Hickslotto and Iran Predictions
Tim Blair has asked for bets on David Hicks' sentence length. I choose 12 years, with time already served counted. I also predict he will lose weight in the barbaric Australian jail system.
And whilst we are on predictions, I predict Britian will continue to dither, and after much 'diplomacy' by the British the UN will finally pass a resolution condeming Iran and calling for the hostages release, Iran will ignore it. Iran is already under sanctions for its Nuclear program, so the UN is essentially powerless, unless it agrees to military action. This will never happen.
Iran will continue to try and use the prisoners for PR within and without Iran, and continue to go back on their promises such as the one they made to Faye Turney and then broke.
After about 3 months, Britian and or the US will rescue the hostages using a surgical strike/special forces operation.
And the safest prediction yet....many of the left will continue to provide aid and comfort to the enemies of the west, making excuses and running inteference for the holocaust denying madman leading Iran who wants to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons. America's Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi provides a great example.
Wilfull Ignorance - A Dangerous Trend
I asked before if Tony Blair was going to be like Jimmy Carter (A wussbag) or Ronald Reagan (A man of action). This question comes up because history seems to be repeating itself, with Iran taking 15 British Navy personnel hostage.
A commentor, actually...the only commentor, had this to say in what is a clear case of blinkered vision.
Or maybe, just maybe, Iran is actually doing what any country would do... defend its territory.Lets just review the context of the kidnapping.
Things are never as simple as we'd like to believe... Makes for rough going from the "black or white", "with us or again' us" crowd. So much easier to yell "Kidnapping" and run around like a headless chicken. Makes it easier to justify a bit of bombing, too.
From the Guardian :
Because the two countries have not agreed on updated charts, that means there is no universal agreement on exactly where the border line runs.
If the seizure occurred near the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab - which is likely - the issue becomes even more complicated because Iraq and Iran have never agreed on each others' claim to Gulf waters near the mouth of the waterway.
Without such an agreement, international law requires countries not to extend their territorial waters ``beyond the median line with neighboring states,'' said Martin Pratt of the University of Durham in Britain.
But defining that line is difficult because of conflicting claims to rock formations, sandbars and barrier islands in the shallow waters of the northern Gulf, Pratt said.
As a result, there may be ``legitimate grounds for arguing for a different definition'' of those median lines, Pratt said.
1) Iran is currently under incredible pressure, and having sanctions imposed, in order to try and get them to abandon their nuclear ambitions
2) Iran is currently actively supporting the terrorists who are trying to destabilise Iraq and has had the US capture and hold several senior members of Iran's revolutionary Guard in Iraq.
3) Several high level Generals defect revealing even more Iranian involvement and many many Iranian weapons are found in Iraq.
4) Subhi Sadek, the Revolutionary Guard's weekly paper writes that Iran can strike back and "capture a nice bunch of blue-eyed blond-haired officers" and that it has people "who can reach the heart of Europe and kidnap Americans and Israelies" and further comments from a senior Iranian military official confirms that a decision to capture soldiers was made during a March 18 meeting.
5) The AP has reported that the Iranian involvement is Iraq has escalated as 3000 terrorists in Iraq are now funded directly by Iran and many have gone to Iran for military training. British officers back up this story.
6) Iran then captures 15 British Navy soliders and accuses them of being in Iranian waters.
This is the context of the current situation. I would argue that it is dangerously naive to claim that this was just a misunderstanding and the British were inside Iranian waters. All military vessels would contain GPS locators, so unless there is some weird James Bond like plot which misdirected the boat, it is unlikely that a tiny group of barely armed soldiers would be hanging around in Iranian waters.
It is far more likely that the Iranians knew exactly what they were doing...kidnapping soldiers in an attempt to gain leverage over the west. Indeed, as more evidence comes out, this is clearly the right explanation.
As Verum Serum reports in their latest excellent update.
The Brits took the offensive today:The BBC has a handy map to show where the incident took place.
Vice Admiral Charles Style, presenting the information at the Ministry of Defence in London, said the Royal Navy personnel were “ambushed” by the Iranian navy while 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi territorial waters.
How do they know?
Vice Admiral Style, the deputy chief of the defence staff, said one of the two small British craft intercepted by the Iranian navy at gunpoint had a GPS (global positioning system) device on board.
Information from that device, along with further evidence from a British military helicopter, proved the sailors were operating “well inside” Iraqi waters when they were seized last Friday, he said.
The GPS relayed information back to HMS Cornwall, the ship the craft were operating from, meaning it was able to “continuously chart” their position.
The London Times published the exact coordinates:
29′ 50.36″ N, 048′ 43.08″E
Meanwhile, the Iranian kidnappers can’t even tell a convincing lie:
The vice admiral said the Iranians had given two different positions for where they claimed the Royal Navy boarding party - seized after they had made a routine boarding of an Indian-flagged dhow suspected of being used to smuggle cars - had been.
He added that the location given by Iran on Saturday for the British personnel was inside Iraqi waters. After this was pointed out to Tehran, Iranian officials provided a second location, around two miles inside Iranian waters, on Monday.
The results of this full court press look promising:
Soon afterwards, the Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, said the only woman among the 15 captives, 26-year-old Faye Turney, would be released soon.
“The woman soldier is free either today or tomorrow,” he told the Turkish CNN-Turk television channel.
What's more, the forced confession of Faye Turney, is also an obvious ploy.
Pretending that Iran is acting in good faith is what kept US Soldiers in an Iranian jail for 444 days.
Conservative Idiots? Tar Baby Alert
Neal Boortz has a post on Why People Think Conservatives Are Idiots, where he laments that some conservatives make it easy for people to stereotype conservatives as idiots.
Sadly ... many conservatives seem to have dedicated their lives to lending credence to the left's "conservatives are idiots" claim. You will remember several weeks ago I told you about one Georgia Republican (former Democrat) legislator [Rep Ben Bridges] whose campaign chairman sent out some memos and letters promoting legislation to outlaw the teaching of evolution in government schools. The letter referred the reader to the website of "The Fair Education Foundation, Inc." In this website --- and I'm not kidding you here --- you will learn that the Earth stands still in space ... not even rotating ... while the Sun and everything in the universe rotates around the earth every 24 hours. Think I'm kidding? Check it our for yourself.
Well .. there's more. Sunday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution tells us about another website, this one run by Andrew Schlafly, the son of Phyllis Schlafly. Conservapedia pushes the creationism theme with revelations that dinosaurs and humans roamed the Earth at the same time.[video] You'll also learn that atheism has led to a large increase in bestiality. But once again you'll learn that not only is the Earth standing still, but it's actually flat ... and sitting still in space while everything revolves around it.
Tell me .. how do you counter the "conservatives are ignorant" argument, and how do you manage to recruit more people to the cause of lower taxes, less government and more individual responsibility when you have people running around loose calling themselves conservatives, getting elected to office as conservatives, and running websites as conservatives all the while telling us that the earth does not spin on its axis and does not revolve around the Sun .. and that everything in the known universe revolves around the Earth?
If true conservatives really want to expand their philosophy and mount a sustained movement that just might save individualism, freedom and economic liberty --- they had better jettison these zealot nut-cases .... and FAST.
This all sure makes me glad to be a Libertarian.
Whilst I grant that the Georgian Republican seems like an idiot, there are several problems here.
Firstly, arguing that because one person is an idiot, everyone in the same group can also be considered idiots is well, idiotic. Why just pick the defining group level as being conservative? Why not human? Republican? Politician? Or perhaps Neal is arguing that everyone who thinks conservatives are idiots are idiots because they reach that conclusion on the basis of grossly inadequate evidence?
Secondly, how do you jettison someone from being a conservative? I must have missed them passing out the secret conservative decoder rings from the conservative club....
Thirdly, Boortz shows himself to be somewhat of an idiot himself, as Conservapedia does not 'push' a creationist theme. It gives both the creationist view and the evolutionist view. Wow....what idiots! The same is the case for when it talks about a 'flat earth'. Obviously Neal feels that any such mention without of these things wailing and gnashing of teeth is idiotic.
Finally, Neal simply assumes anyone who believes something different to him and others is an idiot. It doesn't matter if they talk about evidence or reason. What's worse, Neal doesn't even link to the offending articles or quote them. So specific charges (e.g. atheism having led to an increase in bestiality) are not able to be dealt with on the basis of evidence.
Neal is glad to be a libertarian, but with his poor view of evidence and reason, are the libertarians glad he is one of them?
Is Tony Blair Reagan or Carter?
That's the question I am asking with Iran taking 15 British soldiers hostage.
Remembering that Jimmy Carter tried his best to get the US soldiers being held by Iran released, but it wasn't until Reagan became president that Iran suddenly released them. Most likely out of a clear understanding that Reagan would use force, whilst Carter was a wuss-bag who would rather let his countrymen rot in Iran for 444 days than use force.
And if you want a good timeline of the events leading up to the kidnapping, I recommend Verum Serum's excellent round-up. Verum Serum also has excellent updates on the hostage crisis.
Tim Blair Catches up on David Hicks
As I mentioned before, the furore of David Hicks being held for 5 years without trial is a crock. David Hicks' lawyers and many others are deliberately delaying the process. As Tim Blair reports, Leigh Sales, the ABC national security correspondent confirms this is the chief tactic of the Hicks defense team.
The Hicks defence strategy relies on delaying the process for so long that the Australian Government will be forced to ask for the prisoner’s return.Yep. The hypocrisy of these people is amazing. Create the delay to create an outcry about the delay.
And yes...I have to gloat....it isn't often that you beat Tim Blair to the punch.
Update: Thanks to Tim for the link.
Labels: David Hicks
The Tolerant Left
Front Page Mag has the tale of Ruth Malhotra, a conservative Christian at Georgia Tech, that you need to read. The tale outlines the death threats, the pressure and bias coming from the supposedly tolerant left staff and students at Georgia Tech that should concern anyone who values free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of political expression.
Ruth has experienced
* Being failed by a lecturer for being an active conservative Christian
* Pressure and derision by the universities administration to cease her activities
* Discriminatory application of speech codes. Allowing leftists to say exactly the same things that she was required to not show on placards
* Threats of violence and death threats
* A campaign to smear her, including racial insults.
Read the whole thing...it is a warning of the future where the government forces your children to learn about the 'equality' of homosexuality, where pastors can be jailed for preaching that homosexual activity is a sin.
Poverty Does Not Cause Terrorism
Yet more studies have come out showing, what I have said before, that Poverty does not cause to terrorism. Fortune's Cait Murphy has a great roundup.
Aren't the people who commit terrorist acts poor, even if they are from countries that are not? No. Remember, most of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were middle-class sons of Saudi Arabia and many were well-educated. And Osama bin Laden himself is from one of the richest families in the Middle East.So in effect, the poorer people are, the less likely they are to become terrorists. The more educated and affluent they are, the more likely they are to become terrorists.
But it goes deeper than that. In a 2003 study in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Alan Krueger and Jitka Maleckova reported the results of a post-9/11 survey of Palestinians. Asked whether there were "any circumstances under which you would justify the use of terrorism to achieve political goals," the higher-status respondents (merchant, farmer or professional) were more likely to agree (43.3 percent) than those lower down the ladder (laborer, craftsman or employee) (34.6 percent). The higher-status respondents were also more likely to support armed attacks against Israeli targets (86.7 percent to 80.8 percent). The same dynamic existed when education was taken into account.
In another study, 129 Hezbollah militants who died in action (not all of them in activities that could be considered terrorism) were compared to the general Lebanese population. The Hezbollah members were slightly less likely to be poor, and significantly more likely to have finished high school.
Outside Palestine, there is general agreement that suicide attacks on civilians is a form of terrorism. So where do suicide bombers fit in? A study looked at the biographies of 285 suicide bombers as published in local journals, from 1987-2002. And this found that those who carried out suicide attacks were, on the whole, richer (fewer than 15 percent under the poverty line, compared to almost 35 percent for the population as a whole) and more educated (95 percent with high school or higher) than the rest of the population (almost half of whom went no further than middle school). A similar survey of terrorists in the Jewish Underground, which killed 29 Palestinians in the early 1970s, found the same pattern.
A comprehensive study of 1,776 terrorist incidents (240 international, the rest domestic) by Harvard professor Albert Abadie, who was sympathetic to the poverty-terrorism idea at first, found no such thing. "When you look at the data," he told the Harvard Gazette, "it's not there."
What other contributing factors were there? Wishy washy governments...
The freest countries experienced little terrorism; and the same was true for the most oppressed. It was in the middle - where politics was unsettled and evolving and governments are often weak - that suffered the most.and geography...
He also found that geography contributed to terrorist destiny. Places like Afghanistan, with its austere mountains, or Colombia, with its remote jungles, might have been designed to sustain terrorism.
The writer concludes by echoing what I have said in several of my talks
There are many good reasons to worry about poverty, and to take action to alleviate it. But ending terrorism is not one of them.
Global Warming and Greenhouse Gases
Neo-environmentalists like Tim Flannery and Al Gore continue to prophesy about how rising greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, will doom us all. Some environmental scientists maintain that the climate changes we experience can be better explained by solar cycles.
Curiously enough though, according to geologists Jay Kaufman and Shuhai Xiao, carbon dioxide levels in the distant past were 10 to 200 times higher than today's levels. So if that was the case, why didn't the earth cook in a goresque type cataclysm? Solar changes....
Postmodernism - Philosophy for the Dishonest
Postmodernism, the idea that Meta-narratives (Big picture stories of how things are ) are used to control people and exercise power as opposed to trying to accurately reflect reality, is fairly unpopular with philosophy professors today. Where it is popular is with many, many other people.
Consider Dan Rather's use of fraudulantly constructed memo's in order to try and influence the U.S. elections against George Bush. His defense? The memo's were fake but accurate. It wasn't objective reality that was important, but the meta-narrative that Bush was essentially AWOL that mattered.
Or perhaps the preponderance on reporters who still claim that George Bush delivered a plastic turkey to troops in Iraq at thanksgiving, even though the major newspapers offered corrections to make it clear the turkey was real.
Evatt Foundation president Christopher Sheil recently mused online about matters turkular: "Actually, it is easy to make a mistake about whether a turkey is fake or not . . . We cannot know for ourselves, for we merely have an image, and the suggestion that it was fake has been repeatedly published as such by countless sources all over the world. Very few know whether the turkey was fake or not . . ."What is he saying? It isn't important whether the turkey was fake or not....because we can't really know. Why then do many reporters claim it was plastic if they can't know it was plastic? Because it suits the meta-narrative about Bush not being a good president. Once again, reality or objective truth doesn't matter, but the story.
Or consider the picture of polar bears in a news.com article on global warming. The pictures tagline reads "Stranded ... this pair of polar bears - captured on film by Canadian environmentalists - reflect the tragedy of global warming." Pity the picture was not taken by Canadian Environmentalists. From Spiked
Amanda Byrd, an Australian graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), says she took the picture around three years ago - in the summer. The photograph was not ‘taken by environmentalists’ but as part of a field trip with the university.Once again, it isn't whether the picture and it's caption match objective reality, but that it can be used to support the meta-narrative of global warming.
The 'truth' doesn't matter as long as people believe in global warming.
Of course, this isn't the only instance of global warming fake but accurate claims. Consider Al Gore's exaggeration of the scientific consensus of what is a realistic expectation of sea levels rising due to global warming. The amount of exaggeration? Somewhere between 400% and 2000% (depending on which reports you listen to). What is Al's defense? That his more is accurate on 'the most important and salient points'. What points would they be? That human caused global warming needs to be addressed. That "Unless we act boldly, our world will undergo a string of terrible catastrophes." Considering his exaggerated claims of sea level rising, you have to wonder what catastrophe he is talking about? Once again...truth is discarded for the big story....
Or how about Professor Stephen Schneider, who feels scientists should exaggerate claims and levels of certainty in order to get people behind the movement to stop global warming.
These are just a few examples that spring to mind...I am sure there are many more.
Some people like postmodernism...it lets them have a great excuse for dishonesty.
Global Warming Debate
I'm Shocked! Verum Serum has linked to a New York global warming debate. How can this be? We've been repeatedly told that there is no debate on global warming!
Check out Verum Serum for a good selection of snippets from the debate.
What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality
“A text out of context is the pre-text for a proof-text.” In seeking to understand the Scriptures as the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), we must properly exegete each passage within its historical-geographical context, conscious of literary style, in light of and consistent with the whole revelation of God, always allowing the text to ‘speak for itself’ rather than imposing our preferred meaning onto a passage (eigesis vs. exegesis).
Let’s consider the four main passages that deal with homosexuality explicitly, and how those believing homosexuality is consistent with Scripture have interpreted them.
Genesis 19 Mutually-Consented Sodomy vs. Rape?
Sodomy is condemned, though as contended by some theologians, it is possible that the primary concern of God was the intention of gang rape by the crowd, rather than mutually consenting homosexual activity. Nevertheless, Sodom was deemed perverted (Jude 1:7).
Leviticus 18:22; 20:13 Contemporary Homosexuality vs. Temple Prostitution?
Some suggest these laws refer specifically to homosexual acts connected with the temple prostitutes, thus not presently applicable. There is no evidence for this re-interpretation, however. Even Sherwin Bailey, who proffered the re-interpretation of the story of Sodom, stated that it is hardly open to doubt that both the laws in Leviticus relate to ordinary homosexual acts between men, and not to ritual or other acts performed in the name of religion. Additionally, ceremonial laws (no longer relevant) drew relatively minor penalties, whilst moral laws (which still stand) drew the penalty of death. Sodomy fits the latter.
Romans 1:18, 21, 26-27 Inversion vs. Perversion?
Some argue that this passage condemns heterosexuals engaged in a lust-based perversion of sexuality, rather than the relatively recent inverted, ‘normal and natural’ monogamous homosexuality practiced by those ‘born’ gay. This neither does justice to the Scriptures (forcing an unsupported meaning onto the passage), history (homosexuality in all forms saturated Greek culture in Paul’s day), nor research on the state of most homosexual unions where promiscuity is the norm. “Unnatural” in this passage (verse 26) means contrary to God’s original intention for human sexual behaviour, plainly visible in the complementary function of the male and female sexual organs, irrespective of what ‘feels’ normal for the person. Design, not feeling, determines purpose.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Ill-Defined Words vs. A Practice Condemned?
Some contend that the Greek words ‘malakoi’ and ‘arsenokoitai’ have uncertain meanings, translated variously as ‘effeminate’, ‘soft’, ‘male prostitute’, and ‘sodomite’, ‘homosexual offender’, ‘sexual pervert’, respectively. They claim that clearer words could have been used that would definitely mean ‘homosexual’ as opposed to simply ‘morally weak’, and in the case of ‘arsenokoitai’ that by the second century it was interchangeable with a ‘pederast’ (paedophile with boys). Closer study reveals that these terms, whilst not the clearest available, would have been sufficiently clear to the readers of the day – the reference was to men who took the passive and active role in homosexual intercourse. ‘Arsenokoitai’ derives from ‘ar’sane’ meaning ‘male’ (as in Matthew 19:4), and ‘koytay’ means co-habitation within a bed (as in Romans 13:13), similar to our euphemism of ‘sleeping together’ – thus rendering the most straight forward reading as men having sex with each other, irrespective of the presence of love, and absence of lust, which would include but is not limited to pederasty (also used in 1 Timothy 1:10 in this context). Importantly, the translation has been made as ‘homosexual offenders’, to distinguish between the desire for homosexual sex (where temptation is not sin – Hebrews 4:15) and the actual practice of it which is condemned by God. It reminds us that the Scriptures honour people successfully struggling with temptation rather than condemning them for their temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 4:15).
In summary, in every context homosexuality (as defined, referring to the act, not the orientation) is mentioned, it is presented as a sin. In no place does it speak positively of homosexuality. Rationalisations on the grounds that the context was always fleshly indulgence and not a stable, loving relationship, are merely eigesis based on historical speculation, additionally failing to recognise the key purposes, standard and Biblical context given by God for sex. Sex is created exclusively for within marriage, and marriage is only between a man and a woman, their union reflecting the image of God. Does the Bible dwell on the issue, especially since parts of it were written in the Greek world, full of bisexuality? No, it does not. Homosexuality is simply one of the many fruit deriving from the root of sin, bound up in the heart of every person. Instead, the Bible focuses on its alternative. It encourages sexual expression in the context of a faithful marriage, and it exalts celibacy for those who cannot, or choose not, to marry (1 Corinthians 7:8-9). Both are honourable lifestyles. There is no third way.
(Note that this post does not refer to how we should treat others, whatever their lifestyle, just specifically what the bible says about it)
The Global Warming Diet
Verum Serum has an interesting post casting human caused global warming as a fad diet.
Of course just what constitutes a “proper diet” is anyone’s guess. Search the word diet on Google and you’ll get 151 million links. Good luck sorting all that out! The reality is, most of us just sift through the handful of diets that some expert or some media figure (Suzanne Sommers, Oprah, etc.) has told us works. And I will say, it’s not a totally foolish way to go. After all, a diet that has millions of fans is likely better than one that has none.Interesting....I may use that for a talk...
A few years ago (eight?) I read three or four books and studied the claims of a few of the major diets. I finally settled on Atkins, mostly because his claims about the glycemic index seemed to make sense and to have some scientific basis (unlike, say, the marshmallow diet). I tried Atkins and did indeed lose some weight. Some time later, there was an Atkins backlash and I actually argued with people who told me Atkins didn’t work therefore it couldnt’ [sic] have worked for me. What do you say?
What is more interesting is the BBC4 documentary 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' which can be found on google here.It is worth watching, as it has lots of people who you would think are not simply bought by business or religiously motivated to deny human caused global warming. Scientists, including IPCC scientists and Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace make comments.
As another aside, the whole human caused global warming thing reminds me of the Y2K doomsdayers, especially the media. Y2K was the problem of computers storing only the last 2 digits of a year, so when the date changed to the year 2000, all manner of horrible things were going to happen when the computers thought it was 1900. Lots of people made a lot of money to deal with the massive crisis of Y2K, yet there was almost not a single glitch when the time came. It was all a beat up...a sham. Work certainly needed to be done, but it wasn't a crisis. The real problem was the people who cried wolf for Y2K were the very people who had the most to gain. Sounds a lot like global warming to me.
Dred Scott Granddaughter Fights for Unborn Personhood
It is somewhat poetic that the granddaughter of Dred Scott, a slave that the courts ruled was not a person in 1857 in order to deny black slaves normal legal and moral protections, is fighting for the personhood of the unborn who have been denied their basic legal and moral protections by the court.
Human biological life begins at conception, and any attempt to restrict personhood, based as it is in the pro-abortion movement on religious grounds, to a subset of the human population only leads to moral abuse of the excluded population.
Social Justice Christians
By any worldly standards, Rick Warren is a huge success. He was featured as one of Time magazines most influential individuals in 2005. He leads a huge mega church and is often called 'Americas Pastor'. Christians everywhere, read his book, listen to his talks and follow his advice. Personally, however, I am very cautious about him.
Take for instance his PEACE plan which is supposed to deal with the 5 biggest problems the world is facing. What are the 5 biggest problems according to Rick Warren?
* Spiritual Emptiness.
* Egocentric Leadership.
* Extreme Poverty.
* Pandemic Diseases.
* Illiteracy and lack of education.
Warren has identified some big issues, but lacking from his biggest problems is Abortion. More humans are murdered every year through abortion than die due to poverty, disease and war combined. So why is abortion left out?
My guess is that it is the price of consensus. Abortion is a controversial issue. The world is divided. Why tarnish the plan with the real social justice issue that dwarfs all the others, when that will make some people not like part of the plan. Pretty much everyone agrees that Poverty, Diseases, Corrupt Leadership, Illiteracy and lack of education are huge problems. It is easy to come down on the side of dealing with them. But when it comes to an unpopular Christian position, Rick is nowhere to be heard. The same can be said with Rick and homosexuality.
Rick, as a Christian, is meant to be salt and light to the world. Unfortunately, his PEACE plan seems to taste the same as world.
Advanced Review of The Lost Tomb of Jesus
Melinda from Stand to Reason has a review up of The Lost Tomb of Jesus. Several points in the review stuck out to me.
The writers accept or reject the bible as a source based on whether it agrees with their story.
The many assumptions involved are not independently supported, and so many points are sheer speculation are used in order to 'make the dots line up' so that they can connect the dots.
Check it out.