News Feed 20110610

Financial Crisis
» China Ratings House Says US Defaulting
» ECB: Non-Voluntary Greek Restructuring Would be ‘Enormous Mistake’
» Greek Debt Swap: Private Creditors Could Agree to 35-Billion-Euro Rollover
» It’s a Bad Time to be Young and Polish
» Spain: Fitch Asks Regions for Efforts to Lower Deficit
» Why is Chronic Joblessness on the Rise?
 
USA
» America and the Barbary Pirates: An International Battle Against an Unconventional Foe
» Caroline Glick: Yale, Jews and Double Standards
» Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy Vows to Hunt Down ‘Flash Mob’ Suspects
» Forecast for U.S. Cities: Confrontation, Chaos?
» Frank Gaffney: Will the GOP Pull a ‘Pelosi’ On Patent Rights?
» Gingrich’s Future in Question After Aides Quit En Masse
» Napolitano: “No Logic” In Profiling Muslim Men Under Age 35
» Palin Attacks Obama Over Betraying America to the Russians
» Panetta Hearing for Secdef on Thursday: Obama’s CIA Director Linked to Spies Through Communist Party Figure
» Positively Negative
» Video: Senate Candidate Says ‘Constitutional Crisis’ Obama’s Fault
 
Europe and the EU
» Belgium: Red Faces Over MK’s Visit to Far-Right Party
» French Couple in UK Exile Over Niqab Ban
» Germany Slams Danish Border Control Plan
» Germany’s Superbug is Weaponized With Bubonic Plague DNA
» Higher Prices, Higher Emissions: The Downside of Germany’s Nuclear Phaseout
» Italy: 142 ‘Ndrangheta Arrests in Calabria and the North
» Netherlands: More Cannabis Addicts Seek Help
» Sham Policy to Address Islamism Exposed by the English Defence League
» Switzerland: Genital Mutilation to be Outlawed
» UK: Beer, Ham and Muslim Shoes
» UK: Brave Petrol Station Cashier Locks Himself in With Violent Gang — But Has to Let Them Go Because Police Are Too Busy
» UK: Four Teenage Boys Held Over Murder of Chef Stabbed to Death as He Celebrated His 30th Birthday
» UK: Rowan Williams [Archibishop of Canterbury] Is a Profoundly Divisive Leftie
» UK: Shameful Silence: Why We Need Action to End the Tragedy Over Disabled Babies Born to Muslims Who Marry Their Cousins
» UK: Theresa May Ambushed at Constituency Meeting by Head of English Defence League
 
Balkans
» Serbia: Seselj Accuses UN Court of Being “Criminal Instrument”
 
North Africa
» ‘Horribly Humiliating’: Egyptian Woman Tells of ‘Virginity Tests’
» Italy: New Gas-Supply Interruptions Would be ‘Risk to Security’
» Kuwait to Give Libyan Rebels $180 Million
» Libya: NATO Air Raids Resume After Defiant ‘Gaddafi Audio Message’
 
Middle East
» ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ May Not be Real
» Syrians Fleeing by the Thousands to Turkey. Fears of a Massacre in Jisr Al-Shughour
 
South Asia
» The ‘Petty Office Politics’ Inside Al Qaeda is Revealed
 
Far East
» Philippines: Mindanao: A Collection of Gifts for Poor Muslims Strengthens Inter-Religious Dialogue
 
Latin America
» Brazil: Italy Calls Release of Convicted Terrorist ‘Humiliation’ And Pledges Intl. Court Appeal
» Mexican Drug Gangs Increase Power in Central America
 
Immigration
» Australia’s Migrant Intake Set to Become More “English”
» Australia: Villawood Detainee Treated for Leprosy
» Greek Police Raze Migrant Camp
» Malta: In the Forgotten Camps
» Malta Illegal Alien Pipeline Still Flowing to America
 
Culture Wars
» District Would Rather Censor Christians Than Raise Funds
» HHS Official Tells Youth Summit: We’re Recruiting LGBTs to Adopt Kids
» The God of the Emerging Church

Financial Crisis


China Ratings House Says US Defaulting

A Chinese ratings house has accused the United States of defaulting on its massive debt, state media said Friday, a day after Beijing urged Washington to put its fiscal house in order.

“In our opinion, the United States has already been defaulting,” Guan Jianzhong, president of Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. Ltd., the only Chinese agency that gives sovereign ratings, was quoted by the Global Times saying.

Washington had already defaulted on its loans by allowing the dollar to weaken against other currencies — eroding the wealth of creditors including China, Guan said.

Guan did not immediately respond to AFP requests for comment.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



ECB: Non-Voluntary Greek Restructuring Would be ‘Enormous Mistake’

The European Central Bank chief on Thursday warned against any non-voluntary restructuring of Greek debt, rebuffing the German position in favour of such a move.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Greek Debt Swap: Private Creditors Could Agree to 35-Billion-Euro Rollover

In the end, banks and other creditors may be forced to take part in the next bailout of Greece. SPIEGEL sources say a plan is taking shape that could see private creditors conduct voluntary rollovers extending the terms of Greek bonds and creating up to 35 billion euros in relief.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



It’s a Bad Time to be Young and Polish

The state paid a lot to educate Poland’s youth, but can only offer them low-grade work. In reality, it’s happy for them to emigrate

Polish women living in Britain have on average more children than their young compatriots back in their home country. When the largest Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza broke this story a few months ago, it was a huge — but not entirely unexpected — surprise.

A lot of comments reflected a deep chasm between the Polish public discourse and our social reality. The “west” was supposed to be liberal, even libertine, and because of that very dangerous and corrupting place for young people. But children? They don’t fit this narrative. Every few weeks, some conservative politician sounds the alarm about the disastrous demographic situation of the nation. Polish women have only 1.23 children on average: this is very bad news for the future of the country.

The explanations offered for the low birth rate have largely been ideological. It has been blamed on the young generation’s hedonism, permissive and oversexualised popular culture, and their lack of patriotism. So when it turned out that the real reasons might be much more prosaic — substandard social services, poor and often unavailable medical care, lack of jobs for parents and nurseries for children, expensive housing — the commentariat was uncomfortable. Suddenly, the fact that UK-based Polish women had more children than immigrants from Bangladesh was an example of dismal failure of social policy at home.

The uncomfortable truth is that the most educated generation in Poland’s history — almost half of 25-year-olds are university graduates — has to make do with a terrible job market. This is not solely due to the global economic crisis: Poland only experienced a period of slower growth, not GDP decline. Despite this, the future for most young Poles is far from bright — the nation that paid a lot to educate them does not need them on the job market, and has no idea what to do with them: the official unemployment rate for university graduates hovers around 20%. Those who manage to get a job are equally frustrated — they feel they are working below their qualifications, often in “McJobs” with no career path, and very often have to earn a large part of their salary unofficially to avoid taxes — which makes, for example, getting a mortgage difficult. There is virtually no job security; employers feel it is a buyers’ market and think they can always find a better (read: more “malleable”) employee. They are slow to hire, and eager to fire.

For most western Europeans, this is a well-known picture. In Spain, the graduate unemployment rate is twice as high as in Poland. What makes Poland different is the high levels of emigration, and the complete absence of a protest movement — which makes it easy for politicians to be silent on the issue, or give phony ideological explanations.

Part of the problem is structural. In the low-tech Polish economy, which is dominated by small, family-owned firms, there is precious little work for educated people at all. In recent weeks, the newspaper I work for published a letter from a young law graduate working on her PhD. She couldn’t get a job that made use of her degree. When she tried to become an office assistant, the would-be boss wrote to her explaining that he expected her to become his lover, adding, “if you don’t accept that, don’t reply to my email — I don’t care what you think”. Now try to imagine 50,000 humanities graduates — we produce that many every year — in this kind of job market.

Perhaps the most important issue is our inefficient state and its greying, disconnected political class. Two of the largest political parties are led by men in their 50s and 60s, who grew up fighting communism. They pay lip service to the problems of the youth, but not much more. The solutions that the state can offer — some tax cuts for employers giving jobs to graduates — are also woefully inadequate. The state apparatus is both bloated and famously ineffective: the government recently admitted that paying 50 zlotys in social security costs about 100 zlotys in administrative expenses. Little wonder there is no money for youth-oriented social programmes . No wonder they are leaving Poland. According to recent research, in 2009, 1.8 to 2.4 million Poles, most of them young, were working abroad. Despite the crisis in the west, they don’t seem to come back.

Our politicians may say “we don’t want our youth in London, we want them in Poland”. In reality, every time they say so, they breathe a sigh of relief. They are happy that young people are gone: no protests, no crime, no problem. Some of them are even sending money home.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Spain: Fitch Asks Regions for Efforts to Lower Deficit

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, JUNE 9 — Credit rating agency Fitch has asked the Spanish autonomous communities for “continuous efforts” to reach the goal of a deficit of 1.3% of the national GDP, indicated for this year. The agency has recognised that the budget results of the first quarter of 2011 as revealed by the Economy Ministry have caused “some concerns”, because some regions have not slowed their public expenditure enough to reach this target. However, Fitch adds that it is “too early” for a final assessment and points out that some regions, like Catalonia, have made “considerable efforts”, though “more work” has to be done.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Why is Chronic Joblessness on the Rise?

The quip “don’t quit your day job” isn’t the insult it used to be. In this economy, it’s the key to staying afloat.

Not only is joblessness on the rise again, according to Friday’s jobs numbers, which showed May unemployment ticked up to 9.1%. But the longer you’re out of work, the harder it is to get back in. Roughly 45% of unemployed Americans have been jobless for more than six months, a higher percentage than during the Great Depression. And nearly one-third have been out of work for a year or more. Those scary prospects have driven a lot of employees to hunker down in existing jobs for longer than they normally would, which partly explains why unemployment is staying so high.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

USA


America and the Barbary Pirates: An International Battle Against an Unconventional Foe

Gerard W. Gawalt is the manuscript specialist for early American history in the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

Ruthless, unconventional foes are not new to the United States of America. More than two hundred years ago the newly established United States made its first attempt to fight an overseas battle to protect its private citizens by building an international coalition against an unconventional enemy. Then the enemies were pirates and piracy. The focus of the United States and a proposed international coalition was the Barbary Pirates of North Africa.

Pirate ships and crews from the North African states of Tripoli, Tunis, Morocco, and Algiers (the Barbary Coast) were the scourge of the Mediterranean. Capturing merchant ships and holding their crews for ransom provided the rulers of these nations with wealth and naval power. In fact, the Roman Catholic Religious Order of Mathurins had operated from France for centuries with the special mission of collecting and disbursing funds for the relief and ransom of prisoners of Mediterranean pirates.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Caroline Glick: Yale, Jews and Double Standards

Last week Yale University announced its decision to close down its institute for the study of anti-Semitism. The move has been widely criticized as politically motivated. For its part, the university claims that the move was the result of purely academic considerations.

While not clear-cut, an analysis of the story lends to the conclusion that politics were in all likelihood the decisive factor in the decision. And the implications of Yale’s move for the scholarly inquiry into anti-Semitism are deeply troubling…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]



Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy Vows to Hunt Down ‘Flash Mob’ Suspects

Acting Police Supt. Garry McCarthy vowed Monday to hunt down every last thug responsible for so-called “flash mob” incidents over the weekend and throw the book at them to get a handle on a problem that’s damaging the reputation of downtown Chicago as a safe place to live, work, play and shop.

Speaking as five teens made their first appearances in court in connection with a string of five robberies — four within a ten-minute span — in Streeterville Saturday, McCarthy said police had made “in excess of 20 arrests” connected to flash mobs over the weekend.

During a break at his City Council confirmation hearing, McCarthy pointed to the arrests as proof there are enough police officers downtown, that the department’s strategy is working and that shoppers, employees and residents have nothing to fear from the large groups of teens who use violence and sheer numbers to intimidate and confuse.

“Our reaction to it has been quick, it’s been swift and it’s been very effective,” McCarthy said. “I don’t believe that it’s going to be something that we need to worry about long-term. We have to knock this out. We have to knock it out quickly — and that’s what we’re doing.

“The strategy to prevent that from occurring again is not to be satisfied when you get 10 kids commit an infraction and arrest three of them. …We’re gonna find every one of ’em. And we’re gonna prosecute and arrest every single one of ‘em.”

Asked whether tourists and people wanting to enjoy the lakefront should be concerned, McCarthy said, “No” but urged citizens to use common sense. “We have to be aware,” he said. “That’s the nature of the world today. But nobody should be afraid of this.”

McCarthy again insisted that gang loitering, intimidation and flash mobs had nothing to do with his department’s unprecedented decision to close North Avenue Beach on Memorial Day, despite statements to the contrary from beachgoers and some police officers.

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has takes McCarthy at his word, but called for more officers downtown and along the lakefront.

Statistics show that robberies have increased by 10 percent so far this year in the downtown Near North police district, placing the district 12th out of 25 districts citywide.

Asked Monday whether he intends to assign more officers downtown, McCarthy said, “No…What we’re looking at is the cops we have, where they are and what they’re doing.”

Three adult teens charged in connection with the Saturday robberies were each ordered held Monday on bails of $200,000 or more. They were identified by prosecutors as:

  • Derodte Wright, 18, of the 3500 block of South State Street, a student at Perspectives Charter School, accused of attacking nursing student Ryan Dacumos and robbing him on the Lake Michigan bikepath near Chicago Ave. around 8.30 p.m. Described in court by his attorney as a good student with prospects of a college baseball scholarship, Wright was ordered held on bail of $200,000 by Cook County Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil.
  • Trovulus Pickett, 17, a Youth Connections Leadership Academy student who lives in the 8400 block of South Dorchester. Also charged with the robbery of Dacumos, Pickett allegedly teamed up with other youths to attack a 68-year-old Seattle physician Jack Singer in the 300 block of East Chicago Avenue minutes earlier, stealing his iPad and phone, and is also accused of robbing a Japanese doctor of his iPod in the 700 block of North Lake Shore Drive a few minutes later. Pickett’s bail was set at $300,000.
  • Dvonte Sykes, 17, of the 7500 block of South Normal, a student at Carver Vocational Career Academy, accused of robbing a Thai man who was taking photographs in the 700 block of North Lake Shore Drive and with taking part in a “mob action” in which northwest suburban insurance agent Krzysztof Wilkowski fought off robbers who tried to take his scooter in the 300 block of East Chicago. Sykes’ bail was set at $250,000.

Speaking later Monday, Sykes’ mother Tonia Rush said she believed the bails would have been lower if the crimes were on the South or West sides. “If it’s black-on-black crime, nobody cares,” she said.

Two 16-year-old also charged in connection with the attack on Sykes were also ordered held in custody Monday after appearing before juvenile court Judge Lori Wolfson.

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo [Return to headlines]



Forecast for U.S. Cities: Confrontation, Chaos?

Unions, radicals plot to counter ‘right-wing threats’ to ‘Middle Class’

The founders of a radical group that teaches tactics of direct action, confrontation and intimidation were among the main speakers at a union convention at which one leader called for opposing “right-wing threats to dismantle the Middle Class.”

Heather Booth, director of a Saul Alinsky-style community organizing group, the Midwest Academy, was among the main speakers at the “2011 State Battles Summit,” held this week at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Booth’s husband, Paul, also was a speaker at the union summit. Paul Booth is a co-founder of Midwest Academy.

[…]

Obama himself once funded Midwest Academy. He has been closely tied to Heather Booth.

Booth has stated building a “progressive majority” would help for “a fair distribution of wealth and power and opportunity.”

She founded Midwest in the 1970s with her husband, Paul, a founder and the former national secretary of Students for a Democratic Society, the radical 1960s anti-war movement from which William Ayers’ domestic Weather Underground terrorist organization splintered.

The Woods Fund, a nonprofit on which Obama served as paid director from 1999 to December 2002, provided capital to the Midwest Academy. WND was first to report Obama sat on the Woods Fund board alongside Ayers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Frank Gaffney: Will the GOP Pull a ‘Pelosi’ On Patent Rights?

Remember how you felt when Nancy Pelosi told us that we would know what was in the Obamacare bill after it had been passed by the House of Representatives? For a lot of Americans — in and out of the Tea Party movement — that quintessential expression of political elitist arrogance and contempt for the public was the last straw. It powered a revolution that cost Pelosi and her party control of the House of Representatives.

Unfortunately, there was always a risk that, in entrusting the “people’s house” to the Republicans under John Boehner, there would soon be more of the same. Sweetheart deals with special interests and highly paid lobbyists engineered behind the voters’ backs. Infringement of our constitutional rights. Bills whose sweeping implications for our economy, our society, our way of life, even our national security would only become clear after they were passed.

To be sure, Speaker Boehner and other Republican leaders have been at pains to allay such concerns. To varying degrees, they have tried to establish an openness and transparency with respect to the legislative process sorely lacking under the imperious Pelosi regime. They have made much of their commitment to heeding the Tea Party’s demands for change, particularly with respect to fiscal discipline and accountability…

           — Hat tip: CSP [Return to headlines]



Gingrich’s Future in Question After Aides Quit En Masse

Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign imploded on Thursday as his top advisers banded together and resigned, setting off a further exodus of aides and supporters and battering his hopes of a political comeback.

Mr. Gingrich vowed to carry on, saying that he was “committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring.”

But the departure of nearly two dozen aides, including his entire Iowa operation, left him, for now at least, crippled in his ability to do much more than appear at debates or other public forums at a time when his main rivals were busy raising money and building organizations in crucial states. And it injected fresh uncertainty into the Republican nominating contest amid continued talk that further candidates might jump in.

Mr. Gingrich’s senior strategists confronted him on Thursday after he returned from a two-week vacation with his wife, Callista, which included a cruise through the Greek isles. Mr. Gingrich defended his holiday as a chance to “get away and think,” but aides chastised him, they said, for lacking the discipline to run a focused presidential campaign that could overcome rising doubts about his candidacy.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Napolitano: “No Logic” In Profiling Muslim Men Under Age 35

Of course there isn’t. After all, it’s only a coincidence that Khalid Aldawsari, the would-be jihad mass murderer in Lubbock, Texas; Muhammad Hussain, the would-be jihad bomber in Baltimore; Mohamed Mohamud, the would-be jihad bomber in Portland; Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square jihad mass-murderer; Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the Arkansas military recruiting station jihad murderer; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be Christmas airplane jihad bomber; and so many other jihad murderers and would-be murderers were all Muslim men under age 35. Remember: Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood jihad mass-murderer, is 40! So Napolitano is right!

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Palin Attacks Obama Over Betraying America to the Russians

As Governor I fought the Obama Administration’s plans to cut funds for missile defense in Alaska. So imagine how appalled and surprised I was to read this article by former Clinton CIA Director James Woolsey, appropriately titled “Giving Away the Farm,” concerning President Obama’s latest bizarre actions relating to missile defense. President Obama wants to give Russia our missile defense secrets because he believes that we can buy their friendship and cooperation with this taxpayer-funded gift. But giving military secrets and technologies to a rival or competitor like Russia is just plain dumb. You can’t buy off Russia. And giving them advanced military technology will not create stability. What happens if Russia gives this technology (or sells it!) to other countries like Iran or China? After all, as Woolsey points out, Russia helped Iran with its missile and nuclear programs. Or what happens if an even more hardline leader comes to power in the Kremlin?

We tried buying off the Kremlin with technologies in the 1970s. That policy was a component of “detente,” and the hope was that if we would share our technologies with them, they would become more peaceful. Things, of course, didn’t work out that way. The Kremlin took western technologies and embarked on a massive military building program. History teaches that peace comes from American military strength. And a central component of that has always been technological superiority. Why would President Obama even dream of giving this away?

Members of Congress saw how foolish President Obama’s gambit was, so they put a section in the defense appropriation bill that specifically forbids the federal government from spending money to share these technologies with the Kremlin. President Obama actually threatened to veto the defense appropriation bill over this section of the law! Fortunately, the House passed the bill with a veto-proof majority, a whopping 322 to 96. Attention now turns to the Senate.

Why is it that President Obama seems to work so hard to give things to our enemies, while at the same time asking friends and allies like Israel to make sacrifices?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Panetta Hearing for Secdef on Thursday: Obama’s CIA Director Linked to Spies Through Communist Party Figure

“Panetta’s bias in favor of revolutionary Marxist movements in Latin America helps explain why the CIA has been spectacularly unsuccessful in stopping the advance of Hugo Chavez and his minions south of the U.S. border,” Trevor Loudon and Cliff Kincaid said in a joint statement. “His only apparent success as CIA director has been the killing of Osama bin Laden, an impressive operation that has nevertheless backfired in the sense of sending a nuclear-armed Pakistan into the arms of Communist China.”

“It is astounding that Panetta was confirmed as Obama’s CIA director without any of this being considered by the U.S. Senate,” Loudon and Kincaid went on. “But now that Panetta is set to move on to another critical national security post — Secretary of Defense — with new Senate hearings being held on Thursday, it is time to get all of this information out in the open. One of the most important matters that deserves scrutiny is Panetta’s apparent failure to be forthcoming about his personal relationship with DeLacy. It is time for the Senate to investigate this previously undisclosed relationship.”

“When this information is examined in context,” Loudon and Kincaid stated, “it is clear that Panetta, whose nomination to be CIA director was considered mystifying even to those in the intelligence business, has been a key component of a network of left-wing activists and socialist organizations for over two decades. These individuals and groups include not only Hugh DeLacy and his communist associates but the communist-dominated Progressive Party, Democratic Socialists of America and the neo-Marxist New American Movement. Panetta, in short, was a player in the network that sponsored the political career of a young Barack Obama in Chicago. This helps explain why Panetta was picked, seemingly out of nowhere, for the CIA job.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Positively Negative

In this long overlooked quote from a radio interview a Pre-President Obama laments the negative liberties he sees as a flaw in the Constitution and waxes eloquent in defense of the redistribution of wealth and the positive power of an intrusive welfare state.

“If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.”

Unfortunately for this radical interpretation, liberty is a negative. Personal liberty is always and only possible when and where external control stops. We have the liberty to think as we wish because no one can control or even know our true inner thoughts. We do not have the liberty to steal; society has placed limits on that action which are enforced by external control. The Framers of our Constitution knew this, which explains why our foundational document includes restrictions on the power of government not restrictions on individuals. Unless governmental control over the individual was limited, there would be no liberty.

[…]

Our leaders have embraced instead the idea of “Positive Liberty” which is an oxymoron. By this they mean that the state should actively intervene in the lives of people to provide them with all that is necessary for lives lived as the leaders think they should be. What they are really New Speaking of is Socialism disguised as democracy. However, the increase of governmental power over people does not equate to liberty it equates to serfdom and only the progressive newspeak of a post-modern America could call this decrease of freedom an increase of liberty or democracy.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Video: Senate Candidate Says ‘Constitutional Crisis’ Obama’s Fault

‘I call him the lawless president because he doesn’t seem to have respect for the law’

A candidate for U.S. Senate from Virginia says he calls Barack Obama the “lawless president” because “he doesn’t seem to have any respect for the law.”

The attack comes from E.W. Jackson, who is seeking the GOP nomination to replace the outgoing Democratic Sen. James Webb.

“We’re in a constitutional crisis,” Jackson declares in a new YouTube video.

“I’ve been following presidents for a long time. I have never seen a president use regulatory and executive power to end-run the Constitution, to end-run the legislature, even to end run the judiciary,” he said.

“He can’t get cap-and-trade passed so what does he do? He relies on EPA to pass these inhibitive, prohibitive regulations that will in effect implement cap-and-trade without any legislative action,” Jackson said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU


Belgium: Red Faces Over MK’s Visit to Far-Right Party

The visit last week of Israeli Deputy Minister for the Negev Ayoob Kara to a far-right Belgian party which has a convicted Holocaust-denier on its board has caused anger within Belgium’s Jewish community.

Filip Dewinter, leader of right-wing party Vlaams Belang, hosted Mr Kara in the Flemish Parliament and took him to visit Antwerp North, which is heavily populated by Muslims.

At a joint press conference, Mr Dewinter said that the West needed to be warned about Islamisation.

Local Jewish groups are up in arms as the visit is perceived as an embarrassment to the community and Israel.

‘This is very damaging to the Jewish community’

“This visit is very damaging for us,” says Michael Freilich, editor-in-chief of the local Jewish magazine Joods Actueel.

“Israel and the Jewish community are not at war with Islam, we are at war with extremists, and that’s a quite a different thing. Singling out a religion, as the Vlaams Belang does, inevitably brings back dark memories of a not-too-distant past when it was Jews who were persecuted because of their religion. Is this the message we want to send to Europe? That Israel follows the racist ideology of Europe’s most notorious bigots?”

Vlaams Belang last month proposed a parliamentary bill offering clemency for Second World War collaborators.

The Israeli Embassy distanced itself from the event and insisted this was a private visit by Mr Kara. An Embassy spokesperson told the Joods Actueel: “We have learned about the visit through the press, we were not aware of it before.”

Israel’s spokesman for the Prime Minister Mark Regev said: “Deputy Kara is in Belgium in a personal capacity and his visit does not reflect government policy.”

Voices in the Belgian community are now urging the Simon Wiesenthal Centre to ask for the resignation of Mr Kara.

Only a few weeks ago the Wiesenthal Centre called for the removal of Belgian Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck after he said in a TV debate that it might be time to “forget the Holocaust”. Mr De Clerck later said he did not mean “forget” but “reconcile”.

           — Hat tip: TV [Return to headlines]



French Couple in UK Exile Over Niqab Ban

The couple say they cannot return home because of the ban on the face-veilLONDON — A French Muslim couple living in Britain are to challenge France’s ban on full-face covering at the European Court of Human Rights, saying the ban has driven them out of their homeland.

“The case clearly is of importance to my clients,” lawyer Robina Shah, of the Immigration Advisory Service in Birmingham, told Agnce-France Presse (AFP) on Thursday, June 9.

“As a result of the ban they have had to leave their country of nationality, as the ban restricts their freedom of choice, and that of their daughters.”

The couple, who have chosen to remain anonymous, lodged an application at the Strasbourg court to challenge the French government over the ban on wearing face-veil or niqab.

Shah said her clients, who live in the West Midland with their two children, don’t want to reveal their identity because of the “considerable hostility” in Britain and France to Muslim women wearing the full veil in public.

The couple say the ban restricts their right to free movement across the EU, according to documents sent to the court.

The wife is seeking £10,000 (11,200 euros, $16,400) in damages for the alleged human rights breach posed by the ban, which the couple say is “unnecessary, disproportionate and unlawful.”

France became the first European country to ban face-veil — burqa or niqab — after a law banning the Muslim outfit took into force in April.

Offenders would be fined 150 euros ($189) or required to take part in a citizenship class.

People who force women to wear a face-veil risk up to a year in prison and a fine of $41,000, the law states.

It is not the first time that France sets a controversial law against a Muslim outfit.

In 2004, France banned hijab in schools and public places, with many European countries following suit.

France is home to some 5-6 million Muslims, the biggest Muslim minority in Europe.

While hijab is an obligatory code of dress for Muslim women, the majority of Muslim scholars agree that a woman is not obliged to wear the face veil, or niqab, but believe that it is up to women to decide whether to cover her face.

Home

Dreaming of returning home, the couple opted for taking their government to court.

The documents sent to Strasbourg say the couple want to “reside and work in France” but the ban means “they have considerable reservations about living there on a permanent basis.”

The principal applicant is the husband who “expects and instructs” his wife to wear the veil. Yet, he could face prosecution under French law because he will just admit that.

Yet, the wife, the second applicant in the case, is not forced by her husband to wear the niqab, but she “respects and follows” her husband’s instructions of her own free will, the Strasbourg court is being told.

She says she personally likes to cover up “on a regular basis in keeping with her faith”.

The court is being told that the wife wears the niqab also because “she feels at inner peace with herself and her surroundings and is cocooned from the outer world”.

Her lawyers argue Muslim women in France are “not able to exercise their rights free from coercion, harassment and discrimination.”

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]



Germany Slams Danish Border Control Plan

As Denmark prepares for a final vote on re-introducing border controls on Friday, a diplomatic war of words has heated up between the German and Danish officials.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Germany’s Superbug is Weaponized With Bubonic Plague DNA

Food Freedom has deliberately refrained from posting any suggestion that Germany’s superbug is related to biowarfare, until further evidence emerged. Various sources now corroborate this story, including The Atlantic:

“On Tuesday [May 31], the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that [leading German E. coli researcher Helge] Karch had discovered that the O104:H4 bacteria responsible for the current outbreak is a so-called chimera that contains genetic materia from various E. coli bacteria. It also contains DNA sequences from plague bacteria, which makes it particularly pathogenic.”

Though he emphasized “There is no risk, however, that it could cause a form of plague,” Karch added that plague DNA sequences make the superbug “particularly pathogenic.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Higher Prices, Higher Emissions: The Downside of Germany’s Nuclear Phaseout

Most Germans support Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to phaseout nuclear energy in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. But not all the consequences will be welcome. A new study shows that the country’s emissions reduction targets may not be met — and electricity bills may rise as well.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Italy: 142 ‘Ndrangheta Arrests in Calabria and the North

(AGI) Turin — 142 arrest warrants were enforced by Carabinieri during the “Minotaur” operation against the ‘ndrangheta. Some 150 warrants were issued and the arrests were made in the provinces of Turin, Milan, Modena and Reggio Calabria. The assets seized so far amount to EUR 70 million.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Netherlands: More Cannabis Addicts Seek Help

The number of cannabis addicts seeking help has risen sharply in the past 10 years, to nearly 11,000 last year from just 3,500 in 2001, the Health Information Foundation (SIZ) reports. Based on the figures from all addiction institutions in the Netherlands, SIZ says cannabis addicts represented 14 percent of all persons seeking help last year for an addiction. Among young people aged below 25 seeking help for an addiction, the majority were addicted to cannabis — twice the proportion in 2001. Last year, a total of 76,000 people applied for addiction aid. Of these, 47 percent had problems with alcohol and 45 percent with a drug addiction. Four percent applied for aid due to an addiction to gambling.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Sham Policy to Address Islamism Exposed by the English Defence League

Tommy Robinson, Leader of the English Defence League (EDL), has exposed David Cameron’s apparent ‘get tough’ policy towards Islamism as a complete sham. People can now see the real approach of the Conservative led regime with regard to defending the British people against the Islamist threat.

We have heard much talk recently about how the Conservatives will be getting tough on Islamic extremism in Britain. Many people in Britain were heartened by David Cameron’s recent tough and realistic rhetoric on the subject, but an article recently posted on the Daily Mail website indicates a marked shift in Government and Conservative Party policy on this matter. Far from being serious about dealing with the problem of Islamism in Britain, the Conservative Party seems to be adopting the failed and hugely damaging policy of the previous Labour Government. Can the Conservative Party ever be trusted to deal with Islamism and the serious threat that it poses to our national security and democratic way of life? Perhaps their ‘hard line’ has been vetoed by the Lib Dems?

The political climb-down on dealing with Islamism rigorously and realistically has been exposed as nothing more than sham political window dressing. The policy reversal came shortly after EDL leader, Tommy Robinson, put the Home Secretary Theresa May on the spot and asked her some very direct and pertinent questions on the subject. It seems that Channel 4 television cameras recorded Mr Robinson entering and leaving the meeting which meant that the Home Secretary could not deny the exchange of views with the EDL leader. Fearing a propaganda coup by the EDL the Conservative Party has appeared to have fallen back into its usual ‘tree-hugger’ mode.

At least the initiative of Mr Robinson has exposed David Cameron’s rhetoric for what it is — words and not deeds. It would appear that he has no intention what-so-ever of dealing with the Islamist threat to our democracy. It seems likely, therefore, that the well established and disastrous policy of appeasement will continue into the future.

Was the Government’s previous rhetoric merely a response to the growing support enjoyed by the English Defence League amongst ordinary Britons and an attempt to appear to be listening to their concerns? The Conservative Party perhaps thought that it could reduce the appeal of the EDL by duping people into believing that the political mainstream could get Islamism under control. In the end it is apparent that only grass roots groups like the EDL have a realistic grasp of the situation and that any belief that the political mainstream can address the issue has now evaporated. The message is clear, the Conservative Party is incapable of formulating policies to keep Britain secure from the threat posed by Islamism and has now lost all credibility on the issue. Whenever it talks tough on Islamism it is just talk, and always will be.

David Cameron once said ‘the EDL are terrible people’ but did not elaborate and say why he chose to demonise the whole cross section of the British public that make up EDL ranks. The EDL is an inclusive, multiracial, and multi-faith organisation that incorporates the wide diversity of people that make up modern Britain. The slurs and slanders put forward by its opponents on the revolutionary left and in the political establishment will undoubtedly continue despite them not reflecting reality. Nevertheless, the EDL will continue to be open to different ethnicities, to homosexuals as well as heterosexuals, and to men and women from all sections of society. It will continue to have an LGBT Division, a Jewish Division, an ‘Angels’ Division (for women) and a whole host of other ‘Divisions’ designed to educate people about the importance of racial tolerance, of opposing homophobia, and of championing the rights of women. It will continue to support the British armed forces, especially as the British government continues to undermine and demoralise those forces that put their lives on the line for the benefit of us all.

Tommy Robinson tried in all good faith to enter into dialogue with the Home Secretary, but had his efforts thrown back in his face. He obviously failed to get through to her, but then she and her party have obviously already made up their mind. If you are concerned about the rise of Islamism in Britain, the answer lies not in voting Conservative but in joining the English Defence League. The answer lies in showing your opposition to Islamism personally at the many demonstrations that the EDL is now organising in towns and cities across the country. You have a voice, it is time to make it heard!

No Surrender!

           — Hat tip: ICLA [Return to headlines]



Switzerland: Genital Mutilation to be Outlawed

The government is facing calls by parliament to outlaw the genital mutilation of women and girls.

The Senate unanimously agreed to ask the government to prepare an amendment to the criminal law. The House of Representatives approved a similar proposal last December.

Those found guilty of carrying out or encouraging female circumcision will face up to ten years in prison or will have to pay substantial fines regardless of whether the criminal act was committed in Switzerland or abroad.

Piercings and tattoos will not be considered punishable offences.

During Tuesday’s debate Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said it was crucial to step up prevention and raise awareness of the mutilation issue.

There are an estimated 6,700 women and girls in Switzerland who are victims of genital mutilation according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef.

In 2008 a Zurich court found a couple from Somalia guilty of causing bodily injury to their daughter in the first case of genital mutilation to come before judges in Switzerland.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



UK: Beer, Ham and Muslim Shoes

The UK Home Secretary has warned about complacency in the face of Islamic extremism. But there are no worries about complacency when it comes to things that irritate Muslims. As a drunken fellow from Bristol found out when decided it would be funny to stuff pieces of ham into the shoes of mosquegoers. Twenty years ago this might have made for an amusing limerick. Today it’s a possible two year jail term.

“It is difficult to imagine a more offensive incident”, said Her Honour Judge Carol Hagen. Her Honour clearly lacks imagination. But even if she can’t imagine a pig with a burning koran in its mouth being catapulted in the direction of Mecca, there is the teacher who was savagely beaten by Muslim thugs for the crime of teaching Muslim girls. Smashing in a man’s face seems worse than some ham in a shoe.

[…]

Objectively speaking the actual damage performed by a little bit of pig was negligible. And it hard to say that a slice of ham is particularly threatening, except to a pig. But Western countries have learned to harshly punish those who offend Muslims, not because of the crime itself, but its potential to set off a murderous response by the Muslims themselves. For all that the politicians pretend that they’re cracking down on those who make the poor Muslim dears feel unwelcome in Albion, Columbia or Marianne, in the name of human rights, it’s the explosive reaction that they’re worried about.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Brave Petrol Station Cashier Locks Himself in With Violent Gang — But Has to Let Them Go Because Police Are Too Busy

A brave cashier managed to capture a violent mob who were smashing up a petrol station — but was forced to let them go when police failed to respond to a 999 call.

Petrol station worker Malik Mahmood, 29, locked himself in the shop with the five-strong gang and made an emergency call to police when they started wrecking the store.

The gang, wearing hoods, threw stock from the shelves and tried to smash their way out with a brick when they realised they were trapped, causing hundreds of pounds of damage.

Although terrified, Mr Mahmood stayed in the Birmingham city centre store with the gang for more than half an hour — until more yobs showed up and tried to break down the door so he was forced to let them go.

After 30 minutes, police phoned back to see if the gang was still there — after explaining they were too busy to attend.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Four Teenage Boys Held Over Murder of Chef Stabbed to Death as He Celebrated His 30th Birthday

Four teenage boys have been arrested over the murder of a chef who was out celebrating his 30th birthday and was mugged for just £12.

Krzysztos Rusek was robbed and stabbed to death while his girlfriend and friends looked on helpless, detectives believe.

Police today confirmed that they are speaking to three 17-year-olds and another boy, 16, in connection with the killing after they were taken into custody in West London.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Rowan Williams [Archibishop of Canterbury] Is a Profoundly Divisive Leftie

Even if Dr Rowan Williams’ remarks had been uncontroversial, his decision to be guest editor of the Leftist New Statesman would still be hard to understand.

I would say the same if had he been asked to edit a Right-wing magazine. The primate of the Church of England, and the leader of the 70million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion, should not enter the hurly-burly of political journalism.

In the event he has gone much further in his two-page editorial in the New Statesman.

By seemingly questioning the legitimacy of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition, and by criticising its policies, he has created a storm that may harm his office and the Church of England, and will dismay many churchgoers and others.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Shameful Silence: Why We Need Action to End the Tragedy Over Disabled Babies Born to Muslims Who Marry Their Cousins

The Mail exposed the conspiracy of silence over disabled babies born to Muslims who marry their cousins. Here, YASMIN ALIBHAI-BROWN — six of whose cousins died from genetic disorders — says we now need action to end this growing tragedy

My mother had an older sister who was gentle, affectionate and generous. She was married to a first cousin — not a good husband or father — and they had eight children, most of whom inherited serious genetic disorders.

I loved them all dearly, and endured agonies as I watched one after the other die as adults after suffering for years with illness.

Now, only two male cousins are left. One, who lives in Vancouver, has had a kidney transplant, and the other one seems, thus far, completely healthy.

The last death was only last year, here in London. A few of their children — my aunt’s grandchildren — are also afflicted. It is like watching a horror movie, except it is real and being played out in slow motion over decades.

I dread the next shattering blow, the next funeral, and that terrible realisation that it might not be the last.

Living with that emotional pain is one of the reasons why I’m adamantly against marriages between close blood relatives, which are still prevalent in the Muslim community in Britain.

The crusade against this tradition is as important to me as the fight against racism or the rights of women and children.

And before anyone accuses me of stigmatising any particular community, let me say that my father’s family was Pakistani Muslim. I utterly reject the idea that ‘community sensitivities’ among Muslims matter more than disabilities in children which could be prevented.

The issue of these marriages was highlighted by the Mail last week after the estimable Professor Steve Jones raised his concern about this ‘inbreeding’, as he rather coarsely called it.

Speaking to an audience at the Hay Festival, he pointed out that the problem blights European Royal Families, too.

I would add that strict Eastern European Jewish families once married blood relations, though that changed with better education and effective messages about the dangers of these marriages.

Thus, today in Britain, this custom is found almost wholly within tightly knit Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, particularly in Bradford, Kirklees, Huddersfield, parts of Leeds and some places in the South, too.

Here are the facts: while these families make up only three per cent of births in Britain, they account for one in three children born with genetic illnesses.

O ne study of 10,000 children, called Born In Bradford, has revealed that a disturbing proportion of those of Pakistani heritage have serious genetic illnesses. They are 13 times more likely than the general population to be born with birth defects. The majority of them marry first cousins, as their parents did, and that doubles the risk.

Doctors and researchers who encounter these families are sympathetic and fair. They are admirably careful with their words, conscious that Muslims are too often demonised.

But truth will out.

One consultant paediatrician at Bradford Royal Infirmary describes a family with six children who have the same genetic condition and will not live beyond their teens. Imagine how that feels for their parents.

It is important to remember that a small percentage of non-Pakistani British children are born with genetic abnormalities, and also that first cousins can marry and have perfectly healthy children.

That doesn’t make it any less appalling for those who do have children who are ill, and could have avoided that dreadful situation by not marrying.

The great sadness for me is that ten years ago I thought this issue was gradually becoming less of a problem. Cousin marriages had long been popular because they maintained familial ties and kept resources and wealth within blood lines.

But the entrenched system was weakening, as information and education about the medical legacy of these marriages began to get through to the Muslim community. Then, I hoped that in a generation this self-destructive cultural behaviour would pass. Not so, it seems.

My social antennae tell me ‘cousin marriages’ are on the up, and I believe the reason is that these communities are reacting to modern British society.

These are families who hate the permissiveness of our culture, and so turn to the most conservative Islamic teachers. That is leading to a fortress mentality and elders in the community imposing tougher controls on the younger generation — particularly about who they can marry. So it is that we get more forced marriages, and less integration.

I was writing about this 30 years ago and never thought the problem would go on and even get worse. As a young journalist, I travelled with health visitors and midwives to small, tidy homes in Bradford where we found children with pitiful physical conditions or severe mental difficulties.

I speak Hindi and understand Urdu, and would talk to the mothers, who were terribly sad about their babies. As were the fathers — who were the mothers’ cousins.

No couple wilfully creates disabled or mentally ill children. To have a child is an act of hope and optimism. But instead of understanding why it had happened, they believed it was God’s will, or that they were being punished for some sin.

Education levels were low in these homes. I explained it was a medical issue, that such births were avoidable.

At least three mothers I had met had attempted suicide, and, tragically, one later succeeded. Some of the husbands took second wives — also cousins — and in two cases I can recall, their children were also affected.

In the Eighties, the problem started to be taken seriously by medical and nursing staff, researchers, community workers and even local politicians and imams.

Now, highly qualified Muslim doctors and scientists have made a vital contribution to research and genetic counselling. Experts understand that in order to have effective medical interventions, professionals must understand the beliefs, traditions and anxieties of this community and be able to communicate with families without them feeling threatened.

Such experts are also keenly aware of the danger that racists will use information about the legacy of these cousin marriages for malevolent purposes.

That said, I feel this serious health issue has been too long hidden in the unlit corridors of our society. It needs to be out in the open. These births impact on the Health Service, the families involved and most of all the children — who never asked to be born with such disadvantages.

The sad truth is that young British-born Muslims know about genetics, but feel powerless to stop these cousin marriages going ahead.

E ncouragingly, on the internet, Muslims are getting bolder in speaking out. A woman called Shehnaz writes: ‘I am married to my first cousin. My parents and my husband’s family are also first cousins married. I knew about genetics, but my family forced me to marry. Now, I have a daughter with so many illnesses.’

Several of the bloggers who write on the subject are impatient with this custom. While Muslim ‘advice’ sites still insist that Islam allows these marriages, they do now advise against them.

But it isn’t enough, not fast enough. You can’t ban people from getting together or having children — that is fascism. But forced marriages, imposed by elders in a family, or by brothers, or even mosque leaders, break the law and all perpetrators must be prosecuted.

Cousin-couples should go for genetic counselling, where they can be taught about the dangers, and even tested to see if there is a risk to them having children together.

We need high-profile campaigns and less nervousness about confronting the subject publicly.

When the Birmingham Health Care Trust tried to do this several years ago, with a campaign targeted at the Muslim community, it was slated by some for being Islamophobic.

So what? This is no different from the anti-obesity drives targeting low-income white families. Where children are at risk, health education must carry on because behind the arguments about this issue there are countless human stories of misery and grief, just like the one in my own family.

In 2003, a girl called Amina was brought here from Mirpur in Pakistan. She was forced to marry her cousin six years ago when she was only 16. When they had a son who was severely disabled, her in-laws said she was a witch and threw her and her baby out.

Within days, Amina, whose parents are also cousins, had a serious psychotic incident and was sectioned, and her baby was taken into care.

When I was taken to see her by a Muslim doctor from Leeds, her hair had turned completely white and she didn’t talk at all. There are many more like her.

When I think of Amina, I ask myself: how can we keep silent about this?

For the sake of the children — and their despairing parents — it is time to act.

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]



UK: Theresa May Ambushed at Constituency Meeting by Head of English Defence League

Theresa May was last night dramatically ambushed at a constituency meeting by the head of the far-right English Defence League.

The Home Secretary fears the group — whose marches she has banned in the past — will now seek to exploit the face-to-face confrontation for a propaganda coup.

The self-proclaimed head of the EDL, who normally gives his name as ‘Tommy Robinson’, managed to by-pass security checks by posing as the companion of one of Mrs May’s constituents.

He then began haranguing the Home Secretary about why the EDL — whose demonstrations have been marred by violence — was treated differently to other groups.

Mrs May says she walked away from the exchange in Maidenhead Town Hall — which comes ahead of a planned local march in the town by the EDL today.

Normally, the leader of a known extremist organisation would have no chance of getting near to the Home Secretary.

She told the Mail: ‘My concern now is that he will try to make something of it, which he should not do. He did not have a meeting with me — I was completely door stepped. I did not even recognise him.

‘This is a group whose purpose is to divide and to encourage hatred in our society and I condemn them for that.’

One concern is the group may claim to have formally met Mrs May, in a bid to gain some political legitimacy.

Normally, the Home Secretary’s meetings would be closely vetted — reflecting the fact she is not only a Cabinet minister, but in charge of national security.

But MPs, under long-standing convention, agree to sit down with any constituents who have concerns in open meetings, normally held in public buildings.

Mrs May had an appointment with a man who was complaining about his treatment by the police. Constituents will often be joined by a family member or friend.

When the man sat down, his colleague said to Mrs May: Do you know who I am? I’m the head of the English Defence League’.

He then began complaining about how the EDL had been treated, saying it was different to Muslim groups, and demanding an appointment of his own. She refused.

Mrs May recently accepted Leicester City Council’s application to ban a planned EDL march in the city. The EDL responded by holding a static demonstration numbering 1,000.

The Unite Against Fascism (UAF) group staged a counter-protest numbering 700. One police officer was taken to hospital with a leg injury and two protesters were treated by paramedics for minor injuries.

The English Defence League (EDL) formed in the wake of a demo by a small group of Muslims at a Luton homecoming parade in March 2009.

Since then they have protested all over the UK against ‘radical Islam’. In recent months, there have been suggestions the group could become a political party.

Opponents accuse the group of seeking to spread a message of hatred. There have been claims the group is made up of a number of football hooligans.

Leader Tommy Robinson — whose name is an alias — claimed: ‘The British people want to have their voices heard. A resistance to Islamification was always going to happen.’

A number of anti-fascist groups have attempted to unmask his real identity. The EDL has denied a string of names.

MPs surgeries have in the past been the scene of heated clashes and even violence.

Last year, Roshonara Choudhary stabbed Labour minister Stephen Timms seriously wounded the Labour MP Stephen Timms.

Inspired by terrorist websites, she lunged at him and stabbed him twice before being restrained by a security guard and arrested.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Balkans


Serbia: Seselj Accuses UN Court of Being “Criminal Instrument”

The Hague, 9 June (AKI) — Serbian ultranationalist leader Vojislav Seselj, indicted for war crimes against Muslims and Croats, has accused the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia of being a “criminal instrument” of the United States, Nato and the European Union.

Ending three-days of hearings in his trial for contempt of court, Seselj said Wednesday evening the Hague tribunal was “anti-Serb”, adding that Serbs stand no chance to be acquitted by that court.

Seselj, the leader of ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) has been accused of crimes allegedly committed by volunteers recruited by his party during 1991-1995 war that followed the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

He voluntarily surrendered to the tribunal in February 2003 and has denied the charges. While the main trial was drawing to a close, Seselj was indicted for contempt of court and for revealing the names of eleven protected witnesses.

But six witnesses questioned during the past three days testified that they had authorized Seselj to reveal their names in a book published while in jail. They said they were pressured by the prosecutors to testify against Seselj and offered money, apartments and women in return.

Prosecutor Bruce McFarlane has asked for a three-year sentence for contempt of court, while Seselj demanded an acquittal. Ultimately, Seselj said he was not interested in the verdict, because his goal was to “destroy the tribunal”.

Seselj was sentenced to 15 months in priosn for contempt of court last year, and charges were pressed against him for the same offence again last month for the third time.

Seselj, who is defending himself, said the court had no case against him in the main trial and was resorting to contempt of court charges to keep him in jail as long as possible.

Since it was founded by the UN Security Council in 1993, the tribunal has indicted 161 individuals for war crimes.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

North Africa


‘Horribly Humiliating’: Egyptian Woman Tells of ‘Virginity Tests’

The Egyptian military was celebrated for helping to facilitate a peaceful revolution there three months ago. But now accusations have surfaced that they subjected young women to degrading “virginity tests” in what appears to have been an attempt to control the population. One woman told SPIEGEL her story.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Italy: New Gas-Supply Interruptions Would be ‘Risk to Security’

Rome, 8 June (AKI) — Italy’s energy security would be put gravely at risk should new natural gas supply interruptions occur following energy giant Eni’s decision to halt production in war-torn Libya, company chief executive officer Paolo Scaroni said Wednesday in Rome.

“From Libya we get 10 billion cubic meters of gas, equal to 13 percent to 14 percent of Italian consumption. We can deal with this supply shortfall but not another one,” he said during a presentation in the Italian capital.

Rome-based Eni, the biggest foreign oil company operating in Libya, has stopped pumping oil and gas in the country with Africa’s biggest oil and gas reserves as rebels and Libyan military forces face off in fighting that began in February.

From Libya, Eni transports gas supplies via its Greenstream pipeline. Italy receives further gas supplies through pipelines from Russia and Algeria.

Qatari gas is transported aboard special ships in a liquified state and turned back to gas in Italy.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Kuwait to Give Libyan Rebels $180 Million

(AGI) Abu Dhabi — Kuwait has decided to give $180 million to the rebels of the Transitional National Council in Benghazi.

The announcement came from Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Salem al-Sabah at a meeting of the Libyan Contact Group in Abu Dhabi.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Libya: NATO Air Raids Resume After Defiant ‘Gaddafi Audio Message’

Tripoli, 7 June (AKI) — NATO jets pounded the Libyan capital Tripoli on Tuesday, after state television aired brief audio tape remarks it said were by Muammar Gaddafi, taunting the alliance as a “cowardly crusader” whose bombs could not kill him.

In Gaddafi’s purported audio message he said he would remain in Italy “dead or alive” and that Libyans “are stronger than your missiles or artillery.”

“I tell the cowardly crusader (NATO) that I live in a place they cannot reach and where you cannot kill me,” said the male voice on the audio tape, which sounded like Gaddafi’s.

The remarks came after Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said Gaddafi had probably left Tripoli and been injured in NATO air strikes, claims that were dismissed by Libyan officials.

NATO carried out rare daytime strikes on Tripoli on Tuesday, including a wave of 20-25 attacks on military barracks near Gaddafi’s residence, on what is believed to be his 69th birthday.

Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim condemned the raids.

“Instead of talking to us, they are bombing us. They are going mad. They are losing their heads,” Ibrahim said.

NATO bombings have continued over the past two days and the alliance confirmed it has now flown more than 10,000 sorties since operations began in late March, including almost 4,000 strike attacks against government targets across Libya.

Rebels have mounted an almost four-month-long rebellion against Gaddafi’s iron-fisted rule and control Benghazi and the oil-producing east of Libya.

Thousands of people have been killed in the fighting, which has resulted in a military statement between rebels and forces loyal to Gaddafi with neither side managing to gain control of the entire country.

Pressure is mounting on Gaddafi to step down.

The head of the African Union Panel for Libya, Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, said his departure had become necessary to end the conflict.

Russia and China have now despatched top diplomats to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in an attempt to mediate an end to the conflict.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Middle East


‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ May Not be Real

BEIRUT — Questions emerged Wednesday about the existence and identity of a Syrian American blogger whose eloquent postings on life in Damascus and her purported detention Monday by Syrian security forces had catapulted her to global fame.

The Washington Post was among the news organizations in the United States and around the world that reported on the writings of Amina Arraf and her alleged detention, which was publicized in a posting on her blog, A Gay Girl in Damascus, by a woman who claimed to be her cousin.

But although many Syrian activists said they had corresponded with Arraf online, none acknowledged actually meeting her. A friend in Montreal, Sandra Bagaria, who started a campaign for Arraf’s release and said she knew her well, said she had corresponded with Arraf only by e-mail. Photographs of Arraf released by the friend and on her Web site are of a woman in London, Jelena Lecic, who said her identity had been stolen, according to a statement from the woman’s publicist.

The cousin, Rania Ismail, whose Facebook page identifies her as a “fulltime mommy” in Lilburn, Ga., did not respond to e-mails, although she had previously corresponded with journalists. Spokesman Mark Toner said the State Department was “seeking to confirm the details of [Arraf’s] case — including her citizenship.”

Syrian activists maintained Wednesday that they were sure Arraf existed, that she had been detained and that she had been using a fake identity to protect herself, as do most of the activists engaged in covert activity against Syria’s government at a time when the country is in the throes of a widespread popular uprising.

But alternative theories flew within the online community, including that Bagaria and Arraf are the same person, that Lecic and Arraf are the same person, and that Gay Girl in Damascus is an invention.

Bagaria, when contacted in Montreal, seemed distraught at the possibility that the person with whom she had established a close relationship online might have been using a false identity.

“I don’t know. I really can’t tell. I would love to tell you I know,” she said. “I just want it to be clarified, and then I will deal with what I should and should not feel. But for now I just want it to be a little more clear.”

If A Gay Girl in Damascus is indeed a hoax, it would be an elaborate one. Arraf’s Facebook page reads like a who’s who of the Syrian opposition movement, and although none of the activists contacted had met her, all of them said they found it difficult to believe she wasn’t real.

“My feeling is that this lady exists and that she’s been risking her life to serve her cause,” said a prominent Beirut-based activist. “But she can’t write under her real name or reveal her identity. I know many activists, and none of them reveals their real identity.”

The saga illustrates the difficulty of establishing what is really going on in Syria at a time when the government is engaged in a brutal attempt to crush the 11-week-old uprising. Most information comes from the state-sponsored media or shadowy cyber-activists who post reports and videos online.

One activist contacted in Damascus, the Syrian capital, said he doubts Arraf is real and expressed concern that the opposition’s efforts to convey to the world the regime’s ruthlessness will be undermined by the apparent fabrication.

“It’s selfish because it means real issues in the future won’t be taken seriously at all,” he said, speaking via Skype on the condition of anonymity because he fears the consequences of talking to the media.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Syrians Fleeing by the Thousands to Turkey. Fears of a Massacre in Jisr Al-Shughour

Over a thousand people have come to the Yayladagi camp in the last 24 hours. Many others are camped near the border, ready to cross. The TV has announced that the Syrian army is to “restore security” in the town scene of violent clashes in recent days.

Ankara (AsiaNews / Agencies) — There are already more than two thousand four hundred Syrian refugees in Turkey, fleeing al-Jirs Shughour, a town in north-western border of the country, where in recent days over 120 security guards have been killed. The Syrian state television announced today that the military is positioning itself to “restore security” in the city. The announcement has intensified the flight of civilians. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said that more than a thousand people crossed the border in the last 24 hours. Most of them found shelter in the tent city of Yayladagi, a town 10 km from the border.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on 8 June that Turkey “will not close its doors” to those fleeing, and urged President Assad to “change his attitude toward civilians.” In the Yayladagi camp rescue teams are providing assistance for runaways. Ambulances are taking the injured to hospital in Antakya. Over thirty people were hospitalized and treated for gunshot wounds.

It is reported that 120 members of the security forces were killed in Jirs al-Shughour a few days ago. It is not possible to know what really happened. The government has spoken of ambushes and attacks, while others have suggested that there was a mutiny. The security forces would have refused to open fire on civilians and the army apparently opened fire on them. Since the demonstrations have broken out in opposition to the regime of Assad, Syria has not allowed journalists access to the country and therefore there is no independent source for news.

In Yayladagi Turkish police are patrolling the border, and preventing journalists from entering the camp. Officials of the Red Crescent and the administration are preparing for a “massive influx” of arrivals in the coming days. Yayladagi can accommodate up to 5 thousand people, and authorities are considering opening a second field. Videos have shown dozens of people camped out in Syria, near the border, ready to cross if needed. Lebanon has already received more than five thousand refugees, even if the UN said that it is part of a “fluid population”, and some of them have already returned home.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

South Asia


The ‘Petty Office Politics’ Inside Al Qaeda is Revealed

Files taken from Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistan compound reveal that relationships within Al Qaeda sometimes resembled an episode of The Office.

A trove of material recovered from the terror lair shows senior Al Qaeda figures were caught up in back-stabbing and one-upmanship akin to the erratic behaviour seen in an average episode of the hit show.

One email chain in particular suggests various members of the hierarchy vying for their boss’s attention and ‘working the system’, U.S. officials said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Far East


Philippines: Mindanao: A Collection of Gifts for Poor Muslims Strengthens Inter-Religious Dialogue

Donated toys and used clothing to 80 children of the small island of St. Cruz (Zamboanga), of Muslim majority. Initiative organized by a group of young Christians and Muslims from Silsilah a movement for Muslim-Christian dialogue.

Zamboanga (AsiaNews) — To strengthen Muslim-Christian dialogue, the Silsilah youth movement has organized a collection of toys and clothes for 80 Muslim children of the small island of St. Cruz off Zamboanga (Mindanao). The initiative is part of Silpeace program, which annually involves young Christians and Muslims in seminars and charitable activities in the poorest areas of the region which has a Muslim majority.

Vanessa Andica, coordinator of the program explains that young people spent a week collecting among the population of Zamboanga clothes and toys donated by charitable people of both faiths. On 29 May the gifts were handed out to children of St. Cruz. According to the Andic the visit was an opportunity to bring the children a bit of joy and help the development of their families. They only have contact with tourists visiting the island, often inattentive to the public. Through this initiative, the population is not left alone and isolated from the world and young Silpeace volunteers have the opportunity to experience the friendship and charity.

The island of St. Cruz is a natural paradise famous for its pink beaches and is about 1 hour from the city of Zamboanga. Despite being a major tourist destination for years, its inhabitants, mostly Muslim, are ignored by local authorities and live in conditions of extreme poverty. In 1989, Silsilah built a school for children in response to the expressed needs of families. It is still the only institution on the island. It is run by a group of Catholic teachers and educators. Its courses are approved by the Ministry of Education and to go from kindergarten through to elementary.

Founded by Father Sebastiano D’Ambra (PIME), Silsilah for over 20 years has organised projects and initiatives such as the Bishop Ulama Forum and training for young Christians and Muslims. In recent years the movement has become a reference point for the ongoing reconciliation between the Philippine government and Muslim rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which for 40 years fought a war which cost over 100 thousand lives.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Latin America


Brazil: Italy Calls Release of Convicted Terrorist ‘Humiliation’ And Pledges Intl. Court Appeal

Brasilia, 9 June (AKI/Bloomberg) — Convicted Italian terrorist Cesare Battisti was released from a Brazilian prison on Thursday after a court in that country denied Italy’s request for extradition.

The Brazilian Supreme Court ordered Battisti’s immediate release from a high-security prison, prompting comments from Italian officials who said they would turn to international courts to bring the former far-left terrorist to justice in his home country where he was found guilty of the murder of four people 30 years ago. An Italian court in 1993 him sentenced him in absentia to life in prison.

“The (Brazilian court’s) decision does not take into consideration the legitimate aspects of justice for the Italian people, particularly for the family of Battista’s victims,” Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said in a written statement on Thursday.

Italy intends to turn to the International Court of Justice and other international institutions “to pursue a review of the decision that is not in accord with general legal principles and obligations foreseen by international law,” Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said in an e-mailed statement.

Italian Minister for Giorgia Meloni called the Brazilian court’s move “the umpteenth humiliation for the families of his victims.”

Battisti, 56, was on run for three decades living in France, Mexico and Brazil, where he has been in jail since 2007 pending the result of the Italian extradition request. He was a member of the Armed Proletariat for Communism, an armed far-left group that killed several people in the 1970s.

Brazil granted him political refugee status in 2009, effectively putting an end to extradition proceedings.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Mexican Drug Gangs Increase Power in Central America

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

The scourge of the drug cartels is Mexico’s biggest security problem and the violence there continues.

But Mexican drug gangs are not confined to Mexico. They have established an effective presence north of the border, and have even expanded to Europe and Africa.

Possibly their most destabilizing presence is in Central America, southeast of Mexico. See map here.

Mexico is a big country, approximately the size of Western Europe. It is also, by international standards, rather prosperous. It has the world’s 11th-largest economy and a higher than average gross domestic product per capita. Despite all its security problems, in 2010 the Mexican economy actually grew 5.5% and 22 million tourists visited.

We certainly shouldn’t minimize Mexico’s problems, but its size and huge economy help to absorb the danger.

On the other hand, consider the threat to three Central American countries — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. They are less well-equipped to handle these problems than Mexico.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Immigration


Australia’s Migrant Intake Set to Become More “English”

AUSTRALIA’S skilled migrant intake is set to become more “English” and less Asian because of a tougher language test and an employer push to recruit more suitable workers.

An Immigration Department report says fewer than one in five skilled migrants comes from major English background nations such as Britain, the United States, South Africa and Canada.

The skilled program is dominated by people from Asian countries including India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka — many of whom struggle with English.

“This selection strategy has profound implications for employment outcomes in a knowledge economy,” the report said.

But report author Prof Lesleyanne Hawthorne, from Melbourne University, said yesterday that things would change when tougher English standards for skilled migrants were introduced by the Federal Government from July 1.

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]



Australia: Villawood Detainee Treated for Leprosy

A DETAINEE at Villawood immigration detention centre in Sydney has been diagnosed with leprosy, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship says.

The man is being treated by public health officials with antibiotics for the rare disease, it was confirmed today.

“NSW Health has advised that the person poses little to no risk to other detainees or staff and that his disease is easily treated with antibiotics,” a Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) spokesman said in a statement.

No further information about the man’s age, nationality or how he contracted the chronic bacterial infection was immediately available.

However, he will remain at the centre, with health officials saying there is no need to move or isolate him.

Leprosy, which is curable, in an uncommon infection which exists in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

It is extremely rare in Australia.

Leprosy can be progressive, if untreated, causing permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes.

“We are advised that people who have occasional contact with an infected person are not at risk of acquiring the disease, as it is not easily transmitted from one person to another,” the spokesman said.

He added that the Department, as a precaution, would ensure that anyone who had contact with the man would be assessed and treated if necessary.

Staff and detainees at Villawood are being counselled and educated about the situation.

           — Hat tip: Nilk [Return to headlines]



Greek Police Raze Migrant Camp

ATHENS (BNO NEWS) — Police and coast guard officers on Thursday evacuated an estimated 100 undocumented immigrants from a makeshift camp in the coastal city of Igoumenitsa in northwestern Greece, the Kathimerini reported.

Officers razed around 250 huts and tents that had been set up around the port, while about 150 immigrants managed to flee into the nearby mountains.

Igoumenitsa Mayor Giorgos Katsinos said the cleanup of the camp was necessary since the mounting garbage produced by camp residents is a public health risk. He added that there have been frequent disputes between migrants and residents because of the negligence of camp members, which had resulted in fires breaking out on nearby forestland.

Meanwhile, residents staged a protest in the western port of Patra where hundreds of would-be migrants have been camping for years. Protesters fear a new influx of migrants after the police operation.

A total of 1,000 would-be migrants from African and Asian countries have been arrested in Igoumenitsa over the past two months in a series of police sweeps.

Greece is currently struggling to contain a wave of illegal immigration. Human rights organizations calculate that there are around 500,000 illegal immigrants currently living in the country, which has been repeatedly criticized for being one of the European Union countries that grants the smallest number of asylum pleas.

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]



Malta: In the Forgotten Camps

Along with the Italian island of Lampedusa, the Maltese Archipelago has become a favoured destination for hundreds of Africans fleeing the fighting in Libya. But on arrival, what they see of Europe is an unsanitary hangar where they vainly wait for political asylum. French news website Mediapart reports.

Carine Fouteau

Having been confined in secure facilities on arrival, migrants who are identified as “vulnerable” are then sent to open refugee centres, one of which is reserved for families. Located close to the runways of an abandoned airport, Hal Far, as it is called, is at the end of a bus line and far from shops and ordinary homes.

It currently houses approximately thirty families who are awaiting international protection. Often damp, the air in the hangar is stifling in summer and freezing in winter.

Having left Tripoli with his wife and 16-month-old son, Dawit, a 35-year-old Ethiopian, is one its unfortunate residents. “I want to thank the Maltese authorities for stopping my boat from sinking and for looking after us,” he says before moving on to his main subject. “But I have to say this place is terrible, really terrible. There are Somalis, Ethiopians, Eritreans and some Ghanans and Algerians here, all of them families with children. The youngest is 18-months old. There is also a woman who gave birth when she arrived. They took her out of the detention centre, and when the baby was born they brought her back.”

The children fall sick, one after another

“Everyone is exhausted,” he continues. “So where do they put us? In this hangar, where everything is dirty and dangerous, and where we don’t have enough light. There are only two neon fixtures for the entire place, and no lights for inside the tents. The surfaces are oily, the drains aren’t working, and there are rats running around everywhere. Everything is toxic. The babies touch their mouths and their eyes and they get infections… they get sick. We have to take them to the hospital all the time. We saw an Italian doctor weep at the sight of them. The last time I went to the pharmacy for medicine for my son, I had to pay 39 euros. It can’t go on any longer. Worse still, the summer is coming. With the heat, it is going to be unbearable. We are grateful, but this place was not made for humans.”

Dawit repeats his story, he had no plans to come to Europe. An English teacher, he was forced to put to sea to escape the fighting, and also the violence targeted against Subsaharan Africans. Among the fathers sharing the same fate, there are a medical student, an IT engineer and a translator. Some of them, who had left their native countries to escape persecution, had even obtained refugee status. All of them had planned to continue living in Libya. And all of the came closed to dying on the voyage across the Mediterranean.

From the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to the aid organisations working at the site, everyone involved in Hal Far tells the same story. In the hangar, the tents provided by the Swiss Red Cross are set out in three rows of ten tents each to provide cramped accommodation for approximately 150 people, babies included, who are divided into family groups. A number of accomodation containers, each with 16 berths, have been set up outside the building to provide segregated dormitories for men and women.

Céline Warnier de Wailly, is a member of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), a group that offers legal and social assistance to the refugees in Malta: “The children fall sick, one after another. The situation is becoming extremely serious,” she insists. “When the first families were moved there, their reaction was to say they wanted to go back to the detention centre! I have seen colleagues crying when they are distributing water, milk, pushchairs and nappies. It is not as if they came down with the last shower!”

Maltese authorities are organising a shortage of accomodation

Similar conditions prevail at another camp that local authorities and refugees call Tent Village, which is a few hundred metes form the hangar. Some of the big tents, which are set up in the open air, were damaged by storms last February. And even when they are in good condition, as the UNHCR has reports, these shelters do not offer proper protection against the wind and the rain.”In the hangar and in Tent Village, conditions do not comply with acceptable standards, especially for families with children,” explains Fabrizio Ellul of UNHCR Malta in the administrative jargon particular to international organisations. “The toilet facilities and living conditions are not appropriate for such long stays, and these centres were never supposed to accommodate vulnerable people,” he adds.

Until now neither the hangar or the tents had been used to accommodate families. And in recent months, both camps had even been shut down when the boats stopped coming in the wake of the migration agreement between Libya and Italy. “For a year, with the exception of one boat last July, there were no more new arrivals,” points out Maria Pisani, of the Integra Foundation, which specialises on asylum rights in Malta. She also describes the situation at Hal Far as unbearable, arguing that their geographical isolation has resulted in the ghettoisation of refugees.

“We haven’t learned from the lessons of previous years,” she remarks. Nothing has been done to upgrade the facilities where conditions have even got worse.” She continues, “Instead of providing for the possibility of refugees settling and integrating where they are, the Maltese authorities are doing all they can to have them resettled and relocated in other European or western countries. That corresponds to their strategy. They organise a shortage of accomodation in permanent buildings so that people will be encouraged to leave.” In other words, Malta is maintaining an emergency situation to avoid settling new arrivals and to oblige its European partners to take them in…

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Malta Illegal Alien Pipeline Still Flowing to America

Longtime readers know we have followed this story from our early days of writing this blog in 2007. Illegal aliens (ECONOMIC MIGRANTS!) arriving on the tiny island nation of Malta are transformed into “refugees” and shipped off to your town in the US.

Our US Ambassador to Malta during the Bush years started this precedent-setting scheme in motion. (Here is just one post on Tea Party Molly.) Legitimate refugees are to seek asylum in the first nation in which they arrive. By creating this new model, we have opened the door to other countries asking that they too transit illegal aliens through their countries to the US. Also, note in this story the role the UN is playing. It was only a week or so ago that someone commented here that the US does not do the bidding of the UN. Hmmm!

This is funny, go read this post from January where we learned that the migrant Africans really prefer the more generous welfare states of Europe to the US! Little do the migrants know that there is fierce competition going on in the US to get their bodies to America so that federal contractors will survive financially (and Democrats will get more voters!).

[more at link]

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars


District Would Rather Censor Christians Than Raise Funds

Program canceled after officials say Scripture verses aren’t allowed in paver program

A school district in California apparently would rather censor the Scriptures than raise funds.

A stipulated dismissal has been filed in U.S. District Court in Riverside, Calif., after the district canceled an entire fundraising program in which supporters donated funds to be allowed to post a message on a brick paver, rather than let a few Scripture references survive.

According to the Alliance Defense Fund, which worked on the case, the Desert Sands Unified School District said that the fundraising was being dropped and all the funds contributed to date were being refunded.

“Rather than allow the verses on a few pavers along walkways at Palm Desert High School, the Desert Sands Unified School District censored everyone participating in the program and refunded their money,” ADF announced.

The organization had brought a claim against the district after the program sold memorial brick pavers advertised as carrying messages of the purchaser’s choice to two Christian women who wanted Bible verses.

After the women paid for the pavers, they were told their messages would not be included alongside other similarly inscribed inspirational, commemorative and tributary messages on the campus.

[…]

It was a memo from Karen Rohrbaugh of the parent teacher organization that raised concerns about the “religious verbiage.”

The principal, Patrick Walsh, agreed.

“We need to respectfully decline the donation of bricks quoting scripture from the bible,” he wrote. “I’m sure most parents will understand the constitutional protections regarding the separation of church and state.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



HHS Official Tells Youth Summit: We’re Recruiting LGBTs to Adopt Kids

David Hansell, who runs the federal government’s Administration for Children and Families, told a group of high school students at the U.S. Department of Education’s “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)” youth summit on Tuesday that the Obama administration is recruiting “LGBT parents” to adopt children.

“[O]f course, we’re also trying to recruit more foster and adoptive parents who are lesbian and gay,” Hansell said in a general session of the summit held at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. (As CNSNews.com previously reported, the Department of Education barred reporters from attending the summit’s breakout sessions, which were also held at the hotel.)

In the general session, Hansell, who is an acting assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), pointed to a program sponsored by his division of HHS that encourages LGBT people to adopt children.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



The God of the Emerging Church

Along the lines of the Apprising Ministries post The Emergence Of A New God, here we’ll hear a bit more about the mystic mush god with a man-shaped hole in its heart, now being preached by the sinfully ecumenical Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church (EC) as the centerpiece of its newer, more clearly delineated, postmodern Progressive Christian theology; a Liberalism 2.0 that these rebels against God’s Word often refer to as “big tent” Emergence Christianity.

I tell you that it’s actually a fulfillment of 2 Timothy 3:2 — For people will be lovers of self; i.e. mankind is falling in love with, and worshipping, itself. You may remember in Brian McLaren Imagining A Different God I showed you that Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren— two-thirds of the unholy EC trinity with heretical universalist pastor Doug Pagitt and his friend Tony Jones, the progressive “theologian in residence” at Solomon’s Porch—has officially announced he would simply like a different god than the one true and living God of the Bible.

It’s not that surprising as for years now they’ve been moving away from anything resembling the Christian faith as it is. For example, a while back Presbymergent EC advocate Adam Walker Cleaveland tells us their Jesus Was Wrong; then there’s Samir Selmanovic, whose website tells us that he’s “been integral to the birth of the emerging church movement, serving as a member of the Coordinating Group of Emergent Village and representing emergents at the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches.“[1] In his myth God Is Father Of All Religion Selmanovic shares more on the EC god, who’s essentially a bigger version of man.

[…]

Here it’s critical for you to understand that the neo-liberal cult within the Emerging Church is right now following the same methodology once used by adherents of liberalism aka modern theology to take over the dead and dying mainline denominations. Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989), a renowned defender of what he so often referred to as “the historic orthodox Christian faith” and former liberal, tells us liberalism:

had emptied the Gospel of all its content; [and] they were simply using the outward shell so that they go on collecting money from the people and the churches; because they knew that if the people in the pew knew that they were apostate, they’d throw them out. So the strategy was hang on to the trust funds; hang on to the money we’ve got; hang on the properties we control, and we will gradually educate the laymen into this new approach to theology.[4]

I’m telling you that this EC cult of the new liberalism learned well from their evil forebears and have followed the exact same track to infiltrate the largely spiritually obtuse evangelical camp, which they’ve been indoctrinating for years now through its own publishing houses, church-related schools, seminaries, denominations, etc. Remember, spiritually dense evangelical churches desperate to fill church buildings, began using the warped and toxic teachings of leaders within the Emerging Church such as the Emerging Church rock star pastor Rob Bell in their Young Adult and Youth ministries around 2004. An example of the awful effects of years of EC postmodern propaganda within the mainstream of evangelicalism can be seen in Christianity Today On The Search For The Historical Adam.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

One thought on “News Feed 20110610

  1. Once again it is shown that the only good pig is a dead pig. On EITHER side of the pond. At best, “Law Enforcement” are the prime enablers for most of the swill. At worst, they are cold-blooded murderers.

    The sooner they rot where they belong, the better off a country will be.

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