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As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky














The Iconoclast

Saturday, 25 October 2014
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Ever since the start of the three years and two weeks I served in prison in the United States, I have tried, as much as I was able, to assist victims of the criminal justice system who seemed deserving and had less ample means than mine to pursue appeals and relaunch their lives. In every case, I have tried to assist people who were never accused of anything violent or abusive of women or children. I cannot hold myself out as a large benefactor of a numerous group of deserving people and would not be indiscreet about it if I were. But where I know the individual and am confident that he has been harshly treated and would respond positively to a helping hand, I have generally tried to offer one. I made many friends in prison and keep in touch with most of them, as they try to start their lives over in a productive and useful way.

In my first prison, at Coleman, Florida, prior to my successful review of convictions by the U.S. Supreme Court, one of my best friends (and a fellow tutor in the education service) was a former mathematics teacher in a high school in the Southern states, and a commodities trader. Whether he was innocent or committed an error with legitimate legal consequences, I obviously do not know, but I know him to be an intelligent, entertaining, companionable and loyal friend, either a victim of injustice (and therefore in numerous and sometimes distinguished company in the United States), or someone justly convicted who did the crime and did the time and deserves to be allowed to start over with a clean slate. The chances of this man breaking a serious statute in the future are, I think, zero. He is a civilized and decent man devoted to his family and his friends, and I am one of them.

He has a reasonable job and is settled in his late father’s apartment and with his father’s car, and is almost through the humbling irritation of supervised release, which in the American system is worked up to be an almost constant irritation, as the bloated prison system is constantly seeking to flop people back into custody. Inmates are the raw material of the prison industry, which has a voracious appetite for more, and the least mistake, no matter how innocuous, sends you back with an enhanced sentence as a recidivist. When I met him, he was considering embarking on a novel, though he had not written professionally before, and I and other prisoners encouraged him to try. As a published author, l was able to make some useful contacts for him, but he conceived and wrote and rewrote a very interesting story in the genre of youth adventure fiction with some “visionary,” i.e. supernatural, elements to it.

He is William G. Anderson and his book is entitled Shadowy Reflections. It is published in Canada by Influence Publishing, and is a rattling good read. It has got around a good deal in pre-publication. My friend and National Post comrade George Jonas wrote for the cover of the book that if “you pick it up … you will never put it down until you are finished.” The eminent American author and editor Roger Kimball (of The New Criterion and Encounter Books), wrote that Shadowy Reflections is “as large, powerful, and mysterious as the mighty Mississippi River … a capacious, humane and insightful meditation on the exigent metabolism of adolescence.” Margaret Atwood has tweeted positively about it and referred to it on her website. It has some (wholesome) sex and a little (well-provoked) violence, and is a compelling page-turner, as George Jonas wrote.

I have never used this column to tout anything, other than when I gave what proved to be good stock tips during the 2008 financial market crisis, when I was a prisoner, but I recommend this book as a riveting read and an excellent gift for a late teenager or young adult of either sex. I am biased of course, and proud to have played a cameo role in the creation and publication of Shadowy Reflections, but I endorse the book because it is both a good book on its merits, and a magnificent achievement by a man with no advantages except his own determination in a new field where he already excels, returning to the world after more than five years in the unedifying ambiance of the American Gulag. My pitch may seem crass, and if so I apologize, but it is both just and artistically appropriate. Shadowy Reflections by William G. Anderson is available on Amazon.

Because my exposure to the American prison system has, to say the least, been amply publicized and I am rigorously unembarrassed about it, many people whom I do not know, in this country and the United States, write to me about what they consider to be their own or a relative’s miscarriages of justice. I often put their concerns before some very dedicated and reputable organizations that assist those who have been imprisoned or detained and seem to have a legitimate grievance. One such is the case of former Oshawa regional councillor Robert Lutczyk, who has been in the Central East Detention Centre in Lindsay, Ont., for two years, pending trial, scheduled for January, 2015. The charges against him are serious: kidnapping a civic official for several hours and a variety of offences related to unauthorized weapons and explosives. He has no prior record. I don’t know anything about the merits of the case, but he has a plausible prima facie defence. My concern is that his friends have written to me to report that he has been denied bail three times, denied legal aid although he does not have the means to pay counsel, denied access to a computer to learn the Crown’s digital disclosure on the case, and has even been denied a pencil and writing paper. Such notes as he has been able to make with borrowed materials have reportedly been confiscated by correctional officers.

I have no way of knowing if these allegations are well-founded, but their source seems plausible. I wrote to the representative of the Ombudsman’s office, who wrote me back promptly and very courteously with news that it was looking into some of Mr. Lutczyk’s complaints but emphasizing that the Ombudsman’s office had no authority to instruct the correctional authorities or take any position on most of the issues. I was referred to personnel of the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. I wrote on Oct. 3 to the superintendent of the Central East Correctional Centre, Neil Neville, whose name and email address were given to me by the official with whom I corresponded at the Ombudsman’s office. In my note to him, I stressed that I did not have any opinion on the accuracy of the charges against the defendant or his allegations against his jailers, but asked if in Mr. Neville’s opinion there was any truth to those allegations.

As I have had no response of any kind for over three weeks, despite a well-staffed public and press relations apparatus in the ministry, I restate my question here. There is a right to know, as the Ombudsman’s office implicitly acknowledged. Mr. Lutczyk has authorized that the authorities communicate with me about his case. The issue here is whether a defendant is being improperly prevented from mounting a defence to charges that bring a 14-year sentence (though he would presumably serve a shorter time), even if he pleaded guilty, which he will not.

My only interest is due process, not interference in the case itself. The refusal of the head of this facility even to get out an acknowledgement of receipt of my message by a member of his entourage is uncivilized and negligent. Even the U.S. Bureau of Prisons could do better than this, Mr. Neville. I await your reply.

***

Many readers have asked me to comment on the Toronto mayoral election. I like the Fords personally and think much of the criticism of them was affected snobbery, and that Rob Ford did deliver on his promise to slow the proverbial gravy train. I wish them well, but I think Toronto needs a stretch of dignified and productive serenity, and hope that my old and capable friend John Tory will be given the opportunity to provide it, and that he will be rewarded in his perseverance after a series of electoral disappointments that would have broken the resolve of lesser men.

First published in the National Post.

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Posted on 10/25/2014 9:52 AM by Conrad Black
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Saturday, 25 October 2014
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The perfect Christmas gift. Here is an excerpt from their promotional literature:

This impressive calendar showcases 12 absolutely precious kittens, each carefully selected through a grueling audition process. Unlike bland, privileged garbage kittens chosen for nothing more than shallow good looks, Social Justice Kittens radiate fierce strength in the face of untold adversity, and all are gifted with a dazzling array of genders and orientations to go with their tiny, oh-so-kissable faces! THE STATUS QUO WILL NEVER FULLY ACCEPT THESE KITTENS!

(...)

Each month features a charming kitten professionally photographed in a heroic pose appropriate to a small cat defiantly speaking out on the hottest social justice issues of the day. A sassy, challenging declaration erases any doubts about each cat’s passionate rejection of the dominant paradigm.

In the end, the choice is simple: financially support the ideals embodied by this treasured, unique gift, or refuse to purchase a copy and become one of those hateful fake allies who actively embrace injustice and murder.

hat tip: David Thompson.

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Posted on 10/25/2014 9:07 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 25 October 2014
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As promised. Hugh writes here about just one instance of Biased BBC reporting. 

It was a lively,  peaceful and constructive demonstration, with not a single UAF counter a protestor in sight!

Just one photograph until I get home and can download from my camera.

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Posted on 10/25/2014 8:19 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 25 October 2014
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The story here.

I don't care about the casualties. Why should I? They are alien in every sense, from a different univserse.  I am sure they were all people who represented a mortal threat to public order in Tunisia. They were part of the half of the society that wants to be Saudi Arab, determined to make life hell for the half that wants to be French. What interests me is the complete lack of any indignation expressed by those who like to express themselves so loudly in some other contexts. I can imagine the world-wide howl of protest if Israeli troops raided a site on the "West Bank" (Judea and Samaria), and killed all of the occupants, five of whom turned out to be women. Can't you?

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Posted on 10/25/2014 8:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 25 October 2014
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Egypt's savior, General Al-Sisi, its most thoughtful and best leader in modern times, warns that the Muslim fanatics,supported by other fanatics abroad, are out to destroy Egypt. And after the latest attacks in the Sinai, he declares three days of mourning and a state of emergency.

Story here.

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Posted on 10/25/2014 7:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 25 October 2014
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Here.

And meanwhile, the journalists' guild, to which all journalists must belong, has accused Magdi Allam, of "Islamophobia" and want there to be consequences. Egyptian and Muslim by birth, Magdi Allam came to Italy when he was 19, over time abandoned Islam, and became a ferociously relentless revealer of what Islam is like from inside, and at the same time he assumed the mantle of an outsider defending Italy and the West, worried protector of his new country. He's been a member of the European Parliament; he political group he heads is called Io Amo L'Italia (I Love Italy). He wrote a book in praise and defense of Israel. Mark his name.

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Posted on 10/25/2014 6:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 25 October 2014
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Nor influencing people.

Here.

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Posted on 10/25/2014 6:08 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 25 October 2014
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From The Times and the Brent and Kilburn Times

A man from Kilburn has been charged with seven counts of sexual offences involving a 15-year-old girl. Mansoor Miah, 21, of Hilgrove Road, was charged with the offences at Kentish Town police station yesterday after being investigated by officers from the Metropolitan Police’s SO15 unit.

He was bailed to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on November 6.

(The) mother of (the) 15-year-old girl contacted police, concerned about her daughter’s online interaction with a man. Fears about the girl’s internet activity had been raised at her school, which alerted her mother.

Mr Miah is active on social media as a follower of Anjem Choudary and his mentor, the exiled radical cleric Omar Bakri Muhammad. On Twitter he has urged Muslims to “rise up and defend the honour” of Bakri Muhammad, who is currently imprisoned in Lebanon. His tweets also include calls for Sharia in Lebanon and for the country to become a caliphate, or Islamic state. 

On Facebook he has praised the events in Syria and posted photographs of various demonstrations organised by Choudary's various groups.

Miah was charged with seven offences this week, including encouraging the girl to make and distribute indecent photographs of herself and asking the girl to watch him performing a sex act via a webcam.He is also charged with attempting to arrange to meet the girl at a hotel in November last year “to engage in sexual activity”. Another charge alleges that Mr Miah attempted to meet the girl after “grooming” her through contact on Facebook. 

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Posted on 10/25/2014 5:39 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 25 October 2014
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Look here.

The story is about the execution of a young Iranian girl, whose trial was farcical, and who was sentenced to die for killing a man who, she said, had been sexually molesting her. There was a campaign to keep her from being executed, but the Islamic Republic of Iran was implacable. The only way her life might be saved would be if, as according to the Shari'a is possible, the family of the dead man took blood money instead (the same practice prevails in Saudi Arabia, where the Al-Saud and their rich courtiers can buy themselves out of anything). In Islam, the state does not have a monopoly on violence, and individuals can decide whether or not they prefer money to what they see as revenge, carried out for them by the state in lieu of the natural order of things. Similarly, in Muslim societies anyone may carry out the execution of those who, it is claimed, have blasphemed against Muhammad or criticized Islam or apostasized; the state does not have a monopoly on, may not even be the main enforcer of, the Islamic law.

But that's not the point of this post. The point of this post is the bottomless nastiness and stupidity of so many at the BBC. At the top of the page to which a link was given, you see a stylized hangman and a woman's body dangling -- an image from the failed campaign to stop the execution. But at the bottom of the page, you see a photograph of what is presented as, and may be, an execution room in the United States. See? The BBC just wanted to make sure you didn't end the article by being angry with Iran alone, and that you end your little read about Iran with a picture of the Ameicans, just as bad as, it is implied, or perhaps even worse than, the Iranians, when it comes to capital punishment. Not "everyone does it" but the Americans, at least, do it, and of course are known for executing women who've been molested, and hanging on high cranes homosexuals, and so on, just the way the Islamic Republic does it.

Peas in a pod, and who are the Americans, or who are those in the West allied to America, really to protest the practices of the Islamic Republic of Iran?

Do you hate the BBC? Or do youby now at least hate those (many) of its employees who are your enemies, the enemies of the West, and whom you support, either as British taxpayers, or as Amerians who support NPR and educational television which, in turn, give so much money to the BBC?

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Posted on 10/25/2014 5:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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A security camera screen shot of Chaya Zisel Braun  z”l  being wheeled by her parents moments before the Hamas terrorist  attack

Source:  Israeli TV Channel 4

 

Three month Chaya Zisel Braun was  run down and killed at the Silwan Light Rail Station in Jerusalem  by a Hamas terrorist,  21 year-old Abdel Rahman  Al-Shalodi. Eight other persons were injured in the crowd he ploughed into on the station platform.  Ha’aretz reported

According to witnesses, Al-Shalodi drove the car 14 meters on the tracks itself, hitting disembarking passengers and continuing on along the length of the track. He stopped after hitting a pole a few hundred meters down and then attempted to flee on foot, when he was shot, arrested, and hospitalized.

[…]

An eyewitness reported seeing the car hit the mother and baby and continue plowing through the crowd. “The stroller was shattered and the mother was screaming.

[…]

The stroller flew into the air and the baby was found 10 meters away from the stroller.”

Hamas issued a statement calling Al-Shaludi’s murder of Chaya Zisel an “act of heroism”.

A security camera screen shot  showing Hamas terrorist al-Shaludi driving along platform.

Source : Israel Channel 4

Al-Shaludi  had served  time  in an Israeli prison on terrorist-related charges.  Chaya Zisel  parents and visiting grandparents from America, the Halperins, grieved for their loss. Shimon Halperin and his wife had just arrived in Israel on their first visit after their birth of their granddaughter to see Chaya Zisel. Instead they were rushed  to Hadassah Hospital  on Mount Scopus   Chaya  succumbed to her injuries and  was laid to rest  at a Jerusalem cemetery  at midnight, Wednesday, October 22nd.  Al -Shaludi's  mother,  did not acknowledging her son’s murderous action.   The Times of Israel  reported 42 year old Inas Sharif  saying “I feel [Chaya’s mother’s pain, I am a mother after all. I don’t wish for any mother in the world to lose her child.”

 Biased media  obfuscated what occurred on Wednesday  at the Silwan Light Rail stop in Jerusalem located at the bottom of Ammunition Hill.

What passes for the leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA)  stoked the violence that broke out during the recent Sukkoth holiday.  The AP had an initial headline, “ Israeli Police shoot man in East Jerusalem”  and only after complaints about it being misleading changed it to read,  “Palestinian Kills Baby at Jerusalem Station. “ The  U.S. consulate in Jerusalem issued statement hours after the event  calling it a “traffic incident”.  When the news caught up  at Foggy Bottom  they called it an act of terrorism, but with the usual proviso of  “all parties remaining calm.”  Jen Psaki  State Department Press Spokesperson made  the following statement:

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem. We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured. We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.

Jerusalem Mayor  Nir Barkat said:

We must restore peace to Jerusalem - as I said for months, the situation in Jerusalem is intolerable and we must be acting unequivocally against the violence taking place in the city,

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu put the blame squarely on the PA leadership. He said:

This is how Abu Mazen’s  partners in government act, the same Abu Mazen who – only a few days ago – incited  a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. 

Khaled Abu Toameh  squarely put the blame for the eruption of violence in Jerusalem  on PA President Abbas in a Gatestone Institute article, today, “Abbas's Responsibility for Murder.” Toameh wrote:

To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one need look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.

The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.

Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.

Toameh drew attention  to the record of incitement  perpetrated by Abbas and  his cohorts like chief negotiator Saeb Erekat .  They concocted  the hate that led to Wednesday ‘s vehicular homicide by  al-Shalodi.  There was  Abbas’ UN General Assembly speech in September accusing Israel of waging  a “war of Genocide” in the 50-day war against  terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.  This from a man who ordered Palestinian security to cooperate with Israel  during the rocket and terror tunnel conflict fomented by his partner in the unity government, Hamas.   Abbas used the Sukkoth visits to the Kotel to inflame Palestinian. That  resulted in Israeli police cordoning off the Al Aqsa Mosque preventing Palestinians from raining rocks and Molotov cocktails on  the festival crowd of observant Jews below.  Abbas railed about Jewish desecration of Islamic  holy places.     Abbas said:

We must prevent them from entering the Noble Sanctuary by all means. This is our Al-Aqsa. Al-Aqsa is a red line: Israel must be aware that the ongoing raids and attacks on Al-Aqsa will cause a volcanic explosion in the area that will reach Israel. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the State of Palestine, and without it, there will be no state.

The flash point for al-Shalodi’s  terrorist act was reports that Jewish  “settlers” were buying buildings in the Silwan  section in Jerusalem.   The National , published in the UAE had  a  report that vaulted  to world coverage  when it popped up on Yahoo News, “By hook or by crook, settlers rack up gains in East Jerusalem.”  The report looks suspiciously like hate filled PA agit-propaganda , tantamount to throwing oil on the fire of the “silent Intifada”. 

By fair means or foul, Jewish settlers are notching up property gains in the heart of Arab east Jerusalem through a series of shady deals involving front men or straw companies.

The process by which such properties are acquired is shrouded in mystery, with the new Jewish occupants often moving in under the cover of darkness to avoid confrontation with residents.

The latest controversial acquisitions took place in Silwan, a densely populated Palestinian neighborhood on a steep hillside flanking the southern walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.

In the past three weeks, hardline settlers have moved into 35 apartments there, sparking anger and consternation among Palestinians who vehemently oppose such moves as a hostile attempt to Judaise Silwan.

 

Some were allegedly acquired fraudulently, and others legally.

Jewish groups buying up property in the heart of Arab neighborhoods is an explosive political issue because it touches on the future of east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as capital of a future state.

The reality is that Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal and undivided capital. East Jerusalem was formally annexed  by the Knesset on June 28, 1967, reunified following the Six Day War.. Earlier this month we posted on the Iconoclast  :

The President and State Department condemned  Netanyahu’s announcement of 2,610 apartments in Givat Hamatos completing the Jewish areas of the municipality and separation from Bethlehem.   The Administration said the move would “poison relations” among Israel’s allies.  Nir Barkat , Mayor of Jerusalem,  took exception to the  Administration’s criticism of the building program noting that it was anti-discriminatory and had been approved over two years ago.  Nearly half of those apartments were allocated for Arabs.   There were death threats against Arab property brokers for sales of apartments to Jews in the Silwan section of Jerusalem, that prior to the War for Independence had been occupied by Jews. 

Wednesday’s vehicular homicide of  three month old Chaya Zisel Braun  was perpetrated by Hamas terrorist al-Shaludi  with  PA President Abbas, as  an accomplice after the fact for inciting the terrorist act.

 

 

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Posted on 10/24/2014 10:49 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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No comment is necessary.

Here.

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Posted on 10/24/2014 7:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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Liberty GB press release:

Despite all talks of austerity, £1,521.2 billion was the UK’s public debt at the end of the financial year 2013/14, as much as – be prepared for this, but probably you already are - 87.8% of GDP.

The Office for National Statistics, the source of these data, in a recent release also informs that this debt represented an increase of £100.6 billion compared to the end of 2012/13.

Still according to the ONS, government borrowing, excluding the effects of bank bail-outs, was £11.8 billion in September 2014, £1.6 billion higher than September 2013.

Without all their many zeros, these figures may look less catastrophic than they actually are, but are still impressive.

Economists had predicted that borrowing would not increase. Even worse, the government had. Chancellor George Osborne in March pledged to cut the budget deficit by more than 10% over the next 12 months.

According to some calculations, our national debt grows by £15,510 every three seconds.

What happens to individuals and families also happens to governments. Spend more than you have, and you end up in debt. Keep doing it, and the debt accumulates. The more debt you have, the more debt interest you must pay. Last year, Britain's debt cost the taxpayers more than £50 billion in interest payments: about half of the NHS budget and more than the entire defence expenditure.

Reducing the debt is a political priority. Raising tax rates hurts the economy, as has been repeatedly shown. Therefore, we can effectively decrease the debt only by bringing down spending, which would not be difficult to achieve if we cut waste.

The Liberty GB party has various common-sense policies to achieve this goal, including:

  • abolishing purposeless quangos
  • reducing the public sector's unnecessarily high number of employees and other wasteful departmental expenditures
  • halting mass immigration, thus decreasing its enormous expenditure on benefits; diversity policies; education; health; translation services; extra police, prison, judicial and intelligence services; and so on
  • ending health tourism
  • ending non-emergency aid to all countries, except those with a proven record of protection of their minorities, in particular the one which is by far the most persecuted minority in the world: Christians
  • limiting the funding of schools by central government to a base amount, adjusted to the cost of living of the area, with any extra spending raised by the local authority
  • leaving the NHS free at point of delivery, but not in any circumstances. There must be a limit to the expenditure for each person paid for by public purse, that could vary with age and other conditions. This will mean that the elderly and people with chronic or serious conditions, who have more justified need for health care, will have a higher limit. The NHS money will be conditional on the patient's following the doctor's prescriptions, in particular the lifestyle recommendations
  • devolving healthcare decision-making to the local level to enable services to target local needs and to cut out higher layers of bureaucracy
  • implementing "Work for the Dole" (also known as "Workfare"), to help benefit claimants back to work
  • removing benefits for people under 25 who refuse to take up offers of work, training or education. In those cases they should be the responsibility of their parents. This could incentivise them to become active members of society.
  • stopping giving free council or council-funded accommodation to unmarried mothers under 25, who must remain the responsibility of the pregnant girl's parents. The rate of teen pregnancy would dramatically decrease, as has been evidenced in the US when welfare has been withheld
  • seriously cracking down on benefit fraud
  • ending benefits for children resident outside the UK.
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Posted on 10/24/2014 1:12 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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Last week I met a pleasant lady who, though she had appeared a few times on television, could hardly be counted a public figure. Nevertheless, she had received many abusive messages on Facebook and Twitter as a result of her appearances, and one man had written to her thousands of times and threatened to kill her, telling her that he knew where she lived just to make sure that she was genuinely frightened.
 
Of course, one doesn't know what proportion of messages on the so-called social media are abusive in this way, nor can one define at what proportion of abuse to other messages those media would be a net social bane. Another question is whether the social media express the bile that has always existed or whether it has actually increased that bile by turning the expression of it into a habit.
 
Certainly no one who follows the internet 'discussions' that follow the publication of an article will be surprised that there is so much bile about. The other day, for example, I happened upon an article about research that had revealed a vast canyon in the earth's surface under Greenland's ice sheet, a canyon that was longer and larger than the Grand Canyon. This was a fascinating finding, suggesting that there is still (thank goodness) much that is unknown in the world.
 
You might have thought that such an article would not occasion venom or bad temper, but it did. Here are the comments that followed:
 
  James: Very interesting, but the probing is probably just a
               cover for the start of checking for oil.
 
  Carrol: The computer you used to type your idiotic post was
               made possible by oil.
 
   James: 'My idiotic post,' Carrol? Judging by your absurd/
               unintelligible comment, YOU are the only idiot here, as
               you don't even understand what I've written.
 
   Truant: All [Carrol] did was make a statement that your
               computer has oil-based components in its construction,
               and stated so without any accusations except that you
               are an idiot.
 
   James: No, Truant, you are as thick as Carrol.  
 
If this is the level of insult occasioned by a geological finding in Greenland, you can easily imagine the venom that attaches to more politically contentious matters. The Guardian website censors comments that do not 'abide by our community standards' - and when one reads the kind of comments and language that do abide by those standards, one wonders what the censored comments must be like.
 
Where does all this biliousness come from?
 
First published in Salisbury Review.
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Posted on 10/24/2014 11:29 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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Listen here.

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Posted on 10/24/2014 9:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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Here.

While the Americans should not be contributing anything to the shock trooops of the Jihad against Israel -- that is, the local Arabs carfefully renamed as "the Palestinians," at the very least the American government, pledging money that American taxpayers certainly would not support if they could vote directly on the issue (fury at Muslims, and at "Palestinians," grows and grows, as more people begin to understand how they have been fooled about Islam and Jihad), should make clear it will not fulfill its own pledge until the Gulf Arab states fulfill theirs. And they won't. And then we won't. And that  will be salutary and bracing.

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Posted on 10/24/2014 9:25 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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A declaration of war on the Islamic State is not directed mainly at the Islamic State. Its existence, in the desert of Western Iraq and Eastern Syria, threatens, sensationally more than effectively, the non-Sunnis in Syria, and the Shiites in Iraq. It should be understood, rather, as a resolution that would be politically difficult to oppose, and thart would allow more effective measures taken against those in the United States (and if it is copied, by those elsewhere in the Western world) who support the same goals as the Islamic State, that is the establishment of a caliphate and the imposition, all over the world, of the Holy Law of Islam, that is the Shari'a. And since almost all Muslims are suppposed to support those two goals, and many, whether they declare it or not, certainly support the imposition of the Sharia, they have now been identified, in that support, as giving "aid and comfort" to a declared enemy. And that makes it easier to puruse and prosecute them at home, and makes it easier, too, to deny Muslims entry into this country, on the understanding that it is administratively impossible to distinguish those Muslims who support the imposition of Sharia (including those who with great feigned sincerity tell us that they do not), from those who do not. Since such support is at the heart of Islam, the burden is on Muslims, in any case, to explain to us how it is they could identify themselves as Muslims and not support Shari'a. But just as we attempt to keep out those who are carriers of Ebola, we have every right to keep out those who are carriers of an ideology which, even if it may lay dormant in some Muslims, can still be contagious, and the converts to Islam who suddenly are transformed from marginal, often slightly deranged types, to marginal, often slightly deranged types who are now a danger to all non-Muslims, are ample evidence of the danger. And what Believer, that is Muslim, even in, or perhaps especially in, insisting  that "the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam," is not giving "aid and comfort" to the enemy?

 


 

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Posted on 10/24/2014 8:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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Hilversum, as in Etty Hilversum.

Mayor Boertjes, former editor of Volkskrant and therefore a molder of opinion, appears to believe that those who leave the Netherlands to fight for the Islamic State are just like, and should enjoy the same movement of freedom, as Dutch Jews who, after World War II, went to help Israel survive the Arab onslaught  that attempted to snuff out its young life.

His comparison is not odorous. But he's right to want to allow  these fanatical Muslims to leave the West, and fight and die, or fight and live, in the already-wretched Muslim lands. Right, but not for  the right reasons.

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Posted on 10/24/2014 8:17 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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Common sense, here.

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Posted on 10/24/2014 8:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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Posted on 10/24/2014 7:52 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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When Bob Dylan sang “For the times they are a-changin’” he was not referring to relations between Israel and Russia, but his lyrics might just fit at the present time. No one can speak of a Russian tropical heat wave towards Israel but it isn’t surprising the temperature’s rising. The relationship may be heading to a beautiful friendship if not the beginning of love.

The change has come as a result of President Vladimir Putin’s direction of foreign policy. That direction does not come from any love of Israel or the Jewish people, or from any ideological reorientation. It results from Putin’s concern for Russian national interest.

Russian attitudes, both during the period of the Soviet Union and since, towards Israel and Jews has gone through a number of phases. In the immediate period after the end of World War II the Soviet Union allowed Jews in Eastern European to go to camps in the Western zones; it did not prevent the formation of clandestine Zionist operations in Bulgaria and Romania; it did not stop 300,000 Jews going, between 1948 and 1951, from Eastern Europe to Israel.

 

When Britain decided to give up its Palestinian Mandate, the Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko, announced in May 1947 and again in November, that his country supported the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947 calling for the creation of two states, one Jewish and the other Arab. The Soviet Union was the first state to recognize de jure, on May 17, 1948, the establishment of the Jewish State and its Provisional Government. It also voted against UNGA Resolution 194 of December 1948 calling for refugees to be allowed to return to their homeland if they were willing to live in peace with their neighbors.

It is arguable that Israel was saved by the Soviet Union. David Ben-Gurion in 1968 doubted that the country could have survived the early months without the arms supplies from the Soviet bloc. Those arms, including tanks and combat planes, started coming nominally from Czechoslovakia but essentially from the USSR from May 1947 for at least two years.

With the onset of the Cold War and the increasing paranoia of Joseph Stalin directed against “Zionist imperialists” and imaginary Jewish medical assassins and saboteurs, the harmonious relationship changed, persisting even after Stalin’s death in March 1953. The result was both increasing anti-Semitism, and an end of Russian Jewish emigration to Israel. After the 1967 Six-Day War, the USSR broke diplomatic relations with Israel, and they were not restored until October 1991. The USSR became a major supporter of the Palestinian groups and of pro-Arab resolutions at the UN, and a leader in the campaign attacking Israel as being a racist state.

Whatever Putin’s objectives may be in general, Russia while he has been in power has been more cordial, or less hostile, towards Israel. Important differences still divide the two countries, particularly in relation to Iran’s nuclear ambitions and projects that have been helped financially by Russia, and its diplomatic and material support for the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria. Putin is aware that there are more than 14 million Muslims in Russia, 10 per cent of the population, and only 200,000 Jews.

Russia has also been selling arms to Arab countries, especially Syria. In 2009 it sent Syria eight MiG-31 planes, costing $500 million, and in 2014 planned to send 26 Yak-130s, costing $550 million. Russia has remained helpful to Iran on nuclear issues. In September 2014 Russia agreed to send materials to Iran including S-300 nuclear reactors. Some Russian weapons sent to Arab countries fell into the hands of Hizb’allah.

Nevertheless, friendly gestures or agreements between Russia and Israel were more important. One concerned Russian actions in Chechnya which were criticized by the U.S. and European countries. But Israel, understanding that Russia’s struggle against terrorists was comparable to its own struggle against Palestinian terrorists, and observing that Putin recognized the need to combat terrorism and extremism, refrained from criticism. The Islamist terrorist attack on the school in Beslan in September 2004 that killed hundreds of schoolchildren was particularly meaningful. Though Putin favors a Palestinian right to self-determination, he did not approve a unilateral declaration of independence.

There are ties between Russia and Israel in a number of areas: economic, military and demographic. The population link is considerable. Almost 1 million -- one seventh -- of the Israeli population has come from Russia, and is integrated into Israeli political and economic life. Russians also form the largest number, after North Americans, of tourists visiting Israel: in 2013 they numbered 380,000, 13 per cent of the total.

Trade between the two countries has been increasing: in 2013 it accounted for $3.5 milliards. Israel exported to Russia mainly agricultural products, electronics, and medical materials, amounting in all to $1.5 milliards, and imported rough diamonds and hydrocarbons. In February 2013 Israel made an arrangement, a 20- year deal, with Gazprom that would buy liquefied natural gas from Israel’s Tamar offshore gas field. In December 2013 a free exchange zone between the two countries was set up.

Israel will continue its exports of agricultural products to Russia, in spite of the EU sanctions imposed in July 2014 against Russia over its actions in Ukraine. Russia in response had stopped agricultural imports from Europe, and Israel is interested in expanding its own agricultural products from $325 million a year to more than $1 billion. Israel’s sale of fruits, especially apples and plums, to Russia help make up its losses from the EU ban on imports of all dairy, meat, poultry, and egg products from the West Bank, Golan Heights, and Jerusalem.

In the military and industrial sphere, Israel since 2009 has been selling drones to Russia. In March 2011, agreements were reached on a number of areas: space cooperation, joint research programs, including astrophysical and planetary research, medicine, and intellectual property and science exchanges. The Israel Aerospace Industries has since 2010 been engaged on a $400 million project with the Russian company Oboronprom for Russian based production of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Personal and political connections have been pursued by both sides. In June 2012 President Putin visited Israel for the inauguration of the national Victory Monument in the coastal town of Netanya honoring the soldiers of the Soviet Union who fought against Nazi Germany during World War II. Putin in June and July 2014 declared his support for the struggle of Israel in its attempts to protect its citizens. In a meeting in June 2014 Putin agreed with Prime Minister Banjamin Netanyahu to a special hotline connection, a direct line, between their two offices. This connection evades any interference by the United States, which already has a direct line with Israel.

Some surprise among Western countries was registered by Israel’s position on the non-binding UNGA Resolution of March 27, 2014 which implicitly criticized Russia for “its disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine” through the use of force, and its annexation of Crimea. The Resolution was approved by 100-11, but Israel was one of the 58 nations that abstained.

Russia has been a member of the Quartet, together with the U.S., the EU, and the UN, set up in March 2002 to act as mediators for the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Over the last twelve years the Quartet has made little, if any, progress in the attempt to foster substantive negotiations. However, Russia is in a unique position as a country that has degrees of friendly relations with the Palestinian Authority, with Hamas, and with Israel. Can it be the intermediary that can persuade the Palestinians to agree to begin the process for peaceful negotiations? Again, the lyrics of the great bard Bob Dylan are pertinent. The wheel’s still in spin and there’s no telling what it’s naming.

First published in the American Thinker.

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Posted on 10/24/2014 7:47 AM by Michael Curtis
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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Former Hezbollah fighter becomes a rabbi.

Story here.

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Posted on 10/24/2014 7:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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Why Western governments want to prevent, make strenuous efforts to prevent, Muslims from joining the violent  Jihad in Syria  and Iraq continues to amaze.Here is an article about the deaths of those who left the U.K. for Syria and Iraq, complete with pictures, as if we are to mourn them, or lament their loss. Absurd story here.

Less amazing,but more amusing,  in the article about the sad deaths  of such wayzgoose warriors, is the description of "noted behavioural psychologist Cass Sunstein." Cass Sunstein is a law professor.  Perhaps, however, his being a "nudge"-nooge has -- he co-wrote a book on "The Nudge" as a way to change how people behave --been enough to allow him, in the Guardian writer's eyes, to be described as "the well-known behavioural psychologist."

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Posted on 10/24/2014 6:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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Posted on 10/24/2014 4:54 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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JAMAICA, Queens (PIX11/CNN) - Four police officers and a woman were injured, and a hatchet-wielding man was fatally shot during a bloody altercation Thursday in Queens and now officials are looking to see if the attack was prompted by terrorism.

Four rookie police officers were working near 162nd Street and Jamaica Avenue when a freelance photographer asked them to pose for a photo in front of a Conway store.  While they were posing, another man, described as a 32-year-old male,  attacked without saying a word, Commissioner Bratton said at a press conference Thursday.“The suspect was described as having charged at the officers,” 

The other officers fired multiple shots, killed the suspect at the scene. A 29-year-old woman passing by was struck by gunfire in the lower back.  She underwent surgery at Jamaica Hospital and is in stable condition.

"Three rookie cops absolutely modest about what they did, thankfully all are in good condition,” Mayor De Blasio said.

The New York Post names the man as Zale Thompson, 32, of Queens — a “scholarly” but “weird” ­recent convert to Islam . . . The NYPD is investigating whether Islamic extremism played a role in the attack.

There is a video on the New York Post page.

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Posted on 10/24/2014 4:39 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 24 October 2014
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From the Telegraph.

Internet providers have been warned that the Government will force them to remove extremist material, as it emerged that a British hate preacher had influenced the man behind the attack on the Canadian parliament. 

The Daily Telegraph can disclose that the Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service are in talks about using court orders to ensure that internet providers such as BT and Virgin immediately remove extremist propaganda. The warning came as it transpired that Britain’s most high-profile radical Islamist preacher, Anjem Choudary, had influenced the man involved in the Ottawa attack. 

There were reports in Canada that Zehaf-Bibeau and another Islamic convert, Martin Ahmad Rouleau, had been influenced by Choudary. The radical cleric was one of nine men arrested last month by Scotland Yard officers as part of an investigation into Islamist terrorism. Rouleau’s Twitter account showed that he followed several radical preachers, including Choudary, who tweeted that he hoped that the Canadian attacker would be admitted to heaven. I can't see that on Choudary's twit thingy this morning; maybe it has been deleted, maybe I can't see it for looking.

However, Choudary said: “The fact that someone follows you on Twitter does not mean you necessarily influenced him to do anything.” Choudary’s followers have been connected to militant plots in Britain in recent years. Michael Adebolajo, one of the men who killed the British soldier Lee Rigby on a London street last year, had attended protests he had organised. 

last night Choudary spoke to the Express here, about how he does not accept UK law.

The 46-year-old hate preacher made the extraordinary statement when asked if jihadist fighters returning from Syria should have their passports confiscated and be charged under anti-terror laws. Choudary blasted: "I don't accept British law. If you have a law, you need to apply it universally. These laws are only being applied against Muslims."

He also spoke of his support for Islamic State (ISIS) and claimed a ban on jihadists returning to Britain would 'alienate' the Muslim community. "I think it will disenfranchise the Muslim community here, I think it would be a cause of further radicalisation in this country."

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Posted on 10/24/2014 3:40 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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