What nut would blog on Christmas day?
I am that nut. I have the usual social engagements on Christmas eve and Christmas day but since 2002 I have always found time to put something up on this blog on Christmas day. So if family matters become heavy going, log on as an alternative activity. I will probably post to most of my other blogs as well.
Australia is in a time zone that is nearly a whole day earlier than some parts of America so in a few hours I will be heading off to a Christmas eve party with family and old friends.
If I can get up early enough, my Christmas day plans call for a visit to St. John's cathedral for the sung eucharist at 9:30 am. They do a good show there, including an ecclesiastical procession, but I can't remember whether they do "bells and smells" as well. My son has said he wants to go in order to introduce the arcana of the Church of England to his Korean girlfriend, even though all three of us are unbelievers. I took him there a few times when he was a kid and he enjoyed it. Both of us particularly like the Christmas hymns. And a great stone neo-Gothic cathedral is a remarkable environment. Definitely the best show in town on Christmas day.
A new depravity from Vienna
Vienna was where Hitler formed his antisemitic views
Freedom of speech no longer exists in Austria, as definitively proven by the Vienna high court. This week, a judge upheld the conviction against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff on the following charge: "denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion." In simplest terms, this means that Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff speaks the truth about Islam, and in Austria, as in other nations across the Western world currently transitioning to sharia (Islamic law), speaking the truth about Islam is not tolerated, and, more and more, is against the law.
What did my friend Elisabeth say that the Vienna high court ruled verboten? Elisabeth was convicted in February 2011 of "denigration" of Islam because in the course of a seminar she was teaching on Islam she stated that "Muhammad had a thing for little girls."
This statement is demonstrably true. According to an authoritative Islamic text (hadith), Muhammad married his wife Aisha when she was six years old. According to the same hadith, Muhammad engaged in sexual intercourse with his "wife" when she was nine. This, at the very least, constitutes "a thing" for little girls. It also constitutes child rape under Western law and Judeo-Christian-derived morality. In all too many Islamic societies where Mohammed's example is emulated, such child rape in "wedlock" is not a crime; indeed, it is permissible under sharia.
In fact, the court didn't contest this. In both Elisabeth's initial trial and her recent appeal, the factual basis of her statement didn't come under judicial attack. Elisabeth is right, and the court knows it. What the Vienna court has twice defined now as being outside the law of Austria is the negative opinion her remark conveyed regarding Muhammad's record of deviance from Western traditions forbidding sexual intercourse with children. (Brava, Elisabeth.) It is wrong, according to the Austrian court, to look down on sex with children if the alleged perp, centuries ago, was the Islamic prophet.
As Henrik Rader Clausen put it, live-blogging the proceedings for the blog Gates of Vienna, Elisabeth, in the court's eyes, expressed "an excess of opinion that can not be tolerated. It is a ridiculing that cannot be justified." Cannot be tolerated, cannot be justified by whom, by what? The answer is by Islamic law. It is literally against Islamic law to criticize or expose Islam or its prophet (Muhammad) in any adverse way. This prohibition against freedom of conscience is now part of Austrian law as well. That the verdict upheld against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff actually imperils the most innocent and vulnerable among us -- little girls whose molestation the courts have implicitly excused as a religious rite -- only underscores the depravity of the Vienna high court.
Where, exactly, does this leave all of the rest of us in that community of nations whose calendars, despite the press of Islamization, still culminate in Christmas? I offer in response a clarifying quotation that pegs our existential whereabouts exactly. It comes from Afshin Ellian, a Dutch columnist, law professor, and professor of citizenship, social cohesion and multiculturalism at the Leiden University, who in 1983 fled Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Revolution in Iran.
In early 2010, Ellian, commenting on the trial of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders for allegedly anti-Islamic statements, had this to say:
"If you cannot say that Islam is a backward religion and that Muhammad is a criminal, then you are living in an Islamic country, my friend, because there you also cannot say such things. I may say Christ was a fag and Mary was a whore, but apparently I should stay off of Muhammad."
The U.S. government’s unconstitutional restrictions on our freedom to travel
Steve Bierfeldt, director of development for Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, thought he was having a good day. At a regional Campaign for Liberty event in Missouri, Bierfeldt had sold thousands of dollars worth of conference tickets, bumper stickers, T-shirts, and books, and was now in the security line at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, waiting to catch a flight back to Washington, D.C. But the federal government had other ideas.
After discovering a metal box with more than $4,700 in cash and checks inside Bierfeldt’s luggage, officials from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) detained him for further screening. The TSA, you will recall, is the agency within the Department of Homeland Security that (according to its website) is tasked with protecting “the Nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.” Bierfeldt had an altogether different experience.
TSA agents interrogated him for more than a half hour with a series of intrusive questions: “Where do you work?” “What are you planning to do with the money?” “Where did you acquire the money?” Although he had nothing to hide, Bierfeldt valued his privacy enough to refuse to answer the questions. The officers told him he wouldn’t be able to move on if he continued to clam up. But Bierfeldt stuck to his guns, and was eventually, if grudgingly, allowed to catch his flight.
Consider the potential consequences of the TSA’s open-ended license to hassle travelers. If Bierfeldt had stayed huddled inside his home rather than risk the whims of armed interrogators, he would no longer be able to pursue his lawful employment. He would be less free to express his political views by advocating Campaign for Liberty’s values. The government in this way can eviscerate constitutional rights simply by burdening the travel of those whose ideas it disfavors.
The right to travel enables the free exercise of the other rights we most cherish. We should not have to check our constitutional freedoms at the curb simply because we decide to leave the house. Sadly, freedom of movement has been one of the most disparaged rights throughout human history, and our country is no exception. If we are ever to be truly free, then we must possess an absolute, uninhibited right to travel throughout America and the world free from interference by government.
The Freedom to Travel in American Law
Of all the inalienable rights we possess as individuals, none is as basic, fundamental, and natural as the freedom of movement and travel. As human beings, we enter this world bestowed with two legs and feet and the muscles needed to power them. Furthermore, we are given a brain and the undying yearning to discover, to know the unknown, to see what lies hidden beyond the horizon. Thus, a fundamental right of movement is inherent in our very humanity. It is altogether fitting that one of the universal symbols of freedom is a broken chain.
The freedom to travel is also central to the American national psyche. Our European ancestors settled here because they had the right to move freely from their homelands. The very history and trajectory of the United States are testament to man’s inherent right to movement and travel, from Lewis and Clark to Armstrong and Aldrin.
State restrictions on the right to travel connote that the government is the individual’s master, and not his servant. The right to own property includes being able to decide which individuals may enter upon our property, and under what circumstances. If the government usurps this ultimate right from property owners, or grants itself a monopoly over certain modes of travel, then clearly the rights of individuals extend only so far as the government, and no one else, wills them. Thus, circumvention of the right to travel is particularly antithetical to the Natural Law, and to the principle that the temporal is always subject to the immutable. Freedom subject to the government’s whim is no freedom at all. Liberty, at its core, is encompassed in the right of exit. As constitutional scholar Randy Barnett has noted, if one wishes to discover which nations offer the best protection of natural rights, one only need observe the directional flow of its refugees.
American courts have, at least in theory, declared the freedom to travel to be near absolute. The right to travel is so basic to our nature that the Founding Fathers did not believe it needed to be documented in the text of the Constitution. In Saenz v. Roe (1999), the Supreme Court stated, “We need not identify the source of [the right to travel] in the text of the Constitution. The right of free ingress and egress [to enter and leave] to and from neighboring states which was expressly mentioned in the text of the Articles of Confederation, may simply have been conceived from the beginning to be a necessary concomitant of the stronger Union the Constitution created.” In other words, the right to travel is simply implicit in the concept of freedom, and indeed in the Constitution itself.
Should it be Gingrich?
If Newt Gingrich were being nominated for sainthood, many of us would vote very differently from the way we would vote if he were being nominated for a political office.
What the media call Gingrich's "baggage" concerns largely his personal life and the fact that he made a lot of money running a consulting firm after he left Congress. This kind of stuff makes lots of talking points that we will no doubt hear, again and again, over the next weeks and months.
But how much weight should we give to this stuff when we are talking about the future of a nation?
This is not just another election and Barack Obama is not just another president whose policies we may not like. With all of President Obama's broken promises, glib demagoguery and cynical political moves, one promise he has kept all too well. That was his boast on the eve of the 2008 election: "We are going to change the United States of America."
Many Americans are already saying that they can hardly recognize the country they grew up in. We have already started down the path that has led Western European nations to the brink of financial disaster.
Internationally, it is worse. A president who has pulled the rug out from under our allies, whether in Eastern Europe or the Middle East, tried to cozy up to our enemies, and has bowed low from the waist to foreign leaders certainly has not represented either the values or the interests of America. If he continues to do nothing that is likely to stop terrorist-sponsoring Iran from getting nuclear weapons, the consequences can be beyond our worst imagining.
Against this background, how much does Newt Gingrich's personal life matter, whether we accept his claim that he has now matured or his critics' claim that he has not? Nor should we sell the public short by saying that they are going to vote on the basis of tabloid stuff or media talking points, when the fate of this nation hangs in the balance.
Even back in the 19th century, when the scandal came out that Grover Cleveland had fathered a child out of wedlock -- and he publicly admitted it -- the voters nevertheless sent him to the White House, where he became one of the better presidents.
Do we wish we had another Ronald Reagan? We could certainly use one. But we have to play the hand we were dealt. And the Reagan card is not in the deck.
While the televised debates are what gave Newt Gingrich's candidacy a big boost, concrete accomplishments when in office are the real test. Gingrich engineered the first Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 40 years -- followed by the first balanced budget in 40 years. The media called it "the Clinton surplus" but all spending bills start in the House of Representatives, and Gingrich was Speaker of the House.
Speaker Gingrich also produced some long overdue welfare reforms, despite howls from liberals that the poor would be devastated. But nobody makes that claim any more.
Did Gingrich ruffle some feathers when he was Speaker of the House? Yes, enough for it to cost him that position. But he also showed that he could produce results.
In a world where we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available, the question is whether Newt Gingrich is better than Barack Obama -- and better than Mitt Romney.
Romney is a smooth talker, but what did he actually accomplish as governor of Massachusetts, compared to what Gingrich accomplished as Speaker of the House? When you don't accomplish much, you don't ruffle many feathers. But is that what we want?
Can you name one important positive thing that Romney accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? Can anyone? Does a candidate who represents the bland leading the bland increase the chances of victory in November 2012? A lot of candidates like that have lost, from Thomas E. Dewey to John McCain.
Those who want to concentrate on the baggage in Newt Gingrich's past, rather than on the nation's future, should remember what Winston Churchill said: "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." If that means a second term for Barack Obama, then it means lost big time.
French Muslim jailed for punching nurse who tried to remove wife's burqa during childbirth
A Muslim man who punched a nurse for trying to remove his wife's burqa during childbirth has been jailed in France.
Nassim Mimoune, 24, had already been expelled from the delivery room for branding the midwife a 'rapist' as she carried out an intimate examination of his wife.
Then through a window he spotted the nurse taking off his wife's burqa as she prepared to give birth. He smashed open the locked door and hit the woman in the face, demanding she replace the full Islamic face veil.
As his wife delivered a baby boy, Mimoune was ejected from the building by security men from the hospital in Marseille and arrested for assault.
A judge in the southern French port jailed Mimoune for six months on Wednesday, telling him: 'Your religious values are not superior to the laws of the republic.'
My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)
The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)