I hope you enjoyed that video in my previous post. If you haven't, please watch it. It only runs three minutes or so and is worth a few laughs. But seeing as that's a wee bit lazy I decided to do my own post and build on that platform by Pat Condell.
See this pretty woman below? Her name is Nilofar Bakhtiar and she is Pakistan's Tourism Minister. That Pakistan even has a Tourism Minister in the first place is a shocker but of course is beside the point. In the second frame, Ms. Bakhtiar gives her male instructor a hug for her successful dive in tandem. For this little indiscretion she was forced to resign her post. When you look at these pictures they seem innocent enough to the average Western viewer and they are. Seen through the prism of a Muslim mind however four problems emerge:
1) The wearing of makeup, lipstick in particular.
2) Her head is uncovered and her hair is flowing.
3) She's smiling and having fun, an Islamic no-no.
4) She had the audacity to hug a male (who is not her husband) in public.
Complete lunacy I tell you.
Look at this poor young woman who clashed with Iranian police in Haft Tir Square in Tehran. Her sin? Being 'improperly clad' according to Islamic norms. What a nightmare for women Islam is. All the more reason we should resist bringing Sharia law into the Canadian justice system.
Not only does Islam create nightmares for women, it seems everything Islam touches turns to death. Islam is death to economies. Young people in Iran and other Muslim countries want to learn English so they can get out of the country. If current reports out of Iran hold true about a collapsing economy, look for that trickle to turn into a flood. Not to mention the possibility of war as the Iranian leadership will try to project their sins and failures on the Israelis and the Americans.
Islam is nothing but trouble for minority Christians in the ME. In the birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem Christians are being driven out by the mafia-like tactics of the Palestinian Authority. It comes as no surprise that neither the PA, a dhimmified Europe or our strangled-by-PC Western gov'ts is lifting a finger to help them. Assyrian Christians, who have had a presence in Iraq since the day of Pentacost are quickly dwindling to the point of extinction. A Gospel-free ME is one of the surest signs of the end of this age.
I admire Daniel Pipes and Condeleeza Rice. But I do think they're still a bit dovish when it comes to Islam's true intentions. Not only do the likes of Hamas, al-Qaida and Hezbollah hate Christians, it is very clear they wish for a Jew-free ME as well. From the Palestinian Media Watch comes a hate manifesto that will make your milk curdle.
I always like to end a post on a happy note so as not to discourage anyone. Good news out of India as the Dalits (the so-called 'Untouchables') have been given a favorable recommendation. The National Commision for Religious and Linguistic Minorities has suggested to the Indian gov't that it give rights to the Dalit Christians. You can also view this slide show of God's army advancing in the Indian subcontinent. Praise God!
Sunday, May 27, 2007
I hope you enjoyed that video in my previous post. If you haven't, please watch it. It only runs three minutes or so and is worth a few laughs. But seeing as that's a wee bit lazy I decided to do my own post and build on that platform by Pat Condell.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Just stumbled upon this lovely little video at Jihad Watch. The guy's name is Pat Condell and he's from the U.K.. I don't think he's a Christian but his commentary on Islam is bang on. If you find this offensive you really need to get a life. Preferably an eternal one.
Friday, May 25, 2007
is like flying a
kite. There is a beginning and an
end to the journey and
lots of obstacles will try to stop
you. But I will
never turn back. My self-confidence will never
shall pick me up when I fall and give me
strength so I can finish the journey.
My 10 year old, Emma, showed me this poem. It is word for word the way she wrote it. I cried when she read it to me. The depth of it touched my heart and spoke to me of a child who knows she is valuable, she matters and she is able. It spoke to me of hope, and a bright future. It told me that all of the times I have said, "God made you special. He loves you and wouldn't change a hair on your head. You matter to the one who created the Heavens and the Earth." She listened.
I was reminded of a message from our Pastor. He spoke of the shooting at Virginia Tech where a young man went into the Science area and opened fire killing many innocents and then himself. He had released tapes to the news, and in them he said he did it so he would matter. Pastor went on to say that he couldn't help but wonder if this boy had been told the message of Christ's love for us, and His gift of salvation things might have turned out differently.
I thought of all the kids who come out to BG Club, many of whom do not go to church. Every single one of those kids gets told that they matter. They matter to us, they matter to God. They matter so much to God that He sent His only Son, Jesus to die for them. That's the kind of love we tell these kids they are worthy of. That's the kind of love that inspires the self-confident hope that I saw in Emma's poem.
Lord, I am honored to be used by You to reach these lives and tell them You love them. Such a simple yet powerful message. Life changing. Please let this sink in to their minds and hearts. Let it affect their actions now and for the rest of their lives. Thank-you for the chance to make a difference.
You can also find the same post at Belinda's Whatever He Says blog in it's original form. JC
On Wednesday, I spent the afternoon baking in the sun, timing races at my children's' school. It was track and field day.
When I was in grade school, it was called Canada Fitness day. I hated it, especially the endurance run. I was never overweight, but it was the 80s, and lets face it, you can't pull off the teased hair, miniskirt-with-hot-pink-leg-warmer look and still be cool doing the 100 meter dash. I was always last in every race. I never made it over the high jump more than once, ball throw was a write-off, and during triple and long jump I'd swear someone put lead in my sneakers. All in all, I dreaded it.
As do my children. By the end of the day, they were physically ill from the heat and sun. I lathered them up several times with SPF 40, but being in full sun from 9 - 3 proved to be too much. Thursday they were home sick. Sunburned and suffering from heatstroke - mild, but still unpleasant.
I was reminded of a news story I'd seen several months ago about an 8 year old boy who was running up and down the stairs at school as part of the new government recommended DPA (Daily Physical Activity) who dropped dead of a heart attack. This boy was a healthy - and slightly overweight - 8 year old. When I was in school we had phys-ed teachers who were trained in things like CPR. Now, due to cut-backs gym teachers are just regular classroom teachers with little training should a child pass out or have a heart attack from overexertion.
Fortunately, Wednesday's track meeting was without incident, but that was pure luck. Those poor kids looked like boiled lobsters by the end of the day. I can't help but think that with the number of obese children on the rise, the number of deaths like that 8 year old boy will also rise. When will the government stop looking at the dollar and start looking at the faces of the children who are affected by it? Could that little boy have been saved by timely CPR or even the use of a defibrillator? These are the questions we should be asking in to those in charge of school funding.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Below is an actual tunnel dug by Hezbollah in Rshaf, Lebanon. Not to give the devil his due, I still have to say I'm quite impressed by the work that was done. Anybody who thinks Hezbollah is digging these complex bunkers because they're poor or they've been dispossesed of their land by the big bad Jews is dreaming. They do it because they hate, plain and simple.
When I hear the political discourse happening out there, I am struck by the fact that there are more and more individuals publicly rooting for the enemy. Twenty or thirty years ago anybody who displayed such open contempt for their country had to seek refuge for fear of being lynched by a mob. Today no-one even blinks at such treasonous behaviour. Dissatisfied patriots aren't the problem, they need to be listened to. The ill-informed and ignorant don't cause me concern, they need to be educated. Air-head celebrities such as Rosie O'Donnell are no threat to freedom either, they can be ignored. I do concern myself with those who get on their knees and fervently pray to their false gods for America's destruction. Whether it be Hezbollah tunnels in Lebanon, Iranian interference in Basra, Iraq, or paramilitary jihadis operating in upper New York state, those who give aid and comfort to the enemy should be dealt with swiftly. Allowing evil to flourish isn't kindness, it's cultural suicide.
Despite what you hear from the Bush administration, we are in the midst of a new Cold War with Russia. Now I know it's popular to blame Bush for all this, Lord knows the man has made his mistakes. But when you take the larger view you realize that this problem with Russia cuts across many administrations. I think the only president who had a clue what the Russians were truly about was Reagan. While the Gorbachev-Reagan era was looked upon rather fondly by the politically naive, Reagan always knew that Gorbachev was a committed communist and a wolf in sheep's clothing. He never said such a thing in public of course, Ronnie was forever the consummate pro, always able to smile for the cameras. A still very alive Gorbachev is now shilling for the enviromental movement, ironic considering it was 'Gorby' who presided over the Chernobyl disaster. And while EU-Russian relations are in a bit of a bind, a new report paints the Russians in a much darker picture 40 years after the Six-Day War of 1967.
I don't think the West has ever appreciated the horrific toll that the Russians endured in the Second World War. We tend to glamorize the WW II American G.I. (keeping the upcoming Memorial Day in mind), glossing over it like it was some grand adventure. The reality was much bleaker and a hell of lot colder for those Germans and Russians who fought in the Eastern Front, often doing so in pitched urban battles. Due to the lay of the land, Russia has always been vulnerable to a mass land invasion from Europe, a fact that Adolf Hitler (and Napoleon before him) knew all too well. It is precisely those battles that reverbrate through the Russian heart, influencing current policy and why Russians to this day deeply mistrust all things Western. Bottom line is we've never truly understood Russian-ness, a fact that will cost us dearly in the long run.
Lastly a link about those dastardly Bilderbergers who are meeting in Istanbul, Turkey from May 31 to June 3. See the sidebar link for more in depth info on these high priests of globalization.
I'm going to add a quick X-Def update before I go. I've just added sitemeter to the blog. If you're reading this, just go right to the bottom of the page and you'll see the sitemeter logo. Just remember, the more you visit the more you encourage me. And please don't be shy, leave a quick comment if you like what you see.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Jerry Falwell 1933 - 2007
When I consider the life and death of Jerry Falwell, I realize how desperate we Canadians are for a true leader that will honor God first and foremost. PM Stephen Harper seems to be more interested in chasing polls than sticking to his guns, a tactic that will deny him the majority that he craves. One of the greatest compliments that a leader can receive isn't from their sycophants, its from their enemies. For if an enemy knows that a person isn't a fence-sitter, they are far more likely to give them their begrudging respect. Ann Coulter and Chuck Baldwin offer up their unique eulogies honoring a man of God that was the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
While we no longer have to worry about the fate of Mr. Falwell, what we do have to worry about is the fate of this country. There are three principles I want you to consider: Honor, Duty and Sacrifice. These words are derided and mocked, used as a gag-line in a joke by our secular counter-parts. From Chuck Baldwin comes a stirring sermon about 'Our Christian Duty' (runs 1:18:50). Look for the link inside. It'll take you a while to download, especially if you don't have a high-speed connection, but it's well worth it.
When it comes to Israel, the stakes are even higher. True, there will be no peace until the Prince of Peace arrives. However, that is no excuse for a ditz like Rice to negotiate away the Jewish claim to the land. Is the lot of Israelis such that they can take it easy once we've given away Judea and Samaria to the Pals and the Golan Heights to Syria? Has the leaders of the free world been hypnotized by the insidious propaganda campaign run by these despicable anti-Semites? Do the Arabs need more living space the same way that the Germans needed living space when they invaded Russia? I'm fed up with asking these questions over and over again. When it comes to Israel I fear for this country. Canada has bought into the familiar refrain of 'Land for Peace' and will be judged by God for it. What the Islamists want is a completely Jew-free Middle East. Period. All those that love freedom need to stick to their guns when it comes to the land and people of Israel. Anything less will mean our destruction.
Monday, May 14, 2007
A reading from the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ:
Behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. Around about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. Out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. The first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. The four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. When those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fell down before him that sat on the throne, and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Rev 4: 2-11)
Note: I took the liberty of editing God's Word here for readability sake. Verses 2 through 9 all started with the word 'And', an English grammar no-no.
Two posts back I gave you the meaning of life. I said it was to know God and to make Him be known. I want to now expand on that idea. When we start our faith journey, our faith is childish, along the lines of 'Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so'. Which is all fine and well and good, but it tends to leave us a bit wanting. As we grow, God becomes much bigger, powerful and even more awesome in our sight. From a small god to a big God, our understanding of Him grows by leaps and bounds and we begin to get excited about what God is doing in our lives.
Here then lies the crux of the matter. God wants to bless you. However, in order to receive His blessings, we have to grow in faith and place our trust in Him. Many adults have a very small view of God and therefore end up missing out on God's best. You see, God wants you to live an extraordinary life. He wants you to have a life filled with purpose, meaning and happiness. But for many of us, we tend to live in a bubble, worshipping a small god and living in a small world. Now Disney may say 'It's A Small World After All', but God tells us that when we see things through His eyes, knowledge that was previously closed to us now becomes readily available. We no longer then view things according to the flesh (our senses and the corrupted wisdom of this world) but through the prism of the Divine.
This applies to entire nations as well. When we look at Afghanistan and our troops that are stationed there, we are struck very quickly at how backward the nation of Afghanistan is. Moreover, when we look at other Muslim nations we notice a distinct yet negative pattern: Extreme poverty, ignorance, lack of progress and opportunity, limited education possibilities (especially if female) and a bleak future. The Allah of Islam strikes me as a small god (and a false one at that), one that is concerned more with punishing unbelievers with hell-fire and having earthly dominion. A small god always births a small nation. I think the reason why Israel enjoys success is directly related to their relationship with the Creator, a point that secular Israelis cringe over. Same deal for America too, though it appears that the U.S is heading for the same post-Christian status as Europe.
So if you want to be an overcomer, if you want victory in this life (and the next), then you must ask yourself, 'How big is my God?'. Knowing a big God is, in the end, the difference between enjoying success and enduring failure.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
When I post I usually have some leftover bookmarks that don't make the cut due to time and space. I've got some interesting links for you that missed my last post. No big lead-in so here we go:
In some Canadian news, Jeff Toews (pronounced Taves) has become the victim of a vicious beating while vacationing with his family in Mexico. That is unless you believe the Mexican authorities who are saying that he fell while jumping from one balcony to the next. It's too late for Jeff as his organs have already been donated, but it isn't too late if you fancy a cheap vacation in a tropical place. The price might be right and all-inclusive to boot but consider this: Why put your life at risk? Why prop up corrupt gov'ts with your hard-earned money? I really think Canadians are rather naive when it comes to vacationing down south, especially in places like Mexico. So if you are vacationing, please do your own research. If you have an internet connection you have no excuse. Travel agents who want your business are going to try to sell you those package deals to Mexico or Cuba. Its not that they're trying to deliberately mislead or be unscrupulous, its just that they're looking for your business. The name of the game is profit and so naturally they're always going to sugar-coat the security situation for you. What triggered the Toews beating will likely never be known for sure. Bottom line is: Always protect yourself and be aware at all times. Don't take reckless and unneccessary risks. And don't vacation in Mexico or Cuba!
It didn't take long for Nicolas Sarkozy to make waves, did it? Saint Nic is proposing a type of Mediterranean union that would involve Israel. Before we get all excited here, let's keep things in their proper perspective:
1) This is something that has come right out of the blue. No other European politician as far as I know has proposed a similar idea to that of Sarkozy's. It's not even in its infancy stage yet. More like the embryonic stage is a more appropriate assessment.
2) I tend to believe that the Germans, and not neccessarily under Angela Merkel, will have a much bigger say over this then what the French do. If the Germans get on board in a big way then the pace of Bible prophecy will accelerate. However, should the Germans develop cold feet in getting involved in ME politics (in particular the Jewish-Arab conflict) then this idea of Sarkozy's will be dead on arrival.
Likud MK (Member of the Knesset) Gilad Erdan is proposing the strengthening of ties between Israel and the Christian community, especially those in North America. I think the Jews have always been aware of the Christian love of Israel but have been wary of those who wish to share the Good News with them. Anything that brings the Jews closer to the idea of Yeshua as Messiah is something that all Christians should hope and pray for.
Cocaine traffickers are now dealing in Euros in greater amounts over the American dollar. There IS a logic to what the drug lords are doing. When even the criminals stop dealing exclusively in U.S. dollars you know the American economy is in trouble.
Here's a cool link for all you science geeks out there. Yes, you know who you are! A very large supernova has been detected by scientists that is defying logic. It is a ways off and yet it may hold clues about the origins of the early universe. Do they need to go that far? The Bible tells us that God created the heavens and earth and you don't need a telescope to believe that!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
There is nothing more annoying to me than some dopey politician who wants to turn their departure from public service into a major Hollywood picture. The latest is Britain's Tony Blair, who, after ten years of being PM has today announced his final plans to leave 10 Downing St.. Seven years ought to be the max for any leader of a nation. Look at Jean Chretien, an arrogant man who brought us Adscam and stagnation to the Canadian political scene. As the old saying goes, 'Don't go away mad, just go away!'.
Conveniently lost in all this hubbub on the British news front is the fact that the costs for the national ID card that no-one wants is spiralling upward. Wow, where have I seen that one before? How about the gun registry here in Canada or the escalating costs of the Iraqi war? When has a gov't sponsored initiative ever been close to budget and on time? Never. This is a boondoggle and a white elephant, just like the Mirabel airport was during the Trudeau years. This national ID card thingy will not increase security for the average British citizen one bit. What it does enable is 'mark of the beast' technology and the rise of one world government.
The ultimate long goodbye is reserved for those poor American troops stationed in Iraq. What Bush is doing is not 'staying the course', it is blind stubborness. Actually the Bush doctrine smacks of fanaticism: The redoubling of effort when the aim has been lost. What needs to be done is not the status quo, but a genuine re-evaluation of the situation on the ground in Iraq. Not appeasement and surrender. Not 'We'll stay 'til the job is done' which is meaningless and deliberately vague. Instead, real and honest assessments about Iraq, including benchmarks for success and a viable exit strategy. I'm partial to the idea of declaring victory and getting out, provided Iraq isn't handed over to the Iranians on a silver platter. Also, here's a cool link from livescience.com on the Top 10 Battles that have shaped this ancient blood-soaked land.
Pope Benedict XVI is in Brazil to throw cold water on 'liberation theology', a bad mix of Marxism and Bible stories that leave everyone confused. Benny is still adamant on that whole 'life begins at conception' thing, which is good. Being pro-life is very un-PC these days. As long as the Pope stays away from the beaches and the beautiful women that linger there he'll do just fine!
As I was reading this article between the growing divide between Christians and the unchurched I started thinking, 'Do we really listen to what the unchurched have to say about us?'. I'm quite sure we don't. Here's what I think: I think we tend to run churches the same way we run our businesses. It's like we're selling something and are obsessed with putting more and more bums in the pews rather than genuine revival. We are here to occupy until Jesus comes and we are to give the world our testimony. We are to be salt and light, just as Christ taught us. Faith is not superstition and it isn't fanaticism (see explanation above). Faith is standing on the promises of God and sharing that with others. Faith is reason taken to the nth degree. People are attracted to the idea of hope, love for others, and being steadfast in a shaky world. People need to hear the message of forgiveness and reconciliation with God that only Christ can bring. When we emulate Christ, then the unchurched will come. Act like a used car salesman and they'll be driven away. Which path will the global church take?
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Should it surprise you my dear reader that I actually know the answer to this question? Actually I purposefully created this post with the above title in mind for a reason. That being that someone would type 'the meaning of life' into a Google search and stumble upon this humble little blog. A method to the madness if you will.
What the Meaning of Life is Most Definitely NOT
1) We're here for a good time, not a long time: So how exactly does this help someone who is suffering and/or dying? I think this bit of rubbish is quite depressing actually. The fact that we're not here for a long time is true yet gloriously misses the point. To put it in Biblical terms, it says, 'Let us eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.' Not exactly inspirational, is it?
2) Grab as much as you can while you can: Utterly selfish. This attitude of 'So long as I got what I wanted is all that matters' is precisely what's wrong with the world today. Exalting oneself and dumping all your problems on others is the quickest path to defeat and misery.
3) Just follow your heart: Sorry, this is a dead end too. The heart is deceitful above all things and always walks after its own lusts. There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end leads to death. Believe it, brother.
4) The truth lies within: More egoism from the likes of Scientology. Understand that you are blissfully ignorant and that true knowledge emanates from the Divine. You absolutely cannot talk yourself into wisdom. Unless you happen to be Rosie O'Donnell of course.
Now the Punchline
So what is it then? Here goes (deep breath). The meaning of life is to know God and to make Him be known. Putting it into trinitarian terms: Glorify the Father, worship the Son, be filled with the Holy Spirit and lead others to the same. It's that simple. I want you to hear me out on this one: Your birth was not a cosmic accident. Neither was the date or the place. Your name, identity, race and gender was chosen for you by God because He loves you and wants to know you intimately. God chose your parents, your siblings and your family. He gave you life not because you deserved it, but because God saw it fit that through you the person and the name of Jesus Christ would be lifted up and glorified. You are where you are right now because God Himself placed you there. You are strategically located according to His perfect plans, both for your sake and for the coming Kingdom of God.
I hope that helps somewhat. The bottom line is this: Every single man and woman out there who feel that there's something missing in their lives needs to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. If you're ready, I want you to pray something like this:
Lord, I don't know you. I've been struggling all my life to find happiness and I've come up empty. I need you in my life. I want to part of your family. Save me from my sins and I promise you I'll follow you the rest of my life. Fill my life with joy, meaning and hope. Turn me now into the man/woman that you've always wanted me to be. Let me never be ashamed of you. Give me the strength to make my faith known to others. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Monday, May 07, 2007
This is what's left of Greensburg, Kansas after a tornado blew into town. Please keep them in your prayers as they try to rebuild their homes and businesses.
This fallen world needs Jesus Christ more than ever. As I said in my previous post, I believe it will be the young people of this world who will lead us. When these new believers come to faith, the church will be reborn in areas once thought dead to the Gospel. As this new passion develops, a political awakening will occur and the top-down society will be finished. In it's place, a vibrant democracy where human life is treasured and freedom reigns. Hey, don't laugh. John Lennon wrote a (terribly mediocre) song about this sort of thing. The crucial difference is that righteousness being restored comes from the perfect mind of God, not the ramblings of imperfect Man.
Congratulations to Nicholas Sarkozy for his win in the French presidential elections. I think what's interesting about this recent election is that neither Sarkozy or Royal where Gaullists. That is, they do not necessarily see France as the center of Europe. It is well known that Sarkozy is a bit of an admirer of America. Well, maybe not all of America but at least a good portion of it. The way I see it, Jacques Chirac was a placeholder in history, much the way Thatcher and Reagan were, albeit for different reasons. With Chirac out and Sarkozy in, there will be a bigger push for trans-Atlantic co-operation between the EU and the U.S.. This election does significantly advance Bible prophecy towards European pre-eminence.
In Canadian news, did you know that this is the final year you can pay your taxes in cash if you owe the gov't money? The reason given was simple: Very few Canadians even bother to pay using paper money. We are moving towards a cashless society whether we like it or not. Consider this in light of Revelation 13:16-17:
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Will FM Tzipi Livni become Israel's second female PM? Hard to say at this point though I do think she has a legitimate chance. I'm sure Bibi will love to challenge her in a general election.
Speaking of things Israeli, the bleeding hearts at B'Tselem have decried Shin Bet for their interrogation techniques against Palestinian terrorists. So here's a question that popped into my mind: Would you rather be an al-Qaida operative captured by the Israelis or an Israeli soldier captured by al-Qaida? Do you even have to think about the answer? These thugs that Shin Bet are detaining are TERRORISTS. How difficult is it to understand this? What else are the Jews to do, give them milk and cookies and ask them a bunch of polite questions? Of course being interrogated by Shin Bet isn't fun. That's the whole idea. Most Israeli citizens know the steep price of freedom that has to be paid. I wish the likes of B'Tselem would do the same.
I Double-Dog-Dare-You Dep't: I decided to close this post out on a humorous note. Click on this link IF YOU DARE. You'll never scratch your ear the same after you read it. I also challenge you to click on this link if you've ever smelled something funny while at home. Don't say I didn't warn you!
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
One of the greatest signs of the Lord's return has to be the current feeling of apathy. To be sure there is a tremendous amount of activity going on, just that none of it is terribly important. A case in point is the recent brouhaha over Team Canada captain Shane Doan. Shane made an un-PC remark about French Canadians some time ago. Here are the facts:
1) The slur was an alleged one and has never been proven under oath.
2) This happened TWO YEARS AGO!!
3) This was a private conversation between Doan and Phoenix Coyotes goalie Curtis Joseph. What was said on the ice ought to stay on the ice.
4) Shane Doan has NO history of anti-French slurs in his NHL career or hateful remarks towards any other racial/ethnic group for that matter.
Bob Nicholson had to fly from Moscow to Ottawa in order to testify on Shane Doan's behalf. Perhaps our MPs are bored and/or underemployed. Everything in Canada must be tickety-boo in order to free up the time needed to stab a player in the back whilst playing overseas. People are asking, 'Is there not bigger fish for them to fry?'. Transfixed by the trivial and oblivious to the obvious is what all four parties are up to. Canadians at large are not amused.
Are we at war or what? Listening to the major media outlets you'd think nothing extraordinary was happening. Western civilization is the only one that passionately defends the cause of the enemy. When you look at history, empires and civilizations fell into ruin when its citizens lost their will to defend it. From slavery to awakening, awakening to revolution, revolution to success, success to complacency, complacency to apathy and the apathy leads us back to slavery. You can argue whatever you like, but we are on a definite negative trend.
Imagine if General Rick Hillier was put on trial for war crimes. What effect would it have on the morale of Canadian troops? If I'm not going to shed tears over a WW II German SS officer in Russian custody, why should I weep over Taliban terrorists getting their just desserts from the locals? It is rough justice, yes, but it is justice. The likes of the Taliban offered no mercy to us, and we are not obligated to offer it to them. We need not apologize for it either.
I have some English news to report as well. As you may know, Prince Harry is headed to Iraq with his unit, The Blues and Royals. If Prince Andrew saw it fit to serve in the Falklands, then Harry should go with his unit. Many are concerned over the Prince's safety and rightfully so. However there are a few points to consider:
1) The Blues and Royals are an armored reconnaisance unit. While the use of IED's will be on everyone's minds the likelihood of being a fatality within an armored unit is actually quite slim.
2) The Needle in the Haystack: Even if the terrorists find out where the Blues and Royals are there's no guarantee that Harry will be with them. It would have to take an intelligience leak or phenomenonally bad luck in order for Harry to become a casualty.
3) If you're wearing the uniform, you're a target. Actually, this works in Harry's favor. If nothing else, the Iraqi insurgents have shown that it's all about targets of opportunity rather than specific units or individuals. Even if Harry is killed there's no reason to believe that the Brits are going to surrender en masse. Battles still have to be fought and attrition must be waged, a point that the insurgents concede.
The U.S. and the EU have decided to form a single market. What this really means is that all the regulation, red tape and bureaucracy will be thoroughly examined to see where the problems lie. The Americans and the Europeans have been working together for a long time, well before the formation of the EU and W's presidency. The only calculus that's altered here is the speed at which these changes will now take place. Keep in mind that we're dealing with a decade-long process here, not something that's going to get done in a few months. Nevertheless, it is a tremendously important development.
Whenever I see anti-Semitism raise it's ugly head there is always reason for worry. Along with anti-Christian sentiment, anti-Semitism and the rise of the Big Lie is the 'canary in the coal mine' regarding the rising tide of nationalism and fascism. Terror attacks were actually on the rise in 2006, a 25% increase. As I see it, there are two main reasons why anti-Semitism is still prevalent:
1) Ignorance of History: In the West, Europe in particular, there seems to be a divorce from twentieth century history and now. Either people don't know, or they do know but don't care, or they know and have learned all the wrong lessons. It's not good, any way you slice it.
2) Ignorance of the Bible: Anti-Semitism would be dead on arrival if people knew what God's Word had to say about the Jews, Israel and Jerusalem. I believe the key is for teenagers and young people to re-discover the teachings of Jesus Christ. The only innoculation against this garbage is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the young people of Europe and America. It's either that or Armaggeddon. Let us choose wisely.
Well, that's it for this post. Only took me three days to pop it off! I've added the 'Prophecy of the Popes' to my links list. Do check it out. According to St. Malachy's prophecy, the current pontiff is the second-to-last pope before 'Peter the Roman'. Try Googling 'Glory of the Olives' and see what you come up with. The answer may surprise you.
GO SENS GO
Ottawa has just defeated New Jersey 3-2 in Game 5 to win the series 4-1. They face either the Buffalo Sabres or the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Looks like the Americans are looking for an exit strategy and soon. Bush will be leaving the White House in January of '09 and will want to show the American people some scraps from the table before he departs. There is one point that I do want to make and that is that most of the jihadi activity going on in Iraq is homegrown. Unlike the Catholic church, Islam lacks any real command structure. It is precisely this decentralization within Islam which enables spontaneous jihadi activity. The problem therefore lies is in the inability to shut it down once it evolves into the advanced stages which is where Iraq stands now. To believe that either one of the Iranians or Saudis can just say 'Stop!' and expect their respective militias to cease and desist is a flawed and lethal analysis. It appears that American forces (and Canadians in Afghanistan to a lesser extent) are going to be sticking around a little while longer.
The Iraq Security Conference: Hanging a Deal on Faulty Assumptions
By Kamran Bokhari
After weeks of playing hard to get, Iran announced April 29 that Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will attend the May 3-4 conference in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, where Iraq's neighboring states and major world powers will explore ways to stabilize Iraq. The same day, Iranian national security chief Ali Larijani traveled to Baghdad on a surprise three-day visit apparently aimed at discussing security and the upcoming conference with Iraqi officials.
The United States welcomed Iran's decision to attend the conference, calling it a "positive" development. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hinted before Iran's announcement at the possibility of meeting directly with Mottaki on the sidelines of the conference. President George W. Bush later explained that Rice and Mottaki could engage in bilateral talks within the context of the multilateral event, though he ruled out separate public-level talks between Tehran and Washington. Things still could go wrong before May 3, and Mottaki could decide against attending the conference, but for now it looks like he will show up. Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Mostafavi said May 1 that, while Iran is ready to hold "discussions" with the United States, the conditions are not appropriate for negotiations.
The potential open engagement between the United States and Iran at the foreign ministry level would be the culmination of back-channel negotiations that started even before the United States led the invasion of Iraq. In other words, the Bush administration -- long after having scrapped its original deal with Tehran on the makeup of a post-war Iraqi government -- has reached a preliminary understanding with Iran's clerical regime on how the two sides will proceed with regard to stabilizing Iraq in the wake of the unexpected Sunni insurgency, the subsequent sectarian war and the involvement of Arab Sunni states in the fray.
The Sharm el-Sheikh conference, then, represents the launch of the formal process of hammering out a complex, multi-party deal to piece together the Humpty Dumpty that is Iraq.
The U.S.-Iranian back-channel talks were never going to result in a deal on how to divide Iraq; rather, they were a way for Washington and Tehran to work out their respective concerns about a future post-Baathist Iraq before taking the problem to the wider forum. The back-channel talks, which provide the context for the multilateral conference, will continue -- though the real deal will likely emerge from this wider forum.
Throughout the years of behind-the-scenes talks, the two sides have been unable to reach an understanding that balances the concerns of both with regard to Iraq's future. Iran does not want an Iraq with close ties to the United States -- one that threatens Iranian national security and Tehran's regional aspirations. Conversely, the United States does not want to see an Iraq dominated by Iran -- a situation that would allow Tehran to threaten the Arab states in the Persian Gulf/Arabian Peninsula, and thus U.S. regional interests. Moreover, the involvement of Sunni Arab states that feel threatened by the rise of Iran and its Shiite Arab allies has further complicated U.S.-Iranian dealings. Saudi Arabia, which has emerged as the leader of the Arab world, has been spearheading the move to counter Iran.
Complications aside, the Saudi efforts to insert themselves into the equation have given Washington a tool with which to counter Iranian moves. In fact, just as the Bush administration has used the Iraqi Sunni card to rein in the country's Shia (Washington has signaled to the Shia that it is willing to cut deals with the Sunnis, especially the Baathists), it has leveraged its alignment with the Arab states to contain the Iranians. While the United States needs Iranian cooperation to stabilize Iraq, the Iranians also need the United States to ensure that the Arab states and their Iraqi Sunni allies will not threaten Iranian interests.
The upcoming conference, therefore, is immensely important to all sides. The meeting represents a formal acknowledgement by all parties of the sphere of influence the Iranians and the Saudis will have in Iraq. Both Riyadh and Tehran want assurances that each other's respective proxies -- the Shiite militias and the Sunni insurgents -- will be restrained from creating security issues for them. In recent weeks, the Iranians have demonstrated they can get Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, the Mehdi Army, to more or less go along with the security plan. On the other hand, the Saudi announcement of the arrests of jihadist militants and the seizure of large sums of cash and weapons was meant as a reciprocating message that Riyadh, too, can rein in the jihadists who threaten the Shia -- and, by extension, the Iranian position in Iraq.
The general understanding has been that a U.S.-Saudi-Iranian deal could help stabilize Iraq -- the assumption being that Riyadh and Tehran have the ability to rein in their respective militias and insurgents in Iraq. Although ending the violence is beyond either country's ability, the Saudis and the Iranians are letting on that they can contain their fighters -- for a price. The Saudis want to ensure that Iraq's Sunni community has a sufficient share of the political pie in Baghdad so that, even with Shiite domination of the Iraqi state, the Iranians could not use Iraq as a military springboard into the Arabian Peninsula. For their part, the Iranians want assurances that the Sunni minority in Iraq never again will be in a position to threaten Iran's national security. More than that, however, the Islamic republic would like to be able to use its influence to pull strings within the Iraqi Shiite-dominated government.
This is the dilemma that faces the United States and the Sunni Arab states. They want to figure out how to acknowledge Iranian influence in Iraq's affairs, but still prevent Tehran from using such influence to enhance its power. Iraq's ethno-sectarian demography -- it is only approximately 20 percent Sunni -- is what scares Washington and its Arab allies. They are hoping, then, that ensuring the Sunnis a sufficient share of the Iraqi government will serve to check the Iranian/Shiite rise. To achieve that goal, however, the United States and Saudi Arabia would have to make a major reciprocal concession: acknowledging that a larger share of the pie will be in the hands of the Shia. This is one of the key reasons why reining in the Shiite militias has become a prerequisite for containing the Sunni insurgency.
This brings us back to the Sharm el-Sheikh conference, where Tehran is hoping the United States and its Arab allies acknowledge Iranian interests in Iraq in exchange for Iran's willingness to restrain the Shiite militias. The Arabs are willing to give Tehran the recognition it wants, though they are operating from a position of relative weakness and cannot trust that Iran would not use a relatively stable Iraq to extend its influence across the Persian Gulf.
Furthermore, although the Bush administration is downplaying the possibility, the Arabs are concerned that the political pendulum in the United States is swinging heavily in favor of an early pullout -- or major drawdown -- of coalition forces from Iraq. Since, in the long run, they cannot trust Washington to underwrite a deal with the Iranians, the Arabs are hesitant to sign a document that would effectively give Iran the room to maneuver as it pleases. This is the root of the Saudi reluctance to use its influence among the Iraqi Sunnis to help contain sectarian violence.
More important, however, Iraq's Sunni and Shiite communities are so internally factionalized (the Shia to a greater extent) that neither Tehran nor Riyadh is likely to succeed in shutting down the militancy. Moreover, the multiplicity of Shiite political and militant factions makes it difficult for Iran to keep all of them happy -- and thus on board with any deal it might be willing to cut. The continuing strife in the Shiite south, especially in the oil-rich city of Basra, is but one example of the problems the Iranians face in this regard.
Similarly, the Saudis cannot claim to speak for all the Sunnis. But even more problematic for Riyadh is that its best weapon against the Iranians is the jihadists, especially those affiliated with al Qaeda -- precisely those who pose a major national security threat to the Saudi kingdom.
The question, then, is whether the Saudis and the Iranians can actually deliver on a triangular deal involving each of them and the third main state actor in Iraq -- the United States. It would appear that their fears over their respective interests have forced them to deal with one another despite their apprehensions.
Ultimately, however, the three big players are negotiating a security deal that rests on the faulty assumptions that each side has enough sway over the various factions inside Iraq to make an agreement actually work.