Islamic democracy

This election news from Nigeria should help sober up those who are still enthusiastic about the demands for democracy in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.

Violent protests erupted across Nigeria’s largely Muslim north on Monday as youths angered at President Goodluck Jonathan’s election victory torched churches and homes and set up burning barricades. The vote count showed Jonathan, from the southern oil-producing Niger Delta, had beaten Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler from the north, in the first round.

Observers have called the poll the fairest in decades in Africa’s most populous nation but Buhari’s supporters accuse the ruling party of rigging. Results show how politically polarised the country is, with Buhari sweeping states in the Muslim north and Jonathan winning the largely Christian south…. A Reuters tally of results put Jonathan on nearly 23 million votes to just over 12 million for Buhari.

A 66-34 is hardly Bush-Gore in 2000 or the Coleman-Franken senatorial election in Minnesota. It is, in fact, an absolute landslide. It also tends to suggest that Muslims will not necessarily wait until they are in the majority to demand governing power, which could have some interesting implications for countries such as Britain and the Netherlands.

A failure to follow through

Standards & Poor finally begins to consider downgrading U.S. debt, but lack the guts to point out the obvious.

Standard & Poor’s on Monday downgraded the outlook for the United States to negative, saying it believes there’s a risk U.S. policymakers may not reach agreement on how to address the country’s long-term fiscal pressures.

“Because the U.S. has, relative to its ‘AAA’ peers, what we consider to be very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness and the path to addressing these is not clear to us, we have revised our outlook on the long-term rating to negative from stable,” the agency said in a statement.

Of course, remember that debt rating services don’t downgrade debt until it is completely obvious to everyone. If you still think U.S. debt merits AAA status, well, you probably borrowed a lot of money to invest in real estate sometime after 2007. To say that the outlook is “negative” is a serious understatement.

WND column

Hell is for Human Trash

The Christian concept of hell has proven to be a strangely difficult one to accept for a species that has developed the concepts of capitalism, natural selection and the survival of the fittest. And it is an odd world in which metal bands contemplate the theology of damnation in a more sophisticated and intelligent manner than religious ministers – one cannot reasonably call them Christian – of national standing.

NB: this is the TIME magazine article to which I refer in the column.