Sunday, 23 December 2007

JEFF JACOBY ON HOW WOMEN ARE TREATED IN MUSLIM CULTURES

Ken Berwitz

This is today's column from the superb Boston Globe writer Jeff Jacoby.  It needs no commentary from me. 

What Mr. Jacoby writes today should - should - serve as a lesson to the incomparably stupid people who attack the USA for the tiniest little slight against feminism but manage to look the other way when it comes to the people they are afraid of.  But it almost certainly won't:

THE ISLAMIST WAR ON WOMEN

By Jeff Jacoby

TheBoston Globe

 

Sunday, December 23, 2007

 

     The girl from Qatif won a reprieve last week. On Dec. 17, Saudi Arabia 's King Abdullah pardoned the young woman, who was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison after she pressed charges against seven men who had raped her and a male acquaintance in 2006. Two weeks earlier, Sudan 's president extended a similar reprieve to Gillian Gibbons, the British teacher convicted of insulting Islam because her 7-year-old students named a teddy bear Muhammad. Gibbons had been sentenced to prison, but government-organized street demonstrators were loudly demanding her execution.

 

     In January, Nazanin Fatehi was released from an Iranian jail after a death sentence against her was revoked. She had originally been convicted of murder for fatally stabbing a man when he and two others attempted to rape her and her niece in a park. (Had she yielded to the rapists, she could have been flogged or stoned for engaging in nonmarital sex.)

 

     The sparing of these women was very welcome news, of course, and it was not coincidental that each case had triggered an international furor. But for every "girl from Qatif" or Nazanin who is saved, there are far too many other Muslim girls and women for whom deliverance never comes.

 

     No international furor saved Aqsa Parvez, a Toronto teenager, whose father was charged on Dec. 11 with strangling her to death because she refused to wear a hijab. "She just wanted to look like everyone else," one of Aqsa's friends told the National Post, "and I guess her dad had a problem with that."

 

     No reprieve came for Banaz Mahmod, either. She was 20, a Kurdish immigrant to Britain, whose father and uncle had her killed last year after she left an abusive arranged marriage and fell in love with a man not from the family's village in Kurdistan. Banaz was choked to death with a bootlace, stuffed into a suitcase, and buried in a garden 70 miles away. More than 25 such "honor killings" have been confirmed in Britain 's Muslim community in recent years. Many more are suspected.

 

     There has been no storm of outrage about the intimidation and murder in Basra , Iraq , of women who wear Western-style clothing. Iraqi police say that more than 40 women have been killed so far this year by Islamists; the bodies are often left in garbage dumps with notes accusing the victims of "un-Islamic behavior."

 

     By Western standards, the subjugation of women by Muslim fanatics, and the sometimes pathological Islamist obsession with female sexuality, are unthinkable. Time and again they lead to shocking acts of violence and depravity:

 

  • In Pakistan , a tribal council ordered a woman to be gang-raped as punishment for her brother's supposed liaison with a woman from another tribe.
     
  • In San Francisco , a young Muslim woman was shot dead after she uncovered her hair and put on makeup in order to be a maid of honor at a friend's wedding.
     
  • In Tehran , a father beheaded his 7-year-old daughter because he suspected that she had been raped; he said he acted "to defend my honor, fame, and dignity."
     
  • In Saudi Arabia , the Islamic police prevented schoolgirls from leaving a burning building because they were not wearing headscarves and abayas; 15 of the girls died in the inferno.
     
  • The president of Cairo 's Al-Azhar University , a renowned center of Islamic learning, described the proper method of wife-beating in a television interview: "It's not really beating," Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyeb explained on Egyptian television. "It's more like punching."

 

     When the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in 1996, the repression of women was among their first priorities. They issued a decree forbidding women to leave their homes, with the result that work and schooling for women came to a halt, destroying the country's healthcare system, civil service, and elementary education.

 

     "Forty percent of the doctors, half of the government workers, and seven out of 10 teachers were women," Lawrence Wright observed in *The Looming Tower,* his Pulitzer Prize-winning history of Al Qaeda. "Under the Taliban, many of them would become beggars."

 

     Women are not the only victims of this rampant misogyny. Mohammed Halim, a 46-year-old Afghan schoolteacher, was dragged from his family and horribly murdered last year -- disemboweled and then dismembered -- for defying orders to stop educating girls.

 

     All these are only examples -- the tip of a dreadful iceberg that will never be demolished until Muslims by the millions rise up against it. As for the rest of us, we too have an obligation to raise our voices. It took a worldwide outcry to spare the "girl from Qatif" and Nazanin. But there are countless others like them, and our silence may seal their fate.

 

I wish I could try and shake some sense into the people who so willfully ignore these unspeakable horrors.  But I know better to think it would do any good.

 

Have you ever heard of NOW, or any other so-called "woman's group",  marching in front of the embassy of a Muslim country which practices behaviors like this?  In front of the offices of any domestic Muslim group which does not, itself, actively protest this treatment whether in or outside of the USA? 

 

Neither have I.  And by their silence, they tacitly accept it.  Shame on them all.

 


LEAHY'S FIGHT AGAINST SECURE BORDERS

Ken Berwitz

I picked this up at the Cyber News Service, complete with quotes.  Try finding it in mainstream media:

Democrat Blocks Passport Requirement at Canada, Mexico Borders
By Susan Jones
CNSNews.com Senior Editor
December 21, 2007

(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Patrick Leahy is preventing the Bush administration from requiring passports next year from people crossing the U.S.-Canada border and the U.S.-Mexico border by land.

The Leahy-sponsored measure - rolled into the omnibus spending bill - will prevent the passport requirement from taking effect until Jan. 1, 2009 at the earliest.

It will buy "breathing room to try to find better and more sensible answers for border security, especially on the Northern Border," Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said in a news release.

Leahy said the passport requirement would create "major hassles for law-abiding citizens and communities all across the longest peaceful border in the world. It adds nothing to our security while costing Vermont and our national economy billions in lost commerce," he said in a news release.

He said it would cost much less to beef up intelligence and "[work] with Canada to seek out potential terrorists long before they even get near our borders."

Leahy complains that the Bush administration has "rushed to implement passport checks before the necessary technology, infrastructure and training are in place at our border stations. That's a guarantee for long lines and lengthy delays," he said.

Leahy also is annoyed that the Bush administration plans to start requiring birth certificates instead of passports at the U.S.-Canada border next month.

He's written to Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, criticizing the birth certificate requirement and asking Chertoff to cite his authority for imposing it.

Leahy indicated that that "oral declarations" of citizenship are good enough for the time being.

Chertoff on Thursday questioned the priorities of those who want to postpone the passport requirement, which he considers a key element of national security.

Chertoff told a group of Hearst Corp. executives that the administration will move ahead with plans to require passports for anyone crossing into the U.S. from Mexico or Canada. "I want to get as close as possible to getting this implemented as I can during this president's term in office," Chertoff told the Hearst executives.

"Delaying this documentation requirement is keeping the door to illegal immigrants open," Chertoff was quoted as saying.

"It is a little silly to spend a lot of money building a fence when you're kicking the door wide open and saying anybody can come in if they can wave a piece of paper that they can (easily counterfeit)." 
.

Let me ask you something:  If there is a terror attack in this country and it appears to have emanated, or been helped along, by the non-existent border security of either Canada or Mexico, who will be blamed?  Who will patrick leahy blame?

For years, I have faulted the Bush adminstration for its failure to secure our borders.  But let's never forget that Mr. Bush is fought tooth and nail every time he tries to do something about it.

Whose side are these people on anyway?


HOW GOOGLE MISREPRESENTS ME (AND OTHERS)

Ken Berwitz

I do not like ron paul. I consider him appalling.

I am appalled by the nazi and White supremacist support ron paul receives.  I am appalled by his vote against re-authorizing the civil rights voting act.  I am appalled by his vote against condemning hezbollah.  I am appalled by the overtly racist material he published in his newsletter.  I am appalled by the articles of his published in willis carto's magazine.  I am appalled that he does not disavow any of this support or any of the written material I just described.

Is that clear enough?  I would think so.  Or at any right I thought so until I googled "ken berwitz ron paul" to see what came up.

What I saw appalled me almost as much as ron paul does.

I don't know if it is innocent and inadvertent -- i.e., google just shows the verbiage around my name and things just sort of come out mangled - or it is intentional.  But, damn it, if I didn't know the truth, too many of the google entries seem to suggest I support ron paul rather than being appalled by him.

Let me show you a sampling:

A seller of ideas - Topix 

Do you ever ask yourself the question, why does the media exclude Dr. Ron Paul totally? He is the only hope for our United States of America! Ken Berwitz ...


 

The Swamp: Senate rebukes MoveOn.org for Gen. 'Betray Us' ad 

Posted by: Ken Berwitz | September 20, 2007 5:25 PM ..... Ron Paul breaks Web money record, again Presidential candidates' pre-Christmas rush ...


 

100117817 - HaloScan.com - Comments for crooks 

Paul is the most popular candidate out of all candidates, both left and right, ... Ken Berwitz:: John Edwards is living proof that, if someone talks ...


 

A seller of ideas - Topix 

Hopefully many people new to the Ron Paul message will research his positions on their own as a result if this piece of journalistic excellence. Ken Berwitz ...  

.

In fairness, a number of listings on google appear to make my true opinion of ron paul plainly obvious.  But what about someone who takes a look at one of the above (or others like it) and comes to the exact opposite conclusion? 

The moral of this story is that google, as good a device as it is for finding things on the net, can be completely misleading.  Do yourself a favor and click on the links, don't just assume you know what is there from the few words google shows you.


AP'S TOP 10 NEWS STORIES OF 2007

Ken Berwitz

These are the Associated Press's top 10, not mine.  And the order is theirs, not mine.  I thought you might like to see them, so here they are, with a few comments that are mine, which you will find in blue italic print:

Top news story: Virginia Tech killings

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer Thu Dec 20, 5:23 PM ET

NEW YORK - The massacre of 32 people at Virginia Tech by a mentally disturbed student gunman was chosen the top story of 2007 by U.S. editors and news directors in The Associated Press' annual vote.

The rampage, which prompted colleges nationwide to reassess their emergency response systems, received 82 first-place votes out of 271 ballots cast for the top 10 stories.  They don't get it, do they?  Did any of those colleges reassess their SECURITY systems?  Their policies about legal possession of weapons?  The mentally deranged gunman was able to kill those 32 people because no one was allowed to have a legal weapon to stop him.

The mortgage crisis, which roiled the U.S. housing market, was the No. 2 story, and the war in Iraq placed third. Iraq was the No. 1 story in 2006, and has finished in the top three since 2002 the year of the prewar buildup.

Here are 2007's top 10 stories, as voted by AP members:

1. VIRGINIA TECH KILLINGS: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, who had avoided court-ordered mental health treatment despite a history of psychiatric problems, killed two fellow students in a dormitory on April 16, detoured to mail a hate-filled video of himself to NBC News, then shot dead 30 students and professors in a classroom building before killing himself. It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.  One person with one legal weapon could have summarily ended this slaughter.  But, like so many other colleges, Virginia Tech is too civilized to allow such a barbaric practice.  Better to bury dozens of dead students.

2. MORTGAGE CRISIS: A record-setting wave of mortgage foreclosures, coupled with a steep slump in the housing market, buffeted financial markets, caused multibillion-dollar losses at major banks and investment firms, and became an issue in the presidential campaign.  And in whose administration did the practices which allowed this inevitable disaster take place?  How come that is not mentioned?

3. IRAQ WAR: The "surge" that sent more U.S. troops to Iraq was credited with helping reduce the overall level of violence. But thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of U.S. personnel were killed nonetheless during the year, and Iraqi political leaders struggled to make meaningful progress toward national reconciliation.  Notice the reversal of chronology here.  Instead of saying the year started with far more violence and the surge dramatically lessened that violence, the (current) good news is stated first and then brushed aside to get to what they really want to spin y...I mean inform you about.

4. OIL PRICES: Oil prices soared to record highs, at one point reaching nearly $100 a barrel. The high prices, which burdened motorists and owners of oil-heated homes, nudged Congress to pass an energy bill that ordered an increase in motor vehicles' fuel efficiency.  Not a word about the people and groups whose battle against offshore drilling, ANWR drilling, coal, nuclear and shale usage has insured our oil dependency.  Because of them we are at the mercy of other countries, many of which hate us and our culture.  Brilliant.

5. CHINESE EXPORTS: An array of Chinese exports were recalled, ranging from toys with lead paint to defective tires to tainted toothpaste and food. Despite the high-profile problems, America's trade deficit with China was running at record-high levels.  Slave labor wages and non-existent regulations continue to drive out our manufacturing base.  The job is almost finished now.

6. GLOBAL WARMING: Warnings about the consequences of global warming gained intensity with new reports from scientific panels and a Nobel Prize to Al Gore for his environmental crusading that included the film "An Inconvenient Truth." Across the U.S., many state governments sought to cap emissions blamed for global warming.  Is global warming for real?  Or is it a Goreosian lunacy that predominates because dissenters are disdained, and shut up and threatened?  I've blogged about this repeatedly.  Scroll back over the last several months if you want to see specifics.

7. BRIDGE COLLAPSE: An Interstate 35 bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed during the evening rush hour on Aug. 1, killing 13 people and injuring about 100. The disaster fueled concern about possible structural flaws in other bridges nationwide.  A genuine catastrophe --  with more to come if politicians spend revenues on feel-good programs that give voters the warm fuzzies instead of the less sexy but far more needed repair of our infrastructure.  Count on most of them, and us, to learn nothing from the bridge collapse.

8. PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: In a yearlong drama with shifting subplots, large fields in both major parties battled for support ahead of the caucuses and primaries that will decide the 2008 presidential nominees. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama led among the Democrats; some polls showed five Republicans with double-digit support.   It is already boring and grating and exasperating, and we have almost a year to go.

9. IMMIGRATION DEBATE: A compromise immigration plan, backed by President Bush and Democratic leaders, collapsed in Congress due to Republican opposition. The plan would have enabled millions of illegal immigrants to move toward citizenship, while also bolstering border security. The issues remained alive in the presidential campaign. This rates #9?  Count on immigration to be one of the two or three most significant issues of the 2008 campaign - maybe #1.

10. IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM: Worried that the ultimate goal is a nuclear arsenal, the United States and other countries pressed Iran to halt uranium enrichment. Iran said it never had a weapons program. A U.S. intelligence report concluded there was such an effort, but it stopped in 2003. This leaves out the inconvenient fact that the same report said what Iran is doing for so-called peaceful use of nuclear energy is almost all immediately transferable to weapons use.  Iran is looking us in the eye, telling us an obvious lie and media - in an effort to reassure us for the 8,435th time that they don't like President Bush or his policies - is accepting that lie and passing it along. .


THE DEMOCRATIC AGENDA: POLLS VERSUS REALITY

Ken Berwitz

Readers of this blog (and anyone who knows me) can't help but be aware that I am highly skeptical of political polls.  There are a lot of reasons for my feeling this way.  I will forgo detailing them now, but may at a later date.

If you were to read the polls you would "know" that virtually every position Democrats take is preferred by the country at large and every position Republicans take is not.  You would also know that Democrats have a mandate to change policy from beginning to end, on issues like the war in Iraq, health care, SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program), education, etc. etc. etc. and so on.

With this in mind, please read the following article by Jennifer Rubin of Human Events and see if, after doing so, you are convinced about the popularity of said Democratic positions.  Pay particular attention to the last paragraph, which I have put in bold print:

Democrats' 2007 Report Card

As Congress flees Washington for the Christmas break, it is time to issue our end of year report card for the new Democratic leadership. We could be generous and give them an Incomplete but an F would be more accurate. But dont take our word for it or the word of liberal columnists like E.J. Dionne who bemoan the Democrats performance. The facts speak for themselves.

The Democrats in Congress, despite a year in the majority and facing a president whose approval ratings are historically low, have been spectacularly unsuccessful in achieving items both small and large on their agenda. A combination of overreaching and incompetence on their part and savvy prevent defense by President Bush and Congressional Republicans has spared the country untold grief.

Most striking was the Democrats utter failure to live up to the key promise of their 2006 campaign: ending the war in Iraq. First, the Senate unanimously confirmed General Petreaus (who had committed to a Surge strategy) by an 81-0 vote in late January. Despite more than 60 votes to withdrawal or limit U.S. forces in Iraq, Democrats could not win a veto proof majority to begin retreat in Iraq. This included a 108-day fight over the Defense Department Supplemental spending bill. Although the demise of the Surge policy was widely anticipated in September, testimony by General Petreaus and Ambassador Croker shifted the tide -- with help from a backlash over the ludicrous and outlandish MoveOn.org attack on General Petreaus -- and drowned out Democrats demands that U.S. forces close up shop.

Another year has passed, Guantanamo remains open and operational. U.S. troops are making military progress in Iraq that even MSM reporters and commentators recognize as significant. Democrats renewed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) earlier in thee year despite objections by civil libertarians and could only delay passage of a reauthorizing version in December since they lacked votes to deny immunity for telephone companies that had cooperated with government and to impose more stringent warrant requirements to monitor terrorists calls. This was not what the Democrats had in mind -- or promised their Leftwing base.

Democrats also failed on other priorities held dear: federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, elimination of secret ballots for union elections, hate crime legislation protecting homosexuals (tucked into a defense authorization bill), voting rights for the District of Columbia, and government price setting for Medicare drugs. Even the pettiest of goals --working five days a week -- could not be achieved. On the SCHIP -- the Dems plan for a first middle-class entitlement program -- President Bush and Congressional Republican stared down the Democrats threats to expand this poverty program to millions of middle class Americans, not just the children that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid paraded before the cameras.

On immigration after the Kennedy-McCain immigration bill failed Democrats could not even achieve victory on a more limited measure --yes, for the children -- the DREAM Act. They likewise failed to pass a separate immigration bill for agriculture. Although Democrats swore that hard line Republican views on immigration were a losing proposition and contributed to GOP losses in 2006, they had no stomach after the immigration fight for any more immigration reform. (Blue Dog Democrat Heath Shuler, who apparently learned a different lesson, did introduce an enforcement only measure which quickly gathered over a hundred co-sponsors.)

The Democrats most significant victory was on an increase in the minimum wage but Republicans nevertheless forced them to accept a small business tax relief package that Senator Mitch McConnell and others defended in the face of Democrat insistence on a clean bill -- that is one that would have imposed new costs and no relief for millions of small firms.

Likewise the Democrats got an energy bill, but not the one they envisioned. In June and again this month Republicans refused to agree to a bill that would have resulted in millions in new taxes for energy companies. Republican also achieved outright wins: a seven year extension of the internet tax ban and utter rejection of Charlie Rangels mother of all tax bills (which never received so much as a committee vote) that would have solved the alternative minimum tax issue by raising billions in new taxes. Democrats cherished Pay Go (their self imposed rule that all tax reductions must be paid for) just went.

Republicans had mixed success on steering confirmations past Democratic obstructionism. Judge Michael Mukasey was confirmed as Attorney General when Republican Senators (including even Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham) refused to join an effort to bully him into renouncing the legality of waterboarding. Not even Senator Diane Feinstein could go along with the smears on the character and integrity of Judge Leslie Southwick who was confirmed for the Fifth Circuit. Democrats did however slow the judicial confirmation process to a crawl, suggesting the Republicans with long memories will act similarly whenever the White House is occupied by a Democrat.

So what lessons can be learned? First, the Democrats badly misinterpreted the results of the 2006 election. Had the vast majority of the country wanted amnesty, defeat in Iraq, socialized medicine and the like, the elected representatives in Congress on both sides of the aisle would have felt the heat and voted accordingly. Second, divided government may be a powerful argument for the GOP presidential nominee. If it were not for the presidential veto -- actual or threatened -- much of the Democratic agenda could well have slipped through. The GOP nominee will be greatly aided by a simple argument: Do you want Nancy and Harry to have their way? Finally, Republicans do best when they do not split the baby (e.g. give Rangel half of his tax increases) but instead say no and force Democrats to vote on measures unpalatable to most voters. In that regard, 2006 may have made 2008 a far easier year -- provided Republicans stick to their guns for one more year. .

Republicans are as political as Democrats are.  Do you really think they would commit elective suicide by taking position after position the country disagrees with?  And, conversely, do you really think Democrats would have given up the fight and/or rolled over on so many policy issues if they thought the country were with them?

In any event, this article lays things out in a way you are very unlikely to find in mainstream media.  To me, it is loaded with facts and logic. 

How about you?


Buy Our Book Here!


Return to Current Blog
We're Hopelessly Partisan

hopelesslypartisan.com, is a web site which is dedicated to honest, blunt, debate on the issues of our time.


About Us



Privacy Notice: In conjunction with the ads on this site, third parties may be placing and reading cookies on your browser, or using web beacons to collect information.


At “Hopelessly Partisan” we discuss all issues, big and small. In here, nothing is sacred and nothing is out of bounds.

So settle back, preferably after laughing your way through a copy of “The Hopelessly Partisan Guide To American Politics”, and let the battle begin. In this blog, your opinion counts every bit as much as anyone else's, maybe even more.

And to show that my willingness to provide all sides of the issues is sincere, here are links to a variety of web sites, from the left, the middle (more or less) and the right. Read them and either smile in agreement or gnash your teeth in anger!!