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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Two Political Plagues

The first plague is H5N1 - bird flu. It's been confirmed in north Germany today (and let me remind you, the suspected human H5N1 case was the cook on a ship which had last docked in Germany), Iran and Austria. Nor is it "expanding" into new territory. It's been there. There were reports of relatively large die-offs in northern Iran since last fall. There were incidents in Germany.

This is not the spring migration, which is still to come - this is 'fessing up after increased monitoring. You won't find what you won't seek. Since any country that found H5N1 was going to get quarantined, every country had a very good reason not to seek. The whole thing has been purely political. There was no way to stop an infection spread by migrating birds, so there was no reason at all to step forward and invite economic distress before it was unavoidable.

And don't think that if these birds made it to Europe in the fall that they didn't make the much shorter hop to NA. The Qinghai strain was far closer to Alaska in the fall than to the Baltic. The US poultry industry quietly instituted an H5N1 sampling program for poultry sent to market in January. Ask yourselves why. I watch the hawks disappear around here and I know what I think. I don't think the Qinghai strain made it to south GA last fall, but I think a milder strain did. I think the Qinghai strain made it into NA last fall, and will spread this year as the weather warms. We're going to find out in a few months if I'm right.

If you eat eggs, hardboil them. Ten minutes boiling. Don't fry them. They might not get hot enough during frying to kill the virus. Don't prepare chicken for cooking without gloves and wash your hands after you have touched eggs. Bleach is by far your best friend. Stock up and use it. Get used to not touching your face unless you have just washed your hands. Get used to taking off your shoes at the door when you come home. Wash the doorknobs and taps at home down once a day with bleach.

You can be (and testing demonstrates that people have been) exposed to even the most virulent strain of flu without getting sick. A high initial dose of the virus gives it the jump on your body's immune system. A low dose will be overcome by your natural defenses. When you have never been exposed to a particular flu virus before, your body is slower to gear up to fight it. Don't be afraid of exposure - just make sure that you avoid a high exposure.

The second political plague is anti-Semitism. Pedro the Quietist makes an interesting observation in this post. Darcey of Dust My Broom has spent some time documenting it in Canada. Several main-line Protestant churches in the US have announced "disinvestment drives" against Israel. The Anglican church has been a leader in this effort. They don't just want to quit doing business with Israel - they want to disinvest from every business doing business with Israel. The AUT blockade of Israeli academics gained wide support in American universities. Many American universities harbor anti-Semites.

Incredible numbers of bloggers have excoriated networks with the policy of never describing terrorist suicide bombers as terrorists who are suicide bombers, but ask yourself why this "media guide to covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" was published by a Christian organization in 2002? Read it and weep:
The following Code of Fair Practices was developed during a conference called "Megaphones and Muffled Voices" on what constitutes full and fair media coverage of Israeli-Palestinian issues. The conference, held in New York City, April 17-18, 2002, was sponsored by the World Association for Christian Communication, its North American Regional Association, and the Communication Commission of the National Council of Churches, U.S.A.
# Balance of coverage is not achieved only in providing equal space or time to each side. There is no balance when an articulate, moderate and charismatic person is asked to represent one side and an uncompromising, militant, fiery and inarticulate ideologist is offered as a representative of the other side.
# Headlines should reflect the content of the story. Photographs should give a fair and accurate image of an event and not exaggerate an incident simply because the photograph is exceptionally dramatic.
# As much as possible, journalists should understand the language, the history and the culture of the people they cover. They should not totally rely on interpreters provided by particular causes or governments.
# Covering such a sensitive, nuance-ridden subject as the Arab-Israeli conflict, journalists should be careful in using such loaded words and cliches as "terrorists" "gunmen," "Islamic bombers" and "fatalistic" Muslims.
Why? What is the reason for all of this "nuance"? The people who are promulgating this fall into two camps:
As it turns out, this bear runs faster when fed. As it turns out, these groups of people have done a lot to feed Muslim extremism. Darcey notes the progression.

SC&A has written often about the situation. Most Muslims are not terrorists. We do not declare a religious war against Islam when we refuse to submit to thuggery. Unlike H5N1, we can avoid this danger by refusing to feed the bear. The safest course is to cause the bear pain every time he tries to take a bite out of civilization. Anti-Semitism is no escape from Islamic theo-fascists. Anti-Semitism is a symptom of surrender to Islamic theo-fascists.

Solid advice here. I have stolen half your post. Hope you don't mind.

Coupling bird flu with antisemitism as "twin plagues" is a flash of creative genius, although I am somewhat more cautious than you when I use the term.

Even a short conversation with many newly-arrived people from outside America will reveal anti-semitism in their talk as easily as I heard racism in the South in the fifties, a natural and unaffected mannerism displayed with more innocence than ugliness. In America we have honed the "nuance" to which you refer to a fine edge. Unfortunately, we sometimes tend to conflate any criticism of Israel or her politics with antisemitism rather than what it is, political opposition.

It is easy to confuse ignorance with bigotry. They are not exactly the same, Godwin's Law notwithstanding.
Hoots - no, I didn't mean to imply that criticism of Israel is disallowed. It shouldn't be. After all, there is a constant argument within Israel about the course to take. I believe in free speech in our society and other societies. Israel should be subjected to the same standards applied to other nations.

But anti-Semitism is just as real and growing as bird flu. I think the question was settled for me when Jews wearing visible signs of Jewishness were banned from the Oslo march to commemorate Kristallnacht. What was that about? When wearing yarmulke or a Star of David is considered "incitement", all the lies about multi-culturalism become glaringly clear.

Self-righteous and self-serving deliberate ignorance can amount to bigotry.
Most Muslims aren't terrorists? Oh? I submit to you that most Muslims by their silence and indifference ARE supposters of terror; most are viciously anti-Semitic and support any and all violence against both Jews and Israel; most are anti Western, anti freedom, and most of all anti-Enlightenment in every aspect of the Muslim religion. I could go on, but to say that our enemy isn't Islam is to refuse to see the obvious. Islam has been an enemy of the West from the beginning.
Howard, that's pretty much an assumptive close for the sale of religious war.

Very often, you can change the way people behave by the way you act towards them. The brand of fanatic Islam spread by the Saudi imams across the Muslim world is our implacable enemy. Most Muslims are not.

If we fight the extremist branch and accept as equals those who are not, the extremist groups will eventually implode just as Nazi Germany did.

We cannot quit fighting the extremists. We have no need to fill their ranks by informing all Muslims that they are the enemy. That would make it so.
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