ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, June 01, 2007

Stossel - The Double 'Thank You' Moment

Cafe Hayek pointed me to this article at Real Clear Politics by John Stossel is excellent. Excerpted in full:

The Double 'Thank-You' Moment
By John Stossel

Some people hate me because I defend free markets. Once someone accosted me on a New York City street and said, "I hope you die soon."

Why the hostility to commerce? What could be more benign than the freedom to trade with whomever you wish?

I suspect ignorance about economics leads many to believe that when two people exchange goods and money, one wins and the other loses. If rich capitalists profit, the poor and the weak suffer.

That's a myth.


How many times have you paid $1 for a cup of coffee and after the clerk said, "thank you," you responded, "thank you"? There's a wealth of economics wisdom in the weird double thank-you moment. Why does it happen? Because you want the coffee more than the buck, and the store wants the buck more than the coffee. Both of you win.
I don't know what fantasy world Stossel lives in, but if you're paying for someone to pour you a cup of coffee and hand it to you, chances are that you're paying over 2 bucks a cup.
Economists have long understood that two people trade because each wants what the other has more than what he already has. In their respective eyes, the things traded are unequal in value. But this means each comes out ahead, having given up something he wants less for something he wants more. It's just not true that one gains and the other loses. If that were the case, the loser wouldn't have traded. It's win-win, or as economists would say, positive-sum.

We experience this every time we have that double thank-you moment in a store or restaurant.

It doesn't matter that you wish the price of coffee were lower. We want the price of everything to be lower (except the price of what we're selling, whether it's our products or labor). What matters is that you bought the coffee for a buck.

The story doesn't change if you buy from someone in another city or another state. It doesn't change even if you buy from someone in another country.

That's why I worry when I hear politicians say things like, "I believe in free trade, but it has to be fair trade". That particular quote is from a presidential contender, Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas.

Huckabee's candidacy is toast.
"Fair trade" is code for protectionism disguised as retaliation against other countries that may or may not practice protectionism, and it's a bad sign when even Republicans talk about "fair" rather than "free" trade.

We should practice free trade no matter what others do. Why? Because freedom is good in itself. If foreign governments want to hurt their citizens, it's no reason for ours to hurt us.

People who live in different countries are divided by a political boundary, but boundaries are accidents of history or the results of politicians' arbitrary decisions. Political boundaries are economically irrelevant. When left free, people trade across them as naturally as they do across state lines. Trade is trade. Buyer and seller both benefit. "Thank you." "Thank you."

If you're worried about a trade deficit with, say, China, imagine that China became the 51st state. We'd immediately forget all about that so-called deficit. Who cares if New York runs a trade deficit with Pennsylvania? As Adam Smith wrote, "Nothing . . . can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade."

Sheldon Richman expands on these ideas in The Freeman magazine, writing, "In reality, then, there are no imports and exports. There is only what I make and what everyone else makes. ... Few people would want to live just on what they themselves could make."

Unless you're No Impact Man or part of the Buy Local crowd.
Once we choose trade over self-sufficiency, we're just arguing about how big the free-trade zone should be. Since trade is always mutually beneficial, the answer is: The bigger the free-trade zone the better.

Worldwide is best of all.

Next week I'll report on the orgy of hand wringing and commerce-hatred fed by media reports of this month's new "record price" of gasoline. By the way, it's not a record.

Of course, the 'Double Thank You' moment exchanged between the buyer and seller of a cup of coffee needs to be regulated by the government, just like all capitalist enterprises. As I mentioned above, the price of coffee is at a record high. I think we should chart out the price of coffee over the past 30 years and show how much it's increased. And it would be interesting to understand the correlation between the increase in price and the growth in the number of Starbucks locations around the world. Clearly, this is price gouging since the cost of coffee (hello, the main ingredient is WATER!!!!) is extremely low and the slack-jawed yokel that hands it to you isn't paid a living wage. I would like a Congressional inquiry into the price of coffee, with special attention paid to Starbucks. And any "excess profits" that are found to have been exploited by the Coffee Cartel should be taxed and put to good use by the government. And, is it really a good idea to be held hostage to the Foreign Coffee? I mean, we should bring coffee bean production back into the US. I'm sure we could get some good Colombian beans to grow in Nebraska or Kansas. We must close the trade gap in coffee beans!!!

Regular readers already know that ARC is a fan of John. Previous posts on John here and here.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Mine Your Own Business

H/T Cafe Hayek

Mine Your Own Business is a new film about how the environmentalist movement isn't really about cleaning up the environment or improving people's lives. It's actually about limiting and ultimately reversing the economic growth of humanity. In the film, one of the activist talks about how poverty in Africa and Eastern Europe is quaint.

This strange desire to return to some mythical peasant existence is especially pervasive in the environmentalist movement.



Jet-set liberals like Laurie David, Sheryl Crow, etc. are imposing a crushing poverty on others. As the No Impact Man project shows, reducing human "impact" on the environment will doom our civilization. (Brian points out that if everyone stored and/or composted their waste in their own homes, the outbreaks of cholera would be horrific.) There are reasons that humanity has advanced over the centuries and environmentalists really want to reverse that trend. Try talking to a hardcore environmentalist about how technological innovation is the solution to our environmental problems and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Environmentalists are like watermelons - Green on the outside, Red on the inside.

Now, time for me to sit on my duff and wait for the check from the mining industry corporations.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Worried about Family in Caracas

I don't use this site for this sort of thing, I try to avoid overly personal issues, but today I have a number of things bothering me, not the least of which is a family member for whom I am concerned.

I have a cousin and her family living in Caracas, Venezuela. She grew up there the daughter of my father's sister and a Canadian father who worked for an oil company. She is a teacher. Her name is Sharon. She is "intensely Canadian," which is a bit like being a "passionate moderate." However, she is keenly aware of what is going on around her and is concerned about what is going on there under the Chavez regime. It is not the Caracas in which she grew up. For us back here in the safety of The States, we are worried for her.

This is personal.

A prayer would not be out of order here.



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Remember Me

In the unlikely event you have not seen this already...

From the mouths of babes, this video is done by a fifteen year old girl, Lizzie Palmer. It has what it takes to move the soul. It is understated, calm and well timed with a serious subject.



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day


Tens of thousands left for war on ships like this between 1942 and 1945. Let us never forget them and all the fallen men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and in defense of freedom. What we have we owe to them.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hugo Shuts Down Opposition TV Station; FAIR Finds No Fault

As Hugo Chavez continues to demonstrate that he is nothing less than a totalitarian, communist retrograde, "progressives" on the Left find no fault with his anti-democratic and totalitarian moves.

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), a media watchdog group that thinks the media is too conservative and pro-capitalist and also believes the Democratic party is too conservative, provides this perspective on Hugo's recent decision to shut down a TV station which doesn't view his rule favorably;

Coup Co-Conspirators as Free-Speech Martyrs
Distorting the Venezuelan media story

5/25/07

The story is framed in U.S. news media as a simple matter of censorship: Prominent Venezuelan TV station RCTV is being silenced by the authoritarian government of President Hugo Chávez, who is punishing the station for its political criticism of his government.

According to CNN reporter T.J. Holmes (5/21/07), the issues are easy to understand: RCTV "is going to be shut down, is going to get off the air, because of President Hugo Chávez, not a big fan of it." Dubbing RCTV "a voice of free speech," Holmes explained, "Chavez, in a move that's angered a lot of free-speech groups, is refusing now to renew the license of this television station that has been critical of his government."

Though straighter, a news story by the Associated Press (5/20/07) still maintained the theme that the license denial was based simply on political differences, with reporter Elizabeth Munoz describing RCTV as "a network that has been critical of Chávez."

In a May 14 column, Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl called the action an attempt to silence opponents and more "proof" that Chávez is a "dictator." Wrote Diehl, "Chávez has made clear that his problem with [RCTV owner Marcel] Granier and RCTV is political."

In keeping with the media script that has bad guy Chávez brutishly silencing good guys in the democratic opposition, all these articles skimmed lightly over RCTV's history, the Venezuelan government's explanation for the license denial and the process that led to it.

RCTV and other commercial TV stations were key players in the April 2002 coup that briefly ousted Chávez's democratically elected government. During the short-lived insurrection, coup leaders took to commercial TV airwaves to thank the networks. "I must thank Venevisión and RCTV," one grateful leader remarked in an appearance captured in the Irish film The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The film documents the networks’ participation in the short-lived coup, in which stations put themselves to service as bulletin boards for the coup—hosting coup leaders, silencing government voices and rallying the opposition to a march on the Presidential Palace that was part of the coup plotters strategy.

On April 11, 2002, the day of the coup, when military and civilian opposition leaders held press conferences calling for Chávez's ouster, RCTV hosted top coup plotter Carlos Ortega, who rallied demonstrators to the march on the presidential palace. On the same day, after the anti-democratic overthrow appeared to have succeeded, another coup leader, Vice-Admiral Victor Ramírez Pérez, told a Venevisión reporter (4/11/02): "We had a deadly weapon: the media. And now that I have the opportunity, let me congratulate you."

That commercial TV outlets including RCTV participated in the coup is not at question; even mainstream outlets have acknowledged as much. As reporter Juan Forero, Jackson Diehl's colleague at the Washington Post, explained (1/18/07), "RCTV, like three other major private television stations, encouraged the protests," resulting in the coup, "and, once Chávez was ousted, cheered his removal." The conservative British newspaper the Financial Times reported (5/21/07), "[Venezuelan] officials argue with some justification that RCTV actively supported the 2002 coup attempt against Mr. Chávez."

As FAIR's magazine Extra! argued last November, "Were a similar event to happen in the U.S., and TV journalists and executives were caught conspiring with coup plotters, it’s doubtful they would stay out of jail, let alone be allowed to continue to run television stations, as they have in Venezuela."

When Chávez returned to power the commercial stations refused to cover the news, airing instead entertainment programs—in RCTV's case, the American film Pretty Woman. By refusing to cover such a newsworthy story, the stations abandoned the public interest and violated the public trust that is seen in Venezuela (and in the U.S.) as a requirement for operating on the public airwaves. Regarding RCTV's refusal to cover the return of Chavez to power, Columbia University professor and former NPR editor John Dinges told Marketplace (5/8/07):
What RCTV did simply can't be justified under any stretch of journalistic principles…. When a television channel simply fails to report, simply goes off the air during a period of national crisis, not because they're forced to, but simply because they don't agree with what's happening, you've lost your ability to defend what you do on journalistic principles.

Of course, if The Imperial Chimpy W. McBushitler had even suggested that CBS, CNN, or MSNBC should be shut down - or even suggested that they should be more favorable in their coverage of the administration, FAIR and their comrades on the Left would have a conniption. Never mind their reaction if Bush pressured the FCC to not renew a station's license to operate.

And, RCTV's opposition to Chavez is due to the ridiculous and fraudulent election results of the most recent contest (which History's Worst Monster approved despite objections from the right-wing Europeans.)

Previous Chavez posts here.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Rosie - Schoolyard Bully, Quits The View

Fellow Americans, Our national nightmare is over. Unfortunately, this blog has just experienced the loss of one of our great sources of content.

Rosie has quit the view before her contract was up.

Like all schoolyard bullies, Rosie O'Donnell could not continue once Hasselbeck stood up to her. Here's the episode where Hasselbeck stands up to Rosie and you can see that Rosie is surprised:



Here's an article on ABCNews.com which has comments from the key players, which I'll translate:

In the Wake of O'Donnell, 'The View' Searches for a Replacement
Whoppi Goldberg, Gayle King Could Take O'Donnell's Seat

May 26, 2007 —

After months of insults, controversy and showdowns, the news of Rosie O'Donnell's departure from "The View" spread fast and furiously.

Though her contract wasn't up until June 20, O'Donnell announced Friday she would not return to "The View" after a controversial blowout Wednesday with her co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

On "Good Morning America Weekend," Michael Ausiello, senior writer for TV Guide, said the search for O'Donnell's replacement is already in full gear.

"We're hearing that Whoppi (sic) Goldberg is maybe the front runner," he said. "Personally, I think they should go with Gayle King."

The Feud to End All Feuds

O'Donnell and Hasselbeck's fight began two weeks ago, when O'Donnell commented on the number of Iraqi deaths and was accused of insinuating U.S. troops are the real terrorists in Iraq -- a claim she vehemently denies. On Wednesday, she called Hasselbeck a coward for not standing by her.

O'Donnell was absent from "The View" for the rest of the week. In a statement to ABCNews.com Thursday, Barbara Walters, the show's creator and co-executive producer, said O'Donnell was off to celebrate her partner's birthday and there would be "peace in the kingdom" of "The View."

But Friday afternoon, ABC announced O'Donnell's stint on the talk show was done.

In a statement Friday, Brian Frons, president of Disney-ABC's Daytime Television Group, said, "We had hoped that Rosie would be with us until the end of her contract three weeks from now, but Rosie has informed us that she would like an early leave. Therefore, we part ways, thank her for her tremendous contribution to 'The View' and wish her well."

Translation: Thank god that that obnoxious and despicable person is off of my network. I was concerned that she might actually serve out the remaining weeks, but fortunately Elisabeth stood up for herself and put Rosie in her place. Who knew that Rosie was such a coward that she couldn't take the heat for another few weeks?
Walters said, "I brought Rosie to the show. Rosie contributed to one of our most exciting and successful years at 'The View.' I am most appreciative. Our close and affectionate relationship will not change."

Translation: Oh, my god... while Rosie was great publicity for my show, I deeply regret her psychotic rantings which legitimized some of the most idiotic and unfounded views by the fringes of our society. When I created a show called "The View," I wanted to have a discussion with a variety of perspectives (primarily from the center left), but Rosie was just a steamroller with her wild-eyed conspiracy stuff, you know? I mean, she was just disastrous and I hope having her on doesn't hurt my reputation as a serious journalist. Excuse me, if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
In her own statement, O'Donnell said, "It's been an amazing year and I love all three women."

Translation: I can't believe that little stick figure across the table stood up to me! I mean, I'm the big man woman on campus here and she totally ignored my status. Sure, I'd like to date her, but only if she'd agree to not challenge my positions on how US troops are terrorists, how 9/11 was an inside job (because fire has never melted steel, you know?), etc.

I hate all three of those women...
[...]
As for the future of "The View," fans can expect to see O'Donnell replaced with a similarly opinioned, strong-willed woman. But filling her seat won't be an easy task.

"It's a big challenge now, filling her shoes -- whether you can fill her shoes," Ausiello said. "You need someone in there who's going to be unpredictable, who's not going to be afraid to speak her mind."

Translation: We've got to find another nutjob who can say ridiculous and harmful things, but isn't so objectionable as a person. I mean, Rosie had some great thoughts, we just thought that the way she delivered them, in her usual, obnoxious style, detracted from the message.

=== End of translation ===

Of course, there are strong-willed women out there. Check out Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin, etc. There are also similarly strong women on the Left (Huffington, Taylor Marsh, etc. Of course, they're just as shrill and obnoxious as Rosie and likely to turn off viewers.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

On Immigration, I'll take a Noonan over a Buchanan

As I've said before, I'm pro-Immigration and don't think that we can deport the illegals that are already here. I agree with Peggy Noonan's approach in the following article of securing the border and then focusing on assimilating those ay tlready here. For, in truth, the main concern of the anti-illegal immigration crowd isn't really that people are coming here - it's that those coming here aren't assimilating like generations of immigrants before. Instead, they're being ghettoized by our multiculturalism.

Again, Immigration Reform is not difficult and the current bill is the worst of both worlds. Here's my "sensible" approach, in order of implementation:

  1. Seal the border.
  2. Increase the capabilities of the INS to assess & process immigration visas and to monitor immigrants that are currently here.
  3. Deport illegal immigrants that commit a violent crime.
  4. Announce that English is the official language and establish requirements for basic understanding of the language to enter.
  5. Create a guest worker program which has a clear path to citizenship with INS monitoring progress (in addition, make sure that guest workers receive the benefit of minimum wage laws, decreasing the desire by businesses for immigrant labor). Illegals currently here who do not have a criminal record can apply for Guest Worker status until citizenship can be processed.
  6. Once the INS has been improved, re-open immigration processing and increase the number of immigrants allowed into the country.
Immigration is a good thing - as long as those that enter our country adopt our culture, our values, and our vision of the future. Here's a cartoon from USAToday that reminds us of who we are and what the new Immigration Reform Bill says about us.


Now, on to Peggy Noonan's excellent columnin Opinion Journal on Friday. She provides an excellent perspective.
Slow Down and Absorb
Open borders? Mass deportations? How about some common sense instead?

Friday, May 25, 2007 12:01 a.m.

Why do people want to come here? Same reasons as a hundred years ago. For a job. For opportunity. To rise. To be in a place where one generation you can be a bathroom attendant at a Brooklyn store and the next your boy can be the star of "Ted Mack's Amateur Hour," with everyone in the neighborhood listening on the radio, or, today, "American Idol," with everyone watching and a million-dollar contract in the wings. To be in a place of weird magic where the lightning strikes. Boom: You got the job in the restaurant. Crack: Now you're the manager. Boom: You've got a mortgage, you have a home.

"Never confuse movement with action," said Ernest Hemingway. But America gives you both. What an awake place. And what a tortured and self-torturing one. Your own family will be embarrassed by you if you don't rise, if you fall, if you fail. And the country itself is never perfect enough for its countrymen; we're on a constant Puritan self-healing mission, a constant search-and destroy-mission for our nation's blemishes--racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, out damn spots.

I asked myself a question this week and realized the answer is "Only one." The question is: Have I ever known an immigrant to America who's lazy? I have lived on the East Coast all my life, mostly in New York, and immigrants both legal and illegal have been and are part of my daily life, from my childhood when they surrounded me to an adulthood in which they, well, surround me. And the only lazy one I knew was a young woman, 20, European, not mature enough to be fully herself, who actually wanted to be a good worker but found nightlife too alluring and hangovers too debilitating.

But she was the only one. And I think she went home.

Everyone else who comes here works hard, grindingly hard, and I admire them. But it's more than that, I love them and I'm rooting for them. When I see them in church (it is Filipino women who taught me the right posture for prayer; Central Americans helped teach me the Bible) I want to kiss their hands. I want to say, "Thank you." They have enriched my life, and our country's.

Naturally I hope the new immigration bill fails. It is less a bill than a big dirty ball of mischief, malfeasance and mendacity, with a touch of class malice, and it's being pushed by a White House that is at once cynical and inept. The bill's Capitol Hill supporters have a great vain popinjay's pride in their own higher compassion. They are inclusive and you're not, you cur, you gun-totin' truckdriver's-hat-wearin' yahoo. It's all so complex, and you'd understand this if you weren't sort of dumb.

But it's not so complex. The past quarter-century an unprecedented wave of illegal immigrants has crossed our borders. The flood is so great that no one--no one--can see or fully imagine all the many implications, all the country-changing facts of it. No one knows exactly what uncontrolled immigration is doing and will do to our country.

So what should we do?

We should stop, slow down and absorb. We should sit and settle. We should do what you do after eating an eight-course meal. We should digest what we've eaten.

We should close our borders. We should do whatever it takes to close them tight and solid. Will that take the Army? Then send the Army. Does it mean building a wall? Then build a wall, but the wall must have doors, which can be opened a little or a lot down the road once we know where we are. Should all legal immigration stop? No. We should make a list of what our nation needs, such as engineers and nurses, and then admit a lot of engineers and nurses. We should take in what we need to survive and flourish.

As we end illegal immigration, we should set ourselves to the Americanization of the immigrants we have. They haven't only joined a place of riches, it's a place of meaning. We must teach them what it is they've joined and why it is good and what is expected of them and what is owed. We stopped Americanizing ourselves 40 years ago. We've got to start telling the story of our country again.

As to the eight or 10 or 12 or 14 million illegals who are here--how interesting that our government doesn't know the number--we should do nothing dramatic or fraught or unlike us. We should debate what to do, at length. Debate isn't bad. There's a lot to say. We can all join in. We should do nothing extreme, only things that are commonsensical.

Here is the truth: America has never deported millions of people, and America will never deport millions of people. It's not what we do. It's not who we are. It's not who we want to be. The American people would never accept evening news pictures of sobbing immigrants being torn from their homes and put on a bus. We wouldn't accept it because we have hearts, and as much as we try to see history in the abstract, we know history comes down to the particular, to the sobbing child in the bus. We don't round up and remove. Nor should we, tomorrow, on one of our whims, grant full legal status and a Cadillac car. We take it a day at a time. We wait and see what's happening. We do the small discrete things a nation can do to make the overall situation better. For instance: "You commit a violent crime? You are so out of here." And, "Here, let me help you learn English."

Let's take time and find out if the immigrants who are here see their wages click up and new benefits kick in as the endless pool stops expanding. It would be good to see them gain. Let's find out if it's true that Americans won't stoop to any of the jobs illegals do. I don't think it is. Years ago I worked in a florist shop removing the thorns from roses. It was painful work and I was happy to do it, and I am very American. I was a badly paid waitress in the Holiday Inn on Route 3 in New Jersey.

The young will do a great deal, and not only the young. The dislike for Americans evinced by the Americans-won't-do-hard-work crowd is, simply, astonishing, and shameful. It says more about the soft and ignorant lives they lived in Kennebunkport and Greenwich than it does about the American people.

Digest, absorb, teach. Settle in, settle down, protect our country.

Happy Memorial Day.
Indeed... And when compared to the nativism and apparently open racism of this Pat Buchanan column, I'll take Noonan's approach any day. Buchanan is more concerned about the skin color of immigrants than their hopes, aspirations, and belief in the future. I could care less where people come from, as long as they share our common values and the belief in the uniqueness of America. It's our inability and unwillingness to assimilate that has caused our problems, not that people are coming here.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Islam Means Peace - Part 1,864

Sorry for the delays in posting. Was traveling Wed, Thurs, Friday of last week and haven't had an opportunity.

Tawfik Hamid had this excellent article in Friday's Opinion Journal which elaborates on some of my previous posts regarding Islam.

Tawfik, a moderate Muslim, is seeking to end Islamophobia and takes an approach which I applaud:

How to End 'Islamophobia'
The latest survey of American Muslims won't reassure their fellow citizens.

BY TAWFIK HAMID
Friday, May 25, 2007 12:01 a.m.
In an interview at the time, CAIR spokesman Nihad Awad accused Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.) of being an "extremist" who "encourages Islamophobia" for pointing out what most people would think is obvious, that such a lawsuit would have a chilling effect on passengers who witnessed alarming activity and wished to report it. We can only assume that Mr. Awad believes flyers should passively remain in a state of fear as they travel and submissively risk their lives. In this case, Congress is acting appropriately and considering passing a law sponsored by Mr. King that would grant passengers immunity from such lawsuits.

It may seem bizarre, but Islamic reformers are not immune to the charge of "Islamophobia" either. For 20 years, I have preached a reformed interpretation of Islam that teaches peace and respects human rights. I have consistently spoken out--with dozens of other Muslim and Arab reformers--against the mistreatment of women, gays and religious minorities in the Islamic world. We have pointed out the violent teachings of Salafism and the imperative of Westerners to protect themselves against it.

Yet according to CAIR's Michigan spokeswoman, Zeinab Chami, I am "the latest weapon in the Islamophobe arsenal." If standing against the violent edicts of Shariah law is "Islamophobic," then I will treat her accusation as a badge of honor.

Muslims must ask what prompts this "phobia" in the first place. When we in the West examine the worldwide atrocities perpetrated daily in the name of Islam, it is vital to question if we--Muslims--should lay the blame on others for Islamophobia or if we should first look hard at ourselves.

According to a recent Pew Global Attitudes survey, "younger Muslims in the U.S. are much more likely than older Muslim Americans to say that suicide bombing in the defense of Islam can be at least sometimes justified." About one out of every four American Muslims under 30 think suicide bombing in defense of Islam is justified in at least some circumstances. Twenty-eight percent believe that Muslims did not carry out the 9/11 attacks and 32% declined to answer that question.

While the survey has been represented in the media as proof of moderation among American Muslims, the actual results should yield the opposite conclusion. If, as the Pew study estimates, there are 2.35 million Muslims in America, that means there are a substantial number of people in the U.S. who think suicide bombing is sometimes justified. Similarly, if 5% of American Muslims support al Qaeda, that's more than 100,000 people.

To bring an end to Islamophobia, we must employ a holistic approach that treats the core of the disease. It will not suffice to merely suppress the symptoms. It is imperative to adopt new Islamic teachings that do not allow killing apostates (Redda Law). Islamic authorities must provide mainstream Islamic books that forbid polygamy and beating women. Accepted Islamic doctrine should take a strong stand against slavery and the raping of female war prisoners, as happens in Darfur under the explicit canons of Shariah ("Ma Malakat Aimanikum"). Muslims should teach, everywhere and universally, that a woman's testimony in court counts as much as a man's, that women should not be punished if they marry whom they please or dress as they wish.

We Muslims should publicly show our strong disapproval for the growing number of attacks by Muslims against other faiths and against other Muslims. Let us not even dwell on 9/11, Madrid, London, Bali and countless other scenes of carnage. It has been estimated that of the two million refugees fleeing Islamic terror in Iraq, 40% are Christian, and many of them seek a haven in Lebanon, where the Christian population itself has declined by 60%. Even in Turkey, Islamists recently found it necessary to slit the throats of three Christians for publishing Bibles.

Of course, Islamist attacks are not limited to Christians and Jews. Why do we hear no Muslim condemnation of the ongoing slaughter of Buddhists in Thailand by Islamic groups? Why was there silence over the Mumbai train bombings which took the lives of over 200 Hindus in 2006? We must not forget that innocent Muslims, too, are suffering. Indeed, the most common murderers of Muslims are, and have always been, other Muslims. Where is the Muslim outcry over the Sunni-Shiite violence in Iraq?

Islamophobia could end when masses of Muslims demonstrate in the streets against videos displaying innocent people being beheaded with the same vigor we employ against airlines, Israel and cartoons of Muhammad. It might cease when Muslims unambiguously and publicly insist that Shariah law should have no binding legal status in free, democratic societies.

It is well past time that Muslims cease using the charge of "Islamophobia" as a tool to intimidate and blackmail those who speak up against suspicious passengers and against those who rightly criticize current Islamic practices and preachings. Instead, Muslims must engage in honest and humble introspection. Muslims should--must--develop strategies to rescue our religion by combating the tyranny of Salafi Islam and its dreadful consequences. Among more important outcomes, this will also put an end to so-called Islamophobia.

Dr. Hamid, a onetime member of Jemaah Islamiya, an Islamist terrorist group, is a medical doctor and Muslim reformer living in the West.

Interesting that Dr. Hamid, once a member of a violent jihadist terrorist group, is more sensible about how to address Islamophobia and the radicalization of Islam than Zogby's Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Unfortunately, I do not have high hopes for Dr. Hamid's cause. After all, he is simply an extremist in the eyes of mainstream Muslims. Eliminate polygamy? Why, what was good for Mohammed (the perfect) is good for us today. Can't kill an apostate? Hey, it's in the fricken Koran, man!!!

Add to this the willingness by the media and our culture to allow such barbarity to continue in the 21st century and not condemn such acts and it moderate Muslims like Dr. Hamid have a difficult path to save their religion.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler