Christmas Spirit and Islam

Christmas Spirit and Islam Print
Saturday, 19 December 2009
This is the time of the year that the air is filled with everything Christmas. There is something for everyone: gifts for family and friends, prayers at churches, and Christmas music everywhere. It puts me in a contemplative mood, particularly when I hear the delightful Christian refrain, peace on earth, goodwill to men. This is the gift I want. This is my Christmas. When there is peace on earth and all people dispense and receive good will.Yet, I am saddened to see the world as it is, particularly with what Islam is doing to it, which is the exact opposite of working for peace and extending goodwill to all people.

My contemplation takes me to the genesis of Islam. Something I have come to view as a scourge of humanity, and here are a few of my random thoughts about the founder of Islam: the person who launched a religion that has denied peace to mankind right from the start, the person who advanced a religion that began with war, continues with war, and aims to carry on with bloodletting to the end of time. All this makes me think and shake my head in bewilderment.

Starting with the premise that an all-knowing powerful God is the creator of this awe-inspiring universe where we humans are an infinitesimally insignificant part of his creation humbles me. Muslims call this creator Allah—a recast of one of 360 idols in the pre-Islamic Idolatry of Mecca—and attribute numerous superhuman qualities to him. It is awe-inspiring to realize that a being of that description may indeed exist.

That leads me to some questions: Why would such an indescribably exalted creator, with his ascribed boundless wisdom and resources, pick an illiterate Bedouin to become his prophet for then and forever? The man himself, Muhammad, admitted in the Quran to his own illiteracy. Yet, Allah persisted in choosing this man? Was Allah bored with the rest of his universe and playing a joke on us helpless mortals? Or was it a case of Allah not being able to get any reasonably literate man to take the job?

I don’t have an answer to this or a bevy of other questions and the answers I have seen so far from Muslims are far from satisfactory. I am forced to mark this as one of the enigmas of life and move on to further look into Muhammad, his claims, his life and the way all might come together with Allah’s choreography of our life of drama.

Muslims claim that Muhammad was the most perfect man, the kind of saintly man that each and every one of us should adulate and aspire to follow. On the top of their list is the desire to lead their lives in such a way that would please Allah, if they can.

Muhammad has done that, Muslims claim. And apparently Allah, in his infinite kindness, does not require the rest of us mortals to do things that we are incapable of doing. And Muhammad has brought us the perfect life manual, the Quran, to help us in our quest, we are told.

Besides, a great inducement for me to check Islam out is the promise of eternal life in an indescribably lush sensual paradise of Allah if I make the grade. If I fail, I am told, my forever destination is the dreadful inferno of hell.

I have also checked out those schools of thoughts that say life starts here and ends here. End of discussion. Well, buying into the idea that I am going to end up as fertilizer in some desolate cemetery is not something I would like to contemplate. So, I kept looking into this Islam thing since I was born and raised in it. After all 1.5 billion people have bought into it. They can’t all be misguided, can they?

This quest led me to examine the teachings and life of Muhammad closely. And here are a few of my findings that have thrown me for a loop. Hence, I am sharing my findings with the readers in the hope that someone would supply me with explanations that would relieve me of my perplexities.

I have, in my quest, read, re-read, and read again the Quran—purportedly the literal word-for-word of Allah transmitted to Muhammad by the Archangel Gabriel over the course of some 20 years.

Right away I am troubled. Is Allah the same creator who has created the entire universe by a single word of his mouth—kon va yakoon—be and became, as Islam claims? Then why did it take this magnificent all-knowing lightingly-fast-Allah 20 years to get across a dime-novel-size hodgepodge of contradictory and nonsensical verse called the Quran, to us poor creatures?

Was it because Muhammad was illiterate and he couldn’t write them down? But that can’t be. He didn’t write down anything himself. He dictated to anyone who could write and was around at the time to do it. Therefore, in the course of some 20 years what is claimed to be the word-for-word dictates of Allah went through a number of intermediaries and materialized in several versions.

First the Archangel Gabriel whispered it to Muhammad, then Muhammad found some Arab who could write—not an easy find among the masses of the most backward illiterates of Arabia—and who happened to have a pen of some sort and a parchment to jot down what Muhammad still managed to recall.

Perhaps this does explain the several versions of the Quran that popped up after Muhammad’s death and the Caliph Othman’s choice of one as the genuine and burning of the others. The practice of burning books Muslims don’t like to talk about, goes all the way back to their venerated second Caliph, Othman.

Now, how could a fallible politician like Othman be the judge of Allah’s genuine utterances? Was there another Archangel that helped him out, or he just simply liked that particular version best? One thing you can say about Othman. He was an astute enough politician to realize that you can’t have one Islam with several versions of the word-for-word revelation of Allah.

Here is another problem. Even the chosen version of the Quran, if you can make any sense of it at all, reads like two different books. The early part is known as the Mecca Quran. This part is much about meekness, tolerance, kindness and so forth. This was the time that Muhammad’s wife Khadija—a monotheist Hanif, in contrast to polytheist idolater Muhammad—introduced her young troubled husband to her Christian uncle and exposed him to the teachings of Christianity that influenced his “revelation.”

During this early phase of his ministry, Muhammad spoke respectfully about the “people of the book,”—Christians and Jews, the people from whose book he liberally plagiarized to launch his monotheistic faith with the invaluable encouragements of his wife Khadija.

It was Khadija who convinced the young man that he was indeed chosen by Allah to be his spokesperson; that the jinn and angels communicated with him were parts of Allah’s plan for him.

Muhammad, during his Mecca years, was ridiculed for his confused sayings by his own tribe of Quraish. He was called shaeron majnoon—crazed poet. At this early stage he went by his birth name of Abulqasem. It was later that he took on the new name of Muhammad—Praiseworthy-One—to go better with his ministry.

Muhammad, having been judged as a hallucinating insane poet, was tormented by the Meccans in many ways. It got so bad, that after his wife’s death he left for Medina where a significant Jewish community provided a safer place for him to gather followers, build a powerbase, reveal his Medina Quran of intolerance and vilification, and launch his religion in full force and by brute force.

Once in Medina, Muhammad hit on a most powerful formula for success. He justified everything, on the spot, by saying that Allah wants it this way. And Allah was nothing to trifle with. He held the key to the most magnificent paradise as well as to the dreadful hell. The duty of a good Muslim became unquestioning obedience to everything that Muhammad said and wished. Muhammad became Allah’s gatekeeper to paradise and hell.

Muhammad’s formula worked magic with the Bedouins of Arabia who thrived on robberies and killings. His religion spread like a pandemic disease in no time at all. And here we are in the 21st century, at Christmas time, praying for peace and goodwill to men, while Muhammad’s men are working overtime to make sure that men see neither peace nor goodwill.

I would like to join the chorus of peace on earth and goodwill to men. Yet, deep in my soul, I find it my solemn duty to keep on sounding the alarm about the fire of Islam even at this poignant moment of Christmas.

Peace on earth and goodwill to men is a perennial prayer. It can be only when enough men and women of goodwill, with iron resolve arise and disempower the Islamist people of war and ill-will.

Why the Reid Bill is Unconstitutional

Impermissible Ratemaking in Health-Insurance Reform:

Why the Reid Bill is Unconstitutional

By Richard A. Epstein

MI_Health_Care_act

Sunday showdown: The Senate’s Demcare treachery

Michelle Malkin 

Lead Story

Sunday showdown: The Senate’s Demcare treachery

By Michelle Malkin  •  December 20, 2009 10:03 AM

Sellout Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) got his Cash-for-Cloture Christmas present early: Special Medicaid expansion subsidies for his state ($45 million for starters over the next decade). The budget-strapped governors of every other state in the union ought to be crying foul.

Despite his protestations and rationalizations, government abortion funding remains in the bill.

As the Small Business Against Big Government blog quipped: The secret to the Art of the Sellout is to pretend you tried.

FYI: The Senate plan also still allows for government coverage of illegal aliens.

We are all Joe Wilsons now.

President Obama, September 9, 2009:

There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false – the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up – under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions…

THEY LIE.

Time is of the essence. Here’s the rundown of the next 24 hours:

“Following the remarks of Senator Coburn, the Senate will adjourn until 1:00pm Sunday, December 20. Following the prayer and pledge, the time until 1:30pm will be equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees. Beginning at 1:30pm and until 11:30pm, there will be alternating blocks of time, with the Republicans controlling the first hour and the Majority controlling the next hour.

At 11:30pm (Sunday), the Senate will recess until 12:01am Monday, December 21. Following the prayer and pledge, the time until 1:00am will be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the Majority Leader controlling the final 10 minutes and the Republican Leader controlling the 10 minutes immediately prior.

At 1:00AM Monday, December 21, the Senate will proceed to a cloture vote on the Reid-Baucus-Dodd-Harkin amendment #2376.”

Did Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s strategy (or lack thereof) fail? RedState thinks so.

But it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Nebraskans are rebelling.

The rest of us must continue to raise our voices, too, and fight to the end.

Melt those phones.

***

The corruption of the deliberative process over Demcare gives complete lie to the pretense that government can run health care in a non-corruptible way. Must-read big picture essay from Doctor Zero: “The illusion of design.” An excerpt:

Liberals insist it is simply unthinkable to allow financial considerations to impact the distribution of this essential human right. As Kirsten Powers put it recently, “Americans will die if we don’t provide universal health insurance.” Because money is the instrument through which free people express their will and make choices, the argument for socialized medicine boils down to the superiority of design and control over competition and choice.

So, in summary, the case for nationalizing health insurance is that health care cannot be entrusted to the unpredictability and greed of the free market. The individual purchasing decisions of free men and women are too chaotic. The only way to ensure access to health care for everyone is for the State to install a massive, strictly enforced system, complete with huge fines and jail time for those who fail to comply. This system would be superior to the free market, because it would be carefully designed by brilliant minds… engineered to deliver an incredibly complex, ever-changing service to hundreds of millions of Americans.

Is anyone stupid enough to think a “carefully designed system” is what the Democrats are about to drop on us?

Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) held up the Senate reform bill over his heartfelt concerns over abortion funding… until he was bought off with hundreds of millions of dollars in enhanced funding for Medicaid in his state. In a similar vein, language worth over $100 million was added to the bill, targeting the state of Louisiana, to purchase the vote of “moderate” Democrat Mary Landrieu. In other words, this “carefully designed” health care bill has different rules for people who happen to live in Nebraska or Louisiana, because this was necessary to buy the votes of their senators.

The Congressional Budget Office scoring for the health care reform bill is based on tricks and gimmicks, including Medicare reductions and cuts of over 20% in physician payments, that no one seriously believes will actually happen. A great deal of this health care reform package is a delusional fantasy, if not an outright fraud.

Socialist senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont jammed a 767-page amendment into the bill, then violated Senate procedures to suddenly withdraw it when Republicans forced the entire amendment to be read on the Senate floor.

Far from being a brilliant plan constructed by top doctors and financial experts in a government brain trust, this health-care bill is a twisted, deformed political document, seen in its entirety by only a few high-ranking politicians belonging to a single political party. Its components have not been precisely crafted as part of a fantastic system calibrated to ensure the maximum access to quality health care for all Americans.

The bill is not being examined with transparency and careful deliberation by representatives who behave as humble servants of the people and their Constitution. Instead, it’s being hastily rammed through in the dead of night, over the objection of powerful majorities of the American people, with desperate last-minute deals cut to acquire the necessary votes, financed by vast sums of taxpayer money. The primary consideration is not crafting the most sophisticated and intelligent health care reform… it’s getting a bill pushed through before angry voters have a chance to blast the Democrats out of Congress.

Merry Christmas, from Harry

Merry Christmas, from Harry

By Randall Hoven

According to the latest news, Harry Reid has the 60 votes needed to pass Obamacare.  While the legislation itself is not available for reading, to my knowledge, the Congressional Budget Office did report on it December 19.  I parse that CBO report here so we know what is about to happen to us.
The CBO does not make the accounting all that easy, despite its many tables of numbers.  The number Democrats like to cite is that this plan will reduce the deficit by $132 billion over the 10 years from 2010 to 019.
Imagine that, more people insured and the deficit reduced.  How do they do that?  The short answer is: over $1 trillion in Medicare cuts and tax increases.  For the longer story, read on.
First, the 10-year cost of insuring 27 million more people is $871 billion.  But that money is not evenly spread over the 10 years.  While the CBO does not make this part totally clear, that cost comes mostly after 2015.  In those later years (mostly after Obama is no longer President, even if elected to a second term), the cost per year is easily $165 billion.  Call it over $6,000 per person insured per year.
As a sanity check on that number, my current high-deductible plan costs $4,000 to cover my family of four, or $1,000 per person covered.  A “Cadillac” comprehensive plan might be more like $16,000 for a family of four, or $4,000 per person per year.  So the federal government will spend over six times as much as my high-deductible plan, and 50% more than even a generous comprehensive one.  So much for efficiency.
That is the gain part of the bill.  Now for the pain.  Below is the tally of spending cuts and taxes, all over the 10 years of 2010-2019.
  • “Spending changes” (e.g., Medicare cuts):  $483 billion.
  • Excise tax on high-premium plans:  $149 billion.
  • Savings from “other sources” (like penalties for being uninsured):  $108 billion.
  • Other “revenues”:  $264 billion.
Add up those numbers and you get $1,004 billion.  Subtract that from the $871 billion gross cost and you get $132 billion in “deficit reduction” (with a $1 billion round off error).
Let me repeat.  You get “deficit reduction” by cutting Medicare and raising taxes by more than $1 trillion: Medicare and other program cuts of $483 billion, and an extra $521 billion in new taxes and fees.
The cuts include cuts across Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program: $186 billion from permanent reductions in payment rates for fee-for-service, $118 billion for payment rate reductions based on bids submitted and $43 billion from reducing payments to hospitals that serve low-income patients.  In all, $483 billion cut from Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP.
Can you imagine what the Democrats would say if a Republican proposed such a thing?  You don’t have to imagine.  Here is what Senator Max Baucus, one of Obamacare’s architects, said when President Bush proposed smaller cuts.
“This administration ought to know that five years’ worth of Medicare and Medicaid cuts totaling $200 billion are dead on arrival with me and with most of the Congress.”
The “other revenues” include extra taxes on drugs, medical devices and health insurance providers ($101 billion) and a hospital insurance tax ($87 billion).
As in all predictions of revenues from tax changes, the CBO assumes no real change in behavior.  If, for example, people with high-premium plans choose to not have such plans any more rather than pay the extra taxes, the predicted revenue would not show up.  Raise your hand if you really think the federal government is going to raise over $500 billion in revenue with these new taxes and fees.
The “deficit reduction” comes in the earlier years: $111 billion of the $132 billion reduction comes in the first five years, 2010-2014.  That is because the taxes start early, but insuring the uninsured comes later, mostly after President Obama is long gone from office.  By 2019, the “deficit reduction” will be only $16 billion, per the CBO.  The overall deficit will be over $1 trillion by then, and the federal debt held by the public will be over $17 trillion.
In short, this legislation, even if you believe the CBO’s numbers, does nothing to solve the debt crisis, despite President Obama’s hyperbolic claims.
“This plan will strengthen Medicare and extend the life of that program.  And because it gets rid of the waste and inefficiencies in our health care system, this will be the largest deficit reduction plan in over a decade.”
The CBO’s own numbers indicate that this “largest deficit reduction” is within the round-off error of its estimates:  just over 1% of the projected deficit in 2019.
So much for federal government spending and taxing.  What about the states and the private sector?  Here is what the CBO says.
“… the legislation contains several intergovernmental and private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).  The total cost of those mandates to state, local and tribal governments and the private sector would greatly exceed the thresholds established in UMRA…”
Like what?
“… the legislation would require individuals to obtain acceptable health insurance coverage…”
“The legislation also would penalize medium-sized and large employers that did not offer health insurance…”
“The legislation would impose a number of mandates, including requirements on issuers of health insurance, standards governing health information, and nutrition labeling requirements.”
But at least no “public option,” right?
“[This legislation would replace] a ‘public plan’ that would be run by the Department of Health and Human Services with ‘multi-state’ plans that would be offered under contract with the Office of Personnel Management…”
Are we sure that means no “public option”?  Do multiple “multi-state” plans under OPM sound that much better than one federal plan under HHS?  The devil is in the details, and this legislation is about 2,000 pages of such details.
And no “death panels” either, right?
“The legislation also would establish an Independent Payment Advisory Board, which would be required, under certain circumstances, to recommend changes to the Medicare program to limit the rate of growth in that program’s spending.  Those recommendations would go into effect automatically unless blocked by subsequent legislative action.”
I hope you are comforted.  When that “advisory” board says no expensive cancer drug for you, cheap pain pills only, you can still hope that “subsequent legislative action” is taken to reverse that decision.  That is, the only thing that prevents the “advisory board” from being a “death panel” is the hope that Congress will override it.
Could we please find a death panel to pull the plug on health care legislation?
Randall Hoven can be contacted at randall.hoven@gmail.com or  via his web site, randallhoven.com.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/merry_christmas_from_harry.html at December 20, 2009 – 12:23:39 PM EST

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