Monday, December 31, 2007

Leftist Blogger Laments that Milwaukee Conservative Voices are “Unfettered”

Via Dad29:

It seems local leftist blogger Michael J. Mathias laments the fact that local conservative pundits are allowed -- and this is an outrage -- free speech. He begins by calling Bill Kristol “bloodthirsty,” and then turns to local people:
Locally, we have our own bellicose nutcases, and they are allowed to work, pretty much, unfettered.
That’s right. He thinks it’s an outrage that local conservatives get to freely express themselves.

Just what sort of “fetters” would he impose on them? He doesn’t say, but the history of the leftist blogophere in Wisconsin makes it clear.

If people like Mathias could, they would get them fired, and indeed they were proud in having a role in getting Jessica McBride fired from WTMJ.

They tried to get Charlie Sykes’ blog censored over a parody of the smug “Coexist” bumper sticker.

They will try to use campaign finance laws to shut up conservatives.

Failing that, they want to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine to force conservatives off the air.

If none of this works, in a classic instance of the frustration/aggression syndrome they will attack conservative bloggers and talk radio people. And they will especially attack women conservatives in the most misogynist terms.

We are old enough to remember what liberals were like before “progressive” politics took a huge turn in the 60s. Before the late 60s, liberals prided themselves in being tolerant. In their hearts of hearts, they were no more tolerant than other people, but the preached tolerance, and they -- quite fortunately -- felt bound by their own rhetoric.

Since then, liberals and leftists have more and more come to embrace a series of rationales for shutting people up. They more and more have felt free to express raw hatred of those who disagree with them. Again, it’s the frustration/aggression syndrome. As young people in the 60s or early 70s, they felt that history was moving their way. But it hasn’t, leaving them bitter and frustrated.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Experience

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sub-Prime Mortgages

It’s the current fad about how the financial sky is falling: the fact that many financial institutions have given mortgages to people with less that pristine credit at higher than prime interest rates.

This supposedly was an act of gross irresponsibility, since a downturn in housing prices has caused an upward spike in foreclosures.

It seems that large capitalistic corporations are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

Back in the 70s, there was a wave of conglomeration in which large corporations bought up other large corporations, often corporations whose business had nothing to do with that of the firm buying it.

This supposedly demonstrated the evils of American capitalism.

Then came the 1980s. The market struck back against the conglomerates. Corporate raiders bought up the conglomerates and sold them off in pieces. Given that the overgrown behemoths were often badly managed, they were worth more in pieces.

This, of course, was supposed to show the evils of American capitalism.

Then, of course, there was the sinister boom in “junk bonds.” Supposedly sleazy and unprincipled brokers sold bonds that were quite risky -- and had quite a high rate of return. The bonds were not sold to little grandmothers, but to sophisticated investors fully able to judge the risks.

But this too showed the evils of American capitalism.

Apparently, it’s sleazy and unprincipled to start a business when there is some risk involved, even if the people financing you are compensated for the risk they take.

Which brings us to sub-prime mortgages.

It’s yet another case showing the evils of American capitalism.

Patrick McIlheran has some sensible observations on this. Quoting Megan McArdle:
To many people, of course, this cries out for regulations to keep the bankers from being stupid: force them to up their loan quality. This is likely to just replace one kind of error with another. Most people who got subprime loans are not in default, and I will be very, very surprised if the number of defaulters even gets near the 50% mark. Why would we want to cut off credit to the sensible majority who can meet their payments, in order to protect those who take out loans they can’t afford? There is no way to tell Class A from Class B--or believe me, the banks would already have weeded the latter group out.

It is characteristic of major economic problems that whatever problem you’re having now seems like the only problem worth solving, no matter what the cost. But the cost of denying credit to millions of people is very high--and tellingly, it will not be borne by any of the people who are advocating it.
And as Gary Becker has pointed out:
Some have proposed that families should not be allowed to get mortgages if they do not meet minimum standards of income and assets, even if lenders would be willing to provide mortgages, and would-be borrowers still want a mortgage after being informed of the risks. This proposal is a dangerous form of paternalism that denies the rights of both borrowers and lenders to make their own decisions. Moreover, it is ironic that only a few years ago, banks were being investigated for “redlining;” that is, for avoiding lending to blacks and other residents of poor neighborhoods.
And that, of course, was evidence of the evil of American capitalism.

When people contemplate widespread foreclosures and the failure of some large financial institutions, they seem to engage in the “burn and kill” fallacy.

The assumption seems to be that, if a large bank fails, the headquarters and all the branches will be burned to the ground.

And all the employees will be taken out and shot.

Likewise, when a property is foreclosed, it is somehow assumed that officials come out and burn it down, and shoot all the inhabitants.

The reality, of course, is much different. In the real world, the bank fails and is taken over by another bank (or other group of investors) who have been more prudent. The headquarters building still stands -- although it might be sold off and occupied by another business.

The employees may end up working for the firm that took them over, or at worst find new jobs.

The stockholders take a bath, however. But it’s highly unlikely they will end up on the street. They aren’t poor.

People who have defaulted on their mortages may have to move and find other housing -- although banks don’t like to foreclose, and will cut mortgage holders a fair amount of slack. But if you can’t manage owning, you might have to rent.

And then somebody else gets to buy your house. The prudent get rewarded, and the imprudent get punished. But they don’t end up on the street.

McIlheran puts it in the proper perspective with this Christmas observation:
All I know is that I just watched a movie in which the central character spent his wonderful life making dicey loans to subprime borrowers -- and he was unequivocally a hero for doing just that.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

American Troops in Iraq

From an e-mail correspondent: these are the soldiers that people like Dick Durbin and John Kerry say have been terrorizing Iraqis.

















Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men


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“Non-Partisan” Virtually Never Is: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign claims to be a “non-partisan watchdog group” in the politics of the state. But the truth about the organization is revealed by Dan Bice in yesterday’s Journal-Sentinel.
When there’s an ethical question about elected officials and campaign money, you’ll almost always hear from Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Tsk-tsk.

Over the years, the nonprofit group has made a name for itself by speaking out on questionable campaign spending and donations.

But what happens when the watchdog runs into its own potential conflict of interest?

That happened this year.

One critic says the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign fared no better than the pols it often criticizes. Specifically, the group failed to file a formal complaint over a disputed campaign matter, the critic maintains, because it might have hit some of its financial supporters.

“I’d be shocked if that didn’t have an impact,” said Ryan Murray, spokesman for state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, a Republican from Juneau. “They’ve never had a problem filing complaints even when it was obvious the Elections Board wasn’t going to do anything about it. I find it curious this is the one issue where they decide to stay hands off.”

This year, two Democratic lawmakers - Sens. Judy Robson and Jon Erpenbach - came under fire for joining with interest groups to bankroll a poll on a universal health care plan called Healthy Wisconsin. Robson and Erpenbach each contributed $3,000 in campaign funds.

Republicans and state officials suggested that the pair might have violated campaign rules by getting to see the full results of the survey, which must have cost much more than three grand a piece. Plus, the pair might have received a financial benefit from interest groups not permitted to give to pols under campaign laws.

Kinda technical stuff, but you get the idea.

Despite his qualms about the poll, a top elections official said his office wouldn’t look into the matter unless someone filed a formal complaint. Fitzgerald called on the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign to do just that, and McCabe responded by saying he thought regulators should investigate.

That was four months ago.

Since then, this is what has happened: Exactly nothing.
The group offers an excuse, so how do we know this is an example of ideological bias?

Well . . . we might look at the company the organization keeps.
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has at least seven “coalition organizations” that also are members of the Wisconsin Health Care Reform Campaign, the primary funding source for the poll.

Among the organizations that belong to both groups are the American Association of Retired Persons, the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin and the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups, all of which also have a rep on the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s 14-member board.

Murray said this explains the watchdog group’s inaction. Otherwise, he said, the issues surrounding the controversial poll are right down McCabe’s alley.

“That’s his bread and butter,” Murray said. “And now he’s saying that doesn’t interest him anymore.”
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, in other words, is a liberal lobby group. The are no more a nonpartisan watchdog than the ACLU is a protector of the Bill of Rights, or the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee represents a broad spectrum of religious believers.

None of this is a brilliant piece of investigative journalism. But how soon do you think we’ll see some reporter describe the The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign as “nonpartisan?”

[Update]

Kathy Carpenter at Stepping Right Up does a little research on the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, and shows how wide and how deep its ties to the state’s leftist political network are. And the ties are not merely to “mainstream” liberal groups, but to the scruffy activist fringe.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

The New OPEC

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Death Spiral of the Secular Culture

It may be that demography is destiny, but it often seems like a boring subject. But it shouldn’t be, since vastly important things turn on demography. And especially on fertility.

The following are from a long article in the Washington Post.
For the first time in 35 years, the U.S. fertility rate has climbed high enough to sustain a stable population, solidifying the nation’s unique status among industrialized countries.

The overall fertility rate increased 2 percent between 2005 and 2006, nudging the average number of babies being born to each woman to 2.1, according to the latest federal statistics. That marks the first time since 1971 that the rate has reached a crucial benchmark of population growth: the ability of each generation to replace itself.

“It’s been quite a long time since we’ve had a rate this high,” said Stephanie J. Ventura of the National Center for Health Statistics. “It’s a milestone.”

While the rising fertility rate was unwelcome news to some environmentalists, the “replacement rate” is generally considered desirable by demographers and sociologists because it means a country is producing enough young people to replace and support aging workers without population growth being so high it taxes national resources.

“This is a noteworthy event,” said John Bongaarts of the Population Council, a New York-based think tank. “This is a sign of demographic health. Many countries would like to be at this level.”

Europe, Japan and other industrialized countries have long had fertility rates far below the replacement level, creating the prospect of labor shortages and loss of cultural identity as the proportion of native-born residents shrinks in relation to immigrant populations.

The reasons for the unusual U.S. fertility rate are the focus of intense interest. Experts can only speculate, but they cite a complex mix of factors, including lower levels of birth control use than in other developed countries, widely held religious values that encourage childbearing, social conditions that make it easier for women to work and have families, and a growing Hispanic population.

“It’s not clear which of these factors is most important,” Bongaarts said.

While being a mother who works outside the home is far from easy for many American women, many experts said the United States is in many ways more amenable to the practice than many other developed countries. The high-octane consumer economy, for example, helps women run households more efficiently in a number of ways, including making prepared foods more widely available, and weekend and late-night shopping possible. American men are also helping more with their children than in the past, experts say.

“We also have a relatively high percentage of part-time jobs available,” said Ronald Rindfuss, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina.
These, of course, are jobs that don’t offer the benefits that full-time jobs do. These are the jobs that are claimed to be exploitative by people who love the rigid social democratic union-dominated model of Europe. But in this, as in a lot of other things, the flexible free market economy of the U.S. serves us well.
“There’s also more shift work outside the normal nine-to-five, Monday-through-Friday schedule that enables parents to share child care.”

The nation’s religiosity also contributes to the higher fertility rate, which varies geographically, experts said. Red states tend to have both more religious people and higher fertility rates.

“Americans are much more religious than Europeans: They believe in God more. They go to church more,” said Charles Westoff, a Princeton University demographer. “That sort of religious attitude or set of values is strongly correlated with fertility.”
There is, in fact, a huge irony here.

The secular folks in Europe and in blue-state America are the ones who sneer at Intelligent Design and view Darwin as making belief in God unnecessary -- or even dangerous.

(We have no beef with Darwinism as a scientific theory. But when people try to make it the entire explanation for why we are here in this world, we smell dogmatism.)

The culture of the secular people fails the most basic Darwinian test: survival.

The culture with superior Darwinian “fitness” is the culture of religious people.

Without an infusion of religious immigrants, secular societies wither away.

And they are particularly likely to get into fiscal trouble because of another project of the secular leftist elites: the overly-extensive welfare state. Those societies that have made the most extensive promises of government benefits are the ones lacking the demography to deliver on the promises.

Heaven knows Americans are too secular, and our welfare state has promised too much. But we can look to Europe to see how bad things can really get.

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The Scoop on Mike Huckabee

Friday, December 21, 2007

Generic “Holiday” Greetings Are Offensive

From a sensible column in the Journal-Sentinel:
Merry Christmas. That’s right, I said it and in a family newspaper no less. I know the politically correct police are running to the nearest ACLU-friendly judge to get a cease and desist order against me, but I’ll say it again. Merry Christmas, and I hope you had a happy Hanukkah as well.

I’m not sure when the Christ-ophobic activists and judges decided that “Merry Christmas” was an obscene phrase that should be banned. I vaguely remember priests, ministers and bus placards urging us to keep Christ in Christmas. Then one day, I looked around and found we’re not even allowed to keep Christmas in Christmas. Instead, we’re given a “season’s greetings” as if winter was a good enough reason to make merry!

Father Bill Kurz, a professor at Marquette University and nationally known author, thinks the constant tinkering so as not to offend is overdone.

“It’s possible to get so open-minded that one’s brains fall out,” he said.

My old radio buddy, Bill Edwards, a staunch Hanukkah fan, agreed with Kurz.

He doesn’t see how anybody could be offended by someone’s wish for your happiness.

“Let’s just say being holiday PC isn’t kosher,” Edwards said. Edwards is more than happy to accept a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Kwanzaa” from any well-wisher.

Speaking of Kwanzaa, one of Milwaukee’s favorite speed skaters, Olu Sijuwade, took time out from racing to give me his feelings on the holiday debate.

“Kwanzaa is not a religious celebration; it’s a celebration of culture,” he told me.

“It’s purposely put after Hanukkah and Christmas so you can celebrate all three if you want to.” He didn’t think anyone who loves Kwanzaa who would be offended by getting a “Merry Christmas.”

As for the more generic “Happy holidays,” that actually does seem to offend.

“I got an e-mail from a viewer who turned off the Holiday Parade because it wasn’t called the Christmas Parade,” said Ted Perry of WITI-TV (Channel 6). “We didn’t call it that. That’s what the organizers called it. She just couldn’t watch it.”

How odd. In the attempt to offend nobody, the holiday-phobes actually have upset everybody! Well, let me fix that: Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and happy Kwanzaa to all!

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Not So Fast

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No War on Hanukkah

In light of the ongoing War on Christmas, it’s good to look at what religious tolerance actually can mean and should mean.

From Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe:

On the seventh night of Hanukkah in 1944, my father was in Auschwitz. He had been deported with his parents and four of his five siblings to the Nazi extermination camp eight months earlier; by Hanukkah, only my father was still alive. That year, he kindled no Hanukkah lights. In Auschwitz, where anything and everything was punishable by death, any Jew caught practicing his religion could expect to be sent to the gas chambers, or shot on the spot.

On the seventh night of Hanukkah in 2007, I was in the White House. President and Mrs. Bush have made it an annual tradition to host a Hanukkah celebration in addition to the customary White House Christmas parties, and my wife and I were honored to receive an invitation to this year’s reception.

It was in every way a beautiful and festive event. It was also an unmistakably Jewish one, from the lavish buffet dinner prepared in a meticulously “koshered” White House kitchen, to the Hebrew songs performed by the Zamir Chorale, to the several hundred guests drawn from every segment of the American Jewish community. There was even a spontaneous worship service in the Green Room, where at one point about two dozen guests assembled for Ma’ariv, the Jewish evening prayers. All this in a White House richly decorated for Christmas and occupied by a president who is devoutly Christian. It is hard to imagine a more compelling illustration of the American culture of religious tolerance and freedom.

Earlier in the evening there had been a menorah lighting in the Grand Foyer of the White House. Hanukkah commemorates the victory of Jews who fought long ago to preserve their religious identity in the face of an oppressive government determined to erase it, and President Bush spoke of the ongoing struggle for religious liberty today. “As we light the Hanukkah candles this year,” he said, “we pray for those who still live under the shadow of tyranny.”

Auschwitz, Baghdad, Poland, Pakistan: In so many places, across so many generations, to be Jewish has meant to be oppressed, excluded, terrorized. More than most people, Jews know what it means to be a hated and persecuted minority.

And more than most, therefore, they have reason to be profoundly grateful for the United States and its blessings. America is what the Jewish sages called “malchut shel chesed” — a benevolent and generous nation. In the long history of the Jews, America has been a safe harbor virtually without parallel. Nowhere in all their wanderings have the Jews known such freedom, peace, and prosperity.

So I strolled about the White House last week, gazing at the portraits of past presidents and first ladies and listening to the Marine Band play “I Have A Little Dreidel.” By the light of the White House menorah, I thought about my father, and about the unimaginable distance from the hell he knew in 1944 to this place of joy and warmth where I found myself in 2007. I was overcome with a feeling of gratitude so intense that for a moment I was too choked up to speak. To be an American and a Jew is truly to be doubly blessed.
The people who battle to water down and neuter the Christian Christmas do so in the name of “inclusiveness.”

We don’t want it to be distinctively Christian, they argue, we want it to be for everybody.

The problem is that this sort of “Holiday Season” is very “exclusive” toward Christians. It says that their holiday can’t be celebrated — at least in the public square — as a distinctively religious holiday.

The White House Hanukkah celebration is exactly the right idea. Religious traditions should be honored and respected by government — equally. And honored and respected in their robust and undiluted form. Anything else shows bias.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Look for Coal in Your Stocking

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Secular Liberal Anti-Mormon Bigotry

Via Conservative Donnybrook:

It’s well known that a fair number of conservative Christians think that the Mormon religion is a “cult,” and won’t vote for Mitt Romney.

But a fair number of liberals and leftists have rather extreme anti-Mormon biases too.

Case in point: liberal Lawrence O’Donnell, who in the video clip below lets it all “hang out” about his anti-Mormon bias.

Do people like O’Donnell pose a problem for Romney? Not where votes are concerned, since they wouldn’t vote for a religious candidate anyway.

Where media coverage is concerned, maybe. Mainstream media types are heavily secular and -- if not actually hostile to religion -- think religious belief is rather odd. And they think that Mormon religious belief is even odder. This is likely to affect the tone of the coverage.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Simon Harak, “Peace” Center Target of Harassment Campaign, Journalistic Bias?

Inflammatory leftist Father Simon Harak, who recently came to Marquette to head a “Center for Peacemaking” has taken his lumps in the Marquette conservative blogosphere.

We reported on his extreme statements. And GOP3 has also chronicled his antics and positions.

But Harak and his supporters have largely ignored the blogosphere.

Not so when Milwaukee Magazine decided to report on the controversy surrounding Harak and the Center for Peacemaking. Harak’s fellow leftists in the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice went ballistic. An entry on their web page informed readers:
The Marquette Center for Peacemaking and its director, Father Simon Harak, are the targets of a harrassment [sic] campaign by two Marquette students who oppose the Center’s peacemaking mission. The students have leafletted [sic] Father Harak’s classes with flyers calling Father Harak “deranged” and urging students to “Drop this class!”
Of course, this “harrassment” [sic] campaign actually amounted to only one student (Brian Collar) exercising his free speech rights.

The web page complained that the article:
. . . did not quote any Marquette students who were not critical of Father Harak. . . . Father Harak provided us with these responses, from attendees at various Center events.
In reality, the “responses” are mostly not from students but from community members, and are not about Harak’s classes but rather about a workshop he conducted. Attendees at such workshops are a highly self-selected bunch who agree with the organizer’s viewpoint.

Their special ire was directed at a graphic that accompanied the story. It was an image of Harak with the crosshairs of a telescopic sight centered on his forehead. How did Harak respond?
In response to the photo, Father Harak says, “I’ve tried, but I just can’t take it lightly, because violence is not academic or symbolic to me (or ‘clever’ as I believe they were trying to be here). Even if I were to just think about Milwaukee, the problem of violence (and gun violence) here is serious enough not to be made light of like this. If I look at where they put the bullseye’ of this target, and if I were to imagine someone holding a gun, what would this image ‘invite?’” Father Harak’s concern is motivated by the fact that, since 9/11, Arab-Americans like Father Harak have been the targets of racially-motivated violence.
In reality, the photo seemed to show a pro-Harak bias, implying that those of us who have been critical of the leftist cleric want to assassinate him or something.

In reality, all we have done is criticize him.

But Harak can’t seem to resist playing the victim card and invoking violence against Arab-Americans. In fact, such violence has been extremely rare, and nobody who wrote about Harak (and this includes both Marquette bloggers and Milwaukee Magazine) knew he was Arab-American.

What was in the Milwaukee Magazine article that the Wisconsin Network did not report? The fact that blogger Daniel Suhr discovered that the foundation that funded the Center for Peacemaking has a portfolio laced with stocks of defense contractors -- the people Harak calls the “Merchants of Death.”

When we asked for a response from Harak sponsor and cohort Michael Duffy (who is also associated with the Center), Duffy appeared to be grateful for the information and promised to look into the issue.

The Wisconsin Network web page urged readers to bombard Milwaukee Magazine with e-mails complaining about the article. Apparently they did so, since a more recent posting says that “Many of you have responded to the Milwaukee Magazine article and photo of Father Simon Harak, director of Marquette University’s Center for Peacemaking Studies, and to our report on the controversy . . . .”

Of course, the local “peace” movement has a right to bombard Milwaukee Magazine with e-mails if they want to. But some responses are simply lame. The graphic they objected to was a bit “edgy” but in no way advocated or encouraged violence.

And the local leftists don’t seem to want to discuss other important issues such as the fact that the Center for Peacemaking is funded with money obtained from the “Merchants of Death” (Harak’s term) or the fact that Harak said that Saddam Hussein was justified in invading Kuwait in 1991.

Thus we find a typical tactic. Harak and his supporters are attacking the messenger to avoid dealing with serious questions about their “peacemaking” project.

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Wrong Kind of List

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Liberals Make it Clear: We Want to Keep Conservatives Off the Airwaves

This is from Whallah!, a blog essentially dedicated to cyber stalking conservative female blogger Jessica McBride.

The liberal blogger doesn’t want the rules of the Federal Communications Commission changed. Why not? If they are, there might be even more conservative voices on the air!
One Wisconsin Now has come out with a petition drive directed to the head of the FCC, Kevin Martin. The goal of this drive is to prevent Martin, a hand-picked Bush loyalist, is trying to ramrod through some rules that would allow the Big Media to become even bigger. If you don’t understand what this means, please watch this video. . . .

Now that if that disturbs you as much as it did to me, please click on this link and fill out their online petition to Mr. Martin. If that video wasn’t enough to scare the bejeebers out of you, Milwaukee Rising has another video to show what this means. You can also sign the petition for that site as well. Signing this petition might be the only thing that prevents even more of Sykes, Belling, et al. and even the return of McBride to the airwaves.
Of course, conservatives dominate talk radio only because there is a demand for conservative talk. If the public didn’t want to listen to it, it would disappear.

Usually, liberals who want conservative talk radio shut up will try to produce some pseudo-principled argument. We need more “diversity” on the airways, etc.

But this particular blogger has messed up.

He has let slip how he really feels.

He wants to keep conservative voices off the air. That’s really what it’s about.

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You Go Girl! Security Guard Shoots Homicidal Maniac

A female security guard killed a gunman who entered the grounds of a mega church in Colorado Springs and started shooting, killing two teenage girls.

Be sure and watch the video on the linked page (which we cannot embed here).

This raises an interesting question. Will she be a hero of feminists? On the one hand, she (1.) was performing in a traditionally male occupation, and (2.) performed very well.

On the other hand, she (1.) is a Christian, (2.) was protecting Christians -- not at all like, say, killing a man abusing his girlfriend and (3.) used a gun.

[Update]

Recent reports show that security guard Jeanne Assam did not kill the gunman, rather he shot himself in the head after she hit him with gunfire.
“The death of Matthew Murray has been ruled a suicide,” the El Paso County Coroner’s Office said in a statement.

“It should be noted that he was struck multiple times by the security officer, which put him down. He then fired a single round killing himself,” the statement said.
Further:
Murray also wounded two other people with his assault rifle as he re-entered the church.

One of them, Larry Bourbonnais, said he tried to distract the shooter before security guard Jeanne Assam made her move.

“I’m telling you right now, she’s the hero, not me. It was the bravest thing I have ever seen,” Bourbonnais said. “She had no cover. He fired -- I heard him fire three. I heard her fire three. And she just began -- she kept yelling ‘Surrender!’ the whole time. And she just walked forward, like she’s walking to her car in the parking lot, firing the whole time.”

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Blacks Who Don’t Play the Victim Card

From Salon.com:

It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, issues of black vs. white dominated the national discourse. The Rodney King riots and the O.J. Simpson case inspired endless discussions and reams of editorial soul-searching. Affirmative action and racial preferences, multiculturalism, and political correctness were fraught topics. Then the twin towers fell, and suddenly we had a completely new enemy to worry about.

During the Katrina debacle, images of thousands of impoverished blacks jammed into the New Orleans Superdome brought the scandalous reality of black poverty back into view. But the moment passed. Today’s most charged racial issue, immigration, doesn’t involve blacks at all, but Latinos.

Regardless of the progress made in racial attitudes, the existence of the black underclass is an ongoing scandal. More than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education ended de jure racial segregation in this country, poor urban blacks continue to be a group apart, plagued by disproportionately high rates of crime, incarceration, drug use, and poor health. Inner-city black children go to bad schools, live in substandard housing, eat bad food, are disproportionately raised by single mothers, and are exposed to a pathological street culture in which aggressive demands for “respect,” ugly misogyny and the crudest markers of male machismo are valorized, while education, self-discipline and personal responsibility are dismissed as “acting white.”

Something amorphous but potentially transformative is happening -- and, critically, it’s happening within the black community itself. According to a recent NPR/Pew poll, 37 percent of blacks agreed with the statement that blacks today are so diverse they can no longer be considered a single race. Among the youngest respondents, aged 18 to 29, a staggering 44 percent agreed.

This is extraordinary. More than a third of the blacks who responded, and almost half of the young blacks, have rejected the cornerstone of American racial politics: black racial solidarity. If the poll is accurate, the most emotionally charged and immutable racial truth, the one-drop rule, is no longer sacrosanct for a large number of black people.

Almost as noteworthy is that middle-class black Americans have joined most other Americans in dissociating themselves from the values (and, by implication, the behavior) associated with the black underclass. The Pew poll found that there was a growing “values gap” between middle-class and poor blacks: 61 percent of the black respondents, and 70 percent of the college-educated blacks, said that over the past 10 years, the values of middle-class and poor blacks have become more different. Just 44 percent said that in 1986. Further confirmation of this values gap is the study’s finding that 64 percent of blacks regard hip-hop and rap music as having a bad influence on society. Moreover, the study found that while most blacks believe that they are subject to widespread discrimination, most of them don’t blame discrimination for the lack of black progress: 53 percent say blacks who can’t get ahead are mostly responsible for their own condition.

Of course, there are challenges when polling black people. In the typical national sample, there might be 125 blacks, too few to draw reliable conclusions. And black interviewers get different responses from black respondents than white interviewers get.

But the Pew poll addressed both of these issues. It got a large sample of blacks (1007 people) and most blacks were interviewed by black interviewers (See pages 67-68 of the study).

(It is sometimes assumed that blacks give more honest answers to black interviewers, but that’s far from certain, and there may be a bias wherein blacks give “politically correct” answers to black interviewers.)

A detailed study of the survey shows good news beyond what is recounted above.

For example, when blacks are asked to rate black public figures as a “good influence,” a “bad influence” or “not much influence” the most favorably rated figures are Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby. While both have political opinions, Winfrey’s rating is almost certainly based on her economic and show business success, and Cosby’s conservative social message appears to resonate well in the black community. Unfortunately, race hustlers Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton rated highly, but Colin Powell rated higher than either of them.

Rapper 50 Cent ranked at the bottom of the list, with 42 percent of the sample rating him a “bad influence” and only 17 a good influence.

While blacks expressed far less confidence in “law enforcement” than whites, 55% claimed either a “great deal” or a “fair amount.”

Is all this good news? It depends on one’s point of view.
Commentator Juan Williams argued that the values gulf lies behind blacks’ questioning of the idea that there is a single black race. “It is getting harder to use political and racial solidarity to hide the division inside black America,” Williams wrote in the Washington Post. “The values issue is at the heart of the argument over the future of the race. This comes down to black Americans who believe in family, education and personal responsibility vs. those who point at ‘the man’ or the ‘system’ for the added weight on black Americans.”

Pew president Andrew Kohut concurred. “[The finding] fits with the rising percentage of blacks compared to previous polls who say that there is more values diversity between middle-class and poor blacks,” Kohut said in a phone interview. “It’s a combination of values and also economic differences within the black community.”
But there are other views.
Regardless of the reasons for the finding, some black commentators have seen it as a dire development -- and blamed rich blacks who have lost touch with their racial roots. Molefi Kete Asante, professor at Temple University’s African American Studies Department, told the Philadelphia Daily News, “There are some people who don’t live or operate in the African-American community because they are in a community of rich people, whether they are white, black, Japanese or Latino. They are just in a whole different world from the rest of us.” Mister Mann Frisby, a former Daily News reporter, told the paper he found the widespread black rejection of racial solidarity “scary.” “When I see studies like this, it makes me cringe because I never want to separate people,” Frisby said.

In an interview on NPR, Melissa Harris Lacewell, a professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton, said she found middle-class blacks’ assertion of a values gap “shocking.” Lacewell blamed figures like Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby, who are famous for championing an ethos of personal responsibility, for convincing middle-class blacks that the culprit is poor blacks themselves, not “structural racism.”

But of course, professors of “African-American studies” are, almost by definition, race hustlers. Their jobs depend on articulating racial grievances, and they have a vested interest in black failure.

None of this is to say that blacks are becoming Republican or thinking exactly like whites.

The real point of the values answer is not that middle-class blacks are turning against “blackness,” whatever that is: It’s that they are insisting that they have the right to create their own signifiers of blackness. And it’s that middle-class blacks -- who suffer from white discrimination that is in part a response to black underclass behavior, and who are far more likely to be the victims of black criminals than whites are -- are no longer willing to simply give every knucklehead in the ‘hood a free pass because of “structural racism.”
Of course, the conservative social values of the black middle class are exactly the values that, if they come to prevail in the black community, will produce upward social mobility. And after a point, upward social mobility will eventually increase the number of Republicans among blacks.

This is something for which conservatives should devoutly wish. And something white liberals and race baiting black elites intensely fear.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Politically Correct Students Would Censor “Hate Speech”

From Frontpage Milwaukee, a column from one Edgar Mendez who forthrightly states that Walid Shoebat, who recently spoke at UWM should have been censored.
When the MSA asked for the support of a student group that I am a member of in the form of signing a petition protesting the event, we were forced to make a quick decision. We decided not to sign the petition. As a group it was an easy decision to make. As an individual my decision was much tougher. In fact I will say right now that I regret the position we took. When a member of my student org asked someone from the MSA to explain their position on the event they said “Shoebat coming here to speak on Islam is like the KKK coming up here and giving a speech on race.” That thought has been reverberating in my mind ever since.

What would be my position of free speech if the Klan were coming to town? How about if the Montana Freemen were giving a speech on immigration on campus? It would make me sick to my stomach to know that they were going to be on campus, and it would make me downright irate if I knew that the students’ segregated fees were being used to host such an event.

Messages of hate and ignorance have no place on our campus or in our society. They help perpetuate stereotypes. Stereotypes cause damage both in the long and the short term.
It would be nice to believe that this is just a naïve student. But in reality, he has probably been taught to think this way by faculty, especially if he is a major in some victim studies department, or in the humanities.

Then there is a fellow who is part of a group calling itself “Jews Against Islamophobic Hate Speech.” According to him, “there is a huge amount [sic] of us who believe in equality, believe in respect for others and who don’t really also want this kind of angry, kind of provocative hate speech on campus.”

There is no reason to think that politically correct students at Marquette are any more tolerant. The president of the Gay/Straight Alliance, after all, said that no speaker should be allowed on campus who opposed gay marriage.

That too would have been “hate speech.”

The irony, of course, is that the real hate speech is coming from the would-be censors.

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Needing a Reliable Source

Repression and Intolerance in the Universities: Is It Just the Faculty?

Via Cold Spring Shops, some interesting observations on the culture of intolerance and repression so typical in universities.

The standard line is to blame on the faculty, and in many cases they deserve the blame. But University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Donald Downs points out that a very large role is played by non-faculty bureaucrats.

A lot has been written about the details of the residential life program at the University of Delaware, and the ways in which it has bullied students and residential assistants to accept regnant orthodoxy. The nation’s collective hat should go off to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for exposing this program, and for compelling the university to back down - at least temporarily. The episode brings to mind last spring’s heated debate in the Chronicle of Higher Education over whether FIRE was too extreme in its attacks on higher education, and whether FIRE had outlived its usefulness. One case is not statistical proof, but the fact remains that without FIRE, this remarkably repressive program would still be in effect.

I want to address a broader issue in the Delaware case that has not attracted enough attention thus far: the role of non-faculty members in promoting the politicization of higher education. Kathleen Kerr, a mastermind of the Delaware program, is director of residential life for the University of Delaware. Interestingly, as John Leo has recently pointed out, she is also the chairperson of the American College Personnel Association’s Commission for Housing and Residential Life - a group with connections to universities across the country.

Most of the literature on the ideological politicization of higher education has focused on faculty members. The standard line is that the rise of political correctness and its tools of war (e.g., speech codes, sensitivity training, etc.) have been the product of left-wing baby-boomers assuming positions of authority on faculties and in the upper echelons of administration. The standard line provides an explanation in some cases. But my own experience and reading have caused me to look for further explanations of this state of affairs.

Frederick Lynch provided a detailed portrait of numerous interlocking national programs designed to promote diversity and attitudinal change, almost all of which were run by non-faculty personnel. The University of Michigan, for example, had about 100 such programs (this is not a misprint), but the faculty tended to ignore them because they applied to areas outside of the faculty’s main concern. As long as such programs did not jeopardize faculty research, no problem.

In a later essay, Downs discusses more explicitly the role of faculty members.
A panel discussion/debate in October between Stephen Balch and Harry Lewis at the Pope Center in North Carolina highlighted this disagreement. The panel dealt with the problems besetting liberal education, focusing on education’s aimlessness and failure to instill knowledge and respect for free institutions. Balch and Lewis agreed on several things, but offered two different slants on the ills of higher education. Comparing the views of Balch and Lewis can help us to clarify and refine the problem of politics in higher education today.

Balch, the distinguished president of the National Association of Scholars who recently was awarded the National Humanities Medal in the Oval Office, blamed the ills of liberal education on politicized faculty. According to Jay Schalin’s report of the panel, Balch argued that higher education is failing “because it has adopted a left-wing ideology that is at odds with our traditions. The university system, with its population of impressionable young people, is naturally attractive to people with ‘an inclination toward visionary and utopian thinking,’ and these Utopians feel that the purpose of education is to ‘move people toward their visions.’”

Lewis, a former dean of Harvard College and recent author of the noteworthy book, Excellence Without a Soul, contested Balch’s assessment. Lewis agreed that liberal education is failing to train citizens who are knowledgeable about the strengths and weaknesses of free institutions, and that this state of affairs constitutes a crisis for the nation. But he does not believe that the fault lies with a politicized left that disdains liberal democracy and American institutions. “The aimlessness problems are not the result of evil faculty or evil presidents, or even left wing conspiracies,” he declared. Rather, they are the “unintended consequence” of the overwhelming emphasis on the production of research at the nation’s leading institutions. “The root cause is the nature of the faculty who have been appointed in deference to research extremism.” With so much attention devoted to research, there is neither time nor inclination to pay attention to the quality of education and academic freedom.
And further:
Stephen Karlson of Northern Illinois University raises a further point in responding to my last essay on his blog Universities are divided between senior faculty members with tenure and faculty members without tenure (most of whom are not even on the tenure track at all). These are the people who usually teach large courses, as many senior faculty disdain reaching out to large numbers of students - another problem of citizenship. Without the protection of tenure, they are more vulnerable if they resist the pressures of staff and others who promote politically correct agendas. At Wisconsin, for example, teaching assistants - perhaps the most vulnerable of all campus citizens - are exposed to sensitivity training that even my most liberal graduate students find exceedingly insulting and bullying. They complain to one another and to associates, but are reluctant to speak too loudly. (Alas, this is an area academic freedom advocates have not dealt with at Wisconsin or elsewhere.)
Downs, with excessive fair mindedness, wants to split the difference between Balch and Lewis. But he’s wrong.

No doubt a lot of the rigid indoctrination in universities comes from non-faculty bureaucrats. Any reader of this blog has seen documented what the Office of Student Development, the University Ministry and other related offices do. To an extent, this is simply bureaucratic empire building. If you come up with dozens of programs designed to promote “diversity” you have an excuse to hire a bunch of additional bureaucrats.

But the problem with faculty is not that they are too busy to protect academic freedom, it’s that they don’t particularly want to.

University faculties (and this certainly applies to Marquette) are not polarized between busy active scholars who don’t have time to protect academic freedom and drones who do have time and do protect academic freedom.

The least tolerant and most politically correct departments at Marquette are not the ones where scholars publish most and get the most grant money. Rather, we find stifling political correctness in places like English, Philosophy, Sociology and Education. And then there are the feminists in various departments. Faculty in such places don’t want to protect students from indoctrination.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Shoebat Speech Video

Anti-ROTC Leftists Lobby Marquette

From an (apparently) widely circulated e-mail:

Dear Peacemakers,

Please join us at:

Marquette University Alumni Memorial Union, 2nd Floor at 8:45 am, Wed. Dec. 12, 2007

There is a small group of us who have written the Board of Trustees at Marquette University requesting that they keep Marquette Faithful to the Gospel Values and No Longer Host the Departments of Military Science. Our letter to the board is attached. We will be making a personal plea to the Trustees Wed. Dec. 12th at 8:45 on the 2nd floor of MU Union.

There are nine colleges and universities in the area (including UWM) that allow the military to recruit students and offers military office training. However, only one of them, Marquette University, a Catholic Jesuit University, host on campus departments of military science for students from the nine colleges and universities.

The Military Departments of Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force are using Marquette University to draft and train young men and women in values that are contrary to the Christian faith and conscience.

We are asking the Board of Trustees to enter into a discussion of how Marquette be loyal to its Christian values and still have students and the university benefit from the financial incentives, like the eight other colleges and universities do now.

This might seem like a small issue but it has major implications. Marquette University is one of 28 Jesuit Universities and colleges and one of hundreds of Christian colleges that allow the military to teach on campus values that are in direct contradiction to Christian faith.

You may not have been able to join the thousands, including many Jesuit colleges and high schools, represented to protest the values taught about human life and rights at SOA in Fort Benning, but hopefully you can stand in solidarity with us who oppose the teaching of similar values on our college campuses.

Marquette, Keep Faithful to the Gospel
No Longer Host the Departments of Military Science

Peace,

Bob Graf

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” Gandhi
414 379 4162
http://www.nonviolentworm.org/
There was also an attached letter, which we reprint here in full:

December 4, 2007

Dear Marquette University Board of Trustees,

We are a group of Milwaukee area citizens, including students and alumni, who wish to work with you in upholding MU’s “values-centered curriculum,” which is focused on Gospel values. One of the conflicts and contradictions we specifically would like to discuss with you is Marquette’s hosting and condoning of the military science departments: Navy, Army, Marines and Air Force that teach values in direct conflict with the Christian Gospel values espoused at Marquette. For example, the Army states in its manual:
“Your personal values may and probably do extend beyond the Army values, to include such things as political, cultural, or religious beliefs. However, if you’re to be an Army leader and a person of integrity, these values must reinforce, not contradict, Army values.”
On the other hand, the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” teaches:
“The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community.”
We believe that Marquette students, like the students from the eight other universities and colleges that train at the MU departments of military science, should be allowed to have access to military officer training and scholarships. Also, Marquette should be able to open its campus to military recruiting and make available military training, like the other eight area colleges. Thus, MU would still be available for Federal Grants under the Solomon Act.

We simply would like to talk with you about Marquette, like UWM and the other seven colleges, no longer hosting any department of military science. By hosting this military department whose curriculum is not subject to the moral standards of all other MU departments, Marquette is, in effect, endorsing values contrary to the Gospel and teaching of the Church.

We hope for a discussion with you, the Board of Directors, on ways Marquette can be faithful to the Gospel. Will you share a dialog with us on this issue of morality? We can be reached by mail via Patrick Kennelly at 1131 N. 21st, Milwaukee, WI 5320. If possible we would like to begin this conversation with you before Christmas break.

Peace,

Bob Graf

On behalf of:
Mark Peters, Phil Runkel, Daniel Rosenow, Jeanne DeSimone Sieger, Joyce Ellwanger, Don Timmerman, Roberta Thurstin, Sr. Virgine Lawinger, Patrick T. Kennelly, Timothy M. Prendergast, Barbara Aho and Joseph Radoszewski
Happily, this group is not likely to get very far.

As we have observed before, Marquette didn’t drop ROTC during the anti-war hysteria of the late 60s and early 70s. The current administration is clearly to the left of the administration then, but not nearly so far to the left as to kick ROTC off campus.

Indeed, ROTC has extremely wide support among the student body. Even those who would not personally choose to be in the military respect the choices of those who do.

The most striking thing about this is the arrogant certainty that service in the military is immoral. While the Catholic Church has loudly insisted on opposing the current Iraq War, it has admitted that one’s view on the war is a matter of “prudential judgment.” As Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan put it:
Thoughtful voices can be heard on both sides, one maintaining that American initiatives in Iraq are morally licit and meet the classical requirements of a “just war,” the other holding that our military action there is not only a political disaster but clearly immoral. Both sides agree in expressing high regard for our men and women in uniform, who are most exposed to danger, and who are most desirous of the establishment of peace and a return safely home.
Further, military training isn’t just for the Iraq War. It’s for a generation, which may well involve wars which the current “anti-war” crowd will approve.

Happily, these folks represent a fringe position.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Intelligence?

Mission Week Event, February 7, 2008: A Balanced Discussion?

A circular e-mail sent to all Marquette faculty:
The Office of Mission and Identity is pleased to announce that this year’s Mission Week keynote event will feature a ninety-minute, vigorous exchange among concerned and knowledgeable individuals on the topic of, “War, Peace and People of Faith.” Ms. Soledad O’Brien of CNN has agreed to act as the moderator for this conversation, during which four distinguished panelists will discuss how faith affects moral decision making in addressing contemporary issues of conflict around the world. After offering opening remarks to the audience O’Brien will be joined on the stage by:
  • Rev. Drew Christiansen, S.J., Editor-in-Chief of America magazine former head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Office of International Justice and Peace (1998-2004), and lead staff person in the drafting of the U.S. Bishops’ 1993 peace pastoral, “The Harvest of Justice Is Sown in Peace,” which provided the basis for USCCB’s post-Cold War policy;
  • Dr. James Turner Johnson, Professor of Religion and Associate Member of the Graduate Department of Political Science at Rutgers University focusing on the historical developments and moral traditions related to war, peace, and the practice of statecraft, and author/editor of 14 books on the moral questions related to contemporary warfare;
  • Rev. John Dear, S.J., former Executive Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (largest interfaith peace organization in the United States), Coordinator of Pax Christi New Mexico, noted peace activist, retreat leader, author/editor of 25 books on peace and justice, and columnist for the National Catholic Reporter.
  • Mr. Nicholas Coddington, Former Senior U.S. Army Intelligence Officer with NATO Southern Region, senior officer deployed to Baghdad to establish the Iraqi Military Academy, and leader of various humanitarian and crisis relief operations in the Balkans, Middle East, Northern/Central Africa, Central America and Southeast Asia.
The support of faculty members has been essential to the success of Mission Week over the years – thank you for all you have done to encourage student participation and involvement. Please mark your calendar for the Mission Week Keynote Panel at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7 in the Varsity Theatre and consider building this event into your syllabi for the second semester. Further information and online teaching resources for Mission Week will be forthcoming. Do not hesitate to contact the Office of Mission and Identity (8-1881) with any questions or suggestions you may have for Mission Week 2008.
Our very preliminary assessment is that this is, in fact, a balanced discussion -- at least if Coddington is hawkish (there is virtually nothing about him on the web).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Shoebat Speech: Victory for Free Expression

It seems so common that politically incorrect views are shut up on college campuses these days that it’s news when somebody is allowed to speak.

But it happened last night at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Walid Shoebat had his say before an overflow audience of 750 at the UWM Union.

The whole thing was in question for a while. When the Conservative Union at UWM first proposed bringing in Shoebat, the UWM administration, by its body language, didn’t seem too happy about the prospect, and threw up some procedural roadblocks.

Under pressure, especially from conservative talk radio, the UWM administration began to see things differently, and approved the speech, but with a draconian $1,700 addition charge for security added to the regular room fee.

Eventually, that charge was dropped.

Muslim students tried to get the speech cancelled, and failed.

Shoebat a Hero?

Our elation over the victory for free speech doesn’t require us to like Shoebat. It happens we do like Shoebat, but that’s irrelevant.

The majority of the crowd, heavily laced with Jews and listeners of conservative talk radio received him very favorably.

Some of our students who attended thought him excessively harsh, however. One just told us that Shoebat reminded him of Hitler.

That is the point of free speech. You get to listen. You get to make up your mind.

Muslim Response

A large number of Muslim students were present, and they asked hostile questions of Shoebat. Fair enough.

There was some inappropriate heckling at times, some very uncivil questions, and even one threat of violence -- which was not to be taken seriously.

But Shoebat got to speak his peace.

Likewise, a small group of calling themselves “Jews Against Islamophobia” protested. They were cordoned off in the hall outside the event, but in plain sight (and indeed, within a yard or two) of the crowd as it filed past slowly.

And Muslim students organized their own counter-forum to rebut Shoebat’s assertions.

How Did the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Look?

It appeared that UWM had to be intimidated by a huge burst of publicity, mostly coming from Milwaukee talk radio, to do the right thing.

But a lot of university bureaucrats, when faced with an issue like this, simply hunker down and insist on shutting up speech that might cause controversy. This has chronically been the case at Marquette. So if we have only faint praise for UWM, that’s more than we have for a lot of institutions.

When the night arrived, UWM handled things with a high level of professionalism. Security was good, and dissenters had their right to speak too.

Precedent

Issues like this create precedents. Each and ever case of censorship on a college campus reinforces the idea that any speaker that some aggrieved group dislikes can and should be banned.

But each time censorship fails, the norm of academic freedom is reinforced. In the future, UWM bureaucrats will know that it’s safer, simpler and much better public relations just to let the controversial speaker talk.

We wonder when Marquette will get this message.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Live Blogging Walid Shoebat

There is a massive line snaking out from the Wisconsin Room, were everybody was going through metal detectors. It’s clear that not everybody can be accommodated. Indeed, the venue has a capacity of 750, and they have now started turning people away.

A group called “Jews Against Islamophobia” is demonstrating outside the room, five or six people total. They are segregated in a roped-off “demonstration area,” but are in plain sight of everybody there.

7:53 -- an announcement that the event will start in five minutes. Even then, likely a lot of people will be going through security, but you can’t wait forever.

7:59 -- people are still streaming in, the program is just starting.

Introduction

Lists sponsors, Conservative Union at UWM, Committee for Truth and Justice, Hillel and Advocates for Israel, Milwaukee.

Shoebat

Says: “Happy Chanukah”

Tells personal story, how his mother and father met. Mother a Christian, father a Muslim. Went to Christian school, where the teacher said he was the only one who cared about learning the Bible.

Remembers Six Day War. Purpose was to destroy the Jews and throw them into the sea. His mother was reminded of the story of Joshua and Jericho.

Not going to take one side: will pick on Christians, and Muslims and Jews.

Objects to being called an “Islamophobe.” Points out that all religions can be criticized in the U.S., but if you criticize Islam, you are an “Islamophobe.”

Quotes Mohammed: famous passage about a rock that says “there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

Cites anti-Semitic comments from around the Middle East.

Remembers seeing pictures of holocaust on black and white TV. Asked teacher (he’s now apparently in a Muslim school) about it, and was told it was a Jewish plot, not real genocide.

His mother wanted to get out of Muslim territory, but the law did not allow it. “For 35 years my mother remained captive.” She could not leave until 1994, when Shoebat became a Christian, and “rescued” her.

Muslim/Christian marriage? It’s virtually always a Muslim male marrying a Christian woman, and not vice versa.

Wasn’t taught about the Jewish connection to the land of Israel, but that the Arabs were the original Canaanites. His school curriculum came from Jordan. Lacked any concern with critical thinking skills.

But there was a strong emphasis on wiping out the Jewish state.

He considered himself a Jordanian originally, but then the doctrine changed after the Six Day War, such that the place he lived became “Palestine.”

He asked his uncle whether life was better when Israel ruled over Palestinian territory, or when a Palestinian government did. His uncle said it was much better under the Israelis. Then why not advocate Jewish rule? “Arabs will never agree to be ruled by Jews” said his uncle.

Says a Palestinian state will be a “Hamas state.” Talks about two Jews getting lost in Ramallah, and they were lynched my Muslims. Indeed, the entire male population was involved, shouting “Allah Akbar.”

When he converted to Christianity, he got a call telling him he lost all his land. He points out that the Jews didn’t steal his land, Muslims stole his land.

He realized “in my culture, you can’t change your mind.”

In 1991, something began to change for him. He took a trip to Israel. A Jewish woman was sitting next to him in the plane. He began to talk (taking on the manners of a Californian!), and found the woman had children in the Israel Defense Force. He asked her, “what do you think of your children killing Arabs.” She began to cry, and explained that she loved Arabs.

He took trips all over Israel, and noticed graffiti. It said (apparently in Arab neighborhoods) “we knock on the door of heaven with the skulls of Jews.” He also noticed a gang of Arabs stoning a bus full of Jews.

Asked why Arabs are allowed to live in Israel (and even have Mosques), while Jews are not allowed to live in Palestinian territory.

More Observations

His Aunt Fatima had a son killed by Israeli soldiers. This resulted in a celebration, since the dead son in Heaven was supposedly interceding for family members.

“We have created a civilization that loves death more than life.”

Tells of developer who wanted to build an apartment building for Palestinians, but his proposal was rejected by the Palestinian authorities because they like to keep the refuge camps. The visual images were good propaganda.

Objects to Jimmy Carter, who first said that Christianity is “not about politics,” but then wrote a political book critical of Israel.

Confronts his father with the fact that a Jewish doctor saved his life. Asked if he ever said a prayer for the doctor. Response: “cursed be the Jews.”

Asks himself: “what is really the problem?”

It’s obvious, he says: “you see it on television.” “Death to American, death to Israel.”

“The American people still haven’t woken up and smelled the humus.”

He begain to do research. “Was the holocaust real, or was it a fabrication.” Discovered it was real.

Went to garage sales to buy Jewish songs. He was expecting war songs. When he was a kid and listened to Palestinian radio, he heard lots of war songs. He sings some of those songs for the audience.

Finally found one song with the word “war” in it. He went to a Jewish doctor to ask for a translation, and it was “the Gentiles will not learn war anymore.”

Gives multiple stories about the anti-Semitism he encountered as a child. But says anti-Semitism is common here in the U.S. Cites some demonstrations where the shout is heard “who controls the media.” And the response is: “the Jews.”

Still More

Says Palestinians should be willing to say “the problem with my country is not the occupation, it’s in our minds.” Talks of Jews forced out of other Middle Eastern countries. Who created the State of Israel? “Our hatred created Israel.”

Quotes Hitler saying that Islam would have been (if the Battle of Tours had gone the other way) perfect for the German temperament. Says that Muslim treatment of Jews was very much like Nazi treatment of Jews.

On Sharia

“Islam creates suicide.”

Yassar Arafat response to discussion of terrorism: “we are only killing Jews.”

To the Critics

“Are you fighting the real terrorists?”

“Are you fighting the real racists?”

“I am the one who is hated now. I’m the one who is being hunted now.”

“Vigilance is the cost of freedom.”

“Appeasement is the process of feeding the alligator, hoping he eats you last.”

[End of Speech]

Strongly favorable response from crowd.

[Question & Answer Session]

Questioner: challenges whether Shoebat was really a terrorist.

Shoebat: refers to Daniel Pipes website. Claims he can produce various documents.

Questioner: Why do you accept money from fundamentalists?

Shoebat: I have a sign in front of my house saying “accepting Zionist bribes.” But he hasn’t gotten any. Has had trouble being accepted by mainstream Jewish organizations because he opposes a Palestinian state.

9/11 Conspiracy Theorist: says that Mossad staged 9/11 attacks. He is pretty much hooted down by crowd.

Questioner: are all Muslims extremists?

Shoebat: absolutely not. One of his best friends is Muslim. Notes Muslim demonstration in U.S. where the slogan was “down with terrorism.” But Arab student groups don’t take this attitude.

Questioner: why can a Teddy Bear not be named Mohammed? Further, can you explain the statements about Palestinians being the Cannanites, pre-Joshua.

Shoebat: somewhat long answer, defending the right of Israel to occupy the land it does now. Land was bought, he says.

Questioner: Why are Jews so naive about the threats that face them?

Shoebat: somewhat long and rambling answer.

[At this point, our Wi-Fi connection failed. So from this point on, we are summarizing.]

Over the course of the event, and especially during the Q & A, the crowd became rather boisterous.

Questions were met with applause. People shouted out questions out of order – without coming to the microphone and being recognized.

In one case, a person (obviously a critic of Shoebat’s) began to make a speech. The moderator asked “are you making a speech,” and the fellow said “yes.” The moderator told him to ask a question or please sit down, and supporters in the crowd shouted “let him speak!”

It appeared that both Muslims and Jews were well-represented in the audience.

Pro-Shoebot comments got loud applause, while one anti-Shoebat heckler shouted “moron!”

The nadir came when one hostile questioner said to Shoebat “you’re a speck like this, and I’m going to stomp on you.” This was the only threat of violence during the evening. Shoebat replied “I’ve never lost a fight.”

Another questioner (apparently an Arab) brought up the “Jenin massacre,” and even how humane Saladin supposedly was. Shoebat corrected him on the facts of the “Jenin massacre.”

Shoebat made no bones about being a fundamentalist Christian who takes Biblical prophecy very seriously. But he handled the issue well. One questioner asked “Haven’t you given up one extreme [radical Islam] for another?” Shoebat made it clear that he believes that Jesus will return to earth at Jerusalem to lead a defensive war to protect Israel from attackers on all sides.
He then asked, “suppose I’m wrong?,” and added that the worst that happens is that Christians like him hang around and nothing happens. This in contrast to Islam, which preaches violent conquest.

Evaluation

Like all people obsessed with a particular evil, Shoebat tended to overstate the danger of radical Islam. For example, he rattled off a series of countries in which radical Islam has won elections, or would win elections if fair elections were held.

He didn’t bother to mention that Al-Qaeda has been routed in Iraq.

Some his comments about Islam were extremely harsh, but he did concede that there are moderate Muslims. He clearly feels they are too few.

We see his views as an authentic response to the real, virulent extremism and real anti-Semitism that he has seen. He is extremely passionate – some would say fanatical. But passion is an appropriate response to what he has seen.

But that’s not to say that his outlook on Islam is fair and balanced. It’s a legitimate response to an unbalanced set of experiences he has had. It’s not all of Islam, and probably not even most of Islam. It is too much of Islam.

Muslim Student Association’s Case Against Shoebat

He was controversial when his speech was announced, and he remains controversial.

Walid Shoebat will speak at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee tonight.

And his talk will be followed by a panel sponsored by the Muslim Student Association attacking Shoebat and supporting Muslim belief.

We have advance copies of some of the material that will be used to attack Shoebat.

The handouts include:This latter statement has some bizarre elements.

For example:
We firmly believe in Shoebat’s right to promote his hateful views and his right to demonize Islam and Muslims. Neo-Nazi’s, the KKK and Shoebat all have the right to speak and we firmly uphold that right. However, we also believe that a venue other than a university would have been more appropriate for Shoebat to disseminate his bigotry and xenophobia. Shoebat has no academic credentials. He is a charlatan, a snake oil salesman and a fraud. Shoebat is a former “nobody” and is now an extremist Christian terrorist.
This sounds a bit bizarre in the face of the fact that the Muslim Student Association did try to get Shoebat’s speech cancelled.

Our experience in dealing with the Kennedy assassination might give us some insight on issues like this.

In the first place, people will come forward to tell “interesting” but quite false stories about their participation in important historical events. For the most part, these people are attention seekers.

On the other hand, when a witness gives testimony that certain people don’t like, it will get twisted out of context and all sorts of bogus claims will be made against the witness.

Either way, the Muslim students may have much more success discrediting Shoebat than they had trying to shut him up. In the very tolerant American culture, people automatically side with the person who is the object of a censorship attempt. But if it’s just speech (Shoebat’s) against speech (Muslim student’s) it’s an equal playing field.

There is a lesson here.

End of lecture.

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Walid Shoebat to Speak at UWM Tonight

[Update]

We will be live blogging this event!

[End Update]


The very controversial Walid Shoebat will be speaking, as schuduled, tonight at UWM.

This is the speech which the UWM Muslim Student Association tried to have banned.

The talk will be followed by a counter-event sponsored by the Muslim Student Association.

Event Information

You can see Shoebat Tuesday, December 4th, 7:30 PM in the UWM Union Wisconsin Room. The address is: 2200 E.Kenwood Blvd., Milwaukee, WI 53211. It is free and open to the public.

Here is the Muslim counter event.

“Why I Chose Islam”
Dispelling the Misconceptions

Tuesday, December 4th 2007 at 8:30 PM
UWM Union Ballroom
2200 E. Kenwood Blvd

Featuring a response to misconceptions regarding Islam and terrorism and converts’ journey to Islam
Open to the public and press

Speakers:
---------------
Robert Miranda (Executive Director of Esperanza Unida)
Janan Najeeb, Milwaukee Muslim Womens Coalition
Ahmad Rehab, CAIR (Center for American-Islamic Relations)
Four American converts to Islam


A Controversial Fellow

Shoebat has strong views, but they are strong views that many, and probably most Americans agree with. He is a Christian, a strong supporter of Israel and a strong opponent of terrorism.

Here is Charlie Sykes discussing the case last week.

And here is Shoebat being interviewed by Sykes.

Shoebat’s critics have accused him of having extreme views, and he has certainly said some things that sound at least a bit odd.

Harsher critics have accused him of being an outright fraud.

There is, for example, this video from YouTube catching him in an apparent contradiction regarding the bombing of a bank.

Be warned, however, that the video itself has some content near the end that could easily be construed as anti-Semitic.



We think both the Shoebat event and the Muslim Student Association event following it should be dynamite. People who attend should question Shoebat aggressively (but civilly) about his bona fides and his views.

And then go and do the same to the speakers at the Muslim panel.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Letter to the Editor: Interfaith Conference

A letter to the editor, from Paula Simon, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Jewish Council for Community Relations.

Simon takes exception to some of our comments about the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee.
As the secretary of the Interfaith Conference and a member of both the Executive Committee and the Cabinet, I would like to clarify a few of the incorrect assumptions that you made in your blog about the positions and activities of the organization based on the content on its website.

You asserted that that the Interfaith Conference “strongly supported Healthy Wisconsin in the state budget.” This is factually incorrect. The Conference co-sponsored a series of health care reform education sessions at diverse congregations across the metropolitan area during 2007. These forums included proponents of a range of health care proposals, including market-driven proposals. At the forum that I attended at Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun, the panel included a speaker from Americans for Prosperity. A Senate Republican and member of Joint Finance Committee presented the Republican sponsored initiative at two other forums. All of the forums were educational and no endorsements were made of any particular plan. Based on conversations at multiple governance levels of the Interfaith Conference, it was evident that there was no consensus on Healthy Wisconsin, and therefore no vote nor action to support it in the state budget cycle.

I also take issue with your assertion that the Interfaith Conference can be categorized as “a bunch of liberal bureaucrat/activists.” The Interfaith Conference is comprised of thirteen religious judicatories, and each appoints three representatives to the Cabinet that governs the decisions of the organization. I believe that many of them would be shocked to be labeled as such. There are many issues on which we disagree based on our respective theologies. We are, however, all guided by our shared vision to uphold the dignity of every person and the solidarity of the human community.

While a website might be a window, it is never the full view.
As Simon implies in the final paragraph, we based our assertions about the group on their web site, including the policy statements there, and also the links they included -- which were sharply skewed to the political left. “Strong support” for a government healthcare monopoly was what we saw.

We are delighted to learn that Interfaith Conference panels on health care included Republicans and people supporting a market-oriented health care policy. But wouldn’t it be nice to include these alternative views on the organization’s web site?

Simon doesn’t seem to understand the irony of denying that the Interfaith Conference is “a bunch of liberal bureaucrat/activists” and then pointing out that the organization is composed of “thirteen religious judicatories.” These “judicatories” are virtually all “mainstream Protestant” denominations of the sort that take the standard liberal or left position on any issue. Added to those are three Jewish organizations (which also take the standard liberal or left position on any issue other than Israel), the Milwaukee Archdiocese of the Catholic Church and the Islamic Society.

But the web site really does tell the story.

Simon doubtless sees the activists in the Interfaith Conference as a bunch of moderates with differing views. We all think that we and those we identify with politically are reasonable moderates.

But somehow, these folks invariably take the liberal side of every issue. If anybody wants to challenge that statement, they need to point to a conservative position they have taken.

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Who Should Disarm?

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What Has Global Warming Wrought?

Via Sykes Writes, a list of web pages blaming virtually all the worlds ills on global warming.
Agricultural land increase, Africa devastated, African aid threatened, Africa hit hardest, air pressure changes, Alaska reshaped, allergies increase, Alps melting, Amazon a desert, American dream end, amphibians breeding earlier (or not), ancient forests dramatically changed, animals head for the hills, Antarctic grass flourishes, anxiety, algal blooms, archaeological sites threatened, Arctic bogs melt, Arctic in bloom, Arctic lakes disappear, asthma, Atlantic less salty, Atlantic more salty, atmospheric defiance, atmospheric circulation modified, attack of the killer jellyfish, avalanches reduced, avalanches increased, bananas destroyed, bananas grow, beetle infestation, bet for $10,000, better beer, big melt faster, billion dollar research projects, billions of deaths, bird distributions change, bird visitors drop, birds return early, blackbirds stop singing, blizzards, blue mussels return, bluetongue, boredom, bridge collapse (Minneapolis), Britain Siberian, British gardens change, brothels struggle, bubonic plague, budget increases, Buddhist temple threatened, building collapse, building season extension, bushfires, business opportunities, business risks, butterflies move north, cancer deaths in England, cardiac arrest, caterpillar biomass shift, challenges and opportunities, childhood insomnia, Cholera, circumcision in decline, cirrus disappearance, civil unrest, cloud increase, cloud stripping, cockroach migration, cod go south, cold climate creatures survive, cold spells (Australia), computer models, conferences, coral bleaching, coral reefs dying, coral reefs grow, coral reefs shrink , cold spells, cost of trillions, cougar attacks, cremation to end, crime increase, crocodile sex, crumbling roads, buildings and sewage systems, cyclones (Australia), damages equivalent to $200 billion, Darfur, Dartford Warbler plague, death rate increase (US), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, dermatitis, desert advance, desert life threatened, desert retreat, destruction of the environment, diarrhoea, disappearance of coastal cities, diseases move north, Dolomites collapse, drought, drowning people, ducks and geese decline, dust bowl in the corn belt, early marriages, early spring, earlier pollen season, Earth biodiversity crisis, Earth dying, Earth even hotter, Earth light dimming, Earth lopsided, Earth melting, Earth morbid fever, Earth on fast track, Earth past point of no return, Earth slowing down, Earth spinning out of control, Earth spins faster, Earth to explode, earth upside down, Earth wobbling, earthquakes, El Niño intensification, erosion, emerging infections, encephalitis, equality threatened, Europe simultaneously baking and freezing, evolution accelerating, expansion of university climate groups, extinctions (human, civilisation, logic, Inuit, smallest butterfly, cod, ladybirds, bats, pandas, pikas, polar bears, pigmy possums, gorillas, koalas, walrus, whales, frogs, toads, turtles, orang-utan, elephants, tigers, plants, salmon, trout, wild flowers, woodlice, penguins, a million species, half of all animal and plant species, not polar bears, barrier reef, leaches), experts muzzled, extreme changes to California, fading fall foliage, famine, farmers go under, fashion disaster, fever,figurehead sacked, fir cone bonanza, fish catches drop, fish catches rise, fish stocks at risk, fish stocks decline, five million illnesses, flesh eating disease, flood patterns change, floods, floods of beaches and cities, Florida economic decline, food poisoning, food prices rise, food security threat (SA), footpath erosion, forest decline, forest expansion, frostbite, frosts, fungi fruitful, fungi invasion, games change, Garden of Eden wilts, genetic diversity decline, gene pools slashed, gingerbread houses collapse, glacial earthquakes, glacial retreat, glacial growth, glacier wrapped, global cooling, global dimming, glowing clouds, god melts, golf Masters wrecked, Gore omnipresence, grandstanding, grasslands wetter, Great Barrier Reef 95% dead, Great Lakes drop, greening of the North, Grey whales lose weight, Gulf Stream failure, habitat loss, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, harvest increase, harvest shrinkage, hay fever epidemic, hazardous waste sites breached, health of children harmed, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes (Australia), heat waves, hibernation ends too soon, hibernation ends too late, homeless 50 million, hornets, high court debates, human development faces unprecedented reversal, human fertility reduced, human health improvement, human health risk, hurricanes, hurricane reduction, hydropower problems, hyperthermia deaths, ice sheet growth, ice sheet shrinkage, illness and death, inclement weather, infrastructure failure (Canada), Inuit displacement, Inuit poisoned, Inuit suing, industry threatened, infectious diseases, inflation in China, insurance premium rises, invasion of cats, invasion of herons, invasion of midges, island disappears, islands sinking, itchier poison ivy, jellyfish explosion, Kew Gardens taxed, kitten boom, krill decline, lake and stream productivity decline, lake shrinking and growing, landslides, landslides of ice at 140 mph, lawsuits increase, lawsuit successful, lawyers’ income increased (surprise surprise!), lightning related insurance claims, little response in the atmosphere, lush growth in rain forests, Lyme disease, Malaria, malnutrition, mammoth dung melt, Maple syrup shortage, marine diseases, marine food chain decimated, marine dead zone, Meaching (end of the world), megacryometeors, Melanoma, methane emissions from plants, methane burps, melting permafrost, Middle Kingdom convulses, migration, migration difficult (birds), microbes to decompose soil carbon more rapidly, monkeys on the move, Mont Blanc grows, monuments imperiled, more bad air days, more research needed, mountain (Everest) shrinking, mountains break up, mountains taller, mortality lower, mudslides, National security implications, new islands, next ice age, Nile delta damaged, no effect in India, Northwest Passage opened, nuclear plants bloom, oaks move north, ocean acidification, ocean waves speed up, opera house to be destroyed, outdoor hockey threatened, oyster diseases, ozone loss, ozone repair slowed, ozone rise, Pacific dead zone, personal carbon rationing, pest outbreaks, pests increase, phenology shifts, plankton blooms, plankton destabilised, plankton loss, plant viruses, plants march north, polar bears aggressive, polar bears cannibalistic, polar bears drowning, polar bears starve, polar tours scrapped, porpoise astray, profits collapse, psychosocial disturbances, puffin decline, railroad tracks deformed, rainfall increase, rainfall reduction, rape wave, refugees, reindeer larger, release of ancient frozen viruses, resorts disappear, rice threatened, rice yields crash, riches, rift on Capitol Hill, rioting and nuclear war, rivers dry up, river flow impacted, rivers raised, roads wear out, rockfalls, rocky peaks crack apart, roof of the world a desert, Ross river disease, ruins ruined, salinity reduction, salinity increase, Salmonella, salmon stronger, satellites accelerate, school closures, sea level rise, sea level rise faster, seals mating more, sewer bills rise, sex change, sharks booming, sharks moving north, sheep shrink, shop closures, shrinking ponds, shrinking shrine, ski resorts threatened, slow death, smaller brains, smog, snowfall increase, snowfall heavy, snowfall reduction, societal collapse, songbirds change eating habits, sour grapes, space problem, spiders invade Scotland, squid population explosion, squirrels reproduce earlier, spectacular orchids, stormwater drains stressed, street crime to increase, suicide, taxes, tectonic plate movement, teenage drinking, terrorism, threat to peace, ticks move northward (Sweden), tides rise, tourism increase, trade barriers, trade winds weakened, tree beetle attacks, tree foliage increase (UK), tree growth slowed, trees could return to Antarctic, trees in trouble, trees less colourful, trees more colourful, trees lush, tropics expansion, tropopause raised, tsunamis, turtles crash, turtles lay earlier, UK Katrina, Vampire moths, Venice flooded, volcanic eruptions, walrus displaced, walrus pups orphaned, war, wars over water, wars threaten billions, water bills double, water supply unreliability, water scarcity (20% of increase), water stress, weather out of its mind, weather patterns awry, weeds, Western aid cancelled out, West Nile fever, whales move north, wheat yields crushed in Australia, white Christmas dream ends, wildfires, wind shift, wind reduced, wine - harm to Australian industry, wine industry damage (California), wine industry disaster (US), wine - more English, wine -German boon, wine - no more French , winters in Britain colder, wolves eat more moose, wolves eat less, workers laid off, World bankruptcy, World in crisis, World in flames, Yellow fever.
We don’t see hangnails on the list.

But probably soon.

True blue global warming believers really ought to be highly disturbed about stuff like this. This sort of hysteria trivalizes the whole issue.

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