Friday, March 31, 2006

STAY ALIVE

I am of the opinion that people who are kidnapped and held prisoner have to survive. It should be understood that they are permitted by all rational people to say whatever they need to say in order to stay alive.

We should assume that anything such captives say is said under duress and they should be confident that we will understand that.

Jill Carroll was under duress.

Thus, I think we must not judge Jill Carroll for anything she may have said to her captors in any videotape she made with them before her release. We should be patient and allow her time to heal from the psychological trauma she may have suffered. We should understand that anyone undergoing this kind of ordeal is not to be expected to stand up to the threat of death or torture. She has neither the training nor the need to do so. There are no secrets she could have betrayed; and she is not a soldier and has nothing but her own life to protect and defend.

I'm not sure how I would behave under similar circumstances. I know that I would be willing to say anything necessary to stay alive. I hope I would be able to stand up to my captors and not do anything of which I might later be ashamed....

Jill Carroll must now do the hard work of returning to psychological normality. She will have to come to terms with what really happened to her during her months of captivity. She will have to deal with the cold-blooded murder of her interpreter; as well as the implications of the videotape made of her when she was clearly terrorized, frightened and in fear of her life. She will have to deal with the suffering that her family went through during her ordeal. I hope she will take the time she needs to heal and put her trauma in perspective. I hope she will not write about her captivity anytime soon.

We should leave her alone to heal. I wish her well.

UPDATE: I see that Wretchard at The Belmont Club would tend to agree.

UPDATE II: The Christian Science Monitor now says that Carroll was forced to make the video praising her captors as a condition of her release:
The night before journalist Jill Carroll's release, her captors said they had one final demand as the price of her freedom: She would have to make a video praising her captors and attacking the United States, according to Jim Carroll.
In a long phone conversation with his daughter on Friday, Mr. Carroll says that Jill was "under her captor's control."

Ms. Carroll had been their captive for three months and even the smallest details of her life - what she ate and when, what she wore, when she could speak - were at her captors' whim. They had murdered her friend and colleague Allan Enwiya, "she had been taught to fear them," he says. And before making one last video the day before her release, she was told that they had already killed another American hostage.

THE COUNCIL HAS SPOKEN !

This week's winners in the Watcher's Council are now posted at the Watcher of Weasels . Every week the Council nominates posts from the blogs of the Council members, and posts from around the blogsphere. The Council then votes to select the "Best" of all these posts. This week, as always, includes some incredible writing!

BEST COUNCIL POSTS:

First Place

A Slap in the Face Right Wing Nut House

Second Place (A two-way tie!)

Walking Out On Their Futures? The Education Wonks

What Bush Needs To Do To Come Back Joshuapundit

BEST NON-COUNCIL POSTS:


First Place

Open Letter To Reformist Muslims Unwilling Self-Negation

Second Place

Hummer Deathtraps Suck Winds of Change

Be sure to check out all the amazing winners at the Watcher's Site! Great weekend reading.

JOSE, CAN YOU SEE?

Victor Davis Hanson has an editorial posted that looks at the recent pro-illegal immigration marches, and one paragraph, in particular, struck me forcefully:
Had the demonstrators marched chanting "God Bless America," confined their flag waving to Old Glory, and expressed thanks to a magnanimous United States that gave them a second chance when a corrupt Mexico has precluded their first, then they would have won public support.

Hanson predicts an enormous backlash, basically because of the racist --yes, I said racist--attitudes of the protesters and America's quite natural revulsion at their overweening sense of entitlement, as well as their remarkable grandiosity and attitude of cultural superiority.

These were people who were out there screaming how superior they were to us, and at the same time demanding--demanding!--that we take care of them, give them special priveleges, and acknowledge that their "rights" supercede our own.

Unbelievable. And, of course, the ultimate in politically correct chic.

The Democrats and others on the left are so busy extending "rights" to all sorts of victim classes; even including those people who are actively trying to kill fellow Americans (you know, those poor mistreated enemy combatants in Guantanamo; who supposedly to have the right to a jury trial and all the benefits of citizenship now that they have been captured by America) - why shouldn't La Raza and other assorted Mexican victimhood groups think that they are entitled to even more benefits from a ccountry they appear to despise, but wish to reside in anyway.

When I wrote this post, I was in no way promoting the rights of illegal immigrants, only trying to point out how immigration and the whole "melting pot" idea of our country is at the heart of America's values. We are rightly a beacon of liberty to the world and welcome those "yearning to breathe free". The many hard-working Mexican-Americans who have contributed to this society over generations bear witness to this; as do all the other immigrant groups that have chosen to become Americans and to make a better life for themselves and their descendents.

A beacon of liberty that offers people a second chance at life in a free society is quite a different thing from an "oppressor" who has stolen your land and mistreated your people and therefore owes you...everything. These latter claims come from groups that somehow believe that their "rights" as presumed victims trump all others.

What we have here is the Mexican variant of the Palestinian "intifada"--people who are trying to cash in on the victimhood scam that is the essesnce of leftist politics. Obviously, they have closely observed how the world coddles and supports the sick Palestinian culture--viciously oppressed by the "little Satan" Israel--and now they intend to take advantage of the "great Satan" U.S.; so they can be competitive for the honor of becoming the next most celebrated and pathetic international victims.

I have to admit that I am about as "pro-immigration" a person as anyone is likely to find: and I was completely and totally turned off by what I have observed over the last week. Check out this site, if you want your blood pressure to rise as you observe the fundamental insanity that is at the root of the recent protests.

They are actually serious about "liberating" their people from the great oppression of America's racism. And talk about racism! Their group's entire spiel appears to be based on it.


No rational person is capable of believing this kind of rot. Which only means that they will be given a position of honor among the psychotic minions of the lunatic left.

A Word About Commenting

Commenting on Dr. Sanity is provided as a courtesy only. I enjoy a good debate and honest responses to the posts I write. I generally read all the comments and occasionally respond, but often don't have the time to do as much as I would like. I used to comment a lot on other blogs, but writing for this one takes up so much of my time, that even that is quite limited now.

I don't have the ability to review all comments before they appear, but with haloscan (which has its limitations) I can review them after the fact. Sometimes haloscan acts up and comments disappear for no particular reason. But I also have the abililty to delete comments that are offensive and to ban IP addresses that consistently write comments that are offensive and/or designed to take people off-topic; or simply to disrupt the process.

Occasionally, I let some of these pass (if they prove the point I am making; or if the bloviating they exhibit exposes them for what they are; or, simply because I sense a genuine desire to engage and debate). I don't have a problem with people who disagree with me, as much as I have a problem with those who are disagreeable or nasty or deliberately obnoxious. Sometimes when someone is banned, they simply find another IP address to write from. "your mom" is a case in point, as was "mitzell". In those cases, when they are banned by me, I will simply continue to delete their comments whenever I notice them. It is harder when they use different names (which they do quite often), but if I think it is the same person, I will delete their comments. There are a lot of jerks out there like them, who do not want to engage in debate, but only want to act out, shock, annoy etc. I recognize they just want attention--and negative attention is better than no attention at all--but in the end it comes down to the fact that this is MY blog, and I don't have to engage them; care about them; or even let them comment if I don't want to.

Calling me names or threatening me is a sure-fire way to get banned. Those who think they are being cute by using different IP addresses to keep coming back should know that when I get tired of deleting your comments, I will simply stop comments on a particular thread -- or entirely, for that matter-- rather than let you continue your offensive behavior. I suggest you either grow up; get a life; or start your own blog.

For everyone else who comes here and leaves comments, know that I appreciate the time and thought you put into it and that I value your ideas. However, I expect you to be basically civil to one another.

Links to your own blog site or relevant other web pages are fine and appreciated.

Please be relatively brief and relevant to the post.

Again, commenting is a courtesy I extend--it is not something I have to do.

I want to thank all my regular readers for their support and good wishes. I really do enjoy blogging (otherwise I wouldn't do it!) and don't plan to give it up anytime soon. But sometimes it is a good idea to take a break and recharge.

I will be posting again later this afternoon. Cheers!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

OUT OF FOCUS

Sometimes I hate blogging. Most of the time everything comes fairly naturally and the ideas floating around stimulate me to write and the words just flow from my brain onto the blog.

Other days, I am preoccupied with things outside the bounds of the blogsphere; or simply irritated at everything I read in the news; and I want to close up my laptop and never open it again.

This is especially true when the nastiness in my inbox overwhelms my fundamentally optimistic nature and general goodwill. Of course I appreciate all the positive emails I get(and I consider any that don't call me names "positive"), but on days like today, that kind of perspective doesn't amount to much.

In almost two years of blogging, I have only missed one day when I didn't post anything. Is that compulsive, or what?

I wonder if people realize how terribly difficult it is to be creative, original, articulate, and incredibly damn brilliant every single friggen day?

I could go on like this for a while, since I am frustrated, irritable, annoyed, and fuzzy (and my estrogen level is just fine, thank you very much). But,enough of this whining and feeling sorry for myself!

I know for a fact that if I go off and read some great fiction for a while, things will slowly come back into focus; my energy and enthusiasm will magically reappear, and I'll be back to my normally wonderful self.

Later. Tomorrow maybe.

SMUG ALERT !

I think I am definitely becoming a South Park fan....

A TRUTH THAT MUST BE FACED

There is a truth that must be faced eventually by all those in the West and it is best enunciated in this op-ed piece on RCP by David Warren:

The case of Abdul Rahman, like the organized Danish cartoon apoplexy (still continuing in some parts of the world, where Muslim demagogues are still using it to whoop up anti-Western hysteria), brings us face to face with Islamic doctrines inimical to the survival of our civilization. And here, I wish I could say "Islamist", but the unpleasant truth is, Islamic doctrines. For the Shariah principles in question are shared by all four of the Sunni schools of jurisprudence (Maliki, Hanbali, Hanafi, and Shafi'i), plus the Shia school. There is no "sixth school" that recognizes religious and civic freedom, in any way that resembles what these expressions mean in the West.

All five of the actual schools or traditions take a view of idolatry, that entirely removes the possibility of freedom of expression in public life. Moreover, all take a view of apostasy that presents a palpable threat to the life and liberty of every non-Muslim, and excommunicated Muslim. And such doctrines as "jihad" (when interpreted as perpetual holy war against all infidels), and "razzia" (permission to raid and plunder our infidel communities) are not such as can be assimilated with Western jurisprudence.

We cannot pretend for long, the way President Bush has been doing (albeit from humane and sound tactical motives to begin with), that the Shariah is compatible with freedom and democracy. The systems of government we advocate, or by necessity impose, must explicitly provide civil protection to non-Muslims and Muslims alike, against Shariah courts and their rulings. I have come to realize there is no alternative to this.


This is an unpalatable reality. We see evidence of it daily in the practices of Islamic shari'a--even in a country like Afghanistan which has only recently had the boot of the Taliban removed from its neck, only to have them voluntarily substitute a new and shinier boot to their own neck.

As Warren stipulates, shari'a--and perhaps Islam itself, must be stared down. This is hard to do when your own institutions crumple when stared at by Islam. The most recent cases in point are the cowardly and morally repugnant decisions of Borders and Waldenbooks to refuse to carry a magazine, Free Inquiry, because it discusses the Danish cartoons and has the audacity of actually reprinting one of them for its readers.

These businesses claim this was a business decision made for the safety of its customers and staff. I think that political correctness played an even bigger role. Well, I too, can make a business decision and I choose not to buy books from either outlet anymore since they have bowed to shari'a.

Either we stand up to the bullies and psychopaths of this sick religion that comes to us straight from the middle ages, or we submit to their perverted legal system. If we cannot even make a stand on our own shores how can we fight for these freedoms elsewhere?

This is yet another symptom of the virulent strain of moral relativism that has infected our own culutre, which we call "political correctness" and "multiculturalism". If we do not pursue aggressive treatment for it, I fear it will be the death of us.

It is no wonder Islam believes it can win this war.



UPDATE: At Borders (which originated in my home town of Ann Arbor) it is even worse dhimmitude and appeasement than you can possibly imagine.

BTW, here is a link to the dreaded cartoons, which you should keep viewing regularly to remind youself how insane this is, and what free speech is all about.

UPDATE II: As one commenter rightly points out, I do not know if the link above about Borders is true. So I will amend the update by saying "IF True, at Borders...etc." My bad.

UPDATE III: At the American Thinker, there is this note:
The liberals were right: our civil liberties are slowly disappearing now that George Bush is president. Of course most of the liberals not only seem to approve of these infringements on our freedoms they initiate them-all in the name of the highest ideals of liberalism. Political correctness and sensitivity and all that. And all in the name of religion. But only one religion-Islam.

Yep, its those cartoons again. Mustn’t see them because they are oh so disrespectful, so hurtful. And of course they cause riots. Recently the lack of freedom to view these cartoons occurred in the in one of the main centers of American liberalism—New York. And now a major bookstore chain got religion.

Borders and Waldenbooks have refused to display and sell the April-May issue of the magazine Free Inquiry because of those dreaded cartoons.
[...]
Borders’ apparent lack of respect for these fundamental rights is enough to make me an ex Border customer.


He quotes Borders as saying:
“We absolutely respect our customers’ right to choose what they wish to read and buy and we support the First Amendment,” Bingham said. “And we absolutely support the rights of Free Inquiry to publish the cartoons. We’ve just chosen not to carry this particular issue in our stores.”


And I absolutely support Border's right to free speech by choosing to prevent me from having access to certain books: just as I am sure they will approve my and your refusal to buy books from them in the future. I certainly hope that this business decision has serious economic consequences for them.

SAVE NAZANIN PETITION

Here is an on-line petition you can sign to try and save the life of the 18 yo Iranian girl who is sentenced to die for the crime of killing a man who was trying to rape her (see here, here and here).

The Volokh Conspiracy
has more information on those who are standing up for her, as well as a discussion of the fundamental right of self defense.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

JUST THE POINT I WAS MAKING THE OTHER DAY

...in this post. But the cartoon says it more succinctly!



I have been at a speaking engagement all afternoon and just returned home. I'm beat, so I'll get caught up tomorrow!

Meanwhile, SC&A has up a great interview with Ali, a moderate Muslim worth listening to. It just so happens, that I nominated a post from Ali 's blog Unwilling Self Negation, to the Watcher's Council this week, titled: "Open Letter To Reformist Muslims". Definitely worth reading also.

THEY'RE THE DEMOCRATS !

Wow! Four and a half years since 9/11, and the Democrats have finally decided to get serious!

What's their plan to get OBL? It seems they are likely to invade...Pakistan!

I shouldn't make fun of them, though.... Well, OK. I should--with the help of Monty Python's Lumberjack Song.

THEY"RE THE DEMOCRATS!

We're the Democrats and we're OK!
We're tough and smart and we plan all day.


MSM:
They're the Democrats and they're okay.
They're tough and smart and they plan all day.


REID, BOXER, ET AL:
We read a speech. We eat our lunch.
We go back to committee.
On Wednesdays we fight terror
From sea to shining sea
.

MSM:
They read a speech. They eat their lunch.
They go back to committee.
On Wednesdays they fight terror
From sea to shining sea!


They're the Democrats and they're okay.
They're tough and smart and they plan all day.


REID, BOXER, ET AL:
We pass big bills and lots of wind
And don't support the war.
We want to get Osama
But can't quite figure out what for?!


MSM:
They pass big bills and lots of wind
And don't support the war.
They want to get Osama
But can't quite figure out what for?!


But, they're the Democrats and they're okay.
They're tough and smart and they plan all day.


REID, BOXER, ET AL:
We speak tough words, we have big thoughts
Someday we'll have a clue
We have a new direction,
We just don't know where to!


MSM:
They speak tough words, they have big thoughts
Someday they'll have a clue.... wait a minute!


[voices talking]
What's this? They still haven't realized we're in a war?! Oh, My!
And we thought you were so rugged! Wimps!...
[singing]

They're the Democrats and they're so slow
We were attacked some years ago.
They finally want to get old OBL
Now isn't that just really swell?

WORSHIPPING FALSE GODDESSES

Dymphna at the Gates of Vienna would like us not to forget the ongoing persecution of women under Islamic law. She cites several cases from Iran, that should have the feminist world buzzing with outrage and protesting up a storm; but which--as is par for the course-- is under their radar:
The first is an 17 year old young woman named Nazanin who was out walking with her niece and their respective boyfriends in March, 2005. The two girls were set upon by three men. When the men began stoning the girls, the boys ran away. Injured from the stones, the girls were dragged to the ground and Act II, the rape, began. Nazanin managed to get out a knife she carried to protect herself from attacks. She stabbed her rapist in the chest and he died from the wound. So, of course, Nazanin now faces execution for this act of self-defense. She was sentenced in January, 2006, though the date of execution isn’t certain.


Read the entire post. Dymphna proposes sainthood for real victims of oppression like Nazanin. But the women's movement is too busy worshipping false goddesses, and whipping up faux outrage on university campuses; and have no words to spare in defense of the Nazanins of the world.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

DOGMA , DENIAL, AND DIBS ON THE KOOL-AID

Just a few days ago I predicted that the left would be unable to deal with the information coming out in the recently released Iraq documents:
More and more information is now becoming available (see here, here, here, here) about two of the most sacred beliefs of the left and cornerstone of their faith in the evil of George Bush, I am speaking, of course, about their belief that Saddam did not have WMD's and that there was no connection between Saddam's regime and Al Qaeda.
Yet, I predict that much of this new information will be discounted, dismissed, disclaimed and denied by both the MSM and the lefty blogs.

To acknowledge even the slightest possibility that either of the two fundamental butresses of their religious faith are severely damaged would be enormously threatening and totally out of character for the left, who like to think of themselves as the "reality-based" community.

Except, apparently, when reality doesn't agree with their preconceived notions.

For three years we have heard their carping; withstood their contempt; and borne the brunt of their incoherent rage. We have listened to the endless repetition of their mantras and slogans; the unrivaled self-righteousness of their superior intellects; and the intensity of their hatred.

Now we will see if they possess a shred of honesty. We will see if they can summon up an iota of insight; or a moment of self-reflection. We will see how they handle one of the most serious psychological challenges that a human being can face.

And admit that they were wrong.

Personally, I don't believe they are capable of doing it.


Well it didn't take long to prove me correct. The first signs were in the comments to the post:
I completely agree, given that this "new information" is unsubstantiated, and from sources which are not credible. Right-wing Kool-Aid drinkers and Iraqis who want to sell books? Come on.


Or, this carefully reasoned one:
So what you're really saying is that you feel so inadequate and both intellectually and morally inferior to some fantasy-construct version of "liberals" that you're complelled to lash out by sticking your head up your ass and sobbing incontrollably as you write your fucktard blog posts.

Please feel free at anytime to apologize for acting out in this manner. I will have to warn you, however, that failure to do so in the next 24 hours will result in my coming over to your house and kicking your ass.


Now we have the MSM coming out swinging to discredit any information that might come from the documents as reported by Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard:

THE NEW YORK TIMES today joined the debate about Iraqi documents with a front-page news article and an op-ed by Peter Bergen. It's been nearly two weeks since the first documents were released, but a belated acknowledgement of the news is better than nothing. One might have expected such a longtime champion of open government as the Times to have aggressively led the effort to have these once-secret documents released. Not this time.

The front-page story seeks to dismiss the importance of the documents while the op-ed by Bergen seems to find them only significant enough to warrant an attempted deconstruction. Both of these efforts fail badly. Reading the two pieces together, one gets the unmistakable impression that the Times doesn't want to know more about the documents, their contents and what they tell us about prewar Iraq. The Times, it seems, has chosen ignorance.

The news piece deserves little in the way of a response. Reporter Scott Shane casts the story as a battle between diehard supporters of the Bush administration and the truth, noting most helpfully that in other Internet projects "volunteers have tested software, scanned chemical compounds for useful drugs and even searched radiotelescope data for signals from extraterrestrial life."

Shane ignores the mostly-thoughtful commentary and analysis of the documents and chooses to quote an exuberant conservative blogger proclaiming that one document shows that Iraq had WMD and connections to terrorism, only to knock that claim down later. "The anthrax document . . . does not seem
to prove much," Shane writes. And he liberally sprinkles his piece with quotes from anonymous intelligence officials who downplay the significance of the document release. (In one case, Shane names the intelligence official, Michael Scheuer, but neglects to include any mention of Scheuer's self-contradictory analysis of Iraq and terrorism or any reminder that Scheuer might not be a disinterested party.)

Lost on Shane, it seems, is that these documents were released in large part so that we would no longer have to rely on the opinions of anonymous intelligence officials who, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee's bipartisan report, knew very little about Iraq before the war. It should hardly be surprising that the U.S. intelligence community would seek to downplay the significance of these documents after paying them little attention for three years. In any case, the release of the documents allows the debate to move from speculation to fact. It is a development one would expect the Times to welcome.


One would expect it, but one would be wrong. People in denial don't want to know the truth. That is why no amount of information and no amount of rational argument will have any effect on them. As Hayes correctly surmises, they choose ignorance, rather than to challenge or even question the deeply held religious convictions upon which they have built their faith.

I suggest we simply declare the left an official "church" and let them have the same religious freedom to worship whatever nonsense they desire; carefully controlled by the high priests and priestesses (or is it Imams? I forget) The NY Times can be named the official church newsletter (though it might have to compete for that honor) that goes out to the congregation. That way, we can stop pretending that they are a "news" organization and let them be the organ for transmitting official leftist dogma to the converted.

Compare the completely closed minds that greet these very real, detailed and voluminous documents from within Saddam's regime--documents that threaten their belief system; with the gullibility and credence given to a blatantly forged document; leaked by a blatantly anti-Bush individual to blatantly partisan journalists from a blatantly partisan media outlet.

Then ask yourself who has dibs on the kool-aid.

YEAH, YEAH, DEATH TO EVERYONE

The Anchoress, reporting on the disappearance of Abdul Rahman after his release and the hysterical fanatics who are continuing to demand his death for converting to Christianity:
Yeah, yeah, Death to Christians, Death to Jews, Death to cartoonists, Death to gays, Death to unveiled or “dishonorable” women, Death to the West. Death to all who don’t agree with us! Death, Death, Death - that’s all these people know. Maybe it’s because they know so little about loving life?


In point of fact, they know nothing about life. They know nothing about loving, for that matter. These fanatics are so frightened of life; so frightened of individuality; of choice; so frightened of even thinking; that they may as well be the animals they have become. The insecurity and malignant narcissism that is the hallmark of a severely damaged and perverted self simply oozes from their being.

They have willingly abdicated their humanity. In a post titled Union with an Evil God, I earlier discussed some of the psychological dynamics of this sort of religious ecstasy in the context of a suicide bomber--but it is equally applicable to the homicidal maniacs of Islam:
I wonder if in his [the suicide bomber's] religious ecstasy experience there is room for a consideration of the possible pain of his victims?

Probably not. The essence of religious ecstasy occurs when one's Self is perfectly united to the elusive omnipotent object of one's infancy; and this fusion has little room in the crowded psyche for the consideration of of those outside the fusion. It is just one's own pathetic little Self and God.

Usually, this is not so bad as experiences go; and many who are caught up in this incredible ecstasy are led to new understanding and appreciation of their own humanity; their Self is strengthened and renewed; and they may feel a benevolence and peace toward all other human beings. Fusion with a benign and caring god can even provoke monumental spiritual changes for the good in some individuals.

But this is not the case when one unites with a brutal, bloodthirsty, compassionless god like Allah the "Merciful".... The Allah of the gentleman quoted in the article above is hardly benign and demands not only your death, but that you commit murder in his name. The perfect union is still perceived ecstatically, even if the Self undergoes medieval torture; for it is still the desired Oneness that the developing Self lost early on in life. Allah the omnipotent object remains omnipotent--just evil-- and the result is a profound loss of humanity and a rejection of the good.


Hence the daily spectacles we see of Islam's best and brightest blowing themselves up; persecuting infidels wherever they find them; and oppressing 50% of their own muslim population. That is, when they aren't killing each other for imperceptible (to anyone else) "deviations" in Islamic thought.

It is certainly understandable that anyone in the culture or country where such religious activities happen regularly; with a shred of sanity and goodness in their hearts; and who still possessed the ability for independent, rational thought, would seriously consider this option, despite its drawbacks. As The Anchoress suggests, The Islam practiced by these holy people is not so much a religion as it is a cult of death worshippers.

At least being a Christian or a Jew and becoming one with God or Jehovah is not fundamentally incompatible with life, freedom, dignity, and compassion for one's fellow humans.

TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH

Medical Grand Rounds is posted over at Dr. Crippen's site. Check it out

THE CORRUPTION OF PUBLIC DISCOURSE

In my humble opinion, ShrinkWrapped has the quote of the week in his thoughtful piece yesterday about immigration:
In the 35 years since the children of the 60's began to insinuate their way into positions of influence and power, they have corrupted much of our public discourse beyond recognition. Those who believe there is something special and worth fighting for in this nation are regularly derided as cowboys, fascists, and racists.


Ain't it the truth.

My spoiled, petulant, and entitled generation has a lot to answer for. Too bad they're not very good at accepting responsibility for the consequences of their behavior, either.

FOR SALE !

I recently ran across this site which will tell you how much your blog is worth.


My blog is worth $534,619.38.
How much is your blog worth?



The site doesn't say how to cash out. Anybody want to buy a used blog?

(Just kidding--unless you really want to pay me half a mil!)

Monday, March 27, 2006

YOUR MSM AT WORK



If you think that the editorial cartoon (hat tip: OBH) above is exaggerating, then check out how the media...

















....Carefully edits what information the public sees and doesn't see to make sure it fits with their agenda. EXAMPLE
















...Cheerleads every piece of bad news and every opportunity to make America and the U.S. military look bad; and steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that they are being manipulated by the enemy and have themselves become part of the story driving events. DISCUSSION HERE

















...Shows their real agenda in every hostile question they ask. EXAMPLES DISCUSSED HERE


















...Blames Bush for every overhyped problem and fails to give him any credit for any success -- like the economy. In fact, most of the time, they are trying to convince people that the economy sucks; and when they report positive economic news, they spin it like an act of God has occurred. TYPICAL EXAMPLE HERE

When real natural disasters occur, they spin those as if they are deliberate acts on Bush's part.

This is your MSM at work! Undermining a Republican administration; undermining the war; and undermining America.

TRIBUTE

This video is a powerful tribute to our military men and women (hat tip: JAJ). I think it has been around for a while, but I never saw it before. Be sure to have your sound turned on when you watch it.

Meanwhile, The Anchoress has a link to 7:28 minutes of the reality of 9/11. It seems to me that many people would like to pretend that we were not attacked on that infamous day. Watch this video to remind youself of the horror.

On the sidebar of this blog, I have images of 9/11 because as I watched it unfold on TV that day, I resolved never to forget those who died; nor to forget the meaning of the attacks. In my home office I have a photo of NYC skyline with the WTC towers and the Statue of Liberty , torch raised, in the harbor between the two towers. Beneath the photo is a quote from Ayn Rand in The Fountainhead:

"When I see the city...I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would like to throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body."

HOTEL CALIPHORNIA

Thanks to Gagdad Bob for the idea and challenging me to run with it! He has also contributed several lines and the final verse! Thanks, Bob!

HOTEL CALIPHORNIA

On a dark desert highway, adopted by CAIR
I was passing through Mecca, on my way to Bel Air
Up ahead in the distance, within the simmering blight
I said a prayer and made the sign of the cross--
Something just wasn't right.

I heard them chanting in anger,
'Death to the infidel'
And I was thinking to myself,
'These guys are praying, but this must be hell!"
Then this girl in a burkha, silently stood in my way
More prayers coming from the mosque,
I thought I heard her say...

Welcome to the Hotel Caliphornia
Such an ugly place
I can't see her face (it's a deep disgrace)
They're blowing things up at the Hotel Caliphornia
All throughout the year
Girls know what to wear

Her mind is Mohammed-twisted, she got the Bin Laden flu
She wears a veil and the Qu'ran tells her just what to do.
If she has any questions, she can ask the Imam.
If she wants to wear color, she can strap on a bomb

So I questioned the Caliph,
And asked him how could this be?
He said, 'I have wondered the same thing now since sixteen eighty three,
When the Ottoman army kind of lost its way.
We're still reliving that past
Even to this day...'

Welcome to the Hotel Caliphornia
Just the kind of place
For a master race.
The shari'a is nice at the Hotel Caliphornia
It is blasphemy
Just to think, you see.

Virgins in a black room,
But you can't afford their price;
And one said 'We are all just prisoners here, of our own device.'
Then the grand ayatollah,
Decreed I should die;
And when he issued a fatwa,
I thought I heard Allah sigh.

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To a faith without the gore
'Relax,' said the Imam,
We are programmed to believe.
You can convert any time you like,
but you can never leave.


UPDATE: The latest cartoon from Cox and Forkum seems appropriate.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Scimitar of Damocles


Anyone who thinks that the Abdul Rahman apostasy issue is just an aberration of some form of "extreme" Islam should read this article by Andrew Bostom at The American Thinker. (hat tip: suek)
Ibn Warraq’s seminal 2003 study of apostasy, Leaving Islam (p.31) , distinguishes transient doubt—edified by discovering the “truth” of Islam—from apostasy:

Doubt is a very good passageway, but a very bad place to stop in. However, apostasy is a matter of treason and ideological treachery, which originates from hostility and hypocrisy. The destiny of a person who has an inborn handicap is different from the destiny of one whose hand should be cut off due to the development of a dangerous and infectious disease. The apostasy of a Muslim individual whose parents have also been Muslim is a very infectious, dangerous and incurable disease that appears in the body of an ummah (people) and threatens peoples lives, and that is why this rotten limb should be severed.

And punishment by death for apostasy from Islam is firmly rooted in the most holy Muslim texts—both the Koran, and the hadith—as well as the sacred Islamic Law (the Shari’a). Koran 4:89 states* :

They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.

One of the most authoritative Koranic commentators, Baydawi (d. 1315/16) interprets this passage thus:

“Whosoever turns back from belief (irtada), openly or secretly, take him and kill him wheresoever ye find him, like any other infidel. Separate yourself from him altogether. Do not accept intercession in his regard” (cited in Zwemer, The Law of Apostasy in Islam, 1924, pp. 33-34).


The Big Pharoah comments on the imminent release of Rahman after the charges were dropped, bowing to international pressure:
Abdul Rahman, dude, when you get out of this prison tomorrow make sure to catch the nearest flight, car, donkey, whatever and get the hell out.


I concur, and hope that our forces will provide him with an armed escort out of the country.

Rahman's release does not at all alter the fundamental problem that exists between Islam and the rest of humanity; it simply postpones it for a while.

UPDATE: neo-neocon has more thoughts on this.

YEARNING TO BREATHE FREE

Generally, I tend to agree on most things political with Michelle Malkin. The one issue where we differ is on immigration. She states that America is not a nation of immigrants:
We are not a "nation of immigrants." This is both a factual error and a warm-and-fuzzy non sequitur. Eighty-five percent of the residents currently in the United States were born here. Sure, we are almost all descendants of immigrants. But we are not a "nation of immigrants."

(Isn’t it funny, by the way, how the politically correct multiculturalists who claim we are a “nation of immigrants” are sooo insensitive toward Native American Indians, Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians, and descendants of black slaves who did not “immigrate” here in any common sense of the word?)

Even if we were a “nation of immigrants,” it does not explain why we should be against sensible immigration control.

And if the open borders advocates would actually read American history instead of revising it, they would see that the founding fathers were emphatically insistent on protecting the country against indiscriminate mass immigration.


While I agree that "sensible immigration control" is definitely needed--particularly in these days of fanatic Islamic jihadist threats (in fact, I would go so far as to put a moratorium on all immigration to this country for a period of time--say 1-2 years) while we continue to sort out the danger and develop countermeasures); nevertheless, I must respectfully disagree about the "not a nation of immigrants" position.

My disagreement has two aspects. The first is my own family history. All four of my grandparents individually came to America from Italy in the early part of the 20th century. Their stories and their passionate desires to become part of the American dream have inspired me for most of my life; and are part of my own cultural heritage which I deeply value and have tried to pass on to my own daughter who was born after all of them had passed away.

Back in my college days I became very aware that many of the people who most appreciated my country were not my fellow Americans, but were immigrants from various countries. They all had the perspective of having lived elsewhere and understanding what was special about America. Often, their feeling rekindled the fierce pride I felt in my Grandfather, who volunteered--barely able to even speak English yet-- for the US Army in World War I. He told me once when I was a very young child how "blessed" I was to grow up in a country where "freedom is in the very air you breathe".

Or the love and gratitude, I feel for my mother's mother, who took me out to lunch one day and encouraged me to become a doctor--and not to listen to my mother, who felt it was not appropriate that a woman go into a "masculine" career. "I came to this country because there was no future for women where I grew up. But you are an American and you are free to grow up and be whatever your abilities permit."

Did I mention that my Grandmother at age 15 stowed away on a boat to America and entered New York without a penny to her name, ultimately starting her own sewing business, before she met my Grandfather?

My immigrant Grandparents always understood what this country was fundamentally about.

In short, while I was lucky enough to be born an American, I am proudly descended from some incredible people who chose to be American. And I salute them and thank them from the bottom of my heart. In fact, I believe the real strength of this country comes from people who consciously and deliberately choose the liberty that America offers--whether they are born between the shining seas of this wonderful land or they make their way here by other means.

The second aspect of my disagreement with Michelle is best found in the famous poem by Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


This poem lyrically communicates one of the oldest and most deeply-felt American values. Most Americans, although not immigrants themselves, have ancestors that came to this shore seeking freedom from oppression, and a new chance at life. America has always opened her arms and welcomed them. And we are a strong and vibrant country because of it.

The recent introduction into the politically correct lexicon of "multicultural" is, I feel, a perversion of the message on the Statue. There is, of course, nothing intrinsically negative to valuing and treasuring, and even maintaining one's cultural heritage--as I and my family still do. But the implication of the multicultural gurus is that every culture; every tradition is morally, politically, economically, socially, aesthetically, and in every other way equivalent to American culture.

I do not think that perspective stands up to reality. The implication of the "diversity" divas is that diverse cultures are the strength and beauty our "national quilt".

Well, yes each diverse component does contribute. But it is the overall quilt itself that is the desired result. It is the quilt's entire design that determines its beauty, meaning, and utility. A quilt is a fabric design made by cutting shapes from one or more fabrics and sewing them on top of another piece of fabric. In America we have made a "crazy quilt" comprised of the members of every national, ethnic, religious and racial group on the planet. The "batting" and "bindings" of the quilt are what pull the individual blocks together into its overall pattern. No one block determines the overall pattern and each block is subsumed into the pattern.

I have no problem with natives of say, Turkey, or Haiti, or China saying that their cultural beliefs are better than America's. That is their perogative--I don't agree with them--but they are entitled to their opinion. But if one's own culture is so excellent--why come to the U.S. to live? If a person is not open to America's culture and accepting its values and goals, why come here?

The immigrant--by virtue of the of the very fact of their immigration-- is acknowledging the superior qualities of the country he or she immigrates to--or why immigrate? Becoming a citizen of this country presupposes that you accept those values and are no longer a Turk, Haitian, or Chinese--but are now an American.

Having commented on the value of immigration for both the immigrant yearning to breathe free; and for America itself, which is stonger because of the "melting pot" or "quilt" that brings together the strengths of many culures; how should America's borders be controled so that they "provide for the common defense"; while at the same time are able to take in the world's "tired, your poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free"?

I don't pretend to have all the answers to that difficult question. But I do believe that we are a nation whose strength derives from all the people who choose America -- even if they are fortunate enought to have been born here.

The global war on terror presents those of us who support immigration and want to keep America's shores always open for those in the world yearning to breathe free, with enormous challenges. How do we wage this war for the very existence of our country and its values, without losing the liberty that makes our country worth fighting for to begin with?

That is a question worthy of debate and discussion and not just slogans, marches and platitudes issuing forth from both sides. On that, I am sure Michelle and I would agree completely.

One final word. I tend to think that Glenn Reynolds is absolutely correct, however, that the recent marches in favor of illegal immigration will only have the result of stricter laws being passed.

I wish that both sides would simply stand-down for a time and permit a reasoned debate and the development of sensible, and not draconian, solutions. Because, for me at least, this issue stands at the very center of what America is all about.

CARNIVAL OF THE INSANITIES

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Time for the weekly insanity update, where the insane, the bizarre, the ridiculous, and the completely absurd are highlighted for all to see! This has been a week of rare idiocy (as always!). So, if you want to remain sane, the best thing is to poke some fun at the more egregious absurdities.

Send all entries for next week's carnival to Dr. Sanity by 8 pm ET on Saturday for Sunday's Carnival. Only one post entry weekly per blogger, please. Thanks for all the submissions. I try to use as many as possible! SO MANY INSANITIES! SO LITTLE TIME!

1. Antiwar, but Pro-Mercedes! Suggesting that we should make cars, not war perhaps?

2. A case of identification with the aggressor? Meanwhile real women are escaping the wreckage; while Yale rewards the wreckers. (hat tip: JAJ)

3. Property of the state. Soon it will be just numbers.

4. Racism may take many shapes, but appeasement requires only two letters: UN.

5. Perhaps they aren't "whiny" but they are jobless...

6. How do you say "shocked!" in French? More shocking news.

7. An outbreak of discretion in the MSM? Or just trying to hide some uncomfortable facts? Things like this tend to make me puke.

8. A Mediocre Media Carnival? It will surely be innundated with entries!

9. 29 Reasons Why America Sucks...

10 . Sounds like the investment worked.

11. You don't bring her flowers and she'd like to know why. Leave her a comment, you cad!

12. Vietnam provides some perspective on Iraq (really!); and here's someone who provides us with the MSM's perspective on terrorists.

13. Stealing language and Trademarking the word "the".

14. The etymology of moonbaticus americanus, commonly referred to as a "moonbat".

15. Whatever you do, don't get trapped in this "web of love"!

16. The latest in paranoid chic on the antiwar circuit. Oh, wait! I meant antiwar fashion chic

17. The Poison Ivy League?

18. Yummy! And they're in season!

19. So, if she doesn't take this job, does that mean she's going to run?

20. Poetic justice for an overly clever lawyer!

21. Out of the mouths of [Hollywood] babes ... out of the mouths of "credible sources"; and finally, out of the mouths of babies.

22. Ramsey Clark has just won this prestigious award! Good for him.

23. Looking for Mr. Goodsperm.

24. Research (?) into the habits of modern college students.

25. People get drunk in bars? Who would have predicted that? Perhaps they are waging a pre-emptive war?

Carnival of the Insanities can also be found at The Truth Laid Bear's √úberCarnival.

***************************************

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

ACTS OF THE APPEASERS

A Reading from the Left's Holy Bubble+

ACTS 1

Verse 1: Christianity

1 A senior Anglican priest resigned yesterday as editor of a Welsh language church magazine after publishing a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad....

All copies of Y Llan ("Church") will now be collected and destroyed.

Mr Williams's use of the drawing was denounced as "a gross error of judgment" by the Archbishop of Wales
.

It must be something about the words Christian and pacifist. Both tend to make us think of other words like generous and kind.

5But what happens when we examine the words of the Christian Peacemaker Teams that spoke to the media this week after three of its members were freed from captivity by British, Canadian and American men with guns?

"We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by multinational forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end. We pray that Christians throughout the world will, in the same spirit, call for justice and for respect for the human rights of the thousands of Iraqis who are being detained illegally by the U.S. and British forces occupying Iraq."

Where is the generosity of spirit in this statement? Is it not painfully obvious to these pacifists that their own people were deprived of human rights? Were they taken by the dreaded coalition forces?

10 Am I missing something here? Iraqi terrorists kidnapped several member of the CPT, tied them and gagged them, executed one of them and threatened to execute the rest. Are these not human rights violations? Or do we reserve that judgment only for Americans and Brits?

Verse 2: The United Nations

New information about Iran's program came from diplomats representing countries on the United Nations Security Council. They were briefed by senior staff of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which maintains monitors in Iran. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because the briefing was private.

Even as Iran apparently moves forward, diplomatic efforts to persuade it to halt its nuclear work appeared to be faltering in the face of distrust among powerful Security Council members and disagreements over the best strategy.


15 From the UN Letter to the Galaxians: The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, which prepared a report about the cartoon crisis, breaking out after the publication of insulting images of Prophet Muhammad, accused the Danish government of acting irresponsibly during the crisis period.

UN Higher Commissioner Louis Arbour’s special reporter Doudou Diene made harsh criticisms in his report about the Danish government and intellectuals along with the Danish daily Jyllands Posten, which published the blasphemous images first. The report stressed that “beliefs should not be humiliated under the veil of freedom of expression” as it dwelled on the importance of fighting against Islamophobia.

Verse 3: The Academy

While most people at Yale are similarly responding with silence to questions about the Rahmatullah case, there are exceptions. One is Amy Aaland, executive director of the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale, where Mr. Rahmatullah takes his meals. (Kosher food also complies with Islamic dietary laws.) Slifka, which has a $1.5 million annual budget, focuses on social and religious programs along with efforts to promote coexistence between Arabs and Israelis. Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Yale graduate, and his wife, Hadassah, are honorary trustees.

20 Ms. Aaland was friendly and engaging as she told me that when she learned that a former Taliban official was having meals at Slifka, she was surprised but not displeased: "It's a chance to learn about him and his culture. Dialogue starts at a table. You have to share a meal together."

When I asked her if any of the revelations about Mr. Rahmatullah's past disturb her, she said that "while he has made some mistakes," she trusts that university officials had "investigated things" and satisfied themselves about him. She noted that Mr. Rahmatullah was "very, very young" when he had been a Taliban official, and said that "it's not like the Taliban attacked this country."

25 As for Mr. Rahmatullah's recently calling Israel "an American Al Qaeda," Ms. Aaland said there were many other people on Yale's campus who felt the same way. "He's been at Yale less than a year, and an undergraduate education is four years," she told me. "Just living here he can learn values and ideals from our society."


Verse 4: Antiwar Protesters

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in cities around the world to protest against the war in Iraq, on the third anniversary of the US-led invasion.

A sea of posters in the crowd denounced the war and labelled President Bush a terrorist.

... while others burned the US flag as they denounced the war.

Verse 5: Cindy Sheehan

30 Susan Sarandon, the film star who is known almost as much for her [holy] leftist political views as for her acting, is reportedly in talks to portray Cindy Sheehan in a forthcoming biopic about the Californian mother who became an icon of the anti-war effort in the US after losing her son in Iraq.

Ms Sheehan, who joined protests on the third anniversary of the war at the weekend, is thought to have met Ms Sarandon in New York yesterday to discuss the project.

Ms Sheehan is already the subject of Peace Mom, a one-woman monologue play in London, and is close to delivering a memoir to her publisher.


From blessed Cindy's Letter to the Effeteians:"Well, his definition of a terrorist is someone who kills innocent men, women and children. And we know by a study taken last November 2004, that 100,000 innocent Iraqis have been killed.

And just because someone is an elected leader of a country doesn‘t give them the right to do that. The war was based on lies. It never should have happened. We should be bringing our troops home.

35 And you know as well as I do that he‘s destroying our civil rights and he‘s spying on Americans without due process. And he—you need to come down here to New Orleans, if you haven‘t been here recently and the Gulf States, and see the devastation that—not just George Bush, but years of neglect here has happened. And George Bush was playing golf and playing guitar and golf while the people here in New Orleans were hanging off their roofs."


Hear what the psychopath is saying to the mindless. Amen.

*********************************************
+Editor's note:
Go to this people and say,
"You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving."
For this people's heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them."

THE REAL ISLAM

The Volokh Conspiracy has a good analysis of the Abdul Rahman prosecution.
The striking thing about the Abdul Rahman prosecution — in which an Afghanistan court is considering whether to execute Rahman because he converted from Islam to Christianity — is how Establishment the prosecution is. The case is before an official Afghani court. The death sentence is, to my knowlege, authorized by official Afghani law. The New York Times reports that the prosecutor, an Afghan government official, "called Mr. Rahman 'a microbe' who 'should be killed.'" The case is in a country which is close to the West, and is presumably under at least some special influence from Western principles (whether as a matter of conviction or of governmental self-interest).

We're not talking about some rogue terrorist group, or even the government of Iran, which is deliberately and strongly oppositional to the West. We're talking about a country that we're trying to set up as something of a model of democracy and liberty for the Islamic world. And yet the legal system is apparently seriously considering executing someone for nothing more than changing his religion.

This is telling evidence, it seems to me, that there is something very wrong in Islam today, and not just in some lunatic terrorist fringe.

Those of us in the West watching this case are outraged and are hoping for a positive outcome for the sake of Rahman, as well as the future of Afghanistan as a free nation and a member of the modern world.

Presumably, that was one of the objectives when we got rid of the Taliban. The Rahman case represents-- for me anyway-- a kind of "final straw" or tipping point in my thinking about the fundamental strategic question of our day: Is Islam compatible with a free society? Or is it just another thuggish totalitarian system that wishes to impose its will on humanity?

I have never been optimistic about the possibility that Islam is compatible with freedom. As I observe the manner in which it is practiced in most of the world, I often wonder if it is even compatible with human life.

As Rand Simberg notes, it is impossible to make a parody of these kind of statements:
"Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance, kindness and integrity. That is why we have told him if he regrets what he did, then we will forgive him..."
That was actually said by the trial judge in the case, so you know that we are, in fact, dealing with a medieval and barbaric mindset that has somehow survived into modern times.

That mindset appears to represent the real Islam and not just the fanatical extremists.

OTOH, this editorial suggests that the real enemy is not Islam but shari'a, and that the Rahman case is shining a light on it:
It's a serious argument, and a serious point. But we need to get past it, because, oddly enough, the Rahman case in fact represents progress. It has caused an uproar in the West. It has focused attention on the problem with the radical Islamic law code, shari'a. It has embarrassed moderate Muslims, and widened the gap between them and the radicals in their midst. It makes it more difficult for the moderates to do nothing about the problem.

In the end, Rahman himself will probably get off on some sort of technicality, such as finding him not guilty by reason of insanity. Critics will be outraged at such a verdict, but both their outrage and the verdict itself will be constructive.

What the case allows the West, and the moderates, to do is to give a name to the enemy, and the name is shari'a.


And finally, Mark Steyn asks if we will stick our necks out for Islam?
For what it's worth, I'm with the Afghan Ulama Council in objecting to the insanity defense. It's not enough for Abdul Rahman to get off on a technicality. Afghanistan is supposed to be "the good war," the one even the French supported, albeit notionally and mostly retrospectively. Karzai is kept alive by a bodyguard of foreigners. The fragile Afghan state is protected by American, British, Canadian, Australian, Italian and other troops, hundreds of whom have died. You cannot ask Americans or Britons to expend blood and treasure to build a society in which a man can be executed for his choice of religion. You cannot tell a Canadian soldier serving in Kandahar that he, as a Christian, must sacrifice his life to create a Muslim state in which his faith is a capital offense.


Even more than the Danish cartoons, this case is a tipping point for Americans and people of the West. If Rahman is executed for his Christian faith, then the answer most will give to the strategic question is a resounding, "NO!"

I guess we will see if there is a way to amputate shari'a from Islam; or if drastic measures must be taken to surgically remove Islam from the body of humanity.

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED

Back when I was a young and inexperienced psychiatric resident learning about psychiatry, I saw a middle-aged woman patient who was angry and upset at the "system", which she claimed didn't care about her or her needs. According to her, she had been a patient for years and no medication had ever worked; and noone had ever helped her. Noone had ever even cared. In my youthful naiivte, I became distressed when she pointedly included me in that pronounciation.

"You think you are so much better than me," she sneered at me, cutting me to the quick. "You've had the benefit of a good family, a great job, and all the opportunities of life. You have never suffered! You have no idea what its like to have a real depression like I do. I have suffered terribly. I have no money. I don't even have enough to get home on the bus and will have to walk all the way to the hovel the system is making me live in. And you don't even care!"

She went on in that vein for quite some time. Novice that I was, I didn't listen further because I was anxiously mulling over her words and concluding that I was indeed a selfish jerk with unrealistic expectations of this poor, sick lady. Who was I to judge her suffering? I had everything, she had nothing. I felt really bad.

Impulsively, as she got up to leave, I pulled out my wallet and gave her a twenty dollar bill. This should help a little, I told her, feeling happy that I could at least do something to help her; and that I could show her that I really did care about her plight. She mumbled a grudging thank you without looking at me and left.

Whatever narcissism lay beneath my gesture (and acting out rescue fantasies is a very narcissistic undertaking), looking back, I know that I genuinely wanted to help her; to engage her and let her see that I cared. In all honesty, I knew that I gave the money partly to make myself feel good, too. She had made me feel uncomfortable and guilty about her plight and my success-- as if the efforts I made in my own life were somehow responsible for her misery. I wanted to make sure she understood that I wasn't like all those other therapists who "didn't care."

I believed that I had done something good and looked forward to seeing her again, thinking that I had made a positive therapeutic intervention. At least I thought that until early the next morning, when the Patient Rights attorney contacted me to let me know that this patient had filed a complaint against me.

"What?" I cried in outrage. Yes, it was true. She had filed a formal complaint against me because she claimed that I had deliberately tried to make her feel small and worthless. That I had no right to act so "superior" to her.

"Did she tell you that all I did was to give her some money for bus fare?" I asked. The attorney paused delicately. Apparently she hadn't mentioned that fact to him. Nevertheless, he informed me, she wanted me disciplined and absolutely refused to see me again; saying she wanted someone who understood and appreciated her instead of someone who mocked her.

It took me years to understand the complex dynamics of that interaction. At the time, for me it had been a simple gesture of kindness that made me feel good because I was able to help someone I believed was suffering and needed help. It was also an expression of my own narcissistic rescue fantasies and my very human need to be liked. I only came to appreciate much later in my training how such good-intentioned behavior on my part actually sabotages the therapeutic relationship, rather than facilitates it. To expect a patient to like and appreciate me in the context of a therapeutic relationship was an unreasonable thing to do; sort of like expecting a newborn infant will provide you with the love and understanding you lack in your life. I had blundered badly as a therapist and let my own feelings interfere in the relationship with the patient.

But the incident is also useful to focus on the patient's pathology (and not just my own!), which was revealed in that exchange.

To her, my kindness represented a ruthless exploitation of her misery and an attempt to make her feel worse about herself. Yes she wanted my help, but she wanted it on her terms and her terms alone. She wanted to be able to keep her worldview that no one cared about her--and I had threatened that world view by my impulsive gesture. From her [admittedly dysfunctional] perspective, my kindness was yet another example of how the "system" was trying to invalidate her and the ultimate proof that she was correct in her assertions all along.

You begin to see the psychological dead end of this position, I hope? There is no real difference in her mind between someone trying to help her; and someone trying to hurt her. She had found a way to make both actions validate her warped and rather paranoid view of the world. The mechanism of projection is very helpful for this. She may have accused me of thinking I was better than her, but in reality, she was the one who felt superior.

In spite of the insult I apparently inflicted, I should mention that she never gave the money back (not that I had ever wanted or expected it to begin with); and I never saw her again after that.

I couldn't help thinking of this lady as I read about the recent rescue of peace activists in Iraq.

Before I go further, I'd like to emphasize that the peace activists are not "patients" who are in therapy; nor are the coalition forces who rescued them "therapists". Nevertheless, there is a certain symmetry between what happened with that angry patient and the recent rescue of certain activists in Iraq.

By now everyone knows the story of how these people were rescued by the US and British Military in Iraq and who--instead of being openly thankful of their rescue gave only grudging thanks, refused to cooperate with their rescuers; and basically insulted the rescuers as being the "root cause" of their being kidnapped in the first place; while praising their captors, who had ruthlessly tortured and murdered one of their fellow activists.

Many people rightly wonder, what kind of bizarre psychopathology could make people behave in this perverted fashion? Well, it ain't "love" and it certainly isn't "peace" that lies behind their actions, much as they would like to believe that is the case.

I submit that it is the same psychopathology of victimhood, with its concomitant psychological projection and denial of personal responsibility that was evident in the patient discussed earlier.

In the case of the peace activists' rescue, there may be some slight degree of neurosis in some of the expectations of gratitude. As my grandmother used to say, a good deed is its own reward, after all. But OTOH, simple human decency would dictate something more than the graceless attitude exhibited by the rescued toward the rescuers; as well as the appeasement and further enabling of murderous and brutal agenda of their captors. In short, those who were rescued display an enormous degree of self delusion, characterized by the moral contortions and pervasive lying to one's self that goes on in the minds of people who clutch their victimhood and/or martyrdom tightly as a shield against reality.

As I learned all those years ago, no good deed done for the professional (and paranoid) victim will ever go unpunished.

For someone that invested in victimhood, it is far too threatening to be confronted by evidence that undermines one's worldview. My patient was certainly not prepared to give up that worldview--no matter how dysfunctional it was for her. She needed to see my help as her entitlement; something she was owed and had rights to from the beginning -- not as something I granted. By giving her the money, not only had I insulted her and her worldview; I had implicitly set up the expectation that she would do something to earn it. And the truth was that she didn't want to earn it--she wanted it because it was her god-given right as one of the victims of the world. If any benefits accrued to me, then it automatically became invalidating to her.

Because, in her world, she claims the morally superior high ground. And, while she may be depressed, poverty-stricken and completely dysfunctional in the real world, she can always rejoice in her [self]righteousness and my oppressive brutality.

The same holds for the topsy-turvy world of the the activists and their parent organization. They are psychologically resistant to examining any lies that form the foundation of their belief system, which allows them to see themselves as morally superior beings. It allows them to shirk the responsibility and consequences of their own ill-thought out behavior that led to the death of one of their own. Not only do they shirk their own responsibility for events, but these champions of the oppressed, have enabled and protected those who casually murdered and tortured one of their own (and undoubtedly will do the same to future captives). In a breathtaking inversion of morality, decency, and common sense, they applaud their captors and protect them even as they accuse their rescuers of the responsibility for a plight that was brought about by their own thoughtless and "loving" behavior.

In the worldview they share with my former patient, one's victimhood is sacred. Once again, we find that people who have willingly drunk from the poisoned well of an ideology that has destroyed millions of souls and brought untold misery into the world. If there are the only two options in life--to be a victim or to be an oppressor-- they choose to be one of the saintly oppressed. Capture and abuse by a recognized victim group that they can magnanimously absolve of guilt, only adds to their faux saintliness; as does chiding and insulting those who would rescue them from their self-imposed martyrdom.

Think of it this way--these are people (both my patient and the peace activists) who not only are incapable of looking directly into the eyes of evil and recognizing its guilt; but they are equally incapable of looking into the eyes of the good and appreciating its innocence. And for good measure, they haven't been able to look in the mirror for a very very long time.

They have been lying to themselves for years; avoiding acknowledging their own feelings or taking responsibility for their own lives or actions; and projecting all their unacceptable feelings onto others. Both Western culture--America in particular; and the "system" are handy dandy repositories for those unacceptable feelings.

Some part of them recognizes that something dreadful is going on in the world, but they cannot face it directly because it is too threatening to their worldview and their holy scripture; and facing the truth might make them have to go into their heart of hearts to examine the origins of that dreadful terror. Hence the need to displace their anxiety to a less threatening authority figure (e.g., Bush or America; or even those that rescue them from death) is easier than facing the dread source of their anxiety.

Three psychological defense mechanisms (projection, denial, and displacement) are the source almost all human suffering--from the individual misery of my patient all the way to the societal miseries that result from racism, anti-semitism, sexism and genocide; as well as the brutal and fanatical terrorism that we now see all over the world.

If the peace activists and others of their ilk want to understand the wellspring of man's inhumanity to man, then they need to take a good, long look in the mirror.

UPDATE: I think I must defer to the wisdom of Gagdad Bob of One Cosmos, who said in the comments to another post--but which also seems appropriate here:
Victimhood is empowering, because at least it allows you to actively participate in your own subjugation.

Friday, March 24, 2006

THE COUNCIL HAS SPOKEN !

This week's winners in the Watcher's Council are now posted at the Watcher of Weasels . Every week the Council nominates posts from the blogs of the Council members, and posts from around the blogsphere. The Council then votes to select the "Best" of all these posts. This week, as always, includes some incredible writing!

BEST COUNCIL POSTS:

First Place

Autum Ashante: Child Prodigy Or Something Else? The Education Wonks

Second Place

A Tale of Two Fathers Right Wing Nut House

BEST NON-COUNCIL POSTS:

First Place

What Did You Do in the Great Gulf War II, Grandpa? Florida Cracker

Second Place (A Two-Way Tie!)

Guest Post: Mamacita on the PC of Dumbing Down and Why This May Be the Most Important Post You'll Read All Year Sigmund, Carl and Alfred1

A Reason to Believe The Belmont Club

Be sure to check out all the amazing winners at the Watcher's Site! Great weekend reading.

IN DENIAL - The Bill Is In The Mail ***UPDATED***

More and more information is now becoming available (see here, here, here, here) about two of the most sacred beliefs of the left and cornerstone of their faith in the evil of George Bush, I am speaking, of course, about their belief that Saddam did not have WMD's and that there was no connection between Saddam's regime and Al Qaeda.

Yet, I predict that much of this new information will be discounted, dismissed, disclaimed and denied by both the MSM and the lefty blogs.

To acknowledge even the slightest possibility that either of the two fundamental butresses of their religious faith are severely damaged would be enormously threatening and totally out of character for the left, who like to think of themselves as the "reality-based" community.

Except, apparently, when reality doesn't agree with their preconceived notions.

For three years we have heard their carping; withstood their contempt; and borne the brunt of their incoherent rage. We have listened to the endless repetition of their mantras and slogans; the unrivaled self-righteousness of their superior intellects; and the intensity of their hatred.

Now we will see if they possess a shred of honesty. We will see if they can summon up an iota of insight; or a moment of self-reflection. We will see how they handle one of the most serious psychological challenges that a human being can face.

And admit that they were wrong.

Personally, I don't believe they are capable of doing it. Perhaps some of the best of them might manage it. But the majority have invested their hearts, souls, and whatever residual of their mind that exists--in total denial.

Denial has been their country of residence since September 11, 2001. It has been a safe and happy place for them (well, not so happy--they did lose the 2004 election--but that was stolen from them, too)

Let us review the purpose of psychological denial.
Denial is an attempt to reject unacceptable feelings, needs, thoughts, wishes--or even a painful external reality that alters the perception of ourselves. This psychological defense mechanism protects us temporarily from:
-Knowledge (things we don’t want to know)
-Insight or awareness that threatens our self-esteem; or our mental or physical health; or our security (things we don't want to think about)
-Unacceptable feelings (things we don’t want to feel)


The unacceptable knowledge is that we are in the midst of a terrible global war that we neither wanted nor provoked; and that there are evil people who want to destroy our civilization and kill or enslave all of us.

The insight that threatens to overwhelm them is that all of their political correctness; all of their multicultural BS; in fact, all of the shibboleths and platitudes of the the left that have been the glue holding together the house of cards of their ideology since the end of the last century, are no longer capable of preventing the collapse and disintegration of that ideology. If they think about it long and hard enough, they might even begin to realize the horrible truth: that in order for their ideology to survive, they must bet--all or nothing--on a win by the Islamic fanatics who want to destroy us all (including them).

The unacceptable feelings are a combination of impotent rage and burning hatred that threaten a deluded self concept. For decades now, they have told themselves that they are peaceful, loving, compassionate and just; that they stand for freedom and the empowerment of the little guy-- and now they cannot avoid looking in the mirror to see what their delusions have wrought.

The only way to avoid being submerged by all this reality is to embrace the denial ever more tightly and descend deeper into delusion and paranoia.

It is either that, or courageously face the truth; re-evaluate their premises and come to grips with the unpleasant reality they have been desperately trying to avoid. They have been willing to compromise the values they give lip service to in order to keep their precious religion intact. They have been willing to betray their own country and their fellow citizens for a few extra moments of supercilious self-righteousness and the ability to feel smug at their superiority.

Wretchard, in speaking about a column by Mark Steyn that reminds everyone about the accusations of "genocide" that marked Saddam's containment in the decade before 9/11, notes:
It's a stark illustration that inaction has a price; that when you "give Peace a chance" you give up other chances. The containment strategy followed against Saddam Hussein and Islamic terrorism before September 11 wasn't cost-free: it gave Saddam and Islamic fundamentalism time to plot, spy and act. It ceded the initiative to them. Mark Steyn's retrospective and information now emerging from Saddam Hussein's archives demonstrate that there was never any such as thing as a free lunch. A bill was always in the mail.


When it comes to psychological denial, the bill is always in the mail.


UPDATE: Other useful links at Rocket's Brain Trust; and here is some interesting new information from ABC News.

UPDATE II: 9/11 Commissioner now says there was a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda:
The new documents suggest that the 9/11 commission's final conclusion in 2004, that there were no "operational" ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, may need to be reexamined in light of the recently captured documents.
While the commission detailed some contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda in the 1990s, in Sudan and Afghanistan, the newly declassified Iraqi documents provide more detail than the commission disclosed in its final conclusions. For example, the fact that Saddam broadcast the sermons of al-Ouda at bin Laden's request was previously unknown, as was a conversation about possible collaboration on attacks against Saudi Arabia.

"This is a very significant set of facts," former 9/11 commissioner, Mr. Kerry said yesterday. "I personally and strongly believe you don't have to prove that Iraq was collaborating against [ACM note – I suspect he misspoke and meant “collaborating with”] Osama bin Laden on the September 11 attacks to prove he was an enemy and that he would collaborate with people who would do our country harm. This presents facts should not be used to tie Saddam to attacks on September 11. It does tie him into a circle that meant to damage the United States."

Mr. Kerry also answered affirmatively when asked whether or not the release of more of the documents captured in Iraq could possibly shed further light on Iraq's relationship with al Qaeda. The former senator was one of the staunchest supporters of the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which made the policy of regime change U.S. law.


Here is the original NY Sun article that is now online.