The coming Israeli-Saudi alliance.

The coming Israeli-Saudi alliance.

Silent Partners

by Gregory Levey  
Only at TNR Online | Post date 10.20.06

On Tuesday, a leading Saudi Arabian daily, Al Eqtisadiah, called on the Saudi government to follow Iran’s lead and engage in the development of nuclear reactors. Just a few days earlier, Al Madina, another Saudi newspaper, urged the Kingdom to pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in order to do so. In Israel, and among Israel’s supporters, many will see this sort of talk as yet another threat to the Jewish state. Saudi Arabia and Israel, after all, are not exactly considered the best of friends. But something much more nuanced may be at play, and, in the near future, Saudi Arabia may end up being one of Israel’s most important–albeit secret–allies. Today, the interests of the Israeli and Saudi governments are so aligned that they may have little choice but to work together. What’s more, because the United States currently enjoys an unprecedented level of trust from both states, if it capitalizes on this situation, this convergence of interests could actually bring some major positive changes to the region. In fact, it may already be doing so. 

You run from police…You accidentally get electrocuted while hiding from police at an electrical substation…You get a monument built in your honor!

You run from police…You accidentally get electrocuted while hiding from police at an electrical substation…You get a monument built in your honor!


A breathtaking apex of French dhimmitude. No wonder the French “youths” are growing bolder and more assertive: they see that the French have no will to resist whatsoever, and rewards those who engage in criminal activity. “Peace Gesture: French Unveil Monument to Boys Who Fled Police,” from Gateway Pundit, with thanks to LGF:

You run from police… You accidentally get electrocuted while hiding from police at an electrical substation… You get a monument built in your honor!monument.jpg

A monument is unveiled to honor Zyed Benna and Bouna Traore who died on Oct. 27, 2005 by accidental electrocution while fleeing a police identification check.

A silent march ended in a mostly immigrant Paris suburb on Friday where French officials unveiled a monument to two youths who died while fleeing from police:

Relatives and friends of two French teenagers who were electrocuted as they fled from police a year ago have gathered in Clichy-sous-Bois near Paris. A plaque was unveiled in front of their school, and a wreath-laying ceremony was held at the power sub-station where the teenagers tried to hide.The deaths of Zyed Benna and Bouna Traore sparked three weeks of violent riots in France’s poor suburbs as the young and unemployed vented their anger over what they saw as lack of opportunity and racial discrimination. The crowd gathered in silent prayer wearing t-shirts with the slogan “Dead for nothing”.

They also laid wreaths at the electrical sub-station.

Egypt moves 5000 security personnel to Gaza border

Egypt moves 5000 security personnel to Gaza border

Tensions rising. From the Jerusalem Post, with thanks to Jeffrey Imm:

Egypt on Saturday deployed no less than 5,000 security personnel on the Gaza border, news agencies reported.Officials in Cairo said the move came in response to reports that Israel planned to intensify action to weed out smuggling tunnels, including bombing them from the air.

Islam challenges secularism in Turkey’s east

Islam challenges secularism in Turkey’s east

As I have long noted, any secular, democratic or republican or semi-democratic government in the Islamic world — indeed, any government that does not fully implement Sharia — faces mounting pressure from forces that believe that no non-Sharia government has any legitimacy at all. And that is true even in the country that is most often held up as the model and proof that Islam and democracy can coexist (despite the fact that its secularism was established in an atmosphere of war with Islam): Turkey.

“FEATURE-Islam challenges secularism in Turkey’s east,” by Paul de Bendern for Reuters:

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, Oct 30 (Reuters) – In the heartland of Turkey’s southeast, plagued by decades of conflict between separatist Kurdish rebels and the state, a new threat to secularism is emerging — Islamist groups.Local politicians say these organisations are becoming more active in the poor region that borders Iraq and Syria, and some fear this could fan fundamentalism, especially among young people who have grown up with violence.

As in the rest of predominantly Sunni Muslim Turkey, practising one’s religion here long took a backseat to a public espousal of the secularism of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the republic’s founder.

However, since the AK Party, which has roots in political Islam, swept to power in 2002, Muslims are now being more open about their faith.

We feel much freer to practise Islam,” said Engin Aydin, a teacher and physics graduate who was selling religious books near Diyarbakir’s 11th century Ulu Cami mosque. “It’s getting better by the day.”

In the southeast’s largest city, mosques are welcoming more worshippers, non governmental organisations (NGOs) with a religious overtone are helping the poor and the number of unofficial prayer rooms is on the rise, say politicians and lawyers.

“In every poor neighbourhood, new radical Islamic associations are giving hot food, they have meetings at people’s homes. They pay for students to go to school,” said Firat Anli, mayor of a district of Diyarbakir and member of the main Kurdish party, the Democratic Society Party (DTP).

I’m very worried … I fear they’ll become more powerful and could turn to violence like the (Turkish) Hezbollah,” he said, referring to a defunct armed group, active in the 1990s.

Michael J Fox fighting for bad science – UPDATED

October 23, 2006

Michael J Fox fighting for bad science – UPDATED

Filed under: Culture of Life/Death, Medical, TV/Pop Culture/Music, Election 2006When I was a little girl, I remember a neighbor of ours who spent every Labor Day raging at Jerry Lewis for “parading those poor crippled children around to pull on the heartstrings so that people will send him money…” As though the funds raised by the Muscular Dystrophy Association were going into Lewis’ pocket.Today we’re being treated to this political commercial by Michael J Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and is allowing himself to be used by Claire McCaskill’s political campaign to pull on the heartstrings (and create a sense of “moral outrage”) so as to defeat her opponant. McCaskill “shares my hope for a cure,” says Fox, while her (presumably evil) opponant apparently wants Fox to suffer. Booo…Hiss….The video is indeed difficult to watch, and one sincerely wishes there was immediately in place a cure for Fox and his fellow sufferers. Fox believes that his cure lies in the use of Embryonic Stem Cells Research (ESCR) and puts his hope in research currently being done by using precisely those sorts of cells on Parkinson’s patients. So, this story must have been very unwelcome, yesterday.Stem cells might cause brain tumors, study finds

Injecting human embryonic stem cells into the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients may cause tumors to form, U.S. researchers reported on Sunday.
Steven Goldman and colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York said human stem cells injected into rat brains turned into cells that looked like early tumors.
Goldman’s team used human embryonic stem cells. Taken from days-old embryos, these cells can form any kind of cell in the body. This batch had been cultured in substances aimed at making them become brain cells.
The animals did get better.
But the grafted cells started to show areas that no longer consisted of dopamine-releasing neurons, but of dividing cells that had the potential to give rise to tumors. The researchers killed the animals before they could know for sure, and said any experiments in humans would have to be done very cautiously. Scientists have long feared that human embryonic stem cells could turn into tumors, because of their pliability.This is not the first time ESC research for Parkinson’s sufferers has frightened scientists and halted experimentation. As reported by the New England Journal of Medicine, and – ahem – the New York Times, the injection of ESC’s into the brains of Parkinson’s patients became nightmarish experimentations gone bad.

The late development of dystonia and dyskinesia, more than one year after surgery, in five patients who had received transplants deserves comment. Parkinsonism in these patients improved during the first year after transplantation, even with substantial reductions in dosage or the discontinuation of levodopa. The subsequent appearance of dystonia and dyskinesia implies that the continued fiber outgrowth from the transplant has led to a relative excess of dopamine. The simplest response to this outcome would be to transplant less tissue in the future. The distribution of the tissue is also likely to be important.

NEJM Transplantation of Embryonic Dopamine Neurons for Severe Parkinson’s Disease March 8, 2001

The dystonia and dyskinesia referred to here is more detailed in the report by the NY Times piece:

Although the paper depicts the patients with side effect in impassive clinical terms, doctors who have seen them paint a much different picture. Paul. E. Greene, a neurologist at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and a researcher in the study, [emphasis mine – admin] said the uncontrollable movements some patients suffer are “absolutely devastating.”
“They chew constantly, their fingers go up and down, their wrists flex and distend,” he said. And the patients writhe and twist, jerk their heads, fling their arms about.”It was tragic, catastrophic,” Greene said. “It’s a real nightmare. And we can’t selectively turn it off.” One man was so badly affected that he could no longer eat and had to use a feeding tube, Greene said. In another, the condition came and went unpredictably throughout the day, and when it occurred, the man’s speech was unintelligible. For now, Greene said, his position is clear: “No more fetal transplants. We are absolutely and adamantly convinced that this should be considered for research only. And whether it should be research in people is an open question.” In the past when I have cited this article, I have heard from supporters of ESC research that this study used not “embryonic” stem cells, but “fetal stem cells from aborted fetuses.” I know that is what the NY Times piece says, but I don’t see that in the NEJM report. Moreover, we must not forget that before a fetus is a fetus it is an embryo for 8 weeks. If these scientists got their stem cells from aborted pregnancies, they clearly were looking for embryos, and I think might be a safe presumption to say that the words “fetal” and “embryonic” were being used rather interchangably in the Times piece.But the NEJM report clearly uses the world EMBRYONIC both in its title and throughout the study, as we see here: Background Transplantation of human embryonic dopamine neurons into the brains of patients with Parkinson’s disease has proved beneficial in open clinical trials. However, whether this intervention would be more effective than sham surgery in a controlled trial is not known.Methods We randomly assigned 40 patients who were 34 to 75 years of age and had severe Parkinson’s disease (mean duration, 14 years) to receive a transplant of nerve cells or undergo sham surgery; all were to be followed in a double-blind manner for one year. In the transplant recipients, cultured mesencephalic tissue from four embryos was implanted into the putamen bilaterally.So, we see that in 2001, ESCR was showing the embryonic stem cells tended to be unmanagable and, actually, too powerful, too malleable. We see in 2006 that labrats treated with the stem cells tended to show some improvement but within a short time tissue growth becomes abnormal – one might assume that the rats, which were killed, might have displayed similiar behavior as was seen in 2001, had they lived. For all the talk we hear about the “great promise” of Embryonic Stem Cells, the research doesn’t support it. Nor, apparently, does private funding. There are, however, wonderful results being seen in various research and testing being done with the use of Adult Stem Cells (ASCR). We don’t hear very much about it, though. Writes Wesley J. Smith in the National Review Online, 2002:

Unless you made a point of looking for these stories…you might have missed them. Patients with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis received significant medical benefit using experimental adult-stem-cell regenerative medical protocols. These are benefits that supporters of embryonic-stem-cell treatments have yet to produce widely in animal experiments. Yet adult stem cells are now beginning to ameliorate suffering in human beings.
Stem cells were harvested from the patient’s brain using a routine brain biopsy procedure. They were cultured and expanded to several million cells. About 20 percent of these matured into dopamine-secreting neurons. In March 1999, the cells were injected into the patient’s brain.Three months after the procedure, the man’s motor skills had improved by 37 percent and there was an increase in dopamine production of 55.6 percent. One year after the procedure, the patient’s overall Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale had improved by 83 percent — this at a time when he was not taking any other Parkinson’s medication!That is an astonishing, remarkable success, one that you would have thought would set off blazing headlines and lead stories on the nightly news. Had the treatment been achieved with embryonic stem cells, undoubtedly the newspapers would have screamed loudly enough to be heard. Unfortunately, reportage about the Parkinson’s success story was strangely muted. True, the Washington Post ran an inside-the-paper story and there were some wire service reports. But the all-important New York Times — the one news outlet that drives television and cable news — did not report on it at all. Nor did a search of the Los Angeles Times website yield any stories about the experiment.Please read Smith’s article – it is long and chock-full of information on successful ASCR you never hear about because, for some reason, only the stuff of embryos is fascinating to the press and the left. I wonder why that is, really? Why are they so hot to exploit the embryo – when study after study says don’t do it – and so bored with a safer alternative that does not in any way exploit or destroy human life?Writing on this same subject a while back, I said: That research…made me believe that Embryonic stem cells are like uncut heroin…waaaay, way to powerful to use – they are part of begotten life in its purest form (perhaps still too near to God for our fooling with) – and they are so maleable as to be (so far in research) unpredictable and unusable. And that’s not even getting into the moral and ethical questions of whether or not a human embryo should be exploited in such a way, particularly when Adult Stem Cells are showing remarkable results in everything from helping sufferers of Sickle Cell Anemia and Thallassemias Major and Minor, to spinal injuries, skin regeneration and more.
And I say that as a woman dealing with a chronic blood illness, and waiting to hear – finally – about a diagnosis that has taken a great deal of time to pinpoint. Both health issues are being looked into with adult stem cells, and that’s good news…I wouldn’t want any treatment derived from embryonic stem cells.
I still feel that way…The proponants of ESC research like to say obnoxious things along the lines of “Bush is against science,” and “[Talent] doesn’t want Michael J Fox to stop moving, just like the nazis on the right didn’t want Christopher Reeve to walk again!” And they like to pretend that ESC research and funding have been – or are about to be – criminalized. The truth is and always has been that scientists are free to conduct experiments using ESC, and private investors are free to fund it. All President Bush has ever said was, “the government is not going to fund it, the government is not going to help you create more ESC lines.” Booo…Hisss….I feel badly for Michael J Fox, and for the father of my former neighbor who worked his garden while his Parkinson’s afflicted body flailed and he paced the plantings with a scissor-like walk. I felt badly for Pope John Paul II when he could no longer control his body, and I feel badly for the Rev. Billy Graham, too. I hope with all my heart that a treatment or cure can be found to alleviate such suffering. But let’s stop pretending that to be against government funding of ESCR is to be some mustachio-curling eeeevil entity who revels in human suffering, and let’s also stop pretending that Embryonic Stem Cell Research is a hotbed of medical innovation and staggering success, when precisely the opposite is true.Michael J. Fox’s ad is affecting, I guess. And as it is showing during the World Series in St. Louis, I suppose it’s going to win the day for his candidate, but in the end, it’s not going to do much for him, personally…and it is going to allow millions of people to feel noble and compassionate when they go to the polls and pull a wholly emotional lever while being completely underinformed about the realities of the matter.UPDATE: Not only am I not a scientist, but I’ve never claimed to be one. Those of you who have suffered through my attempts to make sense of technology are quite aware that I am a woman who knows her limitations! I can read, though, and process information, and I can see by what is presented that ESCR has not lived up to the hype. AJ Strata is much smarter than I am, though, and he goes into absorbing and fascinating detail on the issue of this research, and I urge you to read him. Also, he rightly identifies the “disingenuous” ones here. Michael J. Fox is not the bad guy, and I am sorry to see some rightwing sites being nasty about him. He’s just a guy who wants his circumstance to change; you can’t gainsay his desire. But the people telling him he can have his life back if only there was more federal funding for ESCR, and who think misrepresenting the whole issue is the way to go about it…they’re a whole ‘nother subject. They’re right up there with John Edwards saying that if he and John Kerry were elected, Christopher Reeve would walk away from his wheelchair. Over at National Review Online, Kathryn Lopez notes that the whole ESCR matter is more complicated than the left wants to admit and she is disgusted that McCaskill approved this ad: Amendment 2 is not a matter of voting for or against sick people. Claire McCaskill should be ashamed for approving a message that suggests such a thing. But apparently she’s comfortable running as just another snake-oil salesman. Dean Barnett on the other hand calls the ad disingenuous and points out that Fox never once uses the word “EMBRYONIC,” thus making it sound like those evil Republicans are against ALL Stem Cell Research. But of course. Like me, Barnett has a personal stake in the success of ASCR, but is opposed to ESCR.Meanwhile, John Stephenson has video of McCaskille supporters at work.Related articles on Adult Stem Cell Research:
ASC 72, ESC 0
A sobering setback in stem-cell research
MIT Prof: Embryonic Stem Cell Research Nowhere Close to Helping Patients
The Case for Adult Stem Cells
Real-World Successes of Adult Stem Cell Treatment
Bone Marrow and Cord Blood Stem Cell TransplantAlso writing: Blue Crab Boulevard
Pirate’s Cove
Through the Magnifying GlassOther thoughts: The Dangerous Prayer of Blessing
Captain’s Quarters tracked back with Michael J. Fox on CBS and the goo of victimhood</< a>
Fresh Bilge pinged back with Actual News
Don’t even think about kissing MY baby! « Obi’s Sister pinged back with Don’t even think about kissing MY baby! « Obi’s Sister
Marty McFly, Part Duh. « Nothing pinged back with Marty McFly, Part Duh. « Nothing
Leaning Straight Up tracked back with Was Michael J Fox deliberately enhancing his symptoms for this ad?</< a>
Bogus Gold tracked back with On Embryos and Principles (and Inevitably Politics)</< a>
Stop The ACLU tracked back with Michael J. Fox Ad for McCaskill Airs During World Series</< a>
Sister Toldjah pinged back with Missouri’s Jim Talent: Your typical heartless and cruel conservative
So, now the KosKids endorse the exploitation of Marty McFly « Nothing pinged back with So, now the KosKids endorse the exploitation of Marty McFly « Nothing
Blue Crab Boulevard tracked back with Stem Cells = Tumor?</< a>
Business of Life tracked back with Embryonic vs Adult Stem Cells for Parkinson’s</< a>
The Strata-Sphere pinged back with Embryonic Stem Cell Snake Oil
Spin, Rinse, Repeat « Obi’s Sister pinged back with Spin, Rinse, Repeat « Obi’s Sister

The Associated (w/terrorists) Press strikes again — The Pentagon said on Monday that an Iraqi photographer working for The Associated Press and held by the U.S. military since April was considered a security threat with “strong ties to known insurgents.”

The Associated (w/terrorists) Press strikes again

By Michelle Malkin   ·   October 28, 2006 11:13 AM


The Associated (with terrorists) Press reported yesterday on a lobbying campaign to free its Iraqi-based photographer Bilal Hussein, who has been in U.S. military detention since April (a fact first reported not by the A(w/t)P, but here on this blog).

Who is spearheading the Free Bilal lobbying campaign? Yup, the A(w/t)P:

The U.S. military’s indefinite detention of an Associated Press photographer in Iraq, without charges, is an outrage and should be seen as such by the journalistic community, AP editors said Friday.”We are angry, and we hope you are, too,”AP International Editor John Daniszewski told a gathering of the Associated Press Managing Editors.

In interviews, the leaders of APME and the American Society of Newspaper Editors shared frustration with the case of Bilal Hussein, who has been held by the military since April. Later they and the president of the Associated Press Photo Managers signed a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld urging him to release the photographer.

The editors said Hussein’s arrest”has denied our readers a part of the story”and given the military justice system”a black eye.”

The Pentagon’s refusal to give Hussein”his day in court, or any semblance of due process, has violated a cherished American value,”they wrote.

The AP similarly has called for the military to release the photographer or charge him with a crime.

Go read the entire A(w/t)P article. Guess what’s missing? Not a word about how the news organization sat on the news for five months. Not a word about the circumstances of Hussein’s capture and detention. A reminder:

The military said Hussein was captured with two insurgents, including Hamid Hamad Motib, an alleged leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. “He has close relationships with persons known to be responsible for kidnappings, smuggling, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and other attacks on coalition forces,” according to a May 7 e-mail from U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jack Gardner, who oversees all coalition detainees in Iraq.”The information available establishes that he has relationships with insurgents and is afforded access to insurgent activities outside the normal scope afforded to journalists conducting legitimate activities,” Gardner wrote to AP International Editor John Daniszewski.

Not a word about the Pentagon’s side of the story:

The Pentagon said on Monday that an Iraqi photographer working for The Associated Press and held by the U.S. military since April was considered a security threat with “strong ties to known insurgents.”Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said there was sufficient evidence to justify the continued detention of Bilal Hussein, 35, who AP said was taken into U.S. military custody on April 12 in the Iraqi city of Ramadi and held since without charge.

He declined to elaborate on what that evidence was.

“All indications that I have received are that Hussein’s detainment indicates that he has strong ties to known insurgents, and that he was doing things, involved in activities that were well outside the scope of what you would expect a journalist to be doing in that country,” he said.

In three separate “independent objective reviews,” Whitman told reporters, “it was determined that Hussein was a security threat and recommended his continued detention.”

Instead, the latest A(w/t)P report quotes blind Bilal Hussein sympathizers in the press:

Suki Dardarian, deputy managing editor of The Seattle Times and outgoing president of the APME, said what’s happened with Hussein could have a chilling effect on the work of other journalists. Hussein’s detention has virtually halted the production of photographs from the dangerous region in which Hussein worked, Daniszewski said.

Well, if it means an end to jihadi propaganda photos like these from Hussein, then good:

One editor compared the Pentagon to Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime:

David Zeeck, president of ASNE and executive editor of The News Tribune, of Tacoma, Wash., said Hussein’s detention was reminiscent of how Saddam Hussein dealt with reporters.”He would hold them incommunicado,”Zeeck said.

This, dear readers, underscores how utterly biased, ignorant, and muddle-headed the vast majority of mainstream journalists are in their coverage of the war on terror. These people see no difference between American troops detaining a suspect captured on the battlefield in the company of an alleged top al Qaeda leader in wartime and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein repressing civilian journalists in peacetime.

Isn’t it possible that Bilal Hussein is coughing up valuable information about insurgent associates involved in kidnappings, smuggling, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and other attacks on coalition forces? Isn’t it possible that Hussein is providing ongoing intelligence that may be saving both American and Iraqi lives? Isn’t it possible that the troops on the ground who captured Hussein in an apartment with bomb-making materials have better judgement about his security risk than A(w/t)P execs a world away?

The A(w/t)P and its minions refuse to entertain the possibilities. They’re too busy maligning our troops and our military leaders as Saddam-esque tyrants and moaning about how the lack of new terrorist propaganda photos is having a “chilling effect” on journalism.

I doubt the family of Salvatore Santoro shares the A(w/t)P’s alarm and despair.


Reader Michael V. points out a new revelation in the A(w/t)P story that I meant to note:

I noticed this in the AP article about Bilal Hussein:

“The military has said Hussein was in the company of two alleged insurgents. Daniszewski said that when the news cooperative pressed for further details, the best it could learn was that Hussein was allegedly involved in the kidnapping of two journalists by insurgents in Ramadi. However, Daniszewski said the two journalists were asked by AP about the incident and that they recalled Hussein as a”hero”who helped evacuate them from harm’s way.”

The obvious question here is WHO are these two journalists?


61% surveyed believe Islamic extremists are targeting nation — Manfred Murck, a top official of the agency in Hamburg, recently said that 30 of Hamburg’s 100 mosques are being monitored for “suspicious activity,” including the Al-Khuds mosque where Mohammed Atta and his Hamburg cell met daily before the Sept. 11 attacks. These mosques serve as meeting places for “clandestine agencies for Islamic extremist networks,” Murck said.

Germans feel the clutch of terrorist threat
61% surveyed believe Islamic extremists are targeting nation

– Eric Geiger, Chronicle Foreign Service
Thursday, October 26, 2006 (10-26) 04:00 PST Munich, Germany — Early this month, Ibrahim R, an Iraqi who has lived in Germany since 1996, became the first person to be arrested for allegedly disseminating propaganda over the Internet for a foreign terrorist group.

The 36-year-old immigrant posted videos and tape recordings of Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri threatening the West in an online chat room. German officials have pledged to monitor more Islamic Web sites and make more arrests.

In years past, the harsh response by officials in Lower Saxony state might have spurred criticism of state violation of privacy laws. But many Germans no longer see the war on terror as a British-American problem over Iraq.

“The case of that Iraqi suspect just proves we are not living in a safe island anymore,” said Heinz Bruckmoser, a retired mechanical engineer from Duesseldorf. “It ties in with that failed train attack.”

In July, Islamic extremists tried but failed to blow up two trains in northern Germany. If successful, they could have killed hundreds of people. The plot not only triggered a heated debate on national security but also sparked an upsurge of fear in a nation with some 3.5 million Muslims residents.

“We are threatened by terrorism, and that threat has never been so close,” Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said after the attempted train attacks. “This time we were lucky.”

According to a survey this month by the Demoskopie Institute, the nation’s leading pollster, 61 percent now believe Germany is a target for Islamic militants.

Such fears lay behind the Berlin Opera House’s cancellation of Mozart’s opera, “Idomeneo” after an anonymous threat over a scene that included the severed head of the prophet Muhammad. In less publicized, seemingly absurd reactions, a local school in the central German town of Dillenberg ordered a gymnasium to be darkened when Muslim girls work out there, while law enforcement officials in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia ordered a woman to change the name of her horse from “Muhammad” to “Momi.”

False bomb alerts have become an almost daily routine at many train stations. Sprawling railroad terminals in major cities, including Hamburg, Bonn, Koblenz and Mannheim, have been temporarily sealed off.

“We keep getting calls from worried citizens about what they presume to be terrorist activities,” said a Hamburg police official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in accordance with department policy.

Last month, a two-year dialogue program initiated by the interior minister to integrate German Muslims into mainstream society began between prominent Muslims and government officials

But anti-Muslim sentiment appears to be growing. “We are already beginning to knuckle under to Islam,” said a recent headline in Bildzeitung, Germany’s largest-circulation newspaper, protesting the number of mosques being built in the downtowns of German cities.

Two Lebanese students studying at German universities were identified in August as the main suspects in the failed train attacks. Yousef Mohammed El Hajdid, 21, was arrested in the northern town of Kiel, while 19-year-old Jihad Mamad was detained in Lebanon. Both were identified by video cameras installed at all train stations.

No formal charges have been filed, but investigators say both harbored deep hatred toward Israel, and the West.

And while authorities stress that the overwhelming majority of the Muslim population opposes violence, the domestic intelligence agency Verfassungsschutz, or Guardians of the Constitution, has classified 32,000 Muslims as “Islamic radicals,” including 4,000 described as “violence prone.”

Manfred Murck, a top official of the agency in Hamburg, recently said that 30 of Hamburg’s 100 mosques are being monitored for “suspicious activity,” including the Al-Khuds mosque where Mohammed Atta and his Hamburg cell met daily before the Sept. 11 attacks. These mosques serve as meeting places for “clandestine agencies for Islamic extremist networks,” Murck said.

Elmer Thevessen, a senior editor at ZDF national television network who has worked on numerous documentaries on terrorism, says the most likely converts to radical Islam in Germany are, like elsewhere in Europe, young, second-generation Muslims.

“They often feel isolated, don’t know where they really belong, and often feel contempt for their immigrant parents, accusing them of being interested only in earning a decent living and adapting to German life,” Thevessen said.

Thevessen says they are influenced by radical ideas spread on the Internet and Arabic language satellite TV networks such as Al-Manar, operated in Lebanon by Hezbollah.

“Thanks to Al-Manar, we know all about the horrible crimes committed by Israeli soldiers in Lebanon — the murders of small babies and old sick people — and the massacres by American soldiers of pregnant woman in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said a young man who gave his name only as Mustafa as he played soccer in a parking lot in Freilassing, a commercial center in southern Bavaria.

Norbert Schneider, head of the Broadcasting Regulation Authority in North Rhine-Westphalia state, said he finds Al-Manar’s programs “sordid” and “very alarming.” While Al-Manar is banned in the United States and from a French-based satellite distribution network, there is no legal basis to stop its programs being broadcast in Germany. “They operate in a lawless sphere, and there is nothing we can do about it,” said Schneider.

Why more Islamic violence during the sacred fasting month?

Why more Islamic violence during the sacred fasting month?

Alamgir Hussain

The Islamic sacred fasting month of Ramadan ended on 23rd October ushering in the celebration of Eid on 24th October, which is a day of great feast and fun. In the midst of Eid celebration, a heart-breaking estimate of Ramadan month violence in a website caught my attention: “The holy month of Ramadan saw 291 deadly terror attacks in 17 countries across the globe racking up over 1600 dead bodies”. A few recent news-headlines also drew a grim picture of Islamist violence during the Ramadan month around the world. An Associated Press news headline on violence in Iraq read:

“Four days of sectarian slaughter killed at least 91 people by Monday in Balad, a town near a major U.S. air base an hour’s drive north of the capital. Elsewhere, 60 Iraqis died in attacks and 16 tortured bodies were found… During the same month is also projected to experience heaviest-ever coalition casualties surpassing 107 U.S. and 10 British soldiers died in January 2005.”

A few days ago, an Los Angeles Times report (Violence Up During Ramadan) read: “Insurgent and sectarian attacks in the Iraqi capital have shot up during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting and atonement, according to U.S. military statistics released Thursday.” In the US military press-briefing on 19th October, spokesman said that violence was 22% higher in the period of Ramadan and this spike in violence was consistent with the previous increases.

Over in Thailand South, Islamist terrorist groups launched a wave of shootings resulting in 9 deaths on 16th October. Also Al-Qaeda, the dreadest Islamist terrorist group in the world, urged America Muslims to leave the US, for second time during this holy month, showing their intent to launch an attack before the end of Ramadan.

Against this holy-month upsurge in violence by the Islamist groups, there is a general notion amongst Muslims that violence and blood-bath is forbidden in Islam during the holy months. Recently, newspapers in Bangladesh were awash with news and commentaries about Government’s dilemma over carrying out the execution during Ramadan of a number of deadly Islamic terrorists, who were sentenced to death for launching a decade-long campaign of terror resulting in nearly 200 deaths.

Another case requires mentioning here. Before the arrival of the first Ramadan after US coalition’s misadventure in Iraq in 2003, the insurgency was taking an increasingly violent turn. As the Ramadan was approaching, the foreign troops and the interim Government pinned high hope for a respite in violence during the holy month of fasting and atonement. Yet, the leaders of the terrorists group had disputed the alleged prohibition of violence during Ramadan in Islam and vowed to continue their violent acts. And surprising all expectations and speculations of the pundits, the media and all others, the campaign of terror took an upward surge during Ramadan overtaking that of any previous period. During every subsequent Ramadan, violence in Iraq has shown consistent upsurge. This is true in case of other hot-spots of Islamic violence around the world.

Why is this upsurge in Islamist violence during the Ramadan defying the alleged prohibition? It is said that the Islamist terrorists follow the rituals and edicts of their religion seriously. An investigation of the Koran and events during the days of Prophet Muhammad, which determines the body of divinely-inspired Islamic ideals and laws for eternal times of Muslims, is essential to reach a conclusion regarding this riddle. My recent research into how Ramadan became a divine ritual in Islam gave me clue as to why there is increased violence by militant Muslim groups at various hot-spots across the world.

The Prophet of Islam was born in the Arabian city of Mecca in 570 AD in a community of Koreish, who were mainly pagan and devoted to the worshipping idols. Mecca also housed the most sacred temple of Arabia, called the Ka’ba, which allegedly housed 360 idols and was the center for worship and pilgrimage for people of many beliefs in the entire Arabian Peninsula. Muhammad had lost his both parents by the age of five and grew up as an orphan under the care of his grandfather Abd al-Muttalib and later his uncle Abu Taleb. Like all people of the city, young Muhammad followed the religious customs prevalent there until adulthood.

Muhammad got married to a merchant lady, named Khadija, a Christian, at the age of 25. Soon after his marriage; he stopped worshipping idols and started retiring in a nearby cave in the mount of Hira for meditation. At the age of about 40 in 609 AD, he claimed to have received revelation from God and started preaching his new religion in Mecca rather freely. His messages were denigrating to the centuries-old indigenous religion of idol-worship. He called himself and followers of his creed the righteous and those who rejected it were liars, wrong-doers, inventor of falsehood and he consigned the idolaters to the eternal fire of hell [Quran 90: 17-20; 16.104-105].

Despite, expressing his divine messages in such offensive, uncouth and derogatory language, the idolater of Mecca never protested or molested him. The citizens converted to his religion freely except in cases of a few slave converts, belonging to the pagan masters, who faced certain persecution. However, the Prophet’s insult to the Mecca citizens, their Gods and ancestors became intolerable and the citizens of the city imposed social blockade against Muhammad and his community in 617 AD before lifting it 2 years later.

The propagation of Muhammad’s religion over 13 years in Mecca became stagnant with about 100 converts in all. The idolaters of Mecca remained steadfast in their rejection of his faith. About this time, his new creed was getting popular in Medina and the Prophet immigrated there with all the Muslim converts in June 622 CE.

After arriving at Medina, a Jewish strong-hold, the Prophet adopted fasting of Ashor and a number of other Jewish rituals as part of his creed. Prophet’s new messages from heaven started affirming the Jewish and Christian scriptures during the first 1.5 years in Medina and urged the Jews and Christians to accept Muhammad, as their new Prophet. Although the polytheists of Medina accepted his creed in greater number, the Jews stubbornly rejected and even criticized various inconsistencies, inaccuracies and logical fallacies in Islamic revelations in their gossips and poetry. Angered by this, the Prophet now started proscribing the Jewish customs he had adopted and ordered assassinations of those critics and poets who mocked his creed. Allah also revealed a verse acknowledging the stubbornness of the Jews and Christians and promised not to exhort them any more to His religion [Quran 2:120].

In late 623 AD, the Prophet proscribed the Jewish fasting of Ashor and replaced it with the month-long fasting of Ramadan. This is how fasting during Ramadan became part of Islamic rituals.

Not long after arrival in Medina, the Prophet turned his attention to avenge the Meccan’s rejection of his new faith by attacking and looting the life-sustaining Mecca trade caravans passing through nearby routes to Syria . Muslim converts of both Mecca (whose parents and families lived there) and Medina expressed unwillingness to his violent intention. He soon received a verse from God to force the unwilling Muslim cohorts into fighting:

“Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not”. [Quran 2.216]

After several failed attempts, the first success of attack on the Mecca caravan came during Nov/Dec in 623 at Nakhla, in which one Mecca caravan attendee was killed; two were captured while another was able to flee. It was the last day of month of Rajab – a sacred period in the Arabian custom on which fighting and violence were prohibited which was religiously followed by the inhabitants for centuries. This caused great dissatisfaction amongst the citizens of Medina including the Muslim converts. His God quickly revealed a verse to justify this blood-shed during prohibited month:

“They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: “Fighting therein is a grave (offence); but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members.” Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter…” [Quran 2:217].

It should be noted that the fault of Mecca citizens was simple rejection of Muhammad new religion and advising others not to accept it; not allowing him access to their sacred temple of Ka’ba on which he had laid claim of belonging to his own God and applying the civilized measure of social blockade on his community after his 10 years’ of continued insult and degradation of Meccans’ religion, customs and ancestors. These circumstances ultimately lead the Muslims to emigrate to Medina seeing a greener pasture there. This is exactly what Allah has noted about the reactions of the Mecca idolaters to Muhammad and his new creed in this verse: “but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members .” Interestingly, this so-called tumult and persecution became worse than slaughter in the judgment of Islam’s God and fighting and attacking them became a religious duty.

With this command, the fighting, killing and the capture of booty during the traditionally forbidden month were made lawful for the Muslims. The Prophet also ordained Abdullah with the title, ‘Amir-ul-Muminin’ (Commander of the Faithful). This blood-bath was also very meaningful for the Islamic faith in that this was the first raid which brought them booty (wealth) of which the Prophet kept a fifth as his share and the remainder was distributed amongst the raiders. The two prisoners were exchanged for ransoms.

Also about this time, the Prophet had disbanded the fasting of Jewish Ashor and introduced Ramadan as the Fasting month for the Muslims. About two month later in January 624, during the first fasting month of Ramadan, Mecca leader Abu Sufian was returning from Syria with another huge caravan. The Prophet assembled an army of Muslim fighters under his own command and set forth for attacking the caravan. News of this plan of attack reached Mecca and nearly 1000 men set off to rescue the caravan in which majority of the Mecca families had their shares. [Prophet’s biography by At-Tabari, i. 1281; Ibn Hisham, p427]

The caravan had escaped taking a safe-route. Unaware of this, the Prophet arrived at Bedr and took position at a vantage location occupying the water-wells. A tired and thirsty Meccan army arrived after 7-8 days’ journey through the desert and found all the water-wells occupied by the Muslims. The battle finally ensued on Friday, the 17th of Ramadan. The Muslim army of 305 fighting men routed the 1000-strong Mecca army killing 49 and capturing similar number as prisoners and lost only 14 fighters on their side

As the dead-bodies of the slain Koreish were being unceremoniously thrown into a mass-grave, a madly indignant Prophet yelled over them: “Have ye now found true that which your Lord did promise to you. What my Lord promised to me, that have I verily found to be true. Woe unto these people! Ye have rejected me, your Prophet! Ye cast me forth, and others gave me refuge; ye fought against me, and others came to my help!”

One particular incidence of bravery in the battle-field of Bedr requires special mention. In the midst of the battle, the Prophet was loudly spelling encouragement to his soldiers: “Allah had promised paradise to those who die fighting in His cause”. At this time, Omeir Ibn Hubab, a lad of only 16 years, was wondering around eating dates on the side of the battle. Hearing this exhortation from the Prophet’s mouth, he threw away the handful of dates? “Is it these (the dates) that hold me back from paradise?” cried Omeir. “Verily, I will taste no more of them until I meet my Lord (in paradise)!” Whereupon, he picked up a sword and rushed on to the enemies only to be slain. Prophet’s biographies endow glowing tribute and praise on his bravery and list him as the first martyr in Islam.

A number of prisoners were cruelly put to death immediately afterwards at the battlefield and others were carried to Medina to be exchanged for ransom. However, disputes broke out over the distribution of the booty (horses, camel, weapons and other stuffs left behind by the Mecca enemies), to which Allah from heaven quickly responded by revealing the rules for distribution of spoils of war:

“And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire (in war), a fifth share is assigned to Allah and his Messenger, and to near relatives… [Quran 8.41]

Thereupon, the booty was distributed accordingly. The Prophet, on top of his normal one-fifth share, took possession of the camel of his sworn enemy, Abu Jahl, and his famous sword, known as the ‘Dhu’l-Fikar’ which the Prophet used in all subsequent battles. After the distribution of the booty, Muslims headed back to Medina . In a few days, the month of Ramadan ended and Muslims celebrated the first-ever Eid (Eid-ul-Fitr). The booty captured in Bedr must have had added to the feast and festive mood of Muslim’s first-ever celebration of Eid.

In the light of the Koran and Biographies of the Prophet by pious historians, it is evident that the first Ramadan in Islam was the most violent month the nascent Muslim community had yet seen. They launched this violent encounter proactively to plunder the enemy’s trade caravan. The Prophet’s attitude and expressions on the battlefield was one of unstinted zeal and of evident joy at the victorious outcome, instead of regret and sorrow over blood-bath during the maiden holy month. Muslim God also quickly revealed a verse on how to distribute the spoils of war in the field of battle showing His agreement to this aggressive blood-bath instead of admonishing the Prophet. Just two months earlier, Muslims had launched a blood-letting attack on the Mecca caravan during a forbidden period and Allah had disbanded that existing civilized tradition [Quran 2:217].

These holy-month successes in battle and the blood-bath not only brought spoils of war but also gave Muslims confidence that God was on their side to bring them success even if the enemies were much stronger. Indeed, the Prophet had proclaimed on the battlefield of Bedr to prop up his fighters that ’20 angels of God were fighting the enemy with each Muslim soldier.’ These events and circumstances must have inspired the unfurling numerous future raids, expeditions and battles of immense violence and blood-bath such that Muslims were poised to take over the entire world within about a century, had they not been defeated by the French army under the command of Martel at the battlefields of Tours in 732 AD. Indeed, many major subsequent campaigns were launched by the Muslims during the month of Ramadan.

The bottom-line is that there is no true prohibition against violence during Ramadan in Islam. During the first Ramadan, Muslims had launched a blood-letting and successful war with unstinted pious zeal. The holy month of Ramadan is, thus, inspirational, not prohibitive, towards violence in the Islamic creed. And that’s exactly what we consistently witness today in the increased violence by militant Islamist groups in Iraq and other violent hot-spots. Any talk of prohibition during sacred month/time, emanates from the pre-Islamic Jahiliya (age of ignorance) tradition, which is, thus, un-Islamic and has been disbanded in Islam.

We should now be aware of how accurately the violent Islamist groups follow the fundamentals of Islam. They are as correct as they claim.
Note: For more elaborate historical details, read my recent article “How Ramadan and Eid Became Noble Rituals in Islam?” (

Marty McFly and Poli-Sci — Research on adult and umbilical cord blood stem cells has already provided beneficial medical treatments, something ESCR has yet to do. However, ESCR is a cause celebre, and as such, even states like California and New Jersey are throwing large sums of tax revenue in that direction. Is that because that research holds great promise of bearing fruit, or because it serves a political purpose to do so, even if such targeted funding decreases resources that might otherwise be engaged in more fruitful pursuits?

Marty McFly and Poli-Sci
October 29th, 2006

That’s Poli-Sci as in ‘politicized science’.

Possible best intentions and sincerity notwithstanding, Michael J. Fox is being used in a crass corruption of science, shrouded in a fleeting compassion by politicians solely for political profit.

There’s a popular and popularized perception of purity surrounding science and its search for ‘truth’. Science is supposed to simply rely on observable fact, and is not swayed by venal and ulterior motives. The political left in particular uses this mythical notion of purity for political ends. When coupled, as in the ESCR (embryonic stem cell research) debate, with an aura of caring and compassion, Democrats and the left assume they have taken the unassailable moral high ground.

‘Follow the money’ is a good rule of thumb for uncovering corruption whether in politics or science.

The pool of ‘qualified’ researchers and facilities, however ‘qualified’ is defined in whatever instance, is always finite. Market forces apply, and the funding needs of researchers and facilities assure that they will migrate to where the funding exists. Likewise, what is committed to research on A is not available for research on B, C or D. If funding for a particular area of research is manipulated by less than noble and even ulterior motives, scientific endeavor will be as prone as any to follow that money.

Research on adult and umbilical cord blood stem cells has already provided beneficial medical treatments, something ESCR has yet to do. However, ESCR is a cause celebre, and as such, even states like California and New Jersey are throwing large sums of tax revenue in that direction. Is that because that research holds great promise of bearing fruit, or because it serves a political purpose to do so, even if such targeted funding decreases resources that might otherwise be engaged in more fruitful pursuits?

It would be naïve to expect a situation where medical research funding would always go in the optimized proportions whereby its results would provide the greatest good. Years ago it was noted that while the number of men who died from prostate cancer was comparable to the number of women who died of breast cancer, funding for breast cancer research was multiples of that for prostate cancer research. There was nothing sinister in that. The women’s movement most certainly led to a focus on what were perceived as women’s issues, including and appropriately breast cancer.

That this resulted in unequal funding regarding an issue of life and death for women as opposed to one for men is neither wrong nor unwarranted. Men didn’t complain, the lot of them after all having a mother, and a likely mix of sisters, wives and daughters. But at base, it was not wrong because the focus on and response to breast cancer was driven by genuine caring, not for political ends. Societies, like families and individuals, set priorities for a variety of reasons that are not ignoble simply because they are not equitable.

However, if imbalances or misdirection occur due to a politically driven desire to exploit for political gain, it is reprehensible.

It is not a secret that the ESCR brouhaha is really about abortion, something easily confirmed by a check of the ‘Who’s Who’ of the protagonists on both sides. For decades the pro-abortion side has struggled for some kind of morally compelling and compassionate support for the taking of pre-born human life. Once they had fired off ‘rape, incest and life of the mother’ their quiver was empty, and even NARAL admitted years ago that those causes account for under 2% of abortions.

The destruction of embryonic life in ESCR however, can be presented as a kind of compassion-driven and Star Trekian scientifically noble sacrifice of the needs of the one (if it is actually a one at all!) for the needs of the many. It sets up a mental picture of those Talibanesque-fundamentalist Republicans wanting to defend the supposedly sacred life of some unrecognizable glob of cells for superstitious reason, whereas the loving folks who want simple scientific truth to prevail merely want us all to have, once again, our beloved Marty McFly winging by on his skateboard.

If that seems a bit overly judgmental, simply recall John Edwards in 2004 speaking of ESCR in terms as that a Kerry-Edwards victory would mean that we would do the things that would make folks such as the then just departed paralytic Chris Reeve walk again.

If down the road, it becomes inescapably clear that ESCR has been an overall bust, in that it provides no significant benefit or no benefit not also attained by adult and umbilical blood stem cell usage, will it matter to the political drivers behind the pro-ESCR crusade that resources that might have benefited thousands or millions were squandered?

It will matter not one whit. It is about politics and political power, and not about truth or love of one’s fellow man.

Too harsh? Some illustrations:

When the Reagan economic boom became impossible to ignore (but not for lack of media trying), its dark underside was revealed in exposing the plight of countless but supposedly vast numbers of homeless persons, many freezing to death, and Reagan and his folks cared not! This critique continued through Bush Sr.’s kindler-gentler Republican administration.

However, anyone who based his world view on the MSM could reasonably have concluded that something like a quasi-‘needs based’-Rapture occurred about noon on January 20, 1993, when Bill Clinton took the oath of office and every homeless man, woman and child in the country seemed to disappear.

Reagan was also charged with not caring about AIDs victims because they were gay. The only reason a ‘cure’ for AIDs had not been found during the Reagan years was that Reaganites did not have the will to find it and therefore did not expend the resources that would surely have found it, in spite of billions spent on AIDs research under Reagan. Bush Sr. increased that spending, but that his administration didn’t find a cure proved again Republicans didn’t really care.

Then shortly into the Clinton administration, it was accepted that a cure just might not be in the cards at all, something many scientists and researchers had been saying for years. Treatment became the focus, not cure, and AIDs, no longer a political cudgel, went on the back burner as a domestic political issue.

There was little to nothing in the way of soul searching that went on in the nineties by those who had fed the political charge for a decade about their enemies not having the will to find that inevitable ‘cure’, and how that might have filled thousands with a false hope or encouraged, even subliminally, dangerous behavior by many who were led to believe, perhaps until the moment they died, that the cure was coming, was just around the corner, would be theirs with little more than a change to the political landscape.

There was the Clinton Health Care initiative. There were, so we were told over and over for months by Democrats and their echo chamber MSM, thirty to forty million Americans without health care. The image projected was of the desperate mother cradling the convulsing infant with the fever of one hundred and four being bum-rushed out of the ER by the hospital orderlies into the cold uncaring street because we didn’t have HillaryCare! Then the initiative failed in Congress and with the public at large. There was no move to a Plan B, because there are millions in crisis and we must help some at least. When it became clear that the power ploy had failed, those supposed forty or so million Americans in imminent and desperate danger of untreated disease and death simply became immaterial and of no political use.

Again and again the real or merely presumed sufferers and victims were and are treated in the same manner as the Kleenex was for the tears their stories brought about: used and discarded.

As this is about corruption of science and not just faux caring, there is the global warming scheme. Funding is made available for studies of the effects of global warming, not for whether it is happening or not. Funding is made available for study of how mankind is causing that warming, not for whether or not man is having a noticeable or significant effect on that warming. Funding is made available for study of the negative impact on the environment of that man-caused global warming, not for whether such warming will be negative here but offset by a positive there, as flora and fauna adjust and adapt, as they have through the ages. As such, and getting what is paid for, a large body of scientific research seems to support the fact of man’s greenhouse gas emissions as the primary cause of the very real and inarguably catastrophic global warming trend.

What if it was actually determined that while a global warming trend is real, man’s greenhouse gas emission contribution to that effect is negligible, and it is overwhelmingly a natural phenomenon related to solar phenomena or some other uncontrollable factor? What would the politicos like Al Gore do?

Having painted, as Gore did in An Inconvenient Truth, the impending warming of the globe as a real and present imminent threat to human life itself, surely that would not cause ‘the cause’ to be abandoned! But that is exactly what would happen, and why even the hint of such denials of human action as the primary cause leads some on the enviro-left to hysterically speak of Nuremberg type trials for global warming deniers.

First, the political leaders of the left actually know better than to try to convince people, and then be responsible for demonstrating, that the same types of folks, politicians and bureaucrats, who have given the world socialist paradises and DMV offices, ended poverty by declaring a war on it that cost trillions and made generations to be educated by the simple device of reducing the meaning of “educated” to something like barely literate, are capable of controlling the climate of the world to something like eternal stability. Second, it is about power and influence, and global warming-responsive regulatory control over peoples, industries and whole economies is just that. Take that away, and the global warming hype will be given the old SNL Rosanne Rosanadana ‘Nevermind!’. Could that be done when we have been told that the catastrophe on the horizon threatens human life itself? Ask the millions without health care.

Put another way, was it merely by chance that when the old Soviet Union and the dreams of central planning statists everywhere collapsed in the late eighties, so much of the far left of Europe and the US simply migrated in lockstep right into the green/environmental movement, with nary a pause? Did the lost love of central planning foster a newfound love of endangered amphibians? Even Gorbachev soon found himself at home in such environs.

Science is a wondrous and beneficial field of endeavor that has been of inestimable benefit to man. Yet science has also been invoked as the basis for much of Leninist and Hitlerian social policy, including eugenics, with scientists on board for that and more, like the infamous Tuskeegee Syphilis Study.

Pilate asked ‘Quid est veritas?’ What is truth? Science doesn’t have the answer.

Science can present us with fact, not truth. It can inform us how to do things, but not whether we should or should not do them. Facts are facts. The New York City telephone directory contains millions of ‘facts’, but lay them all end to end and they will not arrive at a single truth. Truth is more, and of a higher order, than that.

How can it be that science, seen by so many for so long as the incorruptible search for the objectively true, can be corrupted for political purposes? Perhaps another type of study, one that acknowledges that scientists are human and science is conducted by humans, and that man seems to have this universally demonstrated nature that is prone to falling away from the good and true, may have answers for that.

We all of us want to see, truly, beloved Marty McFly back on his skateboard. Yet, to symbolically hold out such an image based on a corruption of what is scientifically sound while claiming a caring and compassion that is false, convenient and fleeting, is to be in service not to what is true, but to untruth. This supposed moral high ground is, in truth, an amoral swamp.

Denis Keohane is an occasional contributor to American Thinker.

Euro-Humanity Upon the Wane

Euro-Humanity Upon the Wane
October 29th, 2006

People have needs.  When your liberal friend tells you that, he imagines that he’s justified the whole panoply of liberal social programs.  Stop being selfish and pay up.

But after a century of paying up, you get something like modern Europe.  With all basic needs taken care of, the average Euro doesn’t get the point of life.  So s/he doesn’t produce any life—children that is.  That is the argument of Mark Steyn in his book America Alone. When all your needs are met by the European welfare state then you live life as any adolescent living in a family welfare state.  You buy toys and entertainment with your allowance, and you complain while all the important decisions are made for you.

But is Steyn right?

Fortunately, in the remarkable series documentary project,  filmmaker Michael Apted has provided us a historical record of just what happens over the long term to a people living under the welfare state.  This month, in the weeks before the latest DVD debuts in mid November, you can see the latest episode in this amazing chronicle. The movie 49 Up is playing in selected theaters around the United States.

The documentary features interviews with a group of Britons who we first got to see as seven-year-olds in 1963 in the Granada TV documentary Seven Up.  The project was conceived as a melodrama about the British class system.  It featured three adorable little working class girls from a government elementary school in the East End of London contrasted with three insufferable upper-class West End prigs from a swank Kensington private school.  Now these children of the Sixties are forty-nine.

It’s a pity the whole think blew up in the filmmakers’ faces.  But it blew up for an interesting reason.  In the mid-1960s the Labour Party reformed the British secondary school system and gutted the ancient grammar schools that provided a challenging academic program to children who could pass the “Eleven Plus” test.  Instead the government decreed that every child would go to a new expert-designed comprehensive school where there would be no “selection by ability.”

Maybe it’s just a coincidence.  The Up Series children who ended up as angry and bitter adults all went to comprehensive schools.  The children who ended up divorced or as single parents went to comprehensive schools.  The children who ended up on “incapacity benefit,” or “job-seekers allowance,” went to comprehensive schools.

“Bog standard” comprehensives is what they call them today.

OK, so the public schools aren’t as good as they should be.  But how can we hope to educate the children of the poor without universal, compulsory, expert-designed government education?  People have needs!

We could ask the Third World.  We could ask Professor James Tooley, who’s done research on educational systems throughout the Third World.  What he has found is that private school systems thrive precisely in the teeming slums where government education does not reach. The Old City of Hyderabad in India is a slum of 800,000 people.  Tooley writes:

“our team found 918 schools: 35 percent were government run; 23 percent were private schools that had official recognition by the government (“recognized”); and, incredibly, 37 percent slipped under the government radar (“unrecognized”). The last group is, in effect, a black market in education, operating entirely without both state funding and regulation.”

If we assume that of the 800,000 people about 200,000 are school-age children, then there is one school for every 218 children.  In fact Toomey’s survey team found that the average unregulated school had about 8 teachers and 170 students.  So it seems that the black market in schools provides an adequtate number of seats for the Old City slum children.  But what about performance?

“In Hyderabad, students attending recognized and unrecognized private schools outperformed their peers in government schools by a full standard deviation in both English and math.”

So what, you ask?  We are just establishing a very small point.

Contrary to the received notion, it appears that the urban poor are not too poor, or too ignorant, or too feckless to send their children to school—or to pay for it.

And we are idly tossing into the air another very small idea, as inadvertently suggested by the documentary Up Series.  What if children suckled at the teat of government schools generally grow up to be adult adolescents, don’t bother to marry, and don’t bother to have children?

They would be well on the way to the status of H.G. Wells’ Eloi inThe Time Machine, “humanity upon the wane,” shortly to fall into the clutches of the Muslim Morlocks.

For when society sets itself

“steadfastly towards comfort and ease, a balanced society with security and permanency as its watchword,” it has no need to develop “intellectual versatility… the compensation for change, danger, and trouble,”

until it is too late.

People have needs, but they must need struggle to meet them.