Sunday, December 12, 2010

Political Correctness -- A Threat to Civilization

I did not write this, it is a sermon delivered by Rabbi Schlomo Lewis of Atlanta Georgia. I urge you to read this very powerful sermon because it truly describes how our apathy toward terrorism and our determination to be politically correct is endangering not just society but civilization itself.

EHR KUMT First Day of Rosh Hashanah 2010 Sermon delivered by Rabbi Schlomo Lewis of Atlanta

"I thought long and I thought hard on whether to deliver the sermon I am about to share. We all wish to bounce happily out of shul on the High Holidays, filled with warm fuzzies, ready to gobble up our brisket, our honey cakes and our kugel. We want to be shaken and stirred – but not too much. We want to be guilt-schlepped – but not too much. We want to be provoked but not too much. We want to be transformed but not too much.

I get it, but as a rabbi I have a compelling obligation, a responsibility to articulate what is in my heart and what I passionately believe must be said and must be heard. And so, I am guided not by what is easy to say but by what is painful to express. I am guided not by the frivolous but by the serious. I am guided not by delicacy but by urgency.

We are at war. We are at war with an enemy as savage, as voracious, as heartless as the Nazis but one wouldn’t know it from our behavior. During WWII we didn’t refer to storm troopers as freedom fighters. We didn’t call the Gestapo, militants. We didn’t see the attacks on our Merchant Marine as acts by rogue sailors. We did not justify the Nazis rise to power as our fault. We did not grovel before the Nazis, thumping our hearts and confessing to abusing and mistreating and humiliating the German people. We did not apologize for Dresden, nor for The Battle of the Bulge, nor for El Alamein, nor for D-Day.

Evil – ultimate, irreconcilable, evil threatened us and Roosevelt and Churchill had moral clarity and an exquisite understanding of what was at stake. It was not just the Sudetenland, not just Tubruk, not just Vienna, not just Casablanca. It was the entire planet. Read history and be shocked at how frighteningly close Hitler came to creating a Pax Germana on every continent.

Not all Germans were Nazis – most were decent, most were revolted by the Third Reich, most were good citizens hoisting a beer, earning a living and tucking in their children at night. But, too many looked away, too many cried out in lame defense – I didn’t know.” Too many were silent. Guilt absolutely falls upon those who committed the atrocities, but responsibility and guilt falls upon those who did nothing as well. Fault was not just with the goose steppers but with those who pulled the curtains shut, said and did nothing.

In WWII we won because we got it. We understood who the enemy was and we knew that the end had to be unconditional and absolute. We did not stumble around worrying about offending the Nazis. We did not measure every word so as not to upset our foe. We built planes and tanks and battleships and went to war to win….. to rid the world of malevolence.

We are at war… yet too many stubbornly and foolishly don’t put the pieces together and refuse to identify the evil doers. We are circumspect and disgracefully politically correct.

Let me mince no words in saying that from Fort Hood to Bali, from Times Square to London, from Madrid to Mumbai, from 9/11 to Gaza, the murderers, the barbarians are radical Islamists.

To camouflage their identity is sedition. To excuse their deeds is contemptible. To mask their intentions is unconscionable.

A few years ago I visited Lithuania on a Jewish genealogical tour. It was a stunning journey and a very personal, spiritual pilgrimage. When we visited Kovno we davened Maariv at the only remaining shul in the city. Before the war there were thirty-seven shuls for 38,000 Jews. Now only one, a shrinking, gray congregation. We made minyon for the handful of aged worshippers in the Choral Synagogue, a once majestic, jewel in Kovno.

After my return home I visited Cherry Hill for Shabbos. At the oneg an elderly family friend, Joe Magun, came over to me.

“Shalom,” he said. “Your abba told me you just came back from Lithuania.” “Yes,” I replied. “It was quite a powerful experience.” “Did you visit the Choral Synagogue in Kovno? The one with the big arch in the courtyard?” “Yes, I did. In fact, we helped them make minyon.” His eyes opened wide in joy at our shared memory. For a moment he gazed into the distance and then, he returned. “Shalom, I grew up only a few feet away from the arch. The Choral Synagogue was where I davened as a child.”

He paused for a moment and once again was lost in the past. His smile faded. Pain filled his wrinkled face. “I remember one Shabbos in 1938 when Vladimir Jabotinsky came to the shul” (Jabotinsky was Menachim Begin’s mentor – he was a fiery orator, an unflinching Zionist radical, whose politics were to the far right.) Joe continued “When Jabotinsky came, he delivered the drash on Shabbos morning and I can still hear his words burning in my ears. He climbed up to the shtender, stared at us from the bima, glared at us with eyes full of fire and cried out. ‘EHR KUMT. YIDN FARLAWST AYER SHTETL – He’s coming. Jews abandon your city.’ ”

We thought we were safe in Lithuania from the Nazis, from Hitler. We had lived there, thrived for a thousand years but Jabotinsky was right -- his warning prophetic. We got out but most did not.”

We are not in Lithuania. It is not the 1930s. There is no Luftwaffe overhead. No U-boats off the coast of long Island. No Panzer divisions on our borders. But make no mistake; we are under attack – our values, our tolerance, our freedom, our virtue, our land.

Now before some folks roll their eyes and glance at their watches let me state emphatically, unmistakably – I have no pathology of hate, nor am I a manic Paul Revere, galloping through the countryside. I am not a pessimist, nor prone to panic attacks. I am a lover of humanity, all humanity. Whether they worship in a synagogue, a church, a mosque, a temple or don’t worship at all. I have no bone of bigotry in my body, but what I do have is hatred for those who hate, intolerance for those who are intolerant, and a guiltless, unstoppable obsession to see evil eradicated.

Today the enemy is radical Islam but it must be said sadly and reluctantly that there are unwitting, co-conspirators who strengthen the hands of the evil doers. Let me state that the overwhelming number of Muslims are good Muslims, fine human beings who want nothing more than a Jeep Cherokee in their driveway, a flat screen TV on their wall and a good education for their children, but these good Muslims have an obligation to destiny, to decency that thus far for the most part they have avoided. The Kulturkampf is not only external but internal as well. The good Muslims must sponsor rallies in Times Square, in Trafalgar Square, in the UN Plaza, on the Champs Elysee, in Mecca condemning terrorism, denouncing unequivocally the slaughter of the innocent. Thus far, they have not. The good Muslims must place ads in the NY Times. They must buy time on network TV, on cable stations, in the Jerusalem Post, in Le Monde, in Al Watan, on Al Jazeena condemning terrorism, denouncing unequivocally the slaughter of the innocent – thus far, they have not. Their silence allows the vicious to tarnish Islam and define it.

Brutal acts of commission and yawning acts of omission both strengthen the hand of the devil.

I recall a conversation with my father shortly before he died that helped me understand how perilous and how broken is our world; that we are living on the narrow seam of civilization and moral oblivion. Knowing he had little time left he shared the following – “Shal. I am ready to leave this earth. Sure I’d like to live a little longer, see a few more sunrises, but truthfully, I’ve had it. I’m done. Finished. I hope the Good Lord takes me soon because I am unable to live in this world knowing what it has become.”

This startling admission of moral exhaustion from a man who witnessed and lived through the Depression, the Holocaust, WWII, Communist Triumphalism, McCarthyism, Strontium 90 and polio. – Yet his twilight observation was – “The worst is yet to come.” And he wanted out.

I share my father’s angst and fear that too many do not see the authentic, existential threat we face nor confront the source of our peril. We must wake up and smell the hookah.

“Lighten up, Lewis. Take a chill pill, some of you are quietly thinking. You’re sounding like Glen Beck. It’s not that bad. It’s not that real.” But I am here to tell you – “It is.” Ask the member of our shul whose sister was vaporized in the Twin Towers and identified finally by her charred teeth, if this is real or not. Ask the members of our shul who fled a bus in downtown Paris, fearing for their safety from a gang of Muslim thugs, if this is an exaggeration. Ask the member of our shul whose son tracks Arab terrorist infiltrators who target – pizza parlors, nursery schools, Pesach seders, city buses and play grounds, if this is dramatic, paranoid hyperbole.

Ask them, ask all of them – ask the American GI’s we sit next to on planes who are here for a brief respite while we fly off on our Delta vacation package. Ask them if it’s bad. Ask them if it’s real.

Did anyone imagine in the 1920’s what Europe would look like in the 1940’s. Did anyone presume to know in the coffee houses of Berlin or in the opera halls of Vienna that genocide would soon become the celebrated culture? Did anyone think that a goofy-looking painter named Shickelgruber would go from the beer halls of Munich and jail, to the Reichstag as Feuhrer in less than a decade? Did Jews pack their bags and leave Warsaw, Vilna, Athens, Paris, Bialystok, Minsk, knowing that soon their new address would be Treblinka, Sobibor, Dachau and Auschwitz?

The sages teach – “Aizehu chacham – haroeh et hanolad – Who is a wise person – he who sees into the future.” We dare not wallow in complacency, in a misguided tolerance and naïve sense of security.

We must be diligent students of history and not sit in ash cloth at the waters of Babylon weeping. We cannot be hypnotized by eloquent-sounding rhetoric that soothes our heart but endangers our soul. We cannot be lulled into inaction for fear of offending the offenders. Radical Islam is the scourge and this must be cried out from every mountain top. From sea to shining sea, we must stand tall, prideful of our stunning decency and moral resilience. Immediately after 9/11 how many mosques were destroyed in America? None. After 9/11, how many Muslims were killed in America? None. After 9/11, how many anti-Muslim rallies were held in America? None. And yet, we apologize. We grovel. We beg forgiveness.

The mystifying litany of our foolishness continues. Should there be a shul in Hebron on the site where Baruch Goldstein gunned down twenty-seven Arabs at noonday prayers? Should there be a museum praising the U.S. Calvary on the site of Wounded Knee? Should there be a German cultural center in Auschwitz? Should a church be built in the Syrian town of Ma’arra where Crusaders slaughtered over 100,000 Muslims? Should there be a thirteen story mosque and Islamic Center only a few steps from Ground Zero?

Despite all the rhetoric, the essence of the matter can be distilled quite easily. The Muslim community has the absolute, constitutional right to build their building wherever they wish. I don’t buy the argument – “When we can build a church or a synagogue in Mecca they can build a mosque here.” America is greater than Saudi Arabia. And New York is greater than Mecca. Democracy and freedom must prevail.

Can they build? Certainly. May they build? Certainly. But should they build at that site? No -- but that decision must come from them, not from us. Sensitivity, compassion cannot be measured in feet or yards or in blocks. One either feels the pain of others and cares, or does not.

If those behind this project are good, peace-loving, sincere, tolerant Muslims, as they claim, then they should know better, rip up the zoning permits and build elsewhere.

Believe it or not, I am a dues-paying, card carrying member of the ACLU, yet from start of finish, I find this sorry episode disturbing to say the least.

William Burroughs, the novelist and poet, in a wry moment wrote – “After one look at this planet, any visitor from outer space would say – “I want to see the manager.”

Let us understand that the radical Islamist assaults all over the globe are but skirmishes, fire fights, and vicious decoys. Christ and the anti-Christ. Gog U’Magog. The Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness; the bloody collision between civilization and depravity is on the border between Lebanon and Israel. It is on the Gaza Coast and in the Judean Hills of the West Bank. It is on the sandy beaches of Tel Aviv and on the cobblestoned mall of Ben Yehuda Street. It is in the underground schools of Sderot and on the bullet-proofed inner-city buses. It is in every school yard, hospital, nursery, classroom, park, theater – in every place of innocence and purity.

Israel is the laboratory – the test market. Every death, every explosion, every grisly encounter is not a random, bloody orgy. It is a calculated, strategic probe into the heart, guts and soul of the West.

In the Six Day War, Israel was the proxy of Western values and strategy while the Arab alliance was the proxy of Eastern, Soviet values and strategy. Today too, it is a confrontation of proxies, but the stakes are greater than East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israel in her struggle represents the civilized world, while Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Queda, Iran, Islamic Jihad, represent the world of psychopathic, loathesome evil.

As Israel, imperfect as she is, resists the onslaught, many in the Western World have lost their way displaying not admiration, not sympathy, not understanding, for Israel’s galling plight, but downright hostility and contempt. Without moral clarity, we are doomed because Israel’s galling plight ultimately will be ours. Hanna Arendt in her classic Origins of Totalitarianism accurately portrays the first target of tyranny as the Jew. We are the trial balloon. The canary in the coal mine. If the Jew/Israel is permitted to bleed with nary a protest from “good guys” then tyranny snickers and pushes forward with its agenda.

Moral confusion is a deadly weakness and it has reached epic proportions in the West; from the Oval Office to the UN, from the BBC to Reuters to MSNBC, from the New York Times to Le Monde, from university campuses to British teachers unions, from the International Red Cross to Amnesty International, from Goldstone to Elvis Costello, from the Presbyterian Church to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

There is a message sent and consequences when our president visits Turkey and Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and not Israel.

There is a message sent and consequences when free speech on campus is only for those championing Palestinian rights.

There is a message sent and consequences when the media deliberately doctors and edits film clips to demonize Israel.

There is a message sent and consequences when the UN blasts Israel relentlessly, effectively ignoring Iran, Sudan, Venezuela, North Korea, China and other noxious states.

There is a message sent and consequences when liberal churches are motivated by Liberation Theology, not historical accuracy.

There is a message sent and consequences when murderers and terrorists are defended by the obscenely transparent “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”

John Milton warned, “Hypocrisy is the only evil that walks invisible.”

A few days after the Gaza blockade incident in the spring, a congregant happened past my office, glanced in and asked in a friendly tone –

“Rabbi. How’re y’ doing?”

I looked up, sort of smiled and replied – “I’ve had better days.”

“What’s the matter? Is there anything I can do to cheer you up?” he inquired.

“Thank you for the offer but I’m just bummed out today and I showed him a newspaper article I was reading.

“Madrid gay pride parade bans Israeli group over Gaza Ship Raid.” I explained to my visitor – “The Israeli gay pride contingent from Tel Aviv was not allowed to participate in the Spanish gay pride parade because the mayor of Tel Aviv did not apologize for the raid by the Israeli military.”

The only country in the entire Middle East where gay rights exist, is Israel. The only country in the entire Middle East where there is a gay pride parade, is Israel. The only country in the Middle East that has gay neighborhoods and gay bars, is Israel.

Gays in the Gaza would be strung up, executed by Hamas if they came out and yet Israel is vilified and ostracized. Disinvited to the parade.

Looking for logic?

Looking for reason?

Looking for sanity?

Kafka on his darkest, gloomiest day could not keep up with this bizarre spectacle and we “useful idiots” pander and fawn over cutthroats, sinking deeper and deeper into moral decay, as the enemy laughs all the way to the West Bank and beyond.

It is exhausting and dispiriting. We live in an age that is redefining righteousness where those with moral clarity are an endangered, beleaguered specie.

Isaiah warned us thousands of years ago – “Oye Lehem Sheh-Korim Layome, Laila v’Laila, yome – Woe to them who call the day, night and the night, day.” We live on a planet that is both Chelm and Sodom. It is a frightening and maddening place to be.

How do we convince the world and many of our own, that this is not just anti-Semitism, that this is not just anti-Zionism but a full throttled attack by unholy, radical Islamists on everything that is morally precious to us?

How do we convince the world and many of our own that conciliation is not an option, that compromise is not a choice?

Everything we are. Everything we believe. Everything we treasure, is at risk.

The threat is so unbelievably clear and the enemy so unbelievably ruthless how anyone in their right mind doesn’t get it is baffling. Let’s try an analogy. If someone contracted a life-threatening infection and we not only scolded them for using antibiotics but insisted that the bacteria had a right to infect their body and that perhaps, if we gave the invading infection an arm and a few toes, the bacteria would be satisfied and stop spreading

Anyone buy that medical advice? Well, folks, that’s our approach to the radical Islamist bacteria. It is amoral, has no conscience and will spread unless it is eradicated. – There is no negotiating. Appeasement is death.

I was no great fan of George Bush – didn’t vote for him. (By the way, I’m still a registered Democrat.) I disagreed with many of his policies but one thing he had right. His moral clarity was flawless when it came to the War on Terror, the War on Radical Islamist Terror. There was no middle ground – either you were friend or foe. There was no place in Bush’s world for a Switzerland. He knew that this competition was not Toyota against G.M., not the Iphone against the Droid, not the Braves against the Phillies, but a deadly serious war, winner take all. Blink and you lose. Underestimate, and you get crushed.

I know that there are those sitting here today who have turned me off. But I also know that many turned off their rabbis seventy five years ago in Warsaw, Riga, Berlin, Amsterdam, Cracow, Vilna. I get no satisfaction from that knowledge, only a bitter sense that there is nothing new under the sun.

Enough rhetoric – how about a little “show and tell?” A few weeks ago on the cover of Time magazine was a horrific picture with a horrific story. The photo was of an eighteen year old Afghani woman, Bibi Aisha, who fled her abusive husband and his abusive family. Days later the Taliban found her and dragged her to a mountain clearing where she was found guilty of violating Sharia Law. Her punishment was immediate. She was pinned to the ground by four men while her husband sliced off her ears, and then he cut off her nose.

That is the enemy (show enlarged copy of magazine cover.)

If nothing else stirs us. If nothing else convinces us, let Bibi Aisha’s mutilated face be the face of Islamic radicalism. Let her face shake up even the most complacent and naïve among us. In the holy crusade against this ultimate evil, pictures of Bibi Aisha’s disfigurement should be displayed on billboards, along every highway from Route 66 to the Autobahn, to the Transarabian Highway. Her picture should be posted on every lobby wall from Tokyo to Stockholm to Rio. On every network, at every commercial break, Bibi Aisha’s face should appear with the caption – “Radical Islamic savages did this.” And underneath – “This ad was approved by Hamas, by Hezbollah, by Taliban, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, by Islamic Jihad, by Fatah al Islam, by Magar Nodal Hassan, by Richard Reid, by Ahmanijad, by Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, by Osama bin Laden, by Edward Said, by The Muslim Brotherhood, by Al Queda, by CAIR.”

“The moral sentiment is the drop that balances the sea” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. Today, my friends, the sea is woefully out of balance and we could easily drown in our moral myopia and worship of political correctness.

We peer up into the heavens sending probes to distant galaxies. We peer down into quarks discovering particles that would astonish Einstein. We create computers that rival the mind, technologies that surpass science fiction. What we imagine, with astounding rapidity, becomes real. If we dream it, it does, indeed, come. And yet, we are at a critical point in the history of this planet that could send us back into the cave, to a culture that would make the Neanderthal blush with shame.

Our parents and grandparents saw the swastika and recoiled, understood the threat and destroyed the Nazis. We see the banner of Radical Islam and can do no less.

A rabbi was once asked by his students…. “Rebbi. Why are your sermons so stern?” Replied the rabbi, “If a house is on fire and we chose not to wake up our children, for fear of disturbing their sleep, would that be love? Kinderlach, ‘di hoyz brent.’ Children our house is on fire and I must arouse you from your slumber.”

During WWII and the Holocaust was it business as usual for priests, ministers, rabbis? Did they deliver benign homilies and lovely sermons as Europe fell, as the Pacific fell, as North Africa fell, as the Mideast and South America tottered, as England bled? Did they ignore the demonic juggernaut and the foul breath of evil? They did not. There was clarity, courage, vision, determination, sacrifice, and we were victorious. Today it must be our finest hour as well. We dare not retreat into the banality of our routines, glance at headlines and presume that the good guys will prevail.

Democracies don’t always win. Tyrannies don’t always lose.

My friends – the world is on fire and we must awake from our slumber. “EHR KUMT.”

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Social Engineering Vs Science

Today we find in the news the alarming statistic that 600,000 people died this year from side smoke, not from actual smoking but just from being exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). But virtually no one questions this “fact” because it is based on a “scientific” study. But isn’t the number itself a little suspicious? Couldn’t it have been say 601,000 or maybe 559,000? The even number tells you that this is an estimate and not a real number but as an estimate its accuracy is entirely dependent on the methodology as well as the qualifications of those making the estimate. Who was studied is another key component governing the accuracy of this finding. In the original A Priori study people in primitive conditions using indoor charcoal cooking stoves were included along with survivors of the Hiroshima atomic blast. In addition as an A Priori study all findings counter to the initial assumption were discarded even though many of those studies showed no correlation between ETS and cancer.

In spite of there not being any empirical connection between ETS and cancer the crusade against tobacco and smokers in general continues and is growing in intensity. In fact there is no known cause of cancer. It could be genetic, it could be environmental, it could be viral, but no one knows. What is known is that some people smoke their entire lives and never develop lung cancer while some people die of lung cancer never having smoked tobacco in their lives, but it is these people who are deemed to have died of tobacco related causes. What no one seems to notice or question is that virtually everyone on the planet has been exposed at some time in their lives to “side smoke” be it from tobacco or camp fires. The logical conclusion is that 99.9% of all deaths are smoke related, but that is just statistics or logic -- not science. And that’s the point because the author of the EPA’s report on ETS admitted that there is no science behind the report and that the entire program against ETS is – in his words – a social program.

The fact is that with the death of critical thinking the social engineers have run amok. These social engineers have killed off any semblance of personal responsibility. Teachers can no longer fail students or hold them back for fear of damaging their “self esteem”. This policy has given us high school graduates who cannot read or are functionally illiterate. We have people in college who cannot spell properly or even write a simple declarative sentence with no grammatical errors. But the social engineers haven’t stopped with these simple policy programs, they have actually degraded science to the point that there is no science behind many of these programs.

Perhaps the most egregious example of social engineering masquerading as science is the epidemic of obesity. We are total that obesity is epidemic in the United States and that this is a disease that must be addressed by the government. Social Engineers are very big on government coercion in order to enforce their ideas on how the rest of us should live. Of course the operative word here is “disease” because if a person is over weight it isn’t his fault because he has a disease. How one contacts this disease isn’t noted but it appears to be related to fast food, sugary cereals, tasty high fat foods, and other foods not approved by the social engineers. The solution to this epidemic obesity is to force schools to serve approved healthy foods which the kids won’t eat, to force purveyors of fast food to either go out of business to change their menus so they are only serving approved healthy foods which no one orders. It's much like forcing the auto manufacturers to build electic cars than no one buys. Since these socially engineered programs seemed to have failed no one seems to be calling for more research into how the obesity disease is caught, instead the call is for government intervention. Where is the science behind this epidemic? There isn’t any, but the finger isn’t being pointed at the individual as being responsible for his situation due to his poor decisions – it is pointed at the sellers and advertisers.

Another equally outrageous abuse of science is the disease of alcoholism. People actually die of alcoholism so something must be done to curb this disease. A person doesn’t become a drunkard through irresponsible behavior – he is simply the victim of a disease. Science can demonstrate that consuming alcohol is bad for you and abuse of alcohol can have fatal consequences. But rather than hold the alcoholic personally responsible for his situation the social engineers have decided that the alcoholic suffers from the disease of alcoholism. Unlike tobacco the social engineers aren’t calling for an outright ban on alcohol, after all they do enjoy their wine so banning alcohol isn’t considered. Even though there is a direct and known link between alcohol and several fatal health issues the outrage and call for action focuses on tobacco. The hypocrisy of the social engineers is palpable.

The social engineers are running out of control and it just isn’t about how they are using or attempting to use government to enforce their opinions on how we should live, they are corrupting science. While true empirical science remains it seems to be shrinking while the data miners using statistics are creating the foundation for these social engineers and they are growing in size and power. And all of this is possible because critical thinking seems to be lacking and no one ever seems to question the statistics used by the social engineers.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

White Cavemen, Evolution, and Questions

The origin of man continues to be a source of fascination and controversy even though science has already concluded that life descended from pond scum and man descended from an ape like creature that was a precursor to man. Of course this ape like creature which has been located in Africa is actually a collection of bone fragments surrounded by a lot of assumptions. Then there is the issue of the races – which are clearly -- according to science the product of Evolution. Of course science really doesn’t make any distinction between evolution and adaptation; these are viewed as the same thing. Then there is the question of early man – generically described as “Cavemen” because they lived in caves. But these “cavemen” seem to have lived in Europe not in Africa, but the time span between the Hominids and Neanderthal is literally millions of years, but there is no evidence in Europe of the Hominids nor any evidence in Africa of Neanderthal or “cavemen”. Then what about Cro-Magnon Man, they appeared as fully developed homo-sapiens with no indication of where they came from or how they were related to Neanderthal or the Hominids or even if there is any relationship at all. The rationale for this entire structure rests on these three pillars 1) Theory of Evolution 2) Bone fragments of a Hominid 3) DNA tests showing Chimpanzees and Homo Sapiens share 98% of their DNA. Of course this is logically equivalent to saying that Helium (a gas) is the same as Lithium (a metal) because there is only one electron difference. Of course the other side is that all protons, neutrons, and electrons in the Universe are the identical so technically everything is related to everything else because they are made up of the same “stuff” but what about life itself? Why do some of these collections of identical pure energy particles think while others remain inert as rocks and still others remain pond scum and fail to evolve into animate beings even after millions of years? They – the pond scum -- are believed to have evolved once so why did they stop their march to intelligent life?

The Universe is believed to be about 15 billion years old and the age of the Earth is estimated to be approximately 4.5 billion years old. The first simple life appeared about 3.8 billion years ago – which really was just a simple cell with no nucleus. How this came about is a little vague but apparently it was due to some random event but so far no proto cell has been created in the lab. Nevertheless this miraculous cell replicated and ultimately became pond scum. All of this occurred in the Pre-Cambrian Period whose duration spans the time from the formation of the Earth to the Cambrian which began about 542 Million years ago. But this is really about people and cavemen not about all of those creatures that came before.

The first of the apes believed to be precursors of humans occurred approximately 5 million years ago. Various species and subspecies appeared over the next several million years leading up to the Paranthrobus which is believed to be a precursor to the Homo line, which itself has numerous branches and subspecies. These all are bipedal ape like creatures and thus believed to be part of the evolutionary march to Homo-Sapiens. Of course there is not a shred of evidence that any of these species were in fact species or even related to humankind. Even the Evolutionary radical Richard Dawkins concedes that many of these species might have lived concurrently – apparently similar to the equine family today. But the first modern humans generically called Cro-Magnon appeared in Europe 35,000 years ago and the earlier Neanderthals died out at approximately the same time or shortly thereafter.

So there were Hominids in Africa but no sign of “Cavemen” and Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon men first appear in Europe. Apes and Chimpanzees are black while all depictions of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon are white. Is this simply blatant racism or is this depiction the result of the factual reality that Europeans are white? Assuming that the early men found in Europe were indeed white – where did the other races come from? The glib answer is that they adapted (evolved) to their local environments. Meaning that homo-sapiens migrated from Europe to Asia, Africa, North America, and South America, but 35,000 years ago North and South America were not physically connected and even if they were the races would have had to evolve or adapted within that 35,000 years. If that is true then why haven’t we seen modern examples of evolution – has man evolved to the point of perfection and no further change is necessary? What about the animals – how many new species have come into being that have clearly sprung from earlier species? If man can evolve in 35,000 years why not animals – why haven’t they continued to evolve? But we are told that early man – apparently not Homo-Sapiens – migrated to the New World via the land bridge between Asia and Alaska. But the Inuit are clearly Asian, but the Native Americans are not and are classed as the “Red” race. What are their origins? Then we have the “Brown” race which is clearly neither Asian nor “Red”. Unfortunately for all of the evolutionists there is no evidence of evolution among these races – they appear fully developed as Homo-Sapiens with their distinctive racial characteristics in the places where they were found.

So while the Darwinians cling to the Theory of Evolution as a fact rather than a theory the reality is that there are some very serious questions regarding evolution. Adaptation has been demonstrated and is not seriously disputed but there appear to be gaping holes in how one species morphs into another. While the variations in the races can possibly be explained through adaptation there is no evidence that they adapted from some earlier form. The historical record indicates that if they migrated to where they are found then adapted to that environment the evidence is missing. So the origin of the races is unknown and the descent of man from apes is filled with holes and the path from pond scum to humanity is even murkier and unproven.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Warrior Class

I have been opposed to reinstating the draft because I felt it wasn’t necessary and didn’t provide us with the quality of troops that we needed. Others have argued for the draft for many reasons but primarily for fear that the volunteer army would not work and the military would be unable to maintain its strength. Of course that has proven to not be the case as the military has met all of its staffing goals even after raising the bar for acceptance. This is very reminiscent of the period just prior to WW II when many men out of work tried to join the military but were not accepted. Today the military is finding than many young men are out of work and are joining the military just to have a job. So the American military forces have plenty of volunteers and the draft is not necessary in order to maintain troop strength.

According to some observers the American military is perhaps the strongest and most battle harden force in the world – a force with no peer. Certainly the Israeli’s and British forces are also experienced and battle hardened but do not match the Americans in size and strength. But after more than 10 years of war the American military force is unequaled and for the first time in our history America is developing a warrior class. This might not be a problem except that the all volunteer American Military has been separated and divorced from civilian life for so long that they no longer seem to relate to civilians. They relate to each other and are dependent on each other for their very lives which separate them from the civilians at home. For many and an increasing number of them the Army has become their life and their family. We are creating an increasingly independent force separated from the civilian life they once knew.

At first glance this may not seem to be a problem and perhaps it isn’t but there are some things that must be considered. America now has an Army composed of harden professionals who know less and less about civilian life. A group of people loyal to each other, accustomed to instant obedience to their leaders, and who have little connection to the civilians they once were. While the American military are sworn to uphold the constitution and not the government there seems little danger in having such a powerful force in our midst. We have been blessed with a long history of capable generals dedicated to America and our ideals, but suppose we had a general whose view of the government leads him to believe that the government is no longer acting within the framework of the constitution or those ideals -- a government that has run amok and is no longer representing the people but has become self serving and corrupt. For some people this may seem farfetched and the product of a warped mind, but consider that already many people regard the current Congress and Administration to be functioning outside of the constitution, to be corrupt, and to be attempting to rule rather than govern. If some general decided he must act in order to restore a constitutional government who could stop him?

With a warrior class loyal to itself, divorced from the civilian life, isolated, battle hardened, and accustomed to instant and unquestioned obedience, who could prevent this general from seizing control of congress, arresting the President, and “restoring” constitutional government? While some civilians might protest many would support such a move and while not all generals and all military personnel would agree it is unlikely they would attempt to prevent it and create a civil war. While I agree this nightmare scenario is highly unlikely it does reflect the downside of a professional army with a warrior ethos.

This brings us to the question of reinstating the draft. If the draft were reinstated it would immediately raise the cost of maintaining the military but it would provide some positive things as well. First it would lower the unemployment rate and relieve some of the pressure on unemployment benefits. It would also bring discipline and structure into many of the youth today who leave high school with no plans, no job, and not much of a future. These are the “at risk” youth who turn to drugs, alcohol, and violence. But perhaps the most valuable thing would be that it would reduce the warrior class mentality by injecting people into the system that don’t intend to stay, who do not share the same military instant obedience attitude, and who will reintroduce the career military to the civilian population with whom they seem to have lost contact.

I want to emphasize that I do not think American is in any danger of experiencing a coup conducted by some general who thinks the government is no longer constitutionally justified. My point is merely to point out that without intending to we have created a warrior class composed of highly disciplined, trained, hardened, and experienced soldiers who seem to have lost contact with the civilian population from which they sprang. Although I have been strongly opposed to restoring the draft, I am beginning to see that it may offer some benefits for America as well as the American military.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Christianity and the Constitution

There are five great religions Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. Buddhism doesn’t believe in God, Hinduism believes in many gods, and the remaining three believe in one God and share some common beliefs. Of course Judaism and Islam are dedicated to the “law” primarily on diet and circumcision but they diverge sharply on doctrine, ritual, and even on the law. Christians share many of the ethical principles of Judaism and Islam but are very divergent on doctrine and ritual as well as the law. Christians do not ritually circumcise, do not follow the dietary laws, and they practice baptism. While it is politically correct to lump these religions together, Islam stands alone. It is intolerant, its ethical principles are oriented to Muslims , while the Koran is filled with exhortations to violence against infidels and reduces women to little more than chattel. Therefore, any moral or ethical influence on the founding of America is from Christianity or to be precise Judeo-Christian principles and not Islam.

Is America a country founded on Christian Principles? What is it that sets the United States apart from other countries? It is argued that the founding fathers were not Christians but Humanists and Deists and therefore the country was founded on Humanists ideals and not Christian Principles. Of course this argument rests on the assumption that those principles differ from each other, but I don’t think so. In fact I argue they are the same at the philosophical level because Humanism is rooted in Greek and Roman philosophy as well as literature and that literature was written by men who were influenced by Christianity. Therefore, to argue that the founding fathers were humanists doesn’t remove the Christian influence on them and their thinking, but what is “Humanism”?

There are many definitions of Humanism but of these the two that seem apropos are “Christian Humanism” and “Modern Humanism.” Modern Humanism rejects all supernaturalism and relies primarily on science, democracy, and human compassion. Modern Humanism is both secular and religious in origin. Christian Humanism is a philosophy advocating self-fulfillment within the framework of Christian principles, but devoid of the supernatural elements found in Christian doctrine. Therefore, Humanism and Christian principles are intertwined and to reject one in favor of the other is not possible since they are two sides of the same coin.

Christian Principles
Separating Christian Principles from Christian Doctrine is very difficult, especially in terms of governance, but these appear to apply.

1. Political leaders should make peace and justice a top priority but recognize that force may be necessary as a last resort – “blessed are the peacemakers”.
2. All are equal under the law – “love thy neighbor as thy self”.
3. Freedom of Speech – “the truth shall make you free”
4 Freedom of Religion –“… that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone…”
5. Political leaders should come from the people – “But select capable men from all the people …”
6. Separation of powers – “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure”

Many Christians argue that the very foundation of America is based on Christianity and therefore America is a “Christian Nation” while the secularists argue that America is based on Humanist principles and there is no evidence of any religious influence in the Constitution. The Humanists base their argument on the lack of any direct reference to the Bible, the Ten Commandments, or any religious reference. Those who believe the Constitution reflects Christian Theology cite the reference to a “Creator” exception for Sunday and the overall tenor of the document and background of the framers. Thus the conflict is born. From the decades following the signing of the Constitution we find this conflict unresolved and unresolvable because no one knows what drove the framers to write what they did or what they believed. The mountain of documents following the framing is irrelevant because they are after the fact. Being a “Deist” does not mean the person is an atheist and the failure to include specific Christian references in the Constitution does not mean they were not a driving force or that they were not incorporated indirectly.

Christian Principles and the Constitution

If there is any core principle that influenced the founding fathers it is the people in power are the servants of all. Governments from the time of tribal leaders to the time of Kings rested on power and the exercise of that power by individuals. Power once given or seized elevated those in power over those whom they governed and thus you had the divine right of kings – even in those Christian Countries called Christendom– but it was the founding fathers of America who realized the flaw in vesting individuals with power over others. It was the founding fathers who realized that vesting power in fallible human beings was something that had to be done but had to be controlled.

These were people who believers or not were very familiar with the Bible and in Mark 10:43 they found Christ saying “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant -- for even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve”. This idea that the powerful are servants was further elaborated in Luke 22:27 “Who is greater, the one at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table ? But I am among you as one who serves”. On this basis – a Christian Principle – those in whom power is vested are servants to those who gave them power and to insure the leaders served the people the founding fathers incorporated into the Constitution the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances. This was to ensure those in power remained as servants to the people and did not oppress those who put them into power.

But perhaps the first example of the Christian influence on the founding fathers is in the opening of the Declaration of Independence which declares that “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal …” But when Jefferson wrote these words equality was not self evident at all and in fact the exact opposite was true. Inequality was all about but Jefferson was declaring that all people are “moral” equals and that one life and one person is no greater or less than that of any other. This principle is stated in Matthew 19:19 where we find “love thy neighbor as thy self” or in Galatians 3:28 where we find “There is neither Jew nor Greek , there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”. Jefferson was acknowledging that his life had no greater value than that of a laborer in the streets. Because all men are equal in the eyes of God, then no man has the right to rule over another without his consent. Among the rights was the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that to secure these rights Governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed.

While it may be true that the founding fathers were more deists and humanists than Christian they were nevertheless familiar with the Bible and with Judeo- Christian teachings and believed that legitimacy is derived from God and not from man. Thus our rights became “unalienable” because they come from God (the Creator) and not from the people who govern.

The situation is a little murkier when we come to religious freedom. In Ezra 7:24 we find that the government is forbidden to interfere with the worship of God or at least with any organization or group that worships God. But in typical fashion we find further on in Ezra 7:26 that those who do not follow the law of God or the land shall be punished by death, banishment, or prison. While the Bible does offer the Ten Commandments as a basis for conduct and these commandments are honored by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, they also direct that you cannot worship idols, other gods, and that “you shall have no other God before Me” Certainly the founding fathers were familiar with the Bible but they were also familiar with history. The very first settlers in America were Christians escaping persecution from other Christians but once established in the New World they immediately set about setting up their own form of religious persecution. Therefore, I believe that while the guarantee of religious freedom was based on the Bible it also reflected the sad history of religious persecution rooted in the Bible. Thus the founding fathers intended to keep religion out of the government and used the Bible’s demands for worship as the basis for incorporating that restriction. At a stroke the founding fathers eliminated apostasy, heresy, and blasphemy from government involvement, thus allowing atheism, paganism, and all other religions to exist under the Constitution. In this instance I think the Bible and the Ten Commandments was seen as a threat to the future of the Republic because history reflected that government mandated religious practice had a bloody past. Therefore, government and religion were separated even though Christianity was the prevalent religion. This is certainly an example of how the Bible and Judeo-Christian beliefs influenced the framing of the Constitution.

Freedom of speech is fundamental to our freedom because it permits us to speak out against the government as well as any idea, law, group, or person within the confines of libel. In John 8:32 we find “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”. Of course truth is one of those terms that can be perceived but if that perception is false or harms the individual that person is protected by libel laws which are addressed in Exodus 2:1-7 where we find commandment nine “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”. But there are other parts of the Constitution that reflect Christian thinking and morality. In Article 1 Section 7 of the Constitution we find the following “If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him…” This clearly reflects a theistic view of the authors. This theistic view has been reflected in various court cases regarding Sunday laws and is another example of religious (Christian) influence on the Constitution.

Christianity and America

While the Constitution clearly reflects the Judeo- Christian ideas and principles which were known by the founding fathers, the American Spirit – that which sets America apart from other nations is also reflected in the Bible. Perhaps the greatest thing that sets America apart is the “melting pot”. Anyone from anywhere can come to America and become an American and be seen by other Americans as being an American – one of us. This concept is rare and is the root of many problems in the world today, but this view of the universality of people is shown in Acts 10:34-35 where we find “At this Peter opened his mouth and said: “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” This attitude is reflective of the American spirit of equality and is reflected in our foreign policy.

America has fought two world wars and has fought in many foreign lands but has rebuilt these lands. Unlike other major powers like Rome, Egypt, and the European colonial powers America has rebuilt these war torn lands and withdrawn usually leaving the defeated in better condition than they were previously. This attitude and approach is very unique but reflects the Christian teachings of Jesus (Matthew 22:39) where we find the following “…Thou shalt love they neighbor as thy self”. But this idea is also found in Luke 2:27-31 "But, I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” These ideas and principles form the very foundation of the American Spirit.

Influence of Islam
Because Islam acknowledges the Ten Commandments, Moses, Jesus, and Mary there is a feeling among some that these three religions share morality and ethics and are thus alike. This is totally false relative to Islam. The Koran is filled with hate and exhortations to violence. Even a quick review of the Koran shows that a Muslim cannot continue to call himself Muslim if they tolerate anyone who is not Muslim. In fact they are instructed to kill all infidels. Sura 9:5 says “Fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, and see them, belittle them and lie and wait for them in every strategy of war”. For the people who resist Islam – meaning all non-Muslims—the Koran instructs Muslims in Sura 5:33 “Their punishment is execution or crucifixion or cutting off of hands and feet from the opposite sides or to be exiled from the land”. This is merely a small sample of the violence that permeates the Koran. This “Holy” text is filled with exhortations to kill all infidels. Based on the Koran itself a person cannot be “moderate” and still be Muslim because anyone who even considers a non-Muslim as a friend or ally is not Muslim but has become heretic and apostate. Therefore, to view Islam as even remotely similar to Judaism or Christianity is to not understand the Koran or the morality of Islam.

Some reject the idea that the Constitution is based on (Judeo) Christian Principles because the founding fathers were Humanists and Deists and well that might be but some were Christian and it seems clear that whether they were actual Christians without doubt they were familiar with Christian Principles, the Bible, and most of all history. What we find is that many concepts found in the Bible have been incorporated into the Constitution. But the founding fathers knowing the abuses and evil that had been practiced in the past in the name of Christ were careful to separate these religious laws and directives from the government of the United States. It is my opinion that the Constitution is based on Christian Principles with some being incorporated while others were deliberately rejected. It also seems clear that from the very outset there was a conflict between those who felt America was a Christian Nation built on the Bible and those who felt America was a Humanist and secular country independent of any religion or religious influence. This battle rages on and will probably never be resolved because it seems to be based entirely on interpretation and opinion. But in the book “God is Not One” we find “The case for Christianity’s preeminence is compelling. The number one best seller is the Bible, is the scripture of American politics, widely quoted in inaugural addresses and on the floor of the House and Senate. And the overwhelming majority of US Citizens call themselves Christians as has every President since Washington”. I conclude and it is my opinion that America is a Christian Nation built on Christian ideals and principles.

Royce Callaway

King James Bible
Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
What’s So Great About America – Dinesh D’Souza
What’s So Great About Christianity – Dinesh D’Souza
What is Humanism – Frederick Edwords
God Is Not One – Stephen Prothero
The Holy Koran
Various Internet Queries

Obama & Racism

I continue to be amazed how the mainstream media continues to ignore or gloss over the blatant racism and incompetence of Obama and his entire administration. This man has made sure his thin track record is kept in the background and that his early years and writings are kept secret – literally secret. He has never published his master’s thesis and his records at Harvard are kept sealed. He was editor of the Harvard Review – a prestigious position that usually goes to the most promising law student based on their writings but none of Obama’s articles or writings have ever been made public. This is a point totally ignored by the media as they publish paean after paean to America’s first black president. Of course on inspection the color of his skin seems to be his only qualification. Apparently only white folks can be racist because the media has systematically failed to exposed the racism expressed by Obama – racism that would have led to outrage had these things been said and done by a white conservative.

For example Obama spent 20 years attending the Church of Reverend Wright a blatant racist. The media took note of this then simply glossed over it as if it had no bearing on Obama. Of course the fact that he spent 20 years attending that church means either he agreed with the Reverend or he didn’t. If he didn’t then he is a hypocrite and if he did then he is a racist – something the media just ignored. Then during his campaign he referred to his grandmother as a “typical white person”. Had any white person referred to him as a typical black person they would have immediately been branded as a racist bigot but not Obama. Once again the media gave him a pass because they seem to be unable to see this man for what he is – a racist given the highest job in the land with no qualifications whatsoever.

But once in office Obama has continued to demonstrate his racism because when a white police officer doing his duty and acting in accordance with approved procedure arrested a black professor, Obama immediately charged the police officer for acting stupidly and being a racist. This led to his patronizing and condescending “beer summit” apparently on the premise that no white police officer would know how to behave in the White House. Then when the black panthers were charged with voter intimidation he kept his Justice Department from investigating or taking any action. Clearly when the action is white on black it is racism and should be condemned but when it is black on white then Obama does not see that as racist – blatant hypocrisy and racism on his part once again.

Now in a recent speech Obama made to a group of Latino’s – some of whom I’m sure were in this country legally – he stated that Republicans should be sent to the “back of the bus” and then referred to the American Public as “our enemies” -- placing himself as a minority opposed to the white majority. Never in the history of the country has any major politician ever referred to the American people as his “enemy”. This President is a racist that is aided and abetted by a slavish and politically correct media. This is a man who is an internationalist who believes in World Government. He clearly sees the role of government as being paramount to the people’s wishes and that it is the role of government to rule over the people not to govern at the will of the people.

This President is a person who has never held a real job, never met a payroll, and never had to show a profit. He seems to think that the money he so freely spends comes from the mint and not from the people. He has no grasp of practical economics or business. He has been educated by Marxists, socialists, and left wing academics. He has surrounded himself with more incompetent and inexperienced people than any president in our history. He is not just incompetent and a racist, he is an embarrassment.

Friday, October 22, 2010


In a recent conversation about management and leadership, it was established that one of the most difficult things that managers and leaders must do is to establish and then to keep focused on the objective. This is difficult enough in a business context but then the question was raised about how can this be done in the context of a classroom where discussion is encouraged and irrelevant tangents can cloud the objective of the class. This led to the question of Music Appreciation as a topic in school and how difficult it is to teach because the students don’t like Classical Music and really have no interest in any music other than popular music.

I think that the problem with Music Appreciation is that it is suffering from a common complaint – one that I frequently encounter in my work. I think both the teachers and the students have lost track of the Mission and Objective(s). I could be wrong but I suspect that the typical teacher strives to accommodate their students (unrealistic or incorrect) objectives which has allowed the class mission to become obscured or distorted. From my managerial perspective I think the Mission in a Music Appreciation class is to teach students “how to appreciate music”-- not to enjoy it--but to appreciate the quality of a piece of music as an art form. They do not have to like it or to even enjoy it to appreciate the ART displayed by the composer. On the other hand the students seem to think they are there to ENJOY music, therefore they only expect to hear or discuss music they like. I submit that is not the objective of the class and if that is their expectation then they do not understand the objective and that the teacher has failed to explain the purpose of the class. They are there to understand and to learn to appreciate music as art and to learn how to distinguish bad art, fine art, and good art.

Beyond this basic confusion I think the typical teacher has wandered off course. Apparently in some classes the teacher has opted to include more black musicians and performers. I submit that is a fundamental error because the race and the performer should have no relevance to the music being presented. The teacher is there to discuss and to demonstrate music as art and art is (and should be) color blind and the performer should only enter into the appreciation of the piece being discussed as a comparison in technique and presentation. Apparently some teachers are now including lyrics as part of the exercise of music appreciation. I submit that while lyrics may be important in the overall enjoyment of the piece, the objective is to evaluate the music and therefore the lyrics are a distraction. Of course there are exceptions, such as Opera, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Madrigals, and Gregorian Chants but these lyrics are in other languages and thus become part of the art because what the lyrics are saying is largely irrelevant to the harmony.

I would recommend that a class in music appreciation should start with the teacher showing pictures of examples of various art schools, e.g. realism, impressionism, cubism, modern, surrealism, Dutch Masters, etc. The students should be asked to decide which ones they like, which they don’t like, and then challenged to explain why they like some and why they dislike others. Then they should be asked to evaluate the pieces in terms of their value as art, the difficulty in executing the piece, etc. The objective of the exercise is to separate their likes from the quality of the art. For example, I think Reubens and Monet are great artists but I wouldn’t have any painting by either one hanging in my home – I don’t like their work, but I will concede the quality of their art. This is what the students are there to learn and what the teacher is there to teach – they don’t have to like the music to appreciate it.

Another exercise I would offer is to show the music on the page – written out, not played or performed but to just show the notes. Contrast modern pieces to older works or classic works. I would then allow the music to be played but without lyrics. I would ask the students to determine the race of the composers, the complexity of the music, and the quality of the music as art. The point once again is to demonstrate that art is race independent and musical art is in the ear of the beholder.

If the students feel that playing music without the lyrics is unfair or misleading then the teacher should point out that opera music is commonly performed without the lyrics as is Big Band Music and even some contemporary music. If the issue is Rap – which is nothing without the lyrics, then the lyrics should stand alone acappella – ala African chants, Gregorian Chants, and any beat or background is unnecessary because if the lyrics are the art then they should standalone like poetry.

I don’t think the objective of music appreciation is to lead the students to a love of classical music or any particular musical form but to bring them to the point to where they can recognize music – in all of its manifestations as an art form and evaluate it on the basis of being good or bad.

It appears to me that the objective of music appreciation has been lost as the teachers lose sight of their objective which is to teach an appreciation of music as an art form. Instead they are reacting to the student expectation that they are in class to enjoy music that they like, not to learn about music in general. Instead of Music Appreciation it seems to me the idea of Music Appreciation has been allowed to descend into Music Enjoyment, which is a totally different objective.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Germany Multiculturalism and America

Something very serious happened this week – something that virtually went unnoticed due to the Chilean Minors and the Mid-term elections. This week the Chancellor of Germany announced that Multiculturalism has failed. Chancellor Merkel announced that immigrants are holding back the German Economy. This signals the resurgence of a German National Identity and a change in direction from the EU’s purpose of becoming a unified and homogenized Europe.

This problem of German immigration began shortly after WW II when Germany was short of workers so they created a guest worker program – if this Guest Worker Program sounds familiar to Americans it is. The idea of course was to import workers on a temporary basis with the unspoken idea that when no longer needed they would return to their countries of origin. To some extent it worked because those guest workers from other European countries did return to their home countries but not so those workers who came from Turkey and other Muslim countries. More importantly these “guest workers” brought in their families and quickly became a multi-generational population. But the Germans did not want these immigrants to become part of Germany and certainly in the common European view of nationality they could never become German. To be German you had to be descended from Germans for generations which is true of all European countries – assimilation is counter culture in Europe.

The Germans decided to address this problem with a policy called “multiculturalism”. Which meant these immigrants were encouraged to maintain their customs, religion and language, but were expected to pledge loyalty to the State. This created a large and growing group of non-Germans in the middle of Germany who did not assimilate, did not speak the language, and were not expected to because they weren’t German. This meant that this population of immigrants did not see themselves as German and saw their country of origin as “home”. This meant that they had no concern over the fate of Germany but were concerned about the politics and fate of their home countries Muslim countries. There was no loyalty to Germany and given that the home countries were Islamic and Islam was at war with the West, these immigrants represent a significant threat to national security. The stark reality is that Multiculturalism did not work and Germany is now faced with a significant threat to the German Culture and to the State itself. This admission of failure by Germany will have significant repercussions throughout Europe but there are parallels to be drawn with the American immigration issue.

America is the land of immigrants and until the advent of Multiculturalism assimilation has been the norm. People came to this country in order to be American and there was a process in place to do that. You were expected to learn the history, the government structure, and most of all to learn the language. After a period of time you took a test and became a citizen. You were an American and the American Flag was your flag and your loyalty was to America. But that is no longer true today. Sometime after WW II the liberals – known as progressives – slowly took control and America became the evil Empire. Multiculturalism was the wave of the future and for America to expect any immigrant to shed their language, values, or culture – much less their loyalties was viewed as “imperialistic” and wrong at its core.

Then came the “guest workers” the “bracero’s from Mexico and Latin America. These were the “migrant farm workers” who were here temporarily – but of course not all went back to Mexico at the end of the picking season. That trickle became a flood and many employers took advantage of the situation because these workers were cheap labor. Then the “progressives” insisted that English is not our national language because we are a nation of immigrants and multiculturalism by definition said they could and should keep their own language. As night follows day this meant that the school systems no longer had to teach in English but could teach in some other language and at the very least offer native language instruction for English.

The end result of this policy of multiculturalism is a huge population of illegal Mexican immigrants who don’t speak English, don’t intend to learn English, whose loyalty is to Mexico, whose flag is the Mexican flag, and who demand – and receive all of the benefits of a being a citizen without being a citizen. This multicultural policy is divisive and is tearing Germany apart. This failure to assimilate is partially Germany’s fault for failing to develop a policy for assimilation, but in America there is a policy and process for assimilation, it just isn’t being followed. Multiculturalism has destroyed the American Melting Pot and it threatens to rip America apart just as it is tearing Germany and Europe apart.

Germany is abandoning Multiculturalism as self protection and the time has long past in this country for us to abandon multiculturalism. Schools should teach English, ballots should be in English, and the idea that everything should multilingual should be abandoned. If we fail to reassert our culture and be true to our history we will soon find ourselves a victim of history and the America we grew up with will be gone with the wind.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I have been fascinated for some time about the use of the term “NeoCon” to describe just about anyone with whom the liberal establishment disagrees. This term is used a pejorative adjective apparently because anyone who dares to think that the wild excesses of the Obama Administration are just that – excesses or that George Bush and his supporters are anything other than jingoistic war criminals are by definition “NeoCons” and thus without any intelligence or opinion worthy of expression.

Well it seems that the term NeoCon or Neoconservative goes back a long way – to 1950’s. Ironically it was originally used to describe those liberals who felt that the Liberals had gone too far left and were disagreed – thus they were moving to the right. Now understand these were not real conservatives – these were just liberals who had come to the conclusion that the welfare programs so cherished by their leftist colleagues had failed. But these “NeoCons” were people who had supported the socialist programs of the 1940’s—the New Deal, Trade Unions, and my personal favorite “Trotskyism” So the Neoconservatives were not real conservatives in the sense that they believed in capitalism, personal responsibility, low taxes, or the people. OH no—these were people who wallowed in the belief that they were the anointed intellectuals who knew how the rest of us should live but came to the conclusion that the left had moved to far left even for them but they remained the bedrock of the Democratic Party. The irony of that seems to escape most of the media today.

These neoconservatives supported the liberal causes like civil rights, integration, and most of the liberal causes and thinking of the post world war period but eventually came to think that the excesses like the black panthers, Weathermen, and other extreme left wing groups were too extreme and began to move to the right – meaning back to the mainstream Democratic thought but by the 1970’s it was too little too late. The extreme left had captured the Democratic Party which continued to support the far left Marxist inspired agenda. So these liberals came to the conclusion that the anti-American, anti-business, counterculture supported by the reformed Democratic Party was too extreme for them. They believed in America and they believed that if America intended to fight in Viet Nam they should fight to win but that the Democratic Party, the Peace Activists, and the Johnson Great Society were not positive things for America. They became the “Silent Majority” which still believed in the Democratic Party Ideals but not the Reformed Democratic Party.

These neoconservatives still believed – as many still do today – in Economic Liberalism but Social Conservatism. But they were unable to convince their colleagues in the Reformed Democratic Party that the party was out of touch with mainstream America. The result was the crushing defeat suffered by George McGovern – the “Peace Candidate” as the “silent majority” voted Nixon into the White House. Thus the extreme left that had usurped the Democratic Party was then much as it is today – deaf to any voice that disagrees with their socialist and Marxist agenda. An even greater irony is that many of the most hated NeoCons today – people like Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith were Democrats who supported Scoop Jackson as the Democratic Candidate for President. Even Ronald Reagan was initially a Democrat.

Admittedly some of these Neoconservatives did drift back to the core Democratic Party but not all. The reality is that the NeoCons still exerted influence but increasingly on the Republican Party as they leaned more toward military solutions as the way to enforce humanitarian improvements in countries like the Philippines and Chile bringing down Marcos and Pinochet. It was these NeoCons who influenced the foreign policies of both President Clinton and President Bush. They pushed hard for Human Rights and the need to bring democracy to the world and charged both Administrations of lacking “moral clarity” and more importantly a failure to act forcefully in America's interests. Thus these once far left liberals – the bedrock of the Democratic Party – have become in the eyes of their former ideologues -- apostate and worst of all “Republicans”. The reality seems to be that the true Republicans have been overshadowed by these NeoCons who now dominate the Republican Party.

Ironically it appears the Tea Party – which is made up of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents comes closer to the actual philosophies of the original Democratic and Republican Party’s than those party’s do today. How this will ultimately work out is to be determined but it seems that the Obama Administration moved the Democratic Party to the breaking point and whether it can survive without dramatic change is highly problematic. But the same goes for the Republican Party – they cannot continue allowing the Constitution to be twisted by the courts into some unrecognizable thing nor can they continue their tendency to serve lobbyists rather than the people.

So if you voted Republican and are called “NeoCon” there is a great probability that the person making the accusation has no clue what a NeoCon really is.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Question of Photons

I have been intrigued by much of the research into laser weapons, photon weapons, and light in general. Perhaps the most intriguing question I have come across recently was the statement that photons have zero mass – which seems to invalidate the age old equation of F= MA because if M is zero than F is zero but more importantly Einstein’s equations were demonstrated when light was observed to bend in a strong gravitational field – thus photons have mass. But the response to this question was that photons have zero mass at rest but it has mass in motion. This of course means that the photon lies inert in some body but when that body has energy applied the photon escapes as light with mass. So now the question is how do you know that the source has inert photons? Just because they escape when energy is applied is not in and of itself evidence that the photon was in the source object but could just as easily have come from the energy source. But then this opens up another question and that is Newton’s law regarding the conservation of mass and energy. The photon must have existed somewhere prior to being observed but then if it has no mass but gains mass through motion then isn’t that a creation of mass or is it a conversion of energy to mass? If that is true then isn’t E=MC<2 either not true or is there a dimension to this as yet unobserved because that equation describes the force unleashed by this conversion which was the atomic bomb.

But the explanation of this also includes the statement that a photon gains mass through “momentum,” where the momentum is the product of the mass times the linear velocity (m=MV) but momentum has both magnitude and direction so it is a vector which complicates things somewhat but the essential question remains even when V approaches the speed of light although again this tends to complicate matters still further due to the law of conservation of momentum. However, Physicists have declared that while a photon at rest has zero mass it does have a non-zero momentum but this seems like a stretch given that momentum is based on velocity and a photon at rest cannot be in motion and if it is in motion then by definition it must have mass.

This leads me to some other questions for example we are told that when energy is applied to an atom the electrons surrounding become excited and jump to a higher ring but almost immediately they drop back losing energy as light. But if that lost energy shows as light (a photon) and that photon has mass where did that energy come from – the external source? Did the electron gain mass when it jumped from an inner ring to an outer one? If it didn’t and its mass did not change then did the energy absorbed by the electron convert to the photon mass? But how does that fit
with Einstein’s equation?

Although electrons are thought of as “particles” Quantum Theory increasingly leads to the conclusion that an electron is more like a force than a particle which leads to the conclusion that an electron’s mass is a product of its motion – in effect the momentum of the electron determines its mass and the momentum is determined by its velocity. But when you heat an object it may grow hot, distort, or suffer some change but the total mass doesn’t increase, but then mass is not truly weight but includes resistance to motion. Consequently a photon by definition is traveling at the speed of light and thus its mass must be infinite according to Einstein but doesn’t really just prove that a photon and thus our reality cannot go faster than a photon? On the other hand if you did exceed the speed of light doesn’t that just mean it would become invisible?

This brings us to the question of motion. Our entire universe is in motion from the galaxies to the atom. The atom is surrounded by electron rings which are in motion so it would be logical that if a photon resided within the atom it would have mass since it isn’t at rest because the atom and electrons are not at rest. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that the photon emitted by shift in electron energy is the result of the energy applied from some outside source exciting the electrons, but since that energy is converted to mass has the source of the energy been reduced in mass or energy?

If the excited electron never took on mass when moving to the higher state and never lost any mass when returning to its former energy level then where did the photon’s mass come from? It seems to me Physicists are trying to have it both ways. Light can be viewed as either a wave or a particle but if light is a wave it is in motion and thus must have mass. But if light is viewed as a particle it must have mass because it is in motion. In order for a photon to have a zero mass it must be at rest and in that case where does this at rest photon exist?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dhimmitude and You

Our fearless leader aided and abetted by a spineless congress and an adoring media is gradually undoing America or at least what most Americans think of as America. He has declared that we are NOT a Christian Nation without ever saying what we ARE as a nation. For some the issue has been his socialist (nee communist) philosophies, for others it has been seizure of businesses, and still others the issue has been his arrogance and obvious lack of control over any situation. His administration is totally out of control and he seems unable to act without reading his instructions from the ubiquitous teleprompter. His administration and the media have dismissed his birth certificate as a non-issue, they have dismissed his Islamic roots as untrue or at least irrelevant, and they have ignored his lack of any past record on anything – the man is a total blank who increasingly seems like a ventriloquist’s puppet rather than a real boy. You expect any day to see his nose grow. However, as bad as these things may be there are more insidious things going on in the background – hidden in these multi-thousand page bills being pushed through congress are some very interesting things – things never discussed in detail and when discussed never examined critically and that brings me to Dhimmitude. Of course this word never appeared in any legislation but it is there although disguised – so what does this interesting word mean?

The word itself stems from the Arabic where it is an adjective which means “protected” and refers to a non-Muslim who is subject to Sharia Law, but this neologism springs from the French where it denotes concession, surrender, and appeasement towards Islamic demands. The Islamic community is sworn to kill infidels, to support the (Islamic) poor, etc. but Islam has been at war with the Infidels since its inception in the seventh century. In fact the Prophet Mohammed – before he got religion was a warlord who funded his activities by robbing caravans and then robbing and murdering Jews (do you see a pattern there?). But as we know and as history shows -- wars cost money so in an environment where the majority is protected by Sharia Law from any of the usual revenue raising schemes, the money has to come from somewhere and where would that be – the infidels – who are Dhimmi!! In exchange for not being murdered as demanded by the Koran the infidels (read Jews and Christians) pay a tax. This tax has historically been used by the Ottomans to fund their military and wars.

So how does this affect Americans and what has Dhimmitude have to do with it. Well it seems that the new healthcare legislation created by our non-Muslim President governing a non-Christian nation contains some interesting exclusions. The new healthcare bill – which doesn’t go into effect until 2014 – requires all Americans to buy healthcare insurance or go to jail EXCEPT those people who can demonstrate a religious basis for their refusal. This includes people like the Amish, Scientologists, and --- are you ready -- Muslims!! Muslims are forbidden to do a lot of things including buy insurance which they view as a form of gambling. They are Dhimmi, which means that all you folks out there will be paying for the healthcare of the entire Islamic community while they pay nothing while funding organizations like Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Yes it is true this legislation only pertains to “American” Muslims but Americans are generally unaware that Muslims do not view any nation state as superior to Islam so their first loyalty is to Islam not America or any other nation.

Now the Snopes bastion of truth acknowledges that this is indeed in the legislation but they don’t give it a “true” ranking because the legislation hasn’t gone into effect and may be challenged in court – long after our non-Muslim President has ridden into the sunset. Our country and our values are under attack and are being undermined by a complaisant congress, a somnambulant media, and a President clearly controlled and scripted via teleprompter. Vote wisely and remember who voted for these bills without ever reading them.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Aliens From Outer Space

Recently the idea that life on Earth was introduced by Spacemen has become more and more popular as the scientific (and non-scientific) community struggles to describe the origin of life. This is exceedingly important because a failure to provide an explanation jeopardizes the Theory of Evolution. One of the key points regarding this theory is precisely what is meant by life? Are we talking about life in general – that is those first protoplasmic pond scum life forms from which all life has evolved or are we talking about humans? At first glance this question may seem to be ridiculous because the Darwinians insist that all life descended from pond scum so Alien Space Men would have had to introduce the scum and then to have guided the evolution from scum to atheists, but this seems to ask for a great deal of planning and patience given the time frames. In fact it is that time frame that seems to be the problem.

The universe is estimated to be 15 billion years old but the Earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old. This means that those Aliens would have had to evolve from something in the first 11 billion years. Of course that is a long time and certainly it would seem to be enough time to evolve from pond scum to faster than light space craft, but is that realistic? The first signs of life on Earth are 3.8 billion years old so those space creatures – assuming that evolution is correct and applies universally – would have had to have to have started their climb up the evolutionary ladder approximately 7 billion years after the big bang. Perhaps that too is possible but it does begin to stretch the bounds of credibility.

We are told that the universe contains hundreds of millions of galaxies and billions of starts and thus billions of planets – some of which must be Earth like based on probabilities. Thus we are left with the idea that the highly evolved Aliens living on a planet lost among those millions of galaxies found Earth and the Sun among those billions of other stars and planets and then decided to launch an experiment in evolution? What is the probability of one our scientists picking one of those millions of galaxies, selecting a star at random, and then finding that that star is suitable for a life experiment? More importantly recognizing that that planet selected at random whose atmosphere was poisonous was suitable for seeding primitive life – what are those chances? But there wasn’t sufficient oxygen to support life until the Mississippian 360 million years ago. So these Alien Space Men would have had to have been incredibly lucky to find the Earth and then the patience necessary to launch an experiment spanning billions of years. Therefore, it seems more plausible that life on Earth was not introduced by Aliens but some scientists think that life was deposited on Earth via some asteroid or other space debris, perhaps it was but that doesn’t explain how life was created it just shifts the point of creation from Earth to points unknown.

But what about humans – did we descend from pond scum or were we “introduced” by some Alien Beings? Of course this puts us back at the probability of some super intelligent civilization finding the Sun and the Earth thorough some random process. Even if this highly unlikely event was true the questions become – why did the Aliens introduce humans and to what purpose? Furthermore, human evolution spans several million years – assuming of course that humans are in fact descended from apes but then are those apes descended from pond scum? Did those Aliens genetically modify those apes discovered in Africa so they would evolve into humans? Does that sound logical to anyone? Anyone? It strikes me that whatever happened and however we came to be it wasn’t the result of Spacemen, probably wasn’t a random event leading to pond scum, and the answer may never be found in science.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Nation of Islam

The recent attempt by yet another Arab terror group to break the Israeli embargo has served to highlight the problems that Israel faces but more importantly it acts as a reminder of how fragmented Islam is. This issue of Islamic infighting was covered in great detail in a strategic report which I have digested in the following comments and added my own editorial observations.

There is little doubt but Israel is once again losing the battle for public opinion but that was the objective of the entire flotilla exercise from the outset, even the selection of the contraband was intended to further the case for public outrage. But when you look behind the blather what do you see? What you see is very little action, lots of talk, and interestingly enough no calls for military action against Israel other than the usual Hamas terrorism.

The reality of the situation is the powers outside of the Middle East will continue to blather away against Israel but any significant action by the Islamic nations in the area is unlikely because they are so divided among themselves and have such divergent relations with Israel and each other that any effective coalition against Israel doesn’t exist and is unlikely to exist in the near future. Of course the nuclear threat from Iran exists but that threat is mitigated somewhat by the world at large. Consequently while the tide of public opinion rises against Israel it is unlikely that little action will be taken and the Israeli’s will continue their policies unchanged.

Since it was the “humanitarian” effort to bring aid to the Palestinians it is probably best to examine the relations between the factions within the Palestinian community. There is of course the Palestinians themselves who can be classified as victims – not of the Israeli’s but of their own political groups, Fatah and Hamas, neither of which seem to care about the plight of the people. These two groups are at war with each other and with Israel. Fatah dominates the West Bank while Hamas dominates the Gaza Strip and Israel occupies the middle ground. The result is that these two Palestinian groups operate as if they were separate and hostile countries – countries with distinctly different ideologies.

Fatah is secular and springs from the socialist movement started by Nasser in Egypt and aligned with the old Soviet Union. Fatah was the dominant faction in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) which was an umbrella group headed by Yasser Arafat until his death. But upon his death the PLO was left with a corrupt bureaucracy but no leader, no coherent strategy, and worst of all – no agreed upon ideology. The result was the PLO ceased to exist and fragmented into the Hamas and Fatah factions. Hamas is an Islamist (Shia) organization supported and subsidized by Iran. Hamas rejects Israel’s right to exist but the “liberation” of Palestine is not the paramount objective – the objective of Hamas is to establish an Islamic state, which makes it hostile to Fatah.

Fatah is Islamic but secular at its base. While it preaches the destruction of Israel it is much more pragmatic and seeks a true country of Palestine and is much more willing to negotiate with Israel. But Hamas and Fatah are irreconcilable in their ideologies and Hamas views Fatah as corrupt making both groups easily manipulated by Israel as well as other outside forces. Hamas sees any set back to Fatah as a victory just as Fatah views any failure of Hamas as a win for their side. Currently the world focus is on Hamas and their clear public relations victory so it is only a matter of time before Fatah will find some way to undo these gains by Hamas. It is this deep division between the Palestinians that makes Israeli efforts to pit one against the other as almost unnecessary since they are at war with each other.
But the Palestinian situation is actually a microcosm of the Arab states surrounding Israel which have issues of their own. Jordan, Syria, and Egypt surround Israel and publicly condemn Israel, the Israeli Embargo, and support the Islamic cause – at least publicly but underneath things are much less clear.
Egypt may be the oldest country in the world and while essentially an Islamic state it is a secular country and totally hostile to Hamas. Hamas is an intensely religious organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood – a semi-secret organization responsible for the assassination of Anwar Sadat among others. The Muslim Brotherhood is considered by the Egyptian government to be its greatest domestic threat and President Mubarak has moved against Islamic extremists and sees Hamas and their ideology as a threat since it could spread to Egypt. Thus Egypt has maintained its own blockade of Gaza and remains much closer to the Fatah whose secularism derives from the Egyptian secularism. Consequently Hamas (supported by Iran) distrusts Cairo which is secular and Sunni.
Jordan on the other hand doesn’t trust Fatah since Arafat attempted to overthrow the monarchy. This effort by Fatah cost 10,000 Palestinian lives and Fatah has never forgot this massacre – initiated by them but in typical fashion blamed on Jordan. The idea of an independent Palestinian State in the West Bank is not popular with the Jordanians, especially since so much of their population is Palestinian. But the Jordanians are not enthusiastic about Hamas either since they have such close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood which has caused problems in Jordan. So while Jordan acts as an Islamic state and gives lip service to the condemnation of Israel the reality is both Jordan and Egypt have peace treaties with Israel which remain in place and apparently unthreatened.
And that brings us to the more interesting and complicated issue which is Syria. Syria supports the Palestinians but that seems to be more rhetorical than real. Syria is focused on Lebanon and along with Iran a sponsor of Hezbollah, which is anti-Israeli rather than pro-Palestinian. Hezbollah is a Shiite Organization supported by Iran that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel not to the creation of a Palestinian state. The Palestinians are little more than a casus belli for Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel. The Syrian government is focused on Lebanon and when Hezbollah becomes aggressive against Israel the Syrians become upset with Iran whom they see as responsible. But there are other issues here because Hezbollah is a Shiite organization but the Palestinians are generally Sunni so it isn’t clear that the Palestinians would want Hezbollah to establish a regime in Palestine. So Syria is playing a complicated game as it tries to balance all of these conflicting goals that only have one common one which is the destruction of Israel, when their goal is the domination of Lebanon. But these aren’t the only countries that make up Islam
Turkey is a secular Islamic country with aspirations to join the EU but it is also dealing with an insurgent Kurdish issue and a rising Islamic fundamentalism fueled by radical clerics. The Turkish government is condemning Israel at the moment but that is probably the government’s attempt to mollify the radicals. Then you have the threats the PLO gave to the Arabian states. Like all Arabs the Saudi’s and other Arabian peninsula states are long on memory and short on forgiveness so it is unlikely they will rush to the aid and support of the Palestinians in any meaningful way. Of course Iran would like to influence if not dominate the Palestinians as they pursue their objective of the destruction of Israel but Fatah doesn’t trust the Iranians and Hamas is Sunni while Iran is Shiite so there is not a lot of trust there either. So all of these convoluted relationships are fragile and not built on trust.
Given these conflicts in policy, religion, and political goals among the Islamic states, it renders the anti-Semitism of Europe and hostility to Israel as more of a diplomatic issue than any significant threat to Israel. To the Israeli’s Gaza represents a dagger at their throat and it is unlikely they will loosen their grip and from their perspective Fatah ultimately supports their suppression of Gaza and Hamas. More importantly Egypt participates with Israel in this suppression of Hamas through their own embargo, Jordan is relieved by the Israeli policy, and Syria is indifferent to it but may continue their blather. In effect these divisions among the Islamic states render them ineffective and thus Israel has no reason to reduce their pressure on Gaza and Hamas.
To confirm this assessment it is worth noting that as the Israeli Navy intercepted this Turkish Flotilla, not one Egyptian aircraft threaten the Israeli’s nor did any Syrian or Turkish warship approach or make any effort to intervene with the Israeli’s. The threat of rocket attacks and suicide bombers from Gaza remains but any significant deterrent threat from the other Islamic states is unlikely to go beyond rhetorical condemnations.

Comments on Afghanistan

Afghanistan is a land locked country that is in reality a country in name only. It has vast mineral wealth which has never been exploited because this pseudo-country is peopled with tribes and clans still living in the seventh century. These tribes and clans are thoroughly anchored in Islam and dominated by frictions, revenge, and issues of honor going back hundreds if not thousands of years. They have little interest in the outside world or its technology – unless that technology is military in nature. Yet America has been obsessed with Afghanistan for 30 years and directly and indirectly engaged in war there for all of that time. There is an American obsession with Afghanistan and the war there never seems to get better and never seems to end – it just expands and contracts.

The first phase of the Afghan War began with the Soviet invasion in December 1979. At the time it seemed to be in the strategic interest of America to thwart the Soviets and to keep them distracted from other activities more strategically valuable to the US. So the US with the support of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan organized resistance to the Soviets in the form of the Mujahedeen. These fighters were fighting the Soviets so little attention was given to the fact that they were motivated by Islam and fighting the Infidels – not so much the Soviets. All that America cared about was that they were fighting the Soviets and blocking them from creating a base for further expansion in the area. Plus these fighters were keeping the Soviets bogged down in a guerilla war, which the US gleefully aided and abetted. This first phase of the Afghan War lasted roughly ten years and ended in 1989 with the withdrawal of Soviet Troops.

The second phase of the Afghan War really was more like a civil war with the US and our allies observing as the local clans and tribes – armed and trained by the US went back to their favorite past time – fighting each other. Although the US did not actively take part in this war it did exert some influence through third parties – primarily Pakistan. More importantly the US was willing to accept that some group of the Mujahedeen—whom they had trained and armed – would govern Afghanistan. Eventually with Pakistani support a group called the Taliban took power in 1996 and established an Islamic State. But the Taliban were not just Islamic they were fundamentalist who were determined to rule according to the Koran. With the Taliban in power Afghanistan became a sanctuary for the extreme Jihadists in general and Al Qaeda in particular, which created tensions with the US since Al Qaeda had been attacking US facilities. With the arrival of Bin Laden in Afghanistan phase two of the Afghan War ended and the third phase began.

The third phase began with the attack by Al Qaeda on the World Trade Center which was in fact an act of war between Al Qaeda and the US. Although Al Qaeda is not a country it is Islamic in nature and in Islam there is no distinction made between Islam and a nation. Given that Bin Laden and Al Qaeda had established their headquarters in Afghanistan, the US launched military operations intended to destroy Al Qaeda and dislodge the Taliban from power. This operation began within 30 days of the attack by Al Qaeda and it can be argued that this was not enough time to effectively develop a long range strategy. Instead the US drew on allied support both internationally and within Afghanistan itself – such as the Northern Alliance. It also included other Afghan groups who remained close to the Iranians, Pakistani’s, plus others. This was a rather unsteady alliance whose main unifying factor – in typical Afghan fashion – was hatred of the Taliban or due to substantial bribes paid by the US.

Once the war started it escalated as the US deployed more ground forces and significant air power. But Al Qaeda is not a country and the Taliban had no more legitimate claim to Afghanistan that any other group, so both the Taliban and Al Qaeda simply melted away into the countryside. Historically the cities in Afghanistan do not control the countryside it is the tribes and clans in the countryside that allow the cities to exist.

Militarily what happened is the US was prepared to fight a war which the Taliban refused to fight on the US terms. Instead they dispersed, regrouped, and moved into the countryside which they could control and isolate the cities which has been the historical precedent. The result has been a war without any end in sight but the Taliban has been weakened and Al Qaeda has no longer been capable of launching any attack of significant size. The US then attempted to establish a government which has increasingly been exposed as almost a comic opera version of a government. It is corrupt and has very limited power over the country primarily because there really is no country of Afghanistan – just a group of tribes and clans heavily infiltrated by the Taliban.

These first three phases of the American obsession with Afghanistan first relied on the Mujahedeen to fight the Russians, the second phase relied on Pakistan to oversee the Afghan civil war as the tribes and clans fought for control. In the third phase the US relied on the Afghan forces to fight the Taliban but that proved to be a poor strategy which dragged the US into what has become the Afghan War. But this was a war with limited objectives other than maintaining the Afghan government and containing Al Qaeda.

The fourth phase of the Afghan War began when the new Obama administration shifted priorities away from Iraq and onto Afghanistan. The argument for this shift in strategy was that the Iraqi war was a mistake because there was never any strong connection to Al Qaeda in Iraq and that Afghanistan was the home base of Al Qaeda. With this shift in strategy the US became the main force in Afghanistan whose initial focus of defeating Al Qaeda and the Taliban has become increasingly fuzzy and of questionable value.

This is a land locked country of no real strategic value in and of itself. Al Qaeda has dispersed and fragmented into local groups affiliated with Al Qaeda but no longer under any central command. Al Qaeda is not a country it is an organization like any multi-national corporation and due to American actions in Afghanistan it has moved on to Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. The Taliban is the old Mujahedeen with a new name. Whether they rule Afghanistan or some other clan or tribe is of little consequence to America. While Islam continues to be at war with America this is really a war against Infidels being waged by Muslims but the Taliban have not been actively engaged outside of Afghanistan. The most they have done is to tolerate Al Qaeda and give them a safe harbor. But somehow America has let Al Qaeda move out of Afghanistan and left us fighting the Taliban without any purpose other than to support a shaky government in a country that has never actually been a country in any real sense of the word.

At this point it seems that the current administration is trying to turn over the fighting to the Afghan military with an objective of reaching a coalition government between the Karzai government, the Taliban, and the Northern Alliance and then to exit as gracefully as possible. Perhaps that is the best anyone can hope for or expect. President Obama has been criticized for establishing 2011 as the date of withdrawal for American Troops. This was probably intended to motivate the Karzai government to ramp up its military but it has also given the Taliban a reason to not negotiate any coalition government. The problem is the Afghan Army is composed of men from the various tribes and clans and as those tribes and clans go – so goes the Afghan Army. The Obama government seems faced with the same decisions that faced Richard Nixon as he brought the Viet Nam War to a close. Hopefully, the Obama Administration will be able to withdraw from Afghanistan with some dignity and end America’s obsession with it.