China Blames US Retailers for Unsafe Chinese Toys

China Blames US Retailers for Unsafe Chinese Toys

Talk about spin….

A global recall of millions of Chinese-made toys was the result of new industry standards, not poor quality products.

So says Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng.

Speaking at a news conference in Beijing Thursday, Gao said that the recall was a responsible move, given that products could affect the health and safety of children.

He added that a recall of more than 18 million toys with magnets was the result of new standards that were put in place in May.

Addressing the issue of lead found in toys, Gao blamed loopholes in the manufacturing process in China, but also noted that retailers were to blame as well for their failure to inspect products.

On Wednesday, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the two US importers, announced the voluntary recall of about 300,000 products.

The toy recall campaign follows similar warnings around the world about the toxic contamination of toothpaste, seafood and pet food produced in China.

Last week, the Mattel toy company recalled more than 18 million Chinese-made toys because they had been coated in lead paint or contained small magnets that would be hazardous if swallowed by young children.

China’s Commerce Ministry said it is investigating companies that made the recalled Mattel toys.

In response to these concerns, China has blacklisted more than 400 companies for violating trade rules.

On Thursday, China announced the launch of a new nationwide safety campaign that focuses on food and drugs, as well as increased monitoring of exports.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Who Is Allah?

Who Is Allah?

By Soeren Kern

Europeans love to mock the salience of religion in American society, but they won’t be laughing for very long. The de-Christianization of Europe in the name of “tolerance” is rapidly driving the spiritually shiftless continent into the arms of Islam. And now, amidst the postmodern theological confusion that defines contemporary Europe, even Catholic clergy are jumping on the Islamomania bandwagon.

The latest post-Christian theological spectacle comes to us from the Netherlands (of Ayaan Hirsi Ali fame), where the Roman Catholic Bishop of Breda, Tiny Muskens, says he wants Christians to start calling God “Allah” because he believes such a gesture would promote “rapprochement between Christianity and Islam”. Appearing on Dutch television, the 71-year-old cleric said:

“Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn’t we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? … What does God care what we call him?”

Inquiring minds want to know: If the bishop really thinks the names “God” and “Allah” are interchangeable, why doesn’t he ask Muslims to start calling Allah “Yahweh”, the biblical name for God? But he won’t, because he knows they won’t.
Indeed, just because Christianity, Judaism and Islam are called “monotheistic” faiths, it does not follow that Christians, Jews and Muslims pray to the same God. So for those pre-postmoderns who believe that words still mean something, a quick survey of archaeology, history and theology-accompanied by a dose of common sense-can answer the question of whether the Allah of Islam is really the God of the Bible.
What Archaeology Says about Allah
Muslims claim that in pre-Islamic times, “Allah” was the biblical God of the Patriarchs, prophets and apostles. Indeed, the credibility of Islam as a religion stands or falls on its core claim of historical continuity with Judaism and Christianity. No wonder, then, that many Muslims get uppity when the claims of Islam are subjected to the hard science of archaeology.
Because archaeology provides irrefutable evidence that Allah, far from being the biblical God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was actually the pre-Islamic pagan moon-god. Indeed, it is an established archaeological fact that worship of the moon-god was the main religion of the ancient Middle East.
But what about the Arabian Peninsula, where Mohammed (570-632) launched Islam? During the last two centuries, prominent archaeologists have unearthed thousands of inscriptions which prove beyond any doubt that the dominant religion of Arabia during Mohammed’s day was the cult of the moon-god.
In fact, for generations before Mohammed was born, the Arabs worshipped some 360 pagan gods housed at a stone temple in Mecca called the Kabah. According to archaeologists, the chief deity of Mecca was the moon-god called al-ilah (meaning the god or the idol), which was shortened to Allah in pre-Islamic times. Pagan Arabs even used Allah in the names they gave themselves: Mohammed’s father (Abdallah), for example, had Allah as part of his name.
What History Says about Allah
Historians say that pre-Islamic Arabs worshipped the moon-god by bowing in prayer toward Mecca several times a day. They would also make a pilgrimage to Mecca, run around the Kabah seven times and throw stones at the devil. And they fasted for one month, which began with the appearance of the crescent moon and ended when the crescent moon reappeared.
These same rites form the core of Islam today: Muslims bow in prayer toward Mecca; they make a pilgrimage to Mecca and run around the Kabah seven times; and they still throw stones at the devil. They also observe the fast of Ramadan, which begins and ends with the crescent moon.
Moreover, the ancient symbol of the pagan moon-god, the crescent moon, is the official symbol of Islam; it appears on the flags of Muslim countries, as well as on the tops of mosques and minarets everywhere.
Historians say that Mohammed, who as a traveling trader was exposed to Judaism and Christianity during his visits to different parts of the Middle East, tried to mimic those monotheistic faiths by taking Allah, the main deity within the Arabian pantheon, and making it the only god. Indeed, the basic confession of Islam is not that “Allah is Great” but that “Allah is Greater”. Greater than all the other idols, that is.
But Islam also draws from other pagan traditions. For example, the tale of Mohammed’s night journey into heaven parallels the Zoroastrian story of Arta Viraf. Zoroastrianism also inspired the Islamic belief that dark-eyed virgins await every man who enters heaven. And the Islamic ritual of praying five times a day? That, historians say, originates with the Sabeans, Syrian pagans who practiced an ecumenical mixture of Babylonian and Hellenic religion.
No surprise, then, that some scholars refer to Islam as monotheistic heathenism.
What Theology Says about Allah
Muslims claim that Islam is Judaism and Christianity reformed. They say the Koran confirms the truth of the Torah and the Gospels. But since those texts did not jibe with Mohammad’s beliefs, they accuse Jews and Christians of changing and distorting the original versions. Muslims therefore assert that the Koran “clarifies” the Bible.
Even if that were the case, the Koran and the Bible present ideas about God (especially about His character) that are so diametrically opposed that any reasonable observer would conclude that each book refers to a distinct deity.
The Koran, for example, states unequivocally that Allah is an unknowable and non-personal deity. By contrast, the God of the Bible allows Himself to be known and desires fellowship with human beings on a personal basis. Indeed, the Bible says that Abraham (the same Abraham whom Muslims say they venerate) was the “friend of God.”
The Koran also portrays Allah as a vindictive deity who hates sinners and desires to afflict them. But the Bible says God is love.
Moreover, the New Testament teaches that God loved humanity so much that He came to earth to pay the debt for man’s sin, and that that act of grace is available for free to anyone who believes Jesus Christ is their personal Savior. But Islam denies that Christ was God or that He died in order to save humanity. Indeed, Allah does not provide any way for man to be reconciled to God.
And the theological differences go on and on, so much so that the God of the Bible cannot possibly be the Allah worshipped in Islam. Unless, of course, a Dutch bishop says so.
Allah and Eurabia
Mohammed thought the Jews and Christians of his day would receive him as a prophet. But the Bible says that any new revelation must agree with what is already established in Scripture (Isaiah 8:20). So they rejected his Allah as a false god. And Mohammed replied by setting his Islam on a permanent warpath against Judaism and Christianity that continues to this day.
The Dutch bishop and other Muslim fellow travelers think they can buy a fake peace with Islam by playing relativistic word games as a part of an “inter-faith” dialogue. But Muslims understand much better than do post-modern Europeans that ecumenical appeasement is a symptom of a Judeo-Christian civilization that is weak and dying.
The irony is that the real danger from Islam stems not so much from ordinary Muslims as it does from sickly Europeans who have subverted their Judeo-Christian heritage in search of secular hedonism. Because they live only for the moment, they are willing submit to anything, including Islam, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the pursuit of pleasure today.
It has been more than 50 years since the late Christian apologist C.S. Lewis first warned about Western Civilization’s disastrous lurch into post-Christianity. But even he would be surprised to see how quickly Islam is filling the religious and cultural vacuum that is post-Christian Europe.
It’s not that Europeans haven’t been forewarned. It’s that they couldn’t care less.
Soeren Kern is Senior Analyst for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group.

Global warming alarms not worth their salt

Global warming alarms not worth their salt

Marc Sheppard
Two years ago scientists warned that the North Atlantic Ocean had become much less salty over the past 50 years due to global warming.  This year, scientists warn that the North Atlantic Ocean has become more salty over the past 50 years due to — guess what? 

In June of 2005, Live Science reported the lower salt levels, attributing that:

“Climate changes in the Northern Hemisphere have melted glaciers and brought more rain, dumping more fresh water into the oceans, according to the analysis.”

Alarms sounded worldwide of the calamitous slowing impact fresher sea water would have on global ocean currents — which some shrieked would enshroud Europe in a mini ice age. Gasp!
But according to an August, 2007 report from New Scientist, Tim Boyer of the US National Oceanographic Data Center and his team have concluded that the trend changed over a decade ago, explaining that the:

“upper ocean is warming in the North Atlantic, so it stands to reason that there should be more evaporation, making waters more salty.”

Boyer says that, due to global warming, the seas have been getting saltier since the 1990s and are now “about as salty as they were in the 1970s.” 
So, which is it, guys?  Isn’t this all “settled science?”  Ocean salinity would seem a rather absolute and quantifiable concept, compared to, say, global mean temperature flux, no?
Boyer also shunts the previous alarms by reassuring us that the so-called global ocean conveyor belt is in no danger of shutting down.
Unfortunately, neither is the big green scare machine.
Hat Tip: Benny Peiser

A Palestinian Star is Born

A Palestinian Star is Born

By Steve Feldman

Why humanize someone with murder in her heart?

Why take a child who helps inspire untold numbers of kids to kill innocent other kids and try to make her seem like the girl next door?
Just how evil is a society that could raise such children? And why aren’t the nations of the supposedly enlightened West and the people of the alleged “religion of peace” doing their utmost to put a stop to this mindset – or at minimum, loudly condemning it?
These were some of the questions I had as I shook my head from side-to-side while reading a recent, widely circulated feature story by Dion Nissenbaum of McClatchy Newspapers.
The focus of Nissenbaum’s article is Saraa Barhoum, the young star of an Arab children’s show whose former co-star, a costumed-character closely resembling Mickey Mouse, has gotten most of the spotlight.
But for me, the article was more about an American media that has largely spun out of control in its warped determination to make the bad guys and gals of the world seem as if they are just like us – with just a little different outlook, that’s all. Also, I was reminded yet again of the media’s efforts to sweep under the rug the true intentions of the Muslim terrorists who threaten the U.S. and our allies.
Take the case of Saraa.
Here is how Nissenbaum chose to depict her: wearing

“pink bellbottom jeans … [t]he afternoon light bounced off the sparkly outlines of butterflies on her frilly top … .”

The writer goes on to note her “11-year-old face” and later adds that it is a “sweet face.”
We are told that she “wants to be a doctor” and exudes an “innocent charm.”
Sure, she has not murdered anyone (as best we know), but how many future murders has she motivated, when she should instead be discussing topics that most little girls think about: clothes, music or boys?
Thanks to Nissenbaum, Saraa is almost as famous in America as she is in Gaza and Ramallah. Will she be on the Disney Channel next thanks to his exposure?
Saraa has no-doubt been a prominent cog in the Palestinian-Arab machine that churns out waves of young homicidal maniacs – ticking time-bombs that only they and their handlers know exactly when and where they will detonate.
To be fair, Nissenbaum notes in his piece that the show Saraa stars in, “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” is produced by the group Hamas (though he neglects to call them terrorists, even though that is the label our government gives them); that much of her dialogue is “militant rhetoric” and that “she hopes to die for her cause, be it suicide bombing, fighting the Israeli military or some other way.”
Nissenbaum adds that the girl would be “proud to be a martyr” but he never describes fully what that means: that to do so would entail taking another’s life with a bomb, gun, knife or other means, by, say, detonating oneself aboard a bus, in a mall or at a pizza parlor.
The writer states that Hamas uses shows like “Tomorrow’s Pioneers” to “promote its agenda and challenge its rivals” as if it was advocating good dental hygiene while its “rivals” are in favor of rotting teeth.
When Nissenbaum brings in an academic to offer analysis, he merely reports that “Hamas is fighting a political war” to become more popular among Palestinian-Arabs than Fatah – as if they were akin to Democratic and Republican challenges.
But Hamas is a far cry from our “red-state” “blue-state” clashes.
Nissenbaum never informs readers that on a daily basis Hamas dispatches rockets into Israeli city’s civilian areas or that it is constantly either planning or carrying out homicide bombings that also target Jewish civilians.
This is the group that the majority of Palestinian-Arabs voted for in their most recent elections, and whom in polls most Palestinian-Arabs say they continue to support. This is also the group that the allegedly “moderate” Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas worked with in a coalition government rather than shun and who America’s “friends”, the Egyptians, are reportedly trying to again make a part of the Palestinian-Arab government.
As an example of supposedly typical Hamas TV fare, Nissenbaum offers:

“During its decisive June military showdown with Fatah in Gaza, Hamas used its television station to broadcast footage of Fatah leaders joking with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other Bush administration officials.”

He conveniently leaves out the anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish videos and diatribes.
According to Nissenbaum, only

“…the Israeli government and activists who monitor Palestinian programming accused Hamas of poisoning the minds of young children with the show.”

Why he does not seek an academic to affirm this, or point it out himself, only Nissenbaum and his editor know.
What we who follow the unfolding situation know is that there is something very wrong when the mainstream media portrays Hamas and its ilk as mere politicians or takes a real girl as demented as the character Regan in “The Exorcist” and instead likens her to Pippi Longstockings.
It is time for the fiction and fairytales to end. There is no doubt that, with money being fungible, somehow, someway, our tax dollars are funding this poison. Dishonest or misdirecting articles such as Nissenbaum’s prevent Americans from learning what our enemies are up to and making sure our leaders combat them.
Steve Feldman is executive director of the Zionist Organization of America’s Greater Philadelphia District and hosts “The ZOA Middle East Report” radio show on WNWR Radio in Philadelphia.

Libs Say the Darndest Things

Libs Say the Darndest Things

By James Lewis

Here’s a fun exercise for conservatives: Spend some time just listening to your liberal friends. Don’t bother to say anything at all. You’ll be amazed. I’ve certainly been wowed every time I’ve tried it.

Libs believe the darndest things. They’re not as cute as the things kids come out with, but having millions of adults who are stuck in false beliefs puts our society at a lot greater risk.            
Among the pearls of political wisdom I picked up from ordinary, friendly, prosperous and apparently intelligent lib friends were the following:

1. Christians. Believing Christians are scary folks, sort of proto-fascists, who would kill or convert us all to their strange and scary beliefs if they had the chance.
I find this staggeringly ignorant. It implies, among other things, that nothing worthwhile was accomplished in Western Civilization before, let’s say, the Sixties.  (Well, whatever, dude… )
2. Jews. Peaceful Orthodox Jews are just as bad as head-chopping Islamic fascists. Because they’re all fundamentalists! (No kidding.)
3. Capitalism. Corporations are evil.  Capitalism murders just as many people as Stalin and Pol Pot did. Every political system kills millions of people. (The mind reels.)
4. Tolerance. You can’t trust other ethnic groups, and even your own. One liberal friend can’t stand Russians, Turks, and Poles. Another is deeply suspicious of  Southerners and Midwesterners, considering them guilty until proven innocent. Another is suspicious of Blacks; however, a Black liberal I know thinks that Whites are “ice people.” A very radical friend thinks that hippies are fascists. (Honest). This is just a sampling of liberal tolerance and openmindedness.
5. America. Americans are contemptible. Europeans are wonderful. (Facts are irrelevant).
6. Genocide. The US murdered just as many Native Americans as the Nazis killed Jews. Oh, and the Spanish Inquisition killed 9 million women. (Both bizarre, historically; no respectable historian agrees, but it’s in the minds of your neighbors. They are still allowed to vote.)
7. Mind-reading. Liberals can read the minds of conservatives, without, of course, bothering to read anything conservatives have written, or even talking to them. Many libs are firmly convinced (without a shred of evidence, of course), that conservatives hate Blacks, Jews, Gays, and Women.
It does not seem to occur to my friends that it’s difficult to read other people’s minds; or that conservatives might actually be far more tolerant than liberal race demagogues, judging by their own words.
8. Israel. Israel is a pretty bad and nasty place. This is from a very liberal friend with many Jewish friends.
9. Militarism. Israelis are “militaristic,” according to a very liberal Jewish professor. This is the first time I realized that defending your country against murderous assaults on innocent civilians is “militaristic.” I thought militarism was the Prussians in World War One shouting “Hoch! Hoch!” while the Kaiser’s troops went goose-stepping by with pointy-headed helmets and fixed bayonets. No such thing. Militarism = self-defense. Amazing.
10. Population. The world has far too many people, and (hint, hint) it would be a lot better if a lot of them died or were never born.
11. News vs. propaganda. Any news source other than the mainstream media is right-wing propaganda. Indeed, anything suggesting that liberals are less than 100 percent right is right-wing propaganda. This comes from a friend who engages in constant self-censorship, who becomes visibly agitated when his beliefs are gently questioned.
12. Dictators. Stalin was not so bad. Yes, he killed millions in the Gulag, but so did the United States. As for Castro, he is a great and wonderful hero. So is Hugo Chavez.  However, Augusto Pinochet was a bad, bad guy. (Bizarre beyond belief.)
13. Republicans. Assassinating Republicans is a pretty good idea, as long as somebody else does it. (From a prominent liberal community leader.)
14. The Supremes. Justice Clarence Thomas is a dunce.
15. War. War would go away if just Republicans stopped stirring it up.
16. Criticism. Thinking negative thoughts about people is the source of violence in the world.
17. Relativism. Reality is only a social agreement. There’s no such thing.
18. GlobWarm. Human-caused global warming is probably a lie, but it’s a useful lie. (I swear).
Had enough? This is just a start.  I don’t want to spoil it for you. Every conservative might consider just quietly listening to our liberal pals, without trying to change their minds.  You’ll be amazed and enlightened. But be ready to bite your tongue.                                         
We have a lot of truth-telling to do, to put straight what is snarled and upside-down in the minds of ‘way too many Americans. But don’t argue with liberals, at least not the ones I know; it never works. Their minds are made up and locked tight.
Discussion only works with open minds.
James Lewis blogs at http://www.dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/

Pakistan: Two Christian girls of 11 and 16 kidnapped, converted to Islam and forced to marry

Pakistan: Two Christian girls of 11 and 16 kidnapped, converted to Islam and forced to marry

Islamic Tolerance and Little Aisha Alerts: “Two Christian girls of 11 and 16 kidnapped, converted to Islam and forced to marry,” by Qaiser Felix for Asia News (thanks to Nicolei):

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Two Christian girls, little more than children, were kidnapped from their families recently, forcibly converted to Islam and then married off to strangers. Both of the kidnaps took place in Faisalabad, the third largest city in Pakistan, and both were completely ignored by the police. The phenomenon is not a new one however, underlined numerous human rights activist, but it is dangerously on the increase.On August 5 Muhammad Adnan, a Muslim from Zulfiqar colony Faisalabad and his sister kidnapped Zunaira, an eleven years old Christian girl from her home in Warispura. After the kidnap, they forced her to convert to Islam and marry her kidnaper Muhammad.

The small girl’s mother, Abida, told AsiaNews: “When I was roaming in streets in search of my daughter two Muslim men of the area told me that they saw Adnan and his sister taking my daughter”. Abida decided to go to the kidnapper’s house, from which however she is thrown out. Returning home, she was contacted by two men who revealed the kidnappers identity and offer to act as negotiators for her daughters release in exchange for money.