Saturday, July 28, 2007

In the news: Gordon Brown, boiled Islamofanatic and Shambo the bull

■ Prime Minister Gordon Brown is wasting no time in undoing many Blair-era policies. Brown intends to reclassify cannabis as a Class B drug, ruled out the construction of a supercasino in Manchester, promises to review 24-hour drinking laws with the possible intent of overturning them, and pledges to tighten border control and kick out 4,000 foreign criminals. So far, so very good. But we can only hope that action, not mere words, will be Brown's biggest policy. We had plenty of words under Blair and his Labour cohorts, but never much action.
■ Recently, Al-Qaeda mastermind Dhiren Barot was attacked by other inmates with boiling water in Frankland Prison, in the northeast of England. The result? He spent five days recuperating in hospital and received round-the-clock police protection while there. Isn't that heartwarming? We allow terrorists constant police protection while hard-working people living in rough areas receive none. If this country had any fortitude at all, we'd have thrown Barot into solitary confinement for five days and let him recuperate there—and if he died, he died. But no, we waste money and medical resources on this vile piece of crap. No wonder Al-Qaeda sees the West as weak and vulnerable to attack. I'd never thought I'd have reson to say something like this but kudos to the prisoners of Frankland Prison and jeers to the police and the Government. It's slightly worrying that jailbirds have a better idea how to deal with terrorists than the people in power.
■ What a difference a year makes: This time last year, we were having temperatures way up into the 90s (F) and groundwater, aquifer and reservoir levels were so depleted that Thames Water instituted water restrictions. People were actually doing rain dances. Now there's not a single person in Britain who wouldn't give their left arm in order to ensure that it didn't rain a single drop again for the rest of the year. I certainly wouldn't mind if I never saw slick pavement or a puddle again for the rest of my life. Apparently, our pathetic summer is being caused by an unusually low trough in the jet stream. Whereas it normally levels out across northern Scandanavia during the summer, this year it has dipped all the way across Britain and into the English Channel. Hence, our horribly cool and wet summer. In other words, this is the mother of all low pressure systems.
■ I was wrong about Shambo, the sacred bull cow of the Skanda Vale Temple in Wales. Although a High Court judge originally granted a reprieve to Shambo, another judge overturned the decision and the slaughter notice was re-instated. The judge who re-instated the decision to kill the bull said it was justified even though Shambo's slaughter would be considered by the community as a sacrilegious act and "a very grave and serious interference with their religious rights." After all, Shambo was so wildly contagious that, as the Temple notes on its website, "[n]one of the officials took any meaningful biosecurity measures. No gloves were worn, no disinfectant was used when entering or leaving the pen and a trail of straw was left littering the ground outside Shambo's pen." The real loser, of course, is not Shambo, but the Temple and the Hindu Community which worships there. The Temple also wrote on their page: "The Welsh Assembly Government have committed the most violent and ignorant act of sacrilege against our Religion and desecration of our Temple in destroying an innocent and sacred life. What a sad day to see our government behaving with such gross ignorance." While some British police concerned themselves with the fate of boiled jihadic madman, others dragged away Hindu worshippers forming a human chain around Shambo's pen. What a country!
■ It's no wonder that pitcher Curt Schilling commands such respect given his work ethic. But if his blood-soaked socks from the 2004 playoffs and World Series aren't testament enough to that, his condemnation of drug-abusing cheaters is. Schilling spoke out against Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Raphael Palmeiro and other cheaters, saying their refusals to address accusations of steroids equalled guilt. "If someone wrote that stuff about me and I didn't sue their [butt] off, am I not admitting that there's some legitimacy to it?" Schilling rhetorically asked sportscaster Bob Costas. Schilling also said that nothing Canseco or Palmeiro did during their playing career should count. This needed to be said and Schilling was the right man to say it. You can also count on Curt Schilling to hold everyone's feet to the fire. The man is the soul of baseball.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

If Libya wants her, then insha Allah, Libya can have her

Get a load of this whiny-ass letter in today's Daily Mail newspaper. I have tweaked the letter a bit, using alternative words or changing words around in some places, because it is now property of the newspaper and I'm too lazy to get permission to publish it here verbatim. But that shouldn't be an impediment to the letter-writer's point:
As a half-Arab, half-English 19-year-old Muslim girl, I am appalled by terrorism, although I wouldn't walk around wearing a badge stating that fact.
I'm not an "extremist," but I've endured two attacks in my local area, both times by white youths—simply because they did not approve of my skin color and my Islamic dress.
I've also had no end of names and curses thrown my way, simply for being dressed in Islamic clothing and a niqab.
I could wear a badge announcing that I'm a Muslim who opposes terrorism, but it would no doubt be singled out for yet more abuse from white thugs. It's pretty awful that I don't feel welcome in my own country.
I've spent time in my other country, Libya, and the difference is remarkable. Nobody stares at me or insults me. I'm starting to give up on this country. The reprehensible behavior of its people is slowly driving people away.

Now, dear reader, once you've stopped playing that violin concerto in D minor and wiped the tears from your eyes, you may start to ask yourself some relevant questions:
■ So she's suffered some attacks in her local area by whites? Is her area predominantly white? That might just explain it. One notable cause of unrest involving Muslims in this country (in 2005) was not instigated by whites nor did it involve any white folk. The riots were touched off by Afro-Caribbean or British blacks who felt marginalized, pushed aside and threatened by the Muslim Asians in their community. There is also this little example of non-white attacks against Muslims in Britain. Yet, the letter-writer seems to imply that only white Britons feel antagonistic toward Muslims like her. The truth is whites, blacks, Hindus, Sikhs, orientals—anyone who is not Muslim—might feel antagonistic when they see her in her Islamic garb and be prone to attack her, physically or verbally.
■ She won't wear a badge proclaiming her opposition to terrorism? Why not? And just how would it invite more anti-Islamic abuse, by whites or others? If I saw a Muslim wearing a badge announcing his or her antipathy towards the jihadists, I'd say, "Well, good for you, and aren't you courageous! I'm glad to have met you!" Unless I'm missing something important, I can't think how making clear one's disgust with terrorists would cause them trouble with white people or anyone else who wasn't a terrorist themselves.
■ She finds herself much more accepted and liked in Libya? Hmmm, let's work this one out, shall we? Is Libya a Muslim country? Yes. Do women there wear Islamic clothing? Yes. Therefore, would anyone who is a Muslim and wears Islamic clothing be accepted and smiled upon in Libya? Why yes! What's so difficult for anyone to grasp about this and why should it come as any surprise?
If the letter-writer wants to live in Libya, more power to her. But if she stays here in the U.K., she needs to smarten up and toughen up as well. She may be personally opposed to jihadic terrorism, but she must accept that her own religious community is responsible for it. And, if her faith is so important to her, why doesn't she feel any responsibility to shout down the fanatics that pollute her religion?
But no, she'd rather blame blue-eyed devils for their understandable suspicion of her or anyone like her rather than acknowledge the fanaticism running rampant throughout the British Muslim community.
If you do decide to leave, young madam, then don't let the door hit you on your burqa'd behind on your way out.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A bumper-sticker made my day

While dodging traffic on my way home from work this morning, I saw a bumper-sticker that was, without question, the best I have ever seen in this country. It read:
The government doesn't like competition

Imagine that, here in socialist Britain of all places! Amazing!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Homeowners' blues in B-flat

Swings and roundabouts, Squirrel says.
If you rent a place, the landlord is obliged to carry out repairs free of charge, but you're always conscious of the fact that your home is never really yours. However, as good as it is to be a homeowner, everything is your own responsibility to fix and it all comes out of your own pocket.
Last year, our boiler needed replacing. But we didn't know this at the time. So we had a new water pump and valve installed, which we hoped would solve the problem. It didn't; it was a waste of £500. After suffering through an entire winter of nothing but space heaters to warm our rooms up, we realized that not only had we been misled, lied to and had highway robbery committed against us, but that we also had no choice but to install a new boiler. The cost: £2,000. We both needed to renew our loans to recover from that charge.
Shortly after this fiasco, we noticed our bathtub was sinking and the toilet was leaking. Emergency repairs were carried out on the toilet, but we knew it was only a temporary measure. Then, a few months later, the bathtub actually cracked and, as a result, water was leaking into the disused space below us. And so we recently had a new bathroom suite installed: new tub, new toilet, new sink. And it's great. It's wonderful. But it cost £350 and the floor is bare due to the fact that they had to take away the carpet.
Now we're looking to re-carpet the bathroom—and our foyer while we're at it. This is also good as the bathroom carpet was filthy and the foyer carpet is only slightly less so. But it means more money to be spent and more workmen in our apartment during hours when I'm supposed to be curled up, dragon-style, in bed. (You can bet that once the new carpet is laid down, Squirrel and I are going to institute a strict no-shoes policy in the flat.)
Then there are some electrical problems, such as burned-out wiring in the bedroom which renders our overhead light worthless and strip-lighting in the kitchen which needs to be fixed. We'd like to get the living room and bedroom carpets professionally cleaned. The windows need washing.
It's always liberating to come home to a place that is truly yours. The only caveat is, if you own property, you find out that the responsibilities of claiming your own spot in the world can sometimes really do your head in.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hey, ho, Shambo won't go!

Everyone knows I'm fond of animals, so it's no surprise that I'd react with glee at the news that Shambo the Bull received a reprieve from slaughter by the National Assembly of Wales.
But there's another, totally different reason why I'm gladened by Shambo's new lease on life.
For years now, the British Government has been placating Muslims to the extent that some communities in this supposedly Western country are operating under sharia law. The government is so afraid of the big bad Islamic bogeyman that if a Muslim complains about a cartoon pig or the swirl of a Burger King ice cream looking like the word "Allah" written in the Arabic alphabet, immediate action is taken. In fact, I would say that when Muslims demand "bend over," the Government asks "how far?", but alas, I know that jihad applies to homosexuals as well. But you get the point, dear reader. It hardly matters anymore who's doing the raping—be it an imam or government official—we're all getting fucked up the back passage, at least those of us who believe in freedom with brains uncontaminated by psychotic prophets or political correctness.
Yet, until recently, a regional government of Britain wanted to tell the Hindu community where to get off. You can hear the National Assembly of Wales' line of thought here: "Well, you people are Hindu. You're peaceful. You don't go around declaring jihad or bombing anyone. So what are you gonna do if we slaughter your sacred cow?"
I can understand the assembly's concern about disease, but Shambo is limited to his own containment pen at the Skanda Vale Temple. He does not have contact with any other cattle, or any other animals at all. How exactly is he going to spread tuberculosis to other animals?
Wales, like any other country, has the unpleasant job of eradicating diseased animals lest they cause an epidemic, but Shambo was unlikely to be the cause of such. The Assembly was faced with two choices: either defer the implementation of its slaughter notice on Shambo or petition the Government to reverse its policy of appeasement toward the Muslim community so that Shambo's slaughter would not look as if it was riding roughshod over British Hindus. Naturally, the Assembly opted for the former.
The Government's policy of appeasement toward jihad-crazy Muslims remains a challenge, but at least another religious community in Britain dared to have a victory at the expense of insensitive bureaucrats.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why do we tolerate junkies?

Just how much tolerance is society expected to show for those who keep stumbling on their own self-inflicted weaknesses and often causing misery and hell for others in the process? More to the point, why should we tolerate them at all? The Daily Telegraph's Jan Moir asks these relevant questions with regard to drug addicts.
She begins her column by discussing the plight of Ronnie Ramsay, the brother of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. For nearly two decades, Gordon stood by his brother, helping him, giving him the support he needed. Ultimately, however, he asked himself: am I simply enabling this guy? Ronnie never seemed to learn and so the irascible chef finally said "enough is enough" and is content to leave Ronnie to face his fate at the hands of Indonesian authorities alone. Gordon Ramsay may be a foul-mouthed prick who I would normally pay good money to see beaten into the pavement, but in this instance I feel sympathy for him. He's simply taken too much bunk from his self-destructive sibling.
We are encouraged by our politically correct overlords to feel sorry for druggies, to see them as hapless souls who simply need a little encouragement from society. But, when you consider that a very large and still exponentially increasing bulk of crime is committed by junkies, in the words of Moir, "the sympathetic, liberal portrayal of them as a luckless lot brought low by reduced circumstances and foreshortened futures is wearing very, very thin." Amen to that.
Our apartment was burgled by a druggie loser back in February. I don't care what he's been through, what sort of life he's had, how badly he's addicted to whatever shit he pumps into his tortured veins. I just don't want him or his type ever darkening our doorstep again (and he's very lucky I didn't catch him in the act). But he—or his kind—probably will return in the near future for another try, given that the laws in this country suggest that a man's home is no longer his castle. If we get some junkie fucker entering our home, we're expected to just shrug and say to ourselves, "Well, after all, we've had opportunities open to us that that poor chap probably never will. He's not robbing us, he's simply availing himself of his own opportunities." (And to think that my American friends often wonder why I nearly blow a gasket every time they tell me, "oh, you're so lucky to live in England!")
We are not our brother's keeper—literally so in Gordon Ramsay's case. People shown leniency for their destructive faults more often than not take that as an excuse to keep getting high, keep committing crimes, keep lowering the quality of life for every single decent person unfortunate to be around them.
If they're not exactly committing crimes, drug abusers put on a show of self-indulgence that pushes friends and family alike to the limit. Or, in the case of rock stars and other associated cretins celebrities, they encourage their feeble-minded fans to live a similar lifestyle, to partake in the ol' "if it feels good, do it" ethos which, to be fair, even the schools indoctrinate children with these days. So it's really no surprise to find the 18-to-25 crowd routinely passed out in gutters or arguing with lampposts every night and almost every place you look.
Indeed, it's a little too much to expect the law to crack down on ordinary junkies when the biggest junkie ringleader of them all, Pete Doherty, never gets punished. He squirts his own filthy blood at a German photographer, he's present at an apartment where a probably heavily intoxicated man died by falling off a balcony, he drives around intoxicated on too many Class A drugs to name offhand, and he always walks away a free man, free to fail rehab over and over and over again, all the while encouraging kids who listen to his "music" and his "poetry" and cannot think for themselves to act as idiotic as him.
However, if there's one shred of good news to this, it's that Ronnie Ramsay is going to learn the hard way. The Indonesian authorities, who don't give a flying fluffernutter about a lawbreaker's multitude of so-called "human rights," will see to that. That is in stark contrast to a druggie jailbird's experience in Britain which, as Moir explains, involves "[being] given disinfectant tablets with which to clean their syringes, in an attempt to protect their human right not to suffer blood poisoning."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Think locally, act locally: Time for the Right to hijack environmentalism

BOSTON, U.S.A.—About a month ago, Britain's The Daily Telegraph published an op-ed column entitled "You don't have to be Red to be Green." It was written by two (British) Conservatives, Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell, who kicked off their piece by asking, "Why should environmentalism be left to the Left? Aren't conservatives, as the etymology suggests, obvious conservationists?"
This is what I have long always thought and argued. I am not only interested in conserving the tried-and-true ways of education, law and order, and societal norms, but the environment as well. I'm a conservative, thus I am a conservationist as well. I don't like rapid change, either socially or environmentally. The environment is the sort of thing I like to leave up to nature.
It's really odd because the Left is normally quite misanthropic: the whole death culture reigns among liberals—abortion being their banner cause—and mankind is blamed for every conceivable ill afflicting the planet. Yet at the same time, they advocate a cleaner environment for people. Well, what better way to achieve population control than to let third-world people starve or bake to death via global warming? Why advocate anything that will enhance people's lives and help them to live longer? Just let the city-dwellers drop dead from carcinogenic pollutants.
Then you have those on the Right to whom the environment is a mere commodity, to be subjugated along with animals, women and homosexuals, and something that should never be a barrier to their comfortable, live-for-today lifestyle. Plastic packaging? More of it, we the people demand our food fresh! Global warming? Hell with that, don't dare tell me I can't have an SUV with which to scare sissy Nissan drivers! Trees? Who needs 'em when you can have paper? Recycling? Something only tu-tu wearing, tree-hugging fairies do! Just throw it all away. Haven't you heard, there's a big hole into which it all disappears! Why worry? Oh, and did you know that the Earth is flat? You probably thought it was round, you goddarned sissy!
For too long, we've had the hippy-dippy, grubby, grungy socialists on one side demanding, as Hannan and Carswell write, "slower growth, higher taxes, more regulation, less freedom and a loss of national sovereignty." In other words, members of the Great Unwashed who, laughably or sadly, expect to be taken seriously. But then we've also had the Right-wing, "this is God's Land, goddamnit" types who would point a gun at you if you simply asked them if they recycle or whether or not they take showers as opposed to baths, while screaming at you to stop impinging on their freedom.
But aren't those on the Right more concerned about people than those on the Left? Doesn't the Right want healthy, strong American children? The problem is, if you live simply for today and don't worry about the impact on the Earth come tomorrow, you're leaving future American generations to deal with an even larger mess. I continually get frustrated at my fellow conservatives who just shrug when you ask them about the environment.
The problem is, as Hannan and Carswell write, "much contemporary environmentalism, in short, is intrinsically anti-localist: it prefers state regulation to voluntary action, and international treaties to local initiatives. Perhaps understandably, some on the Right have come to suspect the Green agenda is a front for a Red one. For much of the 1980s and 1990s, this was the attitude taken by conservatives throughout the English-speaking world. In consequence, the mainstream Right left the entire filed to a mob of elflocked anti-globalisation demonstrators. Few bothered to suggest free-market or localist solutions to environmental problems."
The free market may be responsible for its own waste but it's only because people don't hold businesses' feet to the fire. Plastic carrier bags could disappear for good tomorrow if people only held local protests in their communities and if that sentiment carried across from community to community on a nationwide basis, as it inexorably would.
Hannan and Carswell provide good examples of free market environmentalism: "When rich people buy swathes of rainforest, they make sure that no-one degrades their property. When, by contrast, Sting made over a chunk of the Amazon to its indigenous population, local chiefs promptly set about reducing their tribes to near-slavery, and started logging and mining on an unprecedented scale. Why? Because, as in the old USSR, the land was owned communally, not privately. Now look a little closer to home. The EU's Common Fisheries Policy is run on the socialist principle of equal access to a common resource and, sure enough, it has led to ecological calamity. Iceland, on the other hand, has worked out an ingenious quota system that effectively privatised fish stocks, giving each skipper a stake. Its waters are teeming."
Those on the Right need to put an end to this attitude that all environmental initiatives must automatically be socialist in character. A cleaner environment makes for a healthier, happier population and is in character with the tendency to conserve the status quo.
"'Think global, act local,' say the Greenies," write Hannan and Carswell. "Left-wingers are good at the first bit, coming up with all manner of symbolic targets that require big, supranational technocracies. But the second bit is generally best performed by those who believe in devolving power to local communities and individual citizens."
Exactly so. It is time to wrestle the environmental agenda away from the Left if we truly want to be free. I beseech my fellow conservatives to take environmental issues seriously and appeal to the groundswell of support for them. Let's not continue to let the Left hijack this support for themselves. We will lose out if we do. If we have so much faith in the free market, then let's start proving it by demonstrating how local services and incentives can transform a nation's environmental policy—and, ultimately, that of the world's.

Ballgame commercials and "four things" meme

I tried to watch the All-Star Game tonight, but quickly realized how annoying commercials are, especially during televised ballgames—all those beer and fast-food ads. The beer ads I can understand, though. As irritating as they are, beer commercials speak to all baseball fans; who doesn't enjoy a cold one while watching a game? But to think that some people actually stuff burgers and fries down their cakeholes while watching multi-millionaire athletes strutting around the field is a bit disturbing. What the hell kind of message does this send? If you're not good enough to play for a Major League team and earn the annual equivalent of Spain's gross national product, then you might as well pack on the pounds while watching Major League Baseball? I don't get it; I don't think I ever will. But, alas, as with much of society these days, we're dealing with pure idiot logic. Then you've got all those bank and insurance and mortgage and prescription drug commercials which get so much airtime over the course of a three-hour game that you pretty much know the entire scripts by heart, word-for-word. You could recite them in your sleep. I'm actually feeling pretty good that I don't get to watch ballgames much anymore. Sometimes I just want to run away and hide forever from this awful consumerism.
Then there was the specter of watching the San Francisco fans cheering on Super Cheater, Barry Bonds. It's just sickening. I know San Francisco people are from another universe altogether, but this just confirms it.

Anyway, I got tagged by Kristen to do a meme, so here you are:

Four jobs I’ve held:
1) Typist/transcribist for medical insurance company, Boston, MA, 1999-2000
2) Paginator (graphic layout designer) for newspaper franchise: Concord, Woburn, Lynn and Somerville, Massachusetts (I got around with this job!) most of 1995
3) Examinations Assistant for Undergraduate Medicine Office, Imperial College, London, 2002-2004
4) Sales assistant in domestics department at department store at a Greater Boston area mall, 1986 (hated it so much that I was glad to be fired from it!)

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over:
1) 2001: A Space Odyssey
2) Pulp Fiction
3) Major League
4) Eight Men Out

Four Places I’ve Lived:
1) Boston, Massachusetts
2) Amherst, [Western] Massachusetts
3) London, England, U.K.
haven't lived anywhere else

Four Places I’ve Vacationed:
1) Chicago, Illinois
2) Boca Raton/Miami, Florida
3) Nice, France
4) Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Four of My Favorite Dishes:
1) Grilled fish (swordfish or tuna) with rice
2) Nachos with chopped tomatoes, refried beans and jalapeños
3) Minestrone soup with cheese sandwich
4) Pasta or gnocci with a good, thick tomato sauce

Four Sites I Visit Daily:
1) Wikipedia (no end of things that I'm curious to look up there)
2) or
3) Blogcritics
4) any number of pages on Blogger, including my own

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
1) Right here in my folks' home is fine! but
2) exploring Australia
3) exploring Alaska
4) With my own kind, in a lair far up high, well away from any human population.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

"We bow to no-one ..."

BOSTON, U.S.A.—Over the years, I've written many Independence Day pieces, but this one, written July 4, 2004, is my favorite, and it's still relevant. So, with only the slightest of alterations, I re-run it here in this space:

(Originally written July 4, 2004):
Although I agree with most historians that, technically, the true birth of America was 1789, when the Constitution was ratified (thus making the U.S. of A. only 218 years old), the Revolutionary War was won on this day. The British surrendered, leaving the colonies to make their own way in the world, independent of anyone else.
And that’s chiefly how the U.S. has always seen itself; we’ve always tended toward an isolationist view of the world. “Imperialism,” for which we stand unfairly accused today, is a relatively new concept for the American nation. War and violence being the American way is a concept that liberals will still bang on about 500 years from now; and Iraq will have been a prosperous nation for more than 490 of them.
Which, of course, leads me to the fact that we have to live with the specter of people who genuinely hate us, domestic and foreign. People who deride everything the U.S. does, accuses its people of being unworldly simpletons, and will gleefully await the day the nation falls into ruins like ancient Rome. These are the sorts of fools we must not allow ourselves to suffer gladly. We can only defeat the defeatist attitudes with hard historical facts.
And what are the facts? America survived the Revolution, pre-Constitutional infighting, another round with the British (the War of 1812), “Manifest Destiny,” a brutal Civil War, two World Wars, a nuclear missile crisis, competition with and victory over our only superpower rival, and the worst terrorist attack ever on our own soil. Our next test of survival will be fanatical Islam. We will win that battle too. And so will any other part of the world that has the smarts to side with us. Hell, we’ve even survived the Democratic Party thus far.
We stand tall and firm and bow to no-one. This is the American way. If some want to equate that with violence and imperialism, so be it. The U.S.A. began with a George W. installed in the highest office in the land. It will not end with the current George W.
The American nation even shares its flag colors with the two other classical democracies—Britain and France. Americans are not the only ones proud of our “red, white, and blue.” But our Stars and Stripes are no less spectacular or important.
My homeland is my pride and joy. I despise those who are eternally pessimistic and doubting of her.
God bless America in its 231st year of freedom.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Blame Saudi Arabia

BOSTON, U.S.A.—I arrived home from London in one piece, dear reader, and I'm very relieved that I made it out before the U.K.'s security level hit critical, vis-à-vis the failed car-bomb attempts and the attack at Glasgow airport. In fact, I first found out about the London car bombs courtesy of the CNN channel while standing in line at immigration control Friday evening. I'm hoping things will have calmed down enough to allow for me to fly home again later next week.
I'm currently reading America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It by Mark Steyn. He writes with humor, but the subject is serious enough—Steyn argues that only America will be strong enough to resist the insiduous takeover of the West by Islam. Europe has already capitulated to its Muslim population and so has Canada, so only America—and possibly Australia—have the werewithal to resist becoming part of the caliphate.
Steyn speaks what I consider to be the truth when he states that it's the Saudis who are behind the radical jihadic strain of Islam featuring so prominently in the West and Middle East alike. Steyn writes, "The Saudis fund mosques that radicalize distant Muslim populations from Indonesia to Oregon, and schools that turn out terrorists on every continent on the face of the Earth. They set up Islamic lobby groups that put spies in our military bases and terror recruiters in our prisons. They endow think tanks that buy up and neuter the massed ranks of retired diplomats, and assistant secretaries of state, and national security advisers."
Think about it. Radical Islam didn't arise in Pakistan or Iraq or Jordan. It didn't even start with the Palestinians. The Wahhabist strain of Islam originated in Saudi Arabia and it is this angry, war-like form of Islam that is polluting minds in Indonesia, in Pakistan and among young Muslims in Europe and Britain. Through their propaganda, Saudis are controlling these young minds who reject being French or British or Canadian in favor of being a radical Muslim. This, in a nutshell, is the problem.
Steyn continues: "In 1946, [the] first United States minister to Saudi Arabia was told by the country's founder, Ibn Saud, 'We will use your iron, but you will leave our faith alone.' ... American money and technology—invested in the oil industry—transformed Saudi Arabia's financial fortunes while leaving its faith and everything else alone ... Two trillion dollars poured into the House of Saud's treasury, and what did they do with it? Diversify the economy? Launch new industries? Open up the tourism sector? From the seventies onward, Saudi Arabia used their Yanqui dollars to export their faith even more widely than the oil. Instead of diversifying their industrial exports, they honed their ideological one, financing Islamic centers, mosques, and schools in Morocco, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Bosnia, Nigeria, Britain and America."
Thomas Friedman, the until-recently pro-war liberal, wrote in his 2003 book Longitudes and Attitudes that he was in Saudi Arabia for a journalists' conference when a Saudi man entered his hotel elevator. The Saudi man extended his hand and his offer of a handshake, the way Friedman interpreted it, was, in a post-9/11 world, his way of saying, "We (Saudis) still like you (Americans) and we hope you still like us." But, I'm with Steyn when we wrote, "The Saudis are our friends. No matter how many of us they kill."
And yet we continue to bow to their demands to "leave their faith alone" while propping them up with Yankee money. What's more important, their oil or our livelihood, our right to tell this jihad-sponsoring state to stuff it? I'm hoping that whoever gets elected to the Oval Office for 2008 will tell the Saudis to take a flying leap. We don't need their oil, for we're paying too steep a price for it and that price is not made of paper. Gordon Brown, the U.K.'s new prime minister, should do the same. Of course, where British-Saudi relations are concerned, the lastest scandal over the Saudi arms deal is not looking good. That's right, folks: as if purchasing the Saudis' oil, which made them rich enough to spread their jihadist propaganda across the world, isn't enough, Britain's Labour government saw fit to arm the Saudis as well!
Islam is not all bad and there are good, hard-working Muslims, both in the Middle East and the West. But it seems that moderate forms of Islam have all been hijacked in favor of this extreme, fundamentalist, Saudi-bankrolled fanaticism and that level-headed Muslims are in the minority.
The Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Turki al-Faisal, is quoted on the hardcover book-jacket: "The arrogance of Mark Steyn knows no bounds." Actually, Sayyid al-Faisal, when it comes to arrogance, your people wrote the book, not Mr. Steyn. Your kingdom has a lot to answer for.