Pew Global Attitudes

July 29th, 2007 at 12:20 am by David Farrar

The Briefing Room has a copy of the Pew Global Attitudes Survey.  It’s a poll taken in 47 countries and had 45,239 respondents.  Lots of interesting stats despite the fact they do not seem to realise there is a Pacific as well as Asia region:

  •  Satisfaction with life has risen 11% in Eastern Europe since 2002
  • In US and Western Europe a large majority think their children’s lives won’t be as good as their own, however in Eastern Europe , Middle East, Asia And Africa most think it will be better for their children.
  • India has highest satisfaction with family life at 94%
  • In Jordan those lacking money for food has dropped from 35% to 5%
  • Only 12%in China are unhappy with country’s direction compared to 71% in Japan
  • 59% of those in Venezuela are dissatisfied with how their country is going
  • 35% of those in Venezuela have to offer bribes to get government service
  • Concerns about immigration are now 64% in Italy, 32% in Germany, 40% in UK and 29% in France.
  • In the UK only 39% say religious leaders have a good impact on UK and 52% a bad impact.  In Africa 80% to 90% say they have a good impact.
  • Multinational companies are most seen as bad in Europe and the US (where they come from) and are mainly seen as good in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Asia and especially Africa where they have 4:1 support
  • 46% of Jordanians name Iran as a threat to them
  • In South Korea 70% name Japan as a threat yet only 50% name North Korea.
  • Many African countries name al Qaeda as a major threat
  • In South Africa 57% name US as an ally and 41% name Zimbabwe as a threat
  • Those saying suicide bombings of civilians are never justified to protect Islam are 56% in Turkey, 6% in Palestine, 69% in Kuwait, 72% in Pakistan, 39% in Nigeria
  • The good news is the numbers saying suicide bombings are justified has fallen since 2002 by 40% in Lebanon, 24% in Pakistan, 20% in Jordan, and 16% in Indonesia.
  • Also support or confidence in Osama Bin Laden has fallen 36% in Jordan and 19% in Lebanon.  Still at 38% in Pakistan and 41% in Indonesia.
  • Hamas has 81% support in Bangladesh and 52% in Malaysia
  • Only 26% in Venezuela think Castro has been good for Cuba
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Chavez set to rule for life

July 25th, 2007 at 8:23 am by David Farrar

Chavez looks set to rule for life, instituting term limits for every elected role in Venezuela, except his own, and now kicking out people who criticise him.

Whenever anyone claims they are shifting “control of the country’s destiny to the grassroots citizenry and the poor” it means they are about to start a reign of oppression!

I prefer a country with a free press, freedom to criticise, and have in fact supported term limits (for all MPs) since the early 1990s when I proposed them at a National Party conference and the NZ Herald unhelpfully highlighted the only two MPs who would have been affected by my proposal were those obscure backbenchers Sir William Birch and the Rt Hon James Bolger. :-)

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Go Boris Go!

July 17th, 2007 at 7:47 pm by David Farrar

Boris Johnson is seeking the Conservative nomination to be Mayor of London. Superb – a candidate who is larger than life and has true charisma. He may implode on the campaign trail, but he will do it with style.

Guido Fawkes predicts Boris will beat Ken Livingstone by dint of an increased turnout (only 37% last time).

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Peak Oil

July 16th, 2007 at 10:12 am by David Farrar

Roger Nome vented on another thread about peak oil.  Specifically he said:

What am I doing this Sunday morning? oh I don’t know, freaking out about the fact that we are on the cusp of global recession yet no one in New Zealand’s blogsphere seems to have a clue about it.

David, I see that you’re still yet to make one single post on the most important and urgent economic issue that this country, and indeed the world, currently faces. That is peak oil.

Now “Roger” has set up his own blog where people can read all about peak oil theory. And Insolent Prick has responded to Roger on his blog.

There is a lengthy debate on IPs’ blog between the two.  Worth reading.

Personally I don’t think decisions need to be made on the basis of guessing whose  prediction is right. If oil starts to become scarce, the price of oil and hence petrol will increase and the more it increase the more other sources of fuel will become economic.  To a limited degree we are already seeing this.

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John Howard

July 13th, 2007 at 1:02 pm by David Farrar

Murray McCully makes an excellent point regarding John Howard:

A Friend to New Zealand

Helen Clark responded promptly to the Harawira comments, providing a pointed reminder that John Howard has been and remains a good friend to New Zealand. A fact that has been somewhat obscured simply by the length of his tenure.

It has not been uncommon for Australian Prime Ministers to have “issues” with their trans-Tasman neighbours. Malcolm Fraser and Paul Keating most certainly did. And Bob Hawke had his moments with everyone. John Howard is an unusual man for a Prime Minister – a calm, considered, understated individual, free it appears, from the traditional politicians’ affliction of needing to demonstrate status. It is that persona that has enabled him to engage with this country in a genuinely warm and constructive manner, regardless of the domestic political currents at large here. He is thus due, even from the most trenchant critics of his domestic policies, a more respectful mode of address than he received from Mr Harawira this week.

McCully makes a point which is worth noting, putting partisan politics to one side. Most of the former Australian PMs have screwed NZ over at some stage. Keating especially. Whether he was working with Bolger, Shipley, or Clark, John Howard has always dealt with NZ PMs in good faith, and treated us well.

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Celebrating the EU

July 6th, 2007 at 9:37 am by David Farrar

The video above is in fact an official EU advertisement showing its support of European film. Quite funny, and a very corny yet funny punchline. May be a marginal call for work viewing, but you can always tell the boss to blame the EU if they object!

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The Hamas Charter

July 5th, 2007 at 12:10 pm by David Farrar

The Fundy Post laments how some on the “anti-imperialist” are left supporting Islamist groups in Palestine and Iraq, I agree – it tends to be anyone against America, they are for.

Paul usefully linked to the Hamas Charter. Some extracts below for progressives to think about:

* The so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.

* There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad

* The women in the house and the family of Jihad fighters, whether they are mothers or sisters, carry out the most important duty of caring for the home and raising the children upon the moral concepts and values which derive from Islam; and of educating their sons to observe the religious injunctions in preparation for the duty of Jihad awaiting them.

Believe it or not they also think Rotary is a “Zionist organisation” are are also pledged to wiping Rotary out as an “enemy of humanity and Islam”. Yes, seriously.

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Blair on British Islamists

July 3rd, 2007 at 8:07 am by David Farrar

Tony Blair has warned that Britain is in danger of losing the battle against terrorists unless mainstream society confronts the threat.

Sadly this does not look likely. I almost have to laugh as I see newspaper after newspaper describe the suspects as “Asian”. You know if I was Japanese, Chinese, Korean, etc I’d be pretty damn annoyed to constantly see terrorists suspects described as “Asian”.

Also back home Russell Brown somewhat bizarrely compares the attempted London car bombings to the 1999 bombing of a gay bar.

I’m almost lost for words in this continual attempt to use moral equivalence, but as Russell has, I’ll respond.

First of all the 1999 gay bar bombings were evil. They were done by an evil insane fucker. He is now in jail for at least 50 years. He was an individual who worked alone.

To compare one demented individual killer to an organised terrorist movement is ridiculous

99.999% of people would condemn what Copeland did. Even amongst “gay haters” 99.99% would be aghast at the bombings. Once Copeland was arrested, life could go back to normal eventually for the areas affected. There was no organised group of anti-gay terrorists who would strike again. Not even the BNP was advocating what was done was right, even though their leader made disgusting comments about it.

Now Islamist terrorism is different. It is planned, organised and co-ordinated. It is, sadly, supported by a significant minority of Muslims. The comparison is not to some insane gay hating individual but say to the IRA. They were supported by an significant minority, and were an organised terror group.

But sadly even that comparison has a limit. The IRA had definite aims. They wanted a united Ireland. One knew what their aim in society was. And we have seen today that they can swing to peace,

The radical Islamist terrorists just hate the West. Yes sure they’ll be a bit happier if Israel was wiped out. They’d love the Taliban to be enslaving women in Afghanistan again also. But that isn’t going to stop Islamist terrorism.

Now to be fair to Russell, while I found his comparison with the mad antigay bomber ridicolous, he did also link to what is part of the solution:

If our country is going to take on radicals and violent extremists, Muslim scholars must go back to the books and come forward with a refashioned set of rules and a revised understanding of the rights and responsibilities of Muslims whose homes and souls are firmly planted in what I’d like to term the Land of Co-existence. And when this new theological territory is opened up, Western Muslims will be able to liberate themselves from defunct models of the world, rewrite the rules of interaction and perhaps we will discover that the concept of killing in the name of Islam is no more than an anachronism.

And that was written by a former jihadist!

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Angela Davis

June 28th, 2007 at 9:24 am by David Farrar

Some of the far left have been swooning with excitment over the visit of Angela Davis to NZ. So who is Angela Davis?

Well she is the ideal unimpeachable minority as a female African-American lesbian communist. That by itself must make her a hero.

But hold on a second you say. Is she really a communist, or are you placing that label on her?

Well the fact she stood for as the Communist Party candidate for Vice-President of the United States means we can probably be reassured she is or at least was a communist. And we are not talking back in the 1950s but in 1980 and 1984. And up until 1987 the US Communist Party was funded by Moscow with an annual US$3 million a year or so.

But hold on again you say? Maybe she was one of those good nice communists? The ones who stood up to the Stalinist empire? Well not according to Nobel Laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:

According to Solzhenitsyn, a group of Czech dissidents “addressed an appeal to her: `Comrade Davis, you were in prison. You know how unpleasant it is to sit in prison, especially when you consider yourself innocent. You have such great authority now. Could you help our Czech prisoners? Could you stand up for those people in Czechoslovakia who are being persecuted by the state?’ Angela Davis answered: ‘They deserve what they get. Let them remain in prison.’”

Her specialist area is prisons. She has a simple solution. She wants them abolished. Yep. So is this now official Green party policy?

Liberty Scott blogs on Davis also.

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Blair going going ….

June 27th, 2007 at 11:44 pm by David Farrar

Just got back to my hotel room with a few friends and by chance got to see Tony Blair’s final question time live. Huge standing ovation from all sides of the UK Commons as he finished.

He is now off to the Queen to formally resign.

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Sir Salman Rushdie

June 25th, 2007 at 7:38 am by David Farrar

Helen Clark recently made Lloyd Geering a member of the Order of New Zealand. This was no doubt offensive to many Christians but bot a single Christian leader (that I can recall) even complained publicly about it. The only complaints were the odd letter or blog post (and they were not saying Geering should not have got the honour because he offended Christians, just that apart from his heresy trial his work wasn’t at the level you expect to be one of the 20 greatest living NZers).

Now compare this to Sir Salman Rushdie’s knighthood. He is an internationally acclaimed novelist who has won the Booker prize and won or been a finalist for numerous other awards. There can really be no disputing that his achievements qualify him for a Knight Bachelor – a long way off the equivalent of the ONZ (The UK equivalent is the Order of the Garter).

The reaction, maybe predictably, from some Muslim Governments and priests has been extreme, with the Pakistan Ulema Council bestowing on Osama bin Laden the title “Saifullah”, or sword of Allah on the grounds “We have awarded this title in reply to Britain’s decision to knight blasphemer Rushdie. If a blasphemer can be given the title ‘Sir’ by the West despite the fact he’s hurt the feelings of Muslims, then a mujahid who has been fighting for Islam against the Russians, Americans and British must be given the lofty title of Islam, Saifullah.”

Yes there is no difference between someone who writes a book and someone who arranges for planes to be flown into tower blocks.

The Press today says:

The renewal of death threats against Rushdie, in the wake of his knighthood, is testament to the effectiveness of the honour in reaffirming the right of free speech even when it wounds. The knighthood and the reaction to it refocus attention on the reality that Islamic fundamentalists are engaged in a struggle to oppose such liberties and impose their oppressive beliefs on the world. Their war is cultural and religious. That has been lost sight of as the fighting in Iraq has gained dominance in the headlines. It has shifted attention away from the threat of extreme Islam. Its aim was plain to all in the aftermath of 9/11. Now it tends to be forgotten as the war in Iraq worsens. The knighthood will not reinstate the war’s essential meaning, but it will remind people of the fundamental challenge tolerance faces.

And the Dominion Post on Friday says:

Readers worldwide would concur that there is plenty of room to debate the author’s style, his content, even his ability. So why is it that, when Muslim sensibilities are offended, adherents instead throng the streets to burn flags, destroy buildings and call for their fellows to strike someone dead? It smacks of ignoranceand bigotry. It also says that a frighten-ing number of fanatical Muslims still hanker after a worldwide caliphate, in which Sharia law prevails and apostates are dealt with cruelly. Most in the West, driven largely by a contest of ideas in which shibboleths are questioned, sacred cows slaughtered and demigods eventually found out, would not countenance such a scenario.

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Aboriginal neglect

June 22nd, 2007 at 6:20 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald has an AAP story on the unprecedented intervention by the Federal Government regarding the management of Aboriginal reserves in the Northern Territory.

There has literally been decades of neglect under the “banner” of self determination.

Howard is planning to ban alcohol and pornography on Aboriginal lands, due to their role in horrifiic child abuse in many Aboriginal communities. He is also bringing in welfare reforms dictating what one can spend welfare money on, and also linking it to children being educated. Also work for the dole to come in.

On the carrot side, there will be a programme of improving public housing.

Howard says:

“It is interventionist, it does push aside the role of the Territory to some degree. I accept that. But what matters more – the constitutional niceties or the care and protection of young children? We believe the latter is overwhelmingly more important.”

His moves have been welcomed by not only the Federal Labor Party but also the the National Indigenous Council.

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Actions not words

June 20th, 2007 at 7:42 am by David Farrar

It is good that Fiji’s Government has set a timetable of March 2009 for democratic elections.

However words are cheap and actions are not. The expulsion of the High Commissioner, the media censorship, the hunt for bloggers, the illegal detentions, the beatings, the killings are all actions which speak for themselves.

I agree with Michael Green the prospects look bleak.

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Islam and identity

June 18th, 2007 at 6:31 am by David Farrar

Former Observer Editor Will Hutton (a pro EU social democrat) writes on Islam and identity. The full column is worth reading, but some extracts are below:

The leading European theorist on Islam is Paris-based Professor Olivier Roy. In Globalised Islam, he argues that Muslims everywhere, but especially the minorities living in the West, are undergoing a crisis of identity that is easily misunderstood by both the West and Islam itself as being about the integrity of religious faith.

Roy’s belief is that the deep driver of Islamic fundamentalism, terror and murderous intra-religious rivalries is the interaction of this very particular culture and its norms with Western culture and norms.

Those who think that what we are observing is solely a blowback against Western foreign policy, the invasion of Iraq and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, vastly underestimate the profundity of what is happening – or the possibility of changing it by changes to foreign policy. The tensions between Islam, the British and the West have much deeper roots. Can Islamic theology and culture compete with the march of globalisation, Western values and their self-evident superiority in delivering a prosperity that Islam cannot match?

The West provokes Islam not by doing anything, although what it does is hardly helpful; it provokes at least some strands of Islamic thought simply by being.

The message from Roy and Malik is bleak. There is no quick fix. Nor should the West too readily accept at face value demands to accept Islamic dress codes, protocols over food, the cultural context of honour killings, Islamic schools and Sharia law. The virulence and sometimes violence with which these demands are made are not because of religiosity or genuine grievance which we should respect; they are ways of responding to a profound identity crisis and should be understood as such.

There are many years of tension ahead. There needs to be an equitable settlement between Israel and the Palestinians not because of hopes it will halt Islamic fundamentalism or al Qaeda but because we believe in equity.

To respond to jihadism by declaring a war on terror was wrong; to make war on a crisis of identity is crass. Jihadist terror is a security issue. Peace will only arrive in the Middle East and Leeds when many more Muslims arrive at Hirsi Ali’s destination.

And that will only happen if the West never gives ground on its values, and never accepts it has sole responsibility for the tensions.

The violent engagement with modernity by some strands within Islam is inescapable. We should certainly avoid inflaming matters with injustices such as Guantanamo Bay. But we cannot and should not stop being ourselves.

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Cheap Thugs

June 18th, 2007 at 5:44 am by David Farrar

Banned reporter Michael Field writes about his treatment in Fiji.

I was then perplexed when one of the men who had attached themselves to me asked if I had any money.

Corruption is a big issue in Fiji, so I answered with care: “Yes, why?”

“We want you to pay for your detention room.”

I pointed out that Fairfax had already paid for a decent hotel room elsewhere.

A woman snarled: “You are staying in the detention room; we will pay.”

I was taken in a van with blacked-out windows to the Hotel Kennedy, which I had never heard of.

I now know it as a kind of immigration detention centre cum brothel.

“We’ll put him in the black room,” the man said to the security guard with me.

“Yes, that would be good. No electricity.”

So the thugs who now run Fiji not only illegally detain journalists, they have the temerity to demand that said journalists pays for the cost of his own detention room. It would be funny if it wasn’t tragic.

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Fiji gets worse … again …

June 14th, 2007 at 7:27 pm by David Farrar

Some promising sounds have been made about Fiji returning to democracy and having elections, but one has to judge them on actions, not words, and it is all dismal.

The expulsion of the NZ High Commissioner (an incredibly serious thing to do to a Government) comes on top of killings, beatings, and attacks on freedom of speech. The Commodore is quite insane and I don’t see any path out of the disaster he is heading towards.

Journalist Barry Soper broke the story this morning, and told us during the segment we do with Willie Jackson on Good Morning that it really seems a major factor was the Commodore feeling slighted at a rugby game. Normally you would laugh and say it couldn’t be, but we are not dealing with someone with a full deck of cards.

Our sanctions are still pretty half hearted. We should pull in favours with the US and UK to get the Security Council to resolve to stop using Fijian peacekeepers. If you do that, I predict within three months the Commodore’s poor and starving troops will be handing him over to be arrested.

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Scott Adams on Rational Evil

June 13th, 2007 at 11:02 pm by David Farrar

Another interesting post from Scott Adams:

I used to think America needed to change its foreign policy if it had any hope of ending terrorism. That sort of opinion is never better than a reasonable guess about what is most likely. But it seemed to me that even terrorists have specific objectives, and if they achieve those objectives, they stop terrorizing.

My thinking was that the terrorists were asking for things we’d be better off giving them anyway, for our own selfish reasons. For example, Israel is strong enough and wealthy enough to no longer need our support. And it’s unclear that our heavy footprint in the Middle East is guaranteeing us more oil and less terrorism. It seemed like a win-win scenario to give the terrorists what they were asking for, since the only impact on us is saving some money. Or at least it would save me from transferring my wealth to the pockets of U.S. military industries.

Recently I changed my opinion. While I think there was a period in the past when a different foreign policy would have brought us to a different point, we don’t have a time machine. We are where we are. And where we are is totally fucked.

The problem is with the loose cell structure of Al-Qaeda, and the fact it has become a lifestyle for its members. If we remove all the original reasons for Al-Qaeda’s existence, I believe they would find new ones. It is unlikely the members of terror cells would decide to quit and become insurance salesmen.

While the cell structure of Al-Qaeda is an excellent way to wage war, it’s a bad way to stop a war. If all the existing cells around the world made lists of their reasons for being terrorists, and compared those lists, I think they’d look very different except for the parts about hating Israel and the United States. If the leadership of Al-Qaeda told its cells to disarm, half of the cells would just splinter off and keep on terrorizing. It’s permawar.

This leads me to Israel. I used to think Israel was making a mistake to occupy disputed land and give their enemies more reasons to attack and fewer reasons to make peace. Again, perhaps if we had a time machine there was a period in history where that was true. But we’re long past that. Now I believe there is sufficient perpetual hatred against Israel that it would be irrational for them to offer any concessions.

Sadly Adams may be right. I still think that one has to try, and have Israel return to its pre 1967 borders, but I suspect the terrorist attacks will in no way abate, once this happens.

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Tear down this wall

June 11th, 2007 at 1:55 pm by David Farrar

Tuesday is the 20th anniversary of Ronald Reagan giving his now famous Tear down this wall speech in Berlin.

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

The irony is that this part of the speech was vigorously opposed by both the State Department and the National Security Council. Most of the media reports at the time were very negative on it also. Peter Robinson, the person who wrote the speech for Reagan, details here the numerous attempts people made all the way up to the Chief of Staff and Secretary of State to get the words changed.

I met Peter Robinson in Santa Barbara last year and got to hear from him first hand the story of the speech. Inspiring indeed. Especially to all those in Eastern Europe who heard it.

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Most popular name in the UK this year

June 8th, 2007 at 7:09 am by David Farrar

Guess what name for baby boys, will be No 1 in he UK by the end of the year?

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Sarkozy a dictator as he is too popular

June 8th, 2007 at 6:45 am by David Farrar

It would almost be comic if it wasn’t so stupid. Remember how in France before the elections the Socialists (and all the world’s media) kept calling Sarkozy divisive etc.

Well now he and his party is proving so popular, the Socialists are now warning of dictatorship. He is the most popular President since Charles de Gaulle.

It’s now a bad thing to be popular, if you’re from the right.

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Fanaticism

June 7th, 2007 at 3:39 pm by David Farrar

I got e-mailed the passages below. While it’s a bit raw I do think it makes a very good point about how fanaticism prevails when moderates do not step up to condemn and stop them, and that this does apply to Islam. Of course the majority are not extreme fanatics, but history tells us that the fanatics win, unless moderates stand up to them and condemn them:

THOUGH RATHER RAW, THIS DESERVES A MINUTE OR TWO TO READ AND FORWARD. (author unknown)

A man whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War Two owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism.

“Very few people were true Nazis “he said,” but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”

We are told again and again by “experts” and “talking heads” that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.

It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals.

The hard quantifiable fact is that the “peaceful majority” the “silent majority” is cowed and extraneous.
* Communist Russia comprised Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.
* China’s huge population, it was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.
* The average Japanese individual prior to World War 2 was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword,shovel and bayonet.
* And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were “peace & loving”?

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

As for us who watch it all unfold; we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Lastly, at the risk of offending, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, can contribute to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand. So extend yourself a bit and send this on and on and on!! Let us hope that thousands, world wide, read this – think about it – and send it on

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Sarkozy look set to win a parliamentary majority

June 5th, 2007 at 12:30 pm by David Farrar

French President Nicolas Sarkozy seems to be off to a good start, with polls showing between two-thirds and three-quarters of respondents approving of his job to date.

This is reflecting in support for his Union for a Popular Movement which polls predict is on course for 420 to 460 seats in the 577-member National Assembly. The first round of voting is this weekend.

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Tommorrow never comes

June 2nd, 2007 at 3:06 pm by David Farrar

tommorrow.jpg

Someone on her campaign team should be losing their job for that.

Hat Tip: Half Done

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Scott Adams on Global Warming

May 31st, 2007 at 6:46 pm by David Farrar

Scott Adams is mainly known for his wonderful humour as the creator of Dilbert. But he has also just done a blog post on global warming, which pretty much nails it for me. He concludes:

1. The earth is getting warmer, and human activity is an important part of it.

2. There is plenty of bullshit on both sides of the issue.

3. The people who are well-informed about global warming are overstating the case by conflating the well-studied fact of human-created warming with the less-than-certain predictions of what happens because of the extra warming.

4. The people who say global warming is irrelevant because we should all be recycling and using less fossil fuel for other reasons anyway don’t understand the size of the problem.

5. The people predicting likely doom because of global warming have not made their case. Humans are incredibly adaptive. And technological breakthroughs happen in steps, not predictable straight lines. Every other predicted type of global doom hasn’t happened because of human resourcefulness.

6. Some say that even a small chance of worldwide catastrophe is worth the “insurance” of working to reduce the risk to zero, even at astronomical expense. But how small is a “small” risk? And how does the risk of global warming stack up to the other global risks for which we could use our limited resources?

Read the full post at the link above and the hundreds of comments.

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Trouble for Chirac

May 30th, 2007 at 7:14 am by David Farrar

Former French President Chirac is under investigation for corruption. Good.

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