April 29, 2005

A Bubble From Boas

by Jerome du Bois

A lot of bloggers appeared to be impressed by Phil Boas's recent piece in The Masthead, "Bloggers: The Light At The End Of The Newspapers' Tunnel." I am not impressed, as I blogged about in "Brave Words." I won't repeat myself here, just point to Mr. Boas's most recent contribution to his pseudoblog --a "Quick Hit," they call it:

Quick hit for the day

Apr. 27, 2005 12:00 AM

'What's new pussycat, whoa, whoa'

Feeling nostalgic, I was listening to classic rock radio and made a discovery. The worst song ever recorded is without a doubt What's New, Pussycat? by Tom Jones. It's the harmonic convergence of bad music, bad lyrics and the cheesiest lounge singer hell ever concocted. It is irresistibly repulsive, the perfect distillation of all that is vile.

--PHIL BOAS, deputy editorial page editor

I strain in vain to name a subject more trivially irrelevant than this thin thought bubble. That doesn't stop azcentral.com from publishing a rebuke of Mr. Boas's position in this morning's edition, objecting to his use of the word "vile." Are we now waiting for his defense?

Of all the topics in all the categories in all the world, he picks a pop song to try to tug my sleeve with.

You need to read your own article again, Phil.

I sure did. Thanks for the advice.

(And, fellow bloggers, let's not be so pathetically grateful every time somebody from big media notices us. We are already overwhelmingly unignorable.)

Posted by Jerome at 08:10 AM | TrackBack

April 27, 2005

WILD IRISH

wildirish.jpg

Flower Arrangement and Photography by Catherine King.

Posted by Jerome at 07:20 PM | TrackBack

April 25, 2005

They Left Their Huevos In Mexico

by Jerome du Bois

Two Hispanics on pluggedin have weighed in on the Sgt Patrick Haab alien detention. The first is George Diaz, Jr., a public affairs consultant --aka, lobbyist. He spins himself silly. The second, Salvador Reza, is a Reconquista. He wants to erase the borders and establish "La Republica del Norte" --that's right, he's one of those guys who, like an aged drag queen proudly displaying a ratty, nearly-featherless feather boa, still pathetically flourishes the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo-- and thus promote the death of the rule of law and the United States itself. (Just like Ward Churchill and John Jota Leaños. Reza doesn't mention this seditious political position in his little diatribe; that particular information is here, for example.) I'll be fisking both of these dishonest men after the jump. But first:

Neither one mentions that all seven men in the Haab showdown were criminals every moment they were on United States soil. (Mr. Diaz actually claims that the felony, if there was one, took place hundreds of miles from Haab. That's nuts. The men carry the crime with them. Trespass isn't a snapshot at the border; that's where trespass begins.) I'll go further: these six males were cowards from the moment they turned heel, deserted their country, their heritage, their families, and their history, and started North. Picture it:

On one side, seven men who have surrendered their huevos, their money and their uncertain futures to an untrustworthy compatriot to run from their native country instead of fighting for it against the oligarchies and corrupt politicians and the drug crime families. "Men" who don't deserve the honorific --who will run, hide, crouch, scuttle, scurry, skitter, crawl, wriggle, eat dirt, trespass, steal, and draw blood to get safely to somewhere in America --the further to hide, run, and trespass. Whose spines bend easily, the better to kiss their masters' asses for the almighty dollar. Pendejos, every one, and every person who supports them. (Harsh? Name one here who fights for a free Mexico. Hmmm? I thought so.)

Standing before them, a completely alert, professionally-trained American soldier, the strong, straight exemplar of a 200-year tradition of armed freedom, who knows every single rule of engagement and every degree of use of his sidearm. (And what kind of lethality might have been stashed in the aliens' SUV.) A sergeant trained in civil affairs who has served in both Kosovo and Iraq, Patrick Haab had intercultural communication (my own college major) down. He had no problem communicating with these clowns in their own language, and they didn't have a chance against his confident authority. They knew, by the tone of his voice, that his word was his bond.

This disparity of confidence, I submit, is at the psychological basis of the whining and sniping you'll find in Mr. Diaz's piece, and the hysterical harrumphing in Mr. Reza's. ("Amateur Hour," Reza titles his piece.) They looked at Haab and saw a couple of things they might be missing when they look down at themselves. In Mr. Diaz's case --I'll get to Reza later-- let me support my assertion by this quote from an article by Robert Anglen in Friday's Arizona Republic, which begins on the front page, below the fold, then jumps to A17:

"Dropping charges is going to justify more ignorant actions like that of Patrick Haab," said George Diaz, a Phoenix activist.

Ignorant. Hey, George, I don't know if you have any military background, but Sgt Haab's actions were anything but ignorant. He controlled the situation. You, sir, along with Sheriff Joe Arpaio --who also didn't think of the threat of weapons in the SUV-- are the ignorant ones. You cannot stand next to his example. He shames you both. It's as simple as that.

[As for Arpaio's role in this: It ought to be obvious that Sgt Haab was merely the first pawn in the power game between that corrupt old dragon and the new kid in town. Arpaio put Sgt Haab in jail for four days, the bastard. He belongs in one of his own cells.]

Now, readers, picture Haab unarmed. Oh, wait, you don't have to, because we have Matthew Sharrar's example.

Another Iraqi veteran. Another rush out of the dark by illegal Mexican aliens. Only this time they were armed, they shot into an occupied trailer at a campground, they robbed Matthew Sharrar at gunpoint and stole his vehicle. They drove it back to Mexico and it ended up totaled. Mr. Sharrar and his father, who boasts the wonderful name Flash, have now formed a new MMP-type group, The Yuma Patriots. That's the American way. We encourage their efforts.

Do I have to note that neither Mr. Diaz nor Mr. Reza mention this armed robbery of an American citizen? Of course not. Why should they care about him? He wasn't a violent criminal from a half-lawless country; he was a stand-up American guy who walked the walk for his stand-up country.

And by the way, highway robbery and worse with illegals mixed up right in the middle is not new here in Arizona.

Now let's examine how these two political operators try to turn the dials on us.

I'll fisk the Diaz as we read along. On his bio-blurb page he says he voted for W., and that he admires both Thomas Jefferson and Pat Tillman. Hard to believe. (I don't share his admiration for Cesar Chavez.) The title is "Get The Mexicans," and the subtitle is "You've got the green light. Now go get your gun." It was published online Friday, April 22, 2005.

The headlines at The Redneck Reporter today read, "OK To Hold Mexicans At Gunpoint." A total pardon for Patrick Haab is like setting out a welcome mat for vigilantes. Now the chaos really starts.

There is no such headline because there is no such publication. Mr. Diaz begins his piece with a fragment of completely irrelevant racist fiction. Is it supposed to be funny? Isn't saying redneck like saying wetback? Yes, it is. But the editor (Phil Boas?) okayed its use. (Later he refers to "yahoos.") That's a tell, as they say in The House of Games.

A total pardon for Patrick Haab

Whoa. "Pardon" is a precise word which implies the commission of a crime. The charges against Sgt Haab were dismissed by the time this column was published. (See above.)

is like setting out a welcome mat for vigilantes. Now the chaos really starts.

I can hear his knees knocking together already, as he imagines the whispering shuck of thousands of black-barrelled shotguns locking and loading with buckshot, the millions of metallic insect clicks of safeties gone unsafe on shining silver handguns all along the watchtower, can't you hear the thundering hooves of their foaming stallions?! Run for your cojones! But it's all fake knuckle-chewing, like a helpless heroine in a silent reel, swooning melodramatically as she points to the moustachioed villain.

Already you can probably tell I'm more than a little disappointed by County Attorney Andy Thomas' decision not to prosecute Patrick Haab, but you should be too, even if you are not or could not be confused for a Mexican. Why?

Because if you fall into any potential category that is unpopular with the majority now, could be unpopular with the majority in the future, or could be confused for either, you too could be the exception too, [sic] "equal protection under the law".

This is the clinical definition of paranoia, but he's just using it as a device. He acts as if the Nuremberg Laws have been reinstated: "They're coming for you next!" This is tripe. What "majority?" Is it a monolith? If not, what coalitions constitute this entity, and why are they unified into this majority? No explanation; the word is just a placeholder: Them. You know, as in Conspiracy Theory --They. Them.

This man is a lobbyist, which means verbal hired gun, which means that he can schmooze with the best of them, talk up one side and down the other, walk between the raindrops, smooth his silk necktie during the weekdays and eat mama's menudo con gusto on Sundays. As my wife says, you don't need a DJ to know which way the spin goes. He's turning the usual tired liberal dials.

Even the many American-born Hispanics who aggressively resent illegal immigration because of the perception that it negatively impacts their own status will only briefly celebrate Thomas' decision. Once they realize they could be mistaken for this underclass and become victims they may do something crazy - like vote.

First, there's no "perception" about it: American-born Hispanics should be on the front lines of strong immigration reform if they don't want these waves of criminals "negatively impacting" their "status." We all should be. (My stepson is half-Mexican. Two of my grandchildren are part-Hispanic.) The illegals are dragging us all down, in many ways, diverting our energies from more productive paths.

Second, does Mr. Diaz really believe that he, as a typical example of his typical example, would be "mistaken for this underclass"? Again, this is tripe. Mr. Diaz knows exactly where he stands in his highly polished shoes, and when he lays his head down to sleep at night, the last thing he considers himself is a victim, except when he whips out the scare quotes.

Of course, every citizen should be a voter.

In yesterday's press conference Thomas repeatedly described Haab as lucky. My instinct tells me anyone on the wrong side of the mob mentality would not have been so lucky.

Haab, a single person (at the start of this encounter), was no mob, so who could Diaz be referring to? Seven men rushing a lone man from the darkness at a rest stop might be defined as a mob, but again that's not who Diaz is referring to. Still, I think Haab was both lucky and prepared. And, Mr. Diaz, when we reason, we set our "instincts" aside. What your "instinct" tells you, or us, is worthless. We're trying to have a rational, adult discussion here.

Haab's act was violent but apparently within the limits of what publicly is acceptable. Makes me wonder what is not acceptable. When a vigilante draws a weapon on someone and is killed by that someone because they feared for their life, will that be acceptable?

No, Mr. Stupid Question Man, because we refuse the question. Makes me wonder what you consider acceptable. Let's see: The seven men rush out of the darkness. Sgt Haab stands there and does nothing. The seven men do . . . what? What did they want, Mr. Diaz? Why did they approach Sgt Haab? What were their intentions? Were they interested in a friendly game of dominos? Think!

Or how about this scenario: it's night at Sunset Point, nearly deserted, and you, George Diaz, Jr., emerge from using the facilities and step over to the railing to gaze out over the valley and enjoy the quiet darkness. Then car doors slam and a crowd of six or seven guys come silently toward you down the dimly-lit walk. Nobody else around. Are they a mob? How do you feel? (I know: whip out the Samsung!)

A lack of justice will drive militancy. Militancy will escalate violence. It should have all stopped yesterday.

A double standard for prosecuting violent crimes has evolved. All that is missing now are the internment camps.

Well, that didn't take long. How far we've come, and how fast. (Too many viewings of The Seige, maybe.) From a single incident --or maybe he means the MMP, too-- to internment camps in a single step. Again, this is sloppy, stupid talk. Get an English dictionary. The first three sentences in this clip have no real human subjects or actors. Things are driven and escalated and should have stopped, but by whom? What is "militancy?" Armed anger? So? I'm armed and I'm angry, but nobody needs to fear me unless they come up on me or mine with harmful intent. It's called self-control. As for the sentence, "It should have all stopped yesterday," that's pure kumbayada-yada-yada.

One of Mr. Diaz's problems is his contempt for his fellow human beings. He seems to believe most folks (or is it just those who belong to the hegemony of the American Empire?) are barely-controlled pit bulls, just waiting for a chance to tear someone a new one. Well, look around: we're not. Stop the histrionics. Stop presuming that people are as paranoid as you pose, Mr. Diaz. (I know it's a pose.)

Thomas justifies Haab's actions by citing 13-3884, 13-410 and 13-3881. Here they are for your review with my comments.

13-3884. Arrest by private person

A private person may make an arrest:

1. When the person to be arrested has in his presence committed a misdemeanor amounting to a breach of the peace, or a felony.

2. When a felony has been in fact committed and he has reasonable ground to believe that the person to be arrested has committed it.

The "felonies" (which are really federal misdemeanors) the seven aliens committed occurred a few hundred miles south of the rest stop when they crossed the border. Well outside of Haab's "presence". Haab had no prior knowledge, nor the expertise, nor the probable cause to determine if any crime had been committed. If running through the desert is a felony then all those hikers around Squaw Peak better think twice before they lace up.

Isn't that last sentence wonderfully absurd --and empty? The big difference between the seven aliens and the hikers is that the hikers who are citizens belong here. For once Diaz uses precise language: aliens. Their feet do not belong on the same land as the hikers' feet. It's our country, not theirs.

Also, Diaz apparently believes Sgt Haab has instant-retrieval capacity of the Arizona Revised Statutes in situations of stress. And yet Sgt Haab refused to follow the statutory authority, and instead relied on intelligence, reason, and professional training.

Sgt Haab does have instant-retrieval capacity for the options available in many stressful situations, unlike most civilians. It was part of his training, and has been embedded in his experience in two very foreign environments. He has recycled these experiences, reported them, written them down, justified them. He has pondered mortal stakes. Sgt Haab is not the trigger-happy cowboy that Mr. Diaz and Mr. Reza and the predictable dicks of the left would make him out to be. But I hope the reader sees the need of these neurotics to trash the good and the strong.

Additionally, did Haab really suspect there was a human smuggler among the seven? It's hard to tell, his story changed so many times.

Well, is it hard to tell, or impossible to tell? And how did his story change? From what to what to what? Diaz is calling Sgt Haab a liar. That's a serious charge. But it's just more fog. He doesn't feel he needs to support his assertions. And if he doesn't have the word space to furnish the details, he should not make the claim at all.

And if the other six were truly being smuggled, then where did they conspire? In Mexico outside of the county attorney's jurisdiction? According to attorneys experienced in this area, this is the first case of those being smuggled being even suspected of conspiring with their smuggler.

This guy has some strange idea about the spatiotemporal location of the commission of a crime. The conspiracy, just like the trespassing, was in place, in effect, and under way at the moment those men intersected Sgt Haab's life. And what attorneys does Mr. Diaz refer to, who have the same strange ideas he does?

this is the first case of those being smuggled being even suspected of conspiring with their smuggler.

Again, this is nuts. "I'll give you $5000 to get me to the US. Whaddaya say?" "Okay, let's go." This isn't conspiracy?

13-410. Justification; use of deadly physical force in law enforcement

A. The threatened use of deadly physical force by a person against another is justified pursuant to section 13-409 only if a reasonable person effecting the arrest or preventing the escape would believe the suspect or escapee is:

1. Actually resisting the discharge of a legal duty with deadly physical force or with the apparent capacity to use deadly physical force; or

2. A felon who has escaped from lawful confinement; or

3. A felon who is fleeing from justice or resisting arrest with physical force.

(other sub-sections apply only to peace officers)

I think this speaks for itself, but just in case... First off, this section is really meant to be used by law enforcement officers, but the subsection A does not specify that so lets give Haab the benefit of the doubt and say civilians are capable of using this subsection. The seven aliens were not using deadly force, nor were they armed, escaping from lawful confinement or fleeing justice. You could argue that because there were seven of them they were capable of deadly force because of they could overwhelm him. But I guess then any little league team could also be subject to being held at gunpoint.

Once again the wonderfully idiotic comparison, which exposes the weakness of Mr. Diaz's position. But let's back up:

The seven aliens were not using deadly force, nor were they armed, escaping from lawful confinement or fleeing justice.

Sequence is important here. When they returned to their SUV they may have been going to retrieve weapons cached therein. After all, they had just been drawn on.

And they were fleeing justice; they were criminal trespassers from another country.

13-3881. Arrest; how made; force and restraint

A. An arrest is made by an actual restraint of the person to be arrested, or by his submission to the custody of the person making the arrest.

B. No unnecessary or unreasonable force shall be used in making an arrest, and the person arrested shall not be subjected to any greater restraint than necessary for his detention.

The key words here are, "no unnecessary or unreasonable force" and "continuum of force." Haab should have used his cell phone to call the Border Patrol because those seven aliens were cooperating. Drawing a weapon was, unnecessary and unreasonable. Professional law enforcement officers know that there is no sense in risking harm to someone who is cooperating. But if you display the wrong body language or resist arrest you are going to taste pepper spray or [sic] tased. A gun only is supposed to come out of the holster as a last resort.

Again Diaz spins the sequence and the facts. The seven aliens were cooperating after Haab produced his sidearm. Haab did use his cell phone to call the Border Patrol. But Diaz, in his desire to try to create a false sense of alarm, danger, and bullying, leaves out the other motorist. Here's what happened, according to the AP's Arthur H. Rothstein:

At the rest stop, a man with a backpack walked passed him to a vehicle parked two spaces from his own, and six men with backpacks "rushed me," Haab said. "Training took over, the dog got in between us, even though she is not trained at all, she acted on instinct, stopped the men, which gave me time to draw my weapon."

Haab and his dog chased the six to the vehicle the other man had climbed into, and at gunpoint Haab told the driver to turn off the engine, grabbed their keys from the ignition, then called 911 and yelled to another parked motorist for help.

Haab gave the second motorist a gun to hold while questioning the seven in Spanish, at which time they said "they did not have papers, they were illegal immigrants."

He then had the seven men climb out of the vehicle one-by-one and lie on the sidewalk.

Haab said either the Border Patrol or sheriff's deputies told him by phone to let the men back in the vehicle, which he did, as the second motorist returned the gun and left.

What is unreasonable or unnecessary here? And there were no mad minutes in this encounter, either. And remember that none of this would have happened if those seven men had simply not been where they didn't belong.

If the county attorney did not want to prosecute Haab for aggravated assault, as the Sheriff's Department submitted, he could have chosen to split the difference and charge Haab with endangerment or assault (see below). The charge could have then been pled down to a misdemeanor. The sentence could have been time served and the message to yahoos would be, "don't do this or you'll be punished."

But now that the charges have been dismissed, all bets are off: it's cry havoc and let slip the yahoos of war --buck-toothed, camo-covered, eye-rolling Aryans all seething to leave bloody black hair all over the manzanita.

Get over yourself, Mr. Diaz. And admit it: you just want to see Sgt Haab suffer more than four days in Joe Arpaio's hideous jail. Well, you won't get your way, and I'm glad, glad, glad!

Mr. Diaz's screed ends this way:

13-1201. Endangerment; classification

A. A person commits endangerment by recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury.

B. Endangerment involving a substantial risk of imminent death is a class 6 felony. In all other cases, it is a class 1 misdemeanor.

13-1203. Assault; classification

A. A person commits assault by:

1. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person; or

2. Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury; or

3. Knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke such person.

B. Assault committed intentionally or knowingly pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 is a class 1 misdemeanor. Assault committed recklessly pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 or assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 2 is a class 2 misdemeanor. Assault committed pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 3 is a class 3 misdemeanor.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the author's employer, family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, or pets.

Once again, with that final word, as with the hikers and the little leaguers and the rednecks and the yahoos, Mr. Diaz undermines any serious argument he might have been trying to make. Mr. Diaz may subscribe to the Humpty-Dumpty theory of meaning --"A word means just what I want it to mean, neither more nor less"-- but reasonable people don't.

******

On to Mr. Salvador Reza, who every day breathes the free air and, judging by his photo, heartily enjoys the bounty of the very land he would destroy. His piece is titled "Amateur Hour," and subtitled "More good reasons to boycott Arizona."

"I do not want the message to go out that people can start rounding up illegal immigrants whether or not they think they're here legally, whether or not they know all the facts," Andrew Thomas Maricopa County Attorney. [sic]

He forgot the obvious [sic] unless they are from Mexico and South America.

By letting Sgt. Patrick Haab walk without even a symbolic prosecution he opened the invisible doors of the Wild, Wild, West. Back to the days of the Texas Rangers rounding up Messicans and killing them by the dozens. Back to the days of vigilante justice by serviceman in the Sleepy Lagoon incident in California.

Ethnic cleansing actions who never differentiated between guilty and innocent; away from the rule of reason toward the rule of chaos and xenophobia. Great job Mr. Thomas and all those elected officials that gave him his blessing.

And still they don't understand why people throughout the United States and Mexico are talking about boycotting Arizona. One thing is to come to Hollywood's Wild, Wild, West shows, the other one is to travel back in time and be exposed to trigger happy, gun toting nuts.

County Attorney Thomas is so extreme that even Sheriff Arpaio chastised his actions.

I call on Phil Boas right now to reread this hysterical screed and ask himself why he let it go by. He ought to be ashamed to let such sophomoric ranting even cross his desk. Unless, of course, he's another self-loathing affluent American who loves to get the dung flung at him.

I'm not going to bother fisking everything here. Just two notes: First, see how Mr. Reza tries to spin the tired dials, push the dead-button words --vigilante, Wild Wild West, Messicans, ethnic cleansing, xenophobia, gun toting nuts-- with no real connective tissue of reason; just a frantic flinging of bits of distorted history and disrespect for real people.

Second, look at one sentence:

And still they don't understand why people throughout the United States and Mexico are talking about boycotting Arizona.

If only.

I mean it. If only illegal Mexicans, all other illegals, and all their sympathizers would boycott Arizona in the most radical way by keeping or gettting their sorry asses out of it. More room for the rest of us who honor and respect our country.

Mr. Reza, why don't you join them? How can you boycott Arizona while you're chowing down on food you buy here? I've been here thirty-five years and counting, and I love it here.

So get your fat ass out of my state, go back home to Chihuahua, where you left your huevos, and try to bootstrap your country into respectability. Why not?

My family came here 350 years ago. We did our hard work here to make this country the greatest on Earth. Mr. Reza, Mr. Diaz, you're fools to think pissants like you, still trying to induce racial guilt, can have any significant effect on the course of this ship of state.

UPDATE: Here's another Hispanic who pumps the paranoia about armed Americans with no self-control --this time in restaurants that serve alcohol. Skeerdy-cat Linda Mazon Guittierez writes a short piece today, April 25, on pluggedin:

So it seems law-abiding gun owners don't want to have to leave their weapons at home or in the car, where they are useless for protection, when they dine in restaurants that serve alcohol.

My, my --how inconvenient that can be.

OK, then I say to these fretting, gun-toting enthusiasts that even though we have never met before in our entire lives, somehow I am supposed to trust them implicitly to not imbibe one little drinkiepoo with an oozie by their side.

The alternative is simple. Stay home, line up the gun barrels, invite the Minutemen and have a steak fry.

"Drinkiepoo?" "Oozie?" Are you having fun now? I should think a woman of my generation, a mother of four young adults, and a big shot in the Hispanic Women's Association, might take lethal issues seriously. (She actually uses the term "Armed Knuckleheads." Profiling, anyone?)

But no, the real reason for this comment is to take a stab at the Minutemen. But they can't come to a steak fry or a restaurant. They're busy, in Washington and on the border; too busy to dither with you, Mrs. Gutierrez.

Posted by Jerome at 09:20 AM | TrackBack

April 24, 2005

BLONDE ON BLONDE

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Flower Arrangement and Photograph by Catherine King.

Posted by Jerome at 09:29 AM | TrackBack

April 23, 2005

More Newspeak From Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser

by Jerome du Bois

In an earlier post I quoted the following sentence written by local self-declared "moderate Muslim" activist and physician M. Zuhdi Jasser:

For those of us who enjoy and cherish the freedoms of America as Muslims, we know that there is nothing more Islamic than American democracy.

And I commented:

American democracy is not only compatible with Islam, they are nearly identical, according to this man.

Riiight. So when we hold up the USA next to Islamic societies, we see similar pictures? Where? Turkey? Doctor . . . your eyes need work.

In fact, Muslims worldwide believe in One Man, One Vote, Once. As soon as they assume the positions of power, here comes dhimmitude and sharia.

I will not allow words, places, and concepts I cherish --The United States of America, democracy, freedom, and reason itself, which is absent from his statement-- I will not allow them to be twisted or muddled or inverted or stained in the service of a Muslim agenda --especially a disingenuous one. Dr. Jasser practices Nuclear Cardiology; he's no idiot; he knows exactly what he's saying, and he knows it makes no sense. It doesn't matter; what matters is that he can print it.

Now I find a new example of Dr. Jasser's Newspeak, from his pluggedin column on Benedict XVI.

He had the strength to both deny the superiority of Christianity over Islam striving to recognize a common base, while also justifiably criticizing Muslims for dangerously mixing politics and religion.

There are two hot links in this quotation. I'm only interested in the first: "Christianity over Islam" links to an article in Catholic News dated March 6, 2002. I quote the article in full, beginning with the headline:

Ratzinger denies Christianity ´superior´ to Islam

The Vatican's Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has reacted to "conventional wisdom" that "the Christian faith must give up its claim to truth" in the wake of 11 September.

The Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made his observations on Friday when addressing a conference in memory of Bishop Eugenio Corecco of Lugano, Switzerland, on the topic Faith, Truth and Tolerance.

Ratzinger praised Islam for upholding the values of monogamous marriage and the dignity of women, which "undoubtedly demonstrate a cultural superiority".

"It is true that the Muslim world is not totally mistaken when it reproaches the West of Christian tradition of moral decadence and the manipulation of human life," he said. "This imposes on us a serious examination of conscience."

"The truth of the Christian faith appears to us in all its depth, but we mustn't forget that, sadly, it has been darkened many times by the concrete behaviour of those who called themselves Christians," he said. "Islam has also had moments of great splendor and decadence in the course of its history. "

Cardinal Ratzinger stressed that it is "important is to go to the roots of the values proclaimed by the different religions". This, he said, is where "a real interreligious dialogue can begin."

First: The new Pope is supposed to be a very smart man, but the passages in bold are stupid and wrong. Since when is Islam monogamous? And since when is it dignified for a woman to become a victim of the most horrible crime, which I will not call by its common disgusting designation but will name it what it is: sororicide --murdering female relatives. Some dignity. (And don't hand me the old saw about cultural, not Islamic. That's bullshit. These murders are Islamic through and through.) And from the first day someone begins praying five times a day in a single direction, or reciting words they don't understand, Muslims begin to manipulate human life; they would nitpick your moments down to the subatomic if they could.

Second: I don't read a clear statement by the then-Cardinal which supports the claim of the headline. (By the way, I have no Catholic axe to grind, which will become obvious below.) But Jasser amps it up as if it means something. He, too, knows damn well that millions of Muslim women suffer under polygamy and worse, even in the West, even in the USA. He, too, knows damn well that the absolute rulers all across the Middle Eastern Muslim world revel in a depth of moral decadence that would have the Borgias green with envy. (Camel jockeys, mutigenerational pedophilia, extortion, dhimmitude, slavery, and I'm leaving a lot out.)

As far as I'm concerned, both Dr. Jasser and the new Pope sign off on the continued universal inferiority of all human females except those safely dead and gone. How many women of authority did you see in that whole red, white and gold television spectacle? Zeeerro. As for Dr. Jasser, why doesn't he write about Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Bat Ye'or or Irshad Manji? I wonder.

In the meantime, I remind Dr. Jasser that words have commonly accepted meanings. Don't try to jam disparate concepts like Islam and democracy together. You have written about the dangers of mixing politics and religion, but again you know damn well that in Islam they are inextricably intermixed, and the policy is to make the world Islam. Muslims need to make clear statements about giving up notions of conquest and about the need for an Islamic Enlightenment, in which Muslims question everything. The rest is either hand-waving or, worse, taqiyya.


CODA: Finally, for those who believe the new Pope will continue along the lines of his predecessor, Hugh Hewitt gives us this tantalizing peek into a future that will make Mel Gibson's heart go all aflutter, and the hearts of those who would champion women sink:

Pope Benedict XVI is a scholar, and a teacher. Scholar/teachers have students, and they stay close with many of them. Father Joseph Fessio, Provost of Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida, studied under the new pope in the early '70s, and has stayed a friend and student for thirty years. He was my guest today. Here is a short and important --in fact crucial-- excerpt from that conversation. A complete transcript will be posted later at Radioblogger:

"His deepest love is the Mass. And so he wrote a book called The Spirit of the Liturgy, and it is clear that he believes that what happened after Vatican II, that Council, was that the way the Mass was celebrated really represented a break from tradition. It was no longer in continuity. So, he has said publicly that the previous rite should never have been abolished because it was a rite that had nourished saints for centuries. At the same time, he was the one who had to negotiate with Lefebrve and others, and who had to tell the pope, 'We can't take anymore, they have broken the rules here, they have ordained bishops.' So he deeply wants to have the Mass celebrated as he says in his homily [today] with solemnity and rectitude. So I think he will reach out to those who have a love for the pre-[Vatican II] Mass."

That's right, folks. You'll be looking at the priest's back as he drones on in the ancient tongue. That's progress, back to the future that was the past. That's when the women were required to attend Mass veiled as well, remember? And why wouldn't that practice be ressurrected as well? Thus the priest can smile with his Muslim brother, contentedly looking down upon the muffled women.

Posted by Jerome at 12:30 PM | TrackBack

April 22, 2005

Brave Words

by Jerome du Bois

Yesterday, both Glenn Reynolds and Charles Johnson pointed approvingly to a piece in the trade journal The Masthead on blogs and newsprint by Phil Boas, deputy editorial page editor of the Arizona Republic and the originator of pluggedin, a columnist corral vamping as a weblog. Reader, you should read his piece before continuing this one.

Perhaps neither Professor Reynolds nor Mr. Johnson, both busy men whose examples have encouraged me, have checked out pluggedin recently, otherwise they wouldn't be so quick to commend Mr. Boas's brave words. As a regular visitor to pluggedin, I wish I could --though I definitely encourage Mr. Boas and his editorial crew to open the gates --with a competent blogmaster / gatekeeper, of course, to keep out the riff-raff.

Mr. Boas pointed to our blog in June of 2003, for which I'm thankful. But that kind of brief note no longer appears in the current pluggedin. Go look for yourself, and you will find a list of columns by various local writers, but: hardly any hot links to any other media (except their own and Channel 12), much less blogs; no email responses; no comments section at all; no extended threads of conversation. It's an outlet for columnists, and it's still one way.

But Mr. Boas does make a valid point about the symbiosis between MSM and bloggers, as the following anecdote should make clear.

We are certainly not ideal bloggers, keeping all our issues updated and posting every day. Life gets in the way. And we're not famous like Jana Bommersbach, or even locally well-known, like M. Zuhdi Jasser or even Bob Boze Bell.

But we have a strong interest in two vital parts of our world, and of the history of the world: Islam and Arizona.

Two seconds ago I put those two words into Google, and what came up as the very first citation? An article in the East Valley Tribune which points almost directly to our weblog (you have to Google our names) and our interest in these subjects. Symbiosis. One degree of separation. We love it because we want to point to the truth; to, as the banner still says, play a more direct role in changing what is ignorable by whom.

So part of the conversation about the influence of Islam in Arizona takes place in The Tears of Things. It's amazing to me, and I could not be more grateful for the internet, an invention of the Western mind.

It should also give the print editor pause. Think about it: Islam. Arizona. Two words. Who are you and what do you have at your fingertips? Printing plants and delivery trucks and reporters and wire services. (Oh: and editors. Uh-huh.) I'm glad. Thanks! Keep up the good work!

What have we got? Four hands, two brains, two committed hearts, some money, some time, a roof over our heads, and electricity.

Better watch out.

Yes --I know they're brave words.

Posted by Jerome at 03:00 PM | TrackBack

April 20, 2005

Taqiyya In Action

by Jerome du Bois

Two months after 9/11, Phoenix physician M. Zuhdi Jasser's interfaith group had Muslims speaking in a synagogue, but he discouraged Jews visiting mosques. Why? As I noted in an earlier piece, quoting the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix:

Though they originally met at Temple Kol Ami, they do not have immediate plans to visit or meet at a mosque.

"Unfortunately, I can do that only when I have a mosque in the area that I can turn to the group and say, 'that (mosque) comes close to what I believe a mosque should be,' " explains Mohamed Jasser.

Zuhdi Jasser is concerned about the content of the sermons in the mosques. He says too many are "political," and they should instead focus on the values and religious teachings found in the Koran.

Ahmad agrees. "Sermons should stay within the teachings of Islam, not political agendas, and include lessons about improving our behaviors."

Zuhdi Jasser says he is hesitant to get the leader of a mosque --the imam-- involved in the dialogue group. He explains by saying that Islam by nature should be non-hierarchical; anyone can lead worship or classes. He fears an imam would attempt to take a leadership role in the dialogue group they have fostered.

"I believe it is inappropriate for this type of group . . . to get the leadership of a mosque involved and running it, when in fact that's not what this group is all about. This is a grassroots community group," says Jasser.

I wonder how things stand here in Phoenix with Dr. Jasser and his group, four years later? In the meantime several bloggers point to a stunning and discouraging report from a meeting in a small-town US mosque by Laura Mansfield of WorldNetDaily, who understands Arabic --but the imam didn't know that.

Here's an excerpt:

The imam spoke up and told everyone I didn't speak Arabic.

At that point, another student took the podium. His name was Khaled, and he began to recount his recent trip to New York City. Khaled and three of his companions had gone to New York for several days in January. He told of how uncomfortable his trip up to NYC had been. He felt like he was being watched, and thought he was the victim of racial profiling.

Khaled and his friends were pretty unhappy about it, and while in New York, they came up with a plan to "teach a lesson" to the passengers and crew. You can imagine the story Khaled told. He described how he and his friends whispered to each other on the flight, made simultaneous visits to the restroom, and generally tried to "spook" the other passengers. He laughed when he described how several women were in tears, and one man sitting near him was praying.

The others in the room thought the story was quite amusing, judging from the laughter. The imam stood up and told the group that this was a kind of peaceful civil disobedience that should be encouraged, and commended Khaled and his friends for their efforts.

He pointed out that it was through this kind of civil disobedience that ethnic profiling would fail.

And Muslims get pissed when you mistrust them. But Muslims are allowed to lie to promote Islam. It's called taqiyya, and Mansfield saw it in action. The imam did a 180 when the next group meeting --mixed-faith and bilingual-- convened. Perfect taqiyya. You can read it all here, and I urge you to do so. It's mind-blowing. One may smile and smile and be a villain . . .

Meanwhile, here in Phoenix, the most vocal Muslim (in print and online, anyway) I've been able to find, Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, continues to trumpet that we must engage militant Islam and misunderstandings of Islam head-on, on every front. But he won't say a thing about the recent Scottsdale social-studies textbook brouhaha. Dozens of parents --apparently; I have no figures-- objected to the privileging and whitewashing of Islam in this book. It was withdrawn, but, as I had also pointed out, the social-studies textbook that remains has its own dismaying chapters. Dr. Jasser remains silent about that, too.

In that earlier piece I said that I would email Dr. Jasser to alert him that I had written about him. I changed my mind, because that would imply I had questions for him. I don't. I merely note his continued silence.

One final note: I hope that parents realize that late this fall their seventh-grade children will be "celebrating" Ramadan in class. It's a fact. And Muslim speakers will be standing before those children, day after day. Will you know who these people are, where they came from, and what they really want?

Bottom line: they want to make the world Islam, and that would be an ugly world. Let's not let them do that.

[Sorry blogging's been slow, but we're working on a major writing project.]

Posted by Jerome at 08:30 AM | TrackBack

April 18, 2005

MORNING SUN

MORNINGSUN.JPG

Flower Arrangement and Photography by Catherine King.

Posted by Jerome at 10:58 AM | TrackBack

April 13, 2005

SPRING OUT

SPRINGOUT.JPG

Flower Arrangement and Photography by Catherine King.

Posted by Jerome at 07:51 AM | TrackBack

April 10, 2005

Christine Schild, Molly Holzer, and Jennifer Petersen: The Five-Sided Comedians

It was a power play by a petty potentate.
--Arizona Republic
editorial, referring to Christine Schild

Don't Bet Your Money On The Shanghai.
--Stephen G. Foster

by Jerome du Bois

Often in my life, and occasionally on this blog, I've used the term five-sided comedian to refer to a pure opportunist, a ruthless, heartless someone who, to secure power and control, works the angles, the moves, and who considers the rule of law, their own calling, their job profile, integrity, electoral responsibility, fiduciary duty, and every other moral consideration to be mere impediments to their goals --and those goals may be petty indeed. If you Google the phrase, I'm the only reference --but I didn't make it up.

Five-sided comedian comes from John Le Carré's exemplary spy novel Smiley's People. I don't have a copy now, but when semi-retired spymaster George Smiley recruits one of his former employees, Toby Esterhas, to help with a new investigation, and mentions a certain Otto from Leipzig, Toby says something like "George, if you're going after a five-sided comedian like Otto, you're going to need somebody like me, you know?" At the time, Toby was peddling Degas statuettes of dubious provenance.

We don't peddle anything but the truth here at The Tears Of Things. In my last posting on SUSD, I implied there might be a construction contract scandal involving SUSD's facilities chief Bill Johnson. I was wrong.

I was looking at it from the wrong angle. The scandal is Christine Schild and her two flacks, Molly Holzer and Jennifer Petersen. These three "unpaid volunteers" --that's how Ms. Schild described herself in an email to us-- want to harrass and humiliate a man who does real work, and who is supposed to be in the middle of the overdue rebuilding of five crucial high schools, not reporting to these five-sided comedians.

Arizona Republic Northeast Edition Online Editorial, April 5, 2005:

Christine Schild is at it again.

Her effort as Scottsdale School Board president to publicly humiliate a top district administrator is outrageous.

Schild has made an embarrassing spectacle of herself several times since winning election to the board in 2002. Last week, she gave every taxpayer who backed last year's high school bond proposal a figurative slap in the face with her disgraceful treatment of Bill Johnson, the architect of the construction plan.

Schild opposed the $217 million bond question, which passed Nov. 2 with nearly 70 percent support. In other words, nearly seven out of 10 Scottsdale district voters rebuked Schild's arguments against the much-needed bond, which will rebuild, remodel or repair Arcadia, Coronado, Saguaro, Chaparral and Desert Mountain high schools. Most politicians would get a clue that they are out of step with the public will, but apparently not Schild.

Unfortunately, Schild is enabled by two new board members who were elected the same day that bond passed. During the campaign, Molly Holzer and Jennifer Petersen wouldn't support the measure, despite its obvious importance to the community, and gave wishy-washy explanations for their lack of a firm stand. Holzer said she was "neutral," and Petersen would say that she didn't oppose it.

The voters' mixed message has handed control of the board to this trio, which elected the unpredictable and volatile Schild the new board president in January.

At the time, we idealistically held out hope that Schild might change her negative ways and become a true leader.

After all, we had watched her grandstand from the dais and browbeat people who appeared before the board. We had seen her launch a vendetta against Mary Ellen Simonson, a distinguished Valley attorney who did work for the district. She even filed a meritless lawsuit, since tossed out of court, against three board members, former Superintendent Barbara Erwin and Lewis & Roca, Simonson's law firm.

A little power apparently has gone to Schild's head. As president, Schild now is turning her old tactics on Johnson, the district's well-respected assistant superintendent for facilities and operations.

The Schild-led board dragged Johnson into a closed-door executive session and voted 3-2 to force him onto a formal employee improvement plan. As expected, it was the Schild-Holzer-Petersen majority that ruled. Kudos to board members Karen Beckvar and Eric Meyer for refusing to go along with this travesty.

What is their gripe with Johnson? Who knows, because Schild's star chamber proceeding was closed to public scrutiny. The only hint she dropped was that it had something to do with "communication challenges."

That's unacceptable. Schild needs to tell the public exactly what her problem with Johnson is now that she has besmirched his reputation. If she has a legitimate complaint, let's hear it. As an elected official, we expect nothing less.

The "communications challenges" complaint seems like a joke. If Schild, Holzer and Petersen need more information about projects, contracts, designs or any other, the board can hold another work-study session on the topic. Last week's executive session was inappropriate and classless. It was a power play by a petty potentate.

If the School Board has concerns about an official, members should express them through Superintendent John Baracy, whose job it is to run the district. He is Johnson's boss. For the board to insert itself in this way is unseemly at best. The result will be to drive good people out of the district.

Schild knows how to do it. Lewis & Roca decided working for the district wasn't worth putting up with Schild's continual barrage of smears and innuendos. The lawyers didn't need the aggravation and dropped Scottsdale as a client.

Baracy, who replaced Erwin on July 1, probably is wondering what the heck he got himself into by taking this job.

Other Valley school districts would love to get Baracy or Johnson or other top Scottsdale administrators. The Schild board will make it easy.

Schild is acting like a bully, not a leader. She is the one who needs to improve, not Johnson.

The voters spoke loudly that they want the high schools fixed quickly.

If Schild can't figure that out, she should step down.

Arizona Republic reader Joni Bosh of Phoenix witnessed this closed-door session. Her letter to the Editor is titled "Personal Revenge."

Your editorial regarding the outrageous behavior of Christine Schild and her two sidekicks, Molly Holzer and Jennifer Petersen, was right on the mark.

I was at that meeting, and I was shocked by their actions.

It appeared to many that Schild was using her position to extract some kind of personal revenge on a district employee who put together the bond issue that she opposed. Otherwise, why would any responsible board member try to micromanage staff with a competent superintendent in place, even if the state gives them that authority?

Many thanks to board members Karen Beckvar and Eric Meyer for standing firm against this nonsense, as well as to district administrators, especially Superintendent John Baracy and Bill Johnson, chief of facilities and operations, who must put up with the antics of this threesome week after week.

I would like to think that Holzer's and Petersen's behavior could be blamed on being new to the board. Their future actions will tell if that hope is misplaced. Schild's behavior, however, is consistent with other stunts she has pulled.

How ironic that the woman who claims nobody ever communicates with her didn't even allow public comment about her actions.

When we communicated by email with Christine Schild, in an unfriendly way, too, she got right back to us --until, as we usually do, we pushed it too far. These people just don't want to be forthcoming. (She never even mentioned the word "Islam.") We now have fresh interest in her prompt responses, though. I mean, who are we? Two hermetic bloggers. We swing no weight in her district or anywhere, politically or economically. We don't have children in any of those schools. We have no handles, buttons, or dials for her to try to manipulate. We just care about the future, and the how the contents of students' minds will influence that future.

Christine Schild could have ignored us, and now she probably wishes she had. (She actually answered many email inquiries about the texbook thing from places across the country.) We knew nothing about her, her background, or her behavior, until the Islamist-textbook story surfaced for us, and now we know only what we read in the newspapers, on the Web, and in her emails to us, but she does come across as contentious, combative, defensive, and manipulative. She's a lawyer who represents lawyers. She loves to pick a fight.

There may be a case to be made for an "employee improvement plan," and certainly for quality control. And after Beslan, everybody on those construction sites should know everybody else, and what each firm's job is supposed to be, and who has access, who has keys, who's building what, where, when, how, and why.

If you think Beslan can't happen here, then Beslan can happen here.

But I don't think preventing Beslan has entered Ms. Schild's calculations for a nanosecond. She's found a wedge into John Baracy's power base. I think she wants to be the de facto Superintendent; I think she wants to cut John Baracy off at the knees.

The Republic editorial writer makes a good point:

If the School Board has concerns about an official, members should express them through Superintendent John Baracy, whose job it is to run the district. He is Johnson's boss.

But Ms. Schild wants to do this part of Baracy's job, grabbing a lever with which to slow down --and increase the cost of-- the entire process, from laying concrete foundations (in a time of rising construction costs) to plugging in the final computers. And why? Because she wants to. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that. Remember, most district voters voted for full speed ahead on the improvements. But she opposed the damned thing, and she still does, and she wants to express her displeasure this way.

You think she didn't secretly revel in enjoyment beholding Bill Johnson, a six-figure man who probably earns it, brought to heel before her, the pissant lawyer, having to bring his files and figures and justifications and lay them out for her perusal? Forced to sit at a table like chastened student and be subjected to her questions? That's where the five-sided comedians find their fun.

Christine Schild wants to do another part of Baracy's job as well. On March 18, not long before she and crew clamped the slowdown manacles on Bill Johnson, she published an opinion piece in which she makes the argument that internal auditing should be shifted from the Superintendent's office to hers. You can look it up.

Now, given SUSD's recent history (which Catherine filled me in on), auditing is a fine idea, and there may even be a cogent argument to be made for having the auditors report to the Board instead of the Superintendent --I just don't think Christine Schild gives a rat's ass about such considerations. I think she wants to work the angles until she replaces John Baracy in fact if not in title. That won't happen, of course, but she will try, and it appears she has two willing Board members consistently on her side, Molly Holzer and Jennifer Petersen. It's got to feel powerful knowing you can always deliver the majority vote. Do the other two minority board members --Karen Beckvar and Eric Meyer-- feel a bit like appendices? She'd like that, too.

In the meantime she's trying to close the book on the Across The Centuries story, which is far from over. I hope the Scottsdale parents, and concerned cititzens nationwide --wherever those emails came from-- keep up the pressure. This woman is willing to divert valuable time, money, and human resources --all irreplaceable; the world only turns forward --toward a questionable agenda; and she's doing it aggressively and publicly. She has enlisted (convinced? hornswoggled?) two other Board members in her cause. That agenda, that cause, has nothing to do with the content of textbooks or a student's character; they have bigger fish to fry. They need to be challenged.

Posted by Jerome at 09:00 AM | TrackBack

April 07, 2005

The Scottsdale Textbook Story Isn't Over: The Zombie Brother Lives

by Jerome du Bois

Today, the East Valley Tribune gave Catherine and I partial credit for driving History Alive! out of Scottsdale Unified School District. Andrea Falkenhagen wrote:

At least one Web site, which doesn’t claim any religious affiliation, criticizes Schild and Baracy, saying Arizona public schools are being turned into madrassas, or Islamic religious schools. The site claims it is run by former Cave Creek public school teacher Catherine King and her husband, Jerome du Bois.

["The site claims"? We are who we say we are; we have deep histories in this city.]

Yesterday we made the comments board on an LGF thread about this "victory," and now I see, gladly, that Robert Spencer's invaluable Dhimmi Watch --a site I visit every day-- quotes almost the entire Tribune article.

We stand gratefully corrected on the silence of the parents. We're glad a significant number of them raised a ruckus. (There was no reason for any one of them to contact us, of course; but it would have been nice to know we're not so isolated.)

I do wonder how much impact we had, though; or rather, I'm not sure how carefully our readers have been reading our work, because in nearly every post we point out that the zombie brother of History Alive! --Across The Centuries-- is still lumbering around out there, across the years. In my last post, the update, you can find five hot links in the phrase "has become barnacled with criticism" that point to the Islamic distortions bristling within that book. Seriously religious monotheists should feel just a skosh uncomfortable about this quotation, for example, courtesy of Serge Trifkovic:

Troubling and controversial statements start with the very first page of Lesson 1 (“Muhammad and Islam”). The first verses of the Qur’an, we are told, “were revealed” to Muhammad in AD 610, and the initial revelation came from “a being he later identified as the angel Gabriel.” Such straightforward, quasi-factual statements concerning unprovable tenets of the Muslim faith would befit a textbook used in a Pakistani medressa, but not one used in an American public school. Likewise, on p. 59 we are told as fact that the God Muhammad believed in—Allah—“is the same God of other monotheistic religions, Judaism and Christianity.” This assertion, which most theologians and philosophers of religion would consider hugely controversial at best, is made in the form of a matter-of-fact statement that does not allow for ambiguity or doubt.

I urge anyone, of any faith or none, who finds that passage offensive, to follow through. I'm putting up all our postings on the sidebar, at the top, under the rubric "The Scottsdale Textbook Story." Please read them, follow the links, get informed, and then copy our questions and pepper the school board with them until you get some answers.

And find out what the local Muslims have been doing and saying about this whole megillah.

[And now I need to get back to another SUSD story --the possible Bill Johnson audit humiliation-- to be posted later today: "Schild, Holzer, Petersen and Ambush: The Five-Sided Comedians."]

Posted by Jerome at 12:15 PM | TrackBack

April 04, 2005

Updates On Islam And Anti-Americanism In US Public Education

by Jerome du Bois

This post touches briefly on five topics: (1) The ongoing Carnivals of Educations' silences (so far) on the privileging of Islam in public schools; (2) Scottsdale School Board updates; (3) where do these textbooks come from?; (4) where is Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the Phoenix-based American Islamic Forum For Democracy, on this textbook issue?; and (5) West Seattle Marine smear update: cowards still hiding.

The Carnival of Education

Catherine and I have been burned by school administrators, she much more deeply than I, so we tend to avoid anything having to do with teaching. But we will sound the alarm about those who oppose the Western Way, those who would demote us to dhimmis, wherever they are --even in middle and high schools. Students are among those who will create the future, so we come to the defense of their minds against the retrograde drag of any moribund creed, whether it be Islam or Creationism or Marxism or just plain hard-left looniness. That's why we've been posting the education pieces.

Yesterday I checked out all eight editions of the nascent Carnival of Education (all links at the end of Carnival #8. Most of the postings didn't interest me, naturally, except the few about Intelligent Design and evolution. But imagine my surprise to find not a word, not a whisper, about Islam and its associated pushy loudmouths, continually warping every door they manage to pry open. I know that students from Kentucky to California have for years been having to live Ramadan for passing grades, and will do so this year as well. Across The Centuries, a textbook which distorts Islam, has been used in over 1,000 school districts for at least six years. Nobody's got a problem with that? Well--

Catherine advises me not to hold my breath. She says, "It costs a lot to be a teacher. Don't expect any one of them to stand up for America if it means jeopardizing their career."

I believe her, because I know what it cost her to keep her integrity and self-respect in the face of arbitrary power and cronyism. We'll see what future Carnivals of Education bring.

SUSD Travels Back Across The Centuries To The Dark Ages

Apparently the Scottsdale Unified School District Board members, in their meeting March 29, ignored the issue of the persistent privileging of Islam in their "Excelling" schools.

Perhaps they're distracted by a possible construction corruption scandal. During Tuesday's meeting the Board unveiled two new models for old schools, supervised by one William Johnson. The next day the Board announced a special closed meeting to consider Mr. Johnson's future; April 1, in fact. If you examine the meeting's agenda items (see previous link), you see this:

VI. ACTION ITEMS (Possible Board Action Required)

A. Discussion on Job Description for Internal Auditor

B. Discussion on Appointment of Committee Members for the Selection Committee for External Construction Auditor

C. Additional Discussion on Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) Delegate Assembly Proposals

D. Delegation of Authority to a Hearing Officer to Hear Appeals to the Governing Board Concerning Bid Protests

E. Selection of an Attorney to Represent the Governing Board With Respect to the Bid Protest Filed by Chess Education Association.

Internal and external auditors, hearing officers, bid protests, and an attorney. Sounds delightful, except for Mr. William Johnson.

As of April 4, no news about Mr. Johnson's fate. With $217 million in the balance, maybe the little matter of the standards of truth, and separation of state and religion, inside those new facilities, can damn well wait.

But no, they can't. So far as we know, nobody --not even FISH, whose email to Daniel Pipes first brought this taqiyya to my attention-- nobody is stepping forth to object to the reinstallment of a seventh-grade textbook which distorts history, especially Muslim history. This has happened, even though Across The Centuries has become barnacled with criticism since its first publication. I know SUSD is using this book for a fact, because on March 6th the Epshteyns from Solomania, who wrote to SUSD on the issue of History Alive! another egregious text, received the following reply from SUSD Board President Christine Schild:

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Epshteyn,

Thank you for sharing your concerns with the Governing Board.

According to the District's social studies curriculum specialist, the District never adopted History Alive as its official text.

Although some parent groups acquired some or all of the textbooks published by TCI to provide supplementary materials at some of our middle schools, the District adopted Across the Centuries (Houghton Mifflin) in 1999 as its primary social studies text.

Best wishes,

Christine Schild

Scottsdale USD Governing Board President

So there you go. I won't rehash the chapter and verse about this book, just one quote from Serge Trifkovic:

Troubling and controversial statements start with the very first page of Lesson 1 (“Muhammad and Islam”). The first verses of the Qur’an, we are told, “were revealed” to Muhammad in AD 610, and the initial revelation came from “a being he later identified as the angel Gabriel.” Such straightforward, quasi-factual statements concerning unprovable tenets of the Muslim faith would befit a textbook used in a Pakistani medressa, but not one used in an American public school. Likewise, on p. 59 we are told as fact that the God Muhammad believed in—Allah—“is the same God of other monotheistic religions, Judaism and Christianity.” This assertion, which most theologians and philosophers of religion would consider hugely controversial at best, is made in the form of a matter-of-fact statement that does not allow for ambiguity or doubt.

I don't even believe in God, and I find that offensive.

Who pushes these books?

By the way, you ask, where do these textbooks emerge from? I didn't even have to do much digging to bring up two names for your perusal:

First, Susan L. Douglass. Let Paul Sperry of WorldNetDaily, writing May 3, 2004, introduce her:

A top textbook consultant shaping classroom education on Islam in American public schools recently worked for a school funded and controlled by the Saudi government, which propagates a rigidly anti-Western strain of Islam, a WorldNetDaily investigation reveals.

The consultant, Susan L. Douglass, has also praised Pakistan's madrassa schools as "proud symbols of learning," even after the U.S. government blamed them for fueling the rise of the Taliban and al-Qaida.

Douglass, routinely described as a "scholar" or "historian," has edited manuscripts of world history textbooks used by middle and high school students across the country. She's also advised state education boards on curriculum standards dealing with world religion, and has helped train thousands of public school teachers on Islamic instruction.

In effect, she is responsible for teaching millions of American children about Islam, experts say, while operating in relative obscurity.

WorldNetDaily has learned that up until last year Douglass taught social studies at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Va., which teaches Wahhabism through textbooks that condemn Jews and Christians as infidels and enemies of Islam. Her husband, Usama Amer, still teaches at the grades 2-12 school, a spokeswoman there confirmed. Both are practicing Muslims.

Notice how she keeps her American moniker. It's cover.

Second, behold Abdurahman Alamoudi, who seemed to sail around Washington DC on a magic carpet. On January 14, 2004, Max Vernon of Newsmax wrote:

Abdurahman Alamoudi, an alleged senior terrorist operative, is behind bars on an 18-count indictment. But he can take satisfaction in the fact that a court in California has just given the green light to schools following ACLU’s religion-in-the-classroom guidelines, which he helped to formulate.

A federal judge judge has now upheld the constitutionality of an intensive three-week course in California government schools that requires children to choose a Muslim name, wear Islamic garb, memorize verses from the Koraan, pray to Allah, play “jihad games, and simulate worship activities related to the Five Pillars of Islam.”

Earlier, on December 1, 2003, Robert Spencer on JihadWatch posted this excerpt from a Washington Post story published the day before:

"Perhaps no other arrest since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has so shaken the U.S. Muslim community or so reverberated through Washington's political elite. Alamoudi is no youthful jihadi, no dirty-bomb conspirator. He is a well-heeled advocate who had represented American Muslims in White House meetings. He had helped found the Pentagon's Muslim chaplain program. He also was a pillar of the local Muslim community, generously donating to charitable events and running a free health clinic in Falls Church.

"In nearly two dozen interviews, Alamoudi's friends, his former colleagues and U.S. officials depict him as a man savvy enough to enjoy great success working the U.S. political system but too naive or stubborn to abide by American financial practices.

"U.S. officials suspect him of more sinister intentions. They said Alamoudi cultivated a moderate image that masks support for a radical agenda he long privately espoused. They point to his contacts with people the United States has designated terrorist sponsors, a statement of support for a 1994 terrorist attack and his association with groups suspected of funneling money to terrorists. They also question the destination of millions of dollars that passed through his personal bank accounts. . . ."

[Sounds like he'd fit right in at the Scottsdale Unified School District, actually.]

They write the books that make the kids bang heads. They serve the ones who want to make us dead.

Where Is Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser On This Textbook Issue?

Phoenix physician M. Zuhdi Jasser projects in his writings a pro-American, militantly confrontational attitude toward Islamofascism. He is a former Navy Lieutenant Commander and currently a specialist in internal medicine. He founded the American Islamic Forum For Democracy, and is he best known, so far, for organizing the still one-and-only Moderate Muslim March Against Terrorism, last year in Phoenix, which had a pitiful turnout and has not been repeated since, anywhere in America. Still, he tries, it seems.

But he pisses me off. On March 15, he wrote in approval of Karen Hughes as a top public diplomat. I agree, but then he writes this:

As a proud American Muslim working feverishly for Muslim reform and against the theocrats, I have always wondered how it is that our nation, which has the world's most skilled campaigners and communicators could not mount a more concerted and effective effort to counter the radical propaganda of freedom-hating Islamist militants.

From the secular Arab despots to the militant Islamists who lead with hate, America has allowed the Islamic world to swallow the Jihadist propaganda of Al Jazeera and its ilk with hardly a concerted rebuttal.

Excuse me. Allowed? I guess it was yet another one of our jobs, another unspoken obligation, even though every time we tried to help some poor country some clowns started screaming hegemony! imperialism! America wants to rule the world! Remember those days, doctor? or was that before your time? No, wait, it's still happening, idnit?

The people of the Islamic world, used to swallowing all kinds of things, need to take responsibility for their own minds and actions --just as rational human has had to do since we knew enough to recognize one another as persons, and as the Iranians and Lebanese are just now beginning to do. As for "concerted rebuttal," he dispenses with a phrase dozens of organizations and individuals worldwide, including Americans, from ADL to MEMRI to Jeff Jarvis, from the Kurdish resistance to bloodied Iranian students to all the Middle Eastern bloggers, both in prison and out, who have been fighting the good fight for over twenty years now. They weren't waiting for America, though they often had the help and support of Americans, and they don't need to be "concerted." This is the network age.

At the end of his Karen Hughes piece, he makes an astounding statement:

For those of us who enjoy and cherish the freedoms of America as Muslims, we know that there is nothing more Islamic than American democracy.

American democracy is not only compatible with Islam, they are nearly identical, according to this man.

Riiight. So when we hold up the USA next to Islamic societies, we see similar pictures? Where? Turkey? Doctor . . . your eyes need work.

Or not. Two months after 9/11, according to the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix:

Zuhdi Jasser explains the importance of using precise vocabulary. He says that even though the alleged perpetrators of the attacks describe themselves as Muslim, "the fact that (the term 'Muslim') is being used at all dignifies fanatical, psychopathic people by using the adjective they (chose) to use."

"Why not call them 'plain old criminals'?" he asks.

Their reward is for "other people to accept what they falsely pretend they are," adds Mohamed Jasser. "Do not grant them their wish. Do not reward them for their crime."

I am taking Mohamed Jasser's advice about false pretenses. These days, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser does acknowledge that the 9/11 terrorists were Islamist fanatics. But let's not leave that earlier story behind just yet.

The story concerns a Muslim-Jewish group, 12 of each, male and female, who had been meeting regularly since the summer of 1999, in the spirit of understanding. No politics were mentioned. They met in homes mostly, but once they met in a synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest Jewish holiday, where the Muslims made a presentation and a good time was had by all.

Later in the article, we read this:

Though they originally met at Temple Kol Ami, they do not have immediate plans to visit or meet at a mosque.

"Unfortunately, I can do that only when I have a mosque in the area that I can turn to the group and say, 'that (mosque) comes close to what I believe a mosque should be,' " explains Mohamed Jasser.

Zuhdi Jasser is concerned about the content of the sermons in the mosques. He says too many are "political," and they should instead focus on the values and religious teachings found in the Koran.

Ahmad agrees. "Sermons should stay within the teachings of Islam, not political agendas, and include lessons about improving our behaviors."

Zuhdi Jasser says he is hesitant to get the leader of a mosque --the imam-- involved in the dialogue group. He explains by saying that Islam by nature should be non-hierarchical; anyone can lead worship or classes. He fears an imam would attempt to take a leadership role in the dialogue group they have fostered.

"I believe it is inappropriate for this type of group . . . to get the leadership of a mosque involved and running it, when in fact that's not what this group is all about. This is a grassroots community group," says Jasser.

Sounds like the good doctor knows his people well. That was November 2001. I doubt it has changed much. Freedom House just published in January 2005 a disheartening report about radical Saudi Wahhabist books and articles in a dozen sampled mosques nationwide. It's been going on for years. (The AIFD website calls attention to this report.)

Reading Dr. Jasser's pieces in pluggedin, and on the AIFD website, I see the word "pluralism" a lot, and some obvious condemnation --Hamas, Hezbollah, UBL. A lot of easy targets. Sometimes I find it niggling. On September 16, 2003, he posted:

Does anyone else find a glaring inconsistency in stories like the one Monday about the "traveler who was duct taped by passengers" after he was noisily reading from the Bible during a flight out of Los Angeles? If this were a "Muslim" reading from the Koran, I would hazard to guess that the word "Islam" and "Muslim" would have made its way into the news stories about this a few times. The words "Christianity" or "Christian" appeared zero times. I guess sensitivities about how it might offend other, more normal, Christians prevailed.

Does anyone else think this is picking gnat shit out of pepper? Nobody knew if the guy was "Christian," and these days, what does that even mean? Some Christians don't consider other Christians Christian, after all.

But I myself run the risk of my distasteful metaphor. Let's get serious. Dr. Jasser has said nothing about Amina Wadud, a Viriginia Commonwealth University professor of Islamic Studies who must now broadcast her classes by video, since she led a mixed-gender prayer service in a mosque, as a de facto imam, and began receiving threats. That was announced April 2. Jasser says nothing about the visit of King Abdullah of Jordan to Washington DC (or his UN reps to East Timor, complete with pedophiles) --a man who presides over an abbatoir of dismemberment, sodomy, multi-generational tribal darkness.

More prosaically and locally, he hasn't said a thing about the Islamic distortions in two social-studies textbooks right in the middle of his bailiwick. I'll email him, and see what I can find out.

While A Marine Takes A Stand, West Seattle High 'Students Take A Stand' Stay in Hiding, Along With The Adults

The latest news about the West Seattle High School anti-American skit, witnessed via ambush by Marine Major Terry Thomas, is posted by Stefan Sharkansky at the Stranger, March 31st:

. . . The fact that faculty guided the prejudiced production reflects a dysfunction in the school's management and work ethic. It's wholly inappropriate for public school teachers to indoctrinate their captive and impressionable audience with their personal ideological agendas.

Now school officials are bumbling to explain what happened and to apologize to the veterans and to the public at large.

Thomas obtained a meeting with and a personal apology from School Board President Brita Butler-Wall, but the board has yet to take public action.

Thanks to Thomas' letter, West Seattle High School Principal Susan Dersé also issued a letter to the school's families in which she explained the event, acknowledging that faculty advisors and administrators were in charge.

Of course it's appropriate for high schools to discuss controversial topics, such as the war in Iraq. But Dersé's letter appears to be a lot of words without much follow-up. The letter indicated that she is "continuing to work with those students and their advisors in understanding this sensitive issue" and that "our school … honor[s] and celebrate[s] our veterans every year and in many ways." When I asked Dersé exactly how she's following up with the students and advisors and how the school celebrates veterans, her only response was that I had permission to quote from her letter. Nor was I allowed to speak with any staff members involved in the event. I wanted to ask them whether they're also teaching the students that Americans freed and healed Saddam's political prisoners, saved Kurds and other minorities from ethnic cleansing, and initiated the first-ever real elections in that part of the world. After all, most parents who send their kids to public school expect the teachers to expose the students to a realistic balance of facts, not just force-feed a diet of bogus anti-military propaganda.

He was not allowed to speak to the staff members involved.

So let's hold up role models. On the right, the Major, stepping up and investigating the incident. On the left, how many? --two dozen?-- reasoning human beings, students, teachers, administrators, all afraid to stand up for something they purportedly believe strongly. I find the lack of depth of their convictions disturbing, and every one of them a bad example for anyone of any age. Jeebus: who are you people? This is the real world, not your psychodrama stage. The rest of us are not here so you can work out your twisted agenda on us. Get with the solution, or stay in your holes.

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