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Easy Meat
by Peter McLoughlin
The Tongue is Also a Fire
by James Como
Out Into The Beautiful World
by Theodore Dalrymple
Unreading Shakespeare
by David P. Gontar
Islam Through the Looking Glass: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J. B. Kelly, Vol. 3
edited by S. B. Kelly
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
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
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum




























Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Danish school bars Muslim students from wearing niqab
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From the Danish edition of The Local and the Copenhagen Post

An adult education centre in the northern Copenhagen suburb of Lyngby has told six female students that they can no longer attend classes unless they remove their niqabs,

The school in question, VUC Lyngby, said that it changed its rules in the autumn to no longer allow students to cover their faces during class but the case only hit the media this week when a post on the school’s Facebook page led to a debate over its policies. 

“Teaching takes place by means of communication, and as a teacher you can better understand your impact if you can see that what you’re saying is being received by the student. And this cannot be done if they’re wearing a niqab,”  deputy headteacher Inge Voller explained to Metroxpress.

The school said that "everyone is welcome" at the institution and that while no one had been thrown out of class for wearing a niqab, the new policy will applies to all future students at the school. The six women who were told that they would not be able to attend future classes while wearing a niqab have been offered the opportunity to follow along via e-learning.

While the school’s policy had its critics, the majority appeared to agree with the decision. Opinion polls on both Metroxpress and Ekstra Bladet showed that an overwhelming majority of readers backed the school.  

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Posted on 05/04/2016 10:30 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Will Cameron Apologize to Trump?
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Heatstreet:

David Cameron will be cringing today at Donald Trump’s emergence as the likely Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 election.

Last December the prime minister called the billionaire businessman “divisive, stupid and wrong” for suggesting that Muslims should be banned from entering America.

When he made these undiplomatic remarks, Cameron had been swept up by the excitement surrounding a UK petition signed by more than 500,000 people calling on the government to ban Trump from entering Britain – an idea Cameron vetoed.

He would have assumed that Trump had no chance of becoming the Republican nominee.

Even so, no other European leader was so outspoken.

Now Cameron is paying for his error of judgment.

One of Trump’s advisers has said Cameron should apologise.

George Papadopoulos, Trump’s London-based foreign policy adviser on Europe and the Middle East, said Trump is considering a tour of both regions but has not yet been invited to Britain by the government.

In a comment to the Times of London Mr Papadopoulos said: “First we need an invitation. Of course, if the United Kingdom extended an invitation it would be a tremendous show of unity and a wonderful spectacle. That invitation has not been extended…If prime minister Cameron is serious about reaching out…an apology or some sort of retraction should happen.”

Diplomats are said to be keen to restore relations as soon as possible, meaning Cameron may find himself in the humiliating position of having to welcome Trump to Downing Street once the tycoon has formally secured the nomination in July.

Cameron’s one possible escape route is that he may lose the EU Referendum on June 23. In which case, he is expected to resign immediately, meaning his successor could shake hands with Trump instead.

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Posted on 05/04/2016 10:15 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Fasten Your Seatbelts, It's Going to be a Bumpy Election
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Posted on 05/04/2016 8:59 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Blueprint for a President Trump Foreign Policy
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Donald Trump’s long-awaited foreign-policy speech last week initially generated entirely predictable reactions. His supporters were gratified by a clear and coherent enunciation of his views, which had generally been presented up to then in a scatter-shot fashion, and often seemed more like belligerent attitudes than purposeful policy. But to his critics on both the right and the left, it was very inadequate, though naturally for different reasons. On the left, he was a dangerous, uncompromising jingo-nationalist who would destroy alliances with unilateralism and blunder into wars without thinking them through (a bizarre charge given the accident-prone behavior of recent administrations). It was unfocused belligerency. On the right, his policy was deemed a mere isolationism. The slogan “America First,” which was uttered once in the address, was superciliously resurrected from the Lend-Lease debate in 1941, and the loose organization of that name headed by Colonel Charles Lindbergh was deemed to be flying again, unable to make a serious moral distinction between Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler.

Lindbergh and his fellow isolationists, most of them patriotic Americans who did not want to become enmeshed in the quarrels of Europe, were pilloried by Franklin D. Roosevelt as Nazi sympathizers, and as Communists acting in solidarity with them in obedience to the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939. They had no monopoly on the phrase “America First,” and it did not necessarily acquire any permanent meaning. Trump made it clear that his only application of it was to define the American national interest, not ungenerously or without allies or in indifference to the rest of the world, and to provide the military and diplomatic consistency to maintain and protect that interest in consultation with allies. He was critical of the impetuosity of the Bushes, without naming them, in plunging into areas without proper justification or planning, at immense cost in lives and money, and with little beneficial consequence for America. He particularly assailed what “all began with a dangerous idea that we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a Western democracy. We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed: civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans killed, lives wasted.”

He was more explicit in attacking President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton for “a reckless, rudderless, and aimless foreign policy that has blazed a path of destruction in its wake. I challenge anyone to explain the strategic foreign-policy vision of Obama and Clinton. It has been a complete and total disaster.” More broadly, he said:

America no longer has a clear understanding of our foreign-policy goals. Since the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, we’ve lacked a coherent foreign policy. One day we’re bombing Libya and getting rid of a dictator to foster democracy for civilians. The next day we’re watching the same civilians suffer while their country absolutely falls apart. We’re a humanitarian nation, but the legacy of the Obama-Clinton interventions will be weakness, confusion, and disarray, a mess. We’ve made the Middle East more unstable and chaotic than ever before. We left Christians subject to intense persecution and even genocide. We have done nothing to help the Christians, nothing, and we should always be ashamed for that. Our actions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria have helped unleash ISIS, and we’re in a war with radical Islam, but President Obama won’t even name the enemy, and unless you name the enemy, you will never solve the problem.

While Trump had the respect for Republican sensibilities not to name the Bushes, it was clear that he considered George W. Bush, especially, part of the problem. He cannot have been thinking of anyone but the 43rd president when he said: “Instead of trying to spread universal values that not everyone shares or wants, we should understand that strengthening and promoting Western civilization and its accomplishments will do more to inspire positive reforms around the world than military interventions.” He was naturally less genteel in dealing with Hillary Clinton: She “blames it all on a video, an excuse that was a total lie, proved to be absolutely a total lie. Our ambassador [to Libya] was murdered and our secretary of state misled the nation. She was not awake to take that call at three o’clock in the morning.”

Trump paid suitable homage to the statesmen who led the Western Alliance to victory in World War II and in the Cold War, though Ronald Reagan was the only one he mentioned by name. “History will not forget what he did. . . . Unfortunately, after the Cold War our foreign policy veered badly off course. We failed to develop a new vision for a new time. . . . Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which led to one foreign-policy disaster after another.” He blamed the Clinton administration for underreacting to the bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and to the attack on the USS Cole, and enumerated five weaknesses in current American foreign policy. “First, our resources are totally over-extended. . . . Secondly, our allies are not paying their fair share. . . . They look at the United States as weak and forgiving and feel no obligation to honor their agreements with us. In NATO, only four of 28 other member countries besides America are spending the minimum required 2 percent of GDP on defense."…"The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense, and if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice.”

The third weakness he identified was that the U.S. was not seen by its allies as dependable. “We’ve had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies."…"He negotiated a disastrous deal with Iran, and then we watched them ignore its terms even before the ink was dry. Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.” This last line presumably means that if Iran derogates from the treaty and accelerates nuclear military deployment, President Trump will stop it militarily. If Iran adheres to the treaty’s terms, whoever is president of the United States in 2025 will have to tell the Iranians, if the Trump policy is followed in the meantime, that a version of the treaty will have to be renewed or preventive military means will be taken to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear military power. This is at least more sensible than the promises of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to “tear up” the treaty, which is contrary to international law and would excuse Iran from its tepid restraints after all the impounded and immobilized billions of Iranian funds have been released to it.

His fourth imputation of weakness that “our rivals no longer respect us. . . . They don’t take us seriously anymore.” In illustration of this, he mentioned the fact that Obama went all the way to Copenhagen to lobby for Chicago as the next Olympic Games site, and yet it came fourth; and that when Obama visited Cuba and Saudi Arabia, no one met him at the airport.

“Finally,” he said, “America no longer has a clear understanding of our foreign-policy goals. Since the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, we’ve lacked a coherent foreign policy.” He promised that “we are getting out of the nation-building business and instead focusing on creating stability in the world.” Trump declared that it would be his goal to “establish a foreign policy that will endure for several generations,” and said that he would recruit a new team, not composed of “those who have perfect résumés but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war.”

I have cited so extensively from the speech because, apart from those outlets that published the entire text, very little of it was accurately summarized. Those who disliked it described it in pejorative adjectives, and supporters also gave only adjectival approval. In fact, it was sensible and plausible, a middle course between George W. Bush’s impetuosity and exaltation of inapplicable idealism over practicalities on the ground, and Obama’s feckless irresolution that has often had the character of telling America’s allies and adversaries to change roles and places, as in an after-dinner game of charades. The yelpings of some of America’s allies, such as German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, can be discounted as the apprehension of freeloaders seeing the approach of the bill collector, rather than the pompous condescensions of European diplomats, who have tended to regard Atlantic relations for generations as a tutorial on worldliness from them to the Americans fortunate to have the privilege of defending them. The speech wasn’t isolationist in tone and it isn’t clear that a Trump administration would cut loose very much from the traditional range of American overseas and hemispheric interests, except some countries that declined to pull their weight.

Nor do I see anything to justify the normally very insightful Peggy Noonan’s view in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal that Trump’s foreign policy is to the left of the “hawkish” Hillary Clinton. Whatever Mrs. Clinton’s private demurrals and implications about the president whom she served, she is stuck with her record, including her attempt to pretend that the agreement between Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush over Gaza and settlements didn’t happen, her role in the abbreviation of anti-missile coverage for the Czechs and Poles and the rest of the nonsense about the “reset” with Russia, and the gradual foundering of any serious resistance to the Iranian nuclear military program.

Following his win in Indiana, it is almost impossible to see any scenario in which Donald Trump will fail to be the GOP’s presidential nominee. He and Mrs. Clinton are already exchanging fire and it will become very intense; neither of these two hardballers is going to pay any attention to a political Marquess of Queensberry. Trump has already called her a liar and an unindicted felon, as well as an incompetent secretary of state and a “facilitator” of the infidelities of her husband, whom Trump has called the greatest sexist in American history. Mrs. Clinton has returned the compliments, and these are just the revels of the May; six months of mud-slinging impend. As I have written here before, the people are more angry than Washington insiders imagined, at 20 years of misgovernment, and Donald Trump is not complicit in any of what angers them. He has his infelicities, as have been amply publicized, but his Archie Bunker followers consider them a badge of honor, and the foreign-policy speech last week and his general demeanor in the last month or so are an effort to bring Republican moderates and traditionalists down from the tree. The arguments that he is unelectable, which have become steadily more tattered and moth-eaten, are pretty lame now and the polls between the two likely nominees are close.

Since 1952, the only time a party has won three straight terms in the White House was in 1988, when the very popular Ronald Reagan helped get what amounted to a third term, for his vice president, George H. W. Bush. Donald Trump is calling for a change from 20 or more years of inadequate leadership from both parties. Once the call that it is time for a change takes hold, it is difficult to reverse it. The only method is to change the rationale for supporting the government, as in FDR’s artful transition from, as he put it, “Dr. End-the-Depression” to “Dr. Win-the-War.” Hillary Clinton will not be able to pull that trick this year. Donald Trump has the advantages of very high (and long-lasting) name recognition without the baggage of incumbency. Hillary Clinton seems to be running for president for the fourth time, without ever having had the pleasure of holding that office. Nothing should be taken for granted, and it should be, as it has been for many months, good entertainment.

First published in National Review.

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Posted on 05/04/2016 7:36 AM by Conrad Black
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Wednesday, 4 May 2016
EU Poised to Endorse Visa-Free Travel for Turks
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One more reason Britain needs to vote for Brexit.

UNITED NATIONS (Talk Media News) – E.U. officials are expected to endorse a plan that would grant Turkish citizens visa-free travel throughout the 28-member bloc on Wednesday, marking the culmination of years of efforts by Turkey to deepen European integration.

The announcement comes on the heels of a decree issued Monday by the Turkish government granting all E.U. citizens visa-free travel to Turkey. That decree was one of 72 requirements listed in a 2013 E.U. roadmap that spelled out exactly which policy changes and laws Turkey needed to implement to enter into Europe’s “visa free regime.”

“With this decree Turkey has fulfilled one more of the important benchmarks of its visa liberalization roadmap, and for the overall picture I would ask you to stay tuned as more, as you know, will come tomorrow,” European Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said Tuesday.

Turkey’s General Assembly has been hard at work in recent days to introduce and vote on several of the remaining laws, but a handful of remaining benchmarks – including some key provisions relating to E.U. security – will require more than legislative votes to fully address.

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Posted on 05/04/2016 7:16 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 4 May 2016
John Shattuck and America’s “Duty” to Solve Europe’s Refugee Crisis
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The other day on NPR I heard John Shattuck, a former ambassador to Czechoslovakia and now the President and Rector of the Central European University in Budapest, declare the need for the United States to help more with the “refugee crisis” in Europe which, he said, threatened to break Europe apart.

His solution was for America to give more money to support even more refugees in Europe and to admit more of them ourselves from the Middle East. He spoke admiringly — to my mind alarmingly — of the 500,000 refugees Angela Merkel had let into Germany in 2015, and suggested America might do well to emulate Germany. We Americans have a “duty,” he insisted, to help in the resettlement of more of these Middle Eastern refugees in the West. He never explained why Saudi Arabia or Kuwait or Qatar could not accept some refugees (they’ve accepted none), or at least contribute, given their vast wealth, to their upkeep (they’ve given almost nothing); nor did he explain why the four million Syrian refugees now in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon could not remain in those countries. Wouldn’t it make sense for Muslim refugees to live among fellow Muslims, close to their country of origin and to which, one supposes, they could sooner or later return? Shattuck never mentioned these possibilities. Nor did he explain – perhaps it is so obvious to him that he thought it required no explanation — why America or indeed any country has a “duty” to allow in immigrants, bad or good, from anywhere. He never mentioned that there might be good reasons to discriminate among immigrants, to allow some in and keep others out, according to perfectly sensible criteria. What criteria? Well, what about this: Muslim would-be “immigrants” or “refugees” are the adherents of an ideology, Islam, that teaches them to regard non-Muslims as enemies to be conquered through Jihad, the “struggle” for which there are many instruments aside from qitaal or combat, and among them, most notable in Europe is the Jihad through demography. And once conquered, those non-Muslims are to be converted, or killed, or subject to a host of humiliating disabilities, beginning with payment of the Jizyah. Is that reason enough to keep out, as a class, all those who, by self-identifying as Muslims, may be held to believe what the texts of Islam teach? Does such a quarantine seem like a sensible and prudent course to you, if not to John Shattuck?

Shattuck’s main concern in his NPR appearance was that, absent much greater American involvement in the “refugee crisis,” a united Europe would disunite, give way to “nationalism” (apparently always a Bad Thing) and to what he called “far-right” groups. We’re all used to this adjective and its variants by now. We know that “far right” and “extreme far-right” and “xenophobic far-right” are Homeric epithets systematically affixed in terrorem to those who are opposed to still more Muslim immigration to the West, no matter what their other views. The absurdity of such name-calling can be seen in the treatment of such celebrated anti-Islam campaigners as the Dutch politician Geert Wilders. In his economic views, his desire, for example, to increase social security payments, and to increase other benefits especially for the aged, Wilders would in any other context be considered on the left. So what makes him “far-right”? Only one thing: his concern about Muslim migrants in the Netherlands (who, he correctly points out, gobble up resources that would otherwise go to elderly Dutch). And the late Oriana Fallaci, the eloquent writer who reported so often from the Muslim Middle East, and for her entire life was known as Italy’s most famous left-wing journalist: the only thing that transformed her into a “right-wing” journalist was her ferocious opposition to Islam and Muslims.

Shattuck also exploited that handy charge of “racism” — those opposed to Muslim immigrants in Europe, he said, are “racist.” As has been pointed out ad nauseam at this site, Muslims are not a “race.” No one on the program took Shattuck to task, or asked him to justify his use of these off-the-rack epithets “far-right” and “racist.” Nor was he asked to explain why he thought we should ignore warnings about the nature of Islam and the consequent dangers from Muslim immigration, that come so steadily and soberly from such well-informed ex-Muslims as Magdi Allam, Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I’m assuming that Shattuck has heard of them and – perhaps I give him too much credit? — that he’s actually read them. Did that reading have no effect on how he thinks about Islam?

Shattuck never discussed, nor did the program’s host, nor any of those who called in think to mention even a single verse from the Qur’an or a single story from the Hadith. It would have been salutary had even one caller read aloud, say, Qur’an 9:5 or 9:29, or any of a hundred similar verses, and asked Shattuck what he made of them. It might have served as a basis for a real discussion. Instead, Shattuck was just a spokesman of the Party of the Good declaring its goodness. As far as Shattuck was concerned, there was no need to actually look at the contents of Islam; it was “racist” and “far-right” to suggest that Muslims had some special connection to terrorism. They were, most of them, just like everyone else. And the handful that were not could be detected without much trouble, and kept out. How did John Shattuck know? Oh, he just did. Unless they were dressed in black balaclavas and waving the black flag of Islam as they stepped onto European soil, those Muslim immigrants represented no threat at all. John Shattuck knows, because for the Party of Good, People Are The Same The Whole World Over.

Europeans may beg to differ. Unlike Shattuck, they are not prepared to overlook the major terrorist attacks by Muslims in London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Madrid, Moscow, or the many dozens of smaller attacks in many cities in Europe, or the more than 28,000 terrorist attacks by Muslims around the world since 9/11. Nor are Europeans quite so willing any longer to accept less sensational aspects of Muslim behavior that demonstrate a rejection of assimilation and an attempt to impose their own ways on European societies. These include attempts to separate men and women (at public pools, school gym classes, even grocery stores), to censor any unfavorable depictions of Muhammad (from cartoons in Danish and French newspapers, to Italian frescoes and Dante’s Divine Comedy), to create Sharia-compliant mortgages, credit cards, bank accounts, to remove pork from school and prison menus and require what meat is served to be halal, to threaten with death those who forcefully criticize Islam, such as the French high school teacher Robert Redeker who, having published one article in Le Figaro, for his pains will have to remain in hiding for the rest of his life; to drive out of public gatherings those deemed hostile to Islam, such as the distinguished writer and member of the French Academy Alain Finkielkraut, and to kill those deemed guilty of blaspheming Muhammad, such as Lars Vilks (who survived) or those twelve employees of Charlie Hebdo (who didn’t). And – does it need to be stated? – Muslims have been unique in their demands; no other group of immigrants has tried to impose itself on its European hosts.

None of this seems to bother John Shattuck. What does bother him is the possibility that the American government might actually heed the desires of many of its citizens and not increase the number of immigrants “from the Middle East” it is willing to take in. (The governors of more than 30 states have said they will refuse to accept refugees from “war-torn” areas.) And that, says Shattuck, can only fuel Muslim outrage that they are being discriminated against, and that outrage will naturally lead to more Muslim hatred, and even help the Islamic State with its recruiting efforts. In other words, Shattuck warns: we must take in more of those Muslim migrants, or else. There is a name for this: it is called extortion. And it has no end. Keep taking in those Muslims, or else…. Our putative “duty to Europe” turns out to be a “duty to Europe’s Muslims” – to share in their resettlement and upkeep, rather than to come up with ways to keep them out of Europe in the first place.

Finally, John Shattuck mentions — he’s leaving no polemical stone unturned – a visit he made to Auschwitz, and how that supreme example of “intolerance” naturally put him in mind of other acts of intolerance today, such as a willingness to distinguish Muslim from non-Muslim immigrants, based on a reading of Islamic texts and the observable behavior of Muslims over time and across space. Yes, how true. Doesn’t the refusal of some Europeans to allow into their countries as many Muslims as want to come in make you think of Auschwitz? It’s our friend the slippery slope – dare to suggest that the ideology of Muslims is dangerous for non-Muslims, quote chapter and verse from Qur’an and Hadith, adduce the evidence offered by ex-Muslims and dozens of Western experts on Islam – and you’ll only be sliding right up to the barbed wire and “Arbeit Macht Frei.”

David Cameron, Angela Merkel, the Pope, all making big plans for Europe, and bringing up their rear, clichés of compassion at the ready, assorted john-shattucks making big plans for the United States – truly, never have so many been undone by so few.

First published in Jihad Watch.

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Posted on 05/04/2016 6:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Germany Puts 90 Suspicious Mosques Under Surveillance
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From the Daily Caller:

Germany’s internal intelligence agency, BfV, is currently observing 90 suspicious mosque communities that may have ties to terrorist organizations.

BfV President Hans-Georg Maassen revealed the agency is increasing surveillance in “predominately Arabic-speaking” Muslim communities. This includes so-called “backyard mosques” where unauthorized, self-proclaimed imams teach extremist values.

“What we need here in Germany is a coalition against extremism,” Maassen said Monday on German public broadcaster ARD. “And for that, we need the Muslims in Germany, the moderates, who want to fight with us against extremism on the basis of our constitutional order.”

The agency’s work has previously been more focused on known extremists and terrorists, and hasn’t spent any time on possible Islamic State sleeper cells. The problem has become more evident, with several arrests in early 2016. While the sleeper cells vary in style, they almost always link back to ISIS or al-Qaida.

“Islamic extremism, and jihadism in Germany is not possible without al-Qaida and IS,” Maassen said.

Michael Opperskalski, German investigator and editor of the Geheim magazine, said some of the sleeper cells manage to get funding from the government by fronting as legitimate organizations.

“A minority of sleeper cells belong to ISIS. Others belong to other so-called Islamist groups,” Opperskalski told Russia Today,  “and some of them are supported by the German government.”

The “backyard mosques” have targeted migrants as possible recruits by offering food and shelter to lure them in.

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Posted on 05/03/2016 12:49 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Celebrating the End of the Mike Duffy Farce
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My absence in England last week prevented me from celebrating the acquittal of Mike Duffy in this column, but there are a few points still to be made about it. There was never anything wrong with Mike Duffy padding around promoting the Conservative party while a paid-up senator. MPs do that and there is nothing wrong with senators doing it. There was nothing wrong with Nigel Wright paying Duffy's alleged excesses on his travel expenses. A friend can do that — nothing wrong with it and typical of Nigel to come to a friend's assistance.

Of course the idea of Duffy being a Prince Edward Island resident was bunk, but the problems there are sloppy Senate rules and the fiction that senators represent any geographic area at all. Senators do not go to Ottawa to militate for the people who live in their nominal senatorial districts. (Duffy is now arguably the principal Atlantic provinces representative of the Conservative party in Parliament). Of course, Duffy had no business expensing his physical trainer, but from appearances, the trainer has not been notably successful anyway. Mike is no fitness magazine centrefold, but he has special medical problems and presumably the trainer helped him fulfill his designated role as a senator.

Asking the chairman of the management committee of the Toronto Club, Canada's ultimate source of misdirected sanctimony, Senator Irving Gerstein, to question the Senate's auditor, or even to try to alter its audit, was shabby and unwise. Gerstein, given the onerous moral standard he must uphold as chair of the most pompous committee in the country except the Supreme Court, should have declined the mission; he would not have risked anything by doing so as he is as inseparable from his senatorial emoluments as Duffy. But no illegality was intended or even contemplated.

The judge in the case, Charles Vaillancourt, waxed righteously against the Prime Minister's Office, but entourages of political leaders do try to avoid public relations disasters. They failed dismally in this case, but if everyone who made an asinine blunder where money was involved were keel-hauled judicially, the whole adult population, as well as a large number of juveniles of conscient age, would be in the prosecution service, on or around the bench, or in the dock. What was reprehensible about the PMO was not that Duffy was appointed to use his position as senator for the political benefit of the government that appointed him, nor that the PMO had the impulse to try to make the problem go away. It was that an honest man like Wright tried to sell a scheme that was so absurdly amateurish because it was based on concealment of his identity; that when it collapsed in non-criminal embarrassment, the prime minister abandoned Duffy and Wright; that the RCMP's spelling-challenged Cpl. Greg Horton recommended indictment of Wright and Duffy for giving and taking a bribe; that the crown attorney took half the bait and prosecuted this klunker of non-crimes; and that Stephen Harper debased the government by having a very long election campaign so Parliament would not be sitting while Duffy testified.

A Mickey Mouse sequence of legally innocent mistakes was aggregated into a crisis. It is, in some ways, the perfect Canadian fable: the ludicrous magnification of ho-hum miscues into the apprehension of a scandal, and the press fanning it both credulously and often maliciously. The only issue on which the press believed Duffy was when he promised revelation of a monstrous crime by the government. They wanted one because they hated Harper, distasteful though they found Duffy. The media look almost as stupid as the prosecutors and the former prime minister and his office, but are not as accountable. The complete flame-out of the prosecution, and even the publication of Horton's mad affidavit, where there was no bribe and Duffy didn't seek the money and certainly didn't do anything to earn it as a bribe, should lead to reforms in the prosecution service. This is a far more urgent societal need, and one that touches the lives of a great many more people, than Senate reform. The only hero in the whole piece is Justice Vaillancourt.

Let us face it, Canadians, and learn to live with it, even if it requires therapy or a trainer for some to accept the truth: at scandals, except occasionally for our French-Canadian compatriots, we are flops. There are many worse failings in a nationality. In Canada, either they don't happen at all, or are so puny in scale that it is difficult to believe anything wrong, as opposed to silly, occurred. John A. Macdonald lost his only election as post-Confederation Conservative leader over the Canadian Pacific scandal. He and George-Étienne Cartier took substantial sums from shipping owner Sir Hugh Allan, but not a cent for themselves, just to finance an election campaign. The Baie des Chaleurs scandal that drove Honoré Mercier from office as premier of Quebec was a paid holiday in France, and Mercier was acquitted. The Customs scandal of the 1920s was a little more serious, but the entire country ignored Prohibition and profited in some measure from peddling liquor and even beer to the Americans. The Beauharnois scandal arose in 1931 during King's one full term in opposition and embarrassed him a little (an almost impossible occurrence), but nothing serious was ever proven beyond the fact that a senator who was involved with the Beauharnois Power Co. picked up King's hotel bill for $400 in Bermuda without King knowing about it. (The priggish old bachelor admired the young ladies in their "abbreviated" bathing attire — pretty risqué for WLMK.)

Gerda Munsinger never received any embarrassing secrets about official business, and the Liberals that John Diefenbaker hounded from office (Guy Favreau, Maurice Lamontagne, and René Tremblay) did nothing wrong at all. Duplessis' great Union Nationale machine distributed contracts without calling for bids and took contributions from those who were awarded the contracts, as has every Quebec government and most others elsewhere in the country, but there was never any evidence that it cost the taxpayers anything, and Duplessis himself, though he had all the power in Quebec for nearly 20 years, never touched a cent personally and left an estate of negative value (-$46,000), which his party paid. It must be admitted that the numbers in the Adscam case were quite impressive, but Jean Chrétien kept it bottled up endlessly with the stumblebums of the RCMP so no one had to give evidence under oath, and he just kept punting it forward until his party pushed him out because they were (understandably) tired of him, not because of moral turpitude.

Of course, it is time to make something out of the Senate, and here Harper's performance was contemptible. He used it as a dust-bin for mediocre journeymen, with a few exceptions, and made a feeble gesture by asking the Supreme Court if the House of Commons could, in effect, abolish the Senate. Of course, this was unimaginably fatuous, as it could no more do so than the Senate could abolish the House of Commons. When the Supreme Court pitched this back, Harper dug in his heels like a churlish child and refused to consider constitutional reform. He had already ceased to name any senators, so almost a quarter of seats were vacancies when he got the order of the boot from the voters.

What should happen is that we should scrap this pious claptrap about "a sober second thought" and certainly any notion that the senators are representing any local area, and name, if necessary virtually draft, better senators. We should recruit outstanding people from all serious occupations and all parts of the country and ask them, out of duty, to do their best to be reasonably present for a five-year term, as many distinguished lieutenant-governors, such as John Aird, Hal Jackman, and Hilary Weston have done in Ontario. What we need is a little distinction and a little class (style, not snobbery). Distinction and style weren't Mike Duffy's strong suits, but they weren't the principal characteristics of Stephen Harper either, and these things start at the top, or not at all.

First published in the National Post.

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Posted on 05/03/2016 4:47 AM by Conrad Black
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Tuesday, 3 May 2016
We Have a Winner
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Keith Simmonds won our crossword competition for April. He's our crossword champion hands down.

Keep playing everyone!

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Posted on 05/03/2016 4:45 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Florida man charged with plotting to blow up a Miami-area synagogue
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From the Chicago Tribune

A Florida man was arrested last week for intending to use "a weapon of mass destruction" at a synagogue near Miami, according to federal authorities.

The FBI says the man never possessed an actual explosive weapon, but instead got an inert device from a bureau employee working undercover after a weeks-long probe.

Officials said that they began investigating James Gonzalo Medina in March after learning that he discussed wanting to attack a South Florida synagogue. Medina, 40, of Hollywood, Florida, was arrested Friday while carrying the device toward the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, a facility that is also home to a Holocaust memorial and an education facility for children.

Rabbi Jonathan Berkun and the center's executive director, Elliot B. Karp, said they were assured by security officials that "the synagogue and school were never at risk at any time" and were told no other credible threats had been found.

In an FBI affidavit, authorities said that Medina had initially told a confidential federal source that he wanted to attack the center using AK-47 assault rifles. . .Medina then shifted his focus to leaving a bomb behind, the affidavit said.

Medina is described by the FBI as having converted to Islam about four years earlier and wanting to attack a synagogue "because Jewish people are the ones causing the world's wars and conflicts." In a transcript of a recorded conversation with the FBI's unnamed source, Medina states that he wanted to "strike back" against Jewish people, adding: "It's a war, man, and it's like it's time to strike back here in America."

When an FBI employee posing as someone who could deliver explosives to the plot asked Medina why he wanted to bomb the synagogue, Medina responded by saying it was his "call of duty" and something he had to do "for the glory of Allah."

The FBI also allege that Medina wanted to make it look like the attack was sponsored in some way by the Islamic State, because he felt that "would go nationwide and inspire other Muslims to attack as well." Medina is also quoted as saying: "Next thing you know it will be in California, Washington, and the brothers are saying you know, it's our time now."

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Posted on 05/03/2016 3:07 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 2 May 2016
The Love Affair Between the British Labour Party and Adolf Hitler
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Did you know that the Jewish victims of the Holocaust were partners of Adolf Hitler who was a Zionist? A number of members of the British Labour Party have told us that this was the case. This is the most recent manifestation of the antisemitism that has reared its ugly head in Britain. It evokes the thought that this disease may have entered the ideological bloodstream of the British left.

There is a vital need for a strengthening of the political immune system before the infection worsens. It is a particular cause for concern, though the fact is avoided, that the virus has recently appeared in Labour Party officials most of whom are Muslims who are highly critical of the State of Israel.

There is presently an intensive battle in Britain today, the skirmish for votes in the forthcoming referendum on June 23, 2016 between those who want the country to remain a member of the European Union and those who want Brexit, Britain to leave it. At the moment there is a close division of opinion over the merits of the case and counter claims and on whether the British economy would be better off inside or outside the EU.

The effect on the British economy of the decision has become a hot disputed, but rationally argued, battleground. However, more vicious and unpleasant is the continuing civil war within the Labour Party over the outbursts of antisemitism by some of its officials and the denials of the significance or even the very existence of the disease of antisemitism by prominent members of the Party.

It comes as no surprise to read that the extreme left wing Diane Abbott, the opposition International Development Secretary in the House of Commons, and unrelenting fierce critic of the State of Israel, has dismissed any problem of antisemitism within the Labour Party as “smears,” and asserted that the party was not “riddled” with it . Neither was it surprising that Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite, the largest Trade Union and Labour’s biggest donor, said that Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the party, was the victim of a cynical attempt to manipulate antisemitism for political aims, presumably to depose Corbyn as leader.  

Amazingly, the comments of Abbott and McCluskey came just two days after Corbyn, who had denied that the party is facing a crisis of antisemitism, was in essence forced by the more moderate members of his party, to launch an independent inquiry into the issue of antisemitism, and to act against its perpetrators. No one is suggesting that the whole Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic, and Corbyn has declared there is no place for antisemitisn or any form of racism in the Labour Party or anywhere in society. Yet, it is troubling that in the last four weeks seven members of the party have been suspended for allegations of antisemitism.

The most recent disgraceful happening were incendiary remarks by Ken Livingstone, a prominent left wing member of the Party, former Mayor of London, and chair of a foreign policy commission for the Party. As a result of those remarks 39 Labour MPS condemned him. John Mann MP for Bassetlaw called him to his face a disgusting racist, rewriting history, and a Nazi apologist in front of TV cameras.  

Even more disgraceful are three consequences: Mann received specific threats of physical violence from left wingers in his own party; the supporters of Corbyn want to disciple Mann for bringing the party “into disrepute;” and Mann was summoned to the Chief Whip of the Party to explain his own actions in confronting Livingstone.

The more sensible members of the Party called on Corbyn to expel Livingstone but he refused. Only reluctantly did Corbyn agree to suspend Livingston. The tragedy is that some senior members of the party think their leader had a “point” in not expelling Livingstone.

Livingstone is no shrinking violet in his personal behavior nor is he inhibited from making outrageous and insulting remarks. One need take just a few of his contributions to intellectual discussion. In 2004 he invited the controversial Muslim cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi., prominent within the intellectual leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, to London. In February 2005 he accused a Jewish reporter, Oliver Feingold, of behaving like a concentration camp guard for asking him a question. In 2006, while Mayor of London, he told two wealthy Jewish businessmen that they should “go back to Iran and try their luck with the ayatollahs.” For a few years in the 1980s, Livingstone was in charge of the extreme left wing paper Labour Herald that published cartoons of Menachem Begin, wearing a Nazi uniform.

In the first place Livingstone appears politically stone deaf and historically ludicrous. In his 47 years in the Party he said he never heard anybody make anti-Semitic remarks. His historical analysis is bizarre in claiming that the policy of Adolf Hitler in 1932 was in favor of moving German Jews to Israel (sic), 16 years before it was created. Hitler, he said was supporting Zionism before he went mad.

Hitler now seems the favorite reference of the left wingers in the Party. In April 2016 there were three instances. One was Vicki Kirby, former parliamentary candidate for Woking, who said that Britain invented Israel when saving the Jews from Hitler, who now seems to be the teacher of Jews.

The second person was a Party Councilor in the town of Luton, Aysegul Gurbuz, who was suspended from the Party for referring to Hitler as the greatest man in history. A third is a local councilor Khadim Hussain, former Lord Mayor of Bradford, who informed us that the school system only tells you about Anne Frank and the six million Zionists (sic) that were killed by Hitler.

Perverse history, pertinent to Hitler, was related by another Labour MP, a Muslim woman Naseem (Naz) Shah representing Bradford West who, before she became an MP, had posted the solution to the Middle East  conflict on Facebook . It had been posted in August 2014 but only made public in April 2016.  It called for Jews in Israel to be sent to the United States.  She compared Israel’s policies with those of Nazi Germany. Curiously though Shah later apologized, Livingstone still supported her. He declared that Shah was a victim of a well-orchestrated campaign by the Israeli lobby to smear anybody who criticizes Israeli policy as an anti-Semite.

Lunacy continues. Most recently on May 2, 2016 two members were suspended from the Party. One was Salim Mulla, former mayor of Blackburn who suggested that Israel was funding ISIS regarding the attacks in Paris in November 2015. The other was Ilyas Aziz , local councilor in Nottingham, whose fantasy involved an Israeli conspiracy for the Sandy Hook school shooting and a call, like that of  Naz Shah, for Israel to be relocated to the US.

Once again Jews have been made the center of a political battlefield. The Labour leader was slow to suspend those guilty of outrageous behavior. For the sake of the Party, as well as for human decency, Corbyn should do more. Offenders should be expelled from the Party. Cleansing is good for the soul.

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Posted on 05/02/2016 4:09 PM by Michael Curtis
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Monday, 2 May 2016
May Bank Holiday Monday in Rochester
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If circumstances over the May Day weekend permit my family like to attend at least one day of the Sweeps festival in Rochester Kent. Morris dancing, Castle, Folk music, beer, Cathedral, hog roast... what's not to enjoy? 
A few photographs below.

Two young women of the Gong Scourers side dance rapper.

Musicians of Hands Around from Basildon Essex

Cotswolds Morris danced in the traditional way. 

The three days of music and dancing ends with a parade through Rochester to the castle green. The parade is led by Jack-in-the-green.

Musicians of Wolf's Head and Vixen

When I was a child the last 'float' of Bethnal Green carnival was always the council dustcart. Today the parade ended with these witches
"Witch's besom Witch's broom
Sweep up darkness, sweep up gloom".

Photographs E Weatherwax May 2016

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Posted on 05/02/2016 1:10 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 2 May 2016
Has the world learned anything since Brussels?
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It has become alarmingly clear since the Brussels terror attack that the West either doesn’t understand the nature of Islamist terrorism or doesn’t want to.  President Obama denies that the Islamic State poses an existential threat, belittles those who disagree, and seems more vested in undermining allies and political opponents than fighting terror.  Whether acting out of ideology or naiveté, he refuses to admit the role of religious doctrine and instead blames terrorism on generic criminality, violent extremism, gun violence, or global warming.  He fails to address the jihad and genocide being waged against non-Muslims in the Mideast and beyond, does not speak honestly about the Islamist threat, and portrays those who do as hatemongers. 

Under his administration, the U.S. has abdicated its global leadership role and left a void in which Russia seeks to reconstitute its empire, China threatens American strategic and economic interests, and Iran continues to export terror while violating a feckless nuclear deal under which it derives great benefit but makes no concessions.  The president has eschewed sound military and intelligence advice in favor of policies that have destabilized the Mideast, empowered terrorists, and caused a refugee crisis that is tearing Europe apart.     

Whether the administration’s foreign policy stems from ideology or incompetence, it seems to regard Islamic radicalism as a natural response to western oppression, though European entrée into the Mideast was preceded by centuries of jihad waged in Europe by Arab-Muslim invaders.  Its knack for promoting revisionism is facilitated by the public’s lack of historical perspective, as reflected by the inability to recognize that ISIS is not historically aberrant, but rather embodies the same doctrine that mandated forceful spread of the faith starting in the eighth century. 

Political correctness inhibits discussion of radical Islam and, thus, stifles the ability to combat the terrorism it spawns...

CONTINUE READING AT  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/18804#.VydX9fkrKM8

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Posted on 05/02/2016 9:39 AM by Matthew Hausman
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Monday, 2 May 2016
Donald Trump Says "No Thanks" to Most of the Republican Foreign Policy Establishment
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by Rebecca Bynum (May 2016)
 

In an article published Saturday, The Hill claims that a number of Republican foreign policy experts are rebuffing the Trump team’s efforts to reach out to them. The establishment cabal is plainly in a fix: if they join team Trump and Trump loses the general election, they will be ostracized by the loyalists who are waiting in the wings to seize back control of the party. If they remain with establishment and Trump wins, they will be shut out of all the top positions in his administration. Of course it is already too late for the policy experts who signed an open letter vowing to work “energetically” to prevent Trump’s election.

Donald Trump won’t miss them one little bit.  more>>>

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Posted on 05/02/2016 8:48 AM by NER
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Monday, 2 May 2016
Sadiq Khan does the sums over Muslim votes
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Charles Moore in The Telegraph

He’s an artful one, Sadiq Khan. Labour’s London mayoral candidate told the Observer: “I accept that the comments that Ken Livingstone has made make it more difficult for Londoners of Jewish faith to feel that the Labour Party is a place for them, and I will carry on doing what I have always been doing, which is to speak for everyone.”

It’s worth paying exact attention to these words. First, Mr Khan blames everything on Mr Livingstone, not on any wider problem of Labour anti-Semitism. 

Second, he paints himself as the moderate. Third, he assumes that only voters “of Jewish faith” will be put off, and says nothing to welcome Jewish voters. He speaks as if the row were a rather obscure subject which need not trouble other voters. If he can narrow it down to practising Jews with votes in London, he is talking about not much more than 100,000 people, most of whose votes he probably had not got anyway. 

The Muslim population of London, however, is more than a million people. By emphasising that Jews might be upset, and then emphasising the importance of turnout, he is blowing a dog-whistle for Muslim voters. 

Few Muslim leaders in London stand out against anti-Semitism, and many ignore it or even express it themselves. If they can make Muslim voters feel that the Jews, by protesting, are preventing a Muslim becoming Mayor of London, then Mr Khan will get more Muslim votes.  

Note that Mr Khan does not address the content of the problem of anti-Semitism, only its potentially damaging electoral effects. As I say, artful – and, as I should add, not nice. 

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Posted on 05/02/2016 2:37 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 1 May 2016
Islamic State threatens to expose British military secrets after publishing US Air Force 'hit list'
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From the Sunday Telegraph

Islamic State terrorists have threatened to publish details of British military personnel after exposing a “hit-list” of American drone pilots and urging fanatics to “kill them wherever they are”

The claims, which could not be verified, encouraged Islamist terrorists to find and “behead” the Americans, in imitation of the tactic used on the streets of London in 2013 by the murderers of Drummer Lee Rigby.

The group, which calls itself the "Islamic State Hacking Division", said in its online posting: "In our next leak we may even disclose secret intelligence the Islamic State has just received from a source the brothers in the UK have spent some time acquiring from the Ministry of Defence in London as we slowly and secretly infiltrate England and the USA online and off.”

Publishing photographs and purported home addresses of the American military personnel it said: "Kill them wherever they are, knock on their doors and behead them, stab them, shoot them in the face or bomb them."

Inquiries made by The Sunday Times yesterday suggested that the names on the American hitlist are genuine.

However, the information published by Isis does not appear to be the result of a leak or genuine hack. Instead, the group seems to have pains­takingly gleaned the names of Reaper and Predator drone operators from news articles and military newsletters, before matching them to addresses, photos and other personal details from publicly available sources on the internet.

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Posted on 05/01/2016 8:06 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 1 May 2016
Sunday 5-1-16 Listen to Lisa Benson Show Commemorating Yom Ha Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, with Special Guests, on Resistance Fighters, Survivors and Liberators 4pm EDT
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The Lisa Benson Radio Show will air  a special program in commemoration of Yom Ha Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day , Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 4PM EDT, 3PM EDT, 2PM MDT, 1PMPDT and 11PM in IsraelListen live to The Lisa Benson Radio Show on KKNT 960The Patriot or use SMARTPHONE iHEART App: 960 the Patriot.   Lisa Benson will host this show with Member of the Advisory Board Richard Cutting.

Benjamin and Vladka Meed Z”l, 1998

Our special guests are:

Dr. Anna Scherzer, Forensic Psychiatrist, daughter of revered Warsaw Ghetto resistance fighters, Vladka and Benjamin Meed.  Dr. Scherzer will be joined by Inge Auerbaucher, a German Jewish  survivor of the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

Benson will discuss her father’s experience as a member of US Fourth Army Division, of General Patton’s Third Army that Liberated the Ohrdruf Concentration camp- a sub camp of Buchenwald in 1945.  Watch this you Tube video of the Ohrdruf camp liberation, April 4, 1945.

Benjamin Meed,  born Benyomin Miedzyrzecki (February 19, 1918 – October 24, 2006) a Polish Jew, fought in the Warsaw ghetto underground, served on the Advisory Board of the President's Commission on the Holocaust,[5] planned the 1981 World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors  in Jerusalem and the 1983 American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors held in Washington, D.C. and other reunions that followed, and was President of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.  Mr. Meed served on the Advisory Board of the President's Commission on the Holocaust, which recommended the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's establishment. He also served on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the Museum's governing body, from 1980 to 2004, where he chaired several crucial committees: the Days of Remembrance Committee and the Museum Content Committee, which oversaw the creation of the Museum's Permanent Exhibition. He was responsible for institutionalizing Holocaust commemorations in the nation's capital, at state houses and cities across the country, and at military installations worldwide.

In November 2003, in honor of the Museum's 10th anniversary, Mr. Meed conceived "A Tribute to Holocaust Survivors: A Reunion of a Special Family," which honored survivors, liberators and rescuers as well as their families. More than 7,000 people, four generations strong, traveled to Washington from 38 states and around the world to take part in the largest Museum event since its opening.

Mr. Meed served as president of the American Gathering from its inception until his death.”

 

Vladka Meed, born Feigele Peltel (December 29, 1921 – November 21, 2012) was a member of Jewish resistance in  the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto  uprising who famously smuggled dynamite into the Warsaw Ghetto, and also helped children escape out of the Ghetto.  He recruited her husband Benjamin Meed assumed Polish identities and worked from the Aryan Side.  At 14, she joined Jewish Labor Bund and in 1942 the Jewish Combat Organization. Vladka's mother, brother, and sister died in Treblinka extermination camp. Vladka and her future husband Benjamin Meed pretended to be Aryans and helped organize the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. They married in 1945 and survived both the Holocaust and World War II. In 1981, the Meds founded the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. “

Vladka Meed's book On Both Sides of the Wall was originally published in Yiddish in 1948 with a first hand account of her wartime experiences. The book was translated into English in 1972 (with a foreword by Elie Wiesel), and later into German, Polish and Japanese. She also published in The Forward newspaper.

For nearly 20 years she organized a number of summer trips for teachers, educating them on the Holocaust, and the Jewish history of Warsaw. According to The New York Times obituary, she was a central source of the 2001 television film Uprising.

Meed received a 1973 award of the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization, the 1989 Morim Award of the Jewish Teachers’ Association, the 1993 Hadassah Henrietta Szold Award, and the 1995 Elie Wiesel Remembrance Award. She received an honorary degree from Hebrew Union College and Bar Ilan University.

 

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Posted on 05/01/2016 8:11 AM by Jerry Gordon
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Sunday, 1 May 2016
PM Haider Al-Abadi Orders Arrest of Parliament Protesters
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BBC:

Iraq's Prime Minister has ordered the arrest of Shia Muslim activists who stormed parliament in Baghdad on Saturday.

Haider al-Abadi said those who caused damage and attacked police should be brought to justice.

Supporters of cleric Moqtada Sadr broke through barricades of the fortified Green Zone in protest against delays in approving a new cabinet.

A state of emergency was declared in Baghdad after the protests.

Supporters of Mr Sadr want MPs to push through plans to replace ministers with political affiliations with non-partisan technocrats.

Humm... non-partisan technocrats loyal to al Sadr, perhaps?

Powerful parties in parliament have refused to approve the change for several weeks.

The BBC's Ahmed Maher in Baghdad says this is one of the country's worst political crises since the US-led invasion and downfall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Systemic political patronage has aided corruption in Iraq, depleting the government's resources as it struggles to cope with declining oil revenue and the cost of the war against the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

Look for Iran to step in in order to "calm tensions" and "restore order."

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Posted on 05/01/2016 5:29 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 1 May 2016
Who is the Host, and Who the Guest?
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#1. FRANCE

In France, the Muslim owner of a Bordeaux grocery store has just been given a fine and a two-month jail sentence for having posted a notice on his shop window assigning different shopping days for men and women. How terrible it would be, many devout Muslims apparently feel, if a man and a woman, not married to each other, were to be alone together, even in a store. The grocery owner’s act was perfectly understandable in Muslim terms. And perfectly unacceptable in Western, French, laic terms. For now, the right side has won.

Should we feel satisfied with this outcome? A sense of relief? Are you sure that that is the end of the matter? Perhaps not, because even for this issue to have been raised, even for a Muslim to feel emboldened enough to ignore the settled laws of laic France, is worrisome in itself. But most disturbing of all in this affair is that the Muslim grocery store owner and his wife are both converts to Islam. What was it they knew, or thought they knew, about Islam when they converted? What led Jean-Baptiste Michalon to become Yahya Michalon, and his wife Jessica to transform herself into submissive Soumaya? What made them feel that in order to follow this new faith they had to subvert the most mundane rules ordering everyday life, even including food shopping?

Whatever it is that attracts the lost souls of the Western world to Islam – and we all know there is profound anomie and despair in a West that has lost its way – it is important that those who, in the political and media elites, make claim to instruct and protect us not be afraid to do what they can to openly discuss what the texts and teachings of Islam contain, undeterred by the ever-ready preposterous charge of “Islamophobia.” Adopting an attitude of laissez-faire may be tempting (e.g.,“What people believe is their own business”) to Western liberals, but given the threat of demographic conquest, it won’t do. Preventive measures need to be taken against adult-onset Islam. What other immigrant group in France has tried to ignore French laws and impose its own view of how daily life, in ways little and big, is to be regulated? Every such challenge chips away, slowly, at a country’s self-assurance, as what before the Muslim invasion had been settled law, and which the French had the right to assume could be taken for granted, has to be re-litigated. Think of the money and time spent by the French state in defending from attack the simple proposition that men and women should be allowed to buy their milk and baguettes at the same grocery store, and on the same day.

#2. ITALY

In Italy, more than a decade ago, a Muslim, Adel Smith, founder of the Union of the Muslims of Italy, sued to have the crucifix removed from his children’s school. The crucifix in Italy is not only a religious but a cultural symbol; forcing its removal, as Italian Labor Minister Maroni said at the time, “is outrageous. It is unacceptable that one judge should cancel out millennia of history.” But the Muslim petitioner, who referred to the crucifix dismissively as “a small body on two wooden sticks” won his case. Not content with that victory, Adel Smith—and other Muslims — wanted more.

He wanted verses from the Qur’an displayed in schools. He, and other Muslims, wanted to protect Muslim sensibilities by having the Catholic Church demolish an “offensive” 15th century fresco by Giovanni da Modena in the San Petronio Cathedral in Bologna. (Muslims connected to Al Qaeda have plotted to blow up the fresco, so for other Muslims to demand its nonviolent removal may in this demented world be considered a victory). He claimed that the fresco showed Muhammad – his prophet Muhammad – cast into hell. Fortunately the Church stood firm, and the fresco remains; unfortunately, the fresco, in a dark side-altar, can now be viewed only from a distance, and behind a grate, for you can no longer enter the side-altar space, so that it is impossible to see it clearly. In a sense, the Muslims have won; the hated fresco is no longer really visible. Part of Italy’s art heritage can no longer be seen and admired because it has to be protected from Muslims.

And some Italian Muslims had yet another demand: that Dante’s Divine Comedy be banned from Italian schools because Dante puts Muhammad in Hell (Inferno, Canto 28). Dante regarded Islam as a heretical offshoot of Christianity and Muhammad as a sower of discord; thus Dante depicts him as tearing himself apart, with his entrails hanging out. Dante is Italy’s national poet, central to its cultural identity, as much as Shakespeare is to England. That this attempt to force Italians to submit to the dictates of Muslims, and ban Dante from the schools, is even dared, horrifies. It would be as if Muslims in England demanded the removal of Shakespeare from the schools because of the anti-Islamic aspect of Othello: Othello, a Christianized Moor, in the employ of Christian Venice against the Muslim Ottomans, describes how he handled a “malignant and a turbaned Turk”: “I took by the throat the circumcised dog/And smote him – thus.” Come to think of it, that Muslim demand to censor Shakespeare may be coming down the pike any day now; it might just wake some of the somnambulists in the British government.

Adel Smith – his father was Scots, his mother Egyptian – converted to Islam when he moved to Italy, and like many who succumb to adult-onset Islam, was more extreme and aggressive in promoting his faith (he died in 2014 while imprisoned for fraud and forgery) even than many of those born into it. But he was not alone in making these demands. It’s a fantastic situation, when in Italy three quintessential expressions of its faith (the crucifix), its art (the Bologna fresco), and its literature (Dante) could be threatened with removal, or destruction, or banishment, if Adel Smith and his fellows had had their Muslim way.

#3. GREAT BRITAIN

In the city of Bristol, England, the city council recently refused to observe St. George’s Day. St. George, many know, is the patron saint of England; the feast day dedicated to him has been observed since 1222. But something has apparently changed. Local officials claim that the city is now “too multicultural” to recognize someone who for nearly 800 years has symbolized the Englishness of England.

Even more preposterous is the objection raised by city council members in Bristol, who said that “91 different languages are spoken in the town and it would be ‘difficult to commemorate them all.’” How do you “commemorate” a language? And why can’t people who may not be native speakers of English nonetheless want to participate in the ceremonies of the very country they have been fortunate enough to be allowed to settle in, and that has generously welcomed them? Shouldn’t such an observance be viewed as part of the acclimation and assimilation process, much like those “I Am An American Day” mass gatherings during World War II, where new immigrants had a chance to pledge their loyalty and hear speeches about what Being An American Means. This business about “91 languages” was raised to deflect attention from the real source of opposition to St. George’s Day, consisting of those Muslims who do not want to assimilate into, but want rather to transform, the non-Muslim countries that have (so generously, so foolishly) let them in.

Some in the area” feel that the English symbol “has been hijacked by far right groups and are concerned about being branded “racist.” This reveals how successful the Muslim campaign has been, both in labeling those concerned about Islam as “far right groups” and in frightening non-Muslim officials who, out of fear of “being branded ‘racist,’” submit to Muslim desires and demands.

One local man noted that “Bristol city council refused to acknowledge St George’s day for fear of upsetting other faiths. They don’t mind upsetting us.” “Fear of upsetting other faiths”? So it wasn’t about being “too multicultural” nor about those “91 languages” after all? Which faiths, exactly, might be upset? Do you think Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists would have any problem with St. George’s Day? Everyone in Bristol knows perfectly well what faith is being proleptically placated. So from now on, you can keep trying to put things shipshape all you want, but after this triumph of the will of the local boys with the beards, please don’t do it in Bristol fashion.

CODA:

Oriana Fallaci said in a 2003 interview with the New York Observer, “[Islam] is not even a religion, in my opinion. It is a tyranny, a dictatorship — the only religion on earth that has never committed a work of self-criticism….It becomes worse and worse…and now they want to come impose it on me, on us.”

Don’t you miss Oriana?

First published in Jihad Watch.

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Posted on 05/01/2016 5:04 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 1 May 2016
State of Emergency Declared in Baghdad as Protesters take Iraqi Parliament
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Washington Post:

BAGHDAD — Protesters stormed Iraq’s parliament Saturday in a dramatic culmination of months of demonstrations, casting uncertainty over the tenure of the country’s prime minister and the foundations of the political system laid in place after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Security forces declared a state of emergency in the Iraqi capital after demonstrators climbed over blast walls and broke through cordons to enter Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, also home to ministries and the U.S. embassy. Many were followers of Iraq’s powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has been urging his supporters onto the streets.

Lawmakers fled the building in panic, with some berated and struck as they left. Others were trapped in the basement for hours, too afraid to face the crowds who complain that the country’s political class is racked by corruption.

It was a day of high drama for a country that is no stranger to revolution and that has seen all of its leaders overthrown from the time the state was established in 1921 until the U.S. invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. At issue now is the quota system introduced when the U.S.-led coalition put together Iraq’s first post-invasion government, which determines Iraq’s political positions according to sect and ethnicity.

The turmoil threatened to unseat the already embattled prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, with whom the United States has partnered in the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq but whose efforts at reform have stumbled. U.S. officials have expressed concern that the unrest could affect the battlefield as Iraq also struggles with an extreme budget crisis caused by a plunge in oil prices.

“Today the people announced their revolution,” said Sadr, who led a violent resistance against U.S. troops during the Iraq War, in a statement Saturday night. “History will record the birth of a new Iraq, from the ashes of corruption and the corrupt.”

Al Sadr may be seeking power as tool of Iran. The Iranians have given him sanctuary on more than one occasion if memory serves.

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Posted on 05/01/2016 4:18 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 1 May 2016
Halal horror house as undercover video exposes cruel abattoir filled with terrified animals
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I got an e-mail from the animal sanctuary directing me to this Sunday Mirror report. As it is the left-wing, Hope not Hate funding, Labour party supporting Mirror group note the assertions that
1) Jewish Kosher meat is also produced,
2) Imans are shocked that this is not the proper Islamic way and
3) traditional English slaughterhouses are no less cruel.
However I fully expect Tell MAMA to have chiding words to say to the dhimmi Mirror on the subject of islamophobia tomorrow.

In a slaughterhouse awash with blood, a frightened bullock ’s eyes widen in fear as the machinery it is trapped in raises its head so a knife-wielding butcher can hack open its neck. Seconds later, as the animal kicks out in pain and panic, a bolt is shot through its brain to stop it injuring workers who yank it up upside down onto a hook, blood gushing from its twitching carcass.

In another area of the killing floor, cameras capture sheep being ferried along a metal pen where a worker casually lifts their heads and slashes their throats. They are so distressed as they begin bleeding to death they wriggle over the sides and have to be hauled back in, legs flailing, and piled up at the end as they slowly die.

This chilling footage was taken during an investigation into a slaughterhouse which supplied Morrisons. 

The Food ­Standards Agency was so horrified by the footage shot at Simply Halal’s abattoir that it has closed down its operation pending an inquiry.

The graphic video, made by an animal sanctuary, horrified even experts and regulators in religious ritual slaughter. . . And this footage appears to show the slaughterhouse not following the strict rules of Islamic Law. These state the slaughterer must be a sane adult Muslim and they must say the name of God before making the cut – this did not happen.

The footage was shot at the company’s abattoir in Banham, Norfolk, over eight days in February and March.

Simply Halal prides itself on being the “only dedicated halal abattoir in the United Kingdom for Beef & Lamb which is 100 per cent committed to supplying 100 per cent Non Stun Halal meat & meat products”.Simply Halal prides itself on being the “only dedicated halal abattoir in the United Kingdom for Beef & Lamb which is 100 per cent committed to supplying 100 per cent Non Stun Halal meat & meat products”. 

The company’s website adds: “At Simply Halal there is no compromise, all of our products are 100 per cent Stun Free Halal. We are proud to supply the Muslim community.”

The firm switches its operations once a week to produce kosher meat for the Jewish market.

A Food Standards Authority spokesman said: “We are halting slaughter operations at Simply Halal pending further investigation. A spokesman for Morrisons said they no longer supplied by Simply Halal but when asked when this stopped they did not comment.

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Posted on 05/01/2016 2:58 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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