Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The world's tallest tree -- 379.1 feet tall!

By Aussiegirl

The tree in the photo, the middle tree, is not Hyperion, the new record-holder, but the ex-world's-tallest-tree, Stratosphere Giant, a mere 370.5 feet tall. Notice the tiny figure of a man in a sling half-way up the right-hand side of Stratosphere Giant. That gives you some idea of how tall it is. But I thought finding the picture of a 370.5 foot building would be more dramatic, so using a conversion unit for building stories of 13.14 feet = one story (thus 370.5 feet = a 28-story building), I typed "28 story building" into Google Images, and voila! out came the building photo above. Imagine, a living tree as tall as that building!

California: A New Tallest Tree - New York Times

Published: September 30, 2006

A redwood tree discovered in a remote California forest has turned out to be the world’s tallest tree, edging out one nearby that had been the titleholder. Prof. Steve Sillett of Humboldt State University said the record-setting tree, named Hyperion, was 379.1 feet tall, bettering the previous record holder, the 370.5-foot-tall Stratosphere Giant. Researchers exploring remote and rugged terrain this summer in the Redwood National and State Parks along California’s northernmost coast also discovered two other redwoods taller than the Stratosphere Giant, suggesting there had been many more massive ancient redwoods in the area, Professor Sillett said.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Quantum Kicks Quiet Quivering

By Aussiegirl

This article describes the same experiment as the one posted right below, and by reading both, the physics involved seems a bit clearer, although still mind-boggling.
The illustration is of the device used in this experiment, and is described thus:
The gray sliv­er reach­ing from top to bot­tom, slanted in the im­age, is a na­no­me­chan­i­cal re­s­o­na­tor, a sub-mi­c­ro­s­co­pic de­vice that can vi­brate like a pia­no string. The im­age was tak­en with a scan­ning el­ec­tron mi­cro­scope and col­or­ized. Electrons flowing through the adjacent patch of superconductor draw energy from a tiny vibrating beam, reducing its motion.

Quantum Kicks Quiet Quivering -- Cho 2006 (914): 2 -- ScienceNOW

Quantum Kicks Quiet Quivering
By Adrian Cho
ScienceNOW Daily News
14 September 2006

According to quantum mechanics, it's impossible to measure the condition of a tiny object without disturbing it. This kick effectively limits what can be known about the thing and ordinarily keeps it from settling down. Now physicists have turned this unavoidable disturbance to their own advantage and used it, paradoxically, to calm a tiny vibrating beam.
Even the simplest quantum machines could lead to new information technologies and other advances. Researchers are experimenting with tiny beams, or "nanomechanical resonators," that vibrate like nanometer-sized guitar strings. If cooled to near absolute zero, these beams should behave quantum mechanically. Once that happens, researchers hope to then put a beam into a bizarre quantum state in which it literally bows in both directions at once. Such a beam could serve as a quantum bit of information that can encode 0 and 1 at the same time. No one has been able to cool a beam to the required few thousandths of a kelvin, however.

Now, Akshay Naik of the University of Maryland, College Park, Keith Schwab of Cornell University, and colleagues have found a new way to cool a resonator. The researchers first had to track the position of their beam with a superconducting single-electron transistor (SSET), which consists of a tiny patch of superconducting metal lying parallel to the beam. Electrons hopped onto the patch from one end and hopped off at the other. The team applied a voltage between the beam and the patch, which caused any movement of the beam to change the rate at which the electrons flowed through the SSET, allowing the researchers to track the beam's motion.

Ordinarily, the hopping electrons would also jostle the beam by changing the electric charge of the patch and hence the force between patch and beam. But Schwab and colleagues found they could tune another voltage applied to the patch so that the electrons didn't have quite enough energy to jump onto it. In that case, the electrons siphoned a little energy from the beam's motion to help themselves along, a bit like borrowing a nickel to help pay for a $1 subway ride. The energy transfer slowed the beam and cooled it from about 550 millikelvin to 300 millikelvin, the researchers report this week in Nature.

"This is a significant achievement," says Konrad Lehnert, a physicist at JILA, a laboratory run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado, Boulder. "Single-electron transistor experiments, they're hard." Robert Knobel, a physicist at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada, says physicists "might be able to use this as a tool to cool the resonator to where we might see quantum mechanics in a macroscopic device."

Physicists seek to put one thing in two places

By Aussiegirl

To quote the English astronomer, Sir Arthur Eddington: Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine . And what could be stranger than something being in two places at once? If they can ever manage to accomplish this with macroscopic objects, I foresee problems: it's bad enough when my TV remote is in only one place and I can't find it -- but if it were in two different places at once...oy!

Physicists seek to put one thing in two places

Physicists seek to put one thing in two places
Sept. 25, 2006
Special to World Science

Physi­cists say they have made an ob­ject move just by watch­ing it. This is in­spir­ing them to a still bold­er proj­ect: put­ting a small, or­di­nary thing in­to two places at once.

It may be a “fan­ta­sy,” ad­mits Keith Schwab of Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty in Ith­a­ca, N.Y., one of the re­search­ers. Then again, the first ef­fect seemed that way not long ago, and the sec­ond is re­lat­ed.

The re­search comes from the edge of quan­tum me­chan­ics, the sub­mi­cro­sco­pic realm of fun­da­men­tal par­t­i­cles. There, things be­have with to­tal dis­re­gard for our com­mon sense.

They can show signs of be­ing in two places at once; of be­ing both waves and par­ti­cles; of tak­ing on some cha­r­ac­ter­is­t­ics on­ly at the mo­ment these are meas­ured; and of act­ing syn­chro­nous­ly while far apart, with no ap­par­ent way to com­mu­ni­cate.

Al­though these ti­ny build­ing blocks of our uni­verse do this, the re­l­a­tively huge things we see eve­ry day don’t. The un­can­ny be­hav­ior fades the big­ger a thing be­comes.

This is be­cause when quan­tum en­t­i­ties are com­bined to make or­di­na­ry ob­jects, the rules go­vern­ing each com­po­nen­t’s be­ha­v­ior add up to pro­duce new rules. These in­c­rea­s­ing­ly re­sem­ble the laws of our fa­mi­l­iar re­a­li­ty as more ad­di­tions take place.

But just how big can some­thing be and still show signs of slip­ping back in­to its quan­tum-me­chan­i­cal na­ture?

Schwab and his col­leagues de­cid­ed to find out. In work de­s­cribed in the Sept. 14 is­sue of the re­search jour­nal Na­ture, they built a de­vice co­los­sal by quan­tum stan­dards: about nine thou­sandths of a mil­li­me­ter long, con­tain­ing some 10 tril­lion atoms.

The ob­ject was a sliv­er of alu­mi­num and a type of ce­ram­ic, fixed at both ends but free to vi­brate like a gui­tar string in be­tween. To meas­ure its move­ments, the sci­en­tists set near­by a ti­ny de­tec­tor called a su­per­con­duct­ing sin­gle elec­tron tran­sis­tor.

They found that ran­dom mo­tions of charge-carrying par­ti­cles, elec­trons, in the de­tec­tor em­a­nat­ed forc­es that af­fect­ed the me­tal­lic sliv­er. When the de­tec­tor was tuned for max­i­mum sen­si­tiv­i­ty, these forc­es slowed down the sliv­er’s shak­ing, cool­ing it as a re­sult. This ef­fect, Schwab said, is a ba­si­cal­ly quan­tum-me­chan­i­cal phe­nom­e­non called back-action, in which the act of ob­serv­ing some­thing ac­tu­al­ly gives it a nudge.

Back-action in quan­tum me­chan­ics al­so makes it im­pos­si­ble to know a par­ti­cle’s ex­act lo­ca­tion and speed si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly. This lim­i­ta­tion is called the un­cer­tain­ty prin­ci­ple. A com­mon ex­am­ple: meas­ur­ing place and speed re­quires some de­tec­tor that can “see” the par­ti­cle. But this in­volves bounc­ing a light wave off it, which gives it a ran­dom push.

“We made meas­urements of po­si­tion that are so in­tense—so strongly cou­pled—that by look­ing at it we can make it move,” said Schwab. Nor­mal­ly, such mo­tion would­n’t cool an ob­ject. But the mo­tion can be such as to op­pose on­go­ing move­ments and slow them down. This re­duces an ob­ject’s heat, which is just the jig­gling of par­ti­cles in it.

If back-action ap­plies such a large item, Schwab rea­sons, may­be that can al­so be true of oth­er quan­tum-me­chan­i­cal rules. Particularly in­tri­guing, he said, is the superpo­si­tion prin­ci­ple, which holds that a par­ti­cle can be in two places at once.

A classic ex­am­ple is the shoot­ing of light par­ti­cles, called pho­tons, through two slits in a bar­rier. Past the slits, they will be­have as if they were waves. This alone is no sur­prise: it’s a well-known quan­tum me­chan­i­cal phe­nom­e­non that par­ti­cles can par­a­dox­i­cal­ly act like waves in some sit­u­a­tions. The pho­tons’ wav­i­ness then makes them “in­ter­fere” with each oth­er. In oth­er words, they make pat­terns like those seen when you toss two peb­bles in a pond, and the rip­ples they make overlap.

When the waves passing the two slits mu­tu­al­ly in­ter­fere, the pat­tern be­comes vi­si­ble if you set up anoth­er wall where the pho­tons can land. There, al­ter­nat­ing bright and dark stripes ap­pear.

But bi­zarre­ly, this works even if you fire just one pho­ton at a time through the slits. You can see the ef­fect then by put­ting pho­to­graph­ic film on the land­ing wall, so each pho­ton leaves a last­ing mark. Keep fir­ing pho­tons, and the marks grad­u­al­ly add up to make the stripes again.

It’s as if each pho­ton is in­ter­fer­ing with it­self—that is, go­ing through both slits si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly. This al­so works for big­ger par­ti­cles, up to a point. But what point? Schwab wants to know. “We’re try­ing to make a me­chan­i­cal de­vice be in two places at one time. What’s real­ly neat is it looks like we should be able to do it,” he said. “The hope, the dream, the fan­ta­sy is that we get that superpo­si­tion and start mak­ing big­ger de­vices and find the break­down.”

In a com­men­tary in the same is­sue of Na­ture, Mi­chael Roukes of the Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy in Pas­a­de­na, Calif., wrote that Schwab’s work with the cool­ing is part of an emerg­ing field, quan­tum electrome­chan­ics. This, he added, fo­cus­es on sub­mi­cro­scop­ic de­vices called nanome­chan­i­cal sys­tems, “poised mid­way be­tween two seem­ingly an­ti­thet­i­c do­mains” of size: fun­da­men­tal par­ti­cles at one end, the ob­jects of eve­ryday life at the oth­er.

'Voices of Heaven' silenced by political correctness

By Aussiegirl

Here's another disheartening story from WorldNetDaily via the blog And you thought YOU were cranky?
(hat tip: Pianogirl)

WorldNetDaily: 'Voices of Heaven' ordered not to sing sacred music

'Voices of Heaven' ordered not to sing sacred music
Ruling from Michigan school administrator leaves visiting artists upset

Posted: September 26, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com

The all-star choir visiting from Europe was called "Voices of Heaven" but members were told by a Michigan school district not to sing sacred songs while on campus, leaving the artists bewildered and district parents enraged that the German singers would return home with such an impression of the United States.

The order came recently from Supt. Charles Breiner of the Howell School District in Michigan just as the Eberbach, Germany, choir arrived for its scheduled concert at Howell High School.

In a report in the Livingston County Press, parents said Breiner's administration had ordered the choir to leave out music deemed too religious. [....]

Feeling blue? Maybe it's the moonlight!

By Aussiegirl

Moonlight becomes you -- or does it? Maybe the lyricist enjoyed seeing his beloved bathed in a blue haze? Her lipstick probably looked blue too. Read on about the mysterious properties of moonlight.

NASA - Strange Moonlight

Strange Moonlight

Sept. 28, 2006: Not so long ago, before electric lights, farmers relied on moonlight to harvest autumn crops. With everything ripening at once, there was too much work to to do to stop at sundown. A bright full moon—a "Harvest Moon"—allowed work to continue into the night.

The moonlight was welcome, but as any farmer could tell you, it was strange stuff. How so? See for yourself. The Harvest Moon of 2006 rises on October 6th, and if you pay attention, you may notice a few puzzling things:

1. Moonlight steals color from whatever it touches. Regard a rose. In full moonlight, the flower is brightly lit and even casts a shadow, but the red is gone, replaced by shades of gray. In fact, the whole landscape is that way. It's a bit like seeing the world through an old black and white TV set.

"Moon gardens" turn this 1950s-quality of moonlight to advantage. White or silver flowers that bloom at night are both fragrant and vivid beneath a full moon. Favorites include Four-O'clocks, Moonflower Vines, Angel's Trumpets—but seldom red roses.

2. If you stare at the gray landscape long enough, it turns blue. The best place to see this effect, called the "blueshift" or "Purkinje shift" after the 19th century scientist Johannes Purkinje who first described it, is in the countryside far from artificial lights. As your eyes become maximally dark adapted, the blue appears. Film producers often put a blue filter over the lens when filming night scenes to create a more natural feel, and artists add blue to paintings of nightscapes for the same reason. Yet if you look up at the full moon, it is certainly not blue. (Note: Fine ash from volcanoes or forest fires can turn moons blue, but that's another story.)

3. Moonlight won't let you read. Open a book beneath the full moon. At first glance, the page seems bright enough. Yet when you try to make out the words, you can't. Moreover, if you stare too long at a word it might fade away. Moonlight not only blurs your vision but also makes a little blind spot. (Another note: As with all things human, there are exceptions. Some people have extra-sensitive cones or an extra helping of rods that do allow them to read in the brightest moonlight.)

This is all very strange. Moonlight, remember, is no more exotic than sunlight reflected from the dusty surface of the moon. The only difference is intensity: Moonlight is about 400,000 times fainter than direct sunlight.

So what do we make of it all? The answer lies in the eye of the beholder. The human retina is responsible.

The retina is like an organic digital camera with two kinds of pixels: rods and cones. Cones allow us to see colors (red roses) and fine details (words in a book), but they only work in bright light. After sunset, the rods take over.

Rods are marvelously sensitive (1000 times more so than cones) and are responsible for our night vision. According to some reports, rods can detect as little as a single photon of light! There's only one drawback: rods are colorblind. Roses at night thus appear gray.

If rods are so sensitive, why can't we use them to read by moonlight? The problem is, rods are almost completely absent from a central patch of retina called the fovea, which the brain uses for reading. The fovea is densely packed with cones, so we can read during the day. At night, however, the fovea becomes a blind spot. The remaining peripheral vision isn't sharp enough to make out individual letters and words.

Finally, we come to the blueshift. Consider this passage from a 2004 issue of the Journal of Vision:

"It should be noted that the perception of blue color or any color for that matter in a purely moonlit environment is surprising, considering that the light intensity is below the detection threshold for cone cells. Therefore if the cones are not being stimulated how do we perceive the blueness?" --"Modeling Blueshift in Moonlit Scenes using Rod-Cone Interaction" by Saad M. Khan and Sumanta N. Pattanaik, University of Central Florida.

The authors of the study went on to propose a bio-electrical explanation--that signals from rods can spill into adjacent blue-sensitive cones under conditions of full-moon illumination (see the diagram, right). This would create an illusion of blue. "Unfortunately," they point out, "direct physiological evidence to support or negate the hypothesis is not yet available."

So there are still some mysteries in the moonlight. Look for them on Oct. 6th under the Harvest Moon.

Caveat Lunar: This story makes some generalizations about what people can see at night but, as with all things human, there are exceptions: Some people can read by moonlight; others have no trouble seeing the red petals of a moonlit rose. These people have "moonvision," boosted by an extra-helping of rods or unusually sensitive cones. Are you one of them

Did Paleologus Convert the Muslim?

By Aussiegirl

Andrew Bostom brings some fascinating background to light concerning the now famed dialogue between an ancient Byzantine ruler and his Muslim interlocutor. I have said before that I thought there were many reasons behind the Pope's choice of this particular dialogue, and this is surely one of them -- the fact that after a protracted discussion, the learned Muslim was moved to consider becoming a Christian. In addition, there's the following information to consider. Paleaologus was besieged by hostile Islam at the time, and in a historic move, traveled to Europe in order to secure aid against the invading marauder. Sadly, then, as now, Europe failed to heed the timely call and refused to come to his aid. The Pope is seeking to make an example of this ancient meeting in more ways than one. Just as his dialogue was as much a criticism of the West as the East, he addresses the fact here that Europe is once again failing to heed the call to action Here is a quote from a website selling coins that gives a very succinct description of Paleaologus's failed mission:

"Manuel II Paleologus -- 1391-1423
A born leader, Manuel II was the son of the late John V under whose reign the final collapse of the empire had begun. With a rare gift of diplomacy, scholarship and imperial charm, he was able to lift the spirits of Constantinople's inhabitants who, for long periods of time would now find themselves under siege and starving. The key part of his foreign policy lay in understanding that the nature of the Turks was such that regardless of whether they were currently in peace or war they would eventually swallow Constantinople. So it was best to defy them while they could than to serve them as humiliating subjects. He would be the first Byzantine emperor who went on a prolonged tour of Europe seeking help against them. Even though he returned with some money and promises he was unable to get what he really sought: a large-scale military commitment on the part of all Christian nations to drive the infidels back to Asia."

Before Death Conversion?Before Death Conversion?
By Andrew G. Bostom

The official “day of rage” demonstrations over Pope Benedict the XVI’s Regensburg address are behind us, and a deluge of Muslim-Christian dialogue engagements (starting here; etc.; etc., etc.) loom ahead.

Following the unhinged violence and hateful displays that have transpired across the Muslim world since the Pope’s 9/12/06 lecture, no one desires to further incite any hair-trigger moderate Muslim leaders, or individuals, whose seething passions may just now, thankfully, have ebbed. But for closure, or at least full disclosure, there remains one elephantine aspect of the offending late 14th century exchange between the Byzantine ruler Manuel II Paleologus and his learned Muslim interlocutor that has not entered the public discourse. And the implications of this omitted, oddly “taboo” discussion, are profound, transcending any concerns about its potential “inflammatory” nature.

At the end of the 26-round marathon dialogue alluded to by Pope Benedict, the Muslim “muderris” (theologian), overwhelmed by continuous glimpses of Christian truth, hovers at the threshold of abandoning Islam, and embracing Christianity. The muderris openly marvels at the magnificence of Christ and the Christian teachings, while proclaiming his readiness to journey to Constantinople (the last significant stronghold of the once mighty Byzantine Christian empire), and study with the theologians there. The drama of the dialogue thus concludes with the muderris’ effective inner conversion to Christianity, and his promise to Manuel II to pursue this profound change of heart.

This Monday (9/25/06) in the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict met with Muslim ambassadors representing a broad spectrum of Islamic nations, hoping to assuage some of the anger over his Regensburg remarks. The inflamed jihadist passions throughout the contemporary Islamic world in the aftermath of the Regensburg comments—threats on the life of the Pope (“Pakistanis protest, cleric says Pope should be crucified”) , or predictions that the “Green flag of Allah will fly over the Vatican ”—recall the Vatican’s own early tribulations under physical, as opposed to mere verbal attacks from the true believers in jihad.

In 846 a fleet of Arab jihadists arrived at the mouth of the Tiber, made their way to Rome, sacked the city, and carried away from the basilica of St. Peter all of the gold and silver it contained. This was a typical Muslim jihad naval razzia. Earlier, by 827, the Arabs had conquered Sicily, which they kept under their suzerainty for two and a half centuries. Thus was Rome itself under serious threat from a nearby Muslim colony. During the same ninth century when Rome was assaulted and Sicily was conquered, the Muslim armies occupied Bari and Brindisi in Italy, for thirty years; Taranto for forty; Benevento for ten; they attacked Naples, Capua, Calabria, and Sardinia several times; they put the abbey of Montecassino to fire and the sword; they even made razzias into northern Italy, arriving from Spain and crossing over the Alps.

In 847, the year after the aforementioned naval assault on Rome, the newly elected pope Leo IV began the construction of walls around the entire perimeter of the Vatican, 12 meters high and equipped with 44 towers. He completed the project in six years. These are the “Leonine” walls, and significant traces of them still remain. However, precious few today understand that these walls were erected to defend the see of Peter from an Islamic jihad. And many of those who do know this remain silent out of misplaced discretion. As Vatican reporter Sandro Magister has observed, “Bridges, not walls” is the fashionable slogan today.

But is Pope Benedict XVI willing to pursue the “Bridges” rhetoric to the same logical conclusion drawn by todays Islamic religious and political leaders, and in turn, consistent with the indomitable spirit of Manuel II Paleologus, who gamely presided over a Byzantine Empire in its death throes, even seeking to win spiritual “converts” among his Muslim adversaries to the bitter end? Will proselytization, with the ultimate goal of gaining new converts, remain unidirectional—boundless petro-dollar funded opportunities for Muslim da’wa, linked to frank colonization in the West, including Rome itself (i.e., no longer merely “nearby” colonization as in 9th century Muslim ruled Sicily), while Catholic (and other Christian) missionary work in Islamic nations remains prohibited, often via state sanctioned violence, and draconian punishments for any such “unregulated” efforts ?

Manuel II’s was a voice from the doomed—a near terminal plea for faith in a reasonable God by the leader of a thousand year old civilization on the brink of destruction. Last weekend an Italian nun—assassinated by jihadists in Mogadishu enraged by Benedict XVI’s address—spoke ‘forgive!’ as she gasped her final breaths. Will this Pope muster the courage of their convictions, charting a new direction for his flock, and by example, Western civilization, that averts a similar fate?

Third Night of Ramadan Rioting in Capital of Europe

By Aussiegirl

Did you miss this story with all the breaking coverage of the attempted suicide (or was it?) of some bloated, overpaid football star? I thought so. That's why Ultima Thule is here, my friends, to bring you those little tidbits of news that the major media choose to overlook in their obscene pursuit of missing blondes, spoiled sports stars and the tragedy of the week sagas we are subjected to on a daily basis. So the American people are led to the slaughter, lulled into soporific stupor by a lazy and irresponsible press, too stupid themselves, evidently, to see the danger they are in.

Third Night of Ramadan Rioting in Capital of Europe | The Brussels Journal

It looks as if immigrants youths want to turn nightly rioting during the Islamic holy month of ramadan into an annual tradition. Around 8:30pm last night violence erupted again in Brussels, the capital of Europe. The riots centered on the Brussels Marollen quarter and the area near the Midi Train Station, where the international trains from London and Paris arrive. Youths threw stones at passing people and cars, windows of parked cars were smashed, bus shelters were demolished, cars were set ablaze, a youth club was arsoned and a shop was looted. Two molotov cocktails were thrown into St.Peter’s hospital, one of the main hospitals of central Brussels. The fire brigade was able to extinguish the fires at the hospital, but youths managed to steal the keys of the fire engine.

During the month of ramadan Muslims are required to fast during the day and are only allowed to eat after sunset. As Esther pointed out “What should be noticed about the riots is that they start after sunset. Besides the fact that they start after dark, it also gives the rioters enough time to break their fast and enjoy the traditional family meal. Sunset is around 7:30pm.” Tuesday’s and Monday’s riots began around 8:30pm.

Clinton's Kosovo Whopper -- Clinton's war against the Serbs

By Aussiegirl

OK -- this is a story that really burns me up. The illegal war waged by Clinton in Kosovo is one of the untold scandals of the century. How many people know that every single bridge over the Danube river was destroyed during this mindless bombing campaign? That civilian targets such as schools, hospitals, railroad stations, factories and moving trains were deliberately targeted killing thousands of civilians? Does anyone remember that this insane and illegal war created an ecological disaster that has been completely covered up? That the bombing ruined shipping that is essential to the economy of Central Europe for months, if not years. But there was no outcry then about unnecessary civilian deaths. There was no outcry about unnecessary damage and destruction. Milosevic never presented a danger to Europe or to the United States. And the mass graves we were led to believe were there were never found, unlike the mass graves discovered all over Iraq. To this day, U.N. "observers" do little more than observe as Muslims desecrate, burn and tear down Serbian Orthodox churches, most dating back centuries. Oh, yes, let Bill Clinton the bleeding-heart explain that one. But the press is silent. Because any evil that a democrat does is OK by them. He can bomb and kill and destroy as much as he wants and they will protect him. They sicken me.

Clinton's Kosovo Whopper - September 27, 2006

Of all the whoppers told by former President Clinton in his Chris Wallace interview, perhaps the most outrageous was his claim that he was involved in "trying to stop a genocide in Kosovo..." In fact, Clinton's bombing of the former Yugoslavia killed more people than died in this "genocide." And his policy benefited Osama bin Laden and the global Jihad.

In the year before the bombing, some 2,000 people had been killed in a civil war in Kosovo. A conservative estimate is that 6,000 were killed by U.S. and NATO bombs.

It's strange as well that Clinton complained to Wallace about the "neocons" attacking him when many of the same neocons in 1999 supported Clinton's war on Yugoslavia. The war was never approved by the U.N. or the U.S. Congress, and in fact violated the War Powers Act. The main beneficiary of the intervention was a Muslim terrorist group, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), with links to bin Laden, who had declared war on America in 1996, bombed our embassies in Africa in 1998, and would later, of course, orchestrate 9/11.

When former CIA official Michael Scheuer says that the Clinton Administration "had eight to ten chances" to kill bin Laden and "they refused to try," he is making a statement that goes far beyond acknowledging Clinton Administration incompetence or a lack of will. The fact is that Clinton had a pro-Muslim foreign policy that actually benefited bin Laden and facilitated 9/11. Most Republicans don't mention this because too many of them were duped into backing Clinton's misguided policy in Kosovo. President Bush, then a candidate, even backed U.S. military intervention there through NATO.

Scheuer's CIA also has a lot to answer for. It is noteworthy that the CIA issued a January 2000 report that essentially whitewashed the nature of the KLA and claimed it was pro-American. The only public release of this dubious report came through Rep. Elliot Engel, in a posting on the website of the National Albanian American Council, which supports an Albanian Muslim takeover of Kosovo.

That report was prepared under CIA Director George Tenet, who on February 2, 1999, gave testimony referring to the Serb "massacre at Raçak," which provided the pretext for NATO intervention against Serbia but which turned out to be a hoax. Tenet was, of course, kept on by President Bush. Not only were Tenet's fingerprints all over the failed and deceptive policy in Kosovo, he told Bush that finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was a slam dunk.

Interestingly, Al-Jazeera celebrated the fifth anniversary of 9/11 by airing several al-Qaeda videos, one of which showed two of the 9/11 hijackers saying their actions were designed to avenge the suffering of Muslims in Bosnia and Chechnya. Nothing demonstrates the bankruptcy of the Clinton policy more than that. Not only did Clinton order the CIA to help the KLA in Kosovo, he approved Iranian arms shipments to the Bosnian Muslims, in order to help them establish a Muslim state in Bosnia. Still, that wasn't good enough for the Jihadists. Nothing appeases them.

The Clinton policy of supporting the same extremist Muslim forces in Europe that subsequently attacked us on 9/11 is far more controversial than the policy of regime change in Iraq, which was officially a policy of Clinton, Bush and the Congress. Kosovo was never a threat to the U.S., and Serbia didn't even pretend to have weapons of mass destruction.

Our media like to talk about Iraq, because they think the issue will damage Bush, but Kosovo gets no mention, except when Clinton himself or former officials of his administration bring it up and claim it as a foreign policy success. There is no coverage of the anti-Christian Jihad underway there. But seven years after the illegal Kosovo intervention, the September 15 Washington Post reports on a new World Bank study on fragile or failing states that "can breed terrorism." One of them is listed as Kosovo, which is not a state—not yet. Actually, in the report itself, Kosovo is identified as a "territory," not a province of Serbia, but the point remains valid. Kosovo is identified as being "outside the control of a recognized and reputable government," offering "fertile soil on which terrorism could thrive." Terrorism is thriving there, of course, because it was Clinton's official policy to support the terrorist KLA and remove Kosovo from Serbian control.

The result was captured by the summer 1999 U.N. Association newsletter, The Interdependent, which showed Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the cover with her thumb in the air. The headline was: "Kosovo: The U.N. Takes Charge."

Seven years later, the U.N. is still in charge.

The growing danger in Kosovo is compounded by the fact that the problem gets almost no attention in our media, which reported the false charges of genocide that provided the pretext for the military intervention in the first place but still refuse to correct the record and hold Clinton, Albright and then-NATO Commander, General Wesley Clark, responsible for what they have done.

The media blackout is what enables Albright, in a lecture on religion and international affairs at Georgetown University on September 18, to declare, "Of all that we accomplished during my time in office, I'm proudest of what we did in Kosovo because we stopped the killing, and people are back in Kosovo living a free life."

A free life when Christian Serbs are fleeing and their homes and churches in Kosovo are being destroyed? Albright's outrageous comments provide the answer in stark terms to the question: Whose side was the Clinton Administration on in the clash of civilizations between Islam and the West? All of the "missed opportunities" to kill bin Laden, and the interventions on behalf of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo, didn't give us anything but more anti-American attacks, more terrorism, and finally, 9/11.

Compounding the failure of the Clinton policy in Kosovo, the George Soros-funded International Crisis Group recently released a report saying that the international community "must avoid creating a weak state" and that the territory must have its own army. Left unsaid is that it would be an army dominated by former members of the KLA. That would be the ultimate reward for terrorism. The terrorists would become the official army of Kosovo.

Mum's the word on border

By Aussiegirl

These tactics smack of the KGB. I don't like this one bit, and neither should you. There's no excuse for this. If the Bush administration had nothing to hide about its immigration policy, why is it trying to prevent congressmen from having unfettered access to the border and to open communication with the border patrol?

DailyBulletin.com - Mums the word on border

Congressmen who visit the U.S.-Mexico border unannounced are being monitored by the Department of Homeland Security, and at least one U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent has been suspended for speaking to a congressman without first getting supervisory clearance, according to documents obtained by the Daily Bulletin.
Congressional representatives interviewed by the Daily Bulletin said they were unaware until recently that Border Patrol agents were required to file Significant Incident Reports -- normally used for shootings and other serious border incidents -- when congressional representatives made unannounced visits this summer along the U.S.-Mexico border.

A second document obtained by the paper reveals that one agent was suspended for 10 days without pay for speaking with Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who made an unannounced visit to the border in May.

"Preventing Congress from speaking freely to federal employees violates at least two federal statutes, and agents are fearful of telling the truth," said King, who recounted several visits to the Mexican border when Border Patrol agents would not speak with him for fear of reprisal.

"Filing these reports is a form of intimidation. If anyone is going to be punished, then they should be punished for not speaking to a member of Congress, rather than for telling the truth."

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who also has made unannounced visits to the border, said he is concerned congressional oversight of border matters has suffered as a result of the Homeland Security monitoring. Poe echoed King's assertion that forcing agents to file reports is a form of intimidation, and said Congress is prepared to call for hearings and issue subpoenas to investigate the matter.

"Members of Congress should not be under surveillance by Homeland Security because we ask the tough questions (of) border agents, and border agents should not be intimidated into having to report our visits and conversations with them like we are criminals," Poe said. "Members of Congress are not the enemy because we want to find out the truth at the border."

Ukrainian invents musical condom

By Aussiegirl

I offer the following item without (ahem) comment. Suffice it to say that the reader may supply his own best choices for musical selections.

SBS - The World News

A Ukrainian has invented a condom that plays music during sex, Korrespondent magazine reported.

A miniature loudspeaker and motion sensor implanted in the condom's upper cuff provides a range of musical tones during sex.

Music volume depends on intensity of love-making. Tone varies based on the sexual position adopted by lovers.

Scientist Hryhory Chausovsky developed the birth control device as a novelty and as an aid for more pleasurable love-making, he said.

The condom's main limitation is primitive sound quality, similar to tones produced by first-generation mobile phones.

But its volume would serve not only to assist lovers in obtaining higher quality sex, but also inform them when an erection is present, Mr Chausovsky said.

Mr Chausovsky is now looking for a financial backer to raise funds and put the condom into mass production.

China Carries Out Test of Fusion Reactor - Newsday.com

By Aussiegirl

I will let two smart posters from Lucianne.com lend their expertise to this article:

901AtTheRiver wrote:

"Cheng said the test was considered a success because the reactor produced plasma, a hot cloud of supercharged particles. She wouldn't give other details."

Producing a plasma is the easy part. Keeping the plasma stable and intense enough to produce neutrons indicating actual fusion has been done here in the U.S., but making it produce more power than it consumes has been the challenge that has drained the budgets.

veritas wrote:

[...]Absolutely right. It only takes the expenditure of energy to create plamsa [pumping enough energy in so that the electrons can't be held by their nuclei].

Containing that brew, and in such a way that more energy can be drawn off over a sustained time [that's magnetic-containment fusion; or in a long series of repeatable bursts, as in laser-contained fusion], as they say, is a bit more difficult. Plasma tends to kink.

My suspicion is that we need some new insight in physics to master magnetic containment.

China Carries Out Test of Fusion Reactor - Newsday.com

Scientists on Thursday carried out China's first successful test of an experimental fusion reactor, powered by the process that fuels the sun, a research institute spokeswoman said.

China, the United States and other governments are pursuing fusion research in hopes that it could become a clean, potentially limitless energy source. Fusion produces little radioactive waste, unlike fission, which powers conventional nuclear reactors.

Beijing is eager for advances, both for national prestige and to reduce its soaring consumption of imported oil and dirty coal.

The test by the government's Institute of Plasma Physics was carried out on a Tokamak fusion device in the eastern city of Hefei, said Cheng Yan, a spokeswoman at the institute.

Cheng said the test was considered a success because the reactor produced plasma, a hot cloud of supercharged particles. She wouldn't give other details.

"This represents a step for humankind in the study of nuclear reaction," she said.

U.S. and other scientists have been experimenting with fusion for decades but it has yet to be developed into a viable energy alternative.

"I think it is a considerable step ahead for China," said Karl Heinz Finken, a senior scientist at the Institute for Plasma Physics in Juelich, Germany, who had no role in the Chinese research.

"China is speeding up with the development of nuclear fusion and I think at the moment they are making considerable progress," he said.

The Chinese facility is similar to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or ITER, being built by a seven-nation consortium in Cadarache in southern France, according to state media. That reactor is due to be completed in 2015.

China is a partner in the ITER reactor, along with the European Union, the United States, Japan, Russia, India and South Korea.

A Tokamak reactor uses a doughnut-shaped magnetic field to contain the hot gas.

Several countries have produced plasma using a Tokamak or similar device, said Gabriel Marbach, deputy head of fusion research at the ITER facility. He said producing plasma was only one step toward the fusion that ITER aims to perform, and that the project could be helped by the Chinese experiments.

Chinese organ sales 'thriving'

By Aussiegirl

You're not going to see this in the gauzy, feel-good commercials that are starting to run about China in the lead-up to the next Olympics. The propaganda that's going to be pouring out of there ahead of the games is going to be nauseating. Think Nazi Germany prior to the 1936 games and Leni Riefenstahl's propaganda movies.

Chinese organ sales 'thriving' | NEWS.com.au

SALES of human organs taken from executed prisoners, targeted at foreigners who need transplants, are thriving in China, the BBC reported today.

The broadcaster, which also published a related article on its website, said one hospital claimed they could provide a liver for £50,000 ($126,326), with the chief surgeon at the hospital confirming that the donor could be an executed prisoner.

The country's health ministry did not deny the report, but said it was reviewing the system and the regulations surrounding it.

A spokesman for China's foreign ministry, however, said in March that it "is a complete fabrication ... to say that China forcibly takes organs from people given the death penalty for the purpose of transplanting them".

The foreign ministry did admit at the time that organs from prisoners were used, but insisted that it was only in a "very few cases".

China executes more prisoners than any other country in the world - in 2005, at least 1770 people were executed, although true figures may be much higher according to a report by London-based human rights group Amnesty International.

Beijing secretly fires lasers to disable US satellites

By Aussiegirl

Meanwhile, the State Department pursues a ruinous policy of engagement with China, refusing to recognize the growing danger that this Pacific giant poses in the future. Condi's legacy will be a tragic and disastrous one. She is singularly unqualified for her position and must be replaced. However, it appears that she reflects the Bush administration's short-sighted assessment of the China threat. We will live to regret our complacency. China is not our friend or even ally.

Telegraph | News | Beijing secretly fires lasers to disable US satellites

China has secretly fired powerful laser weapons designed to disable American spy satellites by "blinding" their sensitive surveillance devices, it was reported yesterday.

The hitherto unreported attacks have been kept secret by the Bush administration for fear that it would damage attempts to co-opt China in diplomatic offensives against North Korea and Iran.

Sources told the military affairs publication Defense News that there had been a fierce internal battle within Washington over whether to make the attacks public. In the end, the Pentagon's annual assessment of the growing Chinese military build-up barely mentioned the threat.

"After a contentious debate, the White House directed the Pentagon to limit its concern to one line," Defense News said.

The document said that China could blind American satellites with a ground-based laser firing a beam of light to prevent spy photography as they pass over China.

According to senior American officials: "China not only has the capability, but has exercised it." American satellites like the giant Keyhole craft have come under attack "several times" in recent years.

Although the Chinese tests do not aim to destroy American satellites, the laser attacks could make them useless over Chinese territory.

The American military has been so alarmed by the Chinese activity that it has begun test attacks against its own satellites to determine the severity of the threat.

Satellites are especially vulnerable to attack because they have predetermined orbits, allowing an enemy to know where they will appear.

"The Chinese are very strategically minded and are extremely active in this arena. They really believe all the stuff written in the 1980s about the high frontier," said one senior former Pentagon official.

There has been increasing alarm in parts of the American military establishment over China's growing military ambitions.

Military experts have already noted that Chinese military expenditure is increasingly designed to challenge American military pre-eminence by investing in weaponry that can attack key systems such as aircraft carriers and satellites.

At the same time, China is engaged in a large-scale espionage effort against American high-tech firms working on projects such as the multibillion-pound DD(X) destroyer programme.

Several spy rings have been cracked and the FBI is increasing the number of counter-intelligence staff tracking the Chinese effort.

Parasitic weed seems to smell its prey

By Aussiegirl

Good grief - plants may make choices! I'm a sucker (pardon the pun) for stories like this. Personally, I'd like to know if weeds deliberately camouflage themselves by growing next to desirable plants they resemble. Or is that just because they look similar that I fail to pull them before they get huge? Gardening is full of unanswered questions like these.

Parasitic weed seems to smell its prey - Yahoo! News

The parasitic dodder plant doesn't have a nose, but it knows how to sniff out its prey. The dodder attacks such plants as tomatoes, carrots, onions, citrus trees, cranberries, alfalfa and even flowers, and is a problem for farmers because chemicals that kill the pesky weed also damage the crops it feeds on.

So discovering how it finds its prey might help lead to a way to block the weed, or for crops to defend themselves, say researchers at Pennsylvania State University.

The question of how dodder finds a host plant has puzzled researchers. Many thought it simply grew in a random direction, with discovery of a plant to attack being a chance encounter.

But the researchers led by Consuelo M. De Moraes found that if they placed tomato plants near a germinating dodder, the parasite headed for the tomato 80 percent of the time.

And when they put scent chemicals from a tomato on rubber, 73 percent of the dodder seedlings headed that way.

"It opens a new avenue" for understanding parasitic plants, lead researcher Consuelo De Moraes said in a telephone interview.

Co-author Mark C. Mescher added, "One of the interesting things we found was that the plants make choices."

When they gave the dodder seedlings a choice between a tomato plant and a wheat plant, they preferred the tomato.

Dodder will infect wheat if there is no choice, he said, but they discovered that one of the volatile chemicals given off by wheat repels dodder, so it will choose the tomato if allowed to pick.

So, finding one compound that tends to be repellant could lead to ways to either treat crops to resist dodder or even engineer them to produce the compound themselves, Mescher said.

Turkey threatens to sever electricity supply to northern Iraq

By Aussiegirl

This might be a development worth watching.

Turkey threatens to sever electricity supply to northern Iraq

Istanbul- Turkey has warned Iraqi President Jalal Talabani y that it would sever electricity and fuel supplies to northern Iraq if Baghdad did not adopt any measures against the illegal Kurdish group PKK in the region, the Turkish news channel NTV reported Friday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told the US television channel PBS that it could paralyse public life in northern Iraq, the report said.

Gul was responding to remarks by Talabani on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. According to Turkish media reports, Talabani had warned Turkey and neighbouring countries not to interfere in Iraq's domestic affairs, coupled with the threat that Iraq would otherwise support opposition powers in those countries.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ukraine to Mark Anniversary of Babi Yar

By Aussiegirl

As you will read in the following article, when the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko wrote the poem Babi Yar, he not only drew international attention to the massacre, but he provoked Soviet attempts to suppress it. Once again, the conscience of a nation and the world was pricked by a poet. The power of Yevtushenko's poem is another example of the tradition of the importance of poets in the history of Russia and Ukraine. Perhaps in no other part of the world has the poet become the continuing voice of conscience, and a constant threat to authority. That is perhaps why we revere our poets above all others. Only they are incorruptible. Only they speak the truth unflinchingly in the face of tyranny. And how many of them suffered under the thumb of offended and threatened rulers. Our own Taras Shevchenko spent most of his life in prison and exile because of his passionate poetry defending the Ukrainian people against Tsarist and Russian oppression. I've posted the poem directly below, along with a Russian language version in transliteration, for those who speak a bit of Russian. As usual with poetry, the power and imagery is virtually untranslatable, but the meaning is still unmistakeably powerful.

Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | Ukraine to Mark Anniversary of Babi Yar

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - When the notices went up in Kiev ordering the Jews to gather on the corner of Melnyka and Dokterivska streets by 8 a.m., they assumed the Nazis were shipping them to a ghetto. Some even arrived early for a good seat on the train. There were no trains. What met the Jews that morning was death in a ravine called Babi Yar.

The mass murder on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital 65 years ago Friday has made the name Babi Yar infamous and has come to be seen as foreshadowing the gas chambers and crematoria of the Final Solution.

Forced to undress, the Jews were herded in groups - men, women and children - to the edge of a ravine. For 48 hours, the Nazis gunned down the crowd until at least 33,771 Jews - the number recorded by the German executioners - were dead. The bodies that toppled down the embankment would be joined in the ensuing months by at least another 70,000 dead: Jews, Soviet POWs, other Kievans.

``Time can heal wounds, but it should not erase them from our memories,'' Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said as he launched two days of commemorations attended by Israeli President Moshe Katsav and 1,000 guests representing 41 countries.

``Not only bodies were buried at Babi Yar, but also hopes, dreams and expectations,'' said Yushchenko, whose father, a Red Army soldier, was prisoner No. 11365 at Auschwitz.

Ukraine was a Soviet republic when the Germans invaded in 1941. It became independent with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, and hopes the Babi Yar commemoration will show the world that it has completely shaken off the Soviet-enforced silence that clung to the tragedy for decades.

The commemorations began Tuesday with the opening of an exhibit entitled ``Forewarning the Future,'' featuring photos of naked and twisted bodies stacked together at Babi Yar. They continue Wednesday at the ravine.

The commemorations come as Ukraine's Jewish community worries about the sale of anti-Semitic books and newspapers in the capital and a series of attacks on Jews near a synagogue last year.

Before World War II about 175,000 of Kiev's 875,000 people were Jewish. Today official figures say there are 103,000 Jews in all of Ukraine, although the Jewish community says the number is several times higher.

``Every Ukrainian city has its own Babi Yar,'' said Roman Levith, 73, who survived because his mother managed to get new passports with Ukrainian-sounding last names that fooled the Nazis. Six of his relatives died.

``I survived only because I don't look like a Jew,'' said Oleksiy Volikov, 72, who witnessed the Babi Yar executions firsthand as a boy of 7. ``People's bodies were thrown into the pit like dead chickens.''

Valentyna Sukalo, 82, cried as she recalled the Jews passing her house on the way to Babi Yar. ``They were scared, some begged my mother to take their baby,'' Sukalo said, her eyes filling with tears. ``We had to say no. We were already hiding one Jewish family - a mother and daughter. There wasn't room. All we could do was say goodbye.''

The exact number killed was never known; as the Red Army approached two years later, Jewish prisoners were ordered to dig up the bodies and burn them.

For years, the atrocity went officially unmarked, while an expanding Kiev grew around the ravine.

Then, in 1961, Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko drew international attention to the massacre with ``Babi Yar:''

``... Wild grasses rustle over Babi Yar,

``The trees look sternly, as if passing judgment.

``Here, silently, all screams, and, hat in hand,

``I feel my hair changing shade to gray ...''

Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich set it to music in his Symphony No. 13. Soviet authorities tried to suppress the poem and the symphony, then offered a half-measure: a towering bronze monument at Babi Yar that made no mention of Jews.

Only in 1991, with Soviet rule coming to an end, was the Jewish community allowed to raise a 10-foot menorah at the ravine.

Today, the place where tens of thousands of bodies once lay is part of a popular tree-lined park, but still has the air of a forgotten monument. Boys play soccer there, and young couples slip past the hedges to stretch out on the carefully cut grass in the ravine.

Babi Yar

Babi Yar by Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Translated by Ben Okopnik

No monument stands over Babi Yar.
A steep cliff only, like the rudest headstone.
I am afraid.
Today, I am as old
As the entire Jewish race itself.

I see myself an ancient Israelite.
I wander o'er the roads of ancient Egypt
And here, upon the cross, I perish, tortured
And even now, I bear the marks of nails.

It seems to me that Dreyfus is myself.
The Philistines betrayed me - and now judge.
I'm in a cage. Surrounded and trapped,
I'm persecuted, spat on, slandered, and
The dainty dollies in their Brussels frills
Squeal, as they stab umbrellas at my face.

I see myself a boy in Belostok
Blood spills, and runs upon the floors,
The chiefs of bar and pub rage unimpeded
And reek of vodka and of onion, half and half.

I'm thrown back by a boot, I have no strength left,
In vain I beg the rabble of pogrom,
To jeers of "Kill the Jews, and save our Russia!"
My mother's being beaten by a clerk.

O, Russia of my heart, I know that you
Are international, by inner nature.
But often those whose hands are steeped in filth
Abused your purest name, in name of hatred.

I know the kindness of my native land.
How vile, that without the slightest quiver
The antisemites have proclaimed themselves
The "Union of the Russian People!"

It seems to me that I am Anna Frank,
Transparent, as the thinnest branch in April,
And I'm in love, and have no need of phrases,
But only that we gaze into each other's eyes.
How little one can see, or even sense!
Leaves are forbidden, so is sky,
But much is still allowed - very gently
In darkened rooms each other to embrace.

-"They come!"

-"No, fear not - those are sounds
Of spring itself. She's coming soon.
Quickly, your lips!"

-"They break the door!"

-"No, river ice is breaking..."

Wild grasses rustle over Babi Yar,
The trees look sternly, as if passing judgement.
Here, silently, all screams, and, hat in hand,
I feel my hair changing shade to gray.

And I myself, like one long soundless scream
Above the thousands of thousands interred,
I'm every old man executed here,
As I am every child murdered here.

No fiber of my body will forget this.
May "Internationale" thunder and ring
When, for all time, is buried and forgotten
The last of antisemites on this earth.

There is no Jewish blood that's blood of mine,
But, hated with a passion that's corrosive
Am I by antisemites like a Jew.
And that is why I call myself a Russian!

commentary and translation

(Russian version in transliteration)

Babiy Yar

Nad Babim Yarom pamyatnikov nyet.
Krutoi obryv, kak gruboye nadgrobye.
Mne strashno,
mne sevodnya stolko let,
kak samomu yevreiskomu narodu.
Mne kazhetsa seichas — ya yudei.
Vot ya bryedu pa dryevnemu Egiptu.
A vot ya, na kryeste raspyaty, gibnu,
i da sikh por na mne — sledi gvazdey.
Mne kazhetsa, shto Dreifus — eta ya.
Meshchanstvo — moi danoschik i sudya!
Ya za reshotkoy, ya papal v koltso,
zatravlennyi, oplyovannyi, obolgannyi,
damachki s bryusselshmi oborkami,
viszha, zontami tichut mne v litso.
Mne kazhetsa, ya — malchik v Bielostoke.
Krov lyotsya, rastekayas pa palam.
Beschinstvuyut vozhdi traktirnoy stoiki.
I pakhaut vodkoy s lukom popolam.
Ya, sapagom otbroshennyi, bessilny,
naprasna ya pogromshchikov molyu.
Pad gogot: “Bey zhidov! Spasai Rossiyu!”
Labaznik izbivaet mat moyu.
O russhy moi narod, ya znayu,
ty pa sushchnosti internatsionalen,
no chasta te, chi ruki nechisti,
tvoim chisteishim imyenem bryatsali.
Ya znayu dobrotu moyei zyemli.
Kak podla, shto i zhilachkoi ne drognuv,
antisemity narekli sibya:
“Soyuzom russkova naroda.”
Mne kazhetsa, ya — eta Anna Frank,
prozrachnaya, kak vyetochka v aprele,
i ya lyublyu, i mne nye nado fraz,
no nado, shtob drug v druga my smotreli.
Kak malo mozhno videt, obonyat!
Nelzya nam listev i nelzya nan neba,
no mozhno ochen mnoga —
eta nezhno drug druga
vtyomnoy komnate obnyat!
— “Syuda idut!”
— “Nye boysa. Eta guly samoi vesny,
ona idyot syuda.
Idi ko mne,
dai mne skoreye guby!”
— “Lomayut dver!”
— “Nyet! Eta ledokhod!”
Nad Babim Yarom shelest dihkh trav,
dyerevya smotryat grozno, po-sudeiski.
Zdes molcha vsyo krichit,
i, shapku snyav,
ya chuvstvuyu, kak myediemo sedeyu.
I sam ya, kak sploshnoy bezzvuchny krik,
nad tysyachami tysyach pogrebyonnykh,
Ya — kazhdy zdes rasstrelyanny starik,
Ya — kazhdy zdes rasstrelyanny rebyonok.
Nishto vo mne pro eta nye zabudet.
“Internatsional” pust progremit,
kogda naveh pokhoronen budet
pasledni na zyemle antisemit.
Yevreiskoy krovi nyet v krovi moyei,
no nenavisten zloboy zaskaruzloy
ya vsem antisemitam kak yevrei,
ipatomu ya nastoyashchiy russkiy!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Despite Fears, Black-Hole Factory Will Not Destroy Earth

By Aussiegirl

Well, that's one less worry to wake up to in the morning. But wait a minute! I don't like the sound of this quote from the article: But the chance of planetary annihilation by this means "is totally miniscule," experimental physicist Greg Landsberg at Brown University in Providence, R.I., told LiveScience. Why did he say "totally miniscule" and not "impossible", or "probability of zero"? Great, now I have the worry back all over again!

FOXNews.com -Physicists: Despite Fears, Black-Hole Factory Will Not Destroy Earth - Biology Astronomy Chemistry Physics

Physicists: Despite Fears, Black-Hole Factory Will Not Destroy Earth
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
By Charles Q. Choi

Scientists may be able to generate a black hole as often as every second when the world's most powerful particle accelerator comes online in 2007.

This potential "black hole factory" has raised fears that a stray black hole could devour our planet whole.

The Lifeboat Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to safeguarding humanity from what it considers threats to our existence, has stated that artificial black holes could "threaten all life on Earth" and so it proposes to set up "self-sustaining colonies elsewhere."

But the chance of planetary annihilation by this means "is totally miniscule," experimental physicist Greg Landsberg at Brown University in Providence, R.I., told LiveScience.

The accelerator, known as the Large Hadron Collider, is under construction in an underground circular tunnel nearly 17 miles long at CERN, the world's largest physics laboratory, near Geneva, Switzerland.

At its maximum, each particle beam the collider fires will pack as much energy as a 400-ton train traveling at 120 mph.

By smashing particles together and investigating the debris, scientists hope to help solve mysteries such as the origin of mass and why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe.

If theories about the universe containing extra dimensions other than those of space and time are correct, the accelerator might also generate black holes, Landsberg and his colleague Savas Dimopoulos at Stanford University in California calculated in 2001.

Physicists Steve Giddings at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Scott Thomas at Stanford reached similar conclusions.

Black holes possess gravitational fields so strong that nothing can escape them, not even light. They normally form when the remains of a dead star collapse under their own gravity, squeezing their mass together.

Although black holes can't be seen, astronomers infer their existence by the gravitational effects they have on gas and stars around them.

Some models of the universe suggest extra dimensions of reality exist, each folded up into sizes ranging from as tiny as a proton, or roughly a millionth of a billionth of a meter, to as big as a fraction of a millimeter.

At distances comparable to the size of these extra dimensions, gravity becomes far stronger, these models suggest.

If this is true, the collider will cram enough energy together to initiate gravitational collapses that produce black holes.

If any of the models are right, the accelerator should create a black hole anywhere from every second to every day, each roughly possessing 5,000 times the mass of a proton and each a thousandth of a proton in size or smaller, Landsberg said.

Still, any fears that such black holes will consume the Earth are groundless, Landsberg said.

For one thing, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking calculated all black holes should emit radiation, and that tiny black holes should lose more mass than they absorb, evaporating within a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, "before they could gobble up any significant amount of matter," Landsberg said.

CERN spokesman and former research physicist James Gillies also pointed out that Earth is bathed with cosmic rays powerful enough to create black holes all the time, and the planet hasn't been destroyed yet.

"Still, let's assume that even if Hawking is a genius, he's wrong, and that such black holes are more stable," Landsberg said.

Nearly all of the black holes will be traveling fast enough from the accelerator to escape Earth's gravity.

"Even if you produced 10 million black holes a year, only 10 would basically get trapped, orbiting around its center," Landsberg said.

However, such trapped black holes are so tiny, they could pass through a block of iron the distance from the Earth to the Moon and not hit anything. They would each take about 100 hours to gobble up one proton.

At that rate, even if one did not take into account the fact that each black hole would slow down every time it gobbled up a proton, and thus suck down matter at an even slower rate, "about 100 protons would be destroyed every year by such a black hole, so it would take much more than the age of universe to destroy even one milligram of Earth material," Landsberg concluded. "It's quite hard to destroy the Earth."

If the Large Hadron Collider does create black holes, not only will it prove that extra dimensions of the universe exist, but the radiation that decaying black holes emit could yield clues that help finally unite all the current ideas about the forces of nature under a "theory of everything."

Biblical-style flood tore Britain from France

By Aussiegirl

This amazing discovery helps explain the abandonment of the British Isles that occurred hundreds of thousands of years ago, and also joins the great ancient flood of the Mediterranean in lending credence to the ancient memories of peoples that speak of a great flood. There is hardly a civilization in the world that doesn't make mention of such an event. Perhaps there were similar floods thoughout history in many locations. Amazing stuff. What a wild and wonderful planet we are living on. It's amazing that humanity has been so persistent in the face of reapeated cataclysms.

Biblical-style flood tore Britain from France | The World | The Australian

SCIENTISTS have found that Britain owes its island status to a catastrophic flood that swept away in less than 24 hours the hills that once joined the land mass to France.
The flood, which took place between 400,000 and 200,000 years ago, instantly turned Britain from being a peninsula of continental Europe into a separate entity, changing forever the way it would develop.

The finding has emerged from an advanced sonar survey of the sea bed of the English Channel that revealed huge scour marks, deep bowls and piles of rock that could have been created only by a giant torrent of water. If confirmed, it will force an important revision of British prehistory.

It had been thought the Channel had formed by slow erosion combined with rises in sea level that took place over millions of years, rather than by a sudden, biblical-style catastrophe.

"This could have been one of the most powerful flood events ever known on earth," said Chris Stringer, head of human origins at the Natural History Museum in London. "It would have cut through the chalk hills joining Britain to Europe and created a Niagara-style waterfall 300ft (91.5m) to 400ft high."

Professor Stringer has been overseeing the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project, which brought together researchers from a range of disciplines to trace how Britain first became populated. Among the researchers were a team from Imperial College, in London, led by Sanjeev Gupta, who used sonar to survey the sea floor several kilometres off the Sussex coast.

The equipment is able to see through thick layers of sediment to the sea bed lying beneath. The team was surprised to find the remains of a huge valley, partly hidden by accumulated mud, running southwest from the Strait of Dover.

"In places this huge, underwater valley is more than seven miles (11km) wide and 170ft deep, with vertical sides. Its nearest geological parallels are found not on earth but in the monumental flood terrains of the planet Mars," Dr Gupta said in an abstract published at an academic conference. "This suggests the valley was created by catastrophic flood-flows following the breaching of the Dover Strait and the sudden release of water from a giant lake to the north."

In the scenario, there was a high chalk ridge linking Britain and France running roughly between Dover and Calais.

Northeast of this ridge the land sloped down until it met the North Sea, which was much smaller then and was bordered by a shoreline that ran from Norfolk to northern Germany.

Several European rivers, including the Rhine, Seine and Thames, ran northwards to this shore, emptying into the sea.

Between 400,000 and 100,000 years ago, northern Europe suffered repeated glaciations. During one of these, an ice cap up to 1.6km thick reached so far south it stretched from Scotland to Denmark, damming the North Sea. This turned it into a freshwater lake that, fed by rivers, deepened over thousands of years.

"The lake would have been hundreds of feet above then sea level," Professor Stringer said. "One day it just overflowed the top of the chalk ridge and started pouring over. Once the torrent started it would have ripped through the chalk and poured down towards the Atlantic."

Global sea levels were far lower then than now because so much water was locked up in the ice caps. This meant that Britain was joined to France all the way along its south coast - and the cascading water had to carve its way across the landscape.

The discovery of the Channel flood may help to solve one of the enduring mysteries of British archeology - the apparent abandonment of the British Isles by humans for 120,000 years.

Researchers have found that humans first arrived in Britain at least 700,000 years ago. They were driven out by repeated glaciations but returned whenever the land warmed up. They vanished completely between 180,000 and 60,000 years ago.

How many divisions does the Pope have?

By Aussiegirl

Michael Reagan echoes the sentiments already expressed days ago on Ultima Thule -- why is the West silent in the face of the violent Islamic reaction to the Pope's speech? In a post entitled "The Silence of the Lambs" (republished directly below), I addressed many issues raised here. But Michael Reagan is the first and only mainstream writer to bring up the subject, and he does it eloquently.

Why is that? Is there a conspiracy of silence even among conservatives? Are we, ahem, a bit afraid of the reactions of CAIR and similar domestic organizations? Afraid of losing campaign donations and votes? Afraid of creating more violence within our own borders? If so, then we are already living under de-facto Sharia law, my friends. Once the bullies have cowed you into keeping silent for fear of violent retribution, you are sunk. Ask the kid who gets his lunch money taken away on a daily basis by the school bully.

This is only a continuation of the silencing of Western speech that began with the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Since then we have had a rising tide of intimidation and threats of violence that serves to stifle free expression in the West -- such as the Cartoon Jihad of a few months ago , and other examples too numerous to mention. Couple that with our supine acquiescence to political correctness and misguided concepts of multi-culturalism that preclude an honest discussion of the true nature of Islam, and you have the international equivalent of a protection racket.

In England, Australia and several European countries, it is already against the law and punishable by jail time for anyone to defame Islam, while Muslims regularly take to the streets of Western cities to not only defame our culture and our religion, but to make violent threats against us. Yet Oriana Fallaci was exiled from her own native land because she was under threat of prosecution for daring to tell the truth about Islam in her passionate books. In Australia a pastor is being tried for daring to preach the truth about Islam in a Sunday sermon. When he tried to use the Koran to back up his sermon, it was disallowed.

I also noted previously the curious censorship that Fox News, and the news media in general, applied to the conversion at gunpoint of Fox reporters Steve Centanni and Olaf Wigg. Fox has quite obviously gone out of their way to downplay that aspect of the story, and tamps down any references to it even when made by guests on their program. I'm sure they are doing it to protect the safety of their reporters, who are now subject to the penalty of death under Muslim law, should they publicly or even privately renounce the conversion. Apostasy is punishable by death under Islamic law. While understandable, this censorship only proves the point.

In addition, Steve and Olaf may unwittingly be the examples of what will eventually happen to the entire West if we do not fully understand the kind of threat we face. The struggle of civilizations is less a military or legal one, and much more one of faith and belief. The West has lost any belief in itself. What does the West believe in anymore? Do we believe in the bottom line? Freedom? Prosperity? Free markets? Democracy? None of these things means anything unless we have a more fundamental, underlying belief in some principles that are higher than ourselves and our short or even long-term comfort and survival. George Bush is attempting to tackle this struggle with Jihadist Islam with the carrot and the stick. His carrot is democracy and freedom and the rule of law. But these are the outward and secular fruits of our civilization which were borne out of the fundamental religious beliefs of our forefathers. Can this purely secular message that is rooted in our very civilization hope to counter the religious fervor of the true believer in Islam? The West does not believe in itself anymore, does not value its own history and the great contribution that our civilization has made to the world. Instead, there is a post-modern self-loathing that culminates in suicidal identification with the aggressor. The West is in many ways like the deer in the headlights, mesmerized by its own approaching destruction. And just like Steve and Olaf, who emerged from their captivity physically safe, if not psychically unharmed, they may have said to themselves -- well, what difference does it make? Muslim? Christian? As long as we're alive. When you don't believe in anything much anyway, what would be so hard about declaring you were a Muslim just to be able to go about your daily life? And so it may be that the West may one day say to itself -- "Better Muslim than dead". Unfortunately it doesn't rhyme like the old saying from the Cold War days -- "Better red than dead" -- but it amounts to the same thing.

FrontPage magazine.com :: How Many Divisions Has the Pope? by Michael Reagan

Joseph Stalin is alleged to have asked contemptuously just how many divisions the pope had at his disposal. The answer came after the Soviet dictator’s death when the Berlin Wall came crashing down and Eastern Europe came out from behind the Iron Curtain thanks to Pope John Paul II, my father Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – the phalanx that drove a spike through the heart of Soviet tyranny .

Pope John Paul II had no military divisions, but he had a huge army of people yearning for freedom who responded to his message that united they could prevail over a master who commanded vast military forces. Those forces eventually proved helpless in the face of the people’s determination and will.

Today the question might be, “How many supporters does the pope have among the world’s leaders?” Shamefully, the answer is none. Assailed all across the globe by millions of Muslims for quoting a few passages from a debate featuring the 14th Century Byzantine emperor Manuel Paleologos II – next-to-last emperor of what had been the Eastern Roman empire -- Pope Benedict XVI has been left standing alone among the leaders of the Western world despite his warning that they face a foe determined to subjugate them and their citizens.

Writing in the September 20 Front Page Magazine, Robert Spencer reminded the West’s leaders just how much they owe to Pope Benedict XVI, the man they have left hanging in the wind that is blowing like a typhoon from the world of radical Islam

Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and author of “Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West” wrote: “In choosing Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to succeed Pope John Paul II as Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church has cast a vote for the survival of Europe and the West. ”

He quotes historian Bernard Lewis as warning “Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century,” and observes that the pope is unlikely to be happy about that eventuality.

“Late in 2003 the semi-official Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica departed from John Paul II’s policy toward Islam and published a scathing criticism of the mistreatment that Christians suffer in Islamic societies,” wrote Spencer. “It represented the first indication that any Catholic officials recognized the dimensions of the religious conflict that jihadists are waging against Christians and others around the world.”

He adds that “La Civiltà Cattolica pointed out that ‘for almost a thousand years Europe was under constant threat from Islam, which twice put its survival in serious danger.’ Now, through jihad terrorism and demographics Islam is threatening Europe’s survival yet again — and it looks as if now there is a Pope who has noticed. Maybe in Europe the resistance is just beginning.”

You wouldn’t think so from the wall of silence that has surrounded the West’s leaders, including our own President Bush. Not one of them has sprung to the pope’s defense in the face of the violence and threats made against the pope by Muslims all over the world.

The pope was dangling out there all by himself. There is not one leader in any part of the world – left, right, center, or anywhere in between — standing up for the pope. As Spencer noted, the pope has “dared to speak more clearly about the threat that Islam poses to Western civilization than his predecessor — for all his many and remarkable gifts — ever quite managed to do.”

All this proves the point I have been making for a long time: the world fears Islam and its adherents. In an attempt to spur a dialogue between Christianity and Islam the pope quotes a Byzantine leader from 1391 to make his point about the futility of violence between religions and what do we get?

We get a dead nun, churches burned, the leader of the world’s billion Catholics burned in effigy, hordes of angry Muslims demonstrating in the streets and demanding that the pope be hunted down and slaughtered, all of which proved the point stressed by Manuel Paleologos II, in the 14th century.

And worst of all, we get silence from the leaders of the besieged West.

The Silence of the Lambs

By Aussiegirl

It has been a week of speeches. Last week the Pope delivered a scholarly lecture that dared broach the subject of Islam's long history of conversion by the sword. In it, he accurately defined the twin ills that afflict our present age -- the disconnect that both the West and the East have with reason. According to the Pope, Islam suffers from a faith which is severed from reason, while the West suffers from reason divorced from faith. The outraged howls and predictable mobs and demonstrations of violence that followed only served to prove the point that the Pope was making. Islam is fatally ill with a poisonous rage, anger and resort to violence.

We are living in momentous times. This was a pivotal and courageous speech, in its way as powerful as Reagan's "tear down this wall" speech, or Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech -- and may well prove to be as historic. Each of these speeches named the evil that confronted the world and defined it. In his speech, Pope Benedict not only pointed out the problem with Islam -- it is a faith without reason -- but also delineated why the West is mired in ennui and decline. The West has chosen reason without the elevating illumination of faith, to which reason naturally points. In doing so he has correctly defined the sicknesses of our age -- that of the West and that of the East. And if this pathology is not recognized and addressed, we stand on the brink of a horrible cataclysm.

The Pope's words have served to coalesce the forces of good and evil, and he is forcing the West to confront its own dereliction in this regard. It is a gentle and scholarly yet incredibly bold and courageous call to arms -- a call to goodness and right, and to reason illumined by faith.

But who has stepped forward to support the Pope? From all my reading of news reports, all I can glean is that Angela Merkel and two Anglican Archbishops have stood up for the Pope and condemned the violence and intimidations that his mild speech has engendered in the Islamic world. Where is our leadership? Where is our president? Where is our State Department? One senator? One congressman? Anybody?

And now we have the despotic demagogues of Iran and Venezuela, the rabidly anti-semitic, undemocratic, violent thugs of Iran and Venezuela, who come onto our soil and clamber up the podium of the UN we singlehandedly finance and support, and throw dung in our faces and openly mock and deride not only our president, but the entire American people. And we hear -- silence. It is the silence of the lambs. The lambs that are meekly going to slaughter rather than risk offending with a harsh word, much less a harsh action.

What kind of weak and ineffectual response do we get? John Bolton won't "dignify" the insults with his answer. Someone in the administration points out that at least we have demonstrated that we have free speech in this country.

Don't they understand that in the world that Chavez and the madman from Iran inhabit, this silence is only seen as contemptible weakness? These men inhabit a tribal, violent and super-macho universe of snarling animals, where the only language that is understood is raw power and the willingness to use it ruthlessly and pitilessly. Can you imagine how emboldened they are to see the meekness of our non-response? Only two democrats came out and had anything to say at all about this outrage -- Charles Rangel and Nancy Pelosi. And I don't care about their possible hypocrisy or their partisan motivations. After all, as Oscar Wilde said, hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. At this point who cares? At least they came forward with strong language to condemn these outrageous insults.

These vile villains openly mock us in our own land and spit in our collective faces, and they know they can get away with it. Not only that, they know that there are plenty of adoring useful idiots in this foolish country who will lionize and applaud them, as witnessed by Chavez's reception in the Bronx and at Cooper Union, where he was received with standing ovations from the assembled lunatic left of the campus unintelligentsia.

If Western leaders are not willing to confront evil, to defend their own people from insult and outrage at the UN, are not willing to even stand up and support the Pope who has all but offered his life as a sacrifice to save the West from enslavement by encroaching Islam, then, my friends, we are well and truly lost.

Where are the men of this country? Have they all been emasculated by their law degrees and deal-making, their high educations and over-intellectualization of every problem to the point where they have lost touch with the most elemental and fundamental reality of being -- that of survival and fighting off an invading marauder who openly mocks and swaggers and threatens death unless we submit?

Once again the leadership of this country, and indeed of the world, is in complete disconnect with the people. If you listen to talk radio, if you talk to your friends and family, you will know where the real heart of this country lies. We are outraged. We demand that leaders do something more than pay attention to the bottom line, or court the most diplomatic response in the face of outrage. We demand that they do more than smile weakly and say tut-tut. We are heading towards a cataclysm of civilization, but it appears we are willing to go to slaughter not with a bang, but a whimper -- albeit a very cultured whimper -- a very civilized and diplomatic whimper.

Yes, these are the twin maladies that afflict our age -- and reason lies at the heart of both of them. Islam is ascendant because it gives vent to the most primitive emotions that man is privy to, the most elemental, savage emotions of hatred, revenge, envy, rage and murder. Yes, it has been so since the dawn of time. The history of mankind is a history of savage warring between tribes, of slaughter of other human beings on an unimaginable scale. Only in the last centuries, with the advent of Western civilization, has this drive to make war been somewhat tempered. According to the new book, "Before the Dawn", by Nicholas Wade, if past rates of murder caused by tribal warring of ancient and primitive peoples were extrapolated into today, we would be witnessing slaughter on the scale of billions of victims a year.

Yes, perhaps it is true, as Wade states, that humans have evolved differently over the millenia, and, especially in the West, have become more peaceful. In the East, a tribal, warring, nomadic and polygamous culture has bred a people highly suited to aggression and warfare, while in the West, our developed and highly technological society based on trade and science has bred for intellect, cooperation and peacefulness.

But when these two civilizations clash, it will become incumbent upon the peaceful one to rediscover their inner savage, and learn to fight back. We rediscovered it in WWII. We must rediscover it again. I'm sure Ronald Reagan or Winston Churchill would have come up with some brilliant quip or comment that would have served as a perfect smack-down. Sadly, all our own best intellects can come up with is -- we won't answer because we don't know what to say and we don't want to offend further.

Lambs to the slaughter. The silence of the lambs.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

China Confidential

By Aussiegirl

According to the always up-to-date blog, China Confidential, Secretary Paulson's recent trip to China produced little if nothing of value to the United States. Be sure to check out China Confidential on a regular basis. This blog has a number of sources close to the subject, providing invaluable analysis and inside information.
This is an excerpt from a much longer analysis.

China Confidential

Simply put, the so-called summit was a disaster--for America. Against a depressing backdrop of unfair Chinese trade practices--including illegal currency manipulation--which have helped to hollow out the US economy to the detriment of millions of workers, Beijing's Communist Party rulers have offered to engage the US in "strategic dialogue." Incredible! The "responsible stakeholder"--whose missiles, machine guns--and nuclear know-how and technologies--have a way of showing up in the hands of some of the planet's worst people, the "peacefully rising" regional power that protects the likes of Islamist Iran and Stalinist North Korea, the "status quo power" that threatens to erase self-ruled, democratic Taiwan and seeks to replace the US "hegemon" as the world's dominant economic and military power, has actually agreed to ... talk.

board room, or with the powers that be in Communist China, but not in the democratic marketplace of ideas.Amazing--not! Paulson's speech after arriving in China was an insult to the intelligence of every American worker; and his "heaven help" America warning, should it, heaven forbid, demand action instead of talk, was downright offensive, a remark that may play well in a despotic

What is truly amazing is this: never before in its history has the US been so influenced by a foreign dictatorship as it is today in the case of China. China's reach and influence in American economic, political, and academic life is without precedent. From Wall Street to Washington, from Corporate America to the classrooms of the country's leading universities, one can easily ruin his or her career by speaking out against Chinese tyranny and treachery.

For Americans who see China as a menacing adversary, the phenomenon is increasingly worrisome. Imagine if the Soviet Union had been America's biggest creditor. Consider what it might have been like if US consumers had been funding Soviet imperialism by buying cheap Soviet-made goods, kept artificially low in price by a manipulated currency regime. Think about a behemoth like Wal-Mart, which is essentially China's US retail partner, or arm, stuffed with Soviet toys,TVs, clothing. (By the way, one wonders if the launching of Wal-Mart's generic drug price war was timed to coincide with the Paulson visit.)

Proving the Pope Right by Amil Imani

By Aussiegirl

Once again, Ultima Thule is privileged to feature the writing of Iranian expatriate and democracy advocate, Amil Imani. Amil explains how the Muslims have proved the Pope to be correct.

The New Media Journal | Proving the Pope Right by Amil Imani

Pope Benedict XVI in his speech of September 12 at the University of Regensburg, Germany, perhaps unintentionally provided the Muslims with a golden opportunity: the opportunity to prove to all enemies of Islam that Muhammad indeed gave the world magnificent new teachings.

The Pope, in the course of his speech alluded to a 1391 comment of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus in a debate with an educated Persian:
“Show me just what Mohammad brought that was new, and there you find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

No sooner had the Muslims learned of this comment than, once again, rage engulfed them. They became indignant, hysterical and ready to war. Not long ago, there was the report, published by a rag seeking to boost its sacking circulation, that American military personnel had flushed the Quran down the toilet, a physical impossibility that turned out to be baseless upon investigation. Yet, the Muslim street bellowed with anger, attacks on non-Muslims and their properties were unleashed and lives were lost in the violence.

Before long, we had the imbroglio of the Danish cartoons insulting Muhammad, as the Muslim saw it. Embassies were torched, boycotts were enacted and all kinds of threats were hurled at the tiny nation for one of its newspapers printing cartoons that Muslims felt were offensive.

Before the dust could settle, the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush, dared to call “Islamic fascists,” Islamic fascists. Truth is not always welcomed in all quarters. Islamic centers and their well-paid, highly vocal media lobbyists launched a furious attack on the President for the use of the term “fascist” in connection with the rarified name of Islam. Opportunists from the left, such as the Democratic Senator from Wisconsin, Russ Feingold, found the President’s usage so unacceptable that he took it upon himself to write a letter to the President lecturing him.

And now the Head of the Catholic Church has greatly offended the sensibilities of Muslims by quoting a long ago statement of an emperor in a debate.

Muslims wear their religion on their sleeves and the slightest contrary wind disturbs its cozy sanctified perch. Yet, these very people of great religious fervor have no problem in inflicting all kinds of verbal and physical abuse on non-Muslims. Why the double standards? Read the Quran.

The Islamic world is once again in uproar. Why should the Muslims be outraged? Why should they react by torching churches, shooting a nun in the back and retaliating by calling the Pope and Christians all kinds of names? What happened to reason and dialogue? Their “Dialogue-man,” the smiling fake Mullah Khatami, is presently touring the West to promote dialogues. Apparently the snake-oil salesman Mullah means a different thing by “dialogue.” His side can say and do whatever they want and the other sides should simply acquiesce—a great Islamic offer.

The Muslims missed a golden opportunity. Their greatly-pampered legions of high clerics should have put their medieval heads together and made the case for Islam, if they could. If successful, not only would they have humiliated the Pontiff but impressed the rank-and-file Christians of the marvelous good teachings that Muhammad brought for mankind, for the first time. An added benefit could have been the conversion of the disbelievers to Islam.

Yet, the way the Islamic leaders are responding to the Pontiff’s speech is indeed a great embarrassment to Islam at a time when the world is repeatedly shocked by the many barbarities Muslims commit. The Supreme Spiritual Guide of Iran’s Muslims, Mullah Khamenei, for instance, has urged the close-minded faithful to hold huge protest demonstrations. It appears that the call of the Mullah for demonstrations is an attempt at intimidation, the best he can do since he does not have a rational, defendable response, as he is not able to send his assassins all the way to Rome to carry out the preferred Islamic way of supplying answers. Also, who knows, perhaps some of his rabid followers -- the three Fs: fools, fanatics and frauds -- will find a nun to shoot in the back during the hoped-for hysterical gatherings. If not, there are a few churches in the country that can be looted first and then burned to the ground.

Question: How in the world is a huge demonstration the appropriate answer to the perceived affront allegedly committed by the Pontiff’s speech? With great spiritual guides like Khamenei, Islam does not need non-Muslims to go to the trouble of defaming it. Islam’s teachings and Muslims’ actions are more than convincing proof to any impartial person to second the Pontiff’s speech.

Islamic web sites and newspapers have supplied their own form of rebuttal to the Pontiff’s statement. They proudly, some contend shamelessly, wave the sword and promise the end of all infidels, people of the cross and the Zionists.

Only three days after the Pope’s speech, Iraq’s Mujahidin Shura Council issued its own very Islamic response, inadvertently substantiating the Pontiff’s comment. Here is a part of what the Council posted:

"After the stupid and obeyed bearer of the cross flag, Bush, declared a few years back the start of a new crusade on Islam and its people and launched his crusade with the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the servant of the cross, the Vatican Pope, appears before us, orbiting around Bush, to continue in Bush's footsteps with his flagrant assault on Islam and its prophet, Muhammad, may God's peace and blessings be upon him, especially with his remarks on 'the duty of jihad in the name of God' -- a duty that flowed through the body of the nation and terrified crusaders the world over."

The self-appointed custodian of the religion of “peace” continues with its superb logical reasoning by warning the “worshippers of the cross”: “You and the Romans are on a date with the defeat you see every day in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and elsewhere." The Council promises to "Break the cross, spill the wine, and enforce the al-jizyah (tax levied on non-Muslims in return for protection), leaving people with a choice between Islam and the sword." The statement vows, "For we will press forth with our jihad and will not stop until Allah enables us to cut your throats, and until the banner of monotheism is raised and Allah's law prevails over all lands and all people."

You be the judge. Did these defenders of the one and only true religion of Allah say anything that in any way falsifies the quotation the Pontiff used?

“There is not a truth existing which I fear [...] or would wish unknown to the whole world,” said Thomas Jefferson.

This is truth. The barbarians are at the gate. This time around, the people of the sword have their collaborator Useful Idiots inside busily doing all they can to dismantle our secular democratic system and replace it with the tyrannical Islamofascism.

Amil Imani is an Iranian born, pro-democracy activist who resides in the United States of America. Amil is a poet, writer, literary translator, novelist and an essayist who has been writing and speaking out for the struggling people of his native land, Iran. He and his family escaped Iran after the radical Islamic revolution. He maintains a website at www.amilimani.com.