Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Re: AP CALLS IT FOR BOOKER


So now both the oldest longest serving Democrat senator, Barbara Mikulski, and the newest, Cory Booker, are cowardly closeted gays whose shame and self hatred contribute to gay teen suicide

Wayto go gay rights party?  Roflmao

On Thursday, October 17, 2013, Mike Vito wrote:
  Don ElmerFud-eric:  Go back to your statement(?) & find us one word of truth.  (Phrase)    What we have here is a clear cut case of Losers Weep, laced with undertones of Twist & Pout, driven off a cliff by Sour Losers Syndrome.  aka, If ya got nuthin' make shit up!  (see below)   I do recall the R media pulling the "Booker's lead is fading fast" chain.  Misinformation will heal the soul.  You can carry the poo bucket from here.    


No surprise there, a lying leftist in a leftist welfare state wins the seat held by a lying leftist who dropped dead. The result was as predictable as Mia Farrow's face if Woody Allen showed up to ask another of her children for a date.


On Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 9:45 PM, <Postherguy@aol.com> wrote:
 
Good night all
 

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Fwd: Got a Security Clearance? Now the Feds Want to Spy on You, Too







 

Got a Security Clearance? Now the Feds Want to Spy on You, Too

 

Contractors Intelligence

 

http://www.defenseone.com/management/2013/10/got-security-clearance-now-feds-want-spy-you-too/71927/?oref=defenseone_today_nl

 

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden had skeletons in his closet that employee records systems apparently did not share with the NSA, raising the issue of whether cleared personnel should be under continual surveillance. Today, once an employee obtains a security clearance, agencies can perform follow-up investigations every five years or when derogatory information is discovered.

 

The New York Times last week reported that NSA missed complaints from Snowden's former supervisor at the CIA about Snowden's troubling work habits (the supervisor suspected the technician was inappropriately attempting to access classified files) likely because the systems managing employee clearances only documented major rule violations, not suspicions about personal behavior.

 

In September, former Defense Department Deputy Secretary John Hamre argued in the Washington Post that someone in Snowden's position should be subjected to continuous, perhaps automated surveillance. Such ongoing scrutiny should apply to anyone with high-level clearances, including Hamre himself, he said.

 

Electronic surveillance of cleared workers is technically possible, according to computer engineers. Federal managers, for instance, could read alerts from spyware installed on an employee's personal cellphone. But spying on the entire cleared workforce would be illegal -- unless new federal rules are issued.

 

Today, the Fourth Amendment, Privacy Act and other civil liberties laws and regulations forbid tracking government employees outside the workplace. 

 

Short of asking employees with high level clearances to waive their privacy rights, "the government simply may not conduct surveillance by wiretapping"

or remotely activating the "microphone of personal cell phones or computers," said Greg Rinckey, an attorney who specializes in military law and represents national security clearance applicants.

 

Snowden reportedly relied on an encrypted email service, called Lavabit, to hide his activities. The ex-NSA contractor now is wanted by the federal government for disclosing domestic surveillance secrets to the press.

According to a Monday Washington Post story, Snowden leaked to the newspaper documents showing that NSA culls contacts from personal webmail and instant messaging accounts at a rate of more than 250 million lists a year, including many Americans' address books.

 

Any future, authorized e-surveillance of cleared personnel would have to be performed with tremendous care, privacy advocates warn. Otherwise, the process could smear innocent employees or tip off the bad guys.

 

Most of the existing mechanisms for detecting potential insider threats are plagued by false positives and risk wrongful character assassination and other mistaken inferences, said Peter G. Neumann, a computer scientist for SRI International, a nonprofit research institute. He was sharing personal views, not those of his employer or any government agency he has advised.

 

"If someone is browsing on a subject that raises an automatic alert, that person might be trying to solve a crossword puzzle," Neumann said. "If I get a wrong number on my cell phone or a fraudulent scam call, I am falsely linked with the caller, irrevocably."

 

Computer formulas probably are not smart enough to sense that researching club drugs online out of concern for a child's health is different from researching club drugs to find the best high. "Context is everything, and it is often ignored," Neumann said.

 

He added that any digital surveillance should be conducted "very carefully, with serious oversight and open admission of what [employers] are doing."

 

Openly admitting to employee surveillance, however, could introduce other security weaknesses. "What about the argument that if the government reveals what it is doing, people might be able to work around it?" Neumann questioned. If I am using cryptography because of corporate secrecy, does that mean I am hiding something? No, my employer might be insisting that I use encrypted e-mail.

 

And computerized surveillance alone probably wouldn't stop the next Snowden.

He was a system administrator whose job reportedly required accessing and moving sensitive documents. To combat such an inherent insider threat, the government could grant ultimate "superuser" access privileges to the director of national intelligence or other top brass.

 

But that move carries risks too.

 

"This is a huge slippery slope if the computer systems are already inadequately trustworthy," Neumann said. And who is to say that higher-level authorities are fault-proof? He pointed to Robert Hanssen, a former FBI agent who sold U.S. secrets to Moscow.  "Hanssen had been given the task of finding the mole inside the FBI -- which was Hanssen himself," Neumann said.

 

 

Even cybersecurity experts note that machines would have struggled to detect philosophical issues that might motivate the likes of Snowden to expose classified information. Snowden has said he grew disillusioned with the U.S.

government while working inside intelligence agencies.

 

Agencies must use "fine-grained access controls," including a new two-person rule prohibiting system administrators from accessing key information without another authorized individual present, "as well as role-based monitoring to detect what your administrators are doing versus what they should be doing," said Eric Chiu, president of HyTrust, a firm that helps organizations protect data flows over the Internet.  "This is the only way to prevent major breaches and data center disasters in an electronic and connected world."

 

(Image by Andrey_Popov via Shutterstock)

 

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Small Government Is Popular -- The GOP Isn’t


Small Government Is Popular -- The GOP Isn't
By Daniel Bier On 10.16.2013

Everybody Hates John Boehner

The other day, two seemingly contradictory stories appeared in my inbox almost simultaneously. The first was yet another story on how unpopular the Republican Party is right now, thanks to their doomed, incoherent budget strategy: " NBC/WSJ poll: Shutdown debate damages GOP."

The short of it is that only 24% of Americans have a positive view of the Republican Party–the lowest rating for either party in the history of the poll–and that Obama and the Democrats' numbers have actually inched up slightly.

This is despite the fact that Obamacare's rollout–the premier of the president's signature achievement, and the cause of the government shutdown–has been universally declared a failure. Serious and pervasive problems with the insurance exchange website run by the federal government have made it almost impossible for anyone to sign up, and many journalists have all but given up looking for people who have successfully managed to sign up for a policy.

Incredibly, Obamacare is actually becoming more popular: 38% think it's a good idea this month, compared to 31% last month. To put it mildly, the GOP's strategy has proved… less than successful.

Democrats have essentially refused to negotiate on delaying Obamacare's mandate, taxes, spending levels, the debt ceiling, and anything else that matters, and the Republicans are paying the price, while helpfully distracting the public from the annoying fiasco of Obamacare–with the annoying fiasco of a government shutdown.

…But Lots of Them Like Smaller Government

The second article from The Washington Post was titled: " The conservative shift in public opinion has happened in all 50 states." It opens with the not-so-surprising fact that the public has grown increasingly skeptical of government programs in the last few years–the tea party, while (in name, at least) increasingly unpopular, was an outpouring of populist outrage about spending, debt, and big government unlike anything this country has seen.

enns

When it's not being hijacked by the religious right to attack gay marriage, abortion rights, and secular government, the tea party movement has been quite successful by focusing on fiscal and economic issues.

When it helped propel the Republican takeover of the House in 2010, its class of freshman congressmen also effected what amounted to a palace coup within the caucus, putting the old guard onto the defensive on a host of supposedly settled questions about spending and entitlements.

But what might surprise you is that this phenomenon is part of a long-term shift in public opinion, spanning decades, towards more fiscal conservatism and less government–and it's happening in all fifty states.

Using James Stimson's measure of public support for government programs, Cornell's Julianna Koch and Peter Enns compared the public's attitude towards government programs from the middle of last century through the 2000s. They found a substantial increase in opposition to progressive policies, in every state and in every region of the country.

This fact may help explain otherwise bizarre stories in recent years, like the home of public sector unions re-electing a Republican governor on an agenda of rolling back lucrative union benefits, or New Jersey (of all places) electing a Republican, specifically on a platform of opposing the state's powerful teachers unions.

…And They Don't Care About Your Sexuality

The article also noted, with puzzlement, that while the country is becoming more fiscally conservative, it has also become more socially tolerant. As I noted earlier this year, support for marriage equality is at an all time high, majorities support legalizing pot and creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers, and even secularism is on the rise.

On every front of the "culture wars," social conservatism is being routed. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels saw the handwriting on the wall more than two years when he called for a truce with libertarians. But with respect to Governor Daniels, I think it's time for conservatives to wake up and face a more serious reality: they don't need a "truce" on social issues–they need to surrender.

Meanwhile, the public has become increasingly opposed to expanding the war overseas, as seen by the rout of the president's charge to war in Syria, and more skeptical of the all-seeing, all-powerful national security state, as seen by both sides' rank and file bucking their own party leadership on issues like NSA's mass surveillance powers.

All of this points to one very obvious conclusion: the public has become increasingly skeptical of government, and increasingly tolerant of different personal choices. They are, in a word, becoming more libertarian. We may well be living in the "libertarian moment"–or even heading towards a " libertarian era."

But this also suggests another truth that needs confronting: the main impediment to turning small government attitudes into actually smaller government is the Republican establishment itself. The sooner conservatives wake up to this fact, the better off we'll all be.


http://blog.skepticallibertarian.com/2013/10/16/small-government-is-popular-the-gop-isnt/

Fwd: [New post] SICKENING! UK Pakistani Muslim already convicted of trafficking and exploiting a 10-year-old deaf and mute orphan, has now also been found guilty of sex slavery and rape






BareNakedIslam posted: "For more than a decade, Ilyas Ashar sexually abused his vulnerable young deaf and mute victim, an orphan from Pakistan, beating her to force her to work for the family as a domestic servant. Ashar also used the girl to steal more than £30,000 in benefits "

New post on BARE NAKED ISLAM

SICKENING! UK Pakistani Muslim already convicted of trafficking and exploiting a 10-year-old deaf and mute orphan, has now also been found guilty of sex slavery and rape

by BareNakedIslam

For more than a decade, Ilyas Ashar sexually abused his vulnerable young deaf and mute victim, an orphan from Pakistan, beating her to force her to work for the family as a domestic servant. Ashar also used the girl to steal more than £30,000 in benefits on her behalf. SKY  (h/t Maria J) The youngster […]

Read more of this post

BareNakedIslam | October 16, 2013 at 3:47 pm | URL: http://wp.me/p276zM-YIX

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The best, simplest, explanation of the US monetary system (debt, currency, money, taxes, what’s really going on) that I’ve ever seen. An important video.


The best, simplest, explanation of the US monetary system (debt, currency, money, taxes, what's really going on) that I've ever seen. An important video.
By Nick Sorrentino on October 16, 2013

Many people are mystified by the kids at the Ron Paul rallies screaming "End the Fed!"

They ask themselves, "Why should we end the Federal Reserve? The Fed helps maintain economic stability right? Every country has to have a central bank. These "End the Fed" kids are nothing but "Paulbots." The people on CNBC and Bloomberg tell me that the Fed acts in my best interest. I think the people on Bloomberg and CNBC ought to know what's right for me and my money.  Harry Reid is right. Those hard money people and kids at the Ron Paul speeches are nothing but a bunch of anarchists!"

But the main reason many people feel this way is because they fundamentally don't understand what the "End the Fed" people are really saying and why they are saying it.

Monetary policy, QE, bond buying, bond issuance, taxes, the Treasury, fractional reserve banking, interest rates, the money supply, all seem maddeningly opaque. Most people just give up. If they try to understand what's going on at all. And this is understandable. Monetary policy is a challenging subject. But it is not cosmological physics.

If only someone were to explain things in an understandable, straightforward way.

Well you're in luck.

The below video does an excellent job of explaining the bulk of American monetary policy in simple terms. The graphics and language used are clear and easily understood. Jargon is kept to a minimum.

Invest 1/2 hour in the video. You will see how and why the Federal Reserve is at the very heart of our current crony capitalist economy. It will be well worth your time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iFDe5kUUyT0

http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org/2013/10/the-best-simplest-explanation-of-the-us-monetary-system-debt-currency-money-taxes-whats-really-going-on-that-ive-ever-seen-an-important-video/

Re: Don’t Look for Grown-Ups in Government

Mostly I see a bunch of 3-yearolds who need their diapers changed.


On Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 2:12 PM, MJ <michaelj@america.net> wrote:

Don't Look for Grown-Ups in Government
by Sheldon Richman October 16, 2013

With the government partially closed for over two weeks now and the debt-ceiling deadline upon us, the pundits are demanding that the "grown-ups in the room" finally put a stop to the childish goings-on in Washington.

That would be nice ­ except there are no grown-ups in the room. If you seek evidence, just look around. Politicians, from President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker John Boehner on down, operate at a level of irresponsibility that we don't tolerate in children. It's the nature of government.

Let's start with the money politicians spend: Like children, they don't have to earn it. It comes to them without effort. But unlike children, they have others take it by force through taxation. If you don't believe me, tell the IRS "no thank you" the next time it calls for donations.

If they aren't satisfied with the proceeds from taxation, politicians have unlimited power to borrow money, which makes government look less expensive than it is while sending the bill to future generations. Politicians make a show of imposing a limit on borrowing, but they can raise the limit at will, threatening dire consequences if they don't.

Behold the gross irresponsibility. The money keeps flowing to the politicians no matter what they do or how big and costly their blunders. Even if people knew how badly the political class screwed up, they couldn't cut them off without risking lives of misery and perhaps prison at the hands of the government's armed henchmen.

But it's even worse, because people untrained in the economic way of thinking will have difficulty tracing bad consequences to the politicians' bad decisions. If you're an unemployed unskilled worker, you may not realize that politicians who passed the minimum wage are responsible for pricing you out of a job. Similarly, if you'd like to escape wage employment and work for yourself, you might not realize that politicians have placed a dozen tollgates on the road to self-employment as a favor to special interests.

Tracing economic effects to their public-policy causes is no easy matter. It requires economic understanding, which most people lack. Politicians take advantage of this, such as when they blame rising consumer prices on greed rather than on their central bank's inflationary policies. They have a thousand ways to cover their tracks.

Again, behold the irresponsibility this engenders. If you knew you had a guaranteed flow of income no matter what you did, you might conduct yourself very differently from how you conduct yourself now. As Lord Acton famously said, power tends to corrupt. It also attracts the corrupt.

Politicians also fail to operate at a responsible adult level to the extent they believe society can be molded according to their whims. Societies aren't made of clay. They are complex networks of interaction among individuals using their particular knowledge in pursuit of their personal goals. Social engineering is people manipulation backed by force, which requires a level of hubris that no mature person would possess. Yet politicians engage in it every day, free of responsibility for the consequences that come from disrupting people's lives.

Some readers will want to contest my claim that politicians are essentially unaccountable. Don't they face the voters regularly, and doesn't that keep them on the straight and narrow? To see the answer, we must get beyond naïve civics-book analysis.

We've already seen how the obscure path from political cause to economic effect helps to shield politicians from accountability. But that isn't all. Even though politicians' decisions can cost people their jobs, their freedom, and, in the aggregate, billions of dollars -- think of the housing and financial debacle, which resulted from bad political decisions -- what's the worst that can happen to the officeholders responsible for a disaster? At most they might lose the next election. Oh the horror! On the other hand, incumbents have great advantages in elections and don't often lose. Can you sue politicians for damages? Can you prosecute them for theft? Of course not. So where is the real accountability? There is none.

The upshot is that politicians are more irresponsible than children ­ children don't have credit cards. So if you're looking for grown-ups, look anywhere but government.

http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/dont-look-for-grown-ups/

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The False Default Scare


The False Default Scare
by Jacob G. Hornberger
October 16, 2013

Let's assume that I am earning $5,000 per month and that I have the following monthly expenses:

Mortgage         $1,000
Food             $1,000
Car              $1,000
Clothing         $1,000
Interest         $500
Entertainment   $2,000
Other            $2,500
Total            $9,000

Do you see the problem? I'm bringing in $5,000 a month and spending $9,000 a month. That's a deficit of $4,000 a month.

That's precisely the problem facing the federal government. It's spending a trillion dollars more than what it's bringing in with tax collections.

Okay, what are my options? One option is to go the bank and get a line of credit that enables me to borrow $4,000 a month indefinitely. In that way, I can continue spending what I'm spending and paying all my bills as they come due.

That's precisely what the federal government has been doing for decades

If I follow that route, the amount I owe in debt will continue to mount. After a year, I will owe the bank around $50,000. Added on to my credit card debt of $50,000, my total debt will be $100,000.

I decide to put a ceiling at $100,000. Once I reach $100,000 in debt, I promise myself: No more debt. Otherwise, I place myself in a precarious financial condition.

What happens a year from now? My situation will be the no different than before except that now I have $100,000 of debt to repay. Then what? I decide to raise my debt ceiling. I return to the bank and ask for a new line of credit. At the end of the next year, I will then owe $200,000. And then $300,000. And then $400,000 in debt, and climbing.

That's what the federal government has been doing and continues to do.

There is another option. I can slash expenses by eliminating eating out, getting a smaller car, buying no new clothes, eliminating all entertainment, and reducing other expenses. Here is my new state of affairs:

Mortgage                 $1,000
Food                      $500
Car                       $500
Clothing                 $0
Interest                 $500
Entertainment            $0
Other                     $1500
Total                     $4000

Do you see any default there? No, because I'm using my available funds to not only pay the interest on the debt I owe but also reducing the principal a bit. Remember: I'm making $5,000 and now spending only $4,000. That leaves me extra money to apply to principal on my debt.

That's what the statists and big spenders (I'm being redundant of course) just don't get. They keep saying that if the federal government isn't permitted to keep borrowing, there will be a default. That's ridiculous because it assumes that the federal government is required to keep spending what it's spending.

But the government doesn't have to do that, any more than I have to keep spending what I'm spending. It can slash its expenses. The problem is that for a statist, that's anathema. In his mind, the federal government is a fixed entity, one that cannot abolish or drastically reduce welfare-warfare state programs, departments, agencies, and expenditures.

Nonsense. We've already seen that large portions of the government can be shut down without America falling into the ocean or having the sky fall in, despite all the dire prognostications. There are lots of non-essential functions that can be eliminated or reduced. In fact, what an opportune time to do so, rather than retain them and continue adding to the mountain of federal debt for which the American people are ultimately liable for.

Remember: If they take on more debt this time, they'll be faced with the same situation the next time the ceiling is reached. And they'll just do the same thing again, adding more and more debt onto the backs of the American people every time.

Needless to say, all this goes to show what a massive failure the entire welfare-warfare state way of life has been. Not only has it made so many Americans helpless and hopeless wards of the state, and not only has it brought about a massive garrison state to our land, along with such things as secret surveillance, torture, assassination, coups, and support of brutal dictatorships, it has also led us in the direction of national bankruptcy.

Ultimately, when the amount I owe gets large enough, the bank will refuse to lend me any more money. The same thing will happen to the U.S. government. Americans would be wise to do something about this situation now rather than later.

http://fff.org/2013/10/16/the-false-default-scare/

Don’t Look for Grown-Ups in Government


Don't Look for Grown-Ups in Government
by Sheldon Richman October 16, 2013

With the government partially closed for over two weeks now and the debt-ceiling deadline upon us, the pundits are demanding that the "grown-ups in the room" finally put a stop to the childish goings-on in Washington.

That would be nice ­ except there are no grown-ups in the room. If you seek evidence, just look around. Politicians, from President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker John Boehner on down, operate at a level of irresponsibility that we don't tolerate in children. It's the nature of government.

Let's start with the money politicians spend: Like children, they don't have to earn it. It comes to them without effort. But unlike children, they have others take it by force through taxation. If you don't believe me, tell the IRS "no thank you" the next time it calls for donations.

If they aren't satisfied with the proceeds from taxation, politicians have unlimited power to borrow money, which makes government look less expensive than it is while sending the bill to future generations. Politicians make a show of imposing a limit on borrowing, but they can raise the limit at will, threatening dire consequences if they don't.

Behold the gross irresponsibility. The money keeps flowing to the politicians no matter what they do or how big and costly their blunders. Even if people knew how badly the political class screwed up, they couldn't cut them off without risking lives of misery and perhaps prison at the hands of the government's armed henchmen.

But it's even worse, because people untrained in the economic way of thinking will have difficulty tracing bad consequences to the politicians' bad decisions. If you're an unemployed unskilled worker, you may not realize that politicians who passed the minimum wage are responsible for pricing you out of a job. Similarly, if you'd like to escape wage employment and work for yourself, you might not realize that politicians have placed a dozen tollgates on the road to self-employment as a favor to special interests.

Tracing economic effects to their public-policy causes is no easy matter. It requires economic understanding, which most people lack. Politicians take advantage of this, such as when they blame rising consumer prices on greed rather than on their central bank's inflationary policies. They have a thousand ways to cover their tracks.

Again, behold the irresponsibility this engenders. If you knew you had a guaranteed flow of income no matter what you did, you might conduct yourself very differently from how you conduct yourself now. As Lord Acton famously said, power tends to corrupt. It also attracts the corrupt.

Politicians also fail to operate at a responsible adult level to the extent they believe society can be molded according to their whims. Societies aren't made of clay. They are complex networks of interaction among individuals using their particular knowledge in pursuit of their personal goals. Social engineering is people manipulation backed by force, which requires a level of hubris that no mature person would possess. Yet politicians engage in it every day, free of responsibility for the consequences that come from disrupting people's lives.

Some readers will want to contest my claim that politicians are essentially unaccountable. Don't they face the voters regularly, and doesn't that keep them on the straight and narrow? To see the answer, we must get beyond naïve civics-book analysis.

We've already seen how the obscure path from political cause to economic effect helps to shield politicians from accountability. But that isn't all. Even though politicians' decisions can cost people their jobs, their freedom, and, in the aggregate, billions of dollars -- think of the housing and financial debacle, which resulted from bad political decisions -- what's the worst that can happen to the officeholders responsible for a disaster? At most they might lose the next election. Oh the horror! On the other hand, incumbents have great advantages in elections and don't often lose. Can you sue politicians for damages? Can you prosecute them for theft? Of course not. So where is the real accountability? There is none.

The upshot is that politicians are more irresponsible than children ­ children don't have credit cards. So if you're looking for grown-ups, look anywhere but government.

http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/dont-look-for-grown-ups/

Fwd: [New post] ATLANTA: Pimping Jesus to sell Islam



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sergeant Sizzle <armyofbacon@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 2:06 PM
Subject: Fwd: [New post] ATLANTA: Pimping Jesus to sell Islam
To: beowulf@westerndefense.net




---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: BARE NAKED ISLAM <donotreply@wordpress.com>
Date: Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 2:00 PM
Subject: [New post] ATLANTA: Pimping Jesus to sell Islam
To: armyofbacon@gmail.com


BareNakedIslam posted: "Muslim Brotherhood front group ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) is using Jesus in a billboard campaign to portray Islam as something other than the misogynistic, bigoted, homophobic, anti-semitic, anti-Christian, supremacist death cult that it is. h"

New post on BARE NAKED ISLAM

ATLANTA: Pimping Jesus to sell Islam

by BareNakedIslam

Muslim Brotherhood front group ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) is using Jesus in a billboard campaign to portray Islam as something other than the misogynistic, bigoted, homophobic, anti-semitic, anti-Christian, supremacist death cult that it is. hobotzcarandco THIS IS ICNA The Islamic Circle of North America(ICNA) is preaching a global Caliphate and Islamic Shari'a law over […]

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BareNakedIslam | October 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm | URL: http://wp.me/p276zM-YIs

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Fwd: [New post] Why do D.C. Metro Police wear blue helmets like those of UN troops?





Dr. Eowyn posted: "Here are pics of Washington, DC metro police with sky blue helmets on their heads: . Sky blue is the color that United Nation troops wear on their heads, whether helmet or beret: . To my knowledge, DC metro police are the only police in the U."
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New post on Fellowship of the Minds

Why do D.C. Metro Police wear blue helmets like those of UN troops?

by Dr. Eowyn

Here are pics of Washington, DC metro police with sky blue helmets on their heads:

Capitol Police in Blue HelmetsDC metro police (from Wired).

Sky blue is the color that United Nation troops wear on their heads, whether helmet or beret:

UN blue helmetsUN blue berets.

To my knowledge, DC metro police are the only police in the U.S. who wear the same blue-colored helmets as the UN.

Here are pics of the police riot gear of three U.S. cities: Boston, Dallas, and Seattle. Notice that their helmets are all black in color, not blue.

Boston police riot gearDallas policeSeattle police

H/t FOTM's Miss May

~Eowyn

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Fwd: The Mythistory of the Crusades






by Ibn Warraq (October 2013)


A new generation of Western scholars of the Middle Ages have been trying to put right the misconceptions that have grown up about the Cru­sades. As Jonathan Riley-Smith has argued "modern Western public opin­ion, Arab nationalism, and Pan-Islamism all share perceptions of crusad­ing that have more to do with nineteenth-century European imperialism than with actuality."1 Muslims in particular have developed "mythisto­ries" concerning the putative injuries they have received at the hands of the Crusaders. The first point that needs to be emphasized is that the Cru­sades were proclaimed not only against Muslims, but also against many groups, and communities that the Catholic Church considered heretical, and enemies of the faith, groups such as the pagan Wends, Balts and Lithuanians, shamanist Mongols, Orthodox Russians and Greeks, Cathar and Hussite heretics.2

Second, the Crusaders were not  extremists or barbarians indulging in thoughtless violence, rather the underlying rationale of the Crusades was relatively sophisticated, elabo­rated theologically by Christian nations that were threatened by Muslim invaders who had managed to reach into the heart of Europe, in central France in the eighth century. The Crusades were a response to the desecration of the Christian shrines in the Holy Land, the destruction of churches, and the general persecution of Christians in the Near East. A Crusade to be considered legitimate had to fulfill strict criteria; one did not enter into it lightly for self aggrandizement. There had to be a legally sound reason. It was, in other words, waged for purposes of repelling violence or injury and the imposition of justice on wrongdoers. A Crusade was never a war of conversion, rather a rightful attempt to recover Christian territory which had been injuriously seized in the past. Only a recognized authority could formally declare a Crusade, and it had to be waged justly.3

The Crusaders were not colonialists, and the Crusades were not en­gaged in for economic reasons, as many Western Liberals and Liberal econ­omists assumed; most crusaders would have laughed at the prospect of material gain. In fact, crusading became a financial burden as the expenses associated with warfare increased. They were far more concerned with sav­ing not only Christendom from Islam, but also their souls. The role of pen­ance has often been overlooked in crusading thought and practice; many crusaders believed that by taking part in a crusade they were able to repay the debt their sinfulness had incurred.

Nineteenth, and even early twentieth century Europeans unasham­edly used crusader rhetoric and a tendentious reading of crusader history to justify their imperial dreams of conquest. For example, after the First World War, the French Mandate in Syria led to a considerable French historical literature, "one theme of which was that the achievements of the crusaders provided the first chapter in a history that had culminated in modern imperialism."4 As we shall see, the newly emerging Arab nation­alists took nineteenth-century rhetoric seriously. A second strand in false, modern interpretations of crusader history was furnished by European ro­manticism, as for example, manifested in the novels of Sir Walter Scott.- the main subject of my book. As Riley-Smith summarized, "The novels [of Scott] painted a picture of crusaders who were brave and glamorous, but also vainglorious, avaricious, childish and boorish. Few of them were genuinely moved by religion or the crusade ideal; most had taken the cross out of pride, greed, or ambi­tion. The worst of them were the brothers of the military orders, who may have been courageous and disciplined but were also arrogant, privileged, corrupt, voluptuous and unprincipled. An additional theme, the cultural superiority of the Muslims, which was only hinted at in the other novels, pervaded the The Talisman [1825]."5

In a recent (December, 2008) television programme, Boris John­son, the Mayor of London, presented a rather biased programme on the Crusades, but biased against the Christians, laying the blame of the Cru­sades entirely on the Christians, who are always depicted as barbarians. He pointed out at that Christians in Spain after the expulsions of the Moors converted a mosque into a church, and called this act "vandalism." How­ever, he failed to point out that the Crusades were a reaction against over three hundred years of jihad when the Eastern Christians were persecuted, and hundreds of churches destroyed. He also failed to mention the conver­sion of the magnificent Byzantine Hagia Sophia into a mosque, (though admittedly this took place after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453—it was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. But my point is that Islamic jihad did not end with the defeat of the Crusaders. On the contrary, in Islamic doctrine all the later Islamic conquests were seen as a part of the religious duty of carrying out jihad until the entire the world submits to Islam).

The Muslim persecution of Christians, or for that matter, all non-Muslims, varied from country to country, ruler to ruler, or century to cen­tury. Here I can only adumbrate the situation in the Holy Land a hundred years before Pope Urban II's call in 1095 for a crusade to liberate Palestine. The cruelties of Caliph al-Hakim have been recorded by Christian and Muslim historians. In 1003, al-Hakim began the persecution of Jews and Christians in earnest. Historian Ibn al-Dawadari tells us that the first move in a series of acts was the destruc­tion of the church of St. Mark. Al-Musabbihi, a contemporary, recounts that the Christians built this church without a permit—the building of new churches was not permitted. The Al-Rashida mosque was built in its place, eventually extending over, and desecrating Jewish and Christian cemeteries; surely an act of vandalism. The height of al-Hakim's cruelties was the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also known as the Church of the Resurrection, possibly the most revered shrine in Christendom, since it is considered by Christians as Golgotha, (the Hill of Calvary), where the New Testament says that Jesus was crucified, and even the place where Jesus was buried, and hence, of course, the site of the Resurrection. He ordered dismantled "the Church of the Resurrection to its very foundations, apart from what could not be destroyed or pulled up, and they also destroyed the Golgotha and the Church of St. Constantine and all that they contained, as well as all the sacred grave-stones. They even tried to dig up the graves and wipe out all traces of their existence. Indeed they broke up and uprooted most of them. They also laid waste to a con­vent in the neighbourhood….The authorities took all the other property belonging to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and its pious foundations, and all its furnishings and treasures."6 According to Muslim sources the destruction began in September, 1007 C.E. "Most of the Muslim sources view the destruction as a reaction to its magnificence and the fact that it was a world centre for Christian pilgrims, among them many Christians from Egypt; to the splendid processions that were held in the streets of Jerusalem, and to the 'Paschal fire'…."7

Similarly, Sir Steven Runciman in the conclusion to his highly influential, elegantly written The History of the Crusades,8 seems to imply that it was the Christian Crusaders who alone were responsible not only for the "growing intolerance amongst the Moslems," but somehow also for the fading away of Muslim intellectual life, and the subsequent stagnation of Islamic culture: "…an intolerant faith is incapable of progress." Run­ciman's analysis is no different from so many others that write of Islamic history and culture: what are seen as positive aspects of Islamic Civilization are ecstatically praised, even exaggerated, and all the negative aspects are imputed to the arrival of pestililential Westerners, and where the Arabs, Persians and Muslims in general are seen as passive victims; they are cer­tainly not allowed any autonomy.

But, pace Runciman, this will not do as history. Even a cursory glance at the plight of Jews under Muslims before the Crusades would be enough to refute Sir Steven's rosy picture of an earlier interfaith utopia. All the persecutions of both Christians and Jews stem directly from the precepts and principles enshrined in the canonical texts of Islam: the Koran; the Sira, that is, Ibn Ishaq's biography of Muhammad; the Hadith, that is, the Traditions, the record of the deeds and sayings of Muhammad and his companions; and the classical Muslim Koranic commentaries. In other words, "Muslim Jew hatred… dates back to the origins of Islam."9 It is there in the Koran, the Biography of Muhammad, and the Hadith.

Since Sir Steven argues that Islamic intolerance began after the Cru­sasdes, here are examples of the persecution of Jews in Islamic lands before 1096: the massacre of more than 6,000 Jews in Fez (Morocco) in 1033; of the hundreds of Jews killed between 1010 and 1013 near Cordoba, and other parts of Muslim Spain; of the massacre of the entire Jewish commu­nity of roughly 4,000 in Granada during the Muslim riots of 1066. Refer­ring to the latter massacre, Robert Wistrich writes: "This was a disaster, as serious as that which overtook the Rhineland Jews thirty years later dur­ing the First Crusade, yet it has rarely received much scholarly attention." Wistrich continues: "In Kairouan [Tunisia] the Jews were persecuted and forced to leave in 1016, returning later only to be expelled again."10

What of the putative "culture of conviviencia," that is, the Golden Age of Tolerance in Spain before, it is claimed, it was destroyed by the intolerance of the Almohads. Unfortunately, "The Golden Age" also turns out to be a myth, invented, ironically, by the Jews themselves. The myth may well have originated as early as the twelfth century, when Abraham Ibn Daud in his Sefer ha-Qabbalah contrasted an idealised period of toler­ance of the salons of Toledo in contrast to the contemporary barbarism of the Berber dynasty. But the myth took a firm grip on the imagina­tion of the Jews in the nineteenth century thanks to the bibliographer Moritz Steinschneider and historian Heinrich Graetz, and perhaps the in­fluence of Benjamin Disraeli's novel Coningsby, published in 1844. Here is a passage from the latter novel giving a romantic picture of Muslim Spain, "..that fair and unrivaled civilization in which the children of Ish­mael rewarded the children of Israel with equal rights and privileges with themselves. During these halcyon centuries, it is difficult to distinguish the followers of Moses from the votary of Mohammed. Both alike built palaces, gardens and fountains; filled equally the highest offices of state, competed in an extensive and enlightened commerce, rivaled each other in renowned universities."11 Against a background of a rise in the pseudo-scientific racism of the nineteenth century, Jane Gerber has observed that Jewish historians looked to Islam "... for support, seeking real or imagined allies and models of tolerance in the East. The cult of a powerful, dazzling and brilliant Andalusia in the midst of an ignorant and intolerant Eu­rope formed an important component in these contemporary intellectual currents."12 But Gerber concludes her sober assessment of the Golden Age Myth with these reflections, "The aristocratic bearing of a select class of courtiers and poets, however, should not blind us to the reality that this tightly knit circle of leaders and aspirants to power was neither the whole of Spanish Jewish history nor of Spanish Jewish society. Their gilded mo­ments of the tenth and eleventh century are but a brief chapter in a longer saga. No doubt, Ibn Daud's polemic provided consolation and inspiration to a crisis-ridden twelfth century elite, just as the golden age imagery could comfort dejected exiles after 1492. It suited the needs of nineteenth cen­tury advocates of Jewish emancipation in Europe or the twentieth century contestants in the ongoing debate over Palestine....The history of the Jews in Muslim lands, especially Muslim Spain, needs to be studied on its own terms, without myth or countermyth."13

Some scholars, such as the great historian Shlomo Dov Goitein (d. 1985), taking into account the discoveries of the Cairo Geniza, revised their ideas about the situation of Jews in Islamic lands.14 Another exam­ple of a scholar who changed his mind was Léon Poliakov, author of the monumental work The History of Antisemitism, which appeared in four volumes in French between 1955 and 1978. In Volume Two,15 Poliakov paints, on the whole, a very favorable picture of the treatment of the Jews under Islam. He finds Muhammad, a man of genius, "simple, humane, and wise" and Islam, "a religion of tolerance above all." Astonishingly, Poliakov devotes a meagre two lines to the persecution of the Jews. Two lines in which he downplays all the acts of intolerance such as the massacre of Banu Qurayza, or the expulsion of the Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Nadir, while the political assassinations or torture of Jewish leaders and writers are not mentioned at all! Poliakov goes out of his way to contrast what he be­lieves is the essentially benign attitude of the Muslims to the intolerance of the Christians who were, according to him, far more "inclined to plunge…into bloodbaths." He really seems to have convinced himself that the Jews and Christians lived, on the whole, "peacefully and prosperously in all parts of the Islamic Empire until our time." However, when he was in his eighties, he came into contact with the work of Bat Ye'or on the dhimmis, or the plight, persecution and periodic massacres of non-Muslims under Islam, and changed his mind completely.16 Just a few weeks before his death in 1997, Poliakov agreed to write a preface17 to the French edition of my book, Why I am Not a Muslim, [Pourquoi je ne suis pas musulman]. Unfortunately, before he had finished his preface, Poliakov tripped on the stairs when coming down from his library, banged his head severely, and later died in hospital at the age of 87.

Many believe that modern Muslims have inherited from their me­dieval ancestors memories of crusader violence and destruction. But nothing could be further from the truth.18 By the four­teenth century, in the Islamic world the Crusades had almost passed out of mind. Muslims had lost interest, and, in any case, they "looked back on the Crusades with indifference and complacency. In their eyes they had been the outright winners. They had driven the crusaders from the lands they had settled in the Levant and had been triumphant in the Balkans, occupying far more territory in Europe than the Western settlers had ever held in Syria and Palestine."19

The Muslim world only began to take an interest in the Crusades again in the 1890s but seen through the prism of Western imperialist rhetoric and European romantic fantasies concocted by Walter Scott. The latter encouraged the myth of the culturally inferior crusaders faced with civilized, liberal, and modern-looking Muslims, and from the former the Muslims derived the equally false idea of a continuing Western assault. Many Arab Nationalists believed "their struggle for independence to be a predominantly Arab riposte to a crusade that was being waged against them. Since the 1970s, however, they have been challenged by a renewed and militant Pan-Islamism, the adherents of which have globalized the Nationalist interpretation of crusade history…."20

Thus we now have the spectacle of the modern Islamists very of­ten invoking the Crusades. As Bin Laden wrote, "For the first time the Crusaders have managed to achieve their historic ambitions and dreams against our Islamic umma, gaining control over the Islamic holy places and the Holy Sanctuaries, and hegemony over the wealth and riches of our umma.,"21 and, "Ever since God made the Arabian Peninsula flat, created desert in it and surrounded it with seas, it has never suffered such a calam­ity as these Crusader hordes, that have spread in it like locusts, consuming its wealth and destroying its fertility."22 The battle, according to Bin Lad­en, is between Muslims—people of Islam—and the Global Crusaders.23

As Riley-Smith concludes, "It is this vision of a continuing crusade and of resistance to it that has suddenly and spectacularly forced itself on the world outside. The language employed is often feverish, but a Muslim does not have to be an extreme Islamist to hold the view that the West is still engaged in crusading….Having less to do with historical reality than with reactions to imperialism, the Nationalist and Islamist interpretations of crusade history help many people, moderates as well as extremists, to place the exploitation they believe they have suffered in a historical context and to satisfy their feelings of both superiority and humiliation."24

The Islamic countries, in general, and Arab ones in particular, are failures in every way possible. Here is one summary of the situation in the Arab world in 2005:

"Statistics tell an ugly story about the state of Arab civilization. According to the U.N.'s Arab Human Development Report: There are 18 computers per 1000 citizens compared to a global average of 78.3.

"Only 1.6% of the population has Internet access.

"Less than one book a year is translated into Arabic per million people, compared to over 1000 per million for developed countries.

"Arabs publish only 1.1% of books globally, despite making up over 5% of global population, with religious books dominating the market.

"Average R&D expenditures on a per capita basis is one-sixth of Cuba's and less than one-fifteenth of Japan's.

"The Arab world is embarking upon the new century burdened by 60 million illiterate adults (the majority are women) and a declining education system, which is failing to properly prepare regional youth for the challenges of a globalized economy. Educational quality is also being eroded by the growing pervasiveness of religion at all levels of the system. In Saudi Arabia over a quarter of all university degrees are in Islamic studies. In many other nations primary education is accomplished through Saudi-financed madrassas, which have filled the void left by government's abdication of its duty to educate the young.

"In economic terms we have already commented that the combined weight of the Arab states is less than that of Spain. Strip oil out of Mideast exports and the entire region exports less than Finland. According to the transnational Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), regional economic growth is burdened by declining rates of investment in fixed capital structure, an inability to attract substantial foreign direct investment, and declining productivity — the economic trinity of disaster.

"Economic stagnation coupled with rapid population growth is reducing living standards throughout the region, both comparatively and in real terms. In the heady days of the late 1970s oil boom, annual per-capita GDP growth of over 5% fueled high levels of expectations. GDP per-capita grew from $1,845 to $2,300. Today, after adjusting for inflation, it stands at $1,500, reflecting an overall decline in living standards over 30 years. Only sub-Saharan Africa has done worse. If oil wealth is subtracted from the calculations the economic picture for the mass of Arab citizens becomes dire.

"Things are indeed bad in the Arab world and will get much worse."25

These failures are unbearable for the Arabs whose only explanation for them is the one that they have been taught over the last seventy five years by intellectuals and frauds like Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, and Edward Said, namely, Western imperialism and colonialism, seen as a continuation of the Crusades. Victimhood is exploited to the maximum to blackmail Western nations into giving economic aid, and eases the guilty consciences of the Arabs themselves: it is not their fault that they are such abject failures- it is all the fault of the Crusaders. It is the only way they are able to live with themselves and their moral, intellectual, and economic defeats. At the same time, invoking the Crusades reminds the Arabs of their past triumphs when they succeeded in routing the Crusades at, for example, the Battle of Hattin [1187].



[1] Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam, New York: Columbia University Press 2008, p. 79.

[2] Ibid.,.p..9.

[3] Ibid.,pp.11-12.

[4] Ibid.,.p. 60.

[5] Ibid..,p. 65.

[6] Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine: 634-1099, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992, p. 373.

[7] Ibid., p. 374.

[8] Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, Vol. III, The Kingdom of Acre and the Later Crusades, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1951, p. 474.

[9] Andrew Bostom, The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism, Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2008, p. 33.

[10] Robert Wistrich, Antisemitism-The Longest Hatred, Schocken Books, New York, 1991, p. 196.

[11] Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby, Book IV, Ch. X, quoted in Bernard Lewis, Islam in History, New York, 1973, p. 317 n.15

[12] Jane Gerber, "Towards an Understanding of the Term: 'The Golden Age' as an His­torical Reality" in ed. Aviva Doron, The Heritage of the Jews of Spain, Tel Aviv: Levinsky College of Education Publishing House, 1994, p. 16.

[13] Ibid., pp. 21-22

[14] Shlomo Dov Goitein, "Evidence on the Muslim Poll Tax from Non-Muslim Sources: A Geniza Study," Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient (JESHO) 6 (1963): 278-95, repinted in Andrew Bostom, The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism, Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2008, pp. 481-488.

[15] Léon Poliakov, The History of Antisemitism, Vol. II: From Mohammed to the Mar­ranos, Trans. by Natalie Gerardi [ Original French Edn., Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1961] Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, pp. 19-81.

[16] Personal communication from Bat Ye'or.

[17] Personal communication from Léon Poliakov.

[18] Ibid., p. 68.

[19] Ibid., p.71

[20] Ibid., p. 73.

[21] Osama bin Muhammad bin Laden, Messages to the World, ed. Bruce Lawrence, trans. James Howarth, London and New York, 2005, p. 16, quoted in Riley-Smith, p. 75.

[22] Ibid., p. 59, quoted in Riley-Smith, p. 75.

[23] Ibid., quoted in Riley-Smith, p. 75.

[24] Ibid.,p.76.

[25] Lieutenant Colonel James G. Lacey, U.S. Army Reserve: "The Impending Collapse of Arab Civilization." Proceedings, U.S. Naval Institute. September 2005.

Ibn Warraq's latest book is Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies.

 



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