Archive for March, 2006

Steyn vs. the Islamist Crazies

Friday, March 31st, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

Mark Steyn knows his history, and ponders “Facing down a culture where they talk like crazies.” He points out an example of how the British dealt with cultural sensitivities during their rule in India, and draws a connection to the West’s handling of Islamist jihad, in light of the cartoon controversy and the death sentence that Afghan Abdul Rahman faced for converting to Christianity. Here’s Steyn writing for the Chicago Sun Times:

At some point we have to face down a culture in which not only the mob in the street but the highest judges and academics talk like crazies.

Rahman embodies the question at the heart of this struggle: If Islam is a religion one can only convert to not from, then in the long run it is a threat to every free person on the planet. …

In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of “suttee” — the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

”You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows.You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

India today is better off without suttee.

Hat-tip to Bob B.

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O Canada!

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

Canada’s new government has taken the lead in backing Israeli democracy and sovereignty, and pressuring the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority into renouncing terrorist violence. My, what a change, and a very welcome one. O Canada!

Canada’s tough position, from the BBC:

…Canada became the first country to freeze funding and end contact with the [Palestinian/Hamas] administration. …

Commenting on the Canadian decision, Hamas officials said the country had acted in an undemocratic and hasty manner.

Now, the big-mouth, big-shots:

The Quartet of the US, the EU, Russia and the UN said aid would “inevitably” be affected as long as Hamas failed to renounce violence. …

In its statement, the Quartet called on the new government “to commit to the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations”.

“Future assistance to any new government would be reviewed by donors against that government’s commitment to the principles,” it added.

The Quartet statement is bleak but does not make any final pronouncement, as nearly everyone involved is keen that Hamas should be given room to shift, says the BBC’s Europe correspondent Jonny Dymond.

Talk is cheap, and the Quartet is still talking. On the other hand, Canada has taken action, has literally put its money where its mouth is, and has put meaningful hurt on the Hamas terrorists. Note that Hamas has committed countless atrocities against Israeli civilians. The group is sworn to the genocide of all Israelis.


The Great White North, Eh!

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French High Court Upholds Youth Employment Contract

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

France’s high court has acted in the interest of the nation and has not kowtowed to the selfish interests of the mob, i.e., the thousands of students who have taken to the streets to protest for cushy jobs. The newly-upheld youth employment contract will enforce the idea of a hard work ethic among France’s fonctionnaire-minded jeunes de la bourgeoisie. It will also give French companies the true entrepreneurial freedom needed to survive in a very competitive world. From the BBC:

France’s top constitutional body has ruled that a youth employment law which has sparked weeks of protest is legal.

The Constitutional Council move clears the way for the bill to be signed into law by President Jacques Chirac.

His prime minister has championed the law – aimed at tackling high levels of youth unemployment.

The question is: Will Chirac have the guts to defy the mob and do what is best for France?

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Canada’s signal to Hamas government an excellent start

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Statement from the Canadian Coalition for Democracies

Toronto, Canada, 29 March 2006Canada’s announcement that it is ending financial aid to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority demonstrates global leadership by Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay and International Cooperation Minister Josťe Verner. The Stephen Harper government has said that our tax dollars will not continue to support those whose charter calls for the violent destruction of democratic Israel.

Since 1993, Canada has sent over $330 million tax dollars to the Palestinians. In that time period, Canada has donated on average $25 million a year to the West Bank and Gaza. As Canadians, we need to ask if our tax dollars have helped Palestinians to become less dependent on foreign aid and if our influence has diminished the inculcation of hatred in Palestinian education and media. Our last government boasted how it was funding Palestinian teachers, but this brief video shows that Jew-hatred and murder are the lessons taught, even to an innocent three-year-old. These lessons must no longer be funded by Canada.

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Immigration Bill DOA?

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

Because of arguments over President Bush’s idea of “a guest-worker program” — basically an amnesty for illegal aliens — the immigration bill now before the Senate may be dead on arrival. All the more reason to continue the push for true immigration reform. From The Mercury News:

The Senate may well deadlock with the House of Representatives because their positions differ so radically and the issue is too politically hot in this congressional election year for lawmakers on either side to compromise. That could doom all legislation to overhaul immigration this year.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-6 Monday to advance a comprehensive measure that would put millions of illegal immigrants on track to permanent legal status and allow up to 400,000 foreign workers each year to fill low-skilled jobs.

[Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) spokesperson] Egan said opponents of the measure put their hopes in the 435-member House, where a coalition of conservative Republicans has vowed to kill immigration legislation that includes a guest worker plan. The 94-member coalition blocked inclusion of a guest worker program in the immigration bill the House passed in December.

The House bill also makes illegal immigration a felony and calls for 700 miles of fences along the Southwest border.

“If the Senate follows the Judiciary Committee’s lead, the prospects of getting a reform bill to the president’s desk this year are slim, to say the least,” said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado, coalition leader. “No plan with amnesty and a massive increase in foreign workers will pass the House.”

Thank G#d for the House. We’re way past the point of granting amnesty to illegals — about 12 million (illegal immigrants) past that point. Assimilation takes time. When does the U.S. become unmanageable? When the population reaches 400, 500, 600 million? How do we educate immigrants at the current, rapid pace of influx?

Write to your senators now. Tell them to support legislation that would:

  • make it a felony to enter the United States illegally;
  • deport illegal immigrants;
  • impose greater penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants;
  • tighten security by increasing the number of qualified personnel patrolling our borders;
  • erect fences along the U.S.-Mexican border; and,
  • toss out the notions of “amnesty” and “guest worker” permits for illegal immigrants.

Note that I fully support legal immigration. My grandparents on both my mother and fatherís sides immigrated to the U.S., but did so legally.

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Ted Turner Can Afford to be “Liberal”

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

Ted Turner, with a net worth of $2 billion, can afford to be “liberal,” and shoot his mouth off. From CNN.com:

“We had a president of the United States who had been out of the country but once before he was elected,” he said.

He added, “And this guy has his finger on the nuclear trigger, too — reformed alcoholic, nothing wrong with that.”

Such constructive criticism… Previously:

CNN founder Ted Turner has called the Fox television network a “propaganda voice” of President George W. Bush’s administration and compared Fox News Channel’s popularity to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s rise in Germany before the Second World War.

Here we go again. Anything the Left doesn’t like is automatically labeled “Nazi.”

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Dissident Watch: Kamal Sayid Qadir

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

by Michael Rubin
Middle East Quarterly*
Spring 2006
http://www.meforum.org/article/922
* Cross-posted with permission

On October 26, 2005, security officers associated with Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) detained Kurdish writer and Austrian citizen Kamal Sayid Qadir in Erbil, northern Iraq. Qadir had angered Barzani with several articles describing corruption and nepotism in his administration of the Kurdistan Regional Government.[1] Barzani’s militia subsequently held Qadir for weeks without charge and without access to an attorney or his family.

On November 9, International PEN, a London-based press freedom advocacy organization, wrote to Barzani. The KDP office in London answered that the Kurdish government had arrested Qadir for defamation of “certain prominent elected official politicians.”[2] After a one-hour trial, a Kurdish court convicted and sentenced Qadir to 30 years in prison. The Committee to Protect Journalists said that Qadir had only five minutes to confer with a court-appointed defense attorney before trial and sentence.[3]

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Palestinian “Freedom Fighters” Kill Two Bedouin Arabs

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

Palestinian terrorists today fired homemade rockets which killed two Palestinians. From the BBC:

Tuesday’s victims were Bedouin Arabs, who make up about 10% of Israel’s Arab community, which itself represents about one-fifth of Israel’s total population.

How many times have you heard it? “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” How will the rapid Left, the terrorism apologists, rationalize this atrocity? “All’s fair in love and war?” Are Bedouins “traitors” because they accept Israeli citizenship and serve in the IDF? But Orwell had the Left figured out long ago when he wrote of communist sentiments: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

The sad fact of the matter is that today’s attack by Islamic Jihad shows the utter callousness, randomness, and disregard for life emblematic of the Palestinian “cause,” whose true motto is, “Kill, kill, kill.”

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Consumer Confidence Near 4-Year High

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

The Conference Board issued its latest Consumer Confidence Index reading this morning, showing American sentiments towards the economy are near a 4-year high. This adds to string of positive economic news. From CNNMoney.com:

U.S. consumers perked up in March, sending an index of sentiment toward the economy to its highest in almost four years, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Conference Board, a private research firm, said its measure of consumer sentiment spiked to 107.2, up from a revised 102.7 last month and well above Wall Street’s median forecast for a slight gain.

The survey’s components corroborated general perceptions about the current economic environment, showing optimism about the present but concern about the future.

I would ascribe the “concern about the future” to the usual human nervousness about what might happen, as most economic indicators are positive.

Overall, the U.S. economy has created 5 million new jobs since August 2003; gross domestic product grew 3.5 percent in 2005; worker productivity has increased at a 3.4% annual rate since 2001; manufacturing activity has increased for 33 consecutive months; inflation has remained at a tame 2.1% over the last year; personal income has grown 8.2% since 2001; and, the U.S. is at or near full employment (those looking for work are finding work).

American orders for durable goods, reported Friday, jumped 2.6% in February, the fourth increase over the last five months. Durable goods are defined as products with a normal life expectancy of three years or more, like furniture, aircraft, computers, and automobiles.

Back to the Goldilocks economy: not too hot and not too cold, i.e., inflation and growth are generally in balance.

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Israel Shuns Victory

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun*
March 28, 2006
http://www.danielpipes.org/article/3479
* Cross-posted with permission

As Israelis go to the polls, not one of the leading parties offers the option of winning the war against the Palestinian Arabs. It’s a striking and dangerous lacuna.

First, some background. Wars are won, the historical record shows, when one side feels compelled to give up on its goals. This is only logical, for so long as both sides hope to achieve their war ambitions, fighting either continues or potentially can resume. For example, although defeated in World War I, the Germans did not give up their goal of dominating Europe and soon again turned to Hitler to try again. The Korean War ended more than a half century ago, but neither North nor South having given up its aspirations means fighting could flare up at any time. Similarly, through the many rounds of the Arab-Israeli conflict (wars in 1948-49, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982) both sides retained their goals.

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Support LEGAL Immigration

Monday, March 27th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

The Senate is now considering legislation that would impose controls on the unprecedented flood of illegal immigrants pouring into the United States. I urge readers to write to their senators and ask them to put a stop to illegal immigration (see below for tips).

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Gaddafi Sets the Record Straight

Monday, March 27th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

I’m so glad that Muammar Gaddafi has made me see the light, realize that democracy is a lie, and understand that the Arab dictatorship is the ultimate form of representative government. From Reuters:

He touted Libya’s political system as superior to “farcical” and “fake” parliamentary and representative democracies in the West.”

“There is no state with a democracy except Libya on the whole planet,” Gaddafi said to the conference at Columbia University in New York.

Libya’s Jamahiriyah system, under which Libyans can air their views at “people’s congresses,” is genuine democracy, said Gaddafi, who spoke through a translator and was dressed in purple robes and seated at a desk in front of a map of Africa.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook describes Libya’s government as: “Jamahiriyah (a state of the masses) in theory, governed by the populace through local councils; in fact, a military dictatorship.”

Gaddafi said Libya’s new openness would not lead Libyans to covet what they do not have — on the contrary, he said, the rest of the world would soon be emulating Libya.

“Countries like the United States, India, China, the Russian Federation, are in bad need of this Jamahiriyah system,” he said. “This is a savior to them.”

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US will veto Olmert’s unilateral withdrawal

Monday, March 27th, 2006

By Ted Belman

According to the BBC, Israel ‘to consult US on borders’.

Olmert says that first Israelis will agree on acceptable borders then Israel will seek US recognition. Thus all his plans for withdrawal and borders are conditional on US approval. Quite a condition.

I have always believed that the US was micro-managing the location of the fence with this eventuality in mind. Although it resisted the fence from going further east from Ben Gurion Airport and the highway to Jerusalem, I am sure it recognizes the importance of this for final borders. Secondly the US has always resisted development of E1 and the attachment of Ma’aleh Adumin to Jerusalem. It also was against the retention of Ariel. Will it change its stance on this now? Only if it is changing its stance on a two state plan. Thus it would confirm the end of the Roadmap and the end of “Palestine” as a sovereign state.

From Olmert’s point of view he has the best of both worlds. He has attracted voters to the left with his platform of withdrawal and has attracted voters to the right with his declared intention to keep Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumin. He knows full well that it all depends on the US. It is doubtful he will execute his withdrawal platform without US approval.

Such an approval was obtained from the US to the Gaza Disengagement with a doubtful commitment to Israel retaining the settlement blocks.

Will the US play ball? Not at all.

Continue reading…


Vive la révolution des fonctionnaires!

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

Thousands of French students have taken to the streets to… protest for cushy jobs? Au moment m√™me o√Ļ vous avez pens√© ce ne pourrait pas devenir plus mauvais. Well, it has. Much worse. France’s economy is sluggish, sporting a whopping 10% unemployment rate, precisely because of the stiff and rigid sentiments of the student protestors. There’s nothing Bohemian (“lib√©ral”) about them; precisely the opposite. Dynamic economies flourish. State-controlled economies decline. From the BBC:

To the barricades, they went, these revolutionaries, to fight for their rights – to pensions, mortgages and a steady job.

Such odd revolutionaries. No heartfelt cry to change the world, but a plea for everything to stay the same.

For France to remain in its glorious past: a time of full employment and jobs for life – a paternalistic state to take care of them from cradle to grave. …

So what brought this on? On the surface, a new youth employment contract, aimed at helping young people get their first job – no easy task in a country with 10% unemployment, but almost one in four out of work among the young.

It’s contract that would allow employers to take a chance, to hire a youngster in the knowledge that the trial period could be up to two years long, and the normal French restrictions on firing would not apply.

The new rules are a cake walk. A two year probation during which normal firing rules wouldn’t apply. That’s not an overbearing requirement. It should be easy for any well-qualified candidate to perform well for 2 years. And both employer and employee will have sufficient time to figure out if things are going smoothly — especially if the employee is willing to prove him or herself with hard work and fastidiousness. Sounds rather reasonable.

Voici la piece de resistance:

A recent survey suggested that for most of the young in France, the real dream is to become a civil servant – a fonctionnaire. To work in government offices with regular hours, long holidays, and a 35 hour working week.

Yes, the good old days. They want to walk into their bureaucratic offices, kick their shoes off, and get paid for relaxing — putting in the minimal effort. The problem is, that attitude leads to low revenues, poor performance, and angry customers, which is precisely why the new employment contract has been enacted. Isn’t it just plain common sense that an employee should perform well or move on?

The World Bank Group now estimates that French hiring and firing procedures take twice as much effort as in OECD countries as a whole (OECD – Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). On the OECD rankings for “Ease of Doing Business,” France ranks a mere 44th out of 155 OECD countries, with New Zealand #1, Singapore #2, United States #3, Lithuania #15, … Jamaica #43.

In other words, these protestors wish to drag the whole nation down so some can have lifetime security — and let the others eat cake, to paraphrase Marie Antoinette. Ne pensant pas collectivement, sommes-nous? Or, to frame it in the language of “la r√©volution,” bourgeois petit. If state control and lifetime security were viable economic models, then Cuba and the USSR would now rule the world (“Cuba is a low-income, food-deficit country,” according to the UN; the USSR doesn’t even exist anymore; DOH!).

On the other hand, dynamic economies, most notably the U.S., create enormous prosperity, but require that citizens take a little risk. The evidence?

The U.S. economy has created 5 million new jobs since August 2003; gross domestic product grew 3.5 percent in 2005; worker productivity has increased at a 3.4% annual rate since 2001; manufacturing activity has increased for 33 consecutive months; inflation has remained at a tame 2.1% over the last year; personal income has grown 8.2% since 2001; and, the U.S. is at or near full employment (those looking for work are finding work).

American orders for durable goods jumped 2.6% in February, the fourth increase over the last five months. Durable goods are defined as products with a normal life expectancy of three years or more, like furniture, aircraft, computers, and automobiles. I could go on and on and on…

Il est facile de parler du “socialisme.” It is quite another thing to create true prosperity.

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Pope Strikes a Blow for Hong Kong Democracy

Friday, March 24th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

Pope Benedict XVI has struck a blow against Beijing’s communist dictators and in support of democracy in Hong Kong. The Pope promoted Hong Kong’s Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, an outspoken critic of China’s tyrants, from bishop to cardinal. From the BBC:

…the cardinal has always been an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, and he has given few signs that he will soften his approach now he is in a more high-profile position. …

After Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997, his outspoken support for democracy put him in direct opposition to Beijing.

He played a high-profile role in the mass pro-democracy rally of July 2003, and became one of the spiritual and moral voices of the democrats.

He has openly criticised the Beijing-backed chief executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang – a good friend and practising Catholic – for his eagerness to please Beijing, and his failure to push for a democratic Hong Kong.

Supporters of democracy in Hong Kong have worked peaceably for freedom. They deserve our support.

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