Muslim on Muslim violence does not divert the hypocritical gaze of the jihadist. Only imagined conflict pitting the west and modernity against Islam and tradition draws their ire.
While our foreign policy–that being the west in general–does play a role in stoking the naked hatred and aggression of terror groups such as al-Qaida, Abu Sayyaf, Hezbollah, and Hamas, it by no means consists as the primary make-up of the whole, and to claim as much is disingenuous. It is the Islamist ideology that stands at the center of their philosophical, religious, and political ideologies that exists as their principal rationalization behind their actions; all stemming from the Qur’an and the Hadith and a desire to emulate in all things their prophet, Muhammad.
Whether it be lying (taqqiya), plural marriage, spousal abuse, pedophilia, or murder, all is justifiable in the pages of the Muslim holy text with Muhammad setting the proper example for all good followers of Islam.
So while suicide and car bomb attacks will likely persist for decades, while the west continues to embrace such concepts as political correctness, multiculturalism, one-world governments, and unbridled, reckless equality, those who wish us harm will continue to exploit those weaknesses until, under our very noses, sharia law rules the land–overly dramatic yes, but a point that cries out for continued repetition rather than an absurd impossibility. Until our leaders can fully understand a concept of life within Dar al-Islam, we will only trudge ever on toward that possibility.
The events of the last few days have been sobering for us all. The response from some UK Muslim groups (influenced by Islamist thinking) is still largely to blame foreign policy (undoubtedly an exacerbating influence but not the cause), rather than marching “not in my name” in revulsion against terrorist acts committed in Islam’s name. By blaming foreign policy they try to divert pressure off themselves from the real need to tackle extremism being peddled within. Diverting attention away from the problems within Muslim communities and blaming others – especially the west – is always more popular than the difficult task of self-scrutiny. And what part of foreign policy do the Islamists want us to change to tackle terrorism? Withdrawal from Iraq?
The UK presence on the ground in Iraq is minuscule compared to the US. We currently have 5,500 troops from 40,000 at the start of the invasion. We will reduce them further to 5,000 by the end of the summer. The bulk of which will be located near Basra airport in a supporting role. Next year will likely see the numbers dwindle even further. Our troop presence is far more symbolic than military. It provides the Americans with their “coalition of the willing”. The US, by contrast, is the only serious occupier in the country with over 160,000 troops. The government will not (and cannot) admit it, but we have been in withdrawal mode since the end of the war.
And once we’ve left Iraq, will they be satisfied? Of course not. Their list of grievances is endless: Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine, Burma … so long as the world is presented as one where the west is forever at war with Islam and Muslims there is nothing we can do to appease the terrorists and those who share their world view. Instead it is this extremist world view that must change.
Take for example the idea that radical Islamists are concerned about Muslim life (let’s ignore human life in general for a moment). Where is their outrage at the 400,000 Muslims slaughtered in Darfur? Where are the marches and calls for action against this ongoing genocide? Where is the “Muslim anger” boiling up amongst British Islamists? It is nowhere to be seen because the Darfurians have been massacred by fellow Muslims, not by the west. Hence it does not appear on the Islamist radar screen as a “grievance”. Such is the moral bankruptcy of this ideology.
No, it’s not foreign policy that’s the main driver in combating the terrorists; it is their mindset. The radical Islamist ideology needs to be exposed to young Muslims for what it really is. A tool for the introduction of a medieval form of governance that describes itself as an “Islamic state” that is violent, retrogressive, discriminatory, a perversion of the sacred texts and a totalitarian dictatorship.
When the IRA was busy blowing up London, there would have been little point in Irish “community leaders” urging “all” citizens to cooperate with the police equally when it was obvious the problem lay specifically within Irish communities. Likewise for Muslim “community leaders” to condemn terrorism is a no-brainer. What is required is for those that claim to represent and have influence among young British Muslims to proactively counter the extremist Islamist narrative. That is the biggest challenge for British Muslim leadership over the next five to 10 years. It is because they are failing to rise to this challenge that the government feels it needs to act by further eroding our civil liberties with anti-terror legislation to get the state to do what Muslims should be doing themselves. If British Muslim groups focus on grassroots de-radicalisation then this will provide civil liberty groups the space they need to argue against any further anti-terror legislation.
Of course I would like to see changes in our foreign policy and have marched on the streets (with thousands of non-Muslims) in protest on many occasions. But blaming foreign policy in the face of suicide attacks is not only tactless but a cop-out that fails to tackle extremism, fails to promote an ethical foreign policy and fails to protect our civil liberties.
As stated in part 1 of this report, after the panelists (Dr. Brook, Dr. Sultan, and Dr. Pipes) took the stage and began their opening dialogs, and as Dr. Daniel Pipes began discussing the jihadi threat around the world including the UCLA campus, the protests and disruptions began.
(Again, as stated in part 1, the pictures in the auditorium and outside after dark aren’t of high quality. I apologize.)
Dr. Pipes continued to speak, despite the fact that was apparently distracted by something that was transpiring in the audience. I looked behind me and noticed that several audience members began rising from their seats, notably a few young women of Middle-Eastern descent wearing hijab (and it looks like that gentleman in the glasses is flipping me the bird. POWER TO THE PEOPLE, DUDE! Ahem.) No one shouted and no one created much of a ruckus initially. They simply made their way to the aisles and the exits.
Thus the protesting of Dr. Pipes and the panelists began–with a bit of a whimper.
Dr. Pipes continued to speak, but he was slightly preoccupied with this initial tide of the protest. Still, he and the panelists conducted themselves professionally. They didn’t acknowledge the activists with anger or disdain, choosing rather to ignore them for as long as possible.
More protestors rise and head for the exits. As you can see, it continued quietly and with a considerable amount of reserve from those in revolt, so much so that many in the audience barely took notice, as you can see in the above picture.
Unfortunately, this relative decorum would not last.
Welcome to the Age of Aquarius. The above three women must be having one hell of a flashback because they can’t seem to remember that this is 2007 and not 1969. As they passed me up the aisle, making their way toward the exit, it became apparent to me that more had likely been planned by the protestors, and specifically these three elderly ladies, in order to create chaos and disorder within the nights proceedings. As one can see from this photograph, the three women all had black shirts with large white letters plastered on the front. It was obviously meant to spell out “LIAR” but the opportunity to stand united and actually spell the word for the panelists and/or the audience never came to pass. Alas, the will to fight seems to have been drained from these particular women. They didn’t even try, opting instead to simply walk out of the auditorium without executing their carefully laid plan–without even trying.
At least, the “R” and the “A” lady gave up. The “LI” lady wasn’t as easily deterred.
This particular protestor, pictured above, was evidently the better third of the “LIAR” lady trilogy. While she didn’t have anything intelligent to say, she said it loudly and repeatedly.
“LIARS! LIARS! LIARS! LIARS! LIARS!” All the while she too made for the exits.
Wagging her finger at the panelists, the “LI” lady resumed her retreating diatribe, “LIARS! LIARS! LIARS!”
By the time she started shouting, so too did the audience, admonishing her and the other protestors disruptive behavior. Many in auditorium at this point were adding their voices to the din, urging the “LI” lady to beat a hasty retreat so the panelists could forge ahead.
The protests from these three women didn’t quite make sense to me. If they were protesting Dr. Pipes and the other panelists, claiming they were liars, then it was apparent to me they (the three ladies in particular) had never even attempted a read of the Qur’an. Many of the statements by the panelists, even this early in the discussion, could be referenced directly from the words and actions of Muhammad within the pages of the Qur’an, or even better, the Hadith. So dubbing the panelists liars was inaccurate. They weren’t there to lie. They were there to provide truths and opinions on what actions might or must be taken to protect the west from radical Islam.
As Dr. Sultan stated during the event, no one has ever murdered someone because they were emulating Jesus. If one wishes to emulate the prophet Muhammad however (as every good Muslim is taught and required to do as Muhammad is the embodiment of the perfect man and all men and women should be like him), killing and murdering by his example is sanctioned within the pages of the Qur’an and the Hadith.
Finally, one last protestor unfurls a large sign (too big for his wingspan to handle appropriately as you can tell from the above picture–it seems to read “s DON’T SUPPORT TE SPEECH.”) Needless to say, the sign was difficult to read.
Dr. Pipes in the upper left calmly waits until the protests subside.
I think it said, “DON’T SUPPORT HATE SPEECH.” I heard quite a bit of hate speech from the “LI” lady. She spewed “LIARS!” forth with quite a bit of acerbically drenched venom, but I didn’t notice hate speech coming from any of the panelists. Some in the auditorium may have been slightly surprised by some of the verbiage coming from Dr. Brook for example, but hate speech appeared relegated to the protesters alone.
As the disruptions subsided, Dr. Pipes resumed his initial comments. You can see he had to remove the lav mic attached to his lapel and bring it closer to his mouth because some in the back of the venue had difficulties hearing him speak.
After a couple of minutes, I became audibly aware that a commotion was taking place outside of the building. Predicting more protests, I quickly shot from my seat (no offense to panelists hopefully) and made my way outside to see what might be taking place.
Yup. More protests. The individual on the far right of the above picture even sported a fashionable kaffiyeh and military fatigues while banging peacefully on his tabla.
I couldn’t quite make out what the sign read though.
Ahh! Of course. The protesters had taken the opportunity to transform the panelist’s discussion, Totalitarian Islam’s Threat to the West, into a peace protest against the war in Iraq. That makes perfect sense, especially since the discussion rarely focused on Iraq or the American military adventure within. In fact, the only time the war in Iraq every really surfaced in the dialog was during the question and answer period at the end. This event was not about the Iraq war, but the protesters felt (in a somewhat bigoted manner) that speaking about radical Islam must logically relate directly to that conflict, despite the fact that the majority of the worlds Muslims do not live in the Middle East.
Within this group marched Muslims, hippies, students, young children and even babies (who obviously had no idea why everyone was shouting so angrily.) It was ragtag, and barely organized. The march itself was pathetically short, mostly regionalized to the west face of the building wherein the panelists were speaking, and the south side of the building.
I honestly can’t remember what everyone was shouting. All I can say is how disappointed I was to see what appears a fellow metal-head, framed in the center of this photograph, participating in the peace march. Dude, metal is not peaceful.
I was sad to see I had just missed Muslims participating in salah–their prayers, but at least I managed to snap a picture of their rolled up musallah.
There were some young Muslims minutes later praying, but my camera did not take any adequate photographs of their activities unfortunately.
Finally, I re-entered the auditorium and took my seat, taking in the rest of the discussion. Oddly, I had been wondering earlier in the day as to why this issue of radical Islam is such a polarizing one. In general, why does it divide so evenly down political lines? Why is it so partisan? If the left is the champion of women’s rights, equal rights, no war, etc. why would they so recklessly wish to support a religion as oppressive to its followers, particularly its women, as Islam? I mean, the left generally would rather abolish all religion anyway. Why fight for a religious faith that sanctions plural marriage, marriage to children and the subsequent pedophilia (as Muhammad did with Aisha when she was six), beating of women, killing of dissidents, etc.? These are some of the major tenets that the left purports they desire so strongly to prevent, yet they stand in solidarity with Islam. So why the blatant hypocrisy?
Dr. Pipes and Dr. Brook actually satisfactorily answered my question thanks to a question from the audience. The reason why leftists support Islam is because they all share a common enemy–George W. Bush specifically and western culture and society generally. Who cares if Muslims, under the auspices of Islam and Muhammad, commit abhorrent acts of terror, killing scores of innocent people throughout the world? They hate George Bush. They hate the West and the decent individualistic values we stand for.
It was an interesting and enlightening evening and I hope Dr. Pipes will make his way back soon, for myself and those who wanted to hear what he and the other panelists had to say, and for the panelists right to say it.
I have a few catch-up items for everyone today in honor of Al Gore’s appearance yesterday before the House Committee on Global Warming (hasn’t congress heard it’s called ‘Global Climate Change’ now? ‘Global Warming’ is so last year.)
The VP has been recently dubbed “The Goracle” by his army of the faithful. [Because let’s be clear, despite varying evidence for and in opposition to global climate change/warming, it is a matter of faith. Just as Christians have faith that Jesus is God and he will return to judge the quick and the dead, and just like Buddhists have faith they can work to expunge all bad vibes in order to obtain enlightenment, and just as Muslims believe they can subjugate the entire world and establish sharia law throughout the land, the global climate change religionists believe man is primarily responsible for global warming and the fate of the planet due to our actions and/or inactions–science can often be another form of provable and improvable doctrinal creed.] The faithful seem to overlook The Goracle’s obvious and environmentally damaging hypocrisies, most recently evidenced in his egregiously wasteful personal energy policies at his own mansion in Tennessee, and including the plane zips from state to state, country to country in a private jet delivering his Academy Award winning slide show to the eco-zombies of the world, when he could just as easily travel commercially much of the time.
But oh, as he claimed in yesterday’s hearings, and as he’s previously self-extolled, he’s living a ‘carbon neutral’ lifestyle through the purchase of ‘carbon offsets,’ or credits, from an enviro-friendly company that specializes in that sort of nonsensical diddle.
But even an organization that specializes in carbon offsets has no clue how they actually function to reduce specific amounts of carbon dioxide (human only I assume despite that fact that humans are not the leading cause of CO2 production.) Dan Skopec, Undersecretary for California Environmental Protection Agency, is a man who represents the cheerleading effort behind carbon footprint reduction, while ensuring that Arnold Swarzenegger’s and Dianne Feinstein’s environmentally unfriendly lifestyles are made to look much less horrific than they actually. Recently interviewed for the John and Ken Show on KFI 640 in Los Angeles, Skopec confessed, after repeatedly dodging the question, that he, and the scientific community as a whole (at least the tree-hugger variety), have no idea how many trees it would take, and how long they would need to remain standing, in order to offset the billions of tons of C02 we produce. The concept of Swarzenegger and Feinstein and The Goracle spending $10 to buy the right for a single tree to offset the gobs of carbon dioxide they produce in just one private jet trip is comedy. The fact that they obviously spend more (probably) for multiple trees with no clue as to what is officially necessary in order to actually reduce their ‘carbon footprint’ is an absurdity to the point of tragedy.
So send me $10 and I’ll nail the bill right to the tree in my back yard (if I did in my front yard, someone might steal the money and you wouldn’t gain anything)–you’ve just purchased the right for my tree to reduce your CO2 emissions. How much? Like Mr. Skopec above, I have no clue. But it can’t hurt can it? Yet that’s how most scams seem to function, and stating that global warming is the major emergency of our time as Gore claimed yesterday lends more credence to those who do not question what they’re told and their willingness to buy into a scam without thinking for themselves.
But all this matters little to the mindless legions who follow The Goracle. Like an apoplectic discharge, they punish those who don’t exactly buy into the global warming theory, while choosing to ignore billions of years of undocumented, unrecorded evolutionary earth history–ice core samples, yeah–that has shown the earth transforming, evolving, metamorphosing, and arguably transmogrifying (yes, Mother Nature, you can be an ugly bitch sometimes) throughout the eons, warming and cooling.
Of course, what all of this really boils down to here are new taxe increases for everyone courtesy of the Al Gore global warming conspiracy and his next bid for President of the United States in 2008. Still, I’d vote for him over George W. Bush any day of the week (of course, I’m kidding. I would simply abstain.)
Anyway, here’s a fantastic documentary produced by the UK Channel 4 titled The Great Global Warming Swindle. Proceed further down the page for more news stories.
Here’s a NYTimes piece from a week ago. Though a little old, it’s interesting.
Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.
But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.
“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”
Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.”
Although Mr. Gore is not a scientist, he does rely heavily on the authority of science in “An Inconvenient Truth,” which is why scientists are sensitive to its details and claims.
Criticisms of Mr. Gore have come not only from conservative groups and prominent skeptics of catastrophic warming, but also from rank-and-file scientists like Dr. Easterbook, who told his peers that he had no political ax to grind. A few see natural variation as more central to global warming than heat-trapping gases. Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots.
Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Mr. Gore for “getting the message out,” Dr. Vranes questioned whether his presentations were “overselling our certainty about knowing the future.”
Typically, the concern is not over the existence of climate change, or the idea that the human production of heat-trapping gases is partly or largely to blame for the globe’s recent warming. The question is whether Mr. Gore has gone beyond the scientific evidence.
“He’s a very polarizing figure in the science community,” said Roger A. Pielke Jr., an environmental scientist who is a colleague of Dr. Vranes at the University of Colorado center. “Very quickly, these discussions turn from the issue to the person, and become a referendum on Mr. Gore.”
“An Inconvenient Truth,” directed by Davis Guggenheim, was released last May and took in more than $46 million, making it one of the top-grossing documentaries ever. The companion book by Mr. Gore quickly became a best seller, reaching No. 1 on the New York Times list.
Mr. Gore depicted a future in which temperatures soar, ice sheets melt, seas rise, hurricanes batter the coasts and people die en masse. “Unless we act boldly,” he wrote, “our world will undergo a string of terrible catastrophes.”
He clearly has supporters among leading scientists, who commend his popularizations and call his science basically sound. In December, he spoke in San Francisco to the American Geophysical Union and got a reception fit for a rock star from thousands of attendees.
“He has credibility in this community,” said Tim Killeen, the group’s president and director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a top group studying climate change. “There’s no question he’s read a lot and is able to respond in a very effective way.”
Some backers concede minor inaccuracies but see them as reasonable for a politician. James E. Hansen, an environmental scientist, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a top adviser to Mr. Gore, said, “Al does an exceptionally good job of seeing the forest for the trees,” adding that Mr. Gore often did so “better than scientists.”
Still, Dr. Hansen said, the former vice president’s work may hold “imperfections” and “technical flaws.” He pointed to hurricanes, an icon for Mr. Gore, who highlights the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and cites research suggesting that global warming will cause both storm frequency and deadliness to rise. Yet this past Atlantic season produced fewer hurricanes than forecasters predicted (five versus nine), and none that hit the United States.
“We need to be more careful in describing the hurricane story than he is,” Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Gore. “On the other hand,” Dr. Hansen said, “he has the bottom line right: most storms, at least those driven by the latent heat of vaporization, will tend to be stronger, or have the potential to be stronger, in a warmer climate.”
In his e-mail message, Mr. Gore defended his work as fundamentally accurate. “Of course,” he said, “there will always be questions around the edges of the science, and we have to rely upon the scientific community to continue to ask and to challenge and to answer those questions.”
He said “not every single adviser” agreed with him on every point, “but we do agree on the fundamentals” — that warming is real and caused by humans.
Mr. Gore added that he perceived no general backlash among scientists against his work. “I have received a great deal of positive feedback,” he said. “I have also received comments about items that should be changed, and I have updated the book and slideshow to reflect these comments.” He gave no specifics on which points he had revised.
He said that after 30 years of trying to communicate the dangers of global warming, “I think that I’m finally getting a little better at it.”
While reviewers tended to praise the book and movie, vocal skeptics of global warming protested almost immediately. Richard S. Lindzen, a climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, who has long expressed skepticism about dire climate predictions, accused Mr. Gore in The Wall Street Journal of “shrill alarmism.”
Some of Mr. Gore’s centrist detractors point to a report last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that studies global warming. The panel went further than ever before in saying that humans were the main cause of the globe’s warming since 1950, part of Mr. Gore’s message that few scientists dispute. But it also portrayed climate change as a slow-motion process.
It estimated that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches — down from earlier estimates. Mr. Gore, citing no particular time frame, envisions rises of up to 20 feet and depicts parts of New York, Florida and other heavily populated areas as sinking beneath the waves, implying, at least visually, that inundation is imminent.
Bjorn Lomborg, a statistician and political scientist in Denmark long skeptical of catastrophic global warming, said in a syndicated article that the panel, unlike Mr. Gore, had refrained from scaremongering. “Climate change is a real and serious problem” that calls for careful analysis and sound policy, Dr. Lomborg said. “The cacophony of screaming,” he added, “does not help.”
So too, a report last June by the National Academies seemed to contradict Mr. Gore’s portrayal of recent temperatures as the highest in the past millennium. Instead, the report said, current highs appeared unrivaled since only 1600, the tail end of a temperature rise known as the medieval warm period.
Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, said on a blog that Mr. Gore’s film did “indeed do a pretty good job of presenting the most dire scenarios.” But the June report, he added, shows “that all we really know is that we are warmer now than we were during the last 400 years.”
Other critics have zeroed in on Mr. Gore’s claim that the energy industry ran a “disinformation campaign” that produced false discord on global warming. The truth, he said, was that virtually all unbiased scientists agreed that humans were the main culprits. But Benny J. Peiser, a social anthropologist in Britain who runs the Cambridge-Conference Network, or CCNet, an Internet newsletter on climate change and natural disasters, challenged the claim of scientific consensus with examples of pointed disagreement.
“Hardly a week goes by,” Dr. Peiser said, “without a new research paper that questions part or even some basics of climate change theory,” including some reports that offer alternatives to human activity for global warming.
Geologists have documented age upon age of climate swings, and some charge Mr. Gore with ignoring such rhythms.
“Nowhere does Mr. Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet,” Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Australia, said in a September blog. “Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.”
In October, Dr. Easterbrook made similar points at the geological society meeting in Philadelphia. He hotly disputed Mr. Gore’s claim that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this” threatened change.
Nonsense, Dr. Easterbrook told the crowded session. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts, he said, were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.”
Getting personal, he mocked Mr. Gore’s assertion that scientists agreed on global warming except those industry had corrupted. “I’ve never been paid a nickel by an oil company,” Dr. Easterbrook told the group. “And I’m not a Republican.”
Biologists, too, have gotten into the act. In January, Paul Reiter, an active skeptic of global warming’s effects and director of the insects and infectious diseases unit of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, faulted Mr. Gore for his portrayal of global warming as spreading malaria.
“For 12 years, my colleagues and I have protested against the unsubstantiated claims,” Dr. Reiter wrote in The International Herald Tribune. “We have done the studies and challenged the alarmists, but they continue to ignore the facts.”
Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton who advised Mr. Gore on the book and movie, said that reasonable scientists disagreed on the malaria issue and other points that the critics had raised. In general, he said, Mr. Gore had distinguished himself for integrity.
“On balance, he did quite well — a credible and entertaining job on a difficult subject,” Dr. Oppenheimer said. “For that, he deserves a lot of credit. If you rake him over the coals, you’re going to find people who disagree. But in terms of the big picture, he got it right.”
Gore brings his message on global warming — and a reincarnated image — to the Capitol.
By Faye Fiore and Richard Simon, Times Staff Writers
March 22, 2007
WASHINGTON — The doors swung open and he made his entrance with cameras clicking, the wooden politician denied the presidency and derided as “Ozone Man” was coming home to the Capitol. But this time they called him a movie star and likened him to a prophet.
Al Gore left Washington seven years ago bowed by the 2000 presidential election and a little disgraced in the eyes of his party — couldn’t he at least have won his home state?
But he returned Wednesday reincarnated: the subject of an Academy Award-winning film, a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, a 58-year-old guy who, slightly grayed and a little puffy, can share a stage with Leonardo DiCaprio and still manage to be the center of attention.
The onetime congressman, senator and vice president was back, this time to testify about global warming. The Oscar for “An Inconvenient Truth” — the documentary about his traveling slide show on the ravages of climate change — doesn’t even belong to him; it’s the director’s. But it has pushed Gore into another orbit in Washington’s universe. People started lining up as early as 7 a.m. to get a glimpse of him.
“This is the most dangerous crisis we have ever faced,” Gore told a joint meeting of two House panels in an impassioned appeal for bold action. (He later repeated his case on the Senate side.) “This problem is burning a hole in the top of the world…. We need to turn the thermostat back down before that melts.”
Gore, who arrived in a new hybrid Mercury, sat beside a stack of brown boxes filled with 516,000 messages — collected over the last few days on AlGore.com — urging “real action.”
“There is a sense of hope in the country that this United States Congress will rise to the occasion and present meaningful solutions to this crisis,” he said. “Congress is a repository of hopes and dreams of people all across this Earth.”
As the morning hearing convened on the House side, the repository of hopes and dreams spent several minutes bickering about where the committee members should sit and how much time they had to speak.
They appeared to divide pretty much along party lines. Democrats hailed the “Goracle,” who saw this coming 30 years ago, and Republicans dismissed him as an alarmist.
Among Gore’s ideas: a pollution tax, an immediate freeze on carbon dioxide emissions with sharp reductions in future years, stricter vehicle miles-per-gallon rules, a moratorium on construction of highly polluting coal-fired power plants, a strong global climate-change treaty and the creation of a federally operated “carbon-neutral” mortgage association that would serve as incentive for building energy-efficient homes.
“I listen to you sometimes in wonderment,” said Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), predicting that Gore’s proposals would cost “tens of thousands of jobs and more empty factories.”
Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-Texas) complained of an “all-out assault” on energy sources that are crucial to economic and national security.
In the confrontational camaraderie for which Washington is famous, Hall and Gore happily reminisced about the time they went to a meeting on Hall’s boat, then Hall accused Gore of “flirting with the death of the energy industry.”
Gore acknowledged his proposals faced serious obstacles.
In calling for a pollution tax, he said, “I fully understand this is considered politically impossible, but part of our challenge is to expand the limits of what’s possible.” He urged his former colleagues to “walk through that fire.”
The day will come, he said, when future generations either ask, “Did they think it was perfectly all right to keep dumping 70 million tons every single day of global-warming pollution into this Earth’s atmosphere?” or “How did they find the uncommon moral courage to rise above politics?”
Gore spoke mostly without notes and seemed more comfortable in his skin than when he was as a presidential candidate, even with a clot of photographers squatting in front of him. A notorious policy wonk, he touched on subjects such as light bulbs and the Arctic ice cap, which, he said, is melting even faster than previously thought and could “completely disappear in as little as 34 years.”
“If it goes, it won’t come back in any time scale relevant to the human condition,” he warned as his wife, Tipper, nodded in agreement behind him.
Members of both parties, who generally poke at their BlackBerrys during long committee hearings, appeared to pay attention.
The exchanges were sometimes confrontational, especially at the Senate hearing, where Gore dueled with one of the chief congressional skeptics on global warming, Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.).”It seems that everything is blamed on global warming,” Inhofe said. “Last summer we had a heat wave and everyone said, ‘Oh, that’s proof it’s global warming.’ Then we had a mild December. ‘Oh, that’s proof that global warming is taking place.’ … How come you guys never seem to notice it when it gets cold?”
But Gore held firm, noting that a manatee showed up off Memphis last summer.
“First time ever,” he said. “It got too hot in southern Florida. I’m not making this up. Another one showed up off of Cape Cod, first time ever. Nature is on the run.”
Later, Gore invited Inhofe to breakfast to discuss the issue “without the cameras, without the lights.”
Much as he did in “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore reduced the science to simple metaphors.
When asked whether the United States should be taking drastic action when China and India were greater polluters, Gore explained that the U.S. accounted for 23% of carbon emissions and “like a bucket with a hole in it, you can still use the bucket, but it’s a lot more efficient if the hole is plugged.”
Outside the House hearing room where Gore spoke, a crowd waited for him to emerge. Three high school girls from New Jersey snapped his picture for their school newspaper, saying that he looked taller, older and more confident than they expected.
Gore left through a side door, missing an impromptu ditty by what sounded like a Dixieland band and members of the antiwar group Code Pink, attired in boas and assorted hats. He was nonetheless mobbed by photographers and squeezed into an elevator to escape.
“Run for president!” somebody hollered, just as the doors closed.
At the end of the day, after Gore finished his testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the chairwoman, called Gore a “role model for us all.”
Gore thanked her and asked, “Now, you don’t give out any kind of statue or anything?”
What follows is a tragic tale of hubris brought low, of pride diminished, and of ego (hopefully) deflated.
What do you know of Islam? Have you ever read the Qur’an? Do you know how the sura, the chapters, are laid out and organized within the book? If you do, kudos. If you don’t, you’re not alone. Even a self-proclaimed expert on Islam has recently been found to have no idea what is in the Qur’an, or even simply how it is laid out, chapter by chapter. More on that later.
Of my own accord, I have only been a part-time student of Islamic ideology and the concept of global jihad since the summer of 2006, about the time the Israeli/Lebanon war began. Among other bastions of information, including Chronicles magazine contributor, Serge Trifkovic, I have found Robert Spencer’s Jihadwatch.org an excellent resource on Islamic jihadism and the resulting destruction of the west and western values as a result of muslim extremism. Mr. Spencer, in my view, is one of the leading experts in this area who possesses one of the few voices of reason in a wilderness of Islamic apologists, capitulators, dissemblers, and seditionists who work to deflect any concept of Islamic imperfection and attack by those who simply wish to solicit much needed discussion on the topic of Islam and the Qur’an and the place of both in modern, civilized societies.
Spencer rightly points to that holy muslim book, the Qur’an, as the basis for the perceived justification of violent jihad that we see in the world today, as it was the basis for the comparable violent jihad of centuries past. In the eyes of muslims the world over, the Qur’anic prophet Muhammad is the embodiment of the perfect man–the man all the faithful should endeavor to emulate (despite his modern moral failings.)
Reading the Qur’an reveals pretty much everything one needs to know concerning muslim (particularly the extremists) traditions and actions and the subsequent violence preached there in, assuming you can understand it (the hadith, or traditions of the prophet Muhammad, is another source.) Muslim belief is predicated on the conceit that Islam is the one true religion and all other religions are not only false, but in need of eradication entirely through voluntary or forced conversion to Islam, relegation to demeaning Dhimmi status, or killed. Regardless, everyone will exist under the oppressive theocratic umbrella of the Sharia–Islamic law.
So that’s the most basic of what I have learned, which is meticulously, sensibly and, logically backed up by qualified voices like Robert Spencer and Serge Trifkovic.
Adversely, there are many vocal charlatans who claim Islamic scholarship–who even excel in deceiving adherents into blindly accepting whatever they happen to spew forth at any given time simply because they’re proficient in beguilement (and honestly, most are receptive mainly due to their lemming-like need to follow someone or something.) Such is the likes of best-selling author, Dinesh D’Souza.
D’Souza’s latest book, The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 is an exercise in inconsistency, and claims pretty much as the title reads–Hillary Clinton, Noam Chomsky, Justin Timberlake, and basically everyone liberal and everything decadently Hollywood, bears responsibility for the rise in modern jihad and the pushing of moderate muslims into the arms of extremists. Needless to say, many on the left and the right of the political debate find D’Souza’s claims and conclusions presented in his new book anything if not laughable.
Many have been extremely vocal in their disagreement with D’Souza and the concepts presented in The Enemy At Home, (with an exceptionally hilarious appearance on The Colbert Report where the obtuse D’Souza sat firmly in the butt-of-the-joke chair, unbeknownst to him) including Robert Spencer and Serge Trifkovic. After Spencer rightly denounced the book here, D’Souza’s response was rather defensive with a marginal amount of childish pedantry and a good deal of red herring thrown in for good measure. In fact, it seems that anytime D’Souza argues for a position, he often becomes entangled within a web of logical fallacies of his own making–straw men and ad hominem being two of his favorite squabbling tactics.
Never one to shy from debate, Spencer (who regularly encourages those who disagree with his assessment of Islam engage with him in polemic discussion on the subject) agreed to sit on a panel during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week with D’Souza as his opponent.
D’Souza excels at obfuscation and diversion (again, he employs many logical fallacies including those mentioned above.) He repeatedly ignores cognizant and commonsense statements made by Spencer while he recklessly sallies forth in defense of his stance to the point where he completely digresses from claims made in his book if only to appear the conquering hero to the collected audience, and be damned The Enemy at Home.
Regardless of that outcome, D’Souza felt the continued need to beat his chest and express his supposed superior position by treading the same ground that had been covered in the CPAC debate the day previous, despite the fact that Spencer adequately addressed every issue raised by D’Souza.
Yesterday I debated Robert Spencer at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in WashingtonD.C. The debate was aired live on C-Span. Our topic was essentially, Is Islam the Problem? My book The Enemy at Homesays no, locating the problem in the way that liberal foreign policy and liberal values projected abroad have strengthened radical Islam and emboldened it to attack us. Spencer’s books collectively answer yes, the problem is with Islam itself.
But Islam has been around for 1300 years and the problem of Islamic terrorism is a recent one. How can Islam be to blame? For me the intelligent question is: what is it about Islam today that has made it an incubator of a certain kind of fanaticism and terrorism?
Dinesh D’Souza has blogged here, in “Letting Bin Laden Define Islam,” about our debate yesterday. I am still at CPAC and don’t have much time to give a full answer, but since he repeats some familiar canards about me and my books, which I still think he shows no signs of having read despite his claims to the contrary, I thought I’d post some preliminary thoughts. For one thing, it is worth noting that he made exactly these points in the debate yesterday, and I answered them, but he takes no account here of the answers. Instead, he just continues to make the charges, as if I have said nothing in response at all. Personally, I don’t think this kind of thing is a very fruitful avenue for dialogue.
This is getting almost as good as ringside seats at the battle of Badr. To me, and I would hope to any who have read to this point, Spencer has done nothing but logically and reasonably state his position without resorting to character attacks, fallacious analysis, or hasty generalizations as D’Souza frequently seems to do.
A recurrent theme that runs throughout the interactions between Robert Spencer and Dinesh D’Souza, whether in person for face to face debate, or over the internet through written discourse, is the continued question of not all encompassing expertise on the subject of Islam and Islamic ideology, but of something as simple as common courtesy–reading and understanding the works of your opponent. When one claims expertise on a subject, one is expected to have studied a considerable amount of material that not only supports an idea or concept, but one is also expected to have studied the antithesis of that subject in order to formulate strategies of refutation when confronted by the opposition. For example, and to bring myself into this, while I find I stand to the right of the political aisle on many issues, I prefer to get both sides of the story, so to speak. To do so, I personally subscribe to both the liberal publication The Nation and the conservative periodicalNational Review. I believe it is important for anyone who takes a firm stand on any given issue to do this in order to form a more fully realized concept of a particular subject.
While Mr. Spencer obviously adheres to this approach evidenced by his review of Mr. D’Souza’s book, the same, I believe, cannot be claimed by Dinesh. Over and over, Robert Spencer asks D’Souza if he’s even read any of his books. Dinesh usually waves Spencer away with a casual affirmative–of course he’s read Spencer’s books, or so he claims. As one who has read several of Robert Spencer’s books, as well as articles from magazines with daily visits to Jihadwatch and Dhimmiwatch, it has become evident to me that D’Souza has not read any books penned by Spencer due to the simple fact that D’Souza seems blithely ignorant of basic Islamic thought, which is the cornerstone of Spencer’s writing.
Unfortunately, this had not been proven… UNTIL NOW! (Apologies for the drama.) Enter Serge Trifkovic, author of such notable books as Sword of the Prophet and Defeating Jihad, regular contributing writer to Chronicles magazine, and defiler of connivers and hypocrites. During his debate with D’Souza, something quite interesting, but not surprising was discovered–Dinesh D’Souza, self-proclaimed expert of Islam, knows not even the most general concepts of Islamic ideology, theology, and the Qur’an.
Here is an excerpt from that debate…
TRIFKOVIC: This is really rich. First of all, to claim that the Kuran is a pacifist tract…
D’SOUZA: I didn’t say it’s a pacifist tract.
TRIFKOVIC: Well, you do say that people like Spencer and I pick and choose. Have you actually read the Kuran? Have you ever actually read the Kuran?
D’SOUZA: Of course I have.
TRIFKOVIC: Do you know how are the Suras arranged?
D’SOUZA: They are… er… they are not arranged in any chronological order… er… [pause] and… er… [pause] and so I quote in my book both the violent and…
TRIFKOVIC: Just tell me how ARE they arranged.
D’SOUZA: The other point…
TRIFKOVIC: Can you just tell me how are the Suras arranged?
D’SOUZA: … right. You can’t just call…
TRIFKOVIC: Why don’t you just tell me how are the Suras arranged?
HENNEN: OK, one at a time here; your question for Dinesh, Serge, is?
TRIFKOVIC: In what order are the Suras arranged in the Kuran?
D’SOUZA: [long silence] I really don’t know what you mean by that. When you say “in what order” then… err… [pause] there…
TRIFKOVIC: … an interlocutor who tries to pass authoritative judgments on the subject is refusing to tell me how are the Suras and the verses of the Kuran arranged. They happen to be arranged by SIZE, from short to long!
The interview goes on for another 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile, Serge tells me: “To avoid misunderstanding, let me point out that my ‘explanation’ to D’Souza about the arrangement of the Suras in the Kuran (‘They happen to be arranged by SIZE, from short to long!’) was not a slip, it was the final proof-positive of his fraud, as HE DID NOT CORRECT ME but went on babbling…”
Yes, at this point it is quite safe to say Dinesh D’Souza is a fraud. How can we believe his claim to have read the work of Robert Spencer if he hasn’t even read the one book he should have read in order to write his best-selling book. Even in my own limited time engaged in the study of Islam, I know the suras are arranged from longest to shortest, and I learned this very early on. Assuming one knows even a quarter as much as myself, this is not something one needs to think long about, nor was Trifkovic’s question an attempt at trickery–it was as straight forward as one could make it.
So it is no longer necessary to buy or read The War at Home, even though I would usually encourage everyone to investigate opposing viewpoints to their beliefs. Justifiably, D’Souza has been proven nothing more than the conservative author’s version of James Frey.
Anyone debating Dinesh D’Souza should be sure to do exactly as Serge Trifkovic did. Simply ask D’Souza a question or two about the most obvious and elementary of matters.
If nothing else, it will force him, after his “four years of studying Islam” to little effect, to actually have to start studying it — if only so as not to play the fool in public. Why, who knows? It may force him to learn something.
I can think of a dozen things right off the bat that Spencer or Trifkovic or others could ask D’Souza — very elementary things, but things I am sure he will not be able to answer.
He now has three choices:
1) Be shown up for an ignoramus, prating about things he knows very little, almost nothing, about.
2) Be forced to study Islam, and in so doing, he may have to modify some of his views.
3) Never appear where anyone can debate or even cross-question him about his knowledge of Islam.
I think Dinesh D’Souza will choose #3.
#1 is something he obscurely realizes he is, but like the mountebank hawking his wares at the County Fair, he has assumed that no one will call him on his hollow claims. But he can no longer assume that.
#2 requires work. It requires study. It requires thought. It requires making sense of many different things, of connecting the thigh-bone to the ankle-bone, in order the Hear the Word of the (Islamic) Lord. D’Souza long ago lost the habit of study, like so many of the pontificators of our day.
#3 it will be.
No more debates, for Dinesh D’Souza, with anyone at all. But what if — for him, a hellish What If — some of those interviewing him started to bone up on Islam, and asked him questions? What if on Talk Shows there were callers who would call up pretending that they were about to ask one thing, and then suddenly asked D’Souza one or more of those questions, the ones he cannot answer, to what should be his own great shame and chagrin? Then where would he be?
And the same can be done at those appearances he solicits for “Corporate Audiences” and “University Audiences.” It is perfectly legitimate, it is hardly harassment, to simply ask him a few questions to see if this self-minted and self-described “expert on Islam” who has “studied it for four years” in fact knows anything.
Why, let’s begin with the isnad-chain, and the work, and relative authority, of the muhaddithin. Or with “naskh.” Or “fiqh” or “tafsir.” Or for that matter, “Jihad” (give support for various definitions), or “dhimmi” or “Ahl al-dhimma.”
And say, just what did happen at the Khaybar Oasis? And who was Asma bint Marwan? And who was little Aisha, and of what contemporary relevance is her story? And who can issue a fatwa, and what is the difference between a fatwa and a rukh? And what is the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya, and why does it matter? And who was Abu Bakr? Ali? Hussein? And what does the phrase “al-masjid al-aksa” mean, and who decided what that phrase must refer to?
As I said, let’s keep it very simple — at first. By degrees, the questions can become more difficult.
Don’t worry. I have faith that no matter how hard Dinesh D’Souza starts studying now, he simply won’t be able to figure it all out. Not given the list of his authorities. Not given his mental incapacity.
There is more on the entrepreneur and world-conqueror Dinesh D’Souza, from the best source of information about Dinesh D’Souza: the Dinesh D’Souza website, where the copy is written by — Dinesh D’Souza.
Would you like Dinesh D’Souza to speak to your business convention, or perhaps to enlighten an annual meeting of the stockholders in Phoenix or Boca Raton? Well, you have come to the right place when you go to http://www.dineshdsouza.com, because according to Dinesh D’Souza at http://www.dineshdsouza.com:
“Dinesh D’Souza is one of the nation’s most popular and acclaimed speakers for business and university audiences, and has been a featured guest on many popular television programs, including the Today Show, Nightline, O’Reilly Factor, Good Morning America, and The Dennis Miller Show.He speaks at top universities and business groups across the country, and among his recent engagements are the annual World President’s Organization conference, Forbes CEO Summit, Harvard University, and the University of Virginia.
Mr. D’Souza is available to speak on a variety of subjects relating to contemporary business, politics and culture, including:
THE CULTURAL LEFT AND ITS ROLE IN 9/11
THE LIBERAL-ISLAMIC ALLIANCE
THE WAR AGAINST THE WAR ON TERROR
AMERICA AND ITS ENEMIES
ISLAM AND THE WEST: A CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS?
WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT AMERICA
WHY AMERICA IS LOVED, WHY AMERICA IS HATED
THE MORAL DEBATE OVER TECHNOLOGY AND CAPITALISM
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION? NO. REPARATIONS? NO.”
Hurry and call now to book Dinesh D’Souza for your next corporate or university event.
Don’t delay. Operators are standing by.
No, sorry, let me correct that:
An Operator Is Standing By.
That operator’s name is on the cover of the latest issue of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. The issue appears to have been written by the Development Office, hoping to win favor from some rich Muslim alumni — for it is otherwise difficult to explain the special solicitude for the clear tone of apologetics.
The two articles listed on the cover (which has a nice crescent and star) under the main line “Understanding the Muslim World” are:
1) What’s New in Islamic and Arabic Studies, by Andrea Useem ’95.
In this article you can learn all about what students are learning about — and it isn’t the unadorned contents of Qur’an, hadith, and Sira. The words “dhimmi” and “Jizyah” are unlikely to be much in evidence in the Dartmouth classes on offer, but the innocent and impressionable students won’t discover that in most other colleges either — and will just have to pick up a real knowledge of “Islamic and Arabic studies” outside the confines of MESA Nostra (google “MESA Nostra” for more).
2) “Radical Islam: Why We’ve Got it All Wrong,” by Dinesh D’Souza.
In this article you can learn why “we’ve got it all wrong” — all of us: Snouck Hurgronje and Arthur Jeffery, St. Clair Tisdall and Joseph Schacht, David Margoliouth and Edmond Fagnan, Charles-Emmanuel Dufourcq and Hans Jansen, everyone who was a student of Islam in the Western world, in the golden, unafraid age, from about 1860 to 1960, when truths were told. Islam didn’t change. The texts and teachings of Islam didn’t change. What changed was the willingness of Western scholars to tell the truth about Islam. Now there is a climate of correctness and desire to blame the West. This attitude grew and grew until it now suffocates even baby truths in their cribs, as they attempt to let out their first squeals.
And “we’ve got it all wrong” if “we” are Ali Sina, and Ibn Warraq, and Irfan Khawaja, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Anwar Shaikh, and Azam Kamguian — “we” who have been born into Islam, pondered it deeply, considered carefully what it is about it that led us, each on his own, to come to conclusions that forced us to jettison Islam. “We’ve” got it as wrong as C. Snouck Hurgronje and Joseph Schacht.
But one person, above all other persons, has it right.
And his name is Dinesh D’Souza.
And he is right about Islam, as about so many things, when all the world has heretofore gotten it wrong.
Dinesh D’Souza, it should not be forgotten, is available for corporate and university speaking engagements.
For more information, simply click on http://www.dineshdsouza.com and then on “Events” or “Corporate Speaking” or “University Speaking.”
Then you may contact Dinesh D’Souza directly to find out more details — especially about the fees.
Don’t worry. Those fees are really, under the circumstances — what with Dinesh D’Souza getting it at long last right when all of the rest of us have “got it all wrong” — those fees are really very modest.
It’s been recently established that ex-VP and ecological warrior Al Gore uses over 20 times the amount of energy than the average American consumes, thereby illuminating a copious magnitude of hypocrisy on a man who had freshly been honored with the best documentary feature Academy Award for the runaway hit that is his global warming-cum-environmental treatise slash slideshow, An Inconvenient Truth.
Again, I’ve always been rather partial to Gore, and I really don’t mind inherent hypocrisy because honestly, as I expounded upon in this post, everyone is a hypocrite (myself included) and all hypocrisy is inherent. My central problem with Al Gore’s particular brand of hypocrisy is the fact that he’s fucking Al Gore: politician, celebrity, activist, and self-proclaimed internet architect. If he were just some guy spewing vomitous, mindless, unsolicited, insipid, and uninformed opinions in a blog on the internet that is rarely read by anyone (hmm… sounds sort of familiar), then his hypocrisies wouldn’t even register as a blip on my radar. But because he’s Al Gore (and not just any run-of-the-mill Al Gore mind you, but prognosticator and grand soothsayer to the follies of mankind in regards to global warming) we as the people of the world, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, expect the mighty almost-president to damn well practice what he damn well preaches. If he doesn’t commit to his publicly broadcast enviro-ideals, then I simply expect him to shut-up about this particular issue.
That’s not too difficult to ask, is it? It’s not like I’m pushing Mr. Gore to go live in a cave. Far from it. I would never expect that. I’m simply suggesting that as a result of his hypocrisy, he’s irreversibly cast-adrift some serious respect many have held for him, including myself, and he earnestly needs to sit down and think about how he can live his life by the code he’s urging everyone else on the planet to adopt. I would suggest looking towards Ed Begley Jr. as a good role model, and I’m being completely serious here. If you want to live your life as environmentally politically sound as possible, then you can’t do better celebrity-wise than Mr. Begley Jr. Here’s a man who would rather drive cross-country in his electric vehicle (which he does quite often) than pollute the atmosphere with copious amounts of jet plane causing carbon dioxide.
And speaking of jet planes, it appears we have a new enviro-hypocrite in the political/public arena. My own California Senator Dianne Feinstein apparently uses her wealthy husbands’ private jet to ferry her back and forth across the country–from Sacramento, California to the nation’s capital in Washington D.C. According to the L.A. Times article below…
A single cross-country round trip on a Gulfstream IV, or GIV, the model owned by Feinstein’s husband, churns out about 83,000 to 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, experts say. By contrast, on a per capita basis, the average American produces 50,000 pounds from all activities in an entire year.
That’s almost twice as much carbon dioxide produced in just one cross-country trip. It would take me almost two years to produce as much CO2 that Feinstein craps out in one trip to the D.C. and back. So assuming she were to fly hither and thither say, around 100 times a year, which would not be out of the realm of possibility for someone like Feinstein who works in the nations capital but calls California her home, our senator would excrete close to 9 million pounds of CO2 in only one year. Ack! How can my poor, defenseless atmosphere stave off such a fiendish attack?
Of course the article also lists California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger as another particularly vocal enviro-hypocrite–the attitudinizer (yes, it’s an actual word) so to speak. But now a new, previously unheard of, pseudo-phrase has been thrown into the mix, created I’m assuming to excuse those who evangelize eco-friendliness while engaging in behavior that is unequivocally eco-hostile, such as Schwarzenegger’s exhortations of energy conservation despite his unbridled love affair with the Hummer–a decidedly mother nature-terminating, gas guzzling behemoth. What is this new phrase? Carbon offsets.
So what are carbon offsets? According to the always reliable Wikipedia…
A carbon offset is a service that tries to reduce the net carbon emissions of individuals or organizations indirectly, through proxies who reduce their emissions and/or increase their absorption of greenhouse gases. A wide variety of offset actions are available; tree planting is the most common.
Proper to the LA Times article, apparently Feinstein has already been purchasing carbon offsets for a while now, while Schwarzenegger is intending to buy into this scheme imminently. And though it appears purchasing carbon offsets is a relatively inexpensive proposal, allowing the buyer a certain sense of inflated ego and magnanimity, the results are a bit questionable. I don’t mean to imply that planting trees offers no real benefit to the environment, but to offset the damage caused by brutal enviro-terrorists like Feinstein, Schwarzenegger, and Gore proves a daunting task indeed.
In order to right the damage done by only one Feinstein trip to Washington D.C., one would have to plant 1,800 trees. So what if the carbon offset organizations simply don’t have enough time or man-power to plant 1,800 trees in one go? Well, one could simply plant a much more manageable number–say 90 trees–but those trees would have to be managed for 20 years before they offered a return on only one Feinstein jet trip. Assuming Feinstein probably makes around 100 Gulfstream IV private trips back and forth, a carbon offset team would be required to plant 180,000 trees per year in order to battle the gross injustice Feinstein commits against the environment.
So are these carbon offset companies actually planting 1,800 trees per every flight Senator Feinstein embarks upon? I somehow doubt it, and this seems nothing more than a deflection scheme designed to allow the powerful and wealthy to continue their environmentally damaging behavior while they persist in preaching and condescending to the rest of us how to live our lives ecologically sound while admonishing us when we stray from their politically correct, beneficent path.
Refraining from what one preaches is harder to cover up than it seems.
Schwarzenegger and Feinstein preach energy efficiency but often fly fuel-gulping small jets.
By Paul Pringle, Times Staff Writer
February 28, 2007
Sen. Dianne Feinstein offers plenty of tips on how California households can combat global warming, such as carpooling and running only a full dishwasher.
But one bit of information Feinstein declines to share is the number of times that she flew last year on her husband’s Gulfstream jet, which burns much more fuel per passenger-mile than commercial airliners.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also has asked constituents to do their part to conserve energy — including cutting summertime power consumption — even though he takes to the skies on leased executive jets.
Aides say there is nothing contradictory between the pro-green pronouncements and the flying habits of the Democratic senator and Republican governor.
Some environmentalists aren’t so sure.
“There appears to be a discrepancy between calling on people to make personal reductions and using a private jet that exacerbates the problem,” Clean Air Watch President Frank O’Donnell said.
Flying on a Gulfstream rather than an airliner is like driving a sport utility vehicle instead of riding a bus, O’Donnell and others say.
A single cross-country round trip on a Gulfstream IV, or GIV, the model owned by Feinstein’s husband, churns out about 83,000 to 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, experts say. By contrast, on a per capita basis, the average American produces 50,000 pounds from all activities in an entire year.
Nonetheless, Feinstein and Schwarzenegger intend to continue their noncommercial flying ways because their jobs demand a flexibility the airlines can’t match, spokesmen say.
Schwarzenegger’s office said he and a jet-leasing company are establishing a “carbon offset” program for the governor and fellow customers, retroactive to Jan. 1. Carbon offsets are bought from organizations that plant trees and support renewable energy enterprises, among other measures, to offset greenhouse gases produced by the buyers.
“This is big news,” Schwarzenegger spokesman Bill Maile said of the governor’s undertaking with NetJets, the leasing firm.
Feinstein, however, got the jump on Schwarzenegger. She began buying carbon offsets last year to partially cover the travel on the GIV, and will purchase enough offsets this year to compensate for all the trips, spokesman Scott Gerber said.
He added that Feinstein took “numerous” commercial flights in 2006, but flew mostly on the GIV. He balked at disclosing the tally of her Gulfstream journeys.
“We’re not going to get into specifics,” he said.
Noncommercial aircraft and other carbon-related indulgences have caused politicians considerable turbulence recently.
A conservative group has condemned Al Gore for racking up an average monthly electricity bill of $1,200 at his Nashville mansion last year while championing the anti-global warming cause. A Gore spokeswoman said the former vice president invests in renewable energy to offset his electricity use.
As part of an ethics push, the House and Senate are toughening restrictions on lawmakers who fly private jets, though exceptions for members and spouses who own planes are under consideration.
Earlier this month, Republicans accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of requesting a large military jet to fly her and family members between the capital and her San Francisco district.
Security protocols grant Pelosi occasional military flights because she is second in line to the presidency. Her office said she had only inquired about an aircraft with enough fuel capacity to make the trip nonstop, and would fly commercial if necessary.
Pelosi flew on private jets seven times in 2006, her spokesman said. “She made every effort to travel commercially whenever possible,” Drew Hammill said.
Sen. Barbara Boxer says she took four trips on private aircraft last year, one with multiple stops over 2 1/2 days.
“If you can take a commercial plane to get where you need to go at the time you need to be there, you should do it,” she said in an e-mail. “If not, you have to look at alternatives such as trains, fuel-efficient vehicles, buses, and in some cases, private planes.”
For that last option, Feinstein reimburses her husband, Richard Blum, for use of the jet, Gerber said. Blum bought the GIV for about $23 million in 1999. The reimbursements are based on a first-class commercial fare, with more than 90% of the money coming from Feinstein’s personal funds and the rest from campaign coffers, the spokesman said. Last year, the reimbursements to Blum totaled about $73,000, he said.
But a GIV’s operating expenses are much higher than a first-class booking. A round-trip Los Angeles-Washington flight on the Gulfstream burns about 4,500 to 5,000 gallons of fuel at a cost of roughly $20,000, depending on local pump prices, said Jeff Beck, a veteran corporate pilot. And that doesn’t include pilot fees, maintenance and parking bills.
“It’s the least environmental thing that politicians can do,” Beck said. He said Gulfstreams devour so much fossil fuel per passenger that “it’s like they’re throwing dinosaur bones out of the tailpipe.”
A coast-to-coast, first-class ticket on a major airline goes for about $1,200 to $2,500, round trip, according to a sampling of three airlines’ prices Tuesday.
A Boeing 767-200 airliner burns about 1,550 gallons an hour — three times as much as a GIV. But the larger plane typically can seat about 180 passengers, as opposed to a GIV’s 12 to 14.
Eric Carlson, executive director of Carbonfund.org, a nonprofit that sells offsets, said it would charge $229 to cover the emissions from the GIV round trip.
Schwarzenegger flies a variety of leased jets, which cost his campaign $733,000 during the three months ending last September. Maile said the governor digs into his own pockets for some flights.
He also said Schwarzenegger has converted one of his Hummers to biodiesel fuel, and plans to install solar panels on his house. His other three Hummers remain gas hogs.
For her part, Feinstein drives a hybrid Lexus sport utility vehicle when she is home in San Francisco, Gerber said. But she drives a Lincoln Town Car in Washington.
Not that the eco-crowd is eager to criticize Feinstein and Schwarzenegger, who are generally viewed as key supporters of the growing movement to curb emissions.
Representatives of some environmental groups either would not comment on the two politicians’ penchant for private jets, or suggested that allowances could be made in their circumstances.
“Given the exigencies of the campaign trail, if not the demands of governing of a large state, it may not be realistic to expect elective officials to fly commercial all the time,” said Jon Coifman, spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
But O’Donnell, of Clean Air Watch, invoked a loftier ideal:
“It is fair to hope that our political leaders will lead by example.”