Is Egypt the source of jihadism?

One writer in a forum about the excellent webcomic Doc Rat asked “Is Egypt the source of jihadism, though? I was under the impression that the Wa’habi sect in Saudi was the main cause…”

I think he’s sort of right both ways. Egypt is the home of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the “double-nucleus” pieces that form the core of jihadism in the past century. Al Qaida is a Muslim Brotherhood franchise, and is currently run by a Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian. But the Brotherhood itself is a splinter from the Salafi brotherhood in Saudi Arabia, and huge amounts of Wahhabi money have been used to leverage the spread of Brotherhood ideas for decades.

A bit of history Continue reading

A Note on Patriotism and a Rare Heinlein Mistake

From this Robert Heinlein address to Naval midshipmen:

Today, in the United States, it is popular among selfstyled “intellectuals” to sneer at patriotism. They seem to think that it is axiomatic that any civilized man is a pacifist, and they treat the military profession with contempt. “Warmongers”-” Imperialists”- “Hired killers in uniform”-you have all heard such sneers and you will hear them again. One of their favorite quotations is: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

It is rare that I disagree with Robert Heinlein; I have great respect for the man not just as a writer but as a philosopher. Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving

I am inclined to recap and update something I’ve said of Thanksgiving in the past.  I like the idea of Thanksgiving, frankly. I have been fortunate in many ways; some of it is pure luck, but a very large amount of the good in my life comes from other people.

First among them, and no surprise to people that know me, is my Lady Anne. She makes it worthwhile. My Lady is an utter delight, in so many ways, and I recognize how lucky I am in this.

And you, my friends in this electronic world, many of whom I have been privileged to meet and earn the friendship of directly — you form an important part of my life, and an important way in which I have been extremely fortunate.

We have different ideas, sometimes, on issues from science to politics, but while so many such blogs fall into atrocious namecalling and puerile bahaviors, you here have made this a place where differences can be expressed and offered in a very civil discourse.

I have been fortune indeed.  Thank you — and Happy Thanksgiving — to you all.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Humor for the “ows” movement

Jim Fister at Finding Ponies has a post up about jokes for the “occupy” movement. He referred to a collection started here, but encouraged any contributions.

I had two, so far:

What’s the difference between the Tea Party and the occupy movement?
One burns with national pride and waves the flag. The other waives national pride and burns the flag.

Why should you always write it lower-case “ows”?
Because they hate capitalism.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

“Crony corporatism” — the use of wealth and power to buy government favoritism and rig the market — is a large problem, a fact observed by any who care to look. According to news reports, both the Tea Party and the occupy movement are motivated by this aspect, but the difference is crucial:

The Tea Party says “get rid of government favoritism” leaving the free market alone. The end result would turn America back into a leading power bringing wealth and prosperity to the world, raising the living standards of all.

The occupy folks say “get rid of capitalism” leaving government favoritism as the only game left. The end result, in my opinion, would turn America into Zuccotti Park writ large.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

ClimateGate 2.0

Developing…

5,000+ more emails, and hundreds of thousands of more to be released at some future time.  [Update] So far, these appear to be an additional release from the same November 2009 ClimateGate harvest.  The Guardian has a story up.

There is also a set of documents, mostly Word but some in WordPerfect, going back quite a few years.  One talks about Windows 3.1 configurations.

Gut feeling so far: There will be no major surprises for people following this; the bias and shady approaches and attempts to hide results are familiar to anyone who is familiar with the Global Warming cause.  Amusingly, there are quite a few explicit references to “the cause” between the scientists — “you’re not helping the cause!” if you stray from the catastrophist line.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Occupy Theme Fail

I have been torn between being wryly amused and disappointed by the “occupy” movement. It contains many people who fantasize about killing people like me and destroying the free enterprise system and rule of law that made the United States so great. At the same time, they are utterly blind to actual crony capitalism if it’s on the Left: they like big government and expect handouts.

But I am a poet and songwriter, among other things, and thus I was interested in the song recently produced as a theme song for this movement. Unsurprisingly, it is full of references to killing people to get what they want: “Freedom is our canvas, your blood our paint” he sings, and he’s going to “string up” people that have achieved success.

Lovely. There are so many references to killing successful people — “pigs” he calls us — that one could easily miss a hilarious and accidental “fail” included in the video. Thirty-two seconds in, the movement is actually described fairly — and I don’t know if the composer of the video is capable of appreciating the irony:

I did laugh when I saw it. I grabbed this from the video that as of midnight is still the artist’s official version.

I have no doubt that he’ll be changing it shortly. Or perhaps he thinks that “CAPITALISM failed everyone except my parents, so they gave me money so I could stand here and be upset” is going to impress his audience.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Veterans Day and a bit of rhyme

We in the United States are here, and we are able to continue to live in the lifestyle that we enjoy, thanks to veterans. Of course, there are others involved as well, but only a small percentage of the population places themselves in harms’ way in support of ideals and principles that we worked so hard to establish more than two centuries ago. From time to time, these are threatened.
Continue reading

MF Global: Beyond crony capitalism

You might remember that a great deal of regulation was put into place to “protect consumers” from financial misrepresentation. Various new procedures would make certain that businesses were on the up-and-up. Of course, we’ve seen huge amounts of failure in the “green jobs” arena, but these are special cases, Protected by Special Relationship. They don’t operate by the same rules.

But consider MF Global: Not necessarily the same sort of Special Relationship, though the head of the company (until yesterday) was a Democrat politician — a Senator and recent Governor of New Jersey. Continue reading