Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/20/2013

James Holmes, the “Dark Knight” gunman accused of killing twelve people and wounding 58 in a Colorado movie theater last year, has converted to Islam in jail. According to prison sources, he now sports a full beard, prays five times a day, eats only halal food, and reads the Koran constantly. His conversion is said to be an attempt to justify his deeds as jihad against the infidels.

In other news, in the wake of the attempt to levy a “haircut tax” on bank accounts in Cyprus, UKIP leader Nigel Farage warned European savers to get their money out of banks in bailed-out countries while they still can.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JLH, JP, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

Financial Crisis
» “All the Conditions for a Total Disaster Are in Place”
» A London Cabbie Explains the Great EU Bank Robbery and Much Much More
» All Roads Lead to Cyprus
» British Politician’s Warning to Europeans With Cash in the Bank: ‘Get Your Money Out While You Can’
» Calling All Grassroots Conservatives in Texas! There’s Trouble Brewing in Austin.
» CEO: Cyprus Bank Account Looting Could Blow Up Europe
» Chase Customers See Bank Balance Reduced to Zero
» Cyprus Rejects Bailout Plan That Would Make Savers Pay, Raising Anxiety in Euro Zone
» Ex-Chancellor Warns of Bank Runs Across Europe
» Italian Home Mortgages to Hit New Low in 2013, Study Says
» Italy: Monti’s Party Wants Broad Coalition Government
» New Report Exposes JPMorgan Chase as Mostly a Criminal Enterprise
» Nigel Farage Message to Europeans: “Get Your Money Out While You Can”
» The Great Cyprus Bank Robbery Shows That No Bank Account is Safe
» US Bankers to US Depositors: “Don’t Panic, Nothing to See Here”
» Will the Banking Meltdown in Cyprus be a “Lehman Brothers Moment” For All of Europe?
» 340 Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce Unconstitutional Gun Control Laws
» Americans Who Received Swine Flu Vaccines Are at Risk for Paralysis Disorders
» Benghazi FBI FOIA Request Denied: Stonewall Continues
» Congressman Asks Big Sis to Explain Huge Ammo Purchases
» Dark Knight Killer James Holmes ‘Is Now a Muslim Who Prays Five Times a Day’
» Family Members: Friends Remember Marines Killed in Explosion
» Feinstein’s Gun Ban Bill Crumbles
» How Child Protection Services Buys and Sells Our Children
» Lawyer to Push for 5 Daily Group Prayers for Lindh, Other Muslim Inmates, Instead of Current 3
» Montana Bill Protecting From Backdoor Medical Gun Confiscation Moves Forward
» Nation of Islam Leader to Speak at Tuskegee as ADL Voices Concerns
» Obama ‘Ethics Panel’ Gives Thumbs Up to Testing Anthrax Vaccines on American Babies
» Obamacare Costing Taxpayers Twice as Much as Originally Claimed
» Say No to Google Glass: ‘Stop the Cyborgs’ Website Goes Viral
» The CIA is About to Sign a Game-Changing $600 Million Deal With Amazon
» The Real Reasons Why the Liberty Movement is Preparing to Fight
» There Was a Recount on the Prop 37 Vote, And it Was Stopped Cold
» Thousands Line Up Outside Cal Expo Gun Show to Buy Ammunition
» TSA Agents ‘Humiliated’ Wounded Marine With Aggressive Inspection: Report
» Was There a Chinese Spy at NASA? Fleeing Researcher ‘Carrying Hard Drive and Laptops’ Arrested on China-Bound Plane at Virginia Airport
» Why You Should Never Tell Shops Your Postcode
» Seat of the Pants Lawmaking and the Art of Media Hyperbole
Europe and the EU
» Britain Ponders ‘Three-Person Embryos’ To Combat Genetic Diseases
» Britain ‘Is Suffering a Huge Loss of Faith in Its Institutions’: Trust in All Politicians Has Slumped to an All-Time Low, Say Researchers
» British Bloggers Wary of New Government Penalties for ‘News-Related’ Websites
» Clockwork Orange: France a ‘Savage’ Nation, Book Claims
» France: Benzema’s Anthem Snub Riles National Front
» Italy: Berlusconi Proposes Parliamentary Taskforce to Take on Grillo
» Italy: Marines Questioned as Rome Probes Into India Case
» Italy’s Highest Court Orders Files From Berlusconi Trials
» Italy’s Center-Left PD Publishes Eight-Point Government Plan
» Italy: Berlusconi Escort D’addario Plaintiff in Prostitution Case
» ‘Jedi Knights Could Perform Ceremonies’: Free Church of Scotland Hits Out at Government Plans to Create Third Category of Marriage
» Pope Thanks Muslims for ‘Love of God’
» Pope Francis’s Book to be Published in English in May
» Pope: Grand Mosque Rome, Let’s Resume Path Towards Peace
» Retired Italian Cop’s Monthly Pension Slashed to Two Euros
» UK: Bentley Set to Move Manufacture of New Luxury Off-Roader to Bratislava in Huge Blow to 4,000 Strong Workforce
» UK: Men in Court Over Violent Clashes at Millfield Mosque Demonstration in Sunderland
» UK: The South Woodford Muslim Community Centre in Mulberry Way Planning Two Storey Extension Containing New Hall and Four Flats
North Africa
» Egypt Slid Backwards in Democratic Transition During 2012
Israel and the Palestinians
» Caroline Glick: Obama’s Mysterious Visit
» Explaining Obama’s Fixation With Israel
» Obama’s Limo Breaks Down in Israel
Middle East
» 18 ‘Spies’ Arrested in Saudi Arabia
» Admiral: U.S. Will Attack Syria “If Called Upon”
» Christians in Danger, Patriarch Gregory III Warns Pope Francis
» Evidence Shows Chemical Weapons Attack Launched by Rebels (Video)
» Has Syria Become a Chemical War? Russia Accuses Rebels of Using ‘Toxic’ Weapons in Attack That Left 25 Dead
» Obama and Netanyahu to Discuss Attacks Inside Syria
» Syrian Adversaries Demand Inquiry Into “Chemical” Attack
» Syrian Rebels Caught on Tape Discussing Chemical Weapons Attack
» The Hezbollah Biological Warfare Threat to UN Peacekeepers and Israel
» US’ New “Syrian PM” Yet Another Muslim Brotherhood Extremist
» US ‘Red Line’ On Syria Has Been Crossed?
» Ukrainian MPS in Mass Brawl After Russian is Spoken in Parliament
South Asia
» British Tourist Breaks Leg as She Jumps Out of the Window of Indian Hotel Room to Escape Manager Who ‘Tried to Rape Her’
» Italy’s Contempt Not Grounds for Supreme Court Ruling in Marines Case, Indian Experts Say
» Sonia Gandhi Warns Not to Underestimate India
Far East
» Chinese Solar Panel Company Defaults on $541 Million Worth of Bonds
» Chinese Eugenics Factory Collects “Genius” DNA to Breed “Enhanced” People
» South Korean TV Networks and Banks Suffer Computer Crashes After Suspected Cyber-Attack From the North
» Suspected Cyberattack Cripples South Korean Media
Australia — Pacific
» Islamophobia Hurts Aussie Multiculturalism
» Opponent Vows to Take Doveton Mosque Project to VCAT, Courts
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Al Qaeda Executes French Hostage in Retaliation for Mali Offensive
Latin America
» Pope Will Remain Neutral on Falklands, Says Baroness Warsi
Culture Wars
» A Prison for Your Mind
» Attorney Says Prosecution of Abortionist Who “Snapped Newborn Babies’ Necks” Is “Racist”
» UK: The Idiotic Academics Who Don’t Want Children to Learn Anything
» UK: The Dangers of the New National Curriculum Proposals
» Will Christianity Survive?

“All the Conditions for a Total Disaster Are in Place”

Authored by Charles Wyplosz, originally posted at VOXeu

Cyprus: The Next Blunder

The Cyprus bailout package contains a tax on bank deposits. This column argues that the tax is a deeply dangerous policy that creates a new situation, more perilous than ever. It is a radical change that potentially undermines a perfectly reasonable deposit guarantee and the euro itself. Historians will one day explore the dark political motives behind this move. Meanwhile, we can only hope that the bad equilibrium that has just been created will not be chosen by anguished depositors in Spain and Italy.

The decision to tax all Cypriot bank deposits has attracted massive attention (Spiegel 2013) — and rightly so. It is a huge blunder:

— In the unlikely event that all goes well, the government will receive a bit of cash — but not enough to cover the loan generously offered by its European partners — and the Cypriot banking system will be history. — The alternative is a massive bank crisis in many Eurozone countries — a huge blow to the euro, maybe even a fatal one.

Not an emergency measure

Policymakers have been debating the Cyprus bailout for nearly a year; this cannot be classified an ‘emergency action’. They engaged in a lively debate whether Cyprus is ‘systemic’ or not, the answer to which can only be ‘it depends’. It depends not on the size of Cypriot banks but on the way the Eurozone acts. They also debated the Russian deposits that apparently represent a sizeable proportion of bank liabilities. The debate turned around the issues of how dirty this money is and how to do the laundry. They also debated on the size of a possible loan to the Cypriot government. The government itself requested something to the tune of 100% of its GDP, why not? After all this amounts to 0.2% of Eurozone GDP.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A London Cabbie Explains the Great EU Bank Robbery and Much Much More

Still in WallStreetPro withdrawal? We may have just the methadone fix for you… “You will lose your f##king money in your bank,” is how this English gentleman cabbie begins his caustic diatribe against all that is wrong with European (and in fact) the world of bankers and elites. The so-called’artist taxi driver’ has a spit-flying hand-smashing epic rant while sitting in his taxi. “They did a stress test on the banks in Cyprus 18 months ago and said it’s f##king great” and now this;”this is some f##king crooked s###.” “They’re off their f##king nuts mate,” he explains as he asks rhetorically of the bankers getting the bailouts, “how many f##king ponies do their daughters’ need?”

Insightfully he remarks that, “Cyprus could be the beginning of a bigger and f##king worse financial crisis,” and exclaims “[Goldman Sachs and the Bankers] are looking after their own interest — who are they f##king borrowing money to in Cyprus?” His exasperation is one many can empathize with we are sure as he concludes, “We need to shut down the f##king markets… What kind of society allows the rich people to be gambling while the poor people f##king die,” ending with a warning, “Wake the f##k up!”

“If they can take the money from Cyprus, they can do it anywhere — do you get that in your nuts?”

Enjoy (with the volume turned down)…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

All Roads Lead to Cyprus

Cyprus is Europe’s original failure. It was the first part of modern Europe to be invaded and colonized by Muslims, while its native Christian population was ethnically cleansed. Cyprus is to Islam what Czechoslovakia was to Nazism; the canary in the coal mine warning of worse things to come.

Now Cyprus has wound up in the middle of the European Union’s meltdown as everyone scrambles to salvage what they can from an unsustainable system at the expense of everyone else. It’s easy to look at what almost happened as another case of powerful elites abusing ordinary pensioners, but it’s a good deal more complicated than that.

What we are actually seeing are the beginnings of bailout cannibalism as the Eurocrats manipulate entire nations into fighting each other while scrambling to gain some political advantage out of the mess. The real purpose of the deposit grab was to wreck Cyprus’ banking sector and continue the centralization of international finance. At the same time it was meant to give German voters, who have been funding much of the mess, the feeling that other people were getting screwed as well.

Cyprus’ government tried to salvage its banking sector by passing on the pain to ordinary depositors in one of those brutally unfair short-term/long-term decisions that technocrats like so long as they have the early warning to opt out of them. While the banks were closed to ordinary people, there’s little doubt that plenty of insiders took the time to get their money out and it will be interesting to find out who they were.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

British Politician’s Warning to Europeans With Cash in the Bank: ‘Get Your Money Out While You Can’

Appearing on Russia Today, British politician Nigel Farage on Tuesday made his first comments on the proposed levy on all depositors in Cyprus, issuing a dire warning to Europeans who still have money in banks within bailed out countries: “ Get your money out while you can.”

Farage noted that Cyprus is the fifth country out of 17 in the European Union to need a bailout. In Cyprus, parliament voted Tuesday to reject the terms of a $13 billion bailout deal that included the controversial levy on all depositors.

“I must say, even in my most direst predictions in this parliament over the years over the way the EU bosses were behaving, never did I think that they would, in a completely unprecedented manner, resort to stealing money from people’s bank accounts,” he said…

           — Hat tip: JLH [Return to headlines]

Calling All Grassroots Conservatives in Texas! There’s Trouble Brewing in Austin.

The Problem: Anti-liberty Legislation is ALIVE and WELL in Austin! Establishment Republicans who do not share our values have plans for you: Plans to mushroom state debt with 100 YEAR BONDS. Plans to push debt down to the local level, opening the door for MORE PROPERTY TAX INCREASES. Plans to hand out more taxpayer dollars to well-connected special interests via CORPORATE WELFARE. Plans to SABOTAGE THE TERM LIMITS BILLS in the House and Senate. Plans to build ALL future state highways as CORPORATE TOLL ROADS and sell them off to foreign multinationals (the TransTexas Corridor plan blown up all across the state). Plans to use eminent domain power for PRIVATE GAIN via transportation policy. Plans to continue the ACCOUNTING GIMMICKS and SMOKE AND MIRRORS to “balance” the state budget on paper while running up more debt. Plans to expand Medicaid in the quest for ObamaCare dollars — bankrupting our state in the process. The Solution: YOU ARE THE SOLUTION. Nobody’s coming to save us — but US!

Watch out for liberal and moderate legislators signing up to support Second Amendment and pro-life legislation while stealing your liberty and your children’s future! Don’t be fooled! We must look at THE ENTIRE RECORD — not just the easy votes. It’s easy to support the 2nd Amendment and be pro-life in Texas…even liberal Republicans can, but they hide a multitude of other sins under those two important issues, hoping you won’t look at the rest of their record! Don’t let them get away with it!

Be informed! Jump on the conference call Tuesday night at 7 PM with JoAnn and Terri. They are fighting hard for us in Austin!

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

CEO: Cyprus Bank Account Looting Could Blow Up Europe

Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Erian told CNBC today that the decision to loot the bank accounts of Cypriot savers could blow up Europe and lead to civil unrest across the continent.

El-Erian said that the European Union had lit two sticks of dynamite in backing a proposal that could see bank accounts raided for up to 15% of their value in what has ludicrously been described as a “wealth tax” yet amounts to nothing less than an act of wanton financial plunder.

“By including small depositors, they are risking social unrest, political disorder, and potentially an exit from the eurozone,” said El-Erian, referring to people with under 100,000 euros who will still be hit by a levy of 6.75% under current proposals. Savers with 500,000 euros in the bank face losing as much as 75,000 euros.

“The worst outcome is that you get complete political breakdown, social unrest, and then Cyprus is forced to exit,” said El-Erian, adding that the move had accelerated the journey to disorder which could lead to more countries exiting the eurozone.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Chase Customers See Bank Balance Reduced to Zero

Millions of Chase Bank customers were affected by an unfortunately timed glitch which resulted in their checking and savings accounts showing a zero balance for several hours yesterday, prompting many to take to Twitter and express panic that their money had been stolen.

Reaction to the glitch was undoubtedly made more intense by the fact that the top global news story yesterday was about how residents of Cyprus were facing a mandatory “tax” that would see 10 per cent of their savings plundered for a banker bailout.

After Chase was hit by a denial of service attack last week, the bank blamed an “internal” issue for the glitch which left shocked customers thinking their online and mobile banking accounts had been emptied of deposits. The issue was resolved by 7:30pm PST.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Cyprus Rejects Bailout Plan That Would Make Savers Pay, Raising Anxiety in Euro Zone

Lawmakers in Cyprus on Tuesday rejected a bailout plan that would have rescued the country’s banks but forced savers to chip in for the cost, throwing down a gauntlet to the rest of Europe over the financial fate of the tiny island nation.

The plan to save Cyprus’s collapsing banks but to charge depositors for the service proved so controversial that not a single one of the 56 members of Cyprus’s parliament voted for the plan on Tuesday evening. The rejection leaves the fate of rescue plans up in the air, with other European leaders so far unwilling to step in to save Cyprus, whose bank deposits tower over the rest of its economy.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ex-Chancellor Warns of Bank Runs Across Europe

“They have actually now said to people ‘We will come after your deposits, no matter how small your savings are’ and that seems to me to make it more likely that, if you are a saver in Spain or in Italy, for example, and you have just the sniff of the EU or the IMF coming your way, you will take your money out and you will get a run on the bank,” he told BBC Radio Four’s Today show.

Highlighting the case of Northern Rock, a UK bank that became the first in 150 years to suffer a bank run, leading to its collapse, Darling warned that the precedent set in Cyprus could cause chaos.

“I’m not suggesting that tomorrow morning everybody in Southern Europe is going to take their money out of their banks,” he said. “We saw with Northern Rock, everything can be fine on day, and even though I said the Government was standing behind people’s money, we saw queues grow and grow and grow because people thought they were doing the right thing getting their money out.”

Darling concluded that the way the European Union had handled the issue illustrated how the EU was beginning to “unravel”.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italian Home Mortgages to Hit New Low in 2013, Study Says

After falling 47% in 2012, expected to fall another 4.8%

(ANSA) — Bologna, March 20 — Home mortgages in Italy will reach a record low in 2013, after dropping by nearly half from 2011 to 2012, according to a forecast released on Wednesday by the Italian economic research firm Nomisma.

Nomisma predicts home mortgages will fall an additional 4.8% in 2013 after hitting a historic low in 2012, when mortgage transactions tumbled 47.4% in a year, from 49,123 in 2011 to 25,784 in 2012. The study reckons the number of transactions in 2103 will slide to 24,537.

Nomisma said slow recovery could begin in 2014, with the number of mortgages creeping back to 27,000, but Italy must wait until at least 2015 to reach 30,000.

“Tightening of credit standards and the economic crisis” are behind the mortgage crunch, Nomisma found. Unlike the first credit crisis in 2008-2009, this one is linked to negative economic growth prospects, especially in the real-estate sector. Nomisma warned that “among the heavy legacies” of recession were more non-performing or at-risk loans. “In the absence of exceptional legal intervention, most credit institutions will proceed with heavy value adjustments and burdensome precautionary provisions,” Nomisma wrote.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti’s Party Wants Broad Coalition Government

Outgoing premier’s group say admin must continue with reforms

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Rome, March 20 — Outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s Civic Choice party said it was in favour of a broad coalition government Wednesday after talks with President Giorgio Napolitano on how to break Italy’s post-election gridlock.

In a statement, the party added that the new government should continue with the structural economic reforms and policies of fiscal consolidation adopted by Monti’s emergency technocrat administration. This administration came to power in November 2011 when Silvio Berlusconi was forced to resign as premier with Italy’s debt crisis threatening to spiral out of control. Monti’s reform platform backed by centrist parties did less well than expected in last month’s inconclusive general election.

“Despite the evident difficulties of the parliamentary balances… we think it is possible and obligatory to give responses of governability to the public,” read a statement.

It added that the “main political parties” willing to continue on a pro-EU path and work to restore health to the public finances and promote growth should assume their responsibilities.

The wording of the statement suggested Monti’s party does not envisage comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo’s 5-Star Movement, which holds the balance of power in parliament after capturing a huge protest vote, being part of this coalition.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

New Report Exposes JPMorgan Chase as Mostly a Criminal Enterprise

As an excellent preview for the Friday fireworks, I urge you to read an astonishing new report, which I’ve embedded below, from analyst Josh Rosner of Graham-Fisher and Co. The best way to describe the report, “JPM — Out of Control,” is that it reads like a rap sheet. Notably, Rosner takes mortgage abuses almost entirely out of the equation, and yet still manages to fill a 45-page report with documented case after documented case of serious fraud and abuse, most of which JPM has already admitted to (at least in the sense of reaching a settlement; given out captured regulatory structure the end result is invariably a settlement with the “neither admit nor deny wrongdoing” boilerplate appended). Rosner writes, “we could not find another ‘systemically important’ domestic bank that has recently been subject to as many public, non-mortgage related, regulatory actions or consent orders.”

Obviously this contrasts with Jamie Dimon’s spotless reputation (at least in Washington) and his bold talk of a “fortress balance sheet.” Yet as you read the report, it’s hard to see the bank as anything but a criminal racket just days away from imploding, were it not propped up by implicit bailout guarantees and light-touch regulators. Rosner paints a picture of a corporation saddled with pervasive internal control problems, which end up costing shareholders, and which “could materially impact profitability in the future.” He calculates that since 2009, JPM has paid out $8.5 billion in settlements for its outlaw activity, which equals nearly 12% of net income over the same period.

It’s hard to summarize all of the documented instances in this report of JPM has been breaking the law, but here’s my best shot. I try to keep up on these matters, and yet some of these I’m learning about for the first time:


Again, read the report, but two case studies stand out. First, JPM is trying to stick the public with losses related to its purchase of Washington Mutual and its related liabilities. Rosner documents painstakingly how JPM originally accepted the risks and responsibilities with the WaMu deal, and continued to do so for several years. But now that they see the actual possibility of mass mortgage-related putback claims, JPM wants to shift losses on over $190 billion in MBS onto the FDIC. They hope to get out from under as much as $5 billion in losses in this fashion. It’s impossible to logically follow JPM’s claim that they purchased WaMu but not any of its risk-related activities. The case “demonstrates the unwillingness to accept responsibility for their own management failures,” Rosner writes.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Nigel Farage Message to Europeans: “Get Your Money Out While You Can”

In Nigel Farage’s first TV appearance since the Cypriot wealth tax was announced, the Englishman pulls no punches. In all his years and all his experience of the desperation of the European Union’s leadership “never did [he] think they would resort to stealing money from people’s savings accounts.” The simple fact is that they know they cannot let any country leave, no matter how small, for “once one country goes, the whole deck of cards will come tumbling down.” There is now “clear irreconcilable differences” between the North and the South of Europe and now that they have done this in one country, “they are quite capable of doing it in Italy, Spain and anywhere.” The message that sends to people is “get your money out while you can.” As far as his British constituents, he strongly recommends George Osborne (UK Chancellor) urge ex-pats to remove all their money and do monthly transfers from home. “Do Not Invest In The Euro-Zone,” he concludes,”you have to be mad to do so — as it is now run by people who do not respect democracy, the rule of law, or the basic principles upon which Western civilization is based.”

“They are propping up a Eurozone that, in the end, will collapse in disastrous failure and they are prepared to do anything to do so.”

5 minutes of reality from a European MP — must watch…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Great Cyprus Bank Robbery Shows That No Bank Account is Safe

The global elite have now proven that when the chips are down they are going to go after any big pile of money that they think they can get their hands on. That means that no bank account, no retirement fund and no stock portfolio on earth is safe. Up until now, most people assumed that private bank accounts were untouchable and that deposit insurance actually meant something. Now we see that there is no pile of money that is considered “off limits” by the global elite and deposit insurance means absolutely nothing. The number one thing that any financial system depends on is faith. If people do not have faith in the safety and stability of a financial system, it will not work. Well, the people that rule the world have just taken a sledgehammer to the trust that we all had in the global financial system. They have broken the unwritten social contract that global banking depends on. So now we will see a run on the banks, and this will not just be limited to a few countries in southern Europe. Rather, this will be worldwide in scope. Yoda may have put it this way: “Begun, the global bank run has.” All over the world, frightened people are going to start pulling money out of the banks. A lot of that money will go into gold, silver and other hard assets. And as money starts coming out of the banks, this could cause many of the large banks that have been teetering on the edge of disaster to finally collapse.

Many of you may not believe that they would ever come after bank accounts, retirement funds or stock portfolios in the United States.

Many of you may be entirely convinced that the Great Cyprus Bank Robbery could never happen in America.

Well, where do you think this whole plan was dreamed up?

It was the IMF that reportedly pushed the hardest for the wealth tax in Cyprus, and the IMF is headquartered right in the heart of Washington D.C…

The entire planet is watching this unfold, and as a recent article by Lucas Jackson described, faith in the global financial system is being greatly shaken…

It would be hard to over-emphasize how significant the Cyprus situation is. The EU demonstrated under no uncertain circumstances that they will destroy the rule of law to maintain their own power. It was a recognition of tyranny that many of us have always assumed was the case but yesterday became reality.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Bankers to US Depositors: “Don’t Panic, Nothing to See Here”

While we explained exactly why there is a possibility of a Europe-style wealth tax in the US, it appears the American Banking Association has decided to put out fires early…

While the crisis in Cyprus is a real concern for depositors in Cypriot’s banks, it has no implication for depositors in U.S. institutions. Depositors in U.S. banks are insured up to $250,000 and no insured depositor has ever lost money in a bank failure. The U.S. banking industry has rapidly returned to health with strong earnings, lower losses and significant increases in capital.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Will the Banking Meltdown in Cyprus be a “Lehman Brothers Moment” For All of Europe?

Cyprus lawmakers may have rejected the bank account tax, but the truth is that the financial crisis in Cyprus is just getting started. Right now, the two largest banks in Cyprus are dangerously close to a meltdown. If they fail, depositors could end up losing virtually all of their money. You see, the banking system of Cyprus absolutely dwarfs the GDP of that small island nation. Cyprus is known all over the world as a major offshore tax haven, and wealthy Russians and wealthy Europeans have been pouring massive amounts of money into the banking system over the last several decades. Yes, those bank deposits are supposed to be insured, but the truth is that there is no way that the government of Cyprus could ever come up with enough money to cover the massive losses that we are potentially looking at. This is a case where the banking system of a nation has gotten so large that the national government is absolutely powerless to stop a collapse from happening. If those banks fail, depositors may end up getting 50 percent of their money or they may end up getting nothing. We just don’t know how bad the damage is yet. And considering the fact that many of the largest corporations and many of the wealthiest individuals in Europe have huge mountains of cash stashed in Cyprus, the fallout from a banking collapse could potentially be absolutely catastrophic.

So Cyprus needs to come up with some money from somewhere in order to keep that from happening.

Basically, there are three options at this point…


A lot of people will see the headlines proclaiming that Cyprus has voted against the wealth tax and think that everything is going to be okay now, but that is very far from the truth.

The reality is that this is only the first move in a very complicated chess game. The problems for Cyprus are only just the beginning…


And right now the Russians are not happy at all that their money is being threatened.

In particular, the Russian mafia launders a lot of money in Cyprus. The Russian mafia is not about to let anyone steal their money, and they have an international reputation for being absolutely brutal. In the end, pressure from the mafia may have been one of the primary reasons why many Cyprus lawmakers voted against the bank account tax.


And if you don’t think that this could ever happen anywhere else, you are just being delusional.

In fact, it is already happening. In fact, the Finance Minister of New Zealand is now proposing that depositors in his nation should be required to “take a haircut” if any banks in his nation fail…

[Comment: Highly recommended reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

340 Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce Unconstitutional Gun Control Laws

Including Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County, Colorado, 340 sheriffs have publicly stated they will not enforce gun laws they believe are unconstitutional.

In response to the passage of two new gun control bills in Colorado last week, Sheriff John Cooke told the Greeley Tribune that he “won’t bother enforcing the laws.”

One bill requires gun buyers to pay for their own background checks, a service that was previously free and now estimated to cost the buyer $10-$12 per purchase. The second bill puts a 15-round limit on magazines.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Americans Who Received Swine Flu Vaccines Are at Risk for Paralysis Disorders

(NaturalNews) The federal government has once again been exposed for lying about the safety of the infamous swine flu vaccine, also known as H1N1. According to a new study published in the journal The Lancet, people who received the swine flu vaccine during the 2009-2010 pandemic hoax were at an elevated risk of developing a potentially-deadly paralysis disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome, or GBS.

Based on data collected from six different adverse event reporting systems, including the core vaccine safety datalink and several new surveillance systems created by Medicare and the U.S. Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, researchers found that among the 23 million people who were vaccinated during the scare, an additional 1.6 cases of GBS were observed per one million people vaccinated.

According to statistics presented by, one in 100,000 people is said to develop GBS, which is a relatively small amount overall. But the widespread issuance of the H1N1 vaccine was responsible for triggering an additional 77 reported cases of the autoimmune disorder, some of which manifested up to 91 days after individuals received the vaccine.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Benghazi FBI FOIA Request Denied: Stonewall Continues

Another day, another one of my Benghazi Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests has been denied — this time from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). As previously reported, the CIA also denied my Benghazi FOIA request.

Recall it was on September 11, 2012 when Ambassador Christopher Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith, former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, were murdered by terrorists. President Barack Obama with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, former CIA chief, the ‘celebrated,’ philandering General David Petraeus, the brains behind the failed counter-insurgency policy called COIN in Afghanistan that is maiming and killing U.S. and NATO troops to win “hearts and minds” that cannot be won, lied to the public when they blamed the murder of four Americans on an anti-Muslim Youtube video.

As the New York Times reported, Woods and Doherty worked under contract with the CIA.

Thus far justice for these American remains elusive. No one has been held accountable. We still don’t know who ordered the “stand down” order to not help these Americans in peril. We still do not know what the Ambassador was doing in Benghazi and who changed the administration’s talking points to deceive Americans.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Congressman Asks Big Sis to Explain Huge Ammo Purchases

New Jersey Congressman Leonard Lance (R) has demanded an explanation from Secretary Janet Napolitano as to why the Department of Homeland Security is buying huge amounts of bullets.

Asked about the federal agency’s purchase of over 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over the past year — enough to wage a 20 year plus war — as well as thousands of armored vehicles — Lance called on Congress to get involved.

“I think Congress should ask the Department about both of those issues and I would like a full explanation as to why that has been done and I have every confidence that the oversight committee …should ask those questions,” said Lance, adding that he shared a belief, “that Congress has a responsibility to ask Secretary Napolitano as to exactly why these purchases have occurred.”

The Congressman said he was “concerned” and that his goal was ensuring Americans “continued to live in a country based on freedom and individual rights,” adding that he hoped Congress could get answers on the reasons behind the huge ammunition purchases by the DHS.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dark Knight Killer James Holmes ‘Is Now a Muslim Who Prays Five Times a Day’

James Holmes, the gunman behind the Dark Knight massacre in Colorado last July, has reportedly turned Muslim and prays five times a day.

The killer showed off a lengthy, thick beard during a court appearance earlier this month, and a prison source has claimed it is a symbol of his new-found faith.

The source said Holmes has turned to Islam as a way of justifying his horrific murder spree in an Aurora, Colorado cinema on July 20 which left 12 people dead and 58 people wounded.

‘He has brainwashed himself into believing he was on his own personal jihad and that his victims were infidels,’ a prison source told the National Enquirer.

He now prays five times a day, sticks to a strict Muslim diet and spends hours each day studying the Qur’an, the source said. But his new routine has upset Muslim inmates.

‘None of them condone forms of terrorism or extremism,’ the source added. ‘And they don’t want their religion to be connected to that awful shooting.’

Holmes sported a thick, bushy beard and unkempt dark brown hair during his appearance earlier this month — a stark difference to his bright orange hair at the time of the massacre…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Family Members: Friends Remember Marines Killed in Explosion

The Marine Corps is still investigating what caused a mortar to explode, killing seven Marines Monday night.

The military identified the seven victims Wednesday night.

  • Pfc. Joshua M. Martino, 19, of Clearfield, Pa.
  • Lance Cpl. David P. Fenn II, 20, of Polk City, Fla.
  • Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr., 23, of Fairfield, Conn.
  • Lance Cpl. Joshua C. Taylor, 21, of Marietta, Ohio
  • Lance Cpl. Mason J. Vanderwork, 21, of Hickory, N.C.
  • Lance Cpl. William T. Wild IV, 21, of Anne Arundel, Md.
  • Cpl. Aaron J. Ripperda, 26, of Madison, Ill.

The members of the Second Marine Division were based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

They were doing a nighttime exercise, using mortars.

Rocky McKellip is a retired Marine, living in Hawthorne. He’s used this type of weapon before.

“Say this is a mortar tube. Right? It would be at an angle like this and you just take this and the tube is a little bigger around in circumference than this. And you just drop it in and when it hits the bottom, it actually is like a firing pin and it shooots it out.”

In Monday night’s accident, the mortar blew up inside the tube…

[Return to headlines]

Feinstein’s Gun Ban Bill Crumbles

California Democrat and influential senator Dianne Feinstein admitted Monday her gun ban proposals will not be part of a Democrat bill to rollback the Second Amendment.

“My understanding is it will not be [part of the base bill],” Feinstein said. “It will be separate.”

Feinstein was told by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about the decision. Feinstein’s bill proposed making illegal 157 models of semiautomatic firearms Democrats characterize as “assault weapons” and outlaw so-called “high-capacity” magazines.

In addition to endangering the larger and more comprehensive Democrat package, Feinstein’s measures would jeopardize red-state Democrats during the 2014 elections.

[Comment: Once 2014 elections are over, expect another attack on the 2nd Amendment.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

How Child Protection Services Buys and Sells Our Children

[WARNING: *** Extremely Disturbing Content ***]

This is an industry, which has grown by huge proportions and must be reined in. The Gestapo type tactics currently being used by County and State agencies to increase revenue from federal sources may provide jobs today for the local economy but is having a negative impact on many levels. Good families are being torn apart and children are dying under the State’s care. When CPS takes children in error they rarely return them right away. The families are subjected to endless classes and programs whether or not they are guilty. The parents suffer great financial hardships because they are forced to retain expensive independent legal counsel. Many families lose their jobs and their homes trying to get their children out of the system. Some attorney’s are working in collision with CPS and help keep children in the system because it’s profitable, but most will agree that CPS is in fact corrupt.

Common practices of CPS agencies include: Not investigating before removing a child, taking children into state custody based upon hearsay, taking children from school without a “Protective Custody Warrant”, manipulating the Court system in criminal cases against the parents who are improperly prosecuted, obstruction of justice, fabricating documents, omitting facts, coercing minors, deception, isolating children from their parents, breaking bonds, traumatizing children, negative therapy, and placing children in unsafe foster homes. Children are not being evaluated right away by a doctor or seeing child advocates such as CASA. Social workers have been known to go on “witch hunts” against parents, influencing doctors, and ruining parents medical files. Many CPS agencies work in collusion with therapists who give parents false “mental conditions” which is used against them in court. Family court is “secret” so there is no jury or fair trial. Children are being heard in Judges chambers so many testimonies cannot be documented on Court record.

Many judges who rule on family court cases also sit on the boards of phony nonprofit organizations created to generate state adoption/foster care grants via federal funding. San Luis Obispo CPS has politicians heading non-profit organizations and Judges hosting “Adoption Saturdays”. California’s 2003 Little Hoover Commission Report said up to 70 percent of children in foster care should never have been removed from their homes in the first place. Children who complain about foster care or beg to go home are either placed on psychotropic medication and are sometimes sent out of State.

[Comment: “Yes, I’ve seen many reports of the exact same kind of child abduction, fraud, abuse of power, collusion with judges and lawyers, et cetera taking place in several other countries, including Canada, New Zealand, UK, Australia, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, and even Israel. It is rapidly spreading around the globe, and the criminals seem to be following a master plan. Hence, the uncanny consistency from country to country. “ Jon L. January 12, 2013 ]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Lawyer to Push for 5 Daily Group Prayers for Lindh, Other Muslim Inmates, Instead of Current 3

INDIANAPOLIS — A lawyer who helped American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh and other Muslim inmates win the right to hold daily group prayers in a high-security unit said he’ll ask a judge to order that they be allowed to pray together five times a day, as Islam requires.

Chris Burke, a Bureau of Federal Prisons spokesman, said that since March 12, inmates of all religions housed in the Terre Haute federal prison’s Communications Management Unit have been allowed to pray together three times per day.

American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana legal director Ken Falk, who represented Lindh in his lawsuit against the prison bureau, said U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson’s Jan. 11 ruling requires that the prison allow five daily group prayers.

“Basically, it’s our contention that they’re not complying with the court order,” Falk said Tuesday. “The judge’s order is pretty clear.”

A prison bulletin dated March 12 says only 10 inmates at a time can use the unit’s multi-purpose room for group prayer during the hours the room is open. It wasn’t clear how prison officials arrived at the limit of three prayers a day.

Those housed in Lindh’s unit are considered extreme security risks and their interactions are closely monitored. Until this month, inmates housed in the unit were only allowed to pray together once per week or during Ramadan or on other significant religious holidays. At other times, inmates had to pray alone in their cells and hope to hear each other through the walls.

Magnus-Stinson found the policy violated a 1993 law banning the government from curtailing religious speech without showing a compelling interest, and the government chose not to appeal her ruling.

Magnus-Stinson said in court documents that it was clear that 32-year-old Lindh sincerely believed that Islam mandates that Muslims pray together five times a day and federal law requires the prison to accommodate his beliefs — which praying simultaneously inside their cells did not do. She also noted that Muslim inmates in other federal prisons were allowed to hold daily group prayers…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Montana Bill Protecting From Backdoor Medical Gun Confiscation Moves Forward

A bill that would prohibit medical providers in Montana from refusing to treat patients who choose not to answer questions about gun ownership passed its hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, 62-38.

“This bill is drafted in response to President Obama’s Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions… He is going to use the healthcare system to collect the database of where the firearms are and who has them and once you surrender that information, at some point in the future, confiscation will be that much easier,” said Rep. Krayton Kern (R), primary sponsor of House Bill 459.

In light of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, President Obama has released 23 executive actions and orders to limit gun use, including several provisions that point out that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors from asking their patients about guns in their homes. An overview of the plan encouraged doctors to ask the question by stating that “we should never ask doctors and other health care providers to turn a blind eye to the risks posed by guns in the wrong hands.”

“This is a simple bill. It does one thing. When a medical facility or doctor, as part of their history taking asks you questions about your ownership of firearms, you do not have to answer, that is all this says,” said Kern.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Nation of Islam Leader to Speak at Tuskegee as ADL Voices Concerns

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is scheduled to address students during a three-day visit at Tuskegee University this week, prompting the Anti-Defamation League to voice concerns about the “bigoted and anti-Semitic” positions he has publicly advocated. In a letter to Tuskegee University President Gilbert Rochon, ADL Southeast Regional Director Bill Nigut explained that while the ADL recognizes the importance of free speech, Farrakhan has often voiced offensive positions, mainly against the Jewish people…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Obama ‘Ethics Panel’ Gives Thumbs Up to Testing Anthrax Vaccines on American Babies

(NaturalNews) I feel obliged to warn you in advance that unless you’re an evil demon who enjoys the suffering of others, you’re going to have a VERY hard time reading this article. What you are about to confront here is extremely disturbing, racist, murderous and downright evil. Proceed at your own risk.

Here’s the story: It’s time to start using American babies as guinea pigs to test a bioweapons anthrax vaccine, concludes a presidential “ethics panel.” (Yes, the word “ethics” is not a typo.) Presumably, these will be black babies, as the history of U.S. government medical experiments on American citizens seems to always end up targeting blacks (see below).

The purpose of these medical experiments on U.S. black babies is, of course, to get FDA approval for a “pediatric anthrax vaccine.” Never mind the fact that the risk of being exposed to anthrax is practically zero. Is anybody dying from anthrax these days? Are children coming home from school after “catching anthrax” from their friends? Nope.

Anthrax is a non-issue in America. No child needs an anthrax vaccine. This is all one big push by the corrupt government working in collusion with the criminal vaccine industry to use human babies as guinea pigs so that the vaccine industry can sell tens of millions of doses of this vaccine to the government under the guise of “homeland security.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obamacare Costing Taxpayers Twice as Much as Originally Claimed

(NaturalNews) When he was selling the Affordable Care Act during his first term, President Obama claimed that the government’s near-complete takeover of the nation’s healthcare industry would be, well, affordable.

Everyone from the president on down in his administration and in the Democratic leadership insisted that the naysayers and critics were wrong, that Obamacare would not tank the nation by becoming another parasitic entitlement drain on the treasury.

Well, that was 2010. In 2013, fewer than three years later and as more and more provisions of this monstrosity of a law take effect, Americans are beginning to feel the full effect of exactly what then-House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meant when she said of Obamacare, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it…”

Take the cost of Obamacare. When he was stumping for it, the president promised Americans that, not only could the nation pay for it, but that it would cost around $900 billion over the next decade.

As congressional and independent studies are now confirming; however, Obama’s cost claims were grossly understated.

“President Obama promised a joint session of Congress in 2009 to spend $900 billion over ten years on his health care law: ‘Now, add it all up, and the plan that I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years.’ Adding up all the different spending provisions in the health care law; however, (including closing the Medicare ‘doughnut hole,’ implementation costs, and other spending) total gross spending over the FY 2010-19 period is about $1.4 trillion , based on CBO estimates,” explains the Senate Budget Committee Republican staff.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Say No to Google Glass: ‘Stop the Cyborgs’ Website Goes Viral

(NaturalNews) A website designed to draw attention to a new technological development by Internet search giant Google is going viral, thanks in large part to a growing wave of concern over personal privacy.

The site, called, was established “in response to the Google Glass project and other technology trends. The aim of the movement is to stop a future in which privacy is impossible and corporate control total,” say developers in a post describing the site’s intent.

The concept behind Google Glass is an eye wear device that uses Google’s virtually limitless bank of data to allow the user to record everything he or she sees, in real time, and then be able to utilize smart phone, Internet and other communication technology to immediately transmit, post or otherwise publicize that content — all without the permission of the subjects who have been videotaped.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The CIA is About to Sign a Game-Changing $600 Million Deal With Amazon

The CIA is on the verge of signing a cloud computing contract with Amazon, worth up to $600 million over 10 years, reports Frank Konkel at Federal Computer Week.

If the details about this deal are true, it could be a game-changer for the enterprise cloud market.

That’s because Amazon Web Services will help the CIA build a “private cloud” filled with technologies like big data, reports Konkel, citing unnamed sources.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Real Reasons Why the Liberty Movement is Preparing to Fight

Years ago while writing for Neithercorp Press I penned an article entitled “One Day Soon, We’ll All Be Homegrown Terrorists”. In that piece I described a not so far off future in which martial law, economic collapse, and the destruction of civil liberties stood imminent. I related my views on the propaganda rhetoric of the SPLC, and how they were using false association to tie liberty groups to any deviant organization they could think of, including racists and domestic terrorists, in order to condition the American public to react to our message with immediate contempt.

It became clear to me then that the SPLC, which had become the propaganda wing of the widely reviled Department Of Homeland Security, was helping set the stage for a paradigm shift in the U.S. This shift would obviously include economic and social disruption, as well as political turmoil beyond anything our nation has seen for over 150 years. But most importantly, it would pave the way for certain elements of the American populace, namely those who are awake, aware, and outspoken, to be labeled “enemy combatants” dangerous to the state.

Though posing as an anti-racist monitoring institution, the SPLC’s primary concern has never been the KKK or “White Identity”. Rather, the SPLC’s job has been and always will be to marginalize and defame those who stand against centralized federal power, regardless of how corrupt that power has become. They are not anti-racists, or liberals, or concerned citizens; they are STATISTS, who only care about maintaining the superiority of a government that has been bought and paid for many times over by a gaggle of international financiers with delusions of godhood.

Just as the public is on a shrinking timeline, so are the elites. For every burst forward in our efforts to wake up the population to the loss of their freedoms and heritage, they must speed up their plans to gain economic and political supremacy. The harder you pull on the ends of a frayed rope in opposite directions, the sooner it is going to snap.

Today, as never before, I believe our culture has reached the breaking point, which is why the SPLC has pushed their attacks on the Liberty Movement into overdrive with manipulative media hit pieces like this:


For the past four years I have pointed out that China, our largest foreign creditor, only needs to do two things before dumping the dollar as the world reserve currency — find a consumer market source to replace the U.S., and, spread it’s own currency around the globe to create a viable alternative to the greenback.

Today, China has announced a full blown transition into a consumer based economy and has established bilateral trade agreements with enough developing nations to easily replace the U.S. as an export market.

This past month, China announced a massive “urbanization project” in which they will sell over $6 trillion in Yuan denominated bonds worldwide. China has also surpassed the U.S. for the first time ever as the world’s largest trade market, meaning, the Yuan will now be more sought after than the Dollar as a global trade mechanism. The Chinese are nearly ready to dump the dollar, causing an international chain reaction that will brutally devalue our currency.

I think our economic worries are clearly reasonable…


The Department Of Homeland Security has in only a few years placed orders for ammunition totaling at least 1.6 billion rounds, and new orders indicate they may be accumulating over 2 billion rounds. The DHS has initiated a disinformation campaign through the mainstream media claiming that this ammunition stockpile, which is to be delivered over the course of five years, is for “training purposes only”. Here is the reality…

First, by the department’s own numbers, training and qualification exercises taking place in three facilities nationwide use a total of 15 — 20 million rounds of ammo yearly. This means that if the DHS claims are true, they have ordered enough ammo to last a minimum of 75 years! No government agency plans this far ahead.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

There Was a Recount on the Prop 37 Vote, And it Was Stopped Cold

Prop 37, the ballot measure that would have mandated labeling of all GMO food sold in California, went down to defeat last November, under suspicious circumstances.

So a small group, headed by Tom Courbat, former senior budget analyst for LA County, decided to challenge the vote.

In California, any voter can do that, if they’re willing to pay for it. And they have to pay for the recount county by county. They pick the counties they want to start with, they contact the county registrars, and they’re told what the price is. It’s different in each county.

So the group picked Orange and Sierra Counties. They paid the fee. The votes were recounted, and there was no appreciable change in the numbers.

The group decided Fresno County should be next. That’s when trouble came and whole thing blew up. The county clerk in Fresno, in charge of all voting processes, is Brandi Orth.

As The Brad Blog reveals, Orth came up with a staggering price for a vote recount. Here are a few of the details:

Orth stated there would be an up-front fee, due before the recount even started, of $18,000.

The cost per DAY of doing the recount? $4,000. This included five vote counters who would each be paid $46 an hour — to sit and count. Then there would be a three-person executive staff, each of whom would be paid an astonishing $92 an hour.

Note: In Orange County, the Prop 37 recount didn’t cost $4,000 a day. The fee? Only $600 a day!

At this point, I ran down a few facts about Fresno County. It’s the number-one county in the US for agricultural production; in 2007, $5.3 billion. Major employers? Kraft Foods, Del Monte Foods, Foster Farms, Zacky Farms, Sun-Maid. A local outfit, David Sunflower Seeds, is owned by the giant ConAgra.

Beginning to form a picture? Fresno is Big Agriculture, and the last time I looked, Big Ag isn’t rushing to support GMO labeling.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Thousands Line Up Outside Cal Expo Gun Show to Buy Ammunition

Thousands of people lined up for hours outside Cal Expo to buy ammunition. The line wrapped around the building for the first day of the two-day gun show.

You’ve heard the early bird gets the worm. At the Crossroads of the West gun show it couldn’t be truer.

“We got here at 5:45 a.m.,” said one person. “We were 64th and it took us 3.5 hours.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

TSA Agents ‘Humiliated’ Wounded Marine With Aggressive Inspection: Report

Transportation Security Administration inspectors forced a wounded Marine who lost both of his legs in an IED blast and who was in a wheelchair to remove his prosthetic legs at one point, and at another point to stand painfully on his legs while his wheelchair was examined, according to a complaint a congressman has registered with the TSA.

Rep. Duncan Hunter said in his letter Monday that the Marine, who is still on active duty and showed TSA agents his military identification, was still forced to undergo that scrutiny.

“A TSA office asked the Marine to stand and walk to an alternate area, despite the fact that he physically could not stand or walk on his own. With numerous TSA officers sitting and unwilling to assist, an officer then made him remove his legs, then put them back on, only to advance to a secondary screening location where he was asked again to stand, with extraordinary difficult, while his wheelchair was examined…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Was There a Chinese Spy at NASA? Fleeing Researcher ‘Carrying Hard Drive and Laptops’ Arrested on China-Bound Plane at Virginia Airport

A Chinese national who worked for NASA has been arrested at Dulles International Airport on a one-way ticket to China while potentially carrying highly confidential U.S. military secrets.

Bo Jiang, who worked for a NASA contractor at its Langley Research Facility in Hampton, Virginia, was leaving the country ‘abruptly’ to return to China, according to an FBI affidavit.

Agents arrested him as the plane pulled away from the gate on Saturday night after whistleblowers suggested he had previously taken confidential material out of the country.

[Return to headlines]

Why You Should Never Tell Shops Your Postcode

Providing a zip code to a cashier may result in piles of junk mail and continuous cold calls, a consumer watchdog is warning.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a non-profit based in San Diego, California, states that retailers use the string of numbers to gather personal data, which is then sold on to other marketers.

Most shoppers believe the code is needed to complete credit card transactions, but Paul Stephens, a spokesman for the group, told NBC that it is irrelevant when making in-store purchases.

When a cashier swipes a credit card the merchant only receives the long number across the front, the expiration date and the shopper’s name.

However Mr Stephens said that when a zip code is paired with these details, addresses, phone numbers and other specific details can be traced.

This information is then added to a database or shared with third parties.

As a result, consumers find themselves receiving unwanted marketing calls along with mail that they never signed up for from unfamiliar brands.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Seat of the Pants Lawmaking and the Art of Media Hyperbole

It is hard to believe that in Canada some of the most profound social and political issues confronting the nation are adjudicated by unelected ideologues and activists. Accountable to no one, these appointees arguably wield greater power and influence than the democratically elected politicians who appoint them. No we’re not referring to Canada’s Senate.

Rather, the topic of scorn for today’s discussion revolves around yet another broken government institute, the Supreme Court of Canada. As shocking as the court’s recent ruling was in Manitoba Metis Federation v. Canada, equally disconcerting was the media’s profound misunderstanding and misreporting of the outcome. In a classic case of wishing how things ought to be versus how things are, an irresponsible bias, in the name of progressive ideology, has betrayed itself, both within our Supreme Court, and in our media.

They who interpret the laws trump those who write the laws sure as those counting ballots hold sway over those casting them. Such is the state constitutionally in Canada, where activist judges have free rein to impose irrational will, often trashing the rule-of-law and the parliamentary system in the process.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Britain Ponders ‘Three-Person Embryos’ To Combat Genetic Diseases

The government is considering whether to propose legal changes that would allow radical new treatments for families at risk of incurable genetic diseases that involve the creation of so-called “three-person embryos”.

A national consultation released on Wednesday by the UK’s fertility watchdog found public support for techniques that involve introducing DNA from a third person to embryos which could prevent mothers from passing on devastating diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, to their children.

If ministers and MPs give the procedures the green light, Britain would become the first country to offer treatments that lead to children being born with DNA from three people: their parents and a woman donor.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Britain ‘Is Suffering a Huge Loss of Faith in Its Institutions’: Trust in All Politicians Has Slumped to an All-Time Low, Say Researchers

Britain is in the grip of a ‘deep institutional crisis’ with trust in government, parliament and politicians at an ‘all-time low’, according to an internationally respected survey.

It has led to the UK having one of the lowest political participation rates in the developed world — and even scoring below Palestine and Iraq.

Researchers said other institutions in Britain have suffered a decline in trust including the police, the church, the banks and the media.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

British Bloggers Wary of New Government Penalties for ‘News-Related’ Websites

The British government has insisted that bloggers and posts on social media would not be caught by a new system of press regulation, but campaigners warned the new rules could be open to interpretation.

Britain’s newspapers are urgently considering whether to sign up to the new system agreed by political leaders on Monday in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal at the now defunct Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid.

The new watchdog, underpinned by law, would have the power to issue harsh sanctions on misbehaving publications, including fines of up to 1 million pounds ($1.5 million, 1.2 million euros).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Clockwork Orange: France a ‘Savage’ Nation, Book Claims

A controversial book claiming France is becoming a “savage” nation with thousands of thefts, rapes and attacks going unreported daily has turned into an unlikely best seller.

Flying in the face of the traditional image of a country seen as the land of good living, ‘France, A Clockwork Orange’ claims that mainstream politicians and the media have long masked a far more disturbing reality: it is rapidly descending into mindless violence and incivility. “Nobody should ignore the reality,” the book claims, namely that “every 24 hours 13,000 thefts, 2,000 attacks and 200 rapes” take place in France — figures far higher than official national statistics. Claiming to lift the lid on a taboo — “the ‘ensavagement’ of a nation” — it has been dismissed by some commentators and criminologists as biased, unscientific and downright racist, peddling far-Right theories linking crime and immigration.

But since its release mid-January, the book by Laurent Obertone, the pseudonym of a previously unknown 28-year old journalist, has sold 35,000 copies and a fresh print run of 20,000 is on sale. It reached fifth in France’s weekly Ipsos-Livres Hebdo bestseller list and is currently third in Amazon’s most requested book rankings. In the book, he clinically enumerates one gratuitous crime after another gleaned from the press, police and judiciary, before coming to the conclusion that “ultra-violent crime” is exploding in France.

“The real level of insecurity, probably the worst in the history of the French Republic, is around 12 million crimes per year,” he claims. To reach this figure, the author contends that true crime rates are “three times higher” than official figures as these only take into account registered or solved crimes.

Speaking on France 2, Mr Obertone said: “I am fighting for a truth I have felt and that does not get the media exposure it deserves.” The book, which calls for a hard line on prison sentences, has struck a nerve as France’s parliament this week begins a debate on reforms aimed at making prison a “last resort” by using fines, probation, treatment and training for less serious crimes. They are due to reverse a decade of “zero tolerance” crime policy under Nicolas Sarkozy, who made his name as Jacques Chirac’s hardline interior minister before becoming president.

Sales of Mr Obertone’s incendiary jumped after Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front, urged everyone to “read it and get others to read it”. Mr Obertone denies being a far-Right sympathiser saying he has “no political commitment”. But Mediapart, the Left-wing investigative website, claims to have “outed” him as the author of a far-Right, racist blog. He denies the charge and intends to press charges for defamation.

The criminologist Laurent Muchelli said: “This accumulation of more or less accurate figures and truncated crimes serves one purpose: to reach the (perfectly explicit) conclusion that all this is the fault of Arabs and Blacks and that hundreds of thousands of new prison places should be opened to shut them up.” The reality, he went on, was that delinquency involving foreigners has consistently decreased as a percentage of the total population since the 1970s.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

France: Benzema’s Anthem Snub Riles National Front

France’s far-right National Front party have demanded French international striker Karim Benzema be barred from playing for the national team after he insisted he would not sing the French national anthem before matches.

The far right National Front party has demanded that Benzema, 25, who plays for Real Madrid in Spain, be sacked from the French national team for declaring he had never sung the French national anthem — the Marseillaise before an international game, and would continue not to.

Eric Domard — sporting advisor to National Front leader Marine LePen — said in a statement on Tuesday that “(Benzema) shows an inconceivable and unacceptable contempt for the jersey he has the fortune to be able to wear.”

Labeling him a “footballing mercenary paid €1484 an hour,” Domard further declared that “since Karim Benzema sees no problem with not singing the Marseillaise, the French people should have no problem with him not playing for France anymore.”

Benzema, whose parents are of Algerian origin, provoked the ire of the anti-immigration party in an interview with RMC radio on Tuesday.

“No one is going to force me to sing the Marseillaise”, he said.

“I don’t see the problem with not singing the Marseillaise…There are even supporters who don’t sing it.

“I am not going to score a hat-trick just because I sang the Marseillaise,” the defiant striker added.

Benzema pointed out that the French legend Zinedine Zidane, who is of Algerian origin, also never sang the Marseilleise before a match.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Proposes Parliamentary Taskforce to Take on Grillo

Rome, 18 March (AKI) — Silvio Berlusconi wants his party to form a taskforce to take on comic turned politician Beppe Grillo, whose grassroots protest movement gained the balance of power in the Italian parliament last month, sources said.

Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party needed to build a “great vision and revolution” for Italy” to lure voters away from the “paucity” represented by Grillo’s Five Star movement, the sources cited the ex-premier as telling lawmakers on Monday.

The 76-year-old media tycoon suggested the taskforce should comprise “100 high-level managers” in each house of the Italian parliament, according to the sources.

The anti-austerity, upstart Five Star movement caused a political earthquake in Italy last month, becoming the biggest party in the lower house of parliament and the kingmaker in the upper house, where no party has a majority.

Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition came second in February’s inconclusive election, taking the biggest share of votes in the upper house (30.7 percent) and 29.2 percent in the upper house Senate. The centre-left won the lower house.

An opinion poll published on Friday showed Five Star had maintained its support in the three weeks since the election, suggesting a return to the polls might well produce a similar result.

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

Italy: Marines Questioned as Rome Probes Into India Case

Diplomatic row intensifies over fishermen shot at sea

(ANSA) — Rome, March 20 — Rome prosecutors are moving forward in their probe into two Italian marines who allegedly shot two Indian fishermen on another vessel off the coast of India one year ago.

The case, which has opened an international dispute between Indian and Italy, brought Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone in for questioning Wednesday as prosecutors moved to have a technical review of the computer and the camera aboard the Enrica Lexie merchant ship from where the shooting took place. Italy is refusing to hand the marines over to an Indian court for a homicide trial after the pair was granted a four-week travel permit to vote in Italian elections last month.

It was the second such good-faith permit. India gave a similar waiver during the Christmas season, after which the pair returned. Both times the men had signed a form vowing to return for trial. After the announcement last week the men would remain in Italy, the Indian Supreme Court ordered the Italian ambassador there not to leave the country while officials voiced their consternation and pledged to explore all diplomatic and legal options to bring the marines back to trial.

On Wednesday Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Italy’s behavior “unacceptable” and said it “casts a shadow” over the two countries’ relations.

Italy has long argued that the marines, who allegedly mistook fishermen Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki for pirates, should not be tried in India as the incident took place in international waters. Italy has also called for an international arbitrator to assess the case.

In the meantime prosecutors here are moving ahead with their own investigation. The camera and computer aboard the ship where the incident took place are expected to provide details of the case previously unavailable to Italian authorities. “The conversations between the captain and the marines, as well as communications with Italian authorities, are recorded on that computer,” said Rome prosecutors in a statement Wednesday. “As for the camera, images are recorded there of what was believed to be a possible attack from pirates, as are the reactions of the marines”. Prosecutors also quoted the sailors testimony in their statement, which contradicts accusations from India.

The men said they “shot seven to eight rounds in the sea to discourage the approach of a ship that was different from the one showed by Indian authorities”. Rome prosecutors said the images from the camera may prove what kind of ship was involved. Even if the marines did kill the fishermen, high-ranking Italian military have defended their actions as following proper protocol in territory known for pirate attacks. “Our officers did what they had to do to protect the merchant ship,” said Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi, the supreme commander of the Italian marines. “A judge must decide whether what they did corresponds with the law, but we’re confident”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Highest Court Orders Files From Berlusconi Trials

Evaluating claims of ‘judicial bias’ in two cases

(ANSA) — Rome, March 20 — Italy’s Court of Cassation on Wednesday asked the Milan appeals court to supply it with documents relating to two cases against former premier Silvio Berlusconi, who asked the cases be moved to Brescia, a city some 100 km northeast of Milan.

Berlusconi asked that two current cases — one regarding his Mediaset television empire, the other a prostitution case involving a dancer called Ruby — be moved on grounds of “legitimate suspicion”. Italy’s highest court said it asked the Milan appeals court for an “integration of the documentation” necessary to continue with the process of evaluating the requested move, sparked by the former premier’s claims of judicial bias in Milan.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Center-Left PD Publishes Eight-Point Government Plan

Proposals include LGBT civil unions, new citizenship rules

(ANSA) — Rome, March 20 — Italy’s Democratic Party (PD), which won a majority of seats in the lower house of Italy’s parliament but failed to secure a majority in the Senate during last February’s elections, on Wednesday published the details of its eight-point program, including new citizenship rules and civil unions for gays.

The points, which PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani has said would serve as the basis for a PD-led government, include a law against gay-bashing, recognition of civil unions between gays along the German model and laws to protect women from violence.

The proposals, which also include calling for the granting of Italian citizenship to children born in Italy of foreign parents, are published on the PD’s website,

Citizens are invited to comment and propose changes online.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Escort D’addario Plaintiff in Prostitution Case

Tarantini accused of stocking ‘bunga bunga’ parties

(ANSA) — Bari, March 20 — A preliminary hearing judge in Bari has admitted Patrizia D’Addario and Terry De Nicolo’ as plaintiffs in the civil proceedings in the escorts case against local entrepreneurs Giampaolo Tarantini and Massimiliano Verdoscia.

Tarantini stands accused of having supplied high-end prostitutes to parties held by former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi in his residences.

D’Addario was a high-profile escort who participated in a few of the “bunga bunga” parties at Berlusconi’s villas and made national headlines when she went public with her story.

Among other crimes, Tarantini, a healthcare entrepreneur from Bari, had previously admitted to paying women to spend the night at Berlusconi’s official residence in Rome.

He was subsequently charged with alleged extortion of Berlusconi himself.

Aside from Tarantini and business partner Verdoscia, other people risk standing trial for running an escort ring, including Sabina Began, a German woman called the “queen bee” for her role in organizing the parties at Berlusconi’s homes, as well as actresses Letizia Filippi and Francesca Lana, lawyer Salvatore Castellaneta and friends and business partners of Tarantini, Pierluigi Faraone and Verdocsia, who was already sentenced to four years and four months in jail for organizing cocaine parties.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Jedi Knights Could Perform Ceremonies’: Free Church of Scotland Hits Out at Government Plans to Create Third Category of Marriage

Plans to redefine marriage in Scotland could mean that Jedi Knights could perform ceremonies, a church has claimed.

The Free Church of Scotland has described plans by the Scottish Government to create a third category of marriage as ‘completely nonsensical’ ahead of a consultation on the proposals later this week.

Reiterating its opposition to gay marriage, the Free Church said today that the proposals to establish ‘belief’ ceremonies alongside religious and civil ones could raise the prospect of Star Wars Jedi officiating marriage.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pope Thanks Muslims for ‘Love of God’

Pope thanks Muslims for ‘love of God’ (ANSA) — Vatican City, March 20 — Pope Francis greeted and thanked Muslims for their love of God at a meeting with religious representatives in the Clementine Hall on Wednesday.

The newly elected Pope Francis told attendees that he appreciated “Muslims who worship God as living and merciful, and whom you call upon in prayer, all of you”. “I appreciate your presence and see it as a willingness to grow in mutual respect and cooperation for the common good,” he told inter-faith representatives including non-Catholic Christians and non-Christian religious delegates.

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Pope Francis’s Book to be Published in English in May

The new pope’s views on everything from abortion to fundamentalism will be made clear in the first English-language publication of his book, On Heaven and Earth.

A collection of what its Catholic publisher Image Books calls a series of “seminal discussions” between Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who last week became the first Jesuit and Latin American to be elected pope, and Abraham Skorka, a rabbi and biophysicist, the book will be published on 7 May.

It records the “numerous hours” in which the two religious leaders tackled topics such as the Holocaust, homosexuality, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, globalisation, atheism and God. “A revisiting of these conversations is particularly relevant at the onset of Pope Francis’s pontificate, as they offer a unique perspective on his commitment to strengthening inter-religious relations through participation in a respectful dialogue on theological and worldly issues,” said the publisher, announcing the book’s acquisition.

On Heaven and Earth was originally published in Spanish in 2010 in Latin America and Spain, as Sobre el Cielo y la Terra. Publisher Maya Mavjee said its “context of inter-religious dialogue is one that will have great global appeal, speaking to Catholics and to readers across a wide range of faith and cultural backgrounds”.

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Pope: Grand Mosque Rome, Let’s Resume Path Towards Peace

Redouane calls for stronger dialogue with Christians

(ANSAmed) — ROME, MARCH 18 — Muslims and Christians should walk together along a path built on peace, simplicity and humility, Italy’s Islamic Cultural Centre said in a letter sent to the newly elected Pope Francis. In the letter, the secretary general of the Cultural Centre of the Grand mosque of Rome, Abdellah Redouane, said such a path “had been taken ever since the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, strengthened and confirmed event at the most critical times”. It is with this spirit, “unchanged and trusting, that Italy’s Cultural Islamic Centre welcomes the election of Pope Francis and will continue to work in inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue”, the letter also said. “Muslims expect to be able to boost that bridge constituted by dialogue and cooperation which is being built step by step, together, between Islam and Christianity, a bridge looking towards a better world for all”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Retired Italian Cop’s Monthly Pension Slashed to Two Euros

Union calls situation ‘unacceptable’

(ANSA) — Catanzaro, March 20 — A former top official of Italy’s corrections police saw his monthly pension slashed to two euros from an expected 1,686 euros, sparking complaints by the retired commander’s colleagues.

The case occurred in Lamezia Terme, in southern Italy, and was referred to the penitentiary police officers’ union, which said the pensioner’s situation was particularly critical given the current economic recession. The union contested the slimmed-down monthly pension packet — itself the result of a back taxes claim — saying that “what occurred is unacceptable” and that the incident could have been avoided had the pensioner been alerted to the claim in time to request a payback plan in installments.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Bentley Set to Move Manufacture of New Luxury Off-Roader to Bratislava in Huge Blow to 4,000 Strong Workforce

Bentley may build its new luxury off-roader in Bratislava rather than Britain, the firm’s bosses have revealed.

In a dramatic blow to its 4,000-strong British work-force — and to Chancellor George Osborne ahead of today’s Budget — the firm’s German chiefs announced at their annual results conference in London that they were considering manufacturing the £150,000 4X4 in the Slovakian capital in Eastern Europe.

Bratislava and Crewe are now ‘in competition’ to build up to 4,000 of Bentley’s first sports utility vehicle (SUV) a year, with the final decision to be made within weeks, they said. Hundreds of new jobs are riding on the outcome.

Should Bratislava be chosen, the vehicle would become the first volume-produced Bentley to be built outside of the UK in the company’s near 100 year history.

It could not carry the plate that has adorned Bentleys for generations: ‘Made in Crewe, England’.

Bosses insisted it would still have ‘Bentley DNA’, but admitted it the plaque would like be altered to read: ‘Designed in Crewe, England’.

Cheaper labour rates in Slovakia and ‘uncertainty’ over whether Britain will remain in the European Union if there is a referendum were counting against the British case, bosses said.

Craftsmanship, a ‘motivated’ British workforce, and the logical cost of transporting parts between Britain and Slovakia were in its favour, they added.

Directors denied playing off governments in a bid to boost grants, noting that Crewe was in line for £7million in subsidies tied to more jobs being created.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Men in Court Over Violent Clashes at Millfield Mosque Demonstration in Sunderland

Six men have admitted causing disorder at a far-right demonstration at the site of a new mosque in Sunderland.

Around 200 people attended the pre-planned demonstration on St Mark’s Road in Millfield on Saturday, October 6 2012, where a former council transport depot is being converted into a mosque for up to 150 Pakistani Muslims. The English Defence League, Scottish Defence League and Sunderland Anti-Fascist Coalition were among the protesters. A group of Muslims and locals also attended in a counter-demo…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The South Woodford Muslim Community Centre in Mulberry Way Planning Two Storey Extension Containing New Hall and Four Flats

A South Woodford mosque wants to build an additional two storeys housing a community hall and four flats. The South Woodford Muslim Community Centre in Mulberry Way hosted a meeting for residents on Saturday to explain its plans. Council leader Keith Prince and deputy leader Ian Bond attended the meeting where residents were shown images of the development. Qaiser Malik, secretary of the Qur’ani Murkuz Trust which oversees the centre said: “We have been very open about our plans because we want to make sure that we take on board all concerns and criticisms before we submit an application.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt Slid Backwards in Democratic Transition During 2012

EU annual report on neighbourhood policies

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, MARCH 20 — Egypt took a number of steps backwards in its democratic transition in 2012, according to the EU annual report on neighborhood policies in the Southern Mediterranean and Eastern European countries.

The report noted that Egypt had continued moving toward a democratic transition, with such important milestones as presidential elections, an end to the state of emergency and the handover from military to civilian power.

However, the report noted serious steps backwards, such as the dissolution of the Popular Assembly and the lack of progress in the field of human rights. According to Brussels, the constitutional process led by President Morsi and the call for a constitutional referendum — adopted by a small majority with low turnout — has resulted in a “deeply divided political crisis”.

The EU’s recommendations include ensuring inclusive dialogue for all political parties, so that the constitution belongs to all Egyptians and that it safeguards human rights and fundamental freedoms. Brussels also wants fair and transparent parliamentary elections to be held and that civilians no longer be subjected to military trials.

As concerns trade, the EU noted that little progress had been achieved and that the talks for the liberalization of services had not moved forward.

The EU Commission noted strong concern also over the issue of human trafficking, especially with regard to the Sinai.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Caroline Glick: Obama’s Mysterious Visit

Why is US President Barack Obama coming to Israel today? In 2008, then president George W. Bush came to celebrate Israel’s 60th Independence Day, and to reject Israeli requests for assistance in destroying Iran’s nuclear installations.

In 1996, then-president Bill Clinton came to Israel to help then-prime minister Shimon Peres’s electoral campaign against Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu.

It is possible that Obama is coming here in order to build up pro-Israel bonafides. But why would he bother? Obama won his reelection bid with the support of the overwhelming majority of American Jews. Their support vindicated his hostility toward Israel in his first term. He has nothing to prove.

It is worth comparing Obama’s visit to Israel at the start of his second term of office, with his visit to Cairo at the outset of his first term in office.

Ahead of that trip, the new administration promised that the visit, and particularly Obama’s “Address to the Muslim World,” would serve as a starting point for a new US policy in the Middle East. And Obama lived up to expectations.

In speaking to the “Muslim World,” Obama signaled that the US now supported pan-Islamists at the expense of US allies and Arab nationalist leaders, first and foremost then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Moreover, in castigating Israel for its so-called “settlements”; channeling Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by intimating that Israel exists because of the Holocaust; and failing to travel from Cairo to Jerusalem, preferring instead to visit a Nazi death camp in Germany, Obama signaled that he was downgrading US ties with the Jewish state…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]

Explaining Obama’s Fixation With Israel

Why this fixation on the Arab-Israeli conflict, which ranks only 49th in fatalities since World War II? Because of a strange belief on the Left, rarely stated overtly, that this issue is key not just to the Middle East but to world problems.

For an unusually frank statement of this viewpoint, note the spontaneous, awkward comments of James L. Jones, then Obama’s national security adviser, in Oct. 2009. Addressing J Street, he mentioned “pursuing peace between Israel and her neighbors” and continued:

Of all the problems the administration faces globally, that if there was one problem that I would recommend to the president that if he could do anything he wanted to solve one problem, this would be it. Finding a solution to this problem has ripples that echo, that would run globally and affect many other problems that we face elsewhere in the globe. The reverse is not true. This is the epicenter, and this is where we should focus our efforts. And I am delighted that this administration is doing so with such enthusiasm and commitment.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Limo Breaks Down in Israel

(NEW YORK POST) It may be able to stop bullets but it’ s no match for regular unleaded.

President Obama’ s presidential ride “ The Beast” suffered a malfunction on Wednesday and had to be towed.

There are reports that the armored limo broke down because it was filled with gasoline instead of diesel.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

18 ‘Spies’ Arrested in Saudi Arabia

Eighteen people, including an Iranian and Lebanese have been arrested in Saudi Arabia suspected of spying for a foreign country.

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said the 18 were arrested as part of a coordinated raid across the country. The ministry did not name which country the group were working from.

Authorities moved after the ministry “received information concerning the involvement of Saudis and expats in espionage on behalf of another”. The suspects “gathered information on vital installations which they provided to the country” they had been working for, it added…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Admiral: U.S. Will Attack Syria “If Called Upon”

Following unconfirmed reports al-Qaeda used chemical weapons, the top U.S. commander in Europe told the Associated Press NATO is preparing to intervene in Syria.

Adm. James G. Stavridis told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday the U.S. will play a direct role in taking out Bashar Assad’s government if called upon to do so. “We are prepared if called upon to be engaged,” he said.

In addition to a direct military role, Stavridis said NATO is looking at ways to turn the conflict around in favor of the CIA’s mercenary army consisting largely of al-Qaeda terrorists. Minus the discplined fighting ability of the Islamic terrorists, the FSA would have capitulated to the well-armed professional Syrian army months ago.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Christians in Danger, Patriarch Gregory III Warns Pope Francis

Rome, 19 March (AKI) — Christian minorities in the Middle East are under threat, especially in conflict-wracked Syria, the Patriarch of the Church of Antioch has warned Pope Francis, Adnkronos International (AKI) has learned.

“The crises in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, are endangering Christians present in the region,” Patriarch Gregory III Laham told AKI, quoting a letter he said he has written to Francis.

“Interfaith dialogue and coexistence between Islam and Christianity are also in jeopardy,” he said.

Francis is an expert on the situation in the Middle East and “God willing” will put the region’s problems high on his list of priorities,” the patriarch stated.

Argentinian cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was enthroned as Pope Francis on Tuesday after being elected pontiff in a conclave of cardinals last week to replace 85-year-old Benedict XVI who abdicated in February on health grounds.

As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was responsible for the Catholic community in the Middle East and was a point of contact for emigres from Lebanon, Syria and all the countries in that region.

“I hope that the Pope will ensure a better future for all Arab countries and their peoples,” concluded the Syrian-born patriarch, who is also the spiritual leader of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

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

Evidence Shows Chemical Weapons Attack Launched by Rebels (Video)

Victims of the attack were anti-FSA civilians and Syrian troops.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Has Syria Become a Chemical War? Russia Accuses Rebels of Using ‘Toxic’ Weapons in Attack That Left 25 Dead

Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Syrian rebels of using chemical weapons to kill 16 people in an attack on a rural area near Aleppo today, calling it an extremely alarming and dangerous development.

A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said: ‘A case of the use of chemical weapons by the armed opposition was recorded early in the morning of March 19 in Aleppo province.

‘We are very seriously concerned by the fact that weapons of mass destruction are falling into the hands of the rebels, which further worsens the situation in Syria and elevates the confrontation in the country to a new level.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama and Netanyahu to Discuss Attacks Inside Syria

According to the establishment media, Obama will resist Israeli pressure to immediately attack Iran in response to its imaginary nuclear weapons program. Last week, during an Israeli Channel 2 news interview, Obama said Iran will be capable of producing a nuclear weapon in a year and hinted action against the undocumented program will come within a year.

Instead of concentrating on Iran during Obama’s visit scheduled for Wednesday, the United States and Israel will settle on a common goal — escalating the war in Syria and doubling up the effort to take out the al-Assad government and replace it with a government more amendable to Israel and the United States.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Syrian Adversaries Demand Inquiry Into “Chemical” Attack

(Reuters) — Both sides in Syria’s conflict on Wednesday demanded an international inquiry into a deadly attack they each cite as evidence that the other has used chemical weapons.

The deaths of 26 people in a rocket attack on a northern town on Tuesday have become the latest focus of a propaganda war between President Bashar al-Assad’s supporters and opponents, who accuse each other of firing a missile laden with chemicals.

The United States and Russia, which back opposing sides in Syria, took contrasting views of the strike on Khan al-Assal, near Aleppo, which, if confirmed, would be the first use of chemical weapons in the two-year-old conflict.

Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Damascus who left Syria more than a year ago, said his government had no evidence so far to substantiate reports that chemical weapons munitions had been used in Syria on Tuesday.

“But I want to underline that we are looking very carefully at these reports,” he added, in testimony in Washington to a U.S. House of Representatives hearing on the crisis in Syria.

Ford also said there would be consequences for Syria’s government if it were found to be using chemical weapons, but would not discuss what those would be.

Washington has so far shunned direct military intervention in Syria, although it says Assad must be removed from power after 43 years of his family’s iron rule in the major Arab and two years after the start of an uprising against it.

Rebels might latch onto any suspicions of chemical weapons use to bolster a case for Western military intervention, although not all of Assad’s opponents favor this.

Russia, citing information from the Damascus government, has accused rebels of carrying out a chemical strike.

Syria’s restrictions on independent media and foreign aid groups make it hard to verify what happened, but survivors interviewed in hospitals complained of breathing difficulties.

The opposition Syrian National Coalition said it wanted an international investigation into alleged chemical attacks on Tuesday in both Khan al-Assal and Otaiba, a town near the capital Damascus.

“The Coalition would like all parties and individuals involved in this reprehensible crime to be brought to justice,” it said in a statement.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry has asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to set up an independent, neutral specialist technical team “to investigate the use of chemical weapons by the terrorists in Khan al-Assal”, state television reported.

Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Meqdad had said on Tuesday that officials would test soil and rocket debris in Khan al-Assal and report their findings to the “relevant bodies”…

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Syrian Rebels Caught on Tape Discussing Chemical Weapons Attack

The recording of the phone conversation purports to be between two FSA militants, one inside Syria and one outside of the country. Abu Hassan, the militant inside Syria, asks the person on the other end of the line to transmit a message to Sheikh Suleiman, a rebel-seized army base in Aleppo, asking for “two chemical bombs …phosphoric” in order to “finish this whole thing.”

“I want them to be effective,” states Hassan, adding, “The radius of the strike, or reach of the gases, has to be 1km.”

The use of white phosphorus as a weapon is banned by the Third Convention on Conventional Weapons and as such is a war crime.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Hezbollah Biological Warfare Threat to UN Peacekeepers and Israel

Yesterday, news broke about an alleged Chemical Warfare (CW) attack in Syria. There were cross allegations between Syrian opposition and the Assad Regime. Russia accused the rebels of perpetrating the event, while as the day progressed there wasn’t clear evidence as to which side in the more than two year conflict was the perpetrator. President Obama in White House Press room remarks also drew attention to the potential threat of Biological Warfare (BW). That is a concerning topic Dr. Jill Bellamy van Aalst, noted international expert and NATO consultant on BW threat reduction , addressed in an op-ed article published in today’s Israel Hayom, “Hezbollah Biological Threat to UN Peacekeepers.” Our interviews with Dr. Bellamy van Aalst in both 2007 and in 2013 New English Review articles on the Syrian Biological Threat have been prescient. An op ed co-authored by her on the Iranian, Syrian BW nexus appeared in the Jerusalem Post this January. Her article on the Hezbollah biological weapons threat to the EU was published earlier this month in the English edition of Copenhagen-based Dispatch International. Clearly her expertise and warnings on BW transferred by Syria and Iran to Hezbollah are gaining attention in the international media. Note this comment from her Israel Hayom article: This could put down an entire battalion and severely affect an operational theater. It could create a window of opportunity either to collect intelligence or engage in operations to prepare the groundwork for a second conventional strike on those forces or for a wider conflict. In the US the reactions to the reports of a possible CW attack in Syria were used by Congressional supporters of providing kinetic aid to the Syrian opposition. President Obama, prior to his departure for a visit to Israel warned about crossing “red lines” in use of non-conventional weapons in the Syrian conflict.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

US’ New “Syrian PM” Yet Another Muslim Brotherhood Extremist

The Western media eagerly announced that long time US resident Ghassan Hitto was chosen as the new “interim prime minister” of NATO’s proxy forces fighting in Syria. While most headlines attempted to focus solely on Hitto’s long stay in the US and his role in a tech firm based in Texas, The Globe and Mail reported in their article, “Canadian loses bid to lead Syria’s rebels; Ottawa’s stance assailed,” that:

Ghassan Hitto, a Kurd with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, was elected in the early hours of Tuesday at a meeting of leading opposition figures of the Syrian National Coalition.

Some reports indicate that Hitto was in fact pushed forward specifically by the Muslim Brotherhood. The AFP reported in their article, “Ghassan Hitto voted premier of Syria’s rebel territory,” that:

Some Coalition members described Hitto as a consensus candidate pleasing both the opposition’s Islamist and liberal factions.

But some of the 70-odd Coalition members withdrew from the consultations before the vote could take place, accusing opposition heavyweight Muslim Brotherhood of imposing Hitto as a candidate.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US ‘Red Line’ On Syria Has Been Crossed?

Four days after House Intelligence Committee Chairman (and former FBI agent) Mike Rogers reiterated in the Washington Post that the US “red line” for military intervention in Syria would be that government’s use of chemical weapons, the US-allied opposition fighters have possibly used some sort of chemical device in Aleppo, killing at least 26, including 16 Syrian Army soldiers.

The Russian foreign ministry has issued a statement:

“Information coming from Damascus indicates that the use of chemical weapons by the armed opposition was recorded in the Aleppo province early on March 19. We are extremely, seriously concerned by the fact that weapons of mass destruction have gotten into militants’ hands, which is worsening the situation in the SAR even more and brings confrontation in this country to a new level.”

Three thoughts:…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ukrainian MPS in Mass Brawl After Russian is Spoken in Parliament

Extraordinary scenes in the parliament building in Kiev as members of the Svoboda party fought with their rivals in the Communist party and the Party of Regions after the leader of the latter delivered a speech in Russian.

The Ukrainian parliament was briefly suspended on Tuesday after lawmakers from the nationalist Svoboda party brawled with opposition politicians over the language used in a speech. The leader of the ruling Party of Regions faction, Oleksandr Yefremov, delivered a speech in Russian which angered members of the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party, who chanted “Ukrainian!” as he spoke. Afterwards, lawmakers from the Svoboda party approached opposition members and a brawl erupted…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

British Tourist Breaks Leg as She Jumps Out of the Window of Indian Hotel Room to Escape Manager Who ‘Tried to Rape Her’

[WARNING: Disturbing content. More details on exactly what transpired.]

A British tourist jumped from a second floor hotel window to escape a potential rape attack during a trip to see the Taj Mahal, Indian police said yesterday.

The terrified woman, said to be a London-based dentist in her thirties, fled after the drunk hotel owner allegedly tried to get into her room at 4am offering a ‘massage’.

She suffered head, rib and leg injuries, but got to the road and hailed a rickshaw which took her to a police station.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Contempt Not Grounds for Supreme Court Ruling in Marines Case, Indian Experts Say

India’s highest court ordered the Italian ambassador not to leave the country. In an editorial on ‘The Hindu’, two law experts say that India cannot hold the ambassador even if Italy is guilty of “breach of faith and diplomatic protocol”.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) — The action by the Italian government shows total contempt for India’s Supreme Court and constitutes a breach of faith and diplomatic protocol, but India cannot detain the Italian ambassador to Delhi, this according Anup Surendranath and Shreya Rastogi, respectively Assistant Professor of Law and a final year law student at the National Law University in Delhi. They penned an editorial in today’s edition of The Hindu, about the case of the two Italian marines currently in Italy but wanted in India in connection with the killing of two fishermen.

After Rome decided to not to send back Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who returned to Italy on an election permit (that will expire this Friday), India took a cautious but firm stance.

On several occasions, External Foreign Minister Salman Kurshid stated that Italy’s decision was “unacceptable”, noting however that he would wait for the permit to expire before taking any action.

For Sonia Gandhi, “The defiance of the Italian government on the question of the two marines [. . .] and its betrayal of a commitment given to our Supreme Court” are “outright unacceptable”.

Following the Italian government’s decision, India’s Supreme Court imposed restrictions on Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini. He had signed the affidavit in which Italy pledged that the marines would return to India.

Citing Article 129 of the Indian constitution, the Supreme Court ruled that Mr Mancini was in contempt of court because of his government’s decision not to return the marines to India.

However, for Surendranath and Rastogi, the Court does not have the legal right to hold Ambassador Mancini who has absolute diplomatic immunity under the 1961 Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which India ratified in 1969.

Article 29 of the Vienna Convention states that in fact “a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable” and is not “liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving State shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom or dignity.”

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

Sonia Gandhi Warns Not to Underestimate India

(AGI) — New Delhi, Mar 19 — For the first time Sonia Gandhi, the widow of Rajiv Gandhi and President of the Indian National Congress party, voiced her opinion on the case of the two Italian marines, warning that nobody should underestimate India.

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

Chinese Solar Panel Company Defaults on $541 Million Worth of Bonds

Chinese solar panel manufacturer Suntech announced today that it has defaulted on a $541 million bond payment. It is the first company from mainland China to default on its bonds, Bloomberg News reported.

Failing to make the payment has triggered defaults on loans from International Finance Corp and Chinese domestic lenders, Bloomberg News reported.

Suntech, the world’s biggest solar panel maker as recently as 2011, has run short of cash after reporting losses in 2011 and 2012, the Associated Press reported.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Chinese Eugenics Factory Collects “Genius” DNA to Breed “Enhanced” People

According to a leading evolutionary biologist, the Chinese are engaging in a massive breeding operation with the aim of ultimately creating a breed of cognitively enhanced individuals. And what’s more, the China-based eugenics factory recently bought up a large genome research institute in the United States, giving the Chinese access to the DNA of Americans.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

South Korean TV Networks and Banks Suffer Computer Crashes After Suspected Cyber-Attack From the North

South Korea appears to have been the target of a cyber-attack from the North after computer systems at broadcasters and banks in the country simultaneously crashed today.

The shutdown came just days after North Korea was hit by cyber-attacks which temporarily disabled a number of websites in Pyongyang and which it blamed on the U.S. and South Korea.

The two nations have been engaged in an increasingly aggressive war of words in recent weeks, with North Korea threatening war after cancelling the decades-old ceasefire between the neighbours.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Suspected Cyberattack Cripples South Korean Media

South Korean police are investigating what could be a North Korean cyberattack on four major national broadcasters and a large bank, whose computer networks shut down early on Wednesday.

Police and South Korean officials were investigating the simultaneous shutdown Wednesday of computer networks at several major broadcasters and banks. While the cause wasn’t immediately clear, speculation centered on a possible North Korean cyberattack.

The shutdown came days after North Korea blamed South Korea and the United States for cyberattacks that temporarily shut down websites in Pyongyang.

Officials at the two South Korean public broadcasters KBS and MBC said that all computers at their companies shut down at 2 p.m. (0500 GMT). The officials said the shutdown was not immediately causing any damage to their daily TV broadcasts.

The officials declined to give their names saying they were not authorized to speak media.

YTN cable news channel reported the company’s internal computer network was completely paralyzed. Local TV showed workers staring at blank computer screens, and at one coffee shop employees asked for cash, saying their credit card machine wasn’t working.

The state-run Korea Information Security Agency confirmed that computers at at least five South Korean companies were down. The agency was investigating what caused the outage.

Shinhan Bank, a lender of South Korea’s fourth-largest banking group, said the bank’s system, including online banking and automated teller machines, has stopped working since 2:20 p.m. Thursday. The company is unable to conduct any banking activities at bank windows to customers including retail banking and corporate banking.

The company does not know what caused the paralysis.

Immediate suspicion fell on North Korea.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Islamophobia Hurts Aussie Multiculturalism

CAIRO — With a vocal minority holding racist views about Islam, a parliamentary report is warning that anti-Muslim sentiments are casting a pale on the success of multiculturalism in Australia. “The committee’s analysis has revealed that the perception of Islam as a threat has led to serious concerns within the community, which in turn is sometimes used as a justification for aggressive racist attacks and intensifying the marginalization of Muslims,” says the parliamentary report cited by The Australian on Tuesday, March 19…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Opponent Vows to Take Doveton Mosque Project to VCAT, Courts

Peter Strachan, Leader

THE whole city of Casey should decide the fate of a proposal for a super-size mosque in a Doveton industrial area, a councillor says. Casey Council’s planning committee last week backed an officer’s report to grant a permit, against a background of stiff objection from neighbours and others…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Al Qaeda Executes French Hostage in Retaliation for Mali Offensive

Al Qaeda fighters in North Africa claim they have killed a French businessman in retaliation for France’s offensive in Mali.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) told ANI, Mauritania’s news agency, that they had executed Philippe Verdon, who was taken hostage in 2011. Officials in France were trying to verfiy the report. A man calling himself Al-Qairawani and claiming to be a spokesman for AQIM told ANI told that the “spy” Verdon had been executed “on March 10 in response to France’s intervention in Northern Mali.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Pope Will Remain Neutral on Falklands, Says Baroness Warsi

The Pope will remain neutral on the row between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands, a Cabinet minister said today.

Baroness Warsi, who attended Pope Francis’s inauguration at a giant open-air Mass in St Peter’s Square, said the Vatican has always insisted that the diplomatic battle between the two countries is a bilateral issue. The minister spoke a day after Cristina Kirchner, the president of Argentina, met the Pope and asked him to intervene on the sovereignty row over the British territory. Mrs Kirchner condemned what she called “the British militarisation of the South Atlantic” and said the Pope could help promote “dialogue” between London and Buenos Aires. She cited a precedent of papal intercession in a diplomatic conflict, saying that the late John Paul II had helped broker peace between Argentina and Chile in 1978 when they nearly went to war over disputed islands in Patagonia. But Baroness Warsi, the Faith and Communities Minister, dismissed any prospect of the new pope wading into the row between Britain and his home country…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

A Prison for Your Mind

We are at war. The battlefield is your mind. There is one objective: Gain access to, convert, and control your thinking. Every day, in the name of diversity and tolerance humanists, anti-religious fanatics, Immoral, psychopathic and God hating change-agents erode and systematically undermine the moral fabric of America. What you are experiencing is the mental/emotional equivalent of H.G. Wells “War of The Worlds.” The methods of attack are clear to anyone that has the courage to open their eyes and see the pervasive neo-leftist/neo-fascist influences that have flooded our collective psyches for the past 75 years… the infusion of atheism, including non-theism and agnosticism; the promotion of the theory of evolution — Darwin being their High Priest, “immorality,” which include pre- and extramarital sex, the feminist and gay agendas, abortion, euthanasia and the right to die; and the introduction of the secular humanism and science as religion — the view that it is possible, and in fact more viable to lead an ethical life without belief in God, and finally globalism — an obsession with concern for the “human rights” of all people in the world regardless of their level of social development, cultural morality and ethics.

It sounds like a science fiction horror film — and because what you are about to read sounds so surreal, and fantastic, our enemies have been able to literally get away with murder. How, you ask, is it possible for illusion, lies, and overt manipulation to be used to control almost everyone on earth at some level? Science has revealed one of the answers in a recent article published by Reuters on entitled “Brain sees violent video games as real life” in which a study reveals how the brains of players of violent video games react as if the violence were real. Klaus Mathiak at the University of Aachen in Germany studied the brain patterns of 13 men aged 18 to 26 who, on average, played video games for two hours a day. Wired up to a scanner, they were asked to play a game involving navigating through a complicated bunker, killing attackers and rescuing hostages. Mathiak found that as violence became imminent, the cognitive parts of the brain became active and that during a fight, emotional parts of the brain were shut down.

The fact is that the average person is not capable of recognizing the truth of what is happening every day right before their eyes… the ongoing implementation and systematic accomplishment of a plan to change human nature. But, like it or not, we have already been changed…

While the constant ebb and flow of our attention is manipulated, the architects of tomorrow are reconstructing the foundations of our human existence.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Attorney Says Prosecution of Abortionist Who “Snapped Newborn Babies’ Necks” Is “Racist”


‘House of Horrors’ doctor charged with killing live fetuses with scissors

The defense attorney for an infamous Philadelphia abortionist charged with snapping the necks of newborn babies with scissors has ludicrously claimed that the prosecution of Dr. Kermit Gosnell is “racist” because he is black.

Pandering to a largely black jury, attorney Jack McMahon stated, “This is a targeted, elitist and racist prosecution of a doctor who’s done nothing but give (back) to the poor and the people of West Philadelphia…It’s a prosecutorial lynching of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.”

According to the charges, Gosnell’s act of ‘giving back’ to the community included severing the spinal columns of at least seven newborn babies with scissors, and instructing his employees to do the same. He is also charged with killing 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar by injecting her with a lethal dose of anesthesia and painkillers.

Gosnell also tried to force women who didn’t even want an abortion to go through the procedure. “When I said no, the doctor got upset and he ended up taking my clothes off, hitting me, my legs were tied to the stirrups,” Robyn Reid told ABC News. “I just remember my very last thought … looking up at the light and thinking, ‘Don’t fall asleep.’“

A 281-page Grand Jury report details how Gosnell’s Philadelphia Women’s Medical Society clinic, which had not been inspected for 17 years, was a literal house of horrors.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: The Idiotic Academics Who Don’t Want Children to Learn Anything

by Harry Mount

In today’s Telegraph, there is a letter from a group of academics that beggars belief. In it, the various professors attack Michael Gove’s proposed curriculum for consisting “of endless lists of spellings, facts and rules”. My God, the madness! Sometimes Gove must wake up in the morning and wonder whether it’s worth the struggle. His opponents are of such a deeply-engrained strain of perverse idiocy that it is impossible to argue with them — ideology has utterly defeated reason…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The Dangers of the New National Curriculum Proposals

Michael Gove has prioritised facts over creativity

SIR — As academics, we are writing to warn of the dangers posed by Michael Gove’s new National Curriculum, which could severely erode educational standards. The proposed curriculum consists of endless lists of spellings, facts and rules. This mountain of data will not develop children’s ability to think, including problem-solving, critical understanding and creativity…

Prof Michael Bassey

Nottingham Trent University

Prof Terry Wrigley

Leeds Metropolitan University

Prof Meg Maguire

King’s College London


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Will Christianity Survive?

Militant atheism, Christian martyrs, Academic disdain for Christianity

As Easter nears and as militant atheism seems to creep across the face of Europe and much of our nation, the question “Will Christianity survive?” is one which many Americans must be asking. If Christianity is true then it is indestructible, but leaving metaphysics aside, what are the objective historical prospects of Christian survival?

Europe is scarcely Christian today, but most critics of Christianity seem not to know that Europe has long been scarcely Christian. The 1932 book, The Catholic Church in Contemporary Europe, notes the French government in the early part of the last century refused to recognize for purposes of entering the civil service graduates from Christian universities in France and “…the new brand of lay school teachers [in France], male and female, formed in these schools have been loud atheists.”

In 1927, Adolph Keller and George Stewart in their book, Protestant Europe: Its Crisis and Outlook, noted that only about a quarter of the French were practicing Christians. Gustave Combes, writing in 1938, agreed with that figure, and in 1929 Sisley Huddleston wrote: “Nominally France is a Catholic country, but in reality France has always been in conflict with the Church.” One third of the parishes in France had no priest.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

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