Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Circle Game

First of all, thank you for all the kind comments. I guess my audience isn’t very large, but very loyal. And obviously very hungry for a certain point of view that is not really available elsewhere. If it were, I wouldn’t need me. I could just be someone else.

It is true that when you submit yourself to a spiritual process, some strange and unpredictable things happen. In fact, I would say that that is one of the stamps of authenticity, because it makes you very aware of the fact that you are dealing with “the Other,” however you conceptualize that Other.

It is definitely a “spiraling” process as well. And what is a spiral? A deepening circle. You keep circling around the axis of yourself, but with each pass, hopefully you move a little deeper. You even keep encountering the same things--the same patterns, the same impasses, the same issues, both personal and existential--but you see them from a different perspective. What was above you is now below you. What contained you is now contained by you. But there are always new obstacles and vistas.

I was trying to convey this idea with the circularity of my book: “We make a detour around the universe to get back to the self.” But it is not the same self you started out with. While you have rearrived at the celestial resting place from which you started out, you may now know it for the first time.

Over the past year, I feel as if I’ve completed another go-round, developing and expanding some of the ideas in One Cosmos. But here I am, back where I started. It’s time for another cycle to begin, but there are cycles of input and output, cultivation and harvesting, reflection and expression.

I feel the need to cycle into the cultivation and reflection mode on pain of repeating the same cycle instead of taking it a notch deeper. I am presently working on a book proposal, and that requires some reflection and synthesis. If nothing else, I must pause and take a breath.

One of the reasons I removed the knowa's arkive, or bobblehead reliquary, is that I want to rummage through it in order to see what is useful for the next project, which will be to history and politics what One Cosmos was to science and theology. It will focus in on the microcosmos of our historical sprint down from the trees of Eastern Africa, into the historical flatlands below, and up the Upanishadic tree of life at the end of history, its roots aloft, its branches down below. I believe the outcome of our current crisis hinges on the mass of humanity making it safely to that other side of history.

In so doing, I will republish some of those things, only edited and reworked. Plus, I will post whenever the spirit moves me, instead of trying to post something every day. In short, I am stepping back into the unknown, hoping for some even stranger things to happen.

And yes, Phil, I will continue updating the musical recommendations (books as well).

Give Me My Rapture Today
(by Van Morrison)

There are strange things happening every day
I hear music up above my head
Fill me up with your wonder
Give me my rapture today.

Let me contemplate the presence so divine
Let me sing all day and never get tired
Fill me up from your loving cup
Give me my rapture.

Won't you guide me through the dark night of the soul
That I may better understand your way
Let me be just and worthy to receive
All the blessings of the Lord into my life.

Let me purify my thoughts and words and deeds
That I may be a vehicle for thee
Let me hold to the truth in the darkest hour
Let me sing to the glory of the Lord.
Give me my rapture today.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Blog that Can be Blogged is Not the Eternal Blog

There are times that I think to myself that this blog has come to the end of the line, and that there’s nothing left to say but “any questions?”

After all, even the Bible, the Upanishads, and the Tao Te Ching don’t go on forever. Especially in the case of the latter two, they made their points in an extremely compact and pithy way, and then got out of the way. The fact that they are “closed” gives them all the more authority, for it forces one to look more deeply within the text (and the Self) than to keep looking beyond it. I’m trying to imagine Lao-tzu with a blog, but this would definitely fly in the face of his own counsel to

Express yourself completely,
then keep quiet.

In fact, Lao-tzu tells us the score in the very first stanza of the Tao Te Ching:

The tao that can be blogged
is not the eternal Tao.

and in the last stanza:

True words aren’t bloggable;
bloggable words aren’t true.
Wise men don’t endlessly blogviate to prove their point;
men who endlessly blogviate to prove their point get on my nerves.

If Lao-tzu is correct, then instead of eloquently trying to prove my point, it may be time to shut up in order to facilitate some actual truth and wisdom. Seal the loose canon of the Blogavad Pete-a, so to speak, and move on to my next Mission Impractical.

So, what have I left out? Does anyone have any questions or ideas for future topics, or have we pretty much covered the weirderfront?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Evolutionary Politics: Conserving the Radical Spiritual Revolution of the Founders (updated 9.07.07)

Unfortunately, I started something I am unable to finish this morning. Hardly even enough time to spell-check, much less coherence check. We'll have to continue the discussion tomorrow.

I have noticed that many people reject religion on the basis of a fundamental misunderstanding of it, which is easy to do, given the way religion is depicted by its enemies in the liberal media and by our profane culture at large. If that were my only exposure to religion, I too would surely reject it.

A case in point is this editorial by Heather Mac Donald, a secular conservative woman who is very uncomfortable with what she perceives as the dominance of the modern conservative intellectual movement by the Christian right:

“Upon leaving office in November 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft thanked his staff for keeping the country safe since 9/11. But the real credit, he added, belonged to God. Ultimately, it was God’s solicitude for America that had prevented another attack on the homeland.

“Many conservatives hear such statements with a soothing sense of approbation. But others—count me among them—feel bewilderment, among much else. If God deserves thanks for fending off assaults on the United States after 9/11, why is he not also responsible for allowing the 2001 hijackings to happen in the first place?

“Skeptical conservatives—one of the Right’s less celebrated subcultures—are conservatives because of their skepticism, not in spite of it. They ground their ideas in rational thinking and (nonreligious) moral argument. And the conservative movement is crippling itself by leaning too heavily on religion to the exclusion of these temperamentally compatible allies.”

MacDonald provides a worthy and thoughtful critique, not at all like the angry and unsophisticated atheists of the secular left. Still, it seems that her only exposure to religion has been to the kooky and/or superficial kind, but it should go without saying that kookiness and superficiality are most certainly the norm in virtually all human endeavors. One might just as well reject music on the basis of the aural garbage one hears on the radio these days.

MacDonald seems to have the greatest difficulty in reconciling an omnipotent God with the existence of evil. For example,

“The father of Elizabeth Smart, the Salt Lake City girl abducted from her home in 2002, thanked God for answering the public’s prayers for her safe return.... But why did the prayers for five-year-old Samantha Runnion go unheeded when she was taken from her Southern California home in 2002 and later sexually assaulted and asphyxiated?”

But this simply highlights the incoherence of a particular religious view that reduces God to an omnipotent anthropomorphism. This is closer to the unsophisticated manner in which Muslims view Allah, as “vertically” causing everything to happen on a moment by moment basis. I have heard many Christians of this temperament say words to the effect of “everything happens for a reason”--i.e., God caused it--which makes no sense whatsoever to me. Mac Donald is correct to reject such a simplistic view.

Personally, I am drawn to religion because it is a much deeper and more sophisticated metaphysic, and explains much more than any secular philosophy. It also illuminates dimensions of reality that will tend to go undetected or undeveloped in the absence of religion--the holy, the sacred, the existence of grace, etc. But the idea of an omnipotent personal God that answers to one’s beck and call seems to me fundamentally unchristian (and certainly un-vedantic). After all--one is tempted to add, “hello?!”--in Christianity, God himself is crucified in history. What do you think that means, that God himself fully submits to history, to the relative, to the temporal?

As I have emphasized before, a merely mental understanding of God is entirely insufficient in my view. Anyone who reduces religion to a mere literalism has given the game away to the rationalism of the ego.

In the past, I have attempted to discuss this dilemma in terms of the bi-modal logic of the mind. Our little surface ego moves and has its being in the bright and well-lit world of classical or Aristotelian logic. I will be the first to acknowledge that the world accessed by the ego represents a world. But by no means does it represent the world. Rather, the ego gives access to one plane of being. I won’t say that it’s a “low” flying plane, because, as a psychologist, I am fully aware of how many people fail to get off the ground and reliably enter it due to various developmental issues and fixations. But it is an intermediate world, with degrees of being both above and below.

In the esoterist view, the planes above the ego are developmentally later but ontologically prior, and therefore more real. Every below in the cosmos is “contained” within an above, while, at the same time, the above is uncontainable and is necessarily present “within” the below. To animals, the ego is clearly both “higher” and more inward.

But we must never forget that the epic story of cosmic evolution does not end with the ego’s exteriorization of its limited understanding--its colonization of a small portion of consciousness. Think of the ego as analogous to a bright flood light in the dark. Wherever the light turns, there is an area of bright illumination. But we must not be fooled into believing that the foreground of illumination--the little spot lit up by the ego--is all there is to reality.

As Kant properly noted, the ego creates a world in the form of its own sensibility (the phenomenal world) and then takes it for the real world. Therefore, it is as if we dream a dream and then inhabit the dream as if it were real. The ego becomes thoroughly entangled in its own exteriorized and reified fantasies. This is what it means to be a fallen ego in a fallen world. The fall is both literal (i.e., vertical) and metaphorical.

With the scientific revolution in full force, Kant saw what was coming and was actually trying to rescue the realm of religion from the predations of a cognitively greedy scientific rationalism. Since the ego ultimately has access only to its own phenomena, this left the infinitely greater reality of the noumenon untouched, unknown and unknowable. This is precisely where Kant erred, because in saying that the noumenon was unknowable, he essentially reduced religion to a mere sentimental fideism. It would simply be a matter of time before it became wholly irrelevant to “sophisticated” moderns.

Again, either religion embodies real knowledge that surpasses our egoic understanding, or it is simply an absurdity that is defiantly embraced in the teeth of reason and logic. But if it does embody real knowledge, what kind of knowledge is it? Is it mere information, occupying the same horizontal plane as factual scientific information, like saying “water freezes at 32 degrees and Jesus walked on it,” or “the ribs enclose the chest cavity and women are made of one”? In my way of looking at things, this is a gross confusion that simply invites people not to take religion seriously.

Let us imagine that the totality of reality constitutes a vast field of consciousness. In navigating its dimensions and coordinates, there are two principle dangers. One involves being shipwrecked on the rocks of a rational but fixed and “frozen” mental conception that ultimately forecloses spiritual evolution. The ego stakes out its little piece of territory. It knows what it knows, and that’s all it wants to know. The vast majority of cultural and religious beliefs are of this variety. Some belief systems stake out a slightly wider area, but each, to one degree or another, places an arbitrary boundary around reality.

The other danger is to become lost at sea with no fixed coordinates at all. This is to be engulfed in the symmetrical unconscious with no bearings to guide one’s journey.

Religions are indeed fixed, and must be so. But they are not fixed in order to reduce reality, but in order to navigate through it and ultimately to colonize more of it. They are not the destination, but the means of arriving there--at one’s deustination.

Therefore, the question is not, strictly speaking, whether or not this or that dogma is true or false, in a narrow, purely egoic way. I believe dogma is critical. Critical for the same reason that a ship is--not merely for the purpose of floating statically on the water, but moving through it.

So all you cosmic castaways,
we're here such a brief, short time.
We have to make the best of things,
thanks to Adam's crime.
But Petey and old Gagdad Bob,
will do their very best,
to make your journey vertical,
in this horizontal mess.
No angry trolls, no leftist loons,
no doctrinaire moonbats,
Like Dailykos and Huffington,
and other gynocrats.
So join us here each day my friends,
we'll sail right through the fog.
Obnoxious Bobservations,
here on Gag-a-dad's blog.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Higher Sanity (8.25.11)

Ahh, if only everyone were sane. But what does it mean to be sane? The dictionary is of little help to us--it simply says that to be sane is to be healthy, to be "free from hurt or disease," to be "mentally sound, especially able to anticipate and appraise the effects of one's actions," or "proceeding from a sound mind: rational."

First of all, it is not an either/or question. That is, there are clearly degrees of sanity, and therefore, degrees of insanity. Apparently--except at the extremes--all of is are more or less sane and insane at the same time, or sane about some things and less sane about others. This implies that there are degrees of reality, as opposed to the more stark dichotomy of reality/unreality.

Sanity cannot be reduced to merely being rational, for a rationalism pushed to the extremes becomes patently irrational. Rather, reason must always be in the service of something else--something called intelligence, and intelligence is beyond reason. In other words, no rational operation accounts for intelligence itself or is able to judge why and how some people are so much more intelligent than others. Only intelligence can discern and judge intelligence.

And what is intelligence? If intelligence is to be a useful or meaningful construct, it can only mean one thing: the mind's conformation to reality. For no matter how high someone's IQ, if their intellect isn't conformed to reality, how intelligent are they really?

But what is reality? Animals are beautifully conformed to reality, but does that mean that they are sane? No, because they are conformed only to the lowest degree of reality, the outer shell or "epidermis" of the cosmos, the material world.

Unlike animals, human beings are consciously aware of the paradox of inhabiting two worlds, an external world of objects and quantitites, and a subjective world of thought, imagination, values, feeling and will. Thus, if sanity is conformation to reality, what does this mean as it pertains to the subjective world?

We are currently in the midst of a triangulated war for the future of civilization between Islam, Western European Socialism, and American style liberty, free markets and individualism. Only one of them is sane, or at least more sane than the others, i.e., more adequately conformed to both external reality (the way the world works) and internal reality (the way humans are). However, it would be a mistake to view this struggle in terms of three competing ideologies on a horizontal plane. Rather, like most important historical events, this war is taking place in vertical historical space.

In this regard, you may view the United States and its spiritual allies as reflecting a transcendent position above, the Western Europeans occupying a fully immanent one on the two dimensional plane in between, and the Islamists down below, in a transcendently evil and infra-human space. Importantly, this infra-human domain is not to be confused with the animal realm, for there is no animal that would or could sacrifice its own life for a transcendently evil cause, as do Islamists.

Most of the real wholesale evil in history is caused by groups inhabiting this lower vertical area. Moreover, just as there are messiahs and avatars who can purportedly "come down" to the earth plane and embody the upper transcendent, there are avatars of evil who embody and give voice to the lower vertical: bin Laden, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, et al. The awesome power of these men is trans-human (or infrahuman, to be exact), and cannot be explained by recourse to any mere human psychology.

If there is a purely animal-human realm lacking in transcendence, then it is actually the immanent-horizontal space occupied by Western Europe and the international left. Although they think of America as "selfish" because of our low taxes and smaller government, it is actually the other way around. While socialism may superficially appear to be more humane, Mark Steyn points out that "nothing makes a citizen more selfish than socially equitable communitarianism: Once a fellow is enjoying the fruits of government health care and all the rest, he couldn't give a hoot about the broader social interest; he's got his, and if it's going to bankrupt the state a generation hence, well, as long as they can keep the checks coming till he's dead, it's fine by him." In this sense, social democracy is eventually "explicitly anti-social" (NR, 11-7-05).

There is a further corrosion of the soul that takes place with European style socialism, in that, because it elevates material desires to the highest, it cynically cuts the heart out of any transcendent view of the world, anything beyond one's immediate animal needs. As Steyn explains, it perversely elevates secondary priorities such as mandated six week vacations over primary ones such as family and national defense. And political change eventually becomes almost impossible, because the great majority have become dependent on government, which causes a sort of "adherence" to horizontal. You cannot rouse the ideals of a nation that has lost its ideals. Any politician who threatens the entitlement system cannot get elected in Western Europe. The situation is analogous to an addict who has given over his power to the pusher.

By attempting to create the perfect society on earth through government coercion, it actually diminishes our humanity, since it relieves human beings of having to exert the continual moral effort to make the world a better place, as this is only possible by maintaining contact with the realm of transcendent moral ideals. In other words, European socialism is actually a flight from morality, thereby making people less humane, not more. It is a bogus kind of freedom, because it merely frees one from the vertical while condemning one to the horizontal. As the new Pope has written, "I am convinced that the destruction of transcendence is the actual amputation of human beings from which all other sicknesses flow. Robbed of their real greatness they can only find escape in illusory hopes.... The loss of transcendence evokes the flight to utopia."

As Valentin Tomberg summarizes it, the human being is always faced with the choice between two basic attitudes or outlooks: that of existential being or that of essential Being. According to the choice he makes, he is either "orphaned" in the purely material, deterministic and horizontal realm with no reality higher than the individual self, or his individual being is grounded in the more essential, trans-subjective Being which is his true home. The European existentialist lives shackled in the Egyptian "house of bondage," in manacles forged by the deterministic/materialistic outlook, whereby one is situated in in a fully material reality in which the past fully determines the present and the present determines the future. That is, no vertical causes can arise in the closed chain of cause and effect, so that one is truly imprisoned as it pertains to the moral/spiritual realm.

From the existential outlook follows a host of disastrous ideas, such as class determines consciousness, poverty causes crime, free will is an illusion, private property is theft, hierarchy is evil, the vertical dimension is a hoax or "dopiate" for the masses to keep them oppressed, and worst of all, the idea that a coercive state is needed to enforce equality (vs. the American belief in a Creator who endows us with spiritual freedom which it is government's primary job to protect). The freedom of mere animal passion forges the fetters that bind Western Europe to the horizontal wasteland.

So, back to our original question: what is sanity? Sanity is not reason, but intelligence. And intelligence is conformity to the real--both internal and external--which is truth.

Intelligence is the perception of a reality, and a fortiori the perception of the Real as such. It is ipso facto discernment between the Real and the unreal--or the less real....

It is only too evident that mental effort does not automatically give rise to the perception of the real; the most capable mind may be the vehicle of the grossest error. The paradoxical phenomenon of even a “brilliant” intelligence being the vehicle of error is explained first of all by the possibility of a mental operation that is exclusively “horizontal,” hence lacking all awareness of “vertical” relationships....
--Frithjof Schuon

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Islamists and their Symbolic Struggle Against Reality (and Real Struggle Against Irony)

As I have said before, the war on Islamo-fascism will be over the day Muslims can laugh at their dopey religion instead of seeing insults and slights everywhere and demanding respect that they have never earned.

Did you hear the latest horror (HT Dr. Sanity) about the two journalists kidnapped by the Palestinian beasts? According to the story, they were videotaped in long Muslim robes reading a statement announcing that they had converted to Islam.

If it weren’t so serious, what with two men’s lives at stake, you would almost have to laugh at the preposterousness of this stunt. It’s like a bad Monty Python skit. Imagine the brilliant discussion that went into it, probably not dissimilar to the dozen or so leftist revolutionaries in Life of Brian who spend the movie plotting how they are going to overthrow the Roman empire. In one scene, in the interest of diversity, they debate whether a man should be able to call himself Loretta and have babies:

LORETTA: It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them.
REG: But... you can't have babies.
LORETTA: Don't you oppress me.
REG: I'm not oppressing you, Stan. You haven't got a womb! -- Where's the fetus going to gestate?! You going to keep it in a box?!
LORETTA: [crying]
JUDITH: Here! I-- I've got an idea. Suppose you agree that he can't actually have babies, not having a womb, which is nobody's fault, not even the Romans', but that he can have the right to have babies.
FRANCIS: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother. Sister. Sorry.
REG: What's the point?
REG: What's the point of fighting for his right to have babies when he can't have babies?!
FRANCIS: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.
REG: Symbolic of his struggle against reality.


PALESTINIAN #1: Let’s kidnap some infidel journalists and force them to convert to Islam on video!

PALESTINIAN #2: Why? What's the point?
PALESTINIAN #2: Oh, I get it. This is brilliant, Hassan. Just brilliant. Once they convert, the journalists can hold themselves hostage, so they can negotiate with themselves for their own release and leave us out of it. Maybe while they're at it they can hold a knife to their own throats unless the infidels vote for Ned Lamont.
PALESTINIAN #1: It is symbolic of our struggle against the Zionist occupation!
PALESTINIAN #2: Yeah, right. Symbolic of your struggle against reality is more like it.


In a recent editorial, Roger Scruton suggests that the Muslims' habitual readiness to take offense is just one step removed from terrorism. It is

“not yet terrorism--but it is a sign of the deep-down insecurity of the Muslim psyche in the modern world. In the presence of Islam, we all feel, you have to tread carefully, as though humoring a dangerous animal. The Koran must never be questioned; Islam must be described as a religion of peace--isn't that the meaning of the word?--and jokes about the prophet are an absolute no-no. If religion comes up in conversation, best to slip quietly away, accompanying your departure with abject apologies for the Crusades. And in Europe this pussyfooting is now being transcribed into law, with 'Islamophobia' already a crime in Belgium and movements across the continent to censor everything at which a Muslim might take offense, including articles like this one.”

In short, seriousness is a serious problem for Muslims--and therefore, for us. Scruton concludes his piece by noting that “Whenever I consider this matter I am struck by a singular fact about the Christian religion..., which is that it is informed by a spirit of irony. Irony means accepting ‘the other', as someone other than you. It was irony that led Christ to declare that his ‘kingdom is not of this world,’ not to be achieved through politics. Such irony is a long way from the humorless incantations of the Koran. Yet it is from a posture of irony that every real negotiation, every offer of peace, every acceptance of the other, begins. The way forward, it seems to me, is to encourage the re-emergence of an ironical Islam, of the kind you find in the philosophy of Averroës, in Persian poetry and in ‘The Thousand and One Nights.’ We should also encourage those ethnic and religious jokes which did so much to defuse tension in the days before political correctness. And maybe, one day, the rigid face of some puritanical mullah will crack open in a hesitant smile, and negotiations can at last begin.

Amen. We can’t just smoke ‘em out of their holes. We have to joke ‘em out of their holes.

The comedic “hands off” attitude toward Islam betrays more than a "soft bigotry of low expectations.” Rather, it is a hard bigotry of no expectations toward the Muslim world. The Palestinians receive no criticism from the left (and the world community at large), not because they think so highly of them, but because they think so badly about them--in fact, they actually have no expectations whatsoever about them. In other words, it is not because the Palestinians are so wonderful that they are immune from criticism and mockery, but because everyone knows that it would be absurd to hold Muslims to the same standards as Christians, or Jews, or Zen Buddhists--to any standards of decency at all, really. No one is shocked at the barbarity of the Islamic world, whether it is committed by terrorists, or perpetrated in the name of the Saudi or Iranian governments.

Why is there a blackout on jokes about Palestinians, who are so eminently jokeworthy, perhaps the most laughably dysfunctional culture on earth? Likewise, the MSM goes out of its way to treat Islam not just the same as other religions, but better than other religions (and yet, somehow more fragile at the same time). This is so ironic, because it obviously has nothing to do with the secular left's affinity for religion, which they otherwise despise. In other words, Islam is not a protected species because it is a religion. It is protected because it is anti-Western, because its adherents tend to have slightly darker skin than caucasians, and because it has been granted victim status. Therefore it is untouchable.

As far as I'm concerned, the fact that we don't mercilessly make fun of our enemies is part of the same syndrome that has prevented Hollywood from making any movies about the war on terror, for fear of insulting Muslims (and, of course, because they don't want to show our military engaged in a heroic struggle against evil). We live in a morally upside down world, in which making fun of the Islamist ideology is forbidden, but committing mass murder in the name of Islam is explained away. Humorless bigots such as Juan Cole heap scorn on the United States but make every excuse imaginable for the moral failings of Islam. We will know that Muslims have come a long way when they can start making fun of themselves in the same way that Americans have always made fun of themselves, their institutions, their politicians, and their religions.

Oh well. What can you do but laugh about the situation, with a compendium pre-enjoyed One Cosmos gags from the past several months?

Do you remember when Arafat died, how his wife, Suha, rushed from Paris to be by his side? Turns out that was actually part of the pre-nup: they had agreed to be together over his dead body.

Jeopardy answer: "Thuggery, buggery, and skullduggery."
Question: "What were Yasser Arafat's favorite activities?"

At least the Palestinians are trying to do something to rid their classrooms of the psychotic anti-Semitism. I don't know if I like that idea. It means their children will end pick up bits and pieces of genocidal ideology from each other, instead of from an expert.

But anti-Semites have it so easy. If you want to boycott the Palestinians, what are you supposed to do, put off purchasing that new suicide belt? And now the Palestinians even use teenage girls for suicide bombers. In fact, the girls don't actually use suicide belts. Rather, they call them "chastity belts," because it's the only way to be certain they'll never be seen holding hands with a Christian boy.

Bottom line: in Palestine, it's every parent's nightmare to die before their children. But I give the Palestinians credit. They've evolved from primitive kinship structures to barbarous gang affiliations. With luck, they can eventually became a racket, and then perhaps a crime syndicate. Evolution doesn't happen over night.

Now the Palestinians are complaining that it's unfair for us to withhold funds until Abbas institutes some meaningful reforms. I guess they have a point. It's like we're biting the hand that steals from us. At least with Abbas, they finally have a moderate in there. Sure, he's a holocaust denier, but at least he's a moderate holocaust denier. That is, he believes that six million Jews were genuinely inconvenienced in WWII.

So much conversion to the Nation of Islam goes on in American prisons, it's more accurate to call it them "Islamic gated communities." It's making some judges a little concerned. One guy was sentenced to eleven years behind bars, double that for good Muslim behavior.

But we need to be fair. According to CAIR, when Muslims give money to charity that ends up in the hands of terrorists, it's no different than when charitable donations end up in the hands of the military wing of the Salvation Army. On the positive side, CAIR has issued a strongly worded statement that unambiguously condemns kidnapping journalists by either side.

But I think I have a solution to the problem: we could just kidnap one of their journalists, say, Christiane Amanpour, and arrange a hostage exchange. Of course, first we’d have to get her on video confessing her love for the United States.... but only as a symbol of our grasp of irony.