Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/3/2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/3/2008 So here we are, on the Eve of Destruction.

Actually, regardless of who gets elected tomorrow, I think it’s likely that we will simply continue our slow and imperceptible slide into cultural disintegration. No dramatic cataclysm, no political firestorms. Just more of the same, a grim quotidian decline, the news getting a little bit uglier every day…

Thanks to Abu Elvis, C. Cantoni, Conservative Swede, CSP, H.Numan, Holger Danske, Insubria, JD, JEH, MB, Nilk, Steen, TB, Zonka, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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Dr. Samuel L. Blumenfeld: Obama’s Commie Connections
Gaffney: Sell-Off to Capitalism or Sell-Out to Islam?
Jerome R. Corsi: Doubts Persist About Obama Birth Certificate
Obama’s Grandmother Dies a Day Before Election
Say Goodbye to America
Who is Jamillah Muhammad?
Europe and the EU
Dutch 10-12 Year-Olds Learn in School: “Wilders is Hitler…”
Fond Italians Yearn for Their Own Special Relationship: US Election 2008
Higher Birth Rates Among Sweden’s Foreign-Born
Morocco Bans French Magazine for Insulting Islam
Oxford Christmas Ban Upsets UK Muslims
Pacifist Spain is Arming the Enemies of the West
Police Solve Six Percent of Sweden’s Crimes
Prison: Spain, Mini-Apartments for Inmates and Children
Reggiani Murder: Mailat Sentenced to 29 Years
Spain: Garzon’s Inquiry on Franco, Prosecutor’s Petition
‘The EU is Virtually an Accomplice of Moscow’
Wales: E-Mail Error Ends Up on Road Sign
Bosnia: EU Freezes Help for Breach on Fiscal Regulations
Mediterranean Union
Gulf Petrodollars Help UK Go Green
Med Union: Israel and Palestine in Favour of Barcelona
Med Union: Barcelona, Choice of Capital Around the Corner
Mediterranean: Land to Build Europe, Apulia Governor Says
Mediterranean Union: Uphill Start for Sarkozy’s Creation
PNA: EU Agrees on Temporary Reception of Certain Palestinians
Tourism: UAE Partners Acquire 50% of Albanesi Hotels
North Africa
Islam: Morocco Bans Distribution of This Week’s L’Express
Israel and the Palestinians
Haaretz: We Will Not Sign a Peace Agreement With the Palestinians Even if They Become “Finnish”
Israel: Rabin’s Assassin Gives Interviews and is Punished
Middle East: Jerusalem, Tolerance Museum Becomes Dispute
Mideast: Rubinstein, Media is Israel-Palestine Battlefield
Teacher Attacked in UNRWA School, Strike Called, Local Committee Promises Action
West Bank: Student ‘Clinically Dead’ After Fall From School’s Third-Story Window
Middle East
Israel Involved in US Air Strike on Syrian Village
Saudi Lawyers to Provide Legal Assistance for Young Men Who Want Sex Change Operations
Saudi Goats Sell for Thousands at Beauty Contest
Russia-Libya: Gaddafi Shops in Moscow and Offers Bases
Turkey: Exporters Still Uneasy About Russian Customs
UAE: 50 Developers Eye Major Russian Investment
South Asia
Iran Demonstrators Mark US Embassy Seizure
Video: Thailand’s Deep South
Swiss Immigrants Pin Hopes on Obama Victory
Culture Wars
‘All Whites Racist’ Plan Won’t Die
Swedish Lesbians in Historic Taj Mahal Wedding
2008 and the Return of the Nation-State
Catholic-Muslim Forum: Tariq Ramadan Also Among Delegates
Italy: Calabrian Mayor Invites Obama to Become Honorary Citizen
Muslims Seek Crisis Management Plan With Vatican
Top Muslims to Meet Pope
UN Interfaith Meet Set to Back Saudi Initiative
US: Voters Eyeing Obama to End Domestic and Foreign Woes, Jihadist Sites Claim


Dr. Samuel L. Blumenfeld: Obama’s Commie Connections

In a letter to the official Communist Party newspaper, People’s Weekly World, published after Obama’s win in Iowa, we get a graphic view of what American communists see in Obama’s presidential bid:

Obama’s victory was more than a progressive move; it was a dialectical leap ushering in a qualitatively new era of struggle. Marx once compared revolutionary struggle with the work of the mole, who sometimes burrows so far beneath the ground that he leaves no trace of his movement on the surface. This is the old revolutionary “mole,” not only showing his traces on the surface but also breaking through.

The old pattern of politics as usual has been broken. It may not have happened as we expected but what matters is that it happened. The message is clear: We can and must defeat the ultra-right, by uniting the broadest possible coalition that will represent an overwhelming majority of the people in a new political dynamic.

Obama has already proposed the creation of a homeland police force that will no doubt terrorize those in the “ultra-right” who will become the most vociferous and active opponents of his socialist regime. Hitler had a similar police force called the Gestapo “Geheime Staats Polizie or Homeland State Police” that terrorized the opponents of the Nazi regime…..

After a trip to Kenya to visit his father’s family, Barack returned to Chicago where he was chosen by Illinois State Sen. Alice Palmer to succeed her. Palmer had been on the executive board of the U.S. Peace Council, identified by the FBI as a front organization for the Communist Party USA and affiliate of the Soviet front World Peace Council. According to an article in the Black Press Review, Palmer attended the 27th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and came away favorably impressed by the Soviet system. The fact that she chose Barack to succeed her indicates that she had full confidence he would continue to advance her leftist agenda.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Fake McCain Group Blasts Corsi

Anti-war, Obama-supporting group pretends to be GOP ‘staffers’

An anti-war, pro-Obama individual or group masquerading as a McCain organization is e-mailing dozens of journalists, radio talk shows and U.S. senators, complaining to them — as McCain campaign “staffers” — that WND senior reporter Jerome Corsi is “a wacko” for investigating the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

A quick examination of the “McCain” website leave little doubt it is virulently anti-McCain. But journalists, talkers and producers receiving e-mails from the address “” could easily think they were hearing from supporters of the Republican presidential candidate.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Gaffney: Sell-Off to Capitalism or Sell-Out to Islam?

On Sunday, Arab News reported, “The U.S. government is currently studying the salient features of Islamic banking to ascertain how far it could be useful in fighting the ongoing world economic crisis, Robert M. Kimmitt, U.S. deputy secretary of the Treasury, said at a press conference held at the U.S. Embassy here yesterday.” The newspaper went on to note that “[Mr. Kimmitt] said that experts in the U.S. Treasury Department are currently learning the important features of Islamic banking.”

As it happens, for the better part of a year we at the Center for Security Policy have spent a fair amount of time trying to teach U.S. Treasury Department and other government “experts” about what is euphemistically called “Islamic banking” but better known as Shariah-Compliant Finance (SCF). In meetings with Mr. Kimmitt and other top Treasury officials, my colleagues and I have presented all they really need to know about the “important features” of this growth industry.

Specifically, we shared with them a detailed legal memorandum written by one our experts — David Yerushalmi, an attorney specializing in securities law who is deeply knowledgeable about the comprehensive theo-political-legal code that authoritative Islam calls Shariah. Mr. Yerushalmi’s memo makes a compelling case that there is both civil liability and criminal exposure associated with SCF.

This is so because, at its core, Shariah is sedition: It explicitly espouses the violent overthrow of all secular governments and constitutions — including those of the United States — in favor of a global Islamic theocracy. The Yerushalmi memo makes clear that Shariah advisers — who play a central role in this industry as it falls to them to determine whether transactions are Shariah-compliant or not — and/or the companies that employ them appear to be involved in one or more of the following: racketeering, antitrust violations, consumer and securities fraud or material support for terror.

Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican and a senior member of that chamber’s Finance Committee found the conclusions of the Yerushalmi memo to be sufficiently alarming that in August he sought official reactions to its findings from Bob Kimmitt’s boss, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Chris Cox, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Attorney General Michael Mukasey. To date, only Mr. Cox and Mr. Bernanke have deigned to respond. Both did so in an appallingly superficial manner.

Mr. Cox he assured Mr. Kyl that the SEC was ensuring that “U.S.-registered issuers offering SCF products must comply fully with the applicable disclosure requirements of the federal securities law.” Never mind that no offerer of Shariah-Compliant Finance products discloses that Shariah is seditious, let alone that SCF is an instrument of its stealth jihad.

Fed Chairman Bernanke blithely stated that, since “Shariah-Compliant Finance is still in its infancy,” it was too early to tell whether regulators would have problems monitoring it. Moreover, he wrote, the Fed has at present “no reason to believe” that “SCF products and services offered by banks in the United States are noncompliant with U.S. financial services law.”

In these regards, it might be helpful if, while Mr. Kimmitt is in Qatar, he pays a visit to one of the most prominent of the SCF advisers, Sheik Yusef al-Qaradawi, who serves on, among numerous others, the Shariah advisory board of two Qatari Islamic banks. As my colleague Christopher Holton has pointed out in a recent posting on the Family Security Matters Web site, Sheik Qaradawi has called for the Islamic world to use the present financial crisis to destroy Western capitalism and replace it with “an Islamic economic system.”

Inquiring minds among Treasury’s experts trying to “learn about Islamic banking” might also be interested to know that, in a 2006 interview with the BBC, Sheik Qaradawi also declared that he calls SCF “jihad with money, because God has ordered us to fight enemies with our lives and our money.”

What are we to make of the fact that so many senior U.S. government officials seem so clueless about the true and threatening nature of Shariah-Compliant Finance and the seditious Shariah agenda it explicitly serves? For sure, they find David Yerushalmi’s conclusions inconvenient at a time when Mr. Kimmitt and others are desperately trying to recycle our petrodollars now in the hands of Shariah-adhering Saudis and Qataris.

In a terrific new book, “The Failure Factory,” The Washington Times’ ace national security correspondent Bill Gertz documents myriad cases of federal bureaucrats actively subverting the president’s efforts to wage and win the war against our terrorist foes. Perhaps this is yet another example of such insidious disloyalty.

Whatever the motivation for federal officials giving Shariah-Compliant Finance the “see-no-evil” treatment, sedition is sedition. And under the U.S. code, those who are aware of seditious activities and who fail to take actions to stop it are themselves guilty of a felony offense. It is called “misprision of treason.”

Those government officials who have sworn an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States have a special responsibility not only to learn all they can about seditious Shariah and the various means — including “Islamic banking” by which it is being advanced in our capital markets and others. They also have a professional obligation to make clear that Shariah and its financial form of jihad are not legal in the United States and will be prosecuted. If they fail to do so, they themselves risk, and deserve, prosecution.

           — Hat tip: CSP [Return to headlines]

Jerome R. Corsi: Doubts Persist About Obama Birth Certificate

Considerable Evidence Still Points to Candidate’s Birth in Kenya

HONOLULU — Even though Hawaii officials now claim to have verified the authenticity of Sen. Barack Obama’s birth certificate — in hopes of ending widespread speculation and even multiple lawsuits challenging the Democrat candidate’s constitutional qualification to be president — it turns out there is still reason for serious questioning.

In fact, there is considerable evidence that Obama was born in Kenya, not in Hawaii as the candidate and his campaign have maintained….

Last week in Hawaii, WND retained a top private investigator with extensive FBI training and tasked with visiting both the Queens Medical Center and the Kaliolani Medical Center to investigate claims that Obama birth certificates existed at either hospital.

But the private investigator reported that on Thursday and Friday of last week, sheriff’s deputies were stationed at both hospitals to fend off press inquiries about Obama’s birth certificate.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama or McCain: Which One Ignites the Inescapable Backfire?

Each week I write columns, I receive thousands of emails thanking me and a few chastising me. One of my chortling email pests happens to be Dominique Perez or, as he calls himself, “Subcommandante Pedro” of the MeCHA Brown Berets Infiltration Brigades, Los Angeles, Alta California Aztlan. He jumps all over me with glee as I try to warn America. His last email expressed excitement for an Obama presidency:

“After the election, it is you who will be a minority here,” Perez said. “Think of it: Your own government’s statistics indicate there are 12 million of what you call “illegals” living in what you call “America”. However, we both know that figure is easily triple, but your complicit officials try to hide the truth. Once our beloved Obama is sworn in, he has promised La Raza licenses, increased benefits, and an accelerated path to citizenship for our oppressed brethren. This will open the floodgates and tens of millions of people will crash the gates and demand their rights. So a conservative figure will be say 100 million Hispanics within 10 years. There are already well over 80 million of us here, so now you are talking about 180 million plus the 45 million Negroes who are basically illiterate animals who will vote as the Democrats tell them. Together we will vote every racist honkey out of office and assume control of every local, state, and federal institution. White racis ts will be made to feel as welcome as the plague. The best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to scurry off to Europe. You are not wanted here. Cheers!” Subcommandante Pedro

MeCHA Brown Berets Infiltration Brigades

Los Angeles, Alta California Aztlan

[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Grandmother Dies a Day Before Election

HONOLULU — Barack Obama’s grandmother, whose personality and bearing shaped much of the life of the Democratic presidential contender, has died, Obama announced Monday, one day before the election. Madelyn Payne Dunham was 86.

Obama announced the news from the campaign trail in Charlotte, N.C. The joint statement with his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng said Dunham died peacefully late Sunday night after a battle with cancer.

They said: “She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances.”

Obama learned of her death Monday morning while he was campaigning in Jacksonville, Fla. He planned to go ahead with campaign appearances. The family said a private ceremony would be held later.

Republican John McCain issued condolences to his opponent. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to them as they remember and celebrate the life of someone who had such a profound impact in their lives,” the statement by John and Cindy McCain said.

           — Hat tip: Nilk [Return to headlines]

Say Goodbye to America

By Noel Sheppard

No matter who wins Tuesday America is going to be a different country.

When the sun rises on November 5, regardless of who the president-elect is, a more un-United States than has existed since the Civil War will wake to dispute the results of the disgusting campaign that has mercifully come to an end.

Whoever the losers, they will believe they were cheated, and will point fingers at those they believe responsible. Almost half the nation will view the winner as illegitimate, and will do everything in their power to undermine his authority as long as he’s in the White House.

With this animosity will come a new level of hatred between those of differing political persuasions like nothing our country has experienced in the modern era.

Putting it bluntly, and without sounding too much like Rev. Jeremiah “G-d Damn America” Wright, there will be no such thing as Americans anymore.

Instead, there’ll be Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives, and encounters between the members of these groups will for years nay decades be at best unfriendly, and at worst quite hostile if not downright violent.

Think this an overstatement? Consider first what Wednesday will look like if John McCain pulls off the upset.

To begin with, let’s be very clear about one thing: Democrats believe that if they lose an election it’s because their opponent cheated. It’s never their fault. It’s never because they ran a poor campaign. It’s never because their opponent ran a better one…

           — Hat tip: JEH [Return to headlines]

Who is Jamillah Muhammad?

Camp Obama trainer steers youth away from military service

WND has learned that a senior Obama campaign staffer involved in marshalling college students and other campaign volunteers to get out the vote tomorrow is an anti-military extremist who, even during the popular first Gulf war, steered minority youth away from service in the military.

Sen. Barack Obama hired Jamillah Muhammad, an early community organizer friend in Chicago, to help train young volunteers in the “ruthless” agitation tactics of the late socialist organizer Saul Alinsky. The training sessions have been held at something called “Camp Obama” inside the campaign’s Chicago headquarters.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Dutch 10-12 Year-Olds Learn in School: “Wilders is Hitler…”

“…Wilders has no respect for people that look different”

Dutch youths will learn next week in school that Geert Wilders is to be compared to Adolf Hitler. They will receive nationally-distributed class material that states “Geert Wilders’ film Fitna and Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf are based upon one-sided points-of-view. Fortunately, there are also other books and plays that -on the contrary- show respect for people with other ideas or faiths or that look different.”

The pupils will receive the class material highlighting the Day of Respect, a multiculturalist project. The project is funded by three departments of the national government: Education, Justice and Housing. The school material has a national distribution among 10-to-12 year olds. The pupils will receive the newspaper at school.

Geert Wilders: “The day of respect is a hate fest against the Freedom Party. According to the organization everybody deserves ‘respect’, but of course, if you stand for freedom and oppose the islamisation of the West you don’t deserve any respect at all. Then the government will tell children you have a problem with ‘people that look different’. They play the racism card.”

“We are extremely angry the Dutch Department of Education is involved in this project.

We demand from education minister Ronald Plasterk to immediate withdraw any cooperation. Children go to school to learn not to be indoctrinated”, says Wilders.

The Freedom Party wants the class material to be discussed in Parliament this week.

           — Hat tip: MB [Return to headlines]

Fond Italians Yearn for Their Own Special Relationship: US Election 2008

Serendipity has ensured that the first major event for the next US president will take place on friendly soil.

Italy is hosting next year’s G8 summit on La Maddalena, a small island off Sardinia that used to be a US nuclear base. Unlike the rest of Europe, the Bel Paese remains devoted to the US and will greet whoever wins the election warmly.

The majority of respondents to a poll commissioned by said the US is a force for evil in the world, but in Italy the scores were reversed, and 49 per cent of people said the superpower is a force for good.

If any European country is entitled to think it has a “special relationship” with the US, Italy has a strong case. Almost 16 million Italian emigrants live in the US, equivalent to a third of the population of Italy.

Grandfathers remember the role that the US played in the liberation of the country during the Second World War and also the huge sums of money that America poured into the rebuilding effort. Italy remains the site of America’s largest military bases in Europe.

Americans drink more Italian wine than French, and Italy is their number one tourist destination in Europe. Total exports of Italy’s fine wines, cars, leather, clothes and other goods last year to the US were worth £17 billion, while the US pumped almost £12 billion of foreign investment into the country.

However, George W Bush’s administration has caused great bitterness. More than three million people took to the streets of Rome to protest against the war in Iraq and Silvio Berlusconi was repeatedly criticised for sending Italian troops into both Afghanistan and Iraq. Italy is a strongly religious and strongly pacifist country.

Out of their disappointments with President Bush has grown from a love of Barack Obama. Fan clubs for the Illinois senator have sprung up across Italy and on the Internet. Italians see him not only as stylish and sharply dressed, but, as one commentator put it: “he is the sense of change incarnate”. An astonishing 70 per cent of respondents supported him in the Telegraph poll…

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Higher Birth Rates Among Sweden’s Foreign-Born

Foreign-born women living in Sweden are giving birth to more children on average than women born in Sweden, new statistics show.

A study by Statistics Sweden finds that foreign-born women had a fertility rate of 2.21 children per woman, while Swedish-born women reproduced at a rate of 1.82 children per woman.

Sweden’s overall fertility rate in 2007 was 1.88 children per woman, below the rate of 2.1 children per woman required to replace the population.

Since 1980, the percentage of births registered in Sweden to mothers born outside the country has nearly doubled from 12 percent to 22 percent.

Part of the increase is thought to be related to the increase in the number of foreign born women of childbearing age which has risen from 11 percent of women living in Sweden aged 20 to 40-years-old in 1980 to 18 percent in 2007.

According to the report, Sweden’s foreign-born population has increased by more than one million people in the last 50 years and numbered about 1.2 million people in 2007 out of Sweden’s total population of just under 9.2 million.

Statistics Sweden projects that Sweden’s foreign-born population will reach 1.7 million by 2050.

Entitled ‘Childbearing among native and foreign-born’, the study divides foreign-born women into six different categories corresponding to their country of origin: other Nordic countries, EU countries other than Nordic countries, European countries except the EU and Nordic countries, and countries outside Europe with high, medium or low level of development based on the United Nation’s Human Development Index (HDI).

Women from most of the groupings were found to have a greater likelihood of giving birth to a third or fourth child compared to women born in Sweden.

The study’s authors attribute the difference in part to the tendency of newly arrived immigrants to have children shortly after their arrival and in part because some groups of immigrant women are more likely to start having children earlier in life, as well as a tendency for women in Sweden to only have two children.

In general, the fertility rates of women born in other Nordic countries, EU countries other than the Nordics, and highly developed countries outside of Europe such as the United States, Chile, and South Korea, mirror the fertility rates of Swedish-born women quite closely since 1990.

Women born in European countries outside the EU, however, have historically had higher fertility rates than women born in Sweden, as have women born in low and medium developed countries outside of Europe.

The group with the highest fertility rate includes women born in countries with low-levels of economic development, although rates vary greatly from country to country.

Women from Somalia, for example, have the highest fertility rate, averaging 3.9 children per woman in 2007. However, women born in Ethiopia have a fertility rate of only 2.2 children per woman.

According to Statistics Sweden, however, childbearing patterns for foreign-born women are demonstrating a convergence with those of women born in Sweden.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Morocco Bans French Magazine for Insulting Islam

The Moroccan government has banned an issue of the French magazine L’Express International, claiming it insults Islam in articles exploring the relationship between that religion and Christianity.

Information Minister Khalid Naciri said Sunday that he had no choice but to ban the current issue because of the offensive nature of the articles it contained. The minister said the kingdom’s press code allows the government to shut down or ban any publication deemed to offend Islam or the king.

The cover of this week’s L’Express is titled “The Jesus-Muhammad Shock” — also the title of a book by Christian Makarian, one of the magazine’s chief editors.

The weekly said the series of articles was inspired by a meeting planned this week in Rome between Christian and Muslim scholars and is intended to “help the dialogue between Islam and Christianity.”

Naciri did not specify exactly what was considered offensive, but told The Associated Press that “our country should not be used by anyone to spread articles that could be prejudicial to our religion or undermine public order,”

A statement on L’Express’ Internet site said the magazine did not understand Morocco’s reaction, particularly because pains had been taken to adhere to Islamic norms, notably by covering the face of Muhammad with a white veil in side-by-side cover portraits of Jesus and Islam’s prophet, in line with Islamic law. The French edition leaves the face uncovered.

The articles provide broad outlines of the two monotheistic religions. One article comparing Jesus and Muhammad quotes verses from the Quran that it says show that the Muslim holy book “justifies violence toward those who refuse to obey Muslim law.” It says that Muhammad the pacifist and Muhammad the warrior are united in one figure.

Morocco, a tourism haven and strong European and U.S. ally, has seen a rising tide of political Islam.

Makarian said on the Web site that L’Express is the only French magazine to issue a monthly supplement centered on Morocco, a former French colony.

“We were banned despite this particular attention that shows our respect for the Moroccan public and the Muslim faith,” he said. “I don’t understand.”

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Oxford Christmas Ban Upsets UK Muslims

CAIRO — Plans by Oxford city council to ban the world Christmas from this year’s festival celebrations are drawing rebukes from Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders for changing long-established British traditions.

“I’m really upset about this,” Sabir Hussain Mirza, chairman of the Muslim Council of Oxford, told the Oxford Mail on Sunday, November 2.

“This is the one occasion which everyone looks forward to in the year. Christians, Muslims and other religions all look forward to Christmas.”

The Oxford city center has decided to axe the word Christmas from this year’s celebration, naming it the “Winter Light Festival”.

“We changed the name to be more inclusive,” said Liz Gresham of Oxford Inspires, which has proposed the move.

“We have Diwali at this time of year and Hannukah, so these are represented as well.”

Under the new plans, lights will be turned on automatically at the beginning of the Winter Light event as part of the unveiling of the new Bonn Square on Friday, November 28.

A giant mobile of the solar system will hang from a crane in Broad Street on that night and will be lit up by a pyrotechnic display of fireworks.

“There’s going to be a Christmas tree and even if the lights are called something else to me they will be Christmas lights,” said council deputy leader Ed Turner.

“We are not Christmas killers.”

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Pacifist Spain is Arming the Enemies of the West

Zapatero has been careful to appoint only pacifists as Spanish ministers of defense. Zapatero’s first defense minister, the controversial José Bono Martínez, proclaimed: “I am a minister of defense and I would rather be killed than to kill.” He then issued orders prohibiting Spanish troops in Afghanistan from using lethal force on Taliban fighters.

Zapatero’s second minister of defense, José Antonio Alonso Suárez, believed it was his job to demilitarize the Spanish military and to turn the newly disarmed forces into an NGO-like humanitarian organization instead. To achieve his vision, he purged from the senior ranks of the Spanish military those officers who refused to abandon the silly belief that the main purpose of the military is the defense of Spanish sovereignty.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Police Solve Six Percent of Sweden’s Crimes

Nearly 95 percent of violent crimes and robberies committed in Sweden go unsolved, and an individual police officer solves an average of three crimes per year, according to a recent analysis.

Research carried out by TV4’s Kalla Fakta (‘Cold Facts’) investigative news programme also revealed that violent crimes and robberies make up about 75 percent of all crimes reported in Sweden.

Overall, one in seven Swedes was the victim of a crime in 2007

And of the approximately 900,000 crimes reported last year, police solved only 5.8 percent.

“There is often very little of value to work with. When it comes to theft, there are no witnesses, and victims often don’t know when the crime occurred. There’s really not much to go on and that obviously makes it hard to solve crimes,” said national police chief Bengt Svenson to TV4.

Over the last three years, the number of solved crimes has been decreasing for all crimes except drug and traffic offences, when perpetrators are most often caught in the act.

“It’s a little like a lottery unfortunately. You can have good luck or bad luck as to whether you get the right police officer, depending on whether you are a criminal or a victim,” said researcher Stefan Holgersson.

For justice minister Beatrice Ask, the figures are an unpleasant development for a government for which crime reduction was an important election promise.

While the government has promised to have 20,000 police on the street by 2010, Ask remains concerned about the prevailing culture in Sweden’s law enforcement community.

“I think it has to do with the culture, the idea that there is simply nothing that can be done. Sometimes it may be due to procedural shortcomings. It can sometimes be that people have bad luck. But sometimes it’s also because it’s genuinely hard to investigate a case,” she said.

Regardless, however, Ask said the figures were “frighteningly” high and that Swedish police could probably do a better job of clearing things up in many cases.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Prison: Spain, Mini-Apartments for Inmates and Children

(By Paola Del Vecchio) (ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 23 — Today in Palma de Majorca, the first external penitentiary module for inmate mothers was inaugurated today, and will allow them to live with their children outside of prison. As explained by secretary of State security, Antonio Camacho during the inauguration, this is the first of 5 centres that will be built in 5 communities by 2012, destined to host a total of 200 minors, otherwise forced to live behind bars. These centres will hold 20 inmates with children who are less than three years of age, and are equipped, among other things, with a paediatric clinic. “It is an attempt to pull minors of less than three years of age out of prisons”, explained Camacho in a press conference in which, according to what was reported by the Europa Press agency, were present also the secretary general of Penitentiary Institutions, Mercedes Gallizo, and representative of the central government in Palma, Ramon Socias. Children who, often, since birth have not known anything outside of the barren walls of a prison cell, penitentiary police uniforms, and the metallic noise the automatic iron doors make. But now, in the new pilot centre in Majorca, they will be able to live in mini-apartments with room for toys, a lounge with a table, sofa, a cradle, and even microwave ovens in which mothers can heat up their bottles. “There are schedules, but not like in prison, where at 7am there is role call — explained the director of the external module in Majorca, Juan Fernando Diez -. The doors will not close automatically at 8:30pm and mothers will be able to open and close their apartments from the inside, and wake up at dawn to warm up milk for their children, things that were unthinkable up until now”. The new centre is an un-guarded prison similar to an open custodial system. As workers explain, “security rules will be mostly oriented to impede people entering”. In order to be assigned to the new external units, inmates will have to follow reintegration programs, after finishing their imprisonment. “The module — explained the secretary general of Penitentiary Institutes, Mercedes Gallizo — is a instructive project in which inmates learn to be responsible for their children”. According to current regulations, minors can remain in prison with their mothers until three years of age. But Gallizo is thinking of raising the age to six, as was dictated by previous laws until 1996. Starting today, children who will go to the centre in Majorca with their mothers will be able to leave in the morning to go to nursery school like their peers, and go home in the afternoon. They will also have a social support network which they can count on. They will not have to get up at 7:00 for head count and will not be forced to see prison guard’s uniforms, because in the new centre guards will all be in plain clothes. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Reggiani Murder: Mailat Sentenced to 29 Years

(AGI) — Rome, Oct. 29 — The court presided by Angelo Gargani inflicted a 29 year sentence on Romulus Nicolae Mailat, the 25 year old Rumanian charged with the assault, on 30 October 2007, close to the Tor di Quinto rail station, of 47 year old Giovanna Reggiani, who died on November 1 because of sustained injuries.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Garzon’s Inquiry on Franco, Prosecutor’s Petition

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 20 — The Prosecutor’s Office of the Audiencia Nacional filed a petition with the Penal Court Monday against the decision by which judge Baltazar Garzon claimed he was entitled to conduct an inquiry into alleged crimes against humanity committed during the Civil War and the Franco years. The Prosecutor said in a statement that competent bodies to inquire into missing people, victims of the Franco regime still to be identified or buried in mass graves, are “the regional courts of each region where the atrocities were perpetrated”. The statement also explained the petition was filed with the Penal Court rather than with just judge Garzon in order to have the plenary body rule on whòs competent for theinquiry, “taking into account the importance and the special nature of the matters involved in the controversy”. The majority of the 16 magistrates who make up the Penal Court of the Audiencia, told the Cadena Ser radio a few days ago they were against the ruling by Garzon upholding the competence of Audiencia Nacional. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘The EU is Virtually an Accomplice of Moscow’

Interview With Estonian President Ilves

It has been three months since Russia withdrew from Georgia, but not everyone is happy with the EU’s stance toward Moscow. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves warns about EU passivity in its relations with Russia.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. President, in mid- August, you made a point of visibly hurrying to Tbilisi right after Russian soldiers began marching into Georgia. Do you think European Union relations with Russia are returning to normal too soon?

Toomas Hendrik Ilves: There is certainly a part of the block that would like to get back to business as usual as soon as possible. But the invasion shows that the silent accord from 1991 is now off the table. The accord stated that Russia could do whatever it wanted within its own borders — even if it meant bombing Chechnya — and that people beyond its borders could make their own decisions. That is no longer the case.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is it not understandable why Moscow might find it unsettling to have NATO advancing all the way to its doorstep?

Ilves: Moscow regards former Soviet states as lying within its sphere of influence. Should one respect that viewpoint but not respect the decisions of Georgia and Ukraine to pursue democracy and closer ties with the West?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Moscow’s pretext for invading Georgia was to protect the Russian minority. One-third of Estonia’s population speaks Russian. Does your country have anything to be afraid of?

Ilves: There is practically nowhere else in the world where Russians can live their culture as fully as they can in Estonia. What do these people need protection against? Liberal democracy? As a member of NATO, we don’t have to be afraid of any invasion…

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Vatican: Tauran, We Don’t Apply ‘Do Ut Des’ Logic to Islam

(ANSAmed) — VATICAN CITY, NOVEMBER 3 — “Respecting the principle of reciprocity is not preliminary to dialogue, it does not respond to the ‘Do ut des’ logic. It would be un-Christian”. This is what Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Papal council for inter-religious dialogue, explains in an interview given to the Catholic French newspaper “La Croix” regarding the Holy Seés approach towards the principle of liberty of consciousness and religious practices. In the interview, printed today, the day before the Islamic-Christian forum begins at the Vatican, the Cardinal expresses the hope that the issue of religious freedom can be addressed during the summit. “We will have to see — he said — how the participants want to address it”. The issue — the Cardinal explained — “is written into the question of reciprocity”, according to which “that which is good for me is good for you”. In other words — Tauran added — if a Muslim has the possibility for a place of worship in Europe, it would be normal that the same would be possible in countries with a Muslim majority”. “But attention”, Tauran added: all of this does no respond to the logic of “do ut des”. “I believe that by being clear we can arrive little by little to changes in behaviour”. There is also the need to see “how to make these openings real” that is creating dialogue among “the elite, and the masses”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Wales: E-Mail Error Ends Up on Road Sign

When officials asked for the Welsh translation of a road sign, they thought the reply was what they needed.

Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh: “I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated”.

So that was what went up under the English version which barred lorries from a road near a supermarket.

“When they’re proofing signs, they should really use someone who speaks Welsh,” said journalist Dylan Iorwerth.

Swansea Council became lost in translation when it was looking to halt heavy goods vehicles using a road near an Asda store in the Morriston area

All official road signs in Wales are bilingual, so the local authority e-mailed its in-house translation service for the Welsh version of: “No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only”.

The reply duly came back and officials set the wheels in motion to create the large sign in both languages.

The notice went up and all seemed well — until Welsh speakers began pointing out the embarrassing error.

Welsh-language magazine Golwg was promptly sent photographs of the offending sign by a number of its readers.

           — Hat tip: Zonka [Return to headlines]


Bosnia: EU Freezes Help for Breach on Fiscal Regulations

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 28 — The EU Commission has decided to freeze 50 million euro destined to projects in Bosnia — Herzegovina in the framework of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (Ipa) due to the lack of application of EU tax regulations. “We have no choice other than to delay the sending of these funds — explained Krisztina Nagy, spokesperson for the EU Commissioner for Enlargement — because the Bosnian authorities have not applied EU tax regulations”. The Bosnian Prime Minister Niklola Spiric had discussed the issue with Rehn last September and had hoped for “a rapid solution”. The Commission expects that Bosnia Herzegovina respect the commitments made at the beginning of the year with the Ipa — concluded the spokesperson — so that the funds can be unblocked and the projects can be started in the interests of the Bosnian citizens”. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

Gulf Petrodollars Help UK Go Green

Brown calls for Saudis to give more cash to IMFThe fight against climate change will get an unexpected boost today from oil-rich Gulf states which will pledge to invest some of their petrodollar profits in British green energy projects.

The surging oil price over the past year has left parts of the Middle East awash with cash as the rest of the world is squeezed by the credit crunch, making Arab royals some of the few active investors worldwide. The Gulf states have enjoyed a $1.4 trillion windfall from higher oil prices since 2003.

Ed Miliband, the Climate Change Secretary, arrived in Saudi Arabia yesterday with Gordon Brown at the start of a tour of the region. He said some of that cash would now ‘help our firms reap the rewards from going low carbon and providing green energy to thousands of families’ under a so-called ‘green Gulf deal’ to be announced today.

Brown, who is accompanied by a high-level trade delegation seeking Gulf investment, including the CEOs of BP and Shell, was due to hold talks yesterday with the Saudi government on plans to boost the International Monetary Fund’s capacity to help distressed economies during the current crisis. Britain wants the Gulf states to release more funds to the IMF, with Saudi Arabia likely to play a key role in talks later this month in Washington.

As the government attempted to deal with the financial crisis in the UK, it emerged yesterday that Jim Murphy, the Scottish Secretary, has discussed a rival bid for the troubled HBOS bank, which could provide an alternative to the planned merger with Lloyds TSB. Ministers have been challenged over whether the new ‘superbank’ is still the right option following the bail-out of British banks.

Murphy, who has met Jim Spowart, founder of Intelligent Finance, which is part of HBOS, said yesterday that if there was ‘a second serious bid then [the Treasury] would be happy to talk to them.’ Spowart, who has previously accused ministers of trying to railroad the merger through, said he had been told by merchant bankers that an unnamed financial services organisation was interested and thought he should ‘alert the government’ to the possibility.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Med Union: Israel and Palestine in Favour of Barcelona

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 29 — The two associations for local government authorities in Israel and Palestine demonstrated their support for the candidacy of Barcelona as the seat of the future permanent Secretaryship of the Union for the Mediterranean, inform sources today in the Catalan city in a message. Both the Association and the Local Palestinian Authorities and the Union of Local Groupsof Israel have demonstrated their support in two lettes sent to the Barcelona Town Hall. For Israeli local government groups, according to Gaudi “it is the city that offers solid reception services with a more than evident Mediterranean vocation”. In the same terms, Isam Akel, executive director of the Association of the local Palestinian authorities underlined “all the efforts that the city has always made on an international level”. Barcelonàs candidacy received the adherence of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces, as well a the main Spanish unions. But its ambition to host the permanent Secretaryship of the Union for the Mediterranean is seriously threatened by the candidacy of Tunis, supported by France which has the role of temporary EU president, and is also backed by Italy. The decision will be made this November 3 and 4 in Marseilles, in the meeting of Foreign Ministers and EU member states. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Med Union: Barcelona, Choice of Capital Around the Corner

(by Chiara De Felice) (ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, NOVEMBER 3 — European betters are rubbing their hands because, barring a sudden turn of events, Barcelona will be named capital city of the Union for the Mediterranean, and become the headquarters of the Union permanent secretariat. Provided that the clash between Israel and the Arab League leads to cancelling the first meeting of the Union — in Marseille today and tomorrow — where the Foreign Ministers of the 43 Euro-Mediterranean Countries were due to take the final decsision on the institutional organization of the body launched in Paris July 13 under the direction of Frech President Nicolas Sarkozy. In Marseille, the Foreign ministers (Italy will be represented by minister Franco Frattini and undersecretary Stefania Craxi) will be faced with the task of handling the Middle East conflict. Back then, on July 13, at the outset of the Union, Israeli Premier, Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) shook hands with each other before a watery-eyed Sarkozy, today Israel and the Arab League are ready to do battle, rather than sit at one table together. The issue the ministers will have to resolve before being able to take a step forward, and decide what projects of collaboration between the two shores of the Mediterranean are to be addressed, is a familiarly riddle: Israel, who has not accepted the presence of the Arab League as an observer at ministerial-level meetings of the Union for the Mediterranean, does not desire their presence in the higher level gatherings. But the League, under its General Secretary, Amr Moussa, is not willing to give up this chance of taking an active role, as had been promised them by Sarkozy. Another puzzle to solve at Marseille will be the decision over a Secretariat, or a headquarters for the new Union, where work can go ahead 365 days of the year on promoting projects and monitoring the political situation in the hotter areas. With Valletta ruled out of the more-or-less official short-list of candidates, that leaves Tunis and Barcelona, with the canniest betters tilting more towards the Catalan city. It would indeed appear that the Arab candidate has the poorer cards in its hand, despite having such hefty backers as France and Italy. Tunis lacks the support of many Arab states, who have not been able to present a widely-backed candidate. The ministers will, furthermore, have to choose a Secretary General to place at the head of the Secretariat, and her or his Deputy, keeping to the logic of a North-South balance. One would be an EU representative and the other would have the interests of the Southern shores more at heart. If the Southern shore is finding it hard to reconcile its own shared interests, nor is the European side lacking in internal squabbles. Another riddle will be the decision on the rotating European presidency. The Union has a double presidency: the rotating one of the EU and that of the Southern candidate. But given the EU’s six-monthly rhythm of rotation, excessive switching of the European head of the Union could be avoided, as someone proposed (such as France, who is loathe to let go of control over its creation) if the EU president be flanked by a European state which faces the Mediterranean, in a two-year rhythm. But there are those, such as the next EU rotating president state, Slovakia, who aren’t willing to play by these rules, unleashing an unsought-for reaction of Mediterranean pride.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Mediterranean: Land to Build Europe, Apulia Governor Says

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 30 — The Mediterranean Sea is where Europe can form itself according to the president of the Apulia Region, Nichi Vendola, during forum organized today by ANSA. “I don’t want to form the Southern League” he said, “we must think as Mediterranean citizens on a continent that reasons in mediocre compromises”. According to Vendola, all the instruments are there: “The Mediterranean” he specified “must become a great integrated port system. The Tyrrhenian and Adriatic today are two separate seas: this wall must come down”. Doing so means also recovering the spirit and traditions, also that “Levantine spirit” that has opened the door for many different cultures in the past. “We must invent a new tradition in that sense: otherwise we may have locked our Byzantine Madonna in a temporary shelter”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union: Uphill Start for Sarkozy’s Creation

(by Chiara De Felice) (ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 31 — Four months have passed since the birth of the Union for the Mediterranean and there are already storms brewing between the shores and the first official gathering of the Union is already in danger of capsizing if Foreign Ministers from the 43 Euromediterranean countries don’t manage to keep Israel and the Arab League pacified. Otherwise their bickering could spell a squabbling end to the much-desired Union of French President, Nicolas Sarkozy. In Marseille, this coming Monday and Tuesday, the 43 Foreign ministers will be faced with the task of handling the Middle East conflict. Back then, on June 13, at the outset of the Union, Israeli Premier, Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) shook hands with each other before a watery-eyed Sarkozy, today Israel and the Arab League are ready to do battle, rather than sit at one table together. The issue the ministers will have to resolve before being able to take a step forward, and decide what projects of collaboration between the two shores of the Mediterranean are to be addressed, is a familiarly riddle: Israel, who has not accepted the presence of the Arab League as an observer at ministerial-level meetings of the Union for the Mediterranean, does not desire their presence in the higher level gatherings. But the League, under its General Secretary, Amr Moussa, is not willing to give up this chance of taking an active role, as had been promised them by Sarkozy. Another puzzle to solve at Marseille will be the decision over a Secretariat, or a headquarters for the new Union, where work can go ahead 365 days of the year on promoting projects and monitoring the political situation in the hotter areas. With Valletta ruled out of the more-or-less official short-list of candidates, that leaves Tunis and Barcelona, with the canniest betters tilting more towards the Catalan city. It would indeed appear that the Arab candidate has the poorer cards in its hand, despite having such hefty backers as France and Italy. Tunis lacks the support of many Arab states, who have not been able to present a widely-backed candidate. The ministers will, furthermore, have to choose a Secretary General to place at the head of the Secretariat, and her or his Deputy, keeping to the logic of a North-South balance. One would be an EU representative and the other would have the interests of the Southern shores more at heart. If the Southern shore is finding it hard to reconcile its own shared interests, nor is the European side lacking in internal squabbles. Another riddle will be the decision on the rotating European presidency. The Union has a double presidency: the rotating one of the EU and that of the Southern candidate. But given the EU’s six-monthly rhythm of rotation, excessive switching of the European head of the Union could be avoided, as someone proposed (such as France, who is loathe to let go of control over its creation) if the EU president be flanked by a European state which faces the Mediterranean, in a two-year rhythm. But there are those, such as the next EU rotating president state, Slovakia, who aren’t willing to play by these rules, unleashing an unsought-for reaction of Mediterranean pride.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

PNA: EU Agrees on Temporary Reception of Certain Palestinians

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 30 — The EU Council has decided to extend for one year the national permit given to Palestinians evacuated from Bethlehem in 2002, to stay in the EU. The member states agreed at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council held in Luxembourg 27 and 28 October, according to the items under External Relations in the Conclusions adopted. The relevant reference reads: “The Council adopted a Common Position extending for one year the validity of national permits allowing Palestinians who were evacuated from Bethlehem following the siege of the Church of the Nativity by Israeli forces in 2002 to stay in the EU”.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tourism: UAE Partners Acquire 50% of Albanesi Hotels

(ANSAmed) — RIMINI, OCTOBER 27 — The Albanesi Hotels group, under the Rimini-based hotelier Franco Albanesi, has been acquired by partners of the Arab Emirates, as reported by the founder himself as part of the TGG-TTI, the Tunisian Tourism Exhibition underway in Rimini until Sunday. “For now we have 6 four-star hotels,” said Albanesi and his management team, “but we intend to open 8 others for a total of 1500 rooms. We have invested 23 million euro solely for the Hotel exhibition, and 15 others have gone into the restructuring of Touring. We have 40-50 million more planned for investment, as well as the construction of other luxury hotels, including a 6-star one in Moscow, together with a few Russian partners.” The hotelier said that the parent company with their Arab partners had been set up in London, and that it will be in control of two other companies, one for construction and the other for the management of the structures. Albanesi began with his family’s hotel in Cattolica and is now the owner of a group which includes numerous hotels along the Emilia Romagna seaside, and not only there. His hotels go from the Major in Trieste to the Touring in Rimini, from the Boemia in Riccione to the Granduca di San Giuliano Terme in Pisa, from the Admiral Palace to the new Hotel Fiera in the process of being built near the exhibition area in Rimini. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UAE-Europe Trade Treaty ‘Likely by End of the Year’

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, OCTOBER 23 — A long-awaited free trade agreement between the UAE and Europe could finally be in place by the end of the year, according to Francés minister of Foreign Trade as reported by Gulf news onlin. “The idea is to have a clear frame and clear rules for business, trade and investment. Discussions are going on, with tariff barriers for trade and legal and fiscal rules. We hope very much, under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, it will be possible to have a result before the end of this year and we are working very hard for that,” Anne-Marie Idrac, told Gulf News during her visit to the French pavilion at Gitex yesterday. Idrac said it is important to have a “zone of stability” and to work as a group between the six countries of the Gulf on one hand and the 27 European countries on the other. On the existing trade between the two countries, Idrac said it is growing, especially with the plethora of mega-projects currently underway in the UAE. “(Trade) is good which means it is growing and for Europe it is interesting and for France it is interesting because we export, especially in many infrastructure sectors- transport, energy, water. And we hope that it will not only be possible to contribute to all the very, very exciting projects there are in infrastructure here but also to diversify, including in construction,” the minister added. She said projects here in the UAE, including those involved with infrastructure have not been hit by the financial crisis that is crippling other countries around the world, like the US and Europe. “It is interesting to hear that the schedule and planning of infrastructure programmes, especially transport, seem not to be affected by the financial crisis because they are a very high priority of the government,” Idrac said. She also said France is already interested in all the UAE projects on the table and said French companies have contributed a healthy amount to the Dubai Metro. “For example, on the Metro, existing figures of commitment from French companies is more than Dh6 billion (over 1 billion euro),” Idrac said. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Islam: Morocco Bans Distribution of This Week’s L’Express

(ANSAmed) — RABAT, OCTOBER 31 — Morocco has banned the distribution of this week’s edition (October 30 to November 5) of the French weekly L’Express International. The decision, says Map news agency, was taken by the Communication Minister, based on the Press and Editorial Code, because “this edition publishes a dossier that attacks the Muslim religion”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Haaretz: We Will Not Sign a Peace Agreement With the Palestinians Even if They Become “Finnish”

No new Israeli government, regardless of which party that dominates it, can reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians even if they become ‘Finnish’ and eliminate Hamas,” said the Israeli Haaretz daily newspaper.

“Peace with the Palestinians means withdrawal from the occupied lands, including Jerusalem and the return of Palestinian refugees, which no Israeli government is able to do,” the newspaper added.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Israel: Rabin’s Assassin Gives Interviews and is Punished

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, OCTOBER 31 — The man who assassinated the Israeli prime minister Yizhak Rabin, Igal Amir, has been transferred to another prison and is being kept in isolation after two television networks announced yesterday that they had interviewed him by telephone. Despite heated protests by numerous commentators and the outrage of several members of parliament (including the labour leader Ehud Barak), the interviews will still be broadcast this evening. According to Amir’s wife Larissa, the punishment inflicted on her husband is unjustified because he had not realized that the telephone conversations would be broadcast. Amir was sentenced to life in prison for killing the labour leader Yizhak Rabin on the evening of 4 November 1995, at the end of a peace rally. The assassin has never shown remorse but has gradually managed to improve his conditions of imprisonment. At his request, he was transferred to a prison in the centre of Israel, he managed to get married through deception, he obtained the right to be alone with his wife a year ago and has also become a father. In extracts from the interviews that were broadcast yesterday, Amir says that he also could have killed Rabin on a previous occasion during a wedding. He added that he was driven to carry out the assassination by the heated rallies of nationalist right-wing exponents who at that time were against the Oslo agreements, including the speeches by Ariel Sharon, Rafael Eitan and Rehavam Zeevi. But on the internet a further telephone interview is already circulating, made days ago by the investigator Natan Ghefen. In this conversation, Amir reveals that Rabin’s bodyguard “gave three conflicting versions”; he doubts that the mortal shot was fired from his gun; and he states that in the official reconstruction of the assassination “there is a great lie”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Middle East: Jerusalem, Tolerance Museum Becomes Dispute

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, OCTOBER 30 — The construction of a Museum of Tolerance on the site of a centuries-old Muslim cemetery has become the focus of a new dispute between Jews and Muslims. The decision of the Israeli Supreme Court to authorise the building on the controversial site caused angry reactions from the city’s Muslim leaders. The Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein described the decision as “grave” and the building of a museum whose declared aim is to prove that Muslims, Jews and Christians can live in peace and mutual tolerance “an act of agression”. The construction of the museum in the centre of Jerusalem is an initiative of the Simon Wiesenthal Institute of Los Angeles in the main. The work began some years ago but was interrupted in 2006 after the discovery of dozens of tombs, followed by a petition to the Supreme Court. The Muslim authorities have so far rejected all proposals put forward to solve the problem, saying that the sanctity of the whole cemetery should be respected. The Supreme Court decided however that some of the proposals to reconcile religious needs over respect for the dead and legal obligations were reasonable. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Mideast: Rubinstein, Media is Israel-Palestine Battlefield

(ANSAmed) — MILAN, OCTOBER 30 — The Palestinian and Israeli media are like the “battlefield” between the two factions and are responsible for exacerbating public opinion in both countries. This is the situation of the media in Israel and in the Occupied Territories according to Danny Rubinstein, who writes a column in the Kalkalist, the economic supplement to the Israeli daily ‘Yedioth Ahronoth’. “You just have to see how we treat each other”, said the journalist during a meeting organized at the provincial council of Milan, “how we discredit each other, how we curse each other”. This self-criticism is reciprocated on the Arab side by that of Khalil Shaheen, a columnist in the daily ‘Al-Ayyam’. “The Palestinian media”, he said, “have failed to present the situation in many circumstances, for example where Palestinians who blew themselves up are concerned”. In other cases, they were presented “like strangers” compared to their own people. The meeting between the two concluded the workshop which brought two delegations of Israeli and Palestinian journalists and experts to Milan over the last few days, on the initiative of CIPMO (Italian Centre for Peace in the Middle East) and the Keshev and Miftah centres, with the support of the Lombardy regional council and the provincial council of Milan. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Teacher Attacked in UNRWA School, Strike Called, Local Committee Promises Action

Nablus — Ma’an — Teachers with the UNRWA schools in Balata refugee camp will begin a strike on Tuesday after a teacher was assaulted by the parent of one of the school’s students.

Director of the Askar School where the incident occurred said an angry father rushed the guard at the door to the school, assaulted him and then entered the building where he struck a teacher over the head with a blunt object.

The teacher’s condition has been described as moderate to serious, and he was taken immediately to hospital for treatment.

Teachers at the school decided to go on strike in protest of the attack, and to “punish those responsible” for the attack.

The services committee affiliated to the Fatah movement in the refugee camp said that they will follow up the issue.

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis [Return to headlines]

West Bank: Student ‘Clinically Dead’ After Fall From School’s Third-Story Window

Bethlehem — Ma’an — A tenth-grade Palestinian student was left “clinically dead” following his fall from a third-story classroom window on Tuesday, sparking bitter accusations that the incident was a result of an ongoing teachers’ union strike.

The injury occurred when a newly-appointed teacher at Ash-Shafi’i school in Gaza City allegedly threw a student from a classroom window. The teacher had been brought in as a replacement due to the ongoing strike in Gaza’s public schools.

The secretary general of the striking teacher’s union, Jamil Shahada, told Ma’an in a telephone call that the student was announced “clinically dead” on Tuesday. Arafat As-Sawwaf was taken to Ash-Shifa Hospital where medical workers announced his condition.

“One of the de facto government’s teachers threw Arafat from the third floor,” Shahada said.

But the de facto government’s education ministry disputed the claim, saying the incident was almost certainly “accidental.” Spokesperson Khalid Radi told Ma’an that his ministry had appointed a committee to follow up on the incident, saying the outcome would be published “in full.”

The father of the boy, Raafat As-Sawwaf, told Ma’an that his son was admitted to the intensive care unit at the Gaza City hospital on Tuesday. He appealed to Palestinian officials to help him get a permit to take his son to a hospital outside Gaza, as “his skull was ruptured and there is internal bleeding.”

He also told Ma’an that the boy had not been “thrown” from the window, but that the incident was not an accident, either. As-Sawwaf explained that the teacher had been chasing his son on the third floor, where he attempted to climb a pipe from the window. From there, the teacher reportedly struck the boy with a rod, causing the fall.

Palestinian Minister of Health Fathi Abu Mughli told Ma’an via telephone that his ministry immediately began arrangements to transfer the boy to Israeli Ehilov hospital this evening or early Wednesday morning. He explained that the injured student is in a coma, having sustained injuries to the skull and pelvis.

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Israel Involved in US Air Strike on Syrian Village

AMMAN- Israeli intelligence said that they provided the US occupation forces in Iraq with detailed information on the target in the US air strike on Al Bukamal village at the Syrian-Iraqi border.

“It was difficult on the US air force planes launching the raid to identify the location of the target without the Israeli intelligence help,” said the Israeli reserve army brigadier general Jacob Amedor. Amedor promised to reveal more details in the coming few days.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Saudi Lawyers to Provide Legal Assistance for Young Men Who Want Sex Change Operations

Several Saudi lawyers intend to provide legal representation to young Saudi men who want to change their sex, so as to help them with the required legal processes.

Also, the young men have asked the lawyers to launch a campaign to increase social awareness of their existence and of their right to a normal life.

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis [Return to headlines]

Saudi Goats Sell for Thousands at Beauty Contest

RIYADH (Reuters) — First it was camels. Now Saudi Arabia has held its first “beautiful goat” pageant.

Owners of pedigree “Najdi” goats from around the Gulf region converged on Riyadh this week, hoping to win the prize for top male and female goat, following in the footsteps of lucrative camel competitions which have taken off in recent years.

“The Najdi goat is a pure national product like nothing else in the world,” said Sheikh Faisal al-Saadoun, a leading Saudi breeder who organised the show. “They are different in terms of beauty, shape and how eye-catching they are.”

The goats are named after the central Najd region of Saudi Arabia, where the goats have a distinctive high nose bridge and shaggy hair with a fine, silky quality. They were given a thorough shampoo for the show, according to the official website ( which displayed the winners.

Most of the goats in the competition were bred from one star goat, Burgan (Volcano), from Saadoun’s stable and have been exported around the Gulf in trade worth millions of riyals.

Burgan was not on display at the show as the owners fear he could be afflicted by the “evil eye”. But that did not stop offers from the Qatari royal family to buy him, the compere told the gathering.

Saadoun sold dozens of goats from his stable for at least 100,000 riyals ($26,000) each at the show, adding to some 8 million riyals he has made over the years breeding from Burgan.

“This male goat is different. He is historic and he has contributed to developing the Najdi goat,” he told Reuters, as poets recited odes in praise of the goats over loud speakers.

The winner in the male category was a son of Burgan with a value of 450,000 riyals…

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis [Return to headlines]


Russia-Libya: Gaddafi Shops in Moscow and Offers Bases

(by Beatrice Ottaviano) (ANSAmed) — MOSCOW, OCTOBER 31 — Underlining the renewed convergences in the strategic interests of the two nations, Libyàs leader, Muammar Gaddafi has returned to Moscow after a 23-year absence to hold talks with Russiàs leaders on a long series of issues ranging from energy collaboration to nuclear power, military collaboration and mutual positions on a gamut of issues on the international political agenda, such as the financial crisis and the Middle East situation. And there is talk of a support base in Libya for Russian naval vessels crossing the Mediterranean. Gaddafi will, according to Russiàs dailies, have to make up for his negligent interpretation of understandings reached in Tripoli last April with Russiàs then President Vladimir Putin, who wrote off a substantial debt owed to the former USSR (USD 4.5 billion) in exchange for orders that have yet to materialise. According to the Moscow press, an olive branch could take the form of the possibility of Moscow to open a naval base in Libya, or at least a refurbishment stage for Russian naval vessels patrolling the Mediterranean. Also in the table is a deal for building in Libya a ‘made in Russia’ civil-use nuclear power station. Moscow would also be expecting to see the Colonel do some armaments shopping to the value of at least two billion dollars, of Sukhoi 30 aircraft, S300 and Tor-M1 missile systems, Mig-29 jet fighters and T-90 tanks. Gaddafi, however, has other legs on his itinerary in former Soviet states which may turn out to be rivals: Byelorussia, and above all Ukraine (which has confirmed the dates of November 4-6). For some time, according to the Russian media, Kiev has been trying to set up in competition to Russiàs arms exports with its own ex-Soviet product range. But there are some cards that the astute Libyan leader, who has always played a good hand in terms of economic accords, can only obtain in Moscow. Foremost among these are agreements over energy that could bring Libya into the ‘natural gas cartel’ which is at the top of Russiàs energy agenda at a time of crazily swinging crude prices. Gazprom number one, Aleksei Miller, will be among those speaking to the illustrious guest, leaks say. Also not to be forgotten is Gaddafìs suspicion towards the USA (authors of the 1986 bombing of Tripoli which, as has recently emerged, only spared the Colonel’s life thanks to a tip off from the then Italian government). Hosting Russian military might could provide a guarantee in the future. Gaddafi has had his famed Bedouin tent brought with him, a thing he is never without, even on the rare occasions he ventures abroad. It is as yet unclear where the thing might be pitched, given that Russiàs secret services consider it too risky an environment for their guest and are doing the utmost to dissuade the Libyan leader to use it as his residence. The schedule includes and evening meal with Medvedev in Meindorf Castle, the Presidential residence near Moscow, with talks to get under way tomorrow, with Putin almost certain to be present. Tripoli has already demonstrated willingness to open its ports to Russian naval vessels, with refuelling of Northern Fleet ships on their way to joint exercises with Venezuelàs navy in the Caribbean Sea. Formerly a stolid Soviet ally, Libya could return to this role for a Russia that is drifting further apart from the USA of George W. Bush: especially since Europe, with which Tripoli has also reopened dialogue, is becoming more tightly bound into a growing trade exchange with the Russian market, even despite such political obstacles as August’s conflict in Georgia. From Russiàs snows to Libyàs sands there emerges a far from US-centred view of the world, with shared energy interests already having signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation both in Libya itself and other African countries. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Exporters Still Uneasy About Russian Customs

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 27 — Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Hayati Yazici has said customs problems between Russia and Turkey remain but that the government hopes they will be solved as soon as possible by applying the rules of a protocol on the issue that was signed in September. Speaking at the “Silk Road Customs Administrations Forum” in Antalya on Friday, Yazici recalled that Turkey and Russia had signed an agreement to simplify customs procedures for Turkish goods in an attempt to ease trade problems between the two countries that emerged when Russia began imposing tougher inspections on Turkish trucks at border crossings. However he underlined that the rules of the protocol have not yet been put into action and that Turkish exporters still faced problems at Russian customs. Yazici said Turkey and Russia were two big trade partners and that they needed each other. “Turkey is among the top importers from Russia, and the same is true for Russia as well,” he noted. The recent trade dispute has cost Turkey nearly one billion dollars, as Today’s Zaman reported. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UAE: 50 Developers Eye Major Russian Investment

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, OCTOBER 23 — More than 50 UAE-based real estate developers are travelling to Moscow in a bid to attract wealthy Russian investors. The companies, including Damac Properties, Azizi Investments and The First Group are lined up to take part in the first International Property Show Moscow 2008, next month, Arabian business online report. The move comes as Russian investors are expected to pump $1.5 billion into the Dubai property market in 2008. “The high potential of Russian-based investors to make large-scale investments into the booming Dubai real estate market has prompted us to bring the show to their market,” said Dawood Al Shezawi, managing director, Strategic Marketing & Exhibitions. Russian investors are fast becoming among the biggest segment of investors and buyers in the GCC real estate market. More than 800 Russian investors have bought both commercial and residential properties in the emirate estimated at more than 700 million dirhams in the last few years. Representatives from developers will be showcasing their portfolio of UAE projects with the aim of drawing in Russian-based investors to the emirates. “It (the show) is a viable platform for marketing their UAE-based projects, given the outstanding appeal of the UAE to Russian investors,” added Al Shezawi. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Iran Demonstrators Mark US Embassy Seizure

Thousands of young Iranians marked the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy on Monday, a day before Americans elect a new president, with some demonstrators indifferent to the U.S. vote and a few wondering if it could help rebuild ties.

The demonstrators, mainly schoolchildren and students, brandished banners proclaiming “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” and carried effigies of Uncle Sam, who symbolizes the United States, which were to be torched later.

Iran has been a focus of the foreign policy debate in the U.S. campaign before Tuesday’s vote. Both candidates, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, say they will toughen sanctions. Obama says he is prepared to engage in direct talks.

Iran and the United States have had no diplomatic relations for nearly three decades since students took U.S. diplomats at the mission hostage for 444 days following the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the U.S.-backed shah.

The United States cut ties with Tehran in 1980. Washington now says it is considering opening a U.S. interests section in Tehran, which would mean sending diplomats. It says this would show the United States was against Iran’s government not people.

Possibility of change

But amid “Death to America” chants outside the former U.S. mission, some wondered if Tuesday’s vote could bring change.

“There is a good possibility there would be a change in their outlook towards Iran with the coming of the new president. I am very optimistic, especially if Obama is elected,” Ahmad Abdullahi, a 34-year-old school teacher, told Reuters…

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Video: Thailand’s Deep South

From the blurb on the video:

Beyond Southern Thailands beaches, lies Thailand’s deep south. Crime and Islamic extremism are rife. Clashes between the Buddhist authorities and Muslim population have claimed 3,500 lives in four years.

Tensions reach boiling point when villagers claim that the authorities have attacked a Muslim school. The bullets came from the back, through the wall and out”, says the headmaster. “The cylinder was full of gas and a child was hiding behind it”. Retaliation is swift. A roadside bomb explodes beneath a passer-by. As rescuers lift the injured man into a van, bullets rain down on them. At night, Buddhist volunteers man roadblocks in an attempt to counter the Islamic separatists. One is a 16-year-old student, rifle slung over his shoulder. We must keep on fighting, says the town’s mayor. Will spiralling violence lead to civil war in Thailand?

           — Hat tip: H.Numan [Return to headlines]


Swiss Immigrants Pin Hopes on Obama Victory

If Barack Obama wins the race to the White House foreign communities in Switzerland will gain a huge boost of confidence, say immigrant associations.

However, the situation of immigrants in the United States cannot really be compared with that of Europe, where life is much tougher for black people, they say.

“The Democrat candidate’s campaign slogan, ‘Yes, we can’, is also a signal for all immigrants living here,” said Quan-Vinh Nguyen, president of the Fribourg section of the Forum for the Integration of Immigrants (FIMM).

Black communities need an emblematic figure and if they found that person at the head of the world’s biggest power, they would feel all the more accepted, he added.

Ricardo Lumengo, Switzerland’s first black parliamentarian has experienced this ever since he was elected to the House of Representatives last year.

Members of Switzerland’s African community told him they felt “strengthened, supported and encouraged”, explained the Social Democrat from Biel, who is originally from Angola.

“Some people told me that they are now taken more seriously, especially at work. They have also grown in confidence,” he said.

“An election victory for Obama would also be symbolically important, said Lumengo.

“A black president in the White House would be a sign of openness for American society and send a strong signal to other countries,” he said.

“Half African”

“Electing top officials based on their abilities rather than the colour of their skin is just another step in the long psychological process of normalisation,” said Sabine Simkhovitch-Dreyfus, vice-president of the Federal Commission for Racism.

The same comment could be heard among members of Switzerland’s African community.

Obama’s lead in the polls “shows that mentalities have changed a lot in the United States,” said Charles Tématio, a member of the Swiss Association of Cameroonian Students.

Yet the 26-year-old doesn’t really think of Obama as a black man, but rather as someone of mixed race — “half African”. The Democrat candidate has a Kenyan father and a white American mother.

“A victory by the Democrat would allow black Americans to identify themselves with him and enhance their legitimacy,” said Malick Kane, 40, who has lived in the Lausanne region for the past 12 years.

And he hopes an Obama win would have far-reaching repercussions in Europe, given America’s influence throughout the world.

Slow European mentalities

Most people, however, felt there were big differences between the US and Europe.

According to Tématio, the situation for black people in Europe, who are mostly immigrants, is much tougher.

“Mentalities are not as advanced over here as they are in the States”, he noted.

Kane, who has a good knowledge of the US from two years spent there on a post-doctorate research programme, shares this point of view.

“Africans who live over there feel better integrated from an institutional perspective,” he declared.

Switzerland only boasts a small handful of black parliamentarians. Apart from Lumengo at the House of Representatives, Carl-Alex Ridoré, who was born in Haiti, has held the post of head of the Saane district since last July.

In canton Neuchâtel, Nathalie Fellrath, who was born in Switzerland to a Gabonese mother, is a member of the cantonal parliament and Rupan Sivaganesan, from Sri Lanka, is a local MP in canton Zug.

According to Federal Migration Office statistics from the end of August, only three per cent of foreigners who are permanent Swiss residents come from Africa.

Although there are not enough Africans living in Switzerland for someone to be elected to the Swiss government, it’s easy to imagine one of the seven cabinet members sporting a foreign name in the next 30 years, said Nguyen.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

‘All Whites Racist’ Plan Won’t Die

‘Thought reform’ dropped in 2008, but 3 times proposed for 2009

Leaders for The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education say they are continuing to monitor the University of Delaware, which last year was imposing mandatory “all whites are racist” indoctrination on students in residential halls, because there have been multiple attempts to revive the teachings.

In was a year ago when WND reported on work by FIRE to shut down Delaware’s required student training with the stated goals of converting incoming students into “change” agents and providing “treatment” for those who failed…..

“We read ResLife’s online materials (most of which were later removed) and were appalled. ResLife was engaging students in mandatory activities designed to change students’ thoughts, values, attitudes, beliefs, and habits to conform to a specific, highly politicized set of ‘citizenship values’ that had been pre-selected as the marks of responsible citizens. Anything deemed remotely ‘oppressive’ by anyone was to be stamped out, and resident assistants were being taught that ‘[a] racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality,’“ the FIRE report quoted them saying.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Swedish Lesbians in Historic Taj Mahal Wedding

Two young women from Sweden tied the knot at the weekend in the first known lesbian “marriage” near India’s famed Taj Mahal, newspapers said on Monday.

The happy couple, known only as Sandra and Sarah, followed Hindu rituals during the ceremony which was conducted by a priest at the Mahadeva Shiva temple close to the Taj in the town of Agra.

After exchanging garlands, Sandra, 19, marked the head of 18-year-old Sarah with vermilion. They then made seven circuits around a fire in the traditional marriage custom.

The priest, Dharm Das, initially refused to “marry” the pair but relented after they gave an offering to the temple and said they would be his life-long disciples, reports said.

“Although the Hindu system of marriage doesn’t allow such relationships or marriages, I am impressed with the love that the two women have for the monument of love,” Das told the Mail Today.

“They had also argued that their Swedish society allows such kind of marriages.”

Current Swedish law allows for same-sex couples to register civil partnerships, but stops short of allowing homosexual marriages outright. The government is currently considering a new legislative proposal which would give same-sex marriages equal footing with those between heterosexual couples.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]


2008 and the Return of the Nation-State

In 1989, the global system pivoted when the Soviet Union retreated from Eastern Europe and began the process of disintegration that culminated in its collapse. In 2001, the system pivoted again when al Qaeda attacked targets in the United States on Sept. 11, triggering a conflict that defined the international system until the summer of 2008. The pivot of 2008 turned on two dates, Aug. 7 and Oct. 11.

On Aug. 7, Georgian troops attacked the country’s breakaway region of South Ossetia. On Aug. 8, Russian troops responded by invading Georgia. The Western response was primarily rhetorical. On the weekend of Oct. 11, the G-7 met in Washington to plan a joint response to the global financial crisis. Rather than defining a joint plan, the decision — by default — was that each nation would act to save its own financial system with a series of broadly agreed upon guidelines.

The Aug. 7 and Oct. 11 events are connected only in their consequences. Each showed the weakness of international institutions and confirmed the primacy of the nation-state, or more precisely, the nation and the state. (A nation is a collection of people who share an ethnicity. A state is the entity that rules a piece of land. A nation-state — the foundation of the modern international order — is what is formed when the nation and state overlap.) Together, the two events posed challenges that overwhelmed the global significance of the Iraqi and Afghan wars.


The year 2008 has therefore seen two things. First, and probably most important, it resurrected the nation-state and shifted the global balance between the state and business. Second, it redefined the global geopolitical system, opening the door to a resurgence of Russian power and revealing the underlying fragmentation of Europe and weaknesses of NATO.

The most important manifestation of this is Europe. In the face of Russian power, there is no united European position. In the face of the financial crisis, the Europeans coordinate, but they do not act as one. After the summer of 2008, it is no longer fair to talk about Europe as a single entity, about NATO as a fully functioning alliance, or about a world in which the nation-state is obsolete. The nation-state was the only institution that worked.

This is far more important than either of the immediate issues. The fate of Georgia is of minor consequence to the world. The financial crisis will pass into history, joining Brady bonds, the Resolution Trust Corp. and the bailout of New York City as a historical oddity. What will remain is a new international system in which the Russian question — followed by the German question — is once again at the center of things, and in which states act with confidence in shaping the economic and business environment for better or worse.

The world is a very different place from what it was in the spring of 2008. Or, to be more precise, it is a much more traditional place than many thought. It is a world of nations pursuing their own interests and collaborating where they choose. Those interests are economic, political and military, and they are part of a single fabric. The illusion of multilateralism was not put to rest — it will never die — but it was certainly put to bed. It is a world we can readily recognize from history.

           — Hat tip: Conservative Swede [Return to headlines]

Catholic-Muslim Forum: Tariq Ramadan Also Among Delegates

(ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 3 — The Islamic delegation led by the Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mustafa Ceric, will take part in the first Catholic-Muslim forum at the Vatican. Advisor to the signatories of the document by the 138 ‘wise men’ for relations between the Holy See and the Italian State is vicepresident of the Coreis, Yahya Pallavicini, one of the first signatories of the document sent to the Holy Father and to heads of other Christian churches on 13th October 2007. Also expected at tomorrow’s forum are the controversial intellectual Tariq Ramadan, also one of the original signatories. Also present will be President of the Society of Muslim Sociologist of the United Kingdom Anas Al-Shaikh-Ali, who will award his suo Lifetime Achievement Award for 2008 to another member of the delegation, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, lecturer in Islamic studies at the George Washington University. Also in the group of Muslims is Aref Ali Nayed, from the Islamic Centre for Strategic Studies in Amman, the Iranian Ayatollah Seyyed Mustafa Monagheg Damad, Americàs Ingrid Mary Mattson and Britain’s Timothy John Winter. The ‘Italian’ delegation consists of Adnane Mokrani, lecturer at the Università gregoriana, and President of Muslim Intellectuals Ahmad Gianpiero Vincenzo. For reasons of health the Syrian Shaykh Said Ramadan al-Buti, the Mufti of Egypt Ali Gumua, the Director of ISESCO Abd al-Aziz Uthman Al Twaijri, Prince of Nigeria Bola Ajibola and Yemen’s preacher Shaykh Habib Ali al-Jiffri. “This is a religious and not political delegation” said the Coreis in a statement “which disregards diplomatic relations of the States and was set up on the basis of wisdom”. Its members, 24 to begin with, are “spiritual and intellectual masters, religious and academic authorities, old and young, men and women, who join all the regions of the world, shi-ite and sunni from all the branches of law”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Calabrian Mayor Invites Obama to Become Honorary Citizen

San Giovanni in Fiore, 3 Nov. (AKI) — On the eve of the United States presidential election on Tuesday, the mayor of the southern Italian town of San Giovanni in Fiore has sent a message of support to Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama inviting him to visit the town and be made an honorary citizen.

In the letter, Giovanni in Fiore’s mayor, Antonio Nicoletti, also invites Obama to visit the abbey made famous by the Medieval monk, Gioacchino da Fiore, to whom Obama has referred several times during the election campaign.

The 12th century theologian and abbot, who is also known as Joachim of Fiore, founded a monastic order in the local Sila area, where his body is housed.

“It is with amazement and admiration that San Giovanni in Fiore appreciates your references to the abbot,” Nicoletti wrote.

“We rediscover a piece of our history in America that with you pursues its dream and that of our fellow citizens from across the ocean who pack the stadiums at your conventions.

“In their faces, we see the hope of a ‘New America’, united, supportive, welcoming; the New Frontier that so many Italian citizens crossed, people from Calabria, from San Giovanni in Fiore.; the land of opportunity for those who sailed the ocean in search of a better future.

“Senator Obama, I hope most sincerely that you are the next occupant of the White House. Gioacchino da Fiore wished for a more just society, something that is your and our dream, as well as that of so many immigrants who chose the United States.”

In his campaign speeches, Obama referred to Gioacchino da Fiore as a “master of contemporary civilisation” and someone who wanted to create a fairer world.

Italy’s most famous literary figure, Dante Alighieri, referred to Gioacchino da Fiore as a “gifted prophet” in his famous work The Divine Comedy.

Meanwhile, many in San Giovanni in Fiore are awaiting a decision from the Vatican on the beatification of the monk. If there are no hurdles, it is expected to be approved within a year.

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

Muslims Seek Crisis Management Plan With Vatican

Muslim scholars due to meet Pope Benedict and Roman Catholic officials this week hope the Vatican will agree to joint crisis management plan to defuse tensions that flare up between Christianity and Islam.

Violent protests in the Islamic world after a Danish newspaper printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad might have been averted if Christians and Muslims had spoken out jointly against such unrest and the provocation behind it, they say.

This proposal is one of several ideas for better interfaith cooperation that the Common Word group, a broad coalition of Muslim leaders and scholars pursuing dialogue between the world’s two largest religions, will present at the November- 4-6 talks.

“We should develop a crisis reaction mechanism so if there is another cartoon crisis, we could get together and make a joint statement,” said Ibrahim Kalin, an Islam scholar from Turkey who is spokesman for the group.

They would also speak out against religious persecution such as the oppression of Iraq’s Christian minority, said delegation member Sohail Nakhooda, editor of the Amman-based magazine Islamica. “We have to look out for each other,” he said.

The Common Word manifesto, which invited Christian churches to a new interfaith dialogue based on shared principles of love of God and neighbour, was issued in October 2007 partly in response to Pope Benedict’s Regensburg speech a year earlier…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Top Muslims to Meet Pope

Groundbreaking Vatican talks to promote interfaith dialogue

(ANSA) — Rome, November 3 — Leading Muslim scholars arrived in Rome on Monday ahead of groundbreaking talks with top Catholic officials. Nearly 60 delegates will gather in the Vatican on Tuesday morning for two days of meetings aimed at forging closer ties between the two faiths.

On Thursday, the two delegations will discuss their ideas during an audience with Pope Benedict XVI and a final declaration will be released in the afternoon.

Led respectively by the Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mustafa Ceric, and the head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the delegations will discuss ways to improve relations between the world’s two largest religions. The meeting is the fruit of an interfaith initiative by a broad coalition of influential Muslim clerics and scholars, the Common Word group.

Set up to bridge the growing gap between Islam and Christianity, in October 2007 the group sent an open letter to Pope Benedict, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and 25 other Christian leaders calling for interfaith collaboration.

Originally signed by 138 figures, the number of high-profile Sunni and Shiite Muslims adhering to the letter’s principles has since doubled and includes the religious heads of 43 countries, among which Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Vatican meeting comes just two weeks after a similar round of talks in the UK with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

A precise agenda for the Vatican event has not been published although each side is expected to raise a range of initiatives aimed at promoting peace and mutual understanding. Cardinal Tauran emphasized the importance of discussing religious freedom.

‘‘If Muslims have places of worship in Europe then it is normal that the reverse should be true in societies where Muslims are the majority,’’ he said in an interview with French Catholic daily La Croix.

However, he said reciprocity was not a precondition for the talks, which he said offered ‘‘real glimmers of hope’’.

The discussions had to look at ways to convert such dialogue with the elite into a connection with the masses, he added.

The Secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Religious Dialogue, Pier Luigi Celata, said the talks should try to identify the real reason for continuing tension between Christianity and Islam.

‘‘It would be interesting to see whether these tensions are shaped by social, economic, ideological, political and exploitative factors on both sides, rather than by actual religious differences,’’ he said.

Pope Benedict has made inter-religious dialogue a priority of his papacy and has worked hard to mend relations with Islam since he upset Muslims around the world with his comments on the prophet Mohammed in 2005.

The pontiff sparked anger after citing a medieval emperor who said Islam was a ‘violent’ religion at a lecture in Regensburg, Germany.

In an effort to demonstrate his commitment to fostering goodwill among religions he re-established the Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue in 2007 after having merged it with the Council for Culture at the start of his pontificate.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UN Interfaith Meet Set to Back Saudi Initiative

JEDDAH: About 30 world leaders including Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, US President George W. Bush, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines are expected to attend the interfaith dialogue conference at the United Nations in New York on Nov. 12.

Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, president of the UN General Assembly, has sent invitations to leaders of 192 member countries, informed sources said, adding that the conference would focus on the importance of promoting interfaith dialogue in order to strengthen world peace and stability.

The UN interfaith conference, which is the first of its kind, is being held at the initiative of King Abdullah and on the recommendations of the World Dialogue Conference that was held in Madrid in July.

King Abdullah announced last week that he would go to America for the interfaith dialogue conference. He emphasized the importance of the New York conference as it comes at a time when the world is criticizing Islam. “It is regrettable that some of our sons have been tempted by Satan or the brothers of Satan,” the king added, referring to Muslim militants involved in terrorist attacks around the world. “Nothing can purify (Islam’s reputation) except for the extension of Muslims’ hands to their brothers in other religions.”

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

US: Voters Eyeing Obama to End Domestic and Foreign Woes, Jihadist Sites Claim

Dubai, 3 Nov. (AKI) — Americans will on Tuesday elect Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama the next United States president to save their country from its current economic and foreign policy crisis, according to a message posted to Al-Qaeda linked websites, notably Al-Hesbah. “They will vote Barack Obama the first black president of the United States to save themselves from the economic and military crisis that is engulfing them,” said the statement signed by ‘Lion of Jihad 2, The Electronic Jihad Brigades’.

The Electronic Jihad Brigades is a signature that often accompanies jihadist propaganda videos posted to the Internet. The message from ‘Lion of Jihad 2’ was posted to a section of Al-Hesbah reserved for ‘official’ jihadist statements.

“The election of a black man to the White House is no fluke but follows the swingeing blows inflicted by Al-Qaeda in attacks such as 11 September (2001),” the message states.

“The United States is currently going through one of its most difficult periods and Americans want to re-group. The ruling class is tired of the crisis and want to curb the country’s divisions and the tensions between whites and blacks.”

Blacks have great expectations for Obama, and view his victory as “a liberation from abuse and tyranny,” said the message.

“It makes no difference if a Democrat wins. When Bill Clinton was president, he waged more attacks in Somalia, Kosovo and Bosnia , Sudan and Afghanistan and Iraq than Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George Bush,” said the message, referring to other former US presidents before Clinton.

Clinton ordered missile attacks against Iraq in December 1998, and previously in 1996, over its former president Saddam Hussein’s alleged refusal to cooperate with UN chemical, biological and nuclear weapons inspectors.

On 20 August 1998, Clinton ordered US military strikes against alleged terrorist bases in Afghanistan and Sudan in retaliation for the simultaneous bombings earlier that month of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which were linked to Al-Qaeda.

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

29 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/3/2008

  1. That our decline under the Obamachine would be “slow and imperceptible” is a prognostication I take leave to doubt.


  2. Natalie, I just calls ’em as I sees ’em.

    Remember, as a young person, it’s your job to prove me wrong, to demonstrate that I’m a pessimistic old curmudgeon who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    You have a magnificent opportunity, since you are attending what I presume is a fully PC state-funded university, to subvert the dominant paradigm from within.

    Don’t waste those 4 years! You can recruit like-minded racist xenophobic neo-Nazi Islamophobes to the cause and form underground groups that resist Multicultural indoctrination.

    Remember: the PC Multicultural drivel that your fellow students are forced to ingest is stupid and boring, and most kids instinctively know that. They will be drawn to people like you who are smart and hip and well-informed. The sheer brazen iconoclasm of conservative thought is inherently attractive to them, although most of them would never dare admit it, even to themselves.

    I wish I could be in your position. Then I might not be so pessimistic. 😉

  3. Ohio Coal Association Says Obama Remarks Make It Clear: Obama …

    “It’s evident that this campaign has been pandering in states like Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania to attempt to generate votes from coal supporters, while keeping his true agenda hidden from the state’s voters.
    “Senator Obama has revealed himself to be nothing more than a short- sighted, inexperienced politician willing to say anything to get a vote. But today, the nation’s coal industry and those who support it have a better understanding of his true mission, to ‘bankrupt’ our industry, put tens of thousands out of work and cause unprecedented increases in electricity prices.
    “In addition to providing an affordable, reliable source of low-cost electricity, domestic coal holds the key to our nation’s long-term energy security – a goal that cannot be overlooked during this time of international instability and economic uncertainty…

  4. Obama Staffer Spreads the Wealth Around… Registers in 3 States-
    Votes in 2

    Joshua said..

    Jim, heads up,

    from American Spectator, Obama campaign source said, “senior Obama aids knew his Auntie was here illegally.”

    Aunt Zeituni’s Protectors

    “No surprises. We knew she was here illegally. We knew her income levels, but I don’t think anyone from the campaign had had contact with her.”

    Rest of the story tells how Axelrod arranged the deal to watch over Auntie…
    Aunt Zeituni’s Protectors

    The Associated Press reported that federal election law prohibits foreigners from making political donations.
    The story should have noted that the law permits green-card holders — foreigners with U.S. residence permits — to give money to campaigns.The aunt, Zeituni Onyango, a Kenyan living illegally in the United States, contributed $260 to Obama’s campaign.
    Aunt Story

  5. SF Gate Multimedia (video)

    Obama: I’ll Bankrupt Coal Industry; Your Energy Prices Will Skyrocket

    Ohio Coal Association Responds

    RUSH: Here is Obama, this is in January of this year in an editorial board meeting with the San Francisco Chronicle.

    OBAMA: What I’ve said is that we would put a cap-and-trade system in place that is more — that is as aggressive if not more aggressive than anybody else’s out there, so if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

    RUSH: He’s gonna bankrupt ’em, he’s got a cap-and-trade program, Algore, this is to save the planet. He’s going to bankrupt ’em, by definition, they will bankrupt. But that’s not, by itself, the single most damaging aspect of what he said. This is.

    OBAMA: When I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know, under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.

    RUSH: So folks, he wants to bankrupt the coal industry. Now, I’ve never seen a presidential candidate actually admit that he wants to destroy elements of the US economy. He did, he said it, and now he wants skyrocketing gas prices. You remember when gasoline spiked up to four bucks? The only thing Obama said about it, “The only thing that bothers me is how quickly we got it up there.” But he didn’t do one damn thing to lower gasoline prices. He didn’t care that they were that high. His only stated concern was that they got up there so quickly. Here he is, same interview with the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, January 2008.

    OBAMA: Regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad, because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal-powered plants, you know, natural gas, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money, they will pass that money on to consumers. If you can’t persuade the American people that, yes, there’s going to be some increase in electricity rates on the front end, but that over the long term because of combinations of more efficient energy usage and changing lightbulbs and more efficient appliances, but also technology improving how we can produce clean energy, that the economy will benefit. If we can’t make that argument persuasively enough, you — you can — you can be Lyndon Johnson, you can be the master of Washington, you’re not gonna get that done.

    BIDEN: We’re not supporting clean coal! Guess what? China’s building two every week, two dirty coal plants. And it’s polluting the United States! It’s causing people to die! The first guy to introduce a global warming bill was me, 22 years ago. The first guy to support solar energy is me, 26 years ago. Came out of Delaware. But guess what? China’s going to burn 300 years of bad coal, once we figure out how to clean their coal up because it’s going to ruin your lungs and there’s nothing we can do about it. No coal plants here in America, build ’em, if they’re going to build them over there, make ’em clean, because they’re killing you!

    RUSH: All right, so we’re going to leave the coal industry to the ChiComs, and we’re going to make noises. Like the ChiComs are going to listen to us! “Hey! Hey, Hu Jintao! Clean up your coal,” Biden will say. “Hey, buddy, old pal, clean up your coal.
    Stand up, Hu! Let everybody see you?”
    Oh, oh, you don’t tell a communist stand up.
    Communists tell you to sit down.

  6. For those of you not reading the whole Stratfor article about Return of the Nation-State,

    here’s a “money” quote:

    “The problem with the European Union is that it was an institution designed to manage prosperity. When it confronted serious adversity, however, it froze, devolving power to the component states.

    Consider the European Central Bank (ECB), an institution created for managing the euro. Its primary charge — and only real authority — is to work to limit inflation. But limiting inflation is a problem that needs to be addressed when economies are otherwise functioning well. The financial crisis is a case where the European system is malfunctioning. The ECB was not created to deal with that. It has managed, with the agreement of member governments, to expand its function beyond inflation control, but it ultimately lacks the staff or the mindset to do all the things that other central banks were doing. To be more precise, it is a central bank without a single finance ministry to work with. Unlike other central banks, whose authority coincides with the nations they serve, the ECB serves multiple nations with multiple interests and finance ministries. By its nature, its power is limited.”

  7. And another one:

    “The single most important effect of Russia’s attack on Georgia was that it showed clearly how deeply divided — and for that matter, how weak — NATO is in general and the Europeans are in particular. Had they been united, they would not have been able to do much. But they avoided that challenge by being utterly fragmented. NATO can only work when there is a consensus, and the war revealed how far from consensus NATO was. It can’t be said that NATO collapsed after Georgia. It is still there, and NATO officials hold meetings and press conferences. But the alliance is devoid of both common purpose and resources, except in very specific and limited areas. Some Europeans are working through NATO in Afghanistan, for example, but not most, and not in a decisive fashion.

    The Russo-Georgian war raised profound questions about the future of the multinational military alliance. Each member consulted its own national interest and conducted its own foreign policy. At this point, splits between the Europeans and Americans are taken for granted, but the splits among the Europeans are profound. If it was no longer possible to say that NATO functioned, it was also unclear after Aug. 8 in what sense the Europeans existed, except as individual nation-states.”

    2008 and the Return of the Nation-State

  8. I don’t think the slide into disintegration, or, at any rate, chaos, will be slow. Possibly out of disaster will come the rejection of the course, and of the people and institutions which have led us to this pass.

    It is not time for despair. Before the Jews could see the Promised Land, they had to see the wilderness.

  9. Good news for Europe!

    Radionetherlands info:

    “Barcelona seat of Mediterranean Union
    Published: Tuesday 04 November 2008 13:40 UTC
    Foreign ministers representing 43 countries that border the Mediterranean have chosen the Spanish city of Barcelona as the seat of a proposed Mediterranean Union. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is the driving force behind the Mediterranean Union. The new organisation will focus on a range of practical projects including water, power and education.”


    Wilders’ Fitna put on a par with Mein Kampf
    Published: Tuesday 04 November 2008 09:20 UTC

    The Dutch right-wing Freedom Party is furious about a passage in a primary school textbook in which party leader Geert Wilders’ film Fitna is put on a par with Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. The two works are cited as examples of one-sided thinking. The textbook will be distributed to 2,000 primary schools.

    Enjoy your future.

  10. That’s it! I’m packing up and moving to Denmark.

    That’s interesting. I’m sometimes contemplating going somewhere else, where I can make more of a difference than here, where so many are doing the Right Thing already.

    We’ll meet at the border 🙂

  11. 1) I share Paul Green’s doubt about a “slow and imperceptible” collapse after the Obammunists come to power.

    2) There’s a simple test of freedom that Denmark and most European countries fail: can one legally own a gun for self-defense? Of course, after Lord Obama assumes power, America might fail the test as well.

  12. Oh believe me Baron, I’ve been recruiting like crazy on campus. I’m quite involved in right-wing groups, namely College Republicans and Conservative Leadership Association.

    And I just wrote an editorial for our student newspaper about “Islamophobia.” I can’t wait until it runs because the liberals are going to FREAK.

    Random thought: how weird is it that my verification word for this comment is “eleck”? As in the first syllable of “election”…

  13. Yes, we will all move to Copenhagen and sleep on Steen’s couch.

    What about Henrik’s house? Some of us could stay with him 😉

  14. “No dramatic cataclysm, no political firestorms. Just more of the same, a grim quotidian decline, the news getting a little bit uglier every day…”

    I wish I had your optimism.

  15. Gaffney: Sell-Off to Capitalism or Sell-Out to Islam?

    Mr. Yerushalmi’s memo makes a compelling case that there is both civil liability and criminal exposure associated with SCF.

    This is so because, at its core, Shariah is sedition: It explicitly espouses the violent overthrow of all secular governments and constitutions — including those of the United States — in favor of a global Islamic theocracy. The Yerushalmi memo makes clear that Shariah advisers — who play a central role in this industry as it falls to them to determine whether transactions are Shariah-compliant or not — and/or the companies that employ them appear to be involved in one or more of the following: racketeering, antitrust violations, consumer and securities fraud or material support for terror. [emphasis added]

    Gah! FINALLY someone purchases a clue. How can these bean-counting rotters ignore what is so patently obvious? ANY Islamic tool or instrument will only serve the cause of Islam and its goal of world domination (otherwise known as Global Cultural Genocide™)

  16. I take the liberty to share my projection only because I spent over 35 years under various Marxist strains and interpretations.

    The players:

    They are pussycats, believe in “common sense”, non offensive, polite, respectful, say please, may I? “I don’t want to offend you”, let’s unite with our adversaries,- devoid of fighting spirit, just like this old clown.

    Democrats: Ideology guided, Jews supply the brain, Darkies the violent masses, Whities supplies the voters who are dreaming of “Peace on Earth”, “Social Justice” …the Leftist crap

    The Menu
    ACT No. 1.

    General purge. On low level: non Democrats will be fired at once, replaced by – learn this new word – cadres. Cadres are those whose loyalty is beyond question; they will be mostly uneducated people preferably Darkies, including Mehikanos.

    ACT No.2.
    Purge in the media: every CEO level executive will be hard leftist and Jewish.
    Legal step will be taken to silence ANY level of dissent. Leftist judges will be nominated at high speed.

    The point I want to make is that unlike Bush and the Republicans who tolerated and untouched the Clintonistas (and lost because of it) Democrats will execute wholesale purge because only this will ensure the ascent of a Marxist Dynasty which will rule permanently through generations. Same is going on in Russia, E. Europe, and after Castro, Cuba will remain staunch Communist because the sons will inherit the power and everybody else is discarded.

  17. Bela, some prognosis you bring out here…

    Much will depend on the vote for the Senate today. I’m taking the Obama victory for granted by now. Many here say that what really matters is: What will Congress look like tomorrow? If they get 60+ seats, it will be filibuster-proof, and the Democrats can basically create any kind of legislation they like.

    I attended a seminar about the financial crisis (and Ayn Rand) this morning. They said it doesn’t matter much who wins today, for the US economy is *already* deep into Communist territory.

    What matters is how fast they’ll roll it back. That will be the start of the recovery. With Obama at the helm, all his advisors may prefer to consolidate their positions rather than giving control back to citizens and restore the free markets.

    Boy, this is weird to watch. And it’s all because bad philosophy has been taught for decades.

  18. henrik r clausen

    When our hope hangs on whether there will 58 or 60 seats in the Senate the game is lost.

    The Communist economic direction doesn’t bother me at all because I have no horse in that race.
    Also it’s reversible as it partly happened in E. Europe.

    What I am afraid of is the total political control of the individual’s life, personal freedom, the persecutions in the name of hate speech etc. Restrictions on Internet is for sure.
    Don’t forget those congressional subcommittees that make the rules are run either by Commie Darkies or Eastern EU. Commie Jews.

    Those laws will stay forever.

    Take this: Fom WIKI, Henry Waxman

    Waxman was a powerful figure in the House as chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health and the Environment from 1979.

    Waxman’s Oversight Committee Will Hold Government Accountable

    Waxman is proud of his “strong Jewish identity” and has drawn political conclusions from his exploration of the religion.

    These are the hardcore ones, descendant of the Russian Bolsheviks….

  19. When our hope hangs on whether there will 58 or 60 seats in the Senate, the game is lost.

    That’s a sentiment I refuse to hold. I’m alive, right? You too, and friends of ours, even 🙂

    Then there’s hope.

    What might happen, within a decade or two, is the collapse of federal super-structures. I’ve said that about the EU, and I’m getting the same notion about the US federal system, dogged down by incredible debts.

    This will be super-messy.

    The way out, and this has been neglected for decades, is to reinstate respect for private property, teach constructive philosophy, and rebuild mutual trust that has been so extensively destroyed in our lifetimes.

    There’s hope. Tons of it. Just don’t pitch it on inept politicians where it doesn’t belong 🙂

  20. You know, there is still something called the Constitution and it’s accompanying Bill of Rights. Not to mention the Supreme Court. We have “balance of powers” established for a reason.

    Of course, I tend toward optimism – always have to one degree or another. Although not everyone here shares my views, I believe in a Higher Power whom I know is always in control no matter what happens anywhere. It was a sobering thing to remember when things were going crazy in while I was stationed in Iraq and Korea and elsewhere – but the fact remains. Sometimes I just need to step back and look at things with a larger perspective.

    That’s hope I can believe in!

  21. Constitution?

    It will be reinterpreted according to the tribal left.

    The first step towards my aforementioned projection; I am right on target, first assault on freedom of speech by a tribal leader:

    Schumer on Fox: Fairness Doctrine ‘fair and balanced’
    By Bob Cusack
    Posted: 11/04/08 11:30 AM [ET]
    Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday defended the so-called Fairness Doctrine in an interview on Fox News, saying, “I think we should all be fair and balanced, don’t you?”

    From Wiki:
    Schumer was born in Brooklyn to a Jewish family. His parents were Selma Rosen and Abraham Schumer.

  22. see my comment re: the Supreme Ct. There are liberals there but they don’t hold a majority – especially not on fundamental constitutional issues (some will probably disagree on this re: abortion), but let’s look at the recent 2nd amendment ruling regarding DC’s ridiculously illegal law.

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