"This may sound odd, but a woman should be past her sexuality when she runs,” the "Basic Instinct” star told Hollywood Life magazine.

So, whaddya think Jim? I mean other than dim-witted Hollywood types should only say what has been scripted for them, lest they reveal their utter stupidity.

JASmius replies: Well, all that testosterone has to go someplace....

Monday, March 27, 2006

Strength & Support

1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered, 2 "If one ventures a word with you, will you become impatient? But (A) who can refrain from speaking?

3 "Behold (B) you have admonished many, and you have strengthened weak hands.

4 "Your words have helped the tottering to stand, and you have strengthened feeble knees.

5 "But now it has come to you, and you (C) are impatient; it (D) touches you, and you are dismayed.

6 "Is not your [a](E) fear of God (F) your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?

7 "Remember now, (G) who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright destroyed?

8 "According to what I have seen, (H) those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it.

9 "By (I) the breath of God they perish, and (J) by the blast of His anger they come to an end.

10 "The (K) roaring of the lion and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions are broken.

11 "The (L) lion perishes for lack of prey, and the (M) whelps of the lioness are scattered.

-Job 4:1-11

~ ~ ~

Speaking of strength and support, I cold use some from my contributors to keep the lights on for the next few days. I am literally to swamped at work to breathe, and aside from these Scriptural homilies won't be able to blog for a while. So rest assured I haven't gone AWOL.

San Francisco, Armpit Of The World

San Francisco, what can you say? They applaud every type of debauchery known to man, but let a bunch of Christians rally to help young people make positive changes in their lives, and they are officially condemned.

More than 25,000 evangelical Christian youth landed Friday in San Francisco for a two-day rally at AT&T Park against "the virtue terrorism" of popular culture, and they were greeted by an official city condemnation and a clutch of protesters who said their event amounted to a "fascist mega-pep rally."

Go ahead, read the article. You won't find any evidence of the organizers inciting violence, tearing anything up, or even yelling back at the pathetic counter-protesters...which is a misnomer, because this wasn't a protest. It was a rally, a weekend Christian concert event to kick off an evangelical mission. Wow, dangerous stuff huh?

After stops in Detroit and Philadelphia in the next few weeks, Luce wants to unleash a "blitz" of youth pastors into the communities to do everything from work with the homeless to find new ways to bring others to Christ. He challenged youth leaders to double the size of their groups in the next year.

And then he plans to return to San Francisco next year to chart their progress.

That's bad news to Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who told counterprotesters at City Hall on Friday that while such fundamentalists may be small in number, "they're loud, they're obnoxious, they're disgusting, and they should get out of San Francisco."

Did you get that? It's "bad news" to this jerk that these Christian kids are willing to work with the homeless and try to bring others to Christ. And the "loud, obnoxioux, disgusting" remark? Apparently this guy has never been to one of his own city's gay pride parades. They should "get out of San Francisco?" What tolerance!

Read the rest of this article, and you'll see that Ron Luce is absolutely right. There is definitely a culture war going on.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Personal Letter

97 O how I (A) love Your law! It is my (B) meditation all the day.

98 Your (C) commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine.

99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my (D) meditation.

100 I understand (E) more than the aged, because I have (F) observed Your precepts.

101 I have (G) restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word.

102 I have not (H) turned aside from Your ordinances, for You Yourself have taught me.

103 How (I) sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

104 From Your precepts I (J) get understanding; therefore I (K) hate every false way.

-Psalm 119:97-104

All The News That Really Isn't

Here's what I couldn't get to last week, but it didn't matter because little of it really constitutes "news":

***The European Union proved that there really is no level of appeasement to which they will not sink. Or, put another way, they showed that they won't just subsidize terrorists that pretend to be statesmen, but also terrorists that don't bother with such silly deceptions.

***The British have abruptly realized that nothing short of military action will prevent Iran from going nuclear. Which is another way of saying that they've now arrived at the Bush Administration's stance on the matter, which is to beg Russia and Red China for permission, via the UN Security Council, to let the bombing begin.

You know, the same Russia that planted a spy in U.S. Central Command, stole our Operation Iraqi Freedom battle plans, and passed them on to Saddam Hussein; and the same Red China that is, among other hostile actions, cultivating into virtual client states U.S. enemies like Iran, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, and that very same Russian Federation.

It would seem that "international law" is the biggest asset in the mullahgarchy's arsenal.

***Whenever Dirty Harry Reid intones (reedily...) his party's "dangerously incompetent" campaign meme against President Bush, do any of you get the giggles as badly as I do?

***Well, since we've pretty much chased "Emir" al-Zarqawi out of Iraq, his al Qaeda-ites had to go someplace. Now we know where. And that, thanks to their recent sixty-four million euro cash infusion, Hamas can host their new allies in style.

***I see that "Snarlin' Arlen" is still elevating legislative supremacy over national security.

I could really go for another anti-Specter rant right now, but I don't have the time, so you'll have to settle for these links instead.

***Henry Saad, one of the President's appellate court nominees thrown under the bus by the "Gang of 14" perfidy, has pulled a Miguel Estrada. I'll let Cap'n Ed have the last word, since I can't better it:

Republicans, especially those on the Gang, should be especially shamed by Saad's withdrawal. They treated him like a leper almost the entire year, barely lifting a finger in Saad's defense while the Democrats painted him as a radical. Despite holding a majority in the upper chamber and having their own President nominate him - twice - the GOP leadership left Saad twisting in the wind. To Saad's credit, he remained on the official list of nominees for months as a reminder of the lack of political courage the GOP showed in this Congress in defending appellate court nominees. They have allowed an appalling rate of confirmations to these seats, the lowest in many years if not ever, despite their control of the Senate and the White House. That demonstrates a leadership deficit that time may camouflage but cannot entirely hide.

Okay, I do have one more thought - it also should be salted away as a redundant reminder that John McCain is not fit to continue masquerading as a Republican period, much less be given the 2008 GOP presidential nod.

'T'will be a "saad, saad" day if he is.

Abandon Ship?

Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard thinks President Bush should more or less fire his entire Cabinet, including Vice President Cheney, in order to "refresh" his Administration for its final run and lay the groundwork for a successor through Big Time's replacement. Highlights:

The President's most spectacular move would be to anoint a presidential successor. This would require Vice President Cheney to resign. His replacement? Condoleezza Rice, whom Mr. Bush regards highly. Her replacement? Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, whose Bush-like views on Iraq and the war on terror have made him a pariah in the Democratic caucus.

Mr. Cheney would probably be happy to step down and return to Wyoming. But it would make more sense for him to move to the Pentagon to replace Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary, a job Mr. Cheney held during the elder Bush's administration. The Senate confirmation hearing for Mr. Cheney alone would produce political fireworks and attract incredible attention. At Treasury, Mr. Bush has a perfect replacement for John Snow, someone he already knows. That's Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of Mr. Bush's council of economic advisers and currently dean of Columbia's business school. He is in sync with Mr. Bush ideologically and has the added value of being respected on Wall Street.

This sort of column is the political equivalent of fantasy football leagues, or "hot stove-ism" in baseball. It reveals far more about Barnes' skittishness than it does the political condition of the Bush Administration.

Also Barnes' judgment. The Beltway rumor mill has been trying to shove Cheney out the door for years. Yet there he remains, and he's reiterated time and again that he's going to stay right where he is. That Barnes tosses out Condi Rice's name as a replacement tells me he's been hanging out with Dick Morris too much.

Joe Lieberman accepting an offer to replace Rice at State is an even bigger yowler. How many times has Lieberman been asked about switching parties since he became a pro-war dissident within his party? Joining the President's Cabinet wouldn't require that, but after signing up with the "enemy," he'd probably be summarily expelled as a Democrat anyway.

But Cheney pulling a second tour of duty at Defense is the biggest pipedream of all. Can you imagine the Senate confirmation hearings? Hell's bells, the Donks hate Cheney as much as they do his boss, and one of the biggest reasons why is his supposed "secretiveness" and "seclusion." Does Barnes seriously think that Armed Services Committee Dems wouldn't turn the hearings into gladitorial bloodsport? Or that they wouldn't hesitate to filibuster Cheney's nomination and score the orgasmic trifecta of humiliating Bush and ridding themselves of Cheney and Rumsfeld all in one swift, efficient blow to the White House groin? And Barnes thinks that Harriet Miers and the Dubai Ports World fiasco were self-inflicted wounds?

But then you don't need to know the details of his hypothetical wheeling & dealing to see this for the foolishness it is. Just pluck one sentence from his second paragraph:

...rejuvenation of [Bush's] presidency by shocking the media and political community...

Several problems:

(1) Reshuffling the deck chairs wouldn't change the political community's view of the President.

(2) Just finish the metaphor to see the perception it would create.

(3) The media is - how should I say this? - irrelevant. It doesn't matter what the press thinks because the press doesn't have a monopoly on the dissemination of public information anymore. Media democratization through talk radio and the blogosphere has evaporated that once-predominant influence. The public thinks far more for itself and is far more skeptical of what comes out of their morning papers and TV screens these days, as evinced by the concurrent upturn in GOP political fortunes.

(4) The Bush loyalty factor. He has his people, and they're...well, his people. He has them each where he wants them, doing what he wants them to do. It isn't his style to reshuffle his staff, much less to toss people overboard because his enemies have dubbed them as "liabilities." When has Dubya ever given a rat's ass what the Beltway crowd thinks about anything anyway? And hasn't just about every prominant instance of dismissal just produced a fresh Bush enemy the Extreme Media was able to gleefully exploit (i.e. Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill, George Tenet)?

There's only one thing about Barnes' recommendations to the President that does make sense: he wants GDub to "shock the media and political community" because Barnes is part of that community and therefore wants to "write stories about new officials, cover confirmation hearings, show up at press conferences [he] might have ignored, assess new policies." He's bored. He pines for something new. And 2008 is a looooong way away.

But you wanna see the punchline? Barnes himself provides it:

In truth, there would be a large element of smoke and mirrors in his actions. The trade-off is that Mr. Bush might revitalize his presidency. [emphasis added]

Or, more likely, sound its death knell.

Have two more incompatible sentences ever been combined in the same paragraph?

[HT: Sister Toldjah]

VBC Missionaries Of The Week: Kevin & Emma Barnhart

The Barnharts serve in Ukraine with SEND International.

In June 2005 Kevin was asked to officially begin making a transition from Academic Dean at Sumy Regional Bible College into a new position with the Bible College Movement on a nation-wide basis. In this new position Kevin will be involved in developing more intimate and strategic relationships with each of the Bible Colleges separately. Their goal, and the desire of their leadership, is to see what God has in mind for each school, and how they can come alongside them in their ministry to the local church body.

Please pray for Kevin and Emma, as they face this next transition.

We Should Have A Contest!

Okay, all you sharp-eyed conservatives, read this article and count the errors and half-truths. The most glaring occurs early on:

That's why Feingold was one of the few Democrats who had the courage to vote against launching a pre-emptive war in Iraq, a country that was absolutely no threat to us since its weapons of mass destruction existed only in the fevered imaginations of the Bush administration.

Where has this guy been? Even if one disagrees with the war, I would think that writing for a major publication would require at least a passing knowledge of current events. Wait...what am I saying? Anyway, the above brilliance was written a few paragraphs after the author's assertion that Russ Feingold is standing on principle when he opposes anything the current administration does. What courage! What character! What BS.

It's true Iraq was run by a brutal dictator. No one misses Saddam Hussein except cartoonists.

Baloney. Every word you write, sir, argues against that statement. Your offensive, patently stupid statement in the next paragraph proves it.

But three years ago if we had lined up 2,400 American soldiers and asked the American people if they would be willing to sacrifice the lives of those fellow citizens so Iraqis could vote for a brand-new despot of their own choosing to run their death squads, how many Americans would have accepted the deal?

Yes, you idiot, of course. That's the primary reason we're at war with the terrorists, to help them keep their death squads going. I'm surprised he didn't put "but I support the troops" in there as a tagline. When people like this twit minimize and ridicule the sacrifice our soldiers are making with stupid columns like this one, it's easy to see why they're losing readership. The thing I hate about it is that our soldiers see garbage like this.

Read the whole article, if you can stand it. It's kinda like wading through the sludge at DailyKos.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

When The Fire Goes Out

17 Like one who takes a dog by the ears is he who passes by and meddles with (A) strife not belonging to him.

18 Like a madman who throws (B) firebrands, arrows and death, 19 So is the man who (C) deceives his neighbor, and says, "(D) Was I not joking?"

20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no (E) whisperer, (F) contention quiets down.

21 Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a (G) contentious man to kindle strife.

22 The (H) words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body.

23 Like an earthen (I) vessel overlaid with silver (J) dross are burning lips and a wicked heart.

24 He who (K) hates disguises it with his lips, but he lays up (L) deceit in his heart.

25 When he (M) speaks graciously, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart.

26 Though his hatred (N) covers itself with guile, his wickedness will be (O) revealed before the assembly.

27 He who (P) digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him.

28 A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a (Q) flattering mouth works ruin.

-Proverbs 26:17-28

The Anti-Apostle

Well, I guess Pat Robertson can rest easy now, because compared to Fred Phelps, ol' Robby is Saint Peter himself:

An anti-gay protest outside the state Capitol on Thursday afternoon by members of a controversial Kansas church drew jeers, tears and confrontations from counter-demonstrators.

About thirty members of the Westboro Baptist Church, founded in Topeka by the Reverend Fred Phelps, stood on the sidewalk along Broadway, holding signs that said "USA = Fag Nation" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

The demonstrators, mostly relatives of Phelps, went to the Capitol to oppose proposed legislation inspired by their latest protest target - funerals of American troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The group believes God is punishing the country - and causing the deaths of soldiers and Marines - because it condones homosexuality.

Margie Phelps sang, shouted and led chants, referring to the bombs, known as IEDs, that claim American lives in Iraq.

"Give me an I," she yelled.

"Give me an E."

"Give me a D."

"What does it spell?"

"Dead soldiers!" shouted the protesters.
This has got to be one of the strangest ideological witch's brews I've ever seen. Purported "evangelicals" who hate "fags" so much that they've turned against their own country for...what? Not stoning them to death for their perversity? And since they can't get the "justice" they seek done to the "fags," they cheer on the jihadis to grind up as many U.S. troops as possible, the vast majority of which (1) aren't "fags," (2) have nothing to do with the promulgation of social issues policies, and (3) are....

Well, let's let Marine Lance Corporal Jeremy Palmer say it, since he said it best:

Palmer, 22, of Commerce City, couldn't take it any longer as he listened to the Westboro members sing their own lyrics to the tune of the Marine Corps anthem.

He stood within a foot of the singers, waved a Marine flag and yelled the correct last line to the song.

"We fight for people like you!!!" he yelled at them.
And that sure must be a buzzkiller for the job.

Mark Noonan at Blogs for Bush calls Phelps and his phlegmatic phollowers exactly what they are: traitors, every bit as much as the Code Pinkers and ANSWERers and Sorosians and Kos-hacks of the extreme Left. They hate their own country out of hatred for a different demographic of Americans, but it's still the same sedition, and should be condemned and denounced with the same, yes, righteous indignation. That they, unlike our Islamist enemies, really are "hijacking a religion of peace" in the process arguably makes the "GodHatesFags" crowd even more detestable.

The "Revrund" Phelps needs some remedial Bible study. Such as, "The LORD is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance," and, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." If God hated anybody because of sin, we would all be "fags."

Pray for Phelps and his phlock. Otherwise these are the words they will hear one day from the God they so grievously misperceive.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Carpenter Judge

22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of (A) Athens, I observe that you are very (B) religious in all respects.

23 "For while I was passing through and examining the (C) objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD ' Therefore what (D) you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

24 "(E) The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is (F) LORD of heaven and earth, does not (G) dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, (H) as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and (I) He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of Earth, having (J) determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, (K) though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for (L) in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.'

29 "Being then the children of God, we (M) ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.

30 "Therefore having (N) overlooked (O) the times of ignorance, God is (P) now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed (Q) a day in which (R) He will judge (S) the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has (T) appointed, having furnished proof to all men by (U) raising Him from the dead."

-Acts 17:22-31

Illegals "Riot"

[posted by Rich]

I noted with dismay the "demonstrations" in Arizona and California surrounding the illegal alien problem. This is, unfortunately, going to back-fire on the illegals as there is no moral or legal ground to support their being in our country as a law-breaker.

One can debate whether they are law-breakers or if the law is right. But, until that issue is decided, they would do well to be cautious and let cooler heads make some very, very difficult decisions.

Our politicians have ill-advisedly allowed this problem to fester and grow for over 20 years and we are now at a point where not only will tough, difficult action have to be taken, but a lot of people seeking to improve the lot of themselves are going to suffer.

This whole issue has evolved into the issue of nationality and the meaning of national borders and the rule of law in a nation. I think it is going to be painful.

The Extreme Media's Worst Nightmare

That is, I think, a fair description of the Bush Administration's decision to start publicizing the huge, enormous stacks of documents from the Saddam Hussein regime seized by Coalition forces after the invasion, and moldering in mothballs ever since. Already we have learned quite a bit that is toe-curling to the pressies, especially the extent of Saddam's ties to and cooperation with al Qaeda. Here is the latest revelation:

U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia were attacked by al Qaeda twice in the months following Saddam Hussein's decision to approve Osama bin Laden's request for help in attacking "foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia.

An Iraqi intelligence document released last week states that bin Laden met in Sudan with senior Iraqi intelligence agents on February 19, 1995, where he requested help in conducting "joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia. Saddam "was informed of the details of the meeting in our letter 370 on March 4, 1995," the Iraqi intelligence memo explains....

Reporting on the bombshell document on Wednesday, ABC News noted:

"Given that the document claims bin Laden was proposing to the Iraqis that they conduct 'joint operations against foreign forces' in Saudi Arabia, it is interesting to note that eight months after the meeting — on November 13, 1995 — terrorists attacked Saudi National Guard Headquarters in Riyadh, killing 5 U.S. military advisors. The militants later confessed on Saudi TV to having been trained by Osama bin Laden."

Unnoted by ABC: Eight months after the Riyadh attack, 19 U.S. servicemen were killed when a large truck bomb blew up the Khobar Towers military barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
Context, as they say, is everything. The fact that Saddam and OBL were in cahoots at least six years prior to 9/11, and the accompanying fact that Iraqi intelligence was planning an "assymmetrical" offensive against us in the summer of 2003 - and, come to remember it, that there was an established Iraqi connection to both the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1995 Oklahoma City attack, the latter connection of which was ruthlessly supressed by the Clinton Justice Department - all of this suggests a degree of cohesion between these two American enemies that raises the spectre of 9/11 having been a "joint operation" as a serious possibility after all. And if that were to become established beyond a reasonable doubt, the domestic Left's case against the GWOT - pathetic and weak and tattered as it is - would be finished.

So you know what that means - the rehabilitation of Saddam Hussein has already begun:

The Associated Press is now [claim]ing that tape recordings of Saddam Hussein chairing his Revolutionary Command Council show that the Iraqi dictator was telling the truth all along when he claimed that he had no weapons of mass destruction.

But only last month the [very same] wire service reported that other recordings show a top Saddam aide boasting about how he concealed Iraq's WMD's from U.N. weapons inspectors.
Read the details of the AP's current "reporting" versus what the disclosed a month ago. Clearly they are frantically attempting damage control for their cherished "Bush lied, people died" meme by plucking isolated quotes implying the press's "Saddam had no WMD" line and ascribing them to the entire 1991-2003 period. As Brother Hinderaker observes:

It is perfectly clear that there were periods of time when Iraq had stockpiles of WMDs. It is highly probable that there were also periods of time when it did not. The fact (if it is a fact) that there were none in the mid-1990s says very little, if anything, about whether Iraq had WMDs in 2002 and 2003.
Clearly the ASSociated Press is essentially telling its readers to ignore their previous reporting on other released Saddamite documents and tapes showing his systematic concealment of his WMD programs and stockpiles from UN weapons inspectors and only pay attention to the one they want to tout now, which just happens to fit their partisan preconceptions. To say nothing of the docs showing Saddam's alliance with al Qaeda, which the EM long ago dismissed as "impossible."

The AP is scared, folks. The entire media establishment is quaking in its Gucci loafers. Because these documents are going to prove that George W. Bush was right all along to take out Saddam, perhaps more so than even he realized, and the entire DisLoyal Opposition was W-R-O-N-G.

And in an election year, too.

More translated documents, please. With dispatch.

UPDATE: How about this one? Methinks Dubya should be getting on the horn to his close, personal friend Vlad and reading him the riot act personally, if you ask me.

UPDATE II: Our press friends are trying to get Saddam acquitted in his war crimes trial as well....

They Didn't Call Her "Half-bright" For Nothing

Read this, then get down on your knees and thank God Aunt Madeleine is no longer Secretary of State.

What Part of "Illegal" Don't They Understand?

In the interests of full disclosure I should probably mention that immigration has never been a hot button issue for me. The passions that roil through both sides of this bitter issue divide are ones that I have never really shared. I suppose that's a product of inculcation in the American immigration ethic - "Give me your poor, huddled masses, yearning to be free" - and perhaps also the fact that my paternal grandparents were both processed through Ellis Island, sailing right by Lady Liberty herself. It's awfully difficult to argue for raising immigration barriers when your forebears came from elsewhere themselves.

Illegal immigration is, of course, another matter. Because it's...well, illegal. But while even here I can't get as worked up about it as some others of my ideological stripe, what frankly (and it probably shouldn't) astonishes me is that there can be passionate opposition to simply strengthening and enforcing existing immigration laws. Indeed, some even call for their effective repeal by institutionalizing the practice under the slick label "guest worker program":

[W]e're being warned again that we need huge numbers of ``guest workers'' - meaning unskilled laborers from Mexico and Central America - to relieve American "labor shortages.'' Indeed, the shortages will supposedly worsen as the baby boom retires. President Bush wants an open-ended program. Senators Edward M. Kennedy, D-MA, and [mark this well, those who think, against all evidence, that he's the 2008 GOP presidential frontrunner] John McCain, R-AZ, advocate initially admitting 400,000 guest workers annually. The Senate is now considering these and other plans.

As Robert Samuelson goes on to argue, this latest white flag to the "migration invasion" will fail just as resoundingly as each previous amnesty gambit, and exacerbate the problem rather than ameliorating it:

Guest workers would mainly legalize today's vast inflows of illegal immigrants, with the same consequence: we'd be importing poverty. This isn't because these immigrants aren't hardworking; many are. Nor is it because they don't assimilate; many do. But they generally don't go home, assimilation is slow and the ranks of the poor are constantly replenished. Since 1980, the number of Hispanics with incomes below the government's poverty line (about $19,300 in 2004 for a family of four) has risen 162%. Over the same period, the number of non-Hispanic whites in poverty rose 3% and the number of blacks, 9.5%.

What we have now - and would with guest workers - is a conscious policy of creating poverty in the United States while relieving it in Mexico. By and large, this is a bad bargain for the United States. It puts stresses on local schools, hospitals and housing; it feeds social tensions. [emphases added]
Versus, say, actually enforcing our immigration laws and controlling our borders. I will readily agree that deporting all twelve million moje las partes posterioras isn't a practical part of that (more's the pity) but certainly stemming the continued influx ought to be doable. After all, Mexican poverty isn't our fault or our problem, and we oughtn't have to extend our "safety net" over the entire continent.

But, to rework a phrase, where there's a way, there isn't necessarily the will. And nowhere is that bewildering perplexity more visible than in the aforementioned immigration debate in Congress this week.

Well, technically it's a debate. The reality is that those who advocate actually enforcing immigration laws and actually controlling our borders are far, far in the minority. Which may be what caused House Immigration Reform Caucus Chairman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) to take the ordnance he had once earmarked for Mecca and launch it all at Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback instead.

But then read Brownback's response, and tell me that his frustration isn't at least somewhat justified:

"The Senate Judiciary Committee has been hard at work for over a month on comprehensive immigration reform," Brownback explained in a prepared response. "No bill before the committee proposes blanket amnesty . . . Border security is our main priority.

The Kansas Republican insisted that he and his colleagues are "working to merge the best of several proposals, and hopefully we can all agree that we must protect our borders, enforce the law, provide legal means for people to work in the United States, and fix a broken system." [emphasis added]
Doesn't that "prepared response" sound...well...mealy-mouthed? For one thing, "merging the best of several proposals" means another "grand compromise," and historically speaking, on divisive issues "grand compromises" never accomplish anything except to kick the can of confrontation down the road a little bit further. And that's been done on the illegal immigration issue several times already over the past forty years.

More to the point, the "several proposals" to which Senator Brownback refers are fundamentally incompatible. A "guest worker program" would be the "blanket amnesty" that Brownback denies, and even if he were serious about protecting our borders and enforcing our laws, it would make those tasks exponentially more difficult, if not actively pointless.

Brownback knows this. Darth Queeg knows this. President Bush knows this. And serious people on this issue like Representative Tancredo know they know it. And they know that serious people on this issue like Representative Tancredo know they know it. And serious people on this issue like Representative Tancredo know they know that he knows that they know it. They also know that they're essentially powerless to stop the floodgate-openers, and that facilitators like Brownback are providing them PR cover.

And yet even though the Democrats hold all the cards on the illegal immigration issue - and if played subtley and deftly could splinter the center-right majority coalition beyond recognition - discretion is a skill that is still utterly unfathomable to them:

[Senate] Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, said he would "use every procedural means at my disposal" to prevent [Majority Leader Bill] Frist from bypassing the Judiciary Committee. Frist, R-TN, has made clear the Senate will take up his proposal next week if the 18-member committee fails to complete a broader bill.

"If Leader Frist brings a bill to the floor that does not have the approval of the Judiciary Committee, it will not get out of the Senate," Reid told reporters at the San Ysidro border crossing, a few steps from Tijuana, Mexico.
Fristy's bill omits de facto amnesty and focuses on [***GASP***] tightening borders, punishing employers who hire illegal immigrants and providing more visas. Given the open-borders tilt of just about every corner of the Beltway, it's not surprising (or, given that this is Bill "Doofus" Frist we're talking about, not much...) that he wants to see it die on the Senate floor instead of at Arlen Specter's hands. At least that way it'll get him some publicity, and therefore street cred with the GOP nominating electorate.

Dirty Harry has got to know this. And know that Frist knows that he knows it. And...okay, I'll stop.

But Reid didn't:

Reid said the overhaul must include heightened border enforcement [heh - oh, wait, was that an attempt at subtlety....?] , a "guest worker" program and a "path to citizenship" for the estimated 11 million people in the United States illegally. He called legislation by Senators Edward Kennedy, D-MA, and John McCain, R-AZ, a "good place to start."
Could somebody explain to me why Reid would even need to attempt a filibuster given that a bill awarding Pat Robertson the Presidential Medal of Freedom would pass sooner than Fristy's will? Is he preening for his party's kook fringe base? Isn't there ever a circumstance in which a Democrat is capable of recognizing that discretion is the better part of valor? Or that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt?

A cardinal rule of tactical politics says if your opponents are teeing off on each other, for Willie's sake, don't do anything to distract them from it. And here Tom Tancredo and Sam Brownback, two otherwise right-wing stalwarts, are just about to begin their steel cage grudge match with Bill Frist as the guest referee, and the Pencil-Necked Geek does a run-in before the bell can even ring.

As Pogo once said, "We have met the enemy, and he is Vince McMahon." Who should, by the way, be deported immediately.

Who says surrealism is dead?

Taliban Lite

The next time I hear somebody call Islam a "religion of peace," I'm going to point them to this column at Michelle Malkin's blog. It is difficult to understand how so many people can be so barbaric, but the more light that is shed on Muslim beliefs, the more obvious it becomes that these people are *nuts*. The silence of Muslim leaders all over the world is very telling, too. The lunatic in this article who is calling for the people to "pull this man to pieces" if he is released, is considered a MODERATE in the Muslim world. This story is getting very little coverage in the mainstream media.

Liberals are something, aren't they? They claim to be afraid of the "fundies," afraid that we're going to create a theocracy and ruin the country, but nary a word do you hear about the Muslim fanatics who kill simply because others have different beliefs than they do. Why is the Left so quick to come to the defense of people who murder in the name of God?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

No Need Is Too Trivial

13 (A) Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O Earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the (B)bLORD has comforted His people and will (C) have compassion on His afflicted.

14 But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, and the LORD has forgotten me."

15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but (D) I will not forget you.

16 "Behold, I have (E) inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your (F) walls are continually before Me.

17 "Your builders hurry; your (G) destroyers and devastators will depart from you.

18 "(H) Lift up your eyes and look around; (I) all of them gather together, (J) they come to you (K) as I live," declares the LORD, "You will surely (L) put on all of them as jewels and bind them on as a bride.

-Isaiah 49:13-18

Epistle From The Accursed

I'll have quite a bit to say about the immigration jockeying in Congress this week a little later. Here I want to make note of Hillary Hanksnot's (sorry, Rodham's - oops, I mean Clinton's) choice of rhetoric in attacking the notion of actually enforcing our immigraton laws - something she used to pretend to favor:

"It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scriptures," she declared, before adding: "This bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus Himself."

Leaving aside the question of why she thinks that either the GS or "that JC guy" would sneak across the Rio Grande rather than come to the U.S. legally and above-board, is Mrs. Clinton not aware of the Scripture wherein it is written....

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'LORD, LORD,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, LORD, LORD, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'"

Given her and her husband's long-standing prowess at practicing lawlessness, methinks Mrs. Clinton might want to lay off the religious agitprop, lest there be an unwanted increase in atmospheric electrical activity in the D.C. area in the near future.

The Cap'n also weighs in....

Absence of Gratitude

D'ya think it'd be too harsh to say that maybe these "Christian" "peace" activists should have been left to the tender mercies of their captors if this is their attitude about the efforts of their rescuers?

[HT: The Corner via Double-H]

No Chance In Hell

Larry Sabato is delusional:

"McCain has been playing a double high-wire act," Larry Sabato, director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Virginia, said in an interview Monday.

"He's staying on the wire that got him where he is, and that's the maverick wire that pleases the moderates. But he's decided to take his right foot off and put it on the conservative wire, aligning himself more strongly with President Bush and the Iraq war than any of the other Republicans (eyeing the presidency)," Sabato said. He noted that McCain's Senate voting record is solidly conservative.

"The key question is, which McCain do Republicans buy?... And I think that will determine whether he gets the party nomination. If he's the Republican regular, he will win the nomination. And if he's still the maverick, he will not."
Sabato is forgetting something: Pachyderms have verrrrry long memories. Darth Queeg's Sith mind tricks won't make us forget his 2000 villification of religious conservatives, campaign finance "reform," opposition to tax cuts, pushing Kyoto, and the "gang of 14" sellout on judges. The GOP base has had its fill of putting up with ideological infidelity for the sake of the "big picture" (mostly the war) from the current White House occupant. A conservative party is going to want a conservative presidential nominee, and "Sailor" McCain won't fit that bill in 2008 any more than he did eight years earlier.

No chance, that's what he's got. No chance in hell.

I guarantee it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


12 "How you have (A) fallen from heaven, O (B) star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to Earth, you who have weakened the nations!

13 "But you said in your heart, 'I will (C) ascend to heaven; I will (D) raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.

14 'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; (E) I will make myself like the Most High.'

15 "Nevertheless you (F) will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.

-Isaiah 14:12-15

If You Can't Beat 'em, Use 'em

Hey, everyone, guess what! The Democrats have a new political strategy! Know what it is? C'mon, guess! Awww, you give up? Really? Okay, brace yourselves - maybe you should sit down for this. Ready? Alright, here goes: The Dems are going to bash the war using seditious soldiers as political props! Oh, yes, and call President Bush "incompetent."

You people really couldn't guess that? Where have you been for the past four and a half years?

The game plan, devised by the office of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, is contained in a six-page memo distributed to Democratic senators on Thursday at a closed-door meeting at the Capitol and provided to the Washington Times by a congressional staffer.

Titled "Real Security," the political document calls for staged town hall events at military bases, weapons factories, National Guard units, fire stations and veterans posts.

"Ensure that you have the proper U.S. and state flags at the event, and consider finding someone to sing the national anthem and lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the event," the battle plan states.

Ahhh, this brings back so many memories. The cynicism; the contemptuous dishonesty; the phony-baloney, plastic-banana, good-time rock & roll-ness; Bill Clinton has been gone (from office, anyway) for over five years and still his influence lingers on with the, well, incompetents he left behind to run that wreck of a party.

That isn't a gratuitous swipe, either. There's just one teensy-tiny problem with Dirty Harry's bofo idea: it is a blatant evisceration of the Uniform Code of Military Justice:

"Hopefully others have sent some of what I'm sending to you on this already so I may be adding to the dog pile. Senator Reid's staff apparently has not consulted the military's Uniform Code of Military Justice before formulating this media campaign plan. While listening to you yesterday on a drive up north I began laughing, because we're not allowed to make the kinds of appearances that Senator Reid's office has espoused. A good base commander will prepare for this kind of event and most are probably preparing now. A smart base commander will have his public affairs office folks draft a good message which is on point stating that we're doing all the right things in Iraq and we support the democratically elected leadership of the US in the global war on terrorism.

"This message may come from the DOD public affairs folks. Also it will be controlled by the very people they're trying to ambush. A smart base commander will get some folks from his base that are pleasing to the eyes and public appearance savvy probably from his staff and one of the units in his group. They'll deliver their briefed message and that will be it. Any possible questions will be briefed to them, also with the public affairs office message and spin on the possible questions. It will be set up for this. Anyone who goes off the reservation and makes a political comment one way or the other may be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

"If we get ambushed on the street corner, we will still have the public affairs media points to talk from and the message that the base commander's office public affairs officer wants to portray. This is why you never see military members at political rallies or at the Democrat or Republican Party conventions. We are to be apolitical in our views, as this keeps the military from getting into the US government politics or politicians' chili. We have seen on numerous occasions what happened when the military gets involved in politics, and this is why the Uniform Code of Military Justice has restrictions against these kinds of media appearances.

"The Founding Fathers knew the dangers. They formulated our Constitution to keep the military at arm's-length respecting politics. Watch the Joint Chiefs sometimes in a State of the Union address. You won't see them participating in standing ovations. We all have our own beliefs and views with respect to politics. We vote according to our conscience, but we are not allowed to appear in these kinds of rallies. Veterans can. Active duty can't." [emphases added]

So that's that. The lingering question is, of course, did Dirty Harry or his staff even know that Operation Real Security was a non-starter - ignorance of the military on the part of these people would hardly be a shock - or did they know but just not give a frog's fat leg, also a very likely option. And will they plow ahead with the plan anyway, and then, presto-chango, gain one more excuse for attacking the Bush Administration. Like they lack for imagination in that interminable endeavor.

I suppose they could always fall back on demands for Don Rumsfeld's resignation, or demands that we invade Sudan after cutting & running from Iraq, or agitate for Bush's impeachment. Heck, it's been hours since they've beaten that drum.

But let's float back to ORS because it's just so darned entertaining. Like "Reid's spokesman claims these events are not political because they involve incumbents who are running for reelection, not challengers." And "Reid's spokesman claims that the events are meant to highlight the need for 'increased funding for the troops.'" And "The Senate plan urges holding town hall events to 'draw attention to the security vulnerabilities caused by the Bush budget and explain how Democrats fought to restore programs that keep America safe.'" Was that before or after they tried to "kill" the Patriot Act and gut the NSA terrorist surveillance program? And then the piece de resistance:

In almost every issue in the Reid memo, Democratic lawmakers are called upon to criticize the President for not spending enough federal dollars.

Well, at least they're honest about that much. Even if the charge is gag-inducing to the point of projectile dry-heaving.

Lisa Fabrizio had the best take on this that I've seen this week:

It will be interesting to see how many [soldiers] will risk such punishment to aid a party that has repeatedly sought to have their votes discounted, referred to them as terrorists, and compared them to the Nazis and Pol Pot....It's hard to imagine liberals ginning up much support from an industry they've disdained and voted to under-fund for years.

Personally, I want to see the ovation Russ Feingold gets at one of these dog & pony shows. That might be almost worth the price of admission.

[HT: B4B]

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Divine Interruptions

29 But wishing (A) to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

30 Jesus replied and said, "A man was (B)going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.

31 "And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 "Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

33 "But a (C) Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

35 "On the next day he took out two [a] denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.'

36 "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?"

37 And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."

-Luke 10:29-37

Islacracy's Warts

In Afghanistan, home of a nascent Muslim democracy, an indigenous convert to Christianity is facing the death penalty for...well, converting to Christianity (h/t Double-M):

An Afghan man who recently admitted he converted to Christianity faces the death penalty under the country's strict Islamic legal system. The trial is a critical test of Afghanistan's new constitution and democratic government....

Abdul Rahman, 40, was arrested last month, accused of converting to Christianity. Under Afghanistan's new constitution, minority religious rights are protected but Muslims are still subject to strict Islamic laws. And so, officially, Muslim-born Rahman is charged with rejecting Islam and not for practicing Christianity. [emphases added]

Um, isn't that like legalizing wetness, celebrating by jumping in the nearest lake, and then getting dragged away in chains for failure to be dry? Just how exactly does this constitute protection of minority religious rights? Isn't conversion one of them?

Appearing in court earlier this week Rahman insisted he should not be considered an infidel, but admitted he is a Christian. He says he still believes in the almighty Allah, but cannot say for sure Who God really is. "I am," he says, "a Christian and I believe in Jesus Christ."
Doesn't sound to me like he's in any doubt about God's identity. It's that certitude that has doubtless so thoroughly provoked the local yokels.

I know the reaction well. Other than, you know, being put on trial and threatened with execution. Although I was physically threatened online once.

Rahman reportedly converted more than 16 years ago after spending time working in Germany. Officials say his family, who remain observant Muslims, turned him over to the authorities. On Thursday the prosecution told the court Rahman has rejected numerous offers to embrace Islam. Prosecuting attorney Abdul Wasi told the judge that the punishment should fit the crime.
He converted a decade and a half ago and he's just now catching hell for it? There's got to be some other factor at work here. The fact that his family ratted him out may be a telling clue.

Gotta get back to that minority religious rights thing, though. "The punishment should fit the crime"? Converting to Christianity is a capital offense?

In Islam, yes, it is:

He says Rahman is a traitor to Islam and is like a cancer inside Afghanistan. Under Islamic law and under the Afghan constitution, he says, the defendant should be executed. The court has ordered a delay in the proceedings to give Rahman time to hire an attorney. Under Afghan law, once a verdict is given, the case can be appealed twice to higher courts.
Sounds like Cardassian justice - the accused gets a trial but the verdict is pre-determined.

And some people still call Islam a "religion of peace." Even in a liberated, democratic Muslim state that is no longer a threat to its neighbors, it is still a bestial bane upon its dissident citizens.
Andy McCarthy strikes a similar theme in a piece that shows the dark side of everybody's favorite imam, the Ayatollah Sistani:

A human-rights group in London which lobbies for homosexuals alleged last week that Sistani had held a press conference in which he’d issued a fatwa setting forth his judgment on gay sex. According to the group, Sistani pronounced that the conduct was “forbidden” and that those who engage in it should be “punished, in fact, killed. The people involved should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.”

Not wanting to take an interest group’s allegation at face value, this report stirred the operators of a blog called “Healing Iraq” to check Sistani’s website. I discussed that site here on NRO a few weeks ago in connection with Sistani’s stated view that non-Muslims should be considered in the same category as “urine, feces, semen, dead bodies, blood, dogs, pigs, alcoholic liquors, and “the sweat of an animal who persistently eats [unclean things].”

Nice, huh? McCarthy goes on to speculate, with not unjustifiable cynicism, whether Sistani is simply counting heads and bearing the smug assurance of a poker player holding four aces. And he wonders whether democracy "at any price" is necessarily democracy at all:

[Sistani's] view is a sine qua non of terrorism. It matters little that Sistani, in the fashion of lip service, is....“consistent in condemning terrorism.” He is a central influence in the Islamic world. That is the world which is, undeniably, the font of virtually all modern terrorism. How surprised, then, should we be to find him giving animating voice to beliefs integral to the pathology that is spurring global barbarism? The pathology that says there is an us and a them, and the them is a sub-human species, not fit to be touched and, at least occasionally, worthy of being “killed in the worst manner possible.”...

The only democracy the United States should be building is one based on liberty, equality, the inherent dignity of all human beings, and the conviction that authority to rule is reposed in the people rather than in some external theological or political force. That, surely, is the democracy of President Bush’s soaring rhetoric, if not his Administration’s on-the-ground practice. If we are going to sacrifice American blood and treasure on this project, that better be what we are sacrificing them for....It is not achieved by a celebrated constitution’s being given the green-light by such an imam only after Islam has been installed as the official state religion and the sharia
made a primary source of fundamental law.

This brings us almost full circle back to the central intra-conservative dispute over the direction of the GWOT: Is the purpose of the war effort to build full-fledged, Jeffersonian/Madisonian "little Americas" all over Southwest Asia and settle for nothing less than that standard, or is it to eliminate terrorist regimes and replace them with "less than perfect" quasi-democracies - or even benign autocracies, if there is such a thing - that will still persecute their citizens but won't be breeding grounds for, and sponsors of, national security threats?

Just as with the other in-house right-wing "discussions," I find myself reminded of the old axiom to "not let the perfect become the enemy of the good." That's why I'm so enthusiastic an aper of Michael Ledeen's "Faster..." catch-phrase. Because if we are gambling the outcome of the GWOT, and therefore of potentially millions of American lives, on the benevolence of a man who considers us to be pee, poop, cum, cadavers, and other assorted defilements that sound straight out of a Johnny Carson "Karnak the Magnificant" routine, I want the remainder of our enemies quickly dispatched before he can change his self-interested mind.

UPDATE 3/22: The Bush Administration came to Abdul Rahman's defense yesterday - kinda-sorta:

The Bush Administration yesterday appealed to Afghanistan to spare the life of a man facing the death penalty for converting to Christianity, but said the matter was one for the Afghan government and courts to decide.

In a case that has sparked international outrage, the remarks of Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns were in sharp contrast to condemnations of the trial by lawmakers and by leading European allies.

Briefing reporters with Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah at his side, Mr. Burns said the U.S. government was watching the case of Abdul Rahman closely, but added, "This case is not in the competence of the United States government. It's under the competence of the Afghan authorities."

But the governments of Germany and Italy, which - like the United States - have substantial troop deployments in Afghanistan, lodged strong protests at the prospect of Mr. Rahman's execution, with former Italian President Francesco Cossiga saying Italy should withdraw its 1,775 troops in Afghanistan if the death sentence is handed down.

I don't know which is the more remarkable - "post-Christian" Europeans showing much greater outrage over anti-Christian persecution than the supposedly snake-handling American regime, or the very outrage itself given that ordinarily Western elites don't even notice anti-Christian persecution anywhere on the globe much less give a rat's ass about it. Maybe it's the opportunity to unravel Afghanistan as they've been trying, and failing, to frak up Operation Iraqi Freedom - i.e. the irresistable temptation to stick it up Bush - that is proving so overpowering.

But if President Karzai is going to let Talibanis rule over Afghan courts as though Operation Enduring Freedom had never happened, he ought to catch hell for it - and from a lot bigger figure than a Foggy Bottom flunky.

[HT: CQ]

UPDATE 3/23: The Afghans took a mulligan, declaring Mr. Rahman "mentally unfit" instead. Which sounds dismayingly like how the old Soviet Union used to "diagnose" its political dissidents (Remember "socialist reality"?). But they're not going to execute him - at least for now.

But what about the next "traitor to Islam"? Just how long will this "born-again" concern over persecution of Christians on the part of the Christophobic media last? And will it be extended to places like Red China and Pakistan and Sudan and Indonesia where the faithful are also under withering assault?

Okay, I was just joshing with that last question....