Wednesday, May 30, 2007

U.S. Should Shut Down Al Hurra TV

Ayn Rand Institute Press Release, May 30, 2007

Irvine, CA--The U.S.-financed TV channel Al Hurra, broadcasting in Arabic to the Middle East, has come under fire for failing to win popular support for America in the Arab world--a goal Washington calls "public diplomacy." Critics attack the channel for providing "friendly coverage" to Islamist groups, such as Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaeda.

According to Republican and Democratic critics, better oversight is needed to ensure that in the future the channel will not, as it did recently, broadcast a 30-minute speech by Hezbollah's leader or devote coverage to Iran's Holocaust-denial conference. But the very premise of this TV channel is preposterous and immoral, said Elan Journo, junior fellow at the Ayn Rand institute. "America's self-interest demands not that we fix Al Hurra; but that we scrap it--along with all 'public diplomacy' initiatives.

"The goal of this channel, and of the State Department's other 'public diplomacy,' is to appease the hostility of the Arab world and thereby supposedly discourage Muslims from 'radicalizing.' To that end, Washington funds Islamic radio and TV shows, cultural workshops, the restoration of mosques, the building of Islamic schools. But this is perverse. Our goal should be to defend American lives and uphold our own values, not to apologize and pander to hostile peoples.

"Contrary to the administration's evasions, the enemy is an ideological-political movement--Islamic totalitarianism--that is widely endorsed and supported in the Arab-Islamic world. The only rational means of eliminating the threat from Islamic totalitarianism is to defeat its state representatives--Iran and Saudi Arabia--by military force--and thus demoralize its many supporters.

"Doing that will demonstrate to hostile peoples in the Arab-Islamic world that the cause of jihad is lost--and that fighting for this cause can bring them only destruction. Only demoralized people will reject the ideals and leaders that inspired their belligerence and promised victory; only humiliating defeat will drive them to renounce the fight as hopeless.

"America's fawning 'public diplomacy' in the Middle East is self-destructive, because it can only strengthen the appeal of Islamic totalitarianism by lending plausibility to the charge that the United States is cowardly and morally bankrupt. It is high time Washington declared that America stands for--and will defend to the death--the ideals of individualism, reason and freedom. Our lives depend on bringing our enemies defeat, not an Arabic version of 'Sesame Street.'"

Copyright © 2007 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Study of Troops' Mental Health, Ethics Indicts Bush's Selfless War

Press Release by the Ayn Rand Institute on Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"IRVINE, CA--A recently disclosed Pentagon study on the impact of the Iraq war on U.S. combat troops suggests that many are stressed and hold views at odds with official ethics standards. Critics view this as evidence that more must be done to ensure troops comply with those standards. But in fact the study provides evidence for a searing indictment of Washington’s immoral battlefield policies--policies that entail the sacrifice of American troops for the sake of the enemy."

"The study reports, for example, that less than half of the soldiers and Marines surveyed would report a team member for unethical behavior. It also finds that “soldiers that have high levels of anger, experienced high levels of combat or screened positive for a mental health problem were nearly twice as likely to mistreat non-combatants” as those feeling less anger and screening negative for a mental health problem.

"Although many military personnel may support the Iraq war, and although war is inherently distressing, Washington’s immoral policies necessitate putting our troops in an impossible situation. The reported attitudes of combat troops in Iraq can be understood as the natural reaction of individuals thrust into that situation.

"U.S. troops were sent, not to defend America against whatever threat Hussein’s hostile regime posed to us, as a first step toward defeating our enemies in the region; but instead the troops were sent (as Bush explained) to “sacrifice for the liberty of strangers,” putting the lives of Iraqis above their own. Bush sent our troops to lift Iraq out of poverty, open new schools, fix up hospitals, feed the hungry, unclog sewers--a Peace Corps, not an army corps, mission.

"Consistent with that immoral goal, Washington enforced self-sacrificial rules of engagement that prevent our brave and capable forces from using all necessary force to win, or even to protect themselves: they are ordered not to bomb key targets such as power plants, and to avoid firing into mosques (where insurgents hide) lest we offend Muslim sensibilities.

"According to the report: "More than one-third of all Soldiers and Marines continue to report being in threatening situations where they were unable to respond due to the Rules of Engagement (ROE). In interviews, Soldiers reported that Iraqis would throw gasoline-filled bottles (i.e., Molotov cocktails) at their vehicles, yet they were prohibited from responding with force for nearly a month until the ROE were changed. Soldiers also reported they are still not allowed to respond with force when Iraqis drop large chunks of concrete blocks from second story buildings or overpasses on them when they drive by. Every group of Soldiers and Marines interviewed reported that they felt the existing ROE tied their hands, preventing them from doing what needed to be done to win the war."

"When being ethical on Washington’s terms means martyring oneself and one’s comrades, it is understandable that troops are disinclined to report "unethical" behavior. When they are in effect commanded to lay down their lives for hostile Iraqis, it is understandable that troops should feel anger and anxiety. Anger is a response to perceived injustice--and it is perversely unjust for the world’s most powerful military to send its personnel into combat, prevent them from doing their job--and expect them to die for the sake of the enemy. Our troops are put in the line of fire as sacrificial offerings--and it would be natural for an individual thrust into that position to rebel with indignation at such a fate.

"The study not only indicts the self-crippling rules of engagement that liberals and conservatives endorse; it brings to light the perversity of the moral code of self-sacrifice on which those rules of engagement are based. "

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Iran Goes Nuclear While Bush and Congress Play Politics

"John Bolton, who still has close links to the Bush administration, told The Daily Telegraph that the European Union had to "get more serious" about Iran and recognise that its diplomatic attempts to halt Iran's enrichment programme had failed.

Iran has "clearly mastered the enrichment technology now...they're not stopping, they're making progress and our time is limited", he said. Economic sanctions "with pain" had to be the next step, followed by attempting to overthrow the theocratic regime and, ultimately, military action to destroy nuclear sites.

Mr Bolton's stark warning appeared to be borne out yesterday by leaks about an inspection by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of Iran's main nuclear installation at Natanz on Sunday.

The experts found that Iran's scientists were operating 1,312 centrifuges, the machines used to enrich uranium. If Iran can install 3,000, it will need about one year to produce enough weapons grade uranium for one nuclear bomb.

Experts had judged that Iran would need perhaps two years to master the technical feat of enriching uranium using centrifuges - and then another two years to produce enough material to build a weapon.

But the IAEA found that Iran has already managed to enrich uranium to the four per cent purity needed for power stations. Weapons-grade uranium must reach a threshold of 84 per cent purity.

Mohammed ElBaradei, the IAEA's head, said the West's goal of halting the enrichment programme had been "overtaken by events". Iran had probably mastered this process and "the focus now should be to stop them from going to industrial scale production". (read)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Good Must Defeat Evil Occasionally to Keep it at Bay

I read a very insightful article by Frederick W. Kagan in The Weekly Standard (5/28/2007) called "Don't Abandon the Iraqis - The high stakes of the war".
In it Mr. Kagan makes the case for winning in Iraq.

"From time to time, nations face fundamental tests of character. Forced to choose between painful but wise options, and irresponsible ones that offer only temporary relief from pain, a people must decide what price they are willing to pay to safeguard themselves and their children and to do the right thing. America has faced such tests before. Guided by Abraham Lincoln, we met our greatest challenge during the Civil War and overcame it, despite agonizing doubts about the possibility of success even into 1864. The Greatest Generation recovered from the shock of Pearl Harbor and refused to stop fighting until both Germany and Japan had surrendered unconditionally. A similar moment is upon us in Iraq. What will we do?

"America has vital national interests in Iraq. The global al Qaeda movement has decided to defeat us there--not merely to establish a base from which to pursue further tyranny and terror, but also to erect a triumphant monument on the ruins of American power. Al Qaeda claims to have defeated the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and its recruiting rests in part on that boast. If America flees the field of battle against this foe in Iraq, al Qaeda will have gained an even more powerful recruiting slogan. That is why al Qaeda fighters from across the Muslim world are streaming into Iraq and fighting desperately to retain and expand their positions there. Al Qaeda does not think Iraq is a distraction from their war against us. Al Qaeda believes Iraq is the central front--and it is. To imagine that America can lose in Iraq but prevail in the war against jihadism is almost like imagining that we could have yielded Europe to the Nazis but won World War II.

"Al Qaeda is not our only enemy in Iraq, however. Iran has chosen to fight a proxy war against us there, determined to work our defeat for its own purposes. Iranian weapons and even advisers flow into Iraq and assist our enemies, both Sunni and Shia, to kill our soldiers and attempt to establish control over Iraq itself. This Iranian support is not the result of a misunderstanding that could be worked out if only we would talk to the mullahs. It is the continuation of nearly three decades of cold war between Iran and the United States that began in 1979 with an Iranian attack on the sovereign American soil of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The states of the Arabian Gulf are watching closely to see who will win. If Iran succeeds in driving America from Iraq, Iranian hegemony in the region is likely. If that success is combined with the development of an Iranian nuclear weapon, then Iranian hegemony is even more likely. Dominance of the Middle East by this Iranian regime would be very bad for America. And a nuclear arms race in which Arab states tried to balance against Iranian power would also be very bad for America." (Read) for the rest of the article.

"This article is reprinted with permission of The Weekly Standard, where it first appeared on 05/28/2007. For more information visit"

Friday, May 18, 2007

Number of Man-made Global Warming Skeptics is Growing

"Here is the real inconvenient truth. These are not quacks or politicians" - Richard Winkler from

"Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming—Now Skeptics," Marc Morano, The Inhofe EPW Press Blog, May 15

Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics. The names included below are just a sampling of the prominent scientists who have spoken out recently to oppose former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations, and the media driven "consensus" on man-made global warming.

The list below is just the tip of the iceberg. A more detailed and comprehensive sampling of scientists who have only recently spoken out against climate hysteria will be forthcoming in a soon to be released US Senate report. Please stay tuned to this website, as this new government report is set to redefine the current climate debate.

In the meantime, please review the list of scientists below and ask yourself why the media is missing one of the biggest stories in climate of 2007.

Geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre, a top geophysicist and French Socialist who has authored more than 100 scientific articles and written 11 books and received numerous scientific awards including the Goldschmidt Medal from the Geochemical Society of the United States, converted from climate alarmist to skeptic in 2006. Allegre, who was one of the first scientists to sound global warming fears 20 years ago, now says the cause of climate change is "unknown" and accused the "prophets of doom of global warming" of being motivated by money, noting that "the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!" "Glaciers' chronicles or historical archives point to the fact that climate is a capricious phenomena. This fact is confirmed by mathematical meteorological theories. So, let us be cautious," Allegre explained in a September 21, 2006 article in the French newspaper L'EXPRESS….

Geologist Bruno Wiskel of the University of Alberta recently reversed his view of man-made climate change and instead became a global warming skeptic. Wiskel was once such a big believer in man-made global warming that he set out to build a "Kyoto house" in honor of the UN sanctioned Kyoto Protocol which was signed in 1997. Wiskel wanted to prove that the Kyoto Protocol's goals were achievable by people making small changes in their lives. But after further examining the science behind Kyoto, Wiskel reversed his scientific views completely and became such a strong skeptic, that he recently wrote a book titled "The Emperor's New Climate: Debunking the Myth of Global Warming." A November 15, 2006 Edmonton Sun article explains Wiskel's conversion while building his "Kyoto house": "Instead, he said he realized global warming theory was full of holes and 'red flags,' and became convinced that humans are not responsible for rising temperatures."… Wiskel also said that global warming has gone "from a science to a religion" and noted that research money is being funneled into promoting climate alarmism instead of funding areas he considers more worthy….

Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv, one of Israel's top young award winning scientists, recanted his belief that manmade emissions were driving climate change. ""Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming. But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media. In fact, there is much more than meets the eye," Shaviv said in February 2, 2007 Canadian National Post article…. Shaviv also wrote on August 18, 2006, that a colleague of his believed that "CO2 should have a large effect on climate" so "he set out to reconstruct the phanerozoic temperature. He wanted to find the CO2 signature in the data, but since there was none, he slowly had to change his views." Shaviv believes there will be more scientists converting to man-made global warming skepticism as they discover the dearth of evidence. "I think this is common to many of the scientists who think like us (that is, that CO2 is a secondary climate driver). Each one of us was working in his or her own niche. While working there, each one of us realized that things just don't add up to support the AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) picture. So many had to change their views," he wrote….(read).

Saturday, May 12, 2007

"Reason Without Religion" by Richard Winkler

This article was first posted at on September 11, 2006

When the Koran or a Mullah asks followers to subjugate or kill those who do not uphold the ideas of Islam, the line from civilized dialogue to rule by force is crossed. Someone who is required to "accept" Islam at the point of a gun has not made a moral choice.

Those who initiate force are not in the same category as those who use reason to persuade. Reason requires voluntary agreement while a gun allows no argument. There is no discussion, negotiation, or compromise possible with someone holding a gun. Only surrender to that person's demands, die, or attempt to kill him first.

Force is the only way for men to deal with each other when they choose not to live by reason. When animals are forced by circumstances to compete against each other for territory or some other value, their only resort is to attack or run away. Reason is not an option for them; that is why we do not call an animal a "murderer" when it kills.

Recent remarks by pope Benedict quoted in two separate articles in the Wall Street Journal: "Benedict the Brave" and "Pope Provocateur", frames this issue clearly, even as he commits to the same mistaken ideas that weaken the West in the battle of ideas against Islam.

“…Without the right balance between [reason and religion], the pontiff said, mankind is condemned to the "pathologies and life-threatening diseases associated with religion and reason" -- in short, political and religious fanaticism."

"In Christianity, God is inseparable from reason. In the beginning was the Word," the pope quotes from the Gospel according to John. "God acts with logos. Logos means both reason and word," he explained. "The inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of history of religions, but also from that of world history. . . . This convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe."

"The question raised by the pope is whether this convergence has taken place in Islam as well. He quotes the Lebanese Catholic theologist Theodore Khoury, who said that "for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent; his will is not bound up with any of our categories." If this is true, can there be dialogue at all between Islam and the West? For the pope, the precondition for any meaningful interfaith discussions is a religion tempered by reason: "It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures," he concluded."

"This is not an invitation to the usual feel-good interfaith round-tables. It is a request for dialogue with one condition -- that everyone at the table reject the irrationality of religiously motivated violence. The pope isn't condemning Islam; he is inviting it to join rather than reject the modern world."

The Pope acknowledges the impact of reason in the development of a civilized Western culture. Due in to the reformations in Western thought initiated by Thomas Aquinas’ writings on reconciling Christianity with reason, the bloody religious wars of the Middle Ages gave way to the Western renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries. The elevation of reason gave to those parts of the world that accepted it a modern and largely secular industrial society. Religion, no longer supreme, unleashed the magnificent forces of creativity and made possible the discoveries of men like Galileo, Einstein, and Christopher Columbus. Discoveries which when translated into material products by businessmen like Rockefeller and Bill Gates, made men aware that reason could offer them happiness here and now on earth, at least in the material realm, by giving them the power to control nature for their own benefit.

Contrary to what the Pope says though, there is no possibility of reconciling reason with faith. Perhaps this can be made clearer to the reader by restating what the pope is actually saying so that the terms are defined:

Belief in the unknowable and un-provable (faith), can lead to violence unless men also use their knowledge of reality based on sense perception (reason).

This is the untenable compromise the West has attempted to live by for the last 700 years.

The issue here concerns the realm of moral values. The stand that needs to be taken is to fully embrace reason and discover the moral principles reason demands in order for man to live on earth. Unfortunately, almost all of the secular theories of values have been as irrational as the religious ones. The West has been reduced to choosing between Christian universal absolutes such as “love thy neighbor” and the relativism of ideas like multiculturalism from the more secular intellectuals. One is just as arbitrary as the other; neither is grounded in reason and reality.

Attempting to reach a compromise between the contradictory principles of reason and faith, and unable to formulate a rational alternative to mysticism, the West is hesitant before the uncompromising but blind certainty of the Islamists. Blind certainty can only “convince” through unthinking belief or force.

What Islam and the West both desperately need to discover is a set of moral principles grounded in the bedrock of reality. That bedrock will grant real certainty to men’s actions. Not the false certainty offered by the religious view of man is a disembodied spirit, nor the equally false uncertainty offered by current secular views of man as an unconscious automaton. Bedrock certainty can only result from viewing man as he really is, as a biological entity possessing a unique type of consciousness – i.e. as man the rational animal.

Admittedly, if one had to choose between Islamism and a culture where reason had at least as much respect as it does in the West, i.e. the kind of culture advocated by the Pope, I would choose the later. But, then at best, one would get the United States, whereas if reason alone reigned supreme, the West as it currently is would be a shadow of the culture that would exist.

If you would like to discover such a bedrock, read any of the books by Ayn Rand. Islam has grasped the banner of irrationality; let those who love life here on this earth grasp the banner of reason.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Making the Case for Lowering Taxes Everyday

"You wouldn't think that you'd have to make the lower tax case again but you have to make it every day in Washington" Fred Thompson, possible Republican presidential candidate.

With states like Indiana and Ohio cutting taxes and experiencing growth you'd think that states like Michigan and Pennsylvania which are teetering on bankruptcy would follow their example. But not the Governor of Michigan Mrs. Granholm. She wants to raise taxes in order to meet expenditures. The legislature has suggested that she work on cutting expenditures. Gee what a good idea. As Fred Thompson said in a recent speech - you have to make the case every day in Washington.

There should be more citizens enraged and making the case to our politicians here in Michigan - CUT SPENDING - and STOP OVERTAXING US.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Mental Cage of Islamic Women #2

A New York Time article shows how females are treated in the Muslim world "...When one woman, Nazanin, 28, was stopped last month in Vanak Square, she thought she had dressed more modestly than usual, she said. But she was told that her coat was tight and showed the shape of her body.

“I just joked with them and tried to stay calm, but they told me to sit so that they could see how far my pants would pull up in a sitting position,” said Nazanin, a reporter. She was told by the police officers that they wanted to help her look modest so men would not look at her and cause her inconvenience, she said.

"She received a warning about her large sunglasses, her coat, her eyeliner and her socks, which the police officers said should be longer. She was allowed to go after she signed a letter, which included her name and address, saying she would not appear in public like that again. The police have said the letters will be used against violators in court if they defy the rules a second time.

"Another woman, Niloofar, 28, who responded angrily to the police when she was told to fix her head scarf because too much of her hair was showing, said she was kept in a bus for five hours.

"Somayeh, 31, who was crying after she was stopped at the Mirdamad subway station, said, “They want to intimidate us.” She was asked to call home and get her national ID number, the equivalent of a Social Security number, for the letter she had to sign, promising not to wear makeup in public again.

"The women who were interviewed refused to give their full names because they feared they could be identified by the police."

Where are all the supposed feminists in the US? Where are your protests against this humiliating and debasing treatment of your Muslim sisters?