Friday, November 30, 2007

China refuses Hong Kong port

An article about US relations with China (not covered too much nowadays) as well as an analysis of the Citibank buyout

Stop Letting Them Treat Us Like a TurkeyBy Diana WestFriday, November 30, 2007

What could the USS Kitty Hawk and Citigroup possibly have in common?
I'll start with the aircraft carrier because I'm still stewing over what happened when the People's Republic of China abruptly denied the USS Kitty Hawk and its accompanying ships and submarines their routine, scheduled Thanksgiving berth in Hong Kong, where hundreds of crew members' families had gathered (at considerable expense) to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones.
First, there was the nasty act itself. News accounts speculated about the "reason" -- was it President Bush's recent meeting with the Dalai Lama? Our latest arms agreement with Taiwan? -- but there's no rationale worth gleaning beyond the fact the Chinese wished to snub us very publicly on a quintessential American holiday. And so they did.
Then there was our reaction, best described as muted. Indeed, "perplexed" was one of the stronger words used to describe the U.S. attitude, which was also quick to assert that future military exchanges and whatnot with the Communist Chinese wouldn't suffer.
Well, couldn't they suffer just a little bit? There's got to be a better U.S. response -- somewhere between imitating a doormat and lobbing a nuclear warhead -- to abusive Chinese gamesmanship. The Pentagon has now issued a formal protest of the incident, which includes a second even more egregious instance in which China denied access to two U.S. minesweepers seeking shelter in Hong Kong from a storm. But overall, as a nation, we slap a relentlessly happy face on things.
And that goes for all of us, certainly as consumers. The day after the Hong Kong Affront, millions of us set out on pilgrimages all across America to malls where we scooped up all manner of goods "made in China" without a second thought for the Kitty Hawk sailors chugging back to home port in Japan without seeing their families in Hong Kong. We weren't thinking of much besides that giant plasma TV at 40 percent off. We certainly weren't wondering whether it was (dare I say it?) patriotic to buy Chinese. And not simply because of this recent cat-and-mousing around. China is using the dollars we pay for heaps of stuff we don't need to bulk up as our military and political rival.
As consumers in a global economy where brand loyalty usually trumps national consciousness, we don't think of it that way. Partly that's because our leaders don't think of it that way, either. They certainly don't talk about it that way. "Money makes the world go around" sums up the conventional wisdom. Which is probably as good a point as any to bring in the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority's recent infusion of $7.5 billion into Citigroup.
In exchange, Abu Dhabi will receive a guaranteed, whopping 11 percent return on its investment, which analysts flag as an indicator of Citigroup's desperation. But there's something else about the deal, something few consider: The deal necessarily accelerates the Islamization of Western finance. The Abu Dhabi government is now Citigroup's largest stockholder. The second-largest stockholder is a Saudi prince -- Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the one whose millions then-Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani turned down, Harvard and Georgetown snapped up, and who also owns 5.5 percent of Fox News.
Is this a great thing for America? Or is the Islamization of American banking a concern? All Western financial institutions are increasingly accommodating Islamic finance, with its adherence to Sharia (Islamic law) and the collection of zakat (charitable tax), which analysts such as Rachel Ehrenfeld and Jeffrey Imm tell us help finance jihadist indoctrination and terror groups. Do the financial mechanisms to support these anti-Western practices belong at the center of American finance?
Stunningly, the question doesn't seem to occur to the powers that be -- including Congress, where hearings on Sharia finance would well serve the nation. In a paper called "Islamic Finance or Financing Islamism?" Alex Alexiev of the Center for Security Policy outlines the threat this way: "To put it simply, any Western institution that endorses Shariah-compliant products, ipso facto endorses the hateful Islamist ideology behind it, whether they know it or not. Shariah is an integral doctrine and there is no such thing as selecting just a few convenient Shariah tenets and rejecting the rest. By endorsing Shariah, Western banks end up becoming what Lenin called useful idiots or worse to the Islamists. And it is a very thin line between that and outright complicity in the Islamist agenda."
Something else for our leaders to become, er, perplexed about.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"West Bank"

Here is a book that describes the so-called "West Bank" which is really termed the "Mountains of Israel" in the bible, Ezekiel 36. This is a timely book to read when Israeli peace negotiations happen.
The Mountains of Israel (Paperback)by Norma Parrish Archbold (Author)

"For everyone who loves the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the events unfolding in the Middle East are important..." (more) Key Phrases: ancient hatred, desolate land, West Bank, Holy Land, Middle East (more...)

Editorial Reviews
Book DescriptionAcclaimed on five continents as the book about the Arab-Iraeli conflict that every believer should read, some 60,000 copies of The Mountains of Israel have been sold in English, Norwegian, Spanish, and Telagu. German and Hebrew translations are yet to be printed. About the AuthorNorma Archbold, MA, former Director of Religious Education, served the Lord in Jerusalem and the West Bank where she researched and wrote The Mountains of Israel, provided free Bibles for Arabs, arranged for emergency aid to Christians, and fought for a high standard of truth in the media and for the release of new believers jailed and tortured by the PA. See all Editorial Reviews

Inside This Book (learn more)
First Sentence:"For everyone who loves the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the events unfolding in the Middle East are important." Read the first page

Key Phrases - Statistically Improbable Phrases (SIPs): (learn more) ancient hatred, desolate land
Key Phrases - Capitalized Phrases (CAPs): (learn more) West Bank, Holy Land, Middle East, Mount Seir, Joan Peters, Promised Land, Arab Palestinians, United Nations, Arabic Islamic, State of Israel, Jordan River, New York, Golan Heights, Islamic Arabic, Soviet Union, Arab Islamic, Dead Sea, Lord God, Near East Report, Sde Boker, United Arab Republic
New! Books on Related Topics Concordance Text Stats

Browse Sample Pages:Front Cover Copyright Table of Contents Excerpt Index Back Cover Surprise Me!

Search Inside This Book:
Citations (learn more)

This book cites 18 books:
From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters on 10 pages
The Innocents Abroad (Dover Value Editions) by Mark Twain on page 29, and Back Matter
Arab-Israeli Wars by Chaim Herzog in Back Matter
The Historical Geography of the Holy Land by George Adam, Sir, Smith in Back Matter
The Arabs in History by Bernard Lewis in Back Matter See all 18 books this book cites

5 books cite this book:
Exodus Cry: Sounding a Prophetic Call to Strategic Prayer for Israel and the Jewish People Worldwide by Jim W. Goll in Back Matter
Christian Family Guide Explains the Middle East Conflict (Christian Family Guides) by Steven Adams in Back Matter
Zionism and the State of Israel: A Moral Inquiry by Michael Prior in Back Matter
California's Arab Americans by Janice Marschner in Back Matter
Basic Training: A Believer's Guide to Spiritual Battle by Kim Freeman in Back Matter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful:
The Bible and the 'West Bank'. A priceless study !, December 1, 2002
M. D Roberts (Gwent, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews An excellent study in the legitimacy of Israel in Judea & Samaria, or what the world calls the 'West Bank', from a Biblical perspective.
Most readers will be familiar with the term 'West Bank' as there is rarely a day when the term is not used on one television news station or another. However, few will be aware of how the term came into being, or recognise it's historical relationship to what the Hebrew Scriptures & Christian Bible refer to as 'the mountains of Israel'.
This is a very timely & extremely important, perhaps unique, book which seeks to convey the often overlooked foundation to the increasingly significant situation in the Middle East.
The author openly states at the outset, that the authority for the disclosed contents of this work rest firmly on the Bible & that those who do not accept such a foundation for the veracity of this work will not accept the conclusions, declarations or findings so commendably outlined.
The writer reminds us that in 1948, Jordanian forces captured the historical Jewish regions of Judea and Samaria. Then, in 1950, Jordanian King Abdullah annexed the districts of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, although only two nations (Britain and Pakistan) recognised the move.
The writer continues to explain that, in order to reduce Jewish claims to the aforementioned areas, Jordanian King Abdullah dropped the names Judea and Samaria, announcing that the annexed land would henceforth be known as the 'West Bank of the Kingdom of Jordan', since it was located to the west bank of the Jordan River. These historical facts can be investigated by any interested party.
This book then studies in some detail, quoting a vast number of references, a considerable & significant amount of promises made to the Jewish people in the Hebrew/Christian Scriptures pertaining to the Land which has been known as the 'Mountains of Israel, Judea & Samaria and most recently in the political realms of today's international community as the 'West Bank'.
It is clearly illustrated in this work that the 'Mountains of Israel' and the 'West Bank' are identical. The 'Mountains of Israel' being the very heart of the Land promised by God to the children of Israel and their descendants. The areas of Judea and Samaria being the inheritance of the Jewish tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Joseph, and include the historical Jewish towns/cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Bethany, Bethel, Shilo, Shechem and Hebron, to mention but a few.
This highly recommended book should be read by everyone, every Christian, every Jew and every Arab...and every politician. To ignore this perspective on the subject is to bury one's head in the sand. All the prophetic sources quoted by the author have proved factual to date, and those still to be fulfilled are already taking shape.
This book is well documented with the provision of numerous maps showing the location of the disputed areas.
We all owe it to ourselves to be aware of the facts illustrated in this book. An excellent read which will instill a new perspective on Israeli/Jewish legitimacy in the so-called 'West Bank'....Judea & Samaria.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
The Miracle Nation, April 16, 2005
Joburgpete "irridium" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews This brilliant little book provides an excellent Biblical perspective to the events that have been unfolding in the Middle East, and what is to come. The author explores the striking similarity between developments there and chapters 35 and 36 of the book Ezekiel. In truth, there are remarkable correspondences and it means mostly good news for Israel. The text, illuminated by maps throughout, explains that the so-called West Bank is called the Mountains of Israel in the Bible. This land had been promised to Abraham's descendants through Jacob (Israel) from the time of Genesis. This promise is unconditional and will be fulfilled, just like the restoration of Israel has been fulfilled. In the chapter The Desolate Land, the neglected condition of the land prior to the return of large numbers of Jews is investigated, with reference to the reports of visitors like Mark Twain (Innocents Abroad) in the 1860s, W M Thompson in 1866 and Samuel Manning in 1874. It also looks at the Ottoman Turkish occupation of this land from 1516 to 1917. The chapter Promises deals with the return of Jews to Israel from the mid 19th century, the League of Nations' designation of Palestine as a homeland for the Jewish people and the return from various Arab countries, Ethiopia and Russia. Mount Seir explains the identity of the Biblical Esau and Edom and contains genealogical charts of Arab and Jewish ancestors. The rest of the nations around Israel are also discussed here. The next chapter looks at the ancient historical roots of the hatred for Israel, the creation of Transjordan in 1922 and the UN vote to create Israel in 1947. On its day of birth in 1948, six Arab states moved to destroy the infant state. The outnumbered and poorly armed Israel repulsed them, although Jordan occupied most of Judea and Samaria. It is difficult not to see this as a miracle. Again in 1967, Israel repulsed numerically superior Arab armies and finally gained control of the mountains of Israel, plus the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. Although caught by surprise, Israel in 1973 again triumphed over its enemies in the Yom Kippur war. Only the wilfully blind will refuse to admit that some kind of intervention took place here. The chapter They Boasted Against The Lord discusses the statements of Arab leaders from the 1930s and the continued slander against Israel that is now increasing in intensity. This chapter also discusses the Palestinian refugees in a compassionate way and compares the absorption of Jewish refugees from Arab lands to the situation of Palestinian refugees today. In Balaam And The First Exodus, the author remarks that this story of Balaam and his donkey is so well known for a definite purpose, and points out how the scenario is repeating itself. The United Nations has been condemning Israel for its every move, whilst ignoring atrocities and genocide worldwide, like those in Chechnya and Sudan. Western leaders ought to take note too. It is unwise to try and force dangerous "Auschwitz" borders on Israel. The text includes Ezekiel 35 and 36, an extensive bibliography, and three indices: by year, by Biblical books and alphabetical. The maps and illustrations make the text come alive and easy to understand. This book is probably the most informative and enlightening source on the history of modern day Israel. Not only does it clear up the ignorance and dispel the myths, it also establishes an undeniable link between Biblical prophecy and ME history of the last few decades. What's more, it points toward some awesome developments that will take place in that area in coming decades, events that will have an effect on the whole world. It is becoming increasingly difficult to argue that the establishment of Israel, its victories in 1948, 1967 and 1973 and the return of its people from all corners of the globe have happened by accident. Also, the increase in Anti-Semitism and the demented hatred of Israel and the USA in certain quarters are hard to ignore. These phenomena become clear in the context of this book. For further elucidation, I refer the interested reader to the following books: Unholy Alliance by David Horowitz, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye'or, The New Anti-Semitism by Phyllis Chesler, The The Case for Israel by Alan Dershowitz, Standing With Israel by David Brog and Why Care about Israel?: How the Jewish Nation Is Key to Unleashing God's Blessings in the 21st Century by Sandra Teplinsky. The Mountains Of Israel will increase the knowledge of practicing Christians and Jews and will give open-minded secularists a lot of food for thought. May the reader be blessed with insight and understanding.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful:
Good primer into the Middle East situation, April 28, 2003
Cassie Luu (TX United States) - See all my reviewsThis book was a very basic introduction into the Arab-Israeli conflict - and therein lies its strength and weakness. The reader will have a better understanding of the root causes of the conflict, but it does leave her wanting to know more.
The story was repetitive at first, but if you can get past this, you will be amply rewarded. Ms. Archbold clearly presents her assertion - that the Jewish people have a God given right to the land of Israel that overrides anybody else's claim to it. She mainly focuses on chapters 35 (a curse AGAINST Mount Seir or the Arab peoples) and 36 (a blessing FOR the Mountains of Israel or the Jewish people) of Ezekiel to prove her point.
At first glance, the observer might accuse God of being unfair to the Arab nations. But Ms. Archbold plainly demonstrates how God has NOT been unfair to them. She points out how much land they already do have, how much natural resources (i.e. oil) they have been blessed with, and STILL they begrudge Israel and what little she has. Also, Ms. Archbold imparts how Israel has always tried to treat the Arab nations fairly (in the past and present), but these nations have mostly refused to return the same courtesy. However, she gently reminds us that it is the Arab leaderships that deserve our condemnation. The Arab people, though, need to know what we Christians already know - that God wants to extend His grace to them as well.
As other reviewers have stated, the maps were very effective in illustrating the territories in question.
All and all, a very good, lucid primer into the Middle East situation.
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Friends of Israel: A list by Joburgpete "irridium"

Good tidings to Zion: A list by Joburgpete "irridium"


An interesting article about our French brethren.

Walter Russell Mead On Sarkozy Further link here:

Writing at on the showdown between the new French president and transportation unions, Mead writes that this could be Sarkozy's leadership moment:

Sarkozy’s challenge today is a stark one. If he has gauged things right, the French have quietly made up their minds that the time for change has come. As Margaret Thatcher faced down the coal miners, and as Ronald Reagan faced down the air traffic controllers, a Sarkozy who overcomes the transport unions will take a decisive step toward the modernization of France, and join the pantheon of great French leaders who have helped the country remain a world leader through good times and bad. If he fails, he may not have to run to London (like so many failed French rulers of the past), but risks beginning to look like a lame duck just six months into his five year presidential term. That is an outcome that France, Europe, and the broader West cannot afford.

Iraqi Surge Analysis

Madhi Army: NY Times Zigs, AFP Zags
Interesting contrast between the NY Times Baghdad correspondent’s sniffing dismissal of the effectiveness of the troop surge and their assessment of Moqtada al-Sadr’s role in the reduction of the violence in Iraq, on Monday:
It’s not a simple cause and effect. The surge is a factor — but there are others, too, including the shifts in tactics among the violent elements in the Sunni and Shiite camps.
On the Shiite side, the decline in violence against Sunnis comes mainly from a cease-fire by Moktada Al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric, which began after a scandalous bit of violence involving his militia in one of Iraqi’s holiest Shiite cities.
American commanders have said that they are aggressively negotiating with Sadr officials to help keep his militia, the Mahdi Army, in check. But if the cease-fire ends, if Mr. Sadr’s whims shift, that could push violence up again — no matter how many troops are here. Basically, the Americans find themselves playing the role of facilitators, hoping that both sides stick to their newfound strategies, and doing everything they can to keep it that way.
Compared to the French AFP reporting the very next day, Tuesday. H/T the Sundries Shack.
DOZENS of militants loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were arrested in a massive assault by US and Iraqi troops in the central city of Diwaniyah, officials said overnight.
Iraqi security officials said 3000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen supported by military tanks and hundreds of US and Polish troops launched the assault on Saturday to flush out Shiite militants from the city.
Hussain al-Buderi, a member of the Qadisiyah provincial council, said 49 militants from the Sadr group, including four leaders, were arrested since the launch of Operation Lion’s Leap.
Interesting contrast. Let’s see how long the left holds on to the meme that the reduction in violence in Iraq is driving by the Madhi Army “cease-fire”
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Monday, November 19, 2007


I wanted to send you an article about a movie called Redacted. Some say this movie could be an "inspiration for future terrorists!" Anyway, let me know if you have any comments.

Medved on 'Redacted': 'It Could Be the Worst Movie I've Ever Seen'
By Dave Pierre | November 18, 2007 - 19:38 ET
"It could be the worst movie I've ever seen" ... "[T]he out and out worst, most disgusting, most hateful, most incompetent, most revolting, most loathsome, most reprehensible cinematic work I have ever encountered." ... "It portrays the members of our Marine Corps in the most disgusting way imaginable." ... "This film is an atrocity. It is zero stars." ... "I honestly was close to vomiting when I saw the film." ... "It is a slander on the United States of America." ... "Everyone associated with this film ought to be ashamed." ... "Will it inspire future terrorists? Of course it will!"
That's prominent movie critic Michael Medved on the new film "Redacted." Lest anyone think that Bill O'Reilly's recent outrage over the film is an overreaction, Medved tells Bill, "It's worse than you think."
Johnny Dollar's Place has the must-hear audio.

The following is a partial transcript:

MEDVED: ... I am actually one of the few people in the country who has seen the new movie. It is called "Redacted" ... And let me just tell you, before I go to actually reviewing it: It could be the worst movie I've ever seen. I mean, the out and out worst, most disgusting, most hateful, most incompetent, most revolting, most loathsome, most reprehensible cinematic work I have ever encountered. This is having reviewing movies for more than 25 years. [It] covers a lot of disgusting ground, but none more disgusting than 'Redacted,' which portrays the Marine Corps, one of the finest organizations ever assembled by human beings, portrays the U.S. Marine Corps, as corrupt, vicious, racist killers and rapists ... (snip) ...
It portrays the members of our Marine Corps in the most disgusting way imaginable. They hang out in barracks, drunk or stoned, with Confederate flags all over the place. And the head Marine, who is the leading rapist and murderer, is a big fat guy, I mean, hugely out of shape, right - just the typical Marine (sarcastic) - Marines tend not to look like that - big fat guy, overhanging belly, cigar-chomping, loud-mouthed, sort of fair-complexion. His name is Rush. Nothing in movies is an accident. They're clearly trying to indict and smear Rush Limbaugh by saying that secretly he wants to rape and abuse 14-year old girls and murder them and then burn their bodies ... (snip) ...
The film is atrociously acted. It's incredibly badly done ... (snip) ...
Look, I never say this. I don't believe in boycotts. I don't. But I actually think Bill O'Reilly, I know has been going on about this movie even though he hasn't seen it. O.K. I've now seen it. Bill, Bill - hey. It's worse than you think.
This film is an atrocity. It is zero stars as far as I'm concerned. It's very much Rated R. I honestly was close to vomiting when I saw the film. I have seen a lot of unspeakable garbage in years and years of reviewing movies. Nothing quite like this. It is a slander on the United States of America. It is a slander on the Marine Corps. It is a slander on our troops. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, paid for this entirely. Now he elsewhere has given money to support the troops. I know he has. He ought to be ashamed. Everyone associated with this film ought to be ashamed. I will never see a Brian De Palma film in the same way again. This is a veteran Hollywood director. What is he trying to do with this kind of thing? Will it inspire future terrorists? Of course it will! Because it portrays the United States troops in Iraq as sick, murderous, deviant losers.

Ugh. Do yourself a favor. Avoid De Palma and Cuban's piece of filth and trash. This Thanksgiving, go see "Bella." It's a nice, sweet film, and it's great.

—Dave Pierre is the creator of and a contributor to NewsBusters.

Dave Pierre's blog
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Friday, November 16, 2007

New England Frontier

I wanted to send you information about this book which might be a good book to read before thanksgiving. It tries to give a fair, but accurate account of the times of the pilgrims. Anyway, let me know if you have any comments about it.

Browse Sample Pages:Front Cover Copyright Table of Contents Excerpt Index Back Cover Surprise Me!

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
The Early, Early Show, May 19, 2007
Bomojaz (South Central PA, USA) A sensitive and sensible look at English-Indian relations in New England, 1620-1675. Vaughan attempts to dispel a number of myths (myths that have only intensified over time), by demonstrating that: 1) The Puritans did not push the New England Indians off their land. Indians owned and sold their land. 2) The Puritans did not deplete the food source of the natives. Game did decrease as more and more English settled in, but Indians were agricultural and grew most of their food. 3) The Puritans did not upset the Indians' economic pattern by underpaying them for goods and services. The tools Indians received from the English as payment for furs and land, for instance, were highly prized. 4) The Puritans did not kill off the Indians in a series of military actions. Warring tribes probably caused as many Indian deaths as the English, and the immediate causes of the Pequot War and King Philip's War were complicated and emerged from both sides. 5) Indians were not mistreated out of hand by the English in legal cases; for example, the death penalty for murder applied to all, regardless of race. Indians were frequently compensated for damaged property caused by the colonists' livestock. 6) The Puritans were not indifferent to the physical, moral, and spiritual well-being of the Indians. Puritans did not even regard the natives as a different race, but rather as white men with different features caused by their environment and "debased" by the Devil. Like themselves, they viewed the Indian as a creature fallen from Grace, and worthy of salvation. I am not expert enough to know exactly on which side of these "myths" the truth actually lies, though I suspect Vaughan is more correct than not. The political incorrectness of his views, however, seem fairly obvious and would probably receive little consideration today or be dismissed out of hand. This would be unfortunate, however, for much of what Vaughan has to say seems fair and reasonable. For all that, it's an interesting book, well written, and, in a provocative way that older historical works often are, a breath of fresh air.

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful:
Tribes and Colonies, June 17, 2002
"guiscard" (Toms River, NJ United States) In 1620 the English Puritans settled in the region they called New England. There they met the natives, the Indians. This book explains how the Puritans and Indians related with each other until 1675. Vaughan demonstrates that the Puritans did not exploit the Indians as often believed but dealt fairly with them. He neither denigrates nor whitewashes either the Puritans or the Indians, but is fair to both sides.
Vaughan describes the Indians, their beliefs and customs, and what they thought of the Puritans. Vaughan also portrays the beliefs and customs of the Puritans and their attitudes towards the Indians. Vaughan recounts how the Puritans and the Indians allied together to destroy the aggressive Pequot tribe in the Pequot war in 1637.Vaughan sketches the trade between Puritans and Indians, at first trading furs for items and later for wampum. Then he describes how the Puritans tried to fit the Indians fairly into their legal system. Finally he recounts the Puritans attempts to convert the Indians to Christianity.
This is an excellent account, based on extensive primary and secondary sources, of the little known period before King Philips attack on the Puritans changed how the colonists and the Indians saw each other.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Movies II

"Bella" and the Pro-Life Film TrendBy Brent Bozell IIISaturday, October 27, 2007
In a political act loaded with cultural symbolism, Sen. Hillary Clinton endorsed an effort to earmark a million taxpayer dollars for a museum in Bethel, N.Y., celebrating the circus of 1969, the Woodstock music festival. Other senators smelled the pork and successfully voted to remove it.
The tie-dyed, drug-soaked postwar babies that populated that muddy plain are now approaching Social Security age, and the aging hippies that made their way into the establishment want to imbue the notorious excesses of their youth with respectability. The New York Times said the Bethel complex would be "what Cooperstown is to baseball" -- a hippie Hall of Fame.
I liked that music. I still do. Then, as now, I simply ignored the cultural and political messages. Many others didn't.
The bohemian worldview of Woodstock Nation is in some ways dominant, and in some ways passe in our popular culture. Hallucinogenic drugs are no longer the rage, but the "free love" spirit of "if it feels good, do it" still runs strong, especially in our entertainment world. And yet, burbling beneath a noisy culture of sexual excess and self-love, there's a quiet undercurrent in our movies carrying subtle, and even obvious, pro-life themes.
Last Christmas, there was "Children of Men," a dark science-fiction look into England, 20 years from now, where human fertility has vanished. One pregnant woman becomes a damsel in grave danger, and then with the birth of her child, a beacon of hope.
Six months later, the small movie "Waitress" followed a lonely waitress with a good-for-nothing husband who decides (against Tinseltown's grain) to keep her baby. Summer brought the big, crude sex comedy "Knocked Up," a tale of a beautiful blonde who improbably mates with an overweight schlub, a man the world would say is "not in her league." But underneath the crudity, another pro-life story emerges: not only does she keep the baby, she tries to build a marriage and family.
Those two movies were close enough together to represent a tiny trend -- and film critics denounced it as an affront to their "pro-choice" beliefs. The women chose life, and that was wrong. To them, it smelled of fear and corner-cutting. They noted the word "abortion" wasn't used in the scripts. (But couldn't pro-lifers make the same complaint?)
It showed "the studios' terror at giving offense," whined the Boston Globe. "Hollywood is No-Choice," was the disgusted headline in The New York Times. "Both movies go out of their way to sidestep real life," since "two-thirds of unwanted pregnancies end in abortion." But what about the one-third of "unwanted" pregnancies in real life that result in real life? They cannot be celebrated?
Apparently not. "I think it's shocking that the subject of abortion as a choice has been so eliminated from the discussion," said one alarmed feminist to The Washington Post. This is quite absurd, since modern movies like "The Cider House Rules" and "Vera Drake" celebrated wise and sympathetic abortionists.
Now comes the little movie Bella, which won the People's Choice award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Once again, a single waitress finds herself pregnant and feels that abortion is her only way out, until she spends a day with a man who's just lost his soccer-star career. In that one day together, their lives are changed forever, and she decides to carry her baby to term. Oh, boy. Here we go again. The word "abortion" is never mentioned in the movie.
Worse yet for the Hollywood elite, the executive producer of "Bella" is Steve McEveety, who was also executive producer of "The Passion of the Christ." He says as "The Passion" showed us how to die, "Bella" shows us how to live.
Movie critics will probably hate it, since it doesn't even have oodles of sex and profanity in it to keep them entertained. Variety already booed: "Manipulative pic trades in fairytale views of New York life alongside briefly sustained emotional confessions."
The makers of "Bella" are different than the average Hollywood moviemakers. They have refused projects they didn't feel were uplifting. Their religious convictions had led to a desire to make redeeming films. Their company is named Metanoia Films, after the Greek word for "conversion" or "repentance." Those are not Hollywood words. But they are words that can resonate all over the Main Streets of America.
So what does Main Street think of "Bella"? Preview audiences repeatedly have given it standing ovations.
Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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Here are two articles about current movies. The first shows that most Americans are rejecting movies that are anti-American. This article is refreshing in the sense that, while America does have sins, it is not always the root of all evil that some people like to present it is beint. The other is an article about a new movie that is presented as the anti-Narnia, or an atheists version of Narnia. It is interesting to see the analysis of this movie as it is coming out soon. I hope you find these comments on current culture interesting.

Anti-war Movies Bombing at the Box Office

By Matthew Sheffield November 10, 2007 - 14:38 ET
Remember those anti-war Iraq movies Hollywood was crowing about this summer? Turns out that crowing was more than a little premature: they've been spectacular bombs at the box office:
The wave of recent films set against the backdrop of war in Iraq and post-9/11 security has failed to win over film-goers keen to escape grim news headlines when they go to the movies, analysts say. [...]Almost without exception, however, the crop of movies have struggled to turn a profit at the box-office and in many cases have received a mauling from unimpressed critics as well."Rendition," a drama starring Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal about the CIA's policy of outsourcing interrogation of terror suspects, has taken just under 10 million dollars at the box office, a disastrous return. Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis's latest film "In the Valley of Elah," about a father investigating the death of his son in Iraq, earned favorable reviews but less than seven million dollars following its release in September.The studio marketeers ought to have seen this coming for the simple reason that people go to the movies to be entertained not preached at.Besides their silly moralizing, these Iraq war movies face a significant problem: they're being made by a bunch of insulated, rich Hollywood types who really have no idea what being in a war is like, let alone what being in the military is like. This problem is compounded hugely by the fact that you can within seconds pull up any number of military blogs like BlackFive, Mudville Gazette, and get real reports from real soldiers.There's also a third problem. The American public is not nearly as angry and delirious about Iraq as the far left. Most Americans view our labors in Iraq the same way they view their local sports team. Up until recently, the home team's performance has been lackluster which has meant for less public support. Now that things have begun to turn around, however, Americans are viewing Iraq a lot more positively. This news couldn't have come at a worse time for "Rendition" and company. —Matthew Sheffield is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, a web marketing firm.

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Bozell Column: The Christian-Crushing Movie

By Brent Bozell November 11, 2007 - 06:37 ET
As the movie studios gear up for a big Christmas movie season, one trailer that looks like a blockbuster is “The Golden Compass,” which must be trying to cash in on the “Narnia” movies. It has flashy special-effect polar bears in armor and a young heroic damsel in distress facing off against evil forces. The casting is top-notch, led by Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, the current star spy in the James Bond movies. But buyer beware: Narnia it’s not. It’s the anti-Narnia. Instead of a Christian allegory, it’s an anti-Christian allegory. The author of “The Golden Compass,” Philip Pullman, is an atheist who despises C. S. Lewis and his much-beloved Narnia series. “I thought they were loathsome,” he said of those books, “full of bullying and sneering, propaganda, basically, on behalf of a religion whose main creed seemed to be to despise and hate people unlike yourself.”This book and movie is only the first in his trilogy, titled “His Dark Materials,” that gets more and more anti-religious in each book. Pullman hates orthodox religion and “those who pervert and misuse religion, or any other kind of doctrine with a holy book and a priesthood and an apparatus of power that wields unchallengeable authority, in order to dominate and suppress human freedoms.” If you hear the ring of anti-Catholicism, you’re right. The evil empire in this movie for children is called the “Magisterium,” which is exactly the word Catholics use to describe the teaching authority of the Pope and his bishops. The books are more explicit, in which the evil institution is also called “The Church” and the higher-ups are the “Vatican Council.”British columnist Peter Hitchens has explained how our secular thought-shapers would love for Pullman to undercut Narnia’s influence on children: “The cultural elite would like to wipe out this pocket of resistance. They have successfully expelled God from the schools, from the broadcast media and, for the most part, from the Church itself.” He writes that while Lewis mocked atheists as joyless, Pullman depicts priests as evil and murderous, drunk and probably perverted, and the Church as “a conspiracy against happiness and kindness.”Isn’t it a bit perverse to head into the Christmas holiday season hyping an atheist fantasy movie for kids? No doubt sensing this, Pullman and the movie makers have ventured on a dishonest but energetic public-relations campaign to convince the public that this film isn’t really anti-Christian. It’s a plea for open-mindedness and spiritual dialogue. The church is just a metaphor, see.The movie’s director, Chris Weitz, spins it this way: “In the books, the Magisterium is a version of the Catholic church gone wildly astray from its roots. If that's what you want in the film, you'll be disappointed.” Weitz says they merely “expanded the range of meanings” for the Magisterium, that it’s merely a metaphor for tyranny of any stripe: “Philip Pullman is against any kind of organized dogma whether it is church hierarchy or, say, a Soviet hierarchy.” That would be more believable if Hollywood had a track record of casting a Soviet hierarchy as evil – and if Hollywood didn’t have its own organized dogma of secular fundamentalism.Nicole Kidman spins it her way: “I was raised Catholic, the Catholic Church is part of my essence. I wouldn't be able to do this film if I thought it were at all anti-Catholic."The media have played happily along in disguising Pullman’s religion-bashing. On NBC’s “Today,” weatherman Al Roker delighted in making “The Golden Compass” the fall book selection of “Al’s Book Club for Kids.” Pullman appeared on NBC to deny that he was really promoting atheism. He touted letting the reader decide what the author intended, in a “democracy of reading.” The closest he came to atheism was saying the book championed “open-minded intellectual curiosity.” If that sounds like a transparent dodge, it certainly was. He told the students asking questions to think of the Taliban in Afghanistan. But the menace in Pullman’s trilogy isn’t called the Caliphate, and its hideous monsters aren’t mullahs. They are cardinals and priests, and the heroes are an atheist former nun and two rebellious gay male angels.The atheists may be angry that the movie waters down Pullman’s anti-religious message, but they can take comfort in the fact that many parents (and grandparents and even godparents) will, sadly, buy the hype over this movie and buy this trilogy of vicious anti-religious books for the young readers in their lives. To the Christian book buyer, beware: instead of celebrating God’s son born in the flesh, you’ll be celebrating God being killed so that man can advance to true consciousness. For those anticipating the wonder of Narnia, you’ll have to wait until next May, when “Prince Caspian,” the second installment, returns magic to the screen.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Secret Servant

This is a novel which becomes an allegorical story about the current Clash of Civilizations.

Novelist Daniel Silva writes espionage thrillers, the perfect sort of book for airplane travel and summer vacations.But he is far better than most because not only is he a fine spinner of tales full of tension and plot, but because his point of view on the world is undeniably Zionist and realist. His most recent novel. The Secret Servant, is relentless not only in its narrative, but also in its communication of the realities of the world in which we live.The novel opens in Amsterdam, and after a scathing indictment of Dutch policies towards the radical Islamist networks in that country and a conversation inside Israeli security services that includes a scathing review of the botched Hezbollah-Israeli war of the summer of 2006, the novel takes the protagonist, Israeli Gabriel Allon to London for a meeting with MI5's deputy director general, Graham Seymour:
As Gabriel climbed into the car, Seymour appraised him silently for a moment with a pair of granite-colored eyes. He did not look pleased, but then few men in his position would. The Netherlands, France, Germany and Spain all had their fair share of Muslim radicals, but among intelligence professionals there was little disagreement over which country was the epicenter of European Islamic extremism. It was the country Graham Seymour was sworn to protect: the United Kingdom.Gabriel knew the crisis now facing Britain was many years in the making and, to a large degree, self-inflicted. For two decades beginning in the 1980s and continuing even after the attacks of 9/11, British governments both Labour and Tory had thrown open their doors to the world's most hardened holy warriors. Cast out by countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, they had come to London where they were free to publish, preach, organize, conspire and raise money. As a result Great Britain, the land of John Locke, William Shakespear, and Winston Churchill, had unwittingly allowed itself to become the primary incubator of a violent ideology that sought to destroy everything for which it had once stood . The British security and intelligence services, confronted by a gathering storm, had responded by choosing the path of accommodation rather than resistance. Extremism was tolerated so long as it was directed outward, toward the secular Arab regimes, America, and, of course, Israel. The failure of this policy of appeasement had been held up for all the world to see on July 7, 2005, when three bombs exploded inside the London Underground and a fourth tore a London city bus to shreds in Russell Square. Fifty-two people were killed and seven hundred wounded. The perpetrators of this bloodbath were not destitute Muslims from abroad but middle-class British boys who had turned on the country of their birth. And all evidence suggested it was only their opening salvo. Her Majesty's security services estimated the number of terrorists residing in britain at sixteen thousand--three thousand of whom had actually trained in al-Qaeda camps--and recent intelligence suggested that the United Kingdom had eclipsed America and Israel as al-Qaeda's primary target.Here on pages 48 and 49 is a brief primer on the sources and extent of the threat the West faces, and the reader hurries through it to get on with the story which is already unfolding rapidly by the time Allon arrives in London. Again and again Silva includes an aside intended to inform his reader --Hezbollah's activities in Argentina are extensive, for instance-- even as the reader is entertained.Silva has sold millions of books because they are good. We should hope that he sells millions more because they are also correct. If you have time, move through the Allon novels in order:
2000 The Kill Artist
2002 The English Assassin
2003 The Confessor
2004 A Death in Vienna
2005 Prince of Fire
2006 The Messenger
2007 The Secret Servant
But if you are pressed for time or know a particularly dense friend who thinks 9/11 was an inside job or that we went to Iraq for the oil, give them The Secret Servant first and work backwards from this chilling-because-it-is-all-too-real story.

Looming Tower & America Alone

A Page on the World: The Looming TowerPosted 4/19/2007 7:20 PMAdd to Add to
Lawrence Wright's excellent book, The Looming Tower, won a Pulitzer prize this week for general non-fiction. I recommend the book to anyone wanting a basic primer on the roots of Islamic jihad. I quoted a portion of the book in this article.Hugh Hewitt has links to other works–by Wright and Mark Steyn–that he says should form the foundation for any discussion of the threat from Islamo- facism.Recommended reading all.