The Spectacle Blog
We're hearing about a meeting that was held last Friday among a number of Republican/conservative staff from third party groups that lobby on Capitol Hill, everyone from the U.S. Chamber to the Family Research Council. The intent of the meeting was an update from the staff of Sen. John McCain and others on the Senate side about the lobbying reform effort.
The news from McCain's staff was to be expected: that the process was moving forward, there would most likely be legislation, but that the Senator preferred a tough, comprehensive look at the issue instead of window-dressing.
What was surprising, according to some attendees, was the blunt talk from Sen. Rick Santorum's aide, who essentially said that lobbying reform was inevitable and that everyone should just get in line and take it like a man.
That's awful. The so-called "People's War" has created nothing but a cycle of mysery for that poor country. My cousin Geoff goes to Nepal regularly for the Himalayan Cataract Project. Sanduk Ruit, his "stridently apolitical" partner, has good relations with both sides; they can generally move through the mountains without too much trouble. But the worsening situation won't make their amazing work, literally restoring sight to the blind and half-blind, any easier.
The prevailing wisdom, backed up at the United Nations, in the streets of Paris, and by popular perception, is that when push comes to shove in the clash of civilizations, Europe will not fight. And Europe will lose.
I have shared this fear -- fear because a weak Europe that allows itself to be overrun and brought to heel is a bad outcome for the United States and Western civilization. Not by a long shot am I adequately convinced that a round of terror bombings won't send Europe into a "we deserve it" spiral of preemptive surrender.
An Iranian newspaper is planning a Holocaust newspaper contest in retaliation for the Danish Muhammad cartoons. Go for it. The contrast will be all too striking: while those with good taste (if not well-formed consciences) condemn them, they won't resort to burning Iranians in effigy or other acts of violence.
I've been drafted. Laura Ingraham is in Baghdad, doing radio interviews for her show, so I'm sitting in at the DC studio. Tune in this morning. We're hearing from Laura in Iraq and I'll be interviewing State Department spokesman Sean McCormack about the cartoon intifada later in the show. Lots from Laura. See ya on the radio.
Report that it is nowhere written in the Koran that it is blasphemous or heretical or forbidden to draw or paint or represent an image of Mohammed. Also, it is impossible in Islam to misrepresent or distort a representation of God, because the Koran teaches that God is unseeable, unknowable, inconceivable in a human way.
More, Mohammed is human, a prophet, not divine or semi-divine in any fashion. To represent him is to represent a human being who was born of a woman, lived as a merchant and husband, died a mortal death in his day. This is not similar to provocative vulgarity about Jesus Christ, or about Yahweh or Jehovah or the Lord God Almighty. Mohammed was a man, two arms, two eyes, one brain. The only reluctance to be found in Islam about drawing Mohammed is the teaching of various characters that to picture Mohammed is to encourage idolatry. However, the rioting over Mohammed's image is a direct result of such dimwitted and proscribed idolatry.
Report from Kathmandu that the Maoist guerrillas grow bolder on the third day of the general strike they have called to last seven days. On the second day, two Maoist terrorists got into a taxi in greater Kathmandu, in front of a hospital, and shot to death the young driver because he was working on a general strike day. Clashes between Maoists and the police and army are now routine.
The complication in this tidy anti-terrorist scenario is that the government is a one-man tyranny: it is one year since Gyanendra seized total control of the capital city; since then he has become the mayor of the palace and a few streets of Kathmandu. He calls himself the king. The Chinese favor him; the Indians oppose him; the Nepalese favor money and services and tourists, all of which are now rare.
Nepal is the roof of the world, and the roof is falling in. China and India, giants of the 21st century, will battle ceaselessly on this surrogate battlefield. The U.S. position so far is to support India: watch for duplicity later in the decade.
Report from Cairo that the Mubarak regime has failed in the episode of the Red Sea Titanic so badly that there is no repair. Mubarak is hiding from the relatives; and Mubarak has not even sent his son and intended successor Gamal to meet with the families.
Who is looking to profit from the catastrophe is the Moslem Brothers in Cairo. The Moslem Brothers are not leading street protests; instead the Moslem Brothers are demanding a full explanation not only as to why the ferry sank (a most suspect craft) but also as to why there was no Egyptian rescue effort launched.
The Moslem Brothers are learning to build a popular base that is decidedly anti-regime. The future is the likelihood of a popularly elected jihad for the 75 millions of Egypt. Democracy, Ummah style.