Sex in the Wrong City (Dubai)

According to a January 3rd, 2003 article in the Daily Telegraph, ” ‘Gang rape’ victim faces jail on adultery charges,”

Touria Tiouli, 39, from Limoges, in France, has had her passport confiscated and cannot leave Dubai after being charged under the emirate’s Sharia law. This declares any sexual relationship outside marriage to be illegal. Mme Tiouli was on a business trip last October when, she alleges, she was raped by three men who offered her a lift home from a nightclub. She reported the attack immediately to the Dubai police, who after investigating her claim arrested her rather than those she accused. One of the men admitted to having “consensual sex” with Mme Tiouli, which made her, in the eyes of Dubai’s judiciary, guilty of both adultery and making a false rape accusation. She could face up to 18 months in prison. None of the men has been charged….Sharia law is applied with varying severity in many Muslim countries. In Nigeria, adultery is punishable by stoning to death, while in Dubai a prison sentence is usual.

To the multiculturalist who says “Who are we to judge another culture, and their laws?” I suggest they get gang raped in Dubai.

The PBS Whitewash of Islam

IRVINE, CA–The recent well-publicized PBS special “Muhammad” was a total whitewash of Islam, according to Edwin A. Locke, senior writer at the Ayn Rand Institute.

“The documentary,” focusing on the life of Muhammad, noted Locke “presented him as a wise, self-effacing, illiterate mystic who preached nothing but tolerance, benevolence and peace toward non-Muslims. But the simple fact is the Koran, dictated by Muhammad to his followers, is filled with exhortations to violence against non-believers, such as, ‘I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore cut off their heads and cut off every fingertip of them.’ Here are others, ‘Fight and kill the Pagans wherever you find them;’ ‘Those who reject our signs, we shall soon cast into the fire;’ ‘But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads;’ ‘As to the deviators, they are fuel of hell.'”

“Following Muhammad’s death,” Locke noted, “his followers launched attacks on nonbelievers in many countries, slaughtering untold numbers. And throughout the centuries the Koran’s rhetoric has incited many of the prophet’s followers to violence against “infidels.” Although not all Muslims are violent, the terrorists among them are acting consistently with exhortations from the Koran. And like all mystical cults based on blind faith, the Muslim religion does not recognize reason as a means of gaining knowledge or of persuading others of one’s viewpoint. Thus, they believe, the men of reason must be subdued by force or destroyed entirely.

“Until the Muslim world is secularized, as was the Christian world, it is a danger to all who do not agree with its ideas.”

Zimbabwe: What the Times Calls “Reform”

The day after Christmas the New York Times ran a reprehensible whitewash of Zimbabwe’s “land reform,” treating it as if it sprang from an idealistic concern for justice, albeit with some unfortunate practical problems. Tuesday we learned of one such “reformer” who explicitly calls for eliminating half his country’s population:

Eight years after Rwanda, the world may be witnessing another genocide on the African continent…. The government has only permitted half a million tons of maize into Zimbabwe, all of it distributed through the state-operated Grain Marketing Board, one of whose managers told The Times of London, “We only sell to Shona-speakers.” Reports of desperate hunger have been trickling out of Matabeleland for months. And Didymus Mutasa, ZANU-PF’s administrative secretary and senior bureaucrat, recently admitted that whittling down Zimbabwe’s population from its current twelve million is his government’s explicit plan. “We would be better off,” he said, “with only six million people … who support the liberation struggle. … We don’t want all these extra people.” [New Republic Online, 12/30/02]

Where land in Zimbabwe had been stolen by whites, a legitimate legal process would identify the specific parcels of stolen land, identify the specific victims, and determine the specific value they deserved in compensation. What is happening in that country now–what the Times identifies as “land reform”–is just theft by thugs who have seized government power.

Yet, altruism is behind it; the Times is right about that. Altruism says that people’s lives are not their own but belong to the community; in Zimbabwe the community has claimed those lives. Altruism demands human sacrifices–and human sacrifice is its inexorable result.

Reducing Class Size Is Not the Answer

According to a December 31, 2002 editorial on Catholic Schools published in the New York Sun,

In 1962, New York educated a student population of about one million with about 40,000 teachers. Today, the city educates about 100,000 more students, but the number of teachers has doubled to about 80,000. Has the quality of education improved by a factor of two…?

The cost to educate the students in New York’s Catholic schools averages $3,200 a pupil for Kindergarten through eighth grade and $5,800 a pupil for high schoolers…. The public schools spend nearly double that, about $10,000 each in elementary and middle schools and more than $9,000 for each high-school student.

The Meaning Behind Rising Gold Prices

Everyone seems to believe the U.S. is (and has been) suffering from ‘deflation.’ At least that is what Alan Greenspan and his cohorts keep saying, and everyone seems to believe him. Not Richard M. Salsman, CFA. According to Mr. Salsman, “The gold price has risen by 25% this year — and that’s inflation. It’s bearish. Until and unless it stops, no U.S. bull market can take hold.” Quoting him in the December 31, 2002 edition of the The InterMarkerForecaster,

No market price is more important — as a summary measure of what global investors think of a country’s prospects (or its political leadership) and as a forecaster of financial asset returns — than the local-currency gold price. A rising gold price– which means a currency is worth less-and-less–implies a vote of ‘no (or lesser) confidence’ and is bearish for financial asset returns. In contrast, a declining gold price — which means a currency is worth more-and-more — implies a vote of confidence and is bullish for financial asset returns.

Continues, Mr. Salsman,

“The fast-rising dollar-gold price means that global investors are casting a vote of diminishing confidence in the Bush Administration. It’s not because the U.S. is acting in a war-like manner — but because it isn’t. Notice that U.S. markets had begun to improve in early October, when Congress (finally) approved a war powers resolution; that made war more likely, not less. But President Bush and Secretary Powell have continued to appease terror regimes and gangs — and appease more cravenly the more brazen the foreign dictators and terrorists become. U.S. appeasement has intensified the war-mongering of those savages who run North Korea.”

A Call for Objectivity in Reporting on the Middle East

Yaron Brook, Ph.D., President and Executive Director of The Ayn Rand Institute, wrote the following letter distributed to the press by his organization, in response to the comments made in an interview by Israel Government Press Office Director Danny Seaman:

Are Media Networks Aiding and Abetting Terrorism?

Danny Seaman, Israel’s Government Press Office Director, accused Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, BBC, ABC and CBS of working with directors and producers appointed by the Palestinian Authority who spin–and even fabricate–reports in favor of Palestinians and against Israel.

“Three senior producers” working for foreign networks, Seaman claimed, “were coordinated with [master terrorist] Marwan Barghouti. He used to call them and inform them about what was about to happen. They always received early warning about gunfire on Gilo. Then they shot for TV only the Israeli response fire on Beit Jala. Those producers advised Barghouti how to get the Palestinian message across better.”

This alleged conspiracy between journalists and terrorists to promote the Palestinian cause should be thoroughly investigated. If these charges are true, what we have here is not only an egregious example of non-objective journalism, but a far more condemnable behavior on the part of mainstream networks: an active role in aiding and abetting terrorism.

Seaman’s charges should come as no surprise if we recall what BBC’s correspondent in Gaza reportedly said at a Hamas rally: “Journalists and media organizations [are] waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people.”

It is bad enough to have the media biased against Israel–the innocent victim of terrorism–but it is even worse to have the media, on which we depend for the news, actively collaborating with terrorists.

If we find out that this is indeed the case, we must make sure that all those in the media who are involved with the terrorists be fired, at a minimum. This won’t solve the problem of media bias against Israel, but at least it will increase the possibility of an objective reporting on the Middle East situation.

South Korea: The Sanction of the Victim

According to an article in the December 31, 2002 edition of the Daily Telegraph,

South Korea sharply diverged from the Bush administration’s policy on North Korea yesterday, saying Washington’s policy of economic pressure and isolation would fail. President Kim Dae-jung, whose “sunshine policy” of engagement with Pyongyang has been derided by some White House officials, said direct engagement with the Stalinist state was the only way to relieve tension.

“We cannot go to war with North Korea and we can’t go back to the Cold War system and extreme confrontation,” he told his cabinet…. In a carefully phrased swipe at America, Mr Kim said: “Pressure and isolation have never been successful with Communist countries–Cuba is one example….”

White House officials have spoken of exerting such pressure on Pyongyang that Kim Jong-il’s regime would collapse, an intention that has alarmed China and South Korea, which fear a destabilisation of the region.

If any policy is demonstrably less successful than “pressure and isolation,” it is the “dialogue and engagement” that Kim Dae-jung proposes. But, as is now clear, bringing down North Korea is not his goal.

Nothing Justifies Child Combatants–Except Palestinian “Liberation”

Last week the U.S. ratified a U.N. protocol banning child combatants:

Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s report to the Security Council this month lists 23 parties–including governments and rebel groups–in Afghanistan, Burundi, Congo, Liberia and Somalia that recruit and use child soldiers. [Associated Press, 12/24/02]

Did Annan’s report include the Palestinians? Apparently not, as they are not listed in the article, or the Dec. 16 AP article on Annan’s report. With regard to this issue, Fiamma Nirenstein, a correspondent for La Stampa, reports on a November 16 article in Al Quds, the Hezbollah weekly:

After speaking to children in Jenin, the reporter explained that children had been trained from a very young age not only to throw stones, but also to use small explosive devices and grenades–a strategic decision recently supplemented by using children to prepare bombs. The children are divided into three groups: The first helps the grown-ups manufacture explosives, the second plants the devices, and the third–probably the best trained–is charged with carrying out ambushes where they bring along a bag full of explosives, not just stones. […] A 16-year-old told the reporter how he had thrown at least 50 grenades at soldiers. During the first night of Operation Defensive Shield, as the Israelis called it, hundreds of children walked through the streets chanting, “Fight to the death…!”

[…] And Mr. Arafat? Talking about children in August, he lauded Farid Houra, a 14-year-old shahid, saying, “The shahid constitutes the fundamental and victorious force of our people.” And in January, when he was asked what message he’d like to send Palestinian children, he said: “The child who throws a stone, who confronts a tank, doesn’t it send a better message to the world when that hero becomes a shahid?” [New York Sun, 12/23/02]

The Guiding Premise of the U.N.

Communist North Korea has removed U.N. monitoring seals and cameras at the country’s main nuclear complex, a clear signal that they fully intend to step up their efforts to build (and eventually use) nuclear weapons against people they don’t like.

The U.N. is outraged and is blasting the North Korean government — and well they should. However, it’s interesting that the U.N. becomes outraged when their power is threatened, while the same understanding is not granted to the United States for its perfectly legitimate efforts to protect itself from chemical attacks from Iraq or, for that matter, nuclear attacks from North Korea.

It seems like the guiding premise of the U.N. is: threaten our power, and you’re toast; threaten the United States, while being nice to us, and we’re definitely open to discussion.

Hypocrisy seems like too kind a word here. Why do we still belong to such an organization? Exactly how does it benefit our safety? It’s time to start asking these questions — and answering them.

Islamic Fashion Police–With a License to Kill

A Reuters report from Jammu, India indicates just what the Islamists want for women:

Suspected militants killed three young women in their homes just days after posters appeared in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state ordering women to wear a veil.

Two of the women, both aged 21, were shot dead in their house in Rajouri district in the south of the revolt-torn Muslim-majority state Thursday night. The third woman, 22, was taken away and beheaded, an official said….

The Lashkar Jabbar sprayed acid on two women in Kashir’s main city Srinagar last year for defying its Islamic dress code.

The group then had threatened to shoot Muslim women if they failed to wear veils. [Washington Post, 12/20/02]
“Suspected militants”? Res ipsa loquitur.

“Retailers Face Worst Holiday in Decades”: Sales Increase By Only 1.5%

The headline to Emily Kaiser’s Reuter’s wire story is “Retailers Face Worst Holiday in Decades,” and it reports that US stores are “reeling from a lackluster holiday season that is forecast to be the weakest in more than 30 years.” As usual, analysts are quoted, dire consequences are predicted.

The scary impression given is that sales this holiday season will run lower than in the pit of the 1974-1975 recession, when the economy was not only in deep trouble but far smaller than it is today. But in the third paragraph it is finally revealed that exactly what may be the weakest in more than 30 years is not sales, but growth in sales.

In a weekly report, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and UBS Warburg forecast holiday sales in November and December would be up an anemic 1.5 percent over last year, the smallest gain since the banks began tracking weekly sales in 1970.

We’re not talking even about negative growth — just smaller growth than some expected. The analysts quoted are forecasting 1.5% growth in holiday sales, which is defined as “the smallest gain since… 1970″ [emphasis added].

Embryos Are Not People

IRVINE, CA–“All who value human life should applaud legislation just passed by Australia’s Senate–legislation that removes some restrictions on scientific research using stem cells from human embryos,” said David Holcberg from the Ayn Rand Institute.

“Such legislation,” explained Holcberg, “will help free Australian researchers to discover new treatments for an immense variety of medical conditions, from diabetes to cancer to Parkinson’s disease.

“American legislators,” Holcberg continued, “should go even further than their Australian counterparts. They should rescind all laws that restrict or ban research involving stem cells and embryos. The government should be stripped of its power to regulate scientific research and man’s quest for knowledge. The government’s only proper function is to protect individual rights. But an embryo–which is, in the time-frame relevant here, a primitive cluster of cells–has no rights. Only independent, living human beings do.

“To sacrifice the lives of countless actual human beings, whose illnesses will go untreated, for the sake of the non-existent rights of a few cells, is an unspeakable crime.”