Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/21/2013

A Christian group in the West Bank town of Nazareth is planning to honor their most well-known resident by erecting a 100-foot statue of Jesus. Nazareth and its environs are now predominantly Muslim.

In other news, a billboard in India memorializing Nelson Mandela mistakenly displayed a photo of Morgan Freeman instead of the former South African president.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, Jolie Rouge, Michael Laudahn, Papa Whiskey, 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
» “The Chinese Don’t Want Dollars Anymore, They Want Gold” — London’s Gold Vaults Are Empty: This is Why
» Killing the Middle Class
» Manipulations Rule the Markets
» Not Fit for the Next Europe’s Brittle Banking Union
» The Mark of the Beast is Here
» The Taper is on — 8 Ways That This is Going to Affect You and Your Family
» What Happened the Last Time a Major Central Bank “Tapered” QE?
» World’s Worst Economies in 2013
» All Praises Due Sens. Kirk and Menendez on Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act
» Do Democrat Lawmakers Anticipate Treason Trials?
» Eyewitness to Hitler Warns Americans: “Keep Your Guns and Buy More Guns” (Video)
» FDA May Ban Antibacterial Soap Ingredients Such as Triclosan
» If I Could Give America Anything for Christmas
» Justine Sacco Twitter Revolt: Fierce Blowback After AIDS-Africa Tweet Sent From IAC Exec’s Account
» Kenilworth Charter School, Subject of Apparent FBI Inquiry, Has Ties to Turkish Education Movement
» Mental Vaccines? Researchers Now Pushing Vaccine for PTSD
» Rush Limbaugh: A Rooseveltist in the Closet? (Part 1)
» Target Confirms Security Breach; Up to 40m Customers Affected
» War Begins: Slandering Conservatives Has Started
Europe and the EU
» Cosmic Explorer Gaia Embarks on Star-Mapping Mission
» Greek Farmers Clash With Police Over Property Tax
» Italy: Brains of Camorra’s Ecomafia Jailed
» Italy: Former ‘Anti-Mafia’ Mayor Arrested in Mob Probe
» Italy: Police Have ‘Never Gotten So Close’ To Catching Mafia Boss
» Italy: Prozac in the Womb ‘Can Cure Down Syndrome’ Study Says
» Italy: Jailed Ex-Sicily Governor Denied Community Service
» Italy: Catholic Expert Says Angels Don’t Have Wings
» Just in Time for Christmas: Things You Might Not Have Known About Actual Reindeer
» Mars Curiosity Rover Lego Model Set for New Year’s Day Release
» Mein Kampf Plan Fuels Debate in Germany
» Never the Twain Shall Meet
» Scotland: Memorials to Mark Lockerbie Attack Anniversary
» Sweden: Christmas Goat Engulfed in Flames, Charred to the Ground for 27th Time
» Sweden Moves Closer to a Cashless Society With New Money Laundering Registry
» UK: Pitbull Owner Whose Crazed Dog Savaged Five Police Officers Wins Legal Appeal Because They Let it Out of His House During Raid
North Africa
» Egypt: The Secret Conspiracies Between Morsi and Al-Zawahiri to Spread Terrorism Around the World!
Israel and the Palestinians
» Arab League Rejects US Proposal in Mideast Deal
» Christian Group Plans 100-Foot-Tall Jesus Statue in Muslim-Dominated Nazareth
Middle East
» Dead Sea: Environmentalists Question Pipeline Rescue Plan
» Mercenary Admits Syrian Rebels Had Chemical Weapons (Video)
South Asia
» Morgan Freeman Mistaken for Nelson Mandela in India Billboard Gaffe
» Nepal: Migrants’ Money Sustains the Economy at the Cost of Slavery and Violence
» Turkmenistan: Ashgabat: Imams, Police and Intelligence Services Ban Bibles and Christian Songs
Far East
» China’s Military Lashes Out at Japan’s New Defense Plan, Says Tokyo Raising Regional Tensions
» Chinese Moon Display Contains Image of Europe Being Nuked
» In Asia, Especially China, Consumers Are Getting a Sweet Tooth for Chocolate
» Korea Celebrates as Kimchi Becomes Part of the World’s Heritage
Australia — Pacific
» 58-Year-Old Had Fuel and Cigarette Lighter in His Car, NSW Magistrate Hears
Sub-Saharan Africa
» 4 Wounded as US Military Aircraft Takes on Fire During Evacuation Mission in South Sudan
» Obama’s Half-Brother: ‘Barack Thought I Was Too White’
» Samantha Power Downplays Jihadist Threat During Visit to Central African Republic
Latin America
» ‘Topless’ Protest Falls Flat in Rio De Janeiro as Few Flaunt Longstanding Obscenity Laws
» Cecilia Malmström Signs the Readmission Agreement and Launches the Visa Liberalisation Dialogue With Turkey
» EU and Turkey Agreement on Deporting Migrants and Visas
» Italian Church Asks EU to Avoid Hasty Judgments on Lampedusa
Culture Wars
» Arkansas Mom Destroys Common Core in Four Powerful Minutes (Video)
» Gay Group Calls for Re-Education of Phil Robertson
» I’m Offended and I’m Not Going to Take it Anymore!
» Leave Your Secularism at the Door
» New Mexico Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage
» Paglia: Duck Dynasty Uproar ‘Utterly Fascist, Utterly Stalinist’
» UK: Tory Councillor, 72, Ordered to Undertake Diversity Training for Claiming Golliwogs Are ‘Nostalgic Not Racist’
» Will Animal “Civil Rights” Trump Human Rights?
» Worst Homeschool Law in History Just Attempted
» Before the Big Bang: Something or Nothing
» First Exomoon Glimpsed — 1800 Light Years From Earth
» How Old is the Universe?
» Man With Tiny Brain Shocks Doctors

“The Chinese Don’t Want Dollars Anymore, They Want Gold” — London’s Gold Vaults Are Empty: This is Why

[Yesterday] gold slid under $1200 per ounce, dropping to a level not seen in three years. Judging by the price action one would think that gold is not only overflowing from precious metal vaults everywhere, but can be found thrown away on the street, where nobody even bothers to pick it up. One would be wrong. In fact, as Bloomberg’s Ken Goldman reports, “you could walk into a vault in London and they were packed to the rafter with gold, and the gold would trade from me to you to somebody else. You could walk into these vaults today and they are virtually empty. All that gold has been transferred out of London, 26 million ounces…“ To find out where it has gone and why it is never coming back, watch the clip below (spoiler alert: listen for the line: “the Chinese don’t want US dollars anymore, they want gold”).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Killing the Middle Class

The Federal Reserve signs on to more of the same policies that have exacerbated the wealth gap

If one takes the mainstream media seriously, Ben Bernanke’s announcement that the Federal Reserve would begin “tapering” its purchase of government bonds and mortgage securities by $10 billion dollars per month was the reason for Wall Street’s rally on Wednesday.

Yet as the chart here reveals, the reaction to the Fed’s decision was a rapid and precipitous drop first, followed by a large rally, when Bernanke dropped the far more important shoe: interest rates would remain near zero for the foreseeable future. Thus, the nation remains wedded to a policy best described by Andrew Huszar, who was responsible for executing the first round of Quantitative Easing (QE), as “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.”

And while Wall Street has flourished, Main Street remains mired in the “new normal.” It is the new normal where a staggering 75 percent of the jobs created this year have not only been part-time, but low-paying. It is the new normal where the “decline” in unemployment to 7 percent is belied by the reality that a record high 91,541,000 of Americans are no longer in the labor force as of October, and the workforce participation rate is 63 percent, the lowest its been since 1978. Some of that decline can be attributed to Baby Boomers retiring, but the participation rate of workers aged 16-54 also declined during the recession — and has yet to recover.

And that’s assuming the figure of 7 percent unemployment itself hasn’t been manipulated, apart from not counting those who are no longer looking for work. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has initiated an investigation into a New York Post report that employment data leading into the 2012 election may have been deliberately manipulated.

[Comment: Destruction of the middle class is intentional. It is a goal for the communists on their way to power.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Manipulations Rule the Markets

Previously when the Fed announced that it might cut back its bond purchases, the markets dropped sharply, and the Fed quickly back-tracked. Everyone knows that the high prices in the bond and equity markets are the result of the liquidity pouring out of the Fed and that a curtailment of this liquidity will adversely affect prices. So why this time did prices go up instead of down?

Pam Martens points out that there is evidence of manipulation. (

As market data indicates, the initial response to the Fed’s announcement was a sharp move down as market participants sold stocks on the Fed’s announcement (see the chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in Pam Martens’ article). But within a few minutes the market changed course and rose on panic short-covering just as sharply as it had fallen.

The question is: who provided the upward push that panicked the shorts and sent the market up 292 points? Was it the plunge protection team and the NY Fed’s trading floor? Was it the large banks acting in concert with the Fed? It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this was an orchestrated event that forestalled a market decline.

Short selling in the paper gold futures market has been used to protect the US dollar’s value from being knocked down by the Fed’s Quantitative Easing. Following the Fed’s December 18 announcement, another big takedown of gold was launched…

Bloomberg reports that gold is exiting the West. It has been shipped out to Asia. You explain, dear reader, how the price of gold can fall so much in the West while the supply of gold dries up. (

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Not Fit for the Next Europe’s Brittle Banking Union

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has negotiated a European banking union suited perfectly to his country’s tastes. It looks like a victory, but it could prove to be very expensive if Europe or Germany face another financial crisis.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Mark of the Beast is Here

The Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) can write a check for an unlimited amount of money to buy government bonds and the US Treasury prints the money to back up the check. UNBELIEVABLE… IT’S TRUE. Read National Geographic, January 1993, pg. 84. Go to the library and read the books exposing this SCAM. The Fed is a private bank for profit…just like any business. Check the Encyclopaedia Britannica or, easier yet, look in the 1992 Yellow Pages. The Fed is listed under COMMERCIAL BANKS, not GOVERNMENT. The Fed is no more a Federal agency than Federal Express.

Schauf goes on to explain some of the intricacies of how the Fed prints currency, then sells it to the government in exchange for government bonds, on which we pay interest, and that become part of the national debt that we, the taxpayers, are obligated to repay. Then the Fed sells these instruments to others, including foreign agencies, spreading around, as it were, our debtors. It seems the Fed doesn’t want to keep all its eggs in one basket, or, to put it another way, if it spreads around the debt, it also spreads around the risks. Just remember, as it sells off this debt and receives funds or obligations for funds in exchange, it hasn’t yet done anything to earn this money but authorize the printing of the currency. A pretty good scam, isn’t it? For a more detailed account of how all this works, I recommend reading Wright Patman’s A Primer on Money.

This system can be bypassed; we can print our own money, as the Constitution requires. “On June 4, 1963, President Kennedy (JFK) [issued] Executive Order 11110 [one of the rare instances when this executive power was used for something worthwhile] [and] printed real US dollars with no debt or interest attached, because he bypassed the Federal Reserve Bank. Upon his death the printing ceased and the currency was withdrawn. Want proof? Ask any coin-dealer for a 1963 Kennedy dollar… It says ‘United States Note,’ NOT ‘Federal Reserve Note’“ (Thomas D. Schauf, CPA, FED-UPTM, in a tax petition letter to concerned citizens, viewable here: last accessed September 25, 2013)…

By 1979, just six years after the Tri-Lateral Commission was founded, its activities were already known well enough to be addressed by retiring Arizona senator Barry Goldwater in his autobiography, With No Apologies. Goldwater writes:

“In my view the Trilateral Commission represents a skillful, coordinated effort to seize control and consolidate four centers of power — political, monetary, intellectual, and ecclesiastical. All this is to be done in the interest of creating a more peaceful, more productive world community. What the Trilateralists truly intend is the creation of a worldwide economic power superior to the political governments of the nation-states involved. They believe the abundant materialism they propose to create will overwhelm existing differences. As managers and creators of the system, they will rule the future.”

There are three main democratic and industrialized zones: Europe, Japan, and America (including Canada). These three areas make up the Trilateral Commission, to which approximately 325 important figureheads with varying responsibilities belong.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Taper is on — 8 Ways That This is Going to Affect You and Your Family

The unelected central planners at the Federal Reserve have decided that the time has come to slightly taper the amount of quantitative easing that it has been doing. On Wednesday, the Fed announced that monthly purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds will be reduced from $45 billion to $40 billion, and monthly purchases of mortgage-backed securities will be reduced from $35 billion to $30 billion. When this news came out, it sent shockwaves through financial markets all over the planet.

But the truth is that not that much has really changed. The Federal Reserve will still be recklessly creating gigantic mountains of new money out of thin air and massively intervening in the financial marketplace. It will just be slightly less than before. However, this very well could represent a very important psychological turning point for investors. It is a signal that “the party is starting to end” and that the great bull market of the past four years is drawing to a close. So what is all of this going to mean for average Americans? The following are 8 ways that “the taper” is going to affect you and your family…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

What Happened the Last Time a Major Central Bank “Tapered” QE?

After having followed a zero interest rate policy strategy and facing a further deteriorating economy in an environment of falling prices (deflation), the Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced the introduction of QE on 19 March 2001 and kept it in place until 9 March 2006. The BoJ chose for a very orderly and gradual unwinding of its government securities portfolio, by continuing its regular purchases of these securities (i.e a taper and not sale). The market rejoiced at the normalization for a week or 2… before dropping 24% in the following 2 months. Of course, that was a “policy mistake”; the Fed knows this time is different.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

World’s Worst Economies in 2013

The International Monetary Fund rates these countries worst in the world by at least one measure.

Japan is likely to grow faster than most other developed nations this year, despite a slowdown in the third quarter, but sky-high debt continues to plague the world’s third largest economy.

For many years, ultra low interest rates allowed Japan to issue debt and not be overwhelmed by servicing payments. Debt is forecast at 244% of GDP in 2013. By contrast, government debt in the U.S. is projected to be 105% of GDP this year, while Greece’s debt is estimated at 175%.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

All Praises Due Sens. Kirk and Menendez on Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act

Yesterday, as I entered a December monthly luncheon meeting of the Tiger Bay Club in Pensacola I was taken aside by a fellow member who told me how much he valued the work of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) on the latest Iran sanctions effort. We were there to hear David Wasserman of the Cook Report and assistant editor of the National Journal give a presentation on the 2014 electoral map for the crucial mid-term elections for President Obama. He is seemingly in trouble over the debacle of his keystone domestic program, the Affordable Care Act. We have great respect for Sen. Kirk given our September 2008 NER interview with him when he was a Member of the US House of Representatives from a suburban Chicago Congressional District, involved with the bi-partisan effort working on early Iran nuclear sanctions legislation..

My Tiger Bay colleague was referring to new bi-partisan sanctions legislation, the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act co-sponsored by Sen. Kirk, a ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Prominent among the 26 co-sponsors of the new sanctions legislation were Sens. Casey (D-PA), Graham (R-SC), McCain (R-AZ), Rubio (R-FL), Schumer (D-NY), Warner (D-VA). Clearly, these Senators are skeptical that an ultimate agreement can be achieved with the Islamic Regime in Tehran based on the P5+1 interim agreement and Joint Plan of Action (JPA). The US Senators and French Foreign Minister Fabius can point to a Press TV news release with comments by Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian head of their Atomic Energy Organization. Salehi said “the country’s nuclear facilities, including Arak heavy water reactor, will continue running, dismissing Western governments’ call on Tehran to suspend activities at the facility”…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Do Democrat Lawmakers Anticipate Treason Trials?

According to a report by Breitbart’s Elizabeth Sheld, eight Democrat lawmakers have proposed a bill that would eliminate the death penalty as a consequence for individuals convicted of numerous federal crimes, among them espionage and treason. Nothing happens in Washington without a reason, so The Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act (HR 3741) gives rise to a bevy of questions and suspicions.

What motivation would congressional Democrats have for wishing to neutralize the death penalty option for such serious crimes? While the average news consumer is conditioned to summarily dismiss the machinations of government unless it directly impacts their pocketbook, or their sensibilities are deliberately targeted by the press, common sense dictates that elected officials proposing such a law could be anticipating the requisite conditions, thus necessitating the law in the first place.

So, who do these lawmakers suppose might be tried for treason, espionage, or the host of other federal crimes now punishable by death in the not-so-distant future?

Well, take your pick. President Obama himself committed a treasonable offense in supplying military aid to rebels fighting against the Assad regime in Syria, first clandestinely and then overtly after circumventing laws expressly prohibiting same. What other treasonable offenses he may have committed attendant to this process (including those related to the 9/11/12 attack on the Benghazi compound) remains to be seen.

Obama’s insinuation of Muslim Brotherhood operatives into sensitive government positions, as well as actions pursuant to his relationship with them are likely treasonable offenses. Despite the Muslim Brotherhood’s intended goal in subjugating America and the rest of the globe, the only reason that this has not been an issue of contention is because Obama and his surrogates themselves do not wish it to be, the press has been complicit, and the Republican leadership are invertebrates.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Eyewitness to Hitler Warns Americans: “Keep Your Guns and Buy More Guns” (Video)

Editor’s Note: The warning signs are everywhere. History has shown us exactly what happens to the citizenry of nations who are disarmed by their governments. The comparisons between Nazi-controlled Austria and a socialist-controlled America are frightening. But this time it’s different right? It could never happen in the Land of the Free…

Watch the speech, read every word and share with friends, family, and those who don’t know any better.

When Katie Worthman was a little girl in Austria, she witnessed firsthand Adolph Hitler’s rise to power and the Soviet communist occupation that followed. She also witnessed, for decades, the distortions of the media when it came to the reporting of the events.

– From her eyewitness perspective, Worthman said that the whole thing didn’t happen overnight, in a brutal attack, like the media portrays it, but rather, it evolved into a dictatorship gradually, over a period of a few years. Hitler didn’t come across as someone evil, to be feared, initially. “In the beginning, Hitler didn’t look like, or talk like a monster at all. He talked like an American politician.”

Here are some things that occurred in Austria, according to Worthman, that just might look familiar to Americans:

  • Hitler was elected with 98% of the vote.
  • Hitler destroyed the existing medical system when he brought a national healthcare plan into being.
  • First, people were forced to register their guns to cut down on crime.
  • Then they were forced to turn them in or risk capital punishment for keeping them.

Worthman’s eyewitness account is eerily reminiscent of what we can see going on in the United States today…

Now 84, Katie Worthman is warning America, her adopted country, in the hopes that history does not repeat itself. Watch her powerful presentation below. If you don’t want to go buy more ammo after that, then you aren’t paying attention.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

FDA May Ban Antibacterial Soap Ingredients Such as Triclosan

(NaturalNews) Soap, shampoo and personal care product manufacturers have been adding it to their consumer formulas for decades, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has never been proven safe or effective. But now the agency is proposing that triclosan, a common antibacterial chemical found in hand soaps, be accompanied by scientific evidence proving its safety and efficacy, or else not be allowed on the market.

On December 16, the FDA published an official proposal in the Federal Register that would require manufacturers to provide more solid evidence in support of the use of both triclosan and triclocarban, two controversial additives that recent studies have shown are both ineffective and harmful. Triclosan, as you may recall, is a highly persistent endocrine-disrupting chemical that we previously reported can cause brain damage and cancer.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

If I Could Give America Anything for Christmas

What do we really see across the Christmas landscape at the hands of Obama?

Nearly 6 million have been dumped from their health care plans and have no place to go. The exchanges are a disorganized and almost non-existent joke. The over 600 million dollar computer that is supposed to run this pretend game of Obama doesn’t work as well as my Dollar Store computer and that is on purpose…

The pain and loss is just beginning with Obamacare. It has never been enough for Obama to crush millions so far. In January many predict up to 1/3 of the country will be dumped from their work insurance plans.

We all know, those of us who have any brains, that Obama must completely destroy our entire healthcare system, create massive chaos and a spirit of desperation. He will then swoop in as Father Christmas with his single payer Government, (Nazi Germany inspired) Health care plan. Once this demonic Obama plan lands, he will literally control who lives and who dies — How Obama enemies and friends are treated and how much money he will be taking from our accounts.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Justine Sacco Twitter Revolt: Fierce Blowback After AIDS-Africa Tweet Sent From IAC Exec’s Account

Twitter is furious at IAC communications director Justine Sacco after a snarky tweet about AIDS in Africa was sent from her account.

“Going to Africa,” the tweet said. “Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kenilworth Charter School, Subject of Apparent FBI Inquiry, Has Ties to Turkish Education Movement

FBI and Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School officials aren’t saying why the FBI converged on the Baton Rouge school’s campus Wednesday evening, carting off boxes.

But the school has ties to a controversial education movement inspired by a Turkish Muslim scholar, Fethullah Gulen. And other schools connected with that movement have reportedly been investigated by the FBI.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 2011 that the FBI was investigating whether employees of charter schools affiliated with the Gulen movement were kicking back part of their salaries, funded by taxpayers, to the Turkish Muslim movement of “Hizmet.” The Inquirer reported the investigation was “nationwide,” but coordinated by prosecutors in Pennsylvania, where Gulen lives.

Kenilworth’s ties to the Gulen movement aren’t direct or publicly advertised. Kenilworth Superintendent Tevfik Eski has previously denied to | The Times-Picayune any connection between Gulen and the school.

But in 2011, | The Times-Picayune reported that Pelican Educational Foundation, the nonprofit group that runs Kenilworth, does have various connections to the movement.

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Mental Vaccines? Researchers Now Pushing Vaccine for PTSD

(NaturalNews) Fox News is pimping the latest investigational drug that conventional scientists allege might be able to help prevent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in individuals exposed to trauma. A recent report by the news giant explains that researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in conjunction with Massachusetts General Hospital, are working on a vaccine that supposedly blocks a natural stomach hormone linked to prolonged stress…

But is another vaccine what we really need as a society, especially one that inhibits a key hormone in the body responsible for regulating hunger and appetite? Like every other drug, this new vaccine attempts to correct an underlying health condition by simply covering up its symptoms, in this case by artificially lowering levels of an important amino acid peptide that the body needs to convert food into energy.


Western medicine has an obsession with vaccines

While PTSD is a very serious health condition, the idea of developing a so-called vaccine to prevent it is preposterous. The last thing people need is yet another injection loaded with toxic aluminum, formaldehyde, mercury (thimerosal), and the many other harmful adjuvant components that will most assuredly create even more disease, not to mention intentionally block an important physiological component responsible for metabolizing nutrients.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rush Limbaugh: A Rooseveltist in the Closet? (Part 1)

Probably the most influential among the professional disinformers whose main job is to confuse the American people and keep them unable to focus on the real enemy is talk radio host Rush Limbaugh. I am using Limbaugh as an example, not only because he is a faux conservative, but because he is the most important agent in the two-party PsyOp — a psychological warfare operation whose goal is to make the American people believe the two main political parties have different agendas.

Rush Limbaugh has always despised the “black helicopter crowd,” implying that only those afflicted by a peculiar mental disease could believe or contemplate such claims. He openly mocked these beliefs in his so-called “Kook Test”:

“Do you believe that David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and other famous members of the New World Order provide daily instructions to agents of the FBI, CIA, BATF, and National Organization of Women? Do you believe that the feminist movement was the brainchild of David Rockefeller for the purpose of having men and women at war with each other on a daily basis so as to distract them from the real conspiracy of the CFR? If you have answered even one of these questions “yes,” then you are a kook and have passed the test.”

He has been very careful, however, in hiding from his listeners the fact that in his Memoirs David Rockefeller himself confirmed that the Rockefeller family is “part of a secret cabal working against the best interest of the United States.” He also wrote that he and his family are internationalists “conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure — one world, if you will.” Moreover, he added: “If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”[4]

In the same fashion, on February 8, 2009, speaking at the at 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, National Security Advisor Major General James Jones, told those in attendance: “As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger, filtered down through General Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger, who is also here. We have a chain of command in the National Security Council that exists today.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Target Confirms Security Breach; Up to 40m Customers Affected

Target says that about 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been affected by a data breach that occurred just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear.

The chain said that accounts of customers who made purchases using their cards at its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have been exposed. The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

War Begins: Slandering Conservatives Has Started

The truth is that the grassroots just isn’t listening to anything the insiders have to say.

Karl Rove’s “Conservative Victory Project” was created to “start by intensely vetting prospective contenders for Congressional races to try to weed out candidates who are seen as too flawed to win general elections.” Conservative icon Brent Bozell responded by sending an email to Karl Rove’s donors warning that they wasted their money: “Now, in an attempt to explain the astonishingly low return on the hundreds of millions of dollars investment in Crossroads, Karl Rove and others are attempting to blame conservatives and the tea party.” And: “Meanwhile, more moderate candidates like Tommy Thompson, Heather Wilson, Rick Berg, and Denny Rehberg went down to defeat despite significant support from Crossroads.”

Establishment Republicans not only vote for bigger government, more spending, higher deficits, and ever-expanding regulation. They also openly express their contempt for conservatives. Insiders have always attacked the tea party.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Cosmic Explorer Gaia Embarks on Star-Mapping Mission

Gaia, the European Space Agency’s latest cosmic explorer, blasted off aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from French Guiana at 0912 GMT this morning, lighting up the surrounding jungle. The spacecraft is now en route to its workplace, a location known as L2.

L2 is a moving point in space that is always on Earth’s night side, 1.5 million kilometres away. The alignment of the gravitational forces between the sun and Earth means that any object in this location stays stationary with respect to the Earth and sun. This means L2 is often used for space missions — ESA’s Herschel telescope was positioned there until earlier this year.

Gaia should arrive at L2 in around three weeks’ time, where it will begin its five-year mission to map the location of around a billion stars in the Milky Way. Astronomers hope to use this map to learn how our galaxy formed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greek Farmers Clash With Police Over Property Tax

Farmers from the Greek island of Crete clashed with police Friday outside Greece’s parliament in Athens as lawmakers debated a bill that will expand an unpopular property tax to farms and previously untaxed properties.

Hundreds of farmers took an overnight ferry to protest in the capital and were joined by farmers from the southern mainland. They hurled oranges at riot police and battered their shields with traditional shepherds’ walking sticks.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Brains of Camorra’s Ecomafia Jailed

Police say Camorra figure masterminded waste trafficking for mob

(By Sandra Cordon) (ANSA) — Naples, December 10 — The alleged creator of the “ecomafia” wing of the notorious Casalesi clan of the Neapolitan Camorra mafia, blamed for serious environmental and health crimes via waste disposal, was arrested Tuesday.

Police say that Cipriano Chianese, 62, presented himself as a businessman and lawyer but the so-called “garbage king” actually created the ecomafia and for decades oversaw the illegal trafficking of waste exposed in the bestselling book Gomorrah.

The author of that book, Roberto Saviano, also exposed the criminal empire of the Casalesi, one of the most powerful families in the Neapolitan mafia, and as a result has been under police protection because of death threats.

The book Gomorrah was later turned into an award-winning film of the same name and documents the mob’s deadly hold over rackets and businesses ranging from toxic-waste disposal to construction, drugs and even the garment industry. Police on Tuesday also alleged that Chianese put out a one-million-euro hit on a prosecutor in Naples and his plot only became known when an employee turned him in to authorities.

Chianese offered that sum to anyone who would kill the lead prosecutor investigating him and his activities, according to police.

The would-be hit man who took the contract did not complete the job in 2006 because he was arrested first, police said.

Chianese had previously been under house arrest in connection with allegations of creating an environmental disaster and poisoning water supplies, but Tuesday was transferred into full custody. Police say that Carlo Verde, 37, who worked for Chianese, told them of the assassination plot.

Verde was also arrested Tuesday along with Chianese’s brother Francesco.

Cipriano Chianese is also alleged to have extorted quotas for waste management and forcibly seized control of a transport company, the Mary Trans, that moved waste for municipal governments and businesses. Authorities have said that Chianese is believed to be a leading player in the largest Camorra operation in the waste sector and the ecomafia system in Campania.

The Camorra has long infiltrated every part of the rubbish collection industry and has raked in huge profits even as its illegal dumps and uncontrolled burning of waste and other toxic materials have been blamed for unusually high levels of cancer and other disease linked to pollution. In particular, its disposal of toxic waste including burning in the southern Campania region and the area between Naples and Caserta — dubbed the “Land of Fires” — has led to serious health warnings.

Mafia infiltration of waste disposal has become a major environmental and health issue as hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste — some of it dangerously contaminated — has been illegally dumped in what some have described as an ecological time bomb that will continue to poison the land for at least another 50 years. In many cases, hazardous or toxic waste has, in clear violation of environmental laws, been dumped in landfills that are not properly sealed with the result that waste materials seep into the soil and aquifers. Last week, the Italian government banned waste burning without authoritization to try to stem illegal dumping sites.

According to environmental group Legambiente, 14% of environmental crimes in Italy take place in Campania, where 6,000 illegal waste fires and 2,000 toxic dumps were reported between January last year and August 2013.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Former ‘Anti-Mafia’ Mayor Arrested in Mob Probe

Leader in fight against ‘Ndrangheta also detained

(ANSA) — Reggio Calabria, December 12 — A former mayor and a leader of the anti-mafia movement in the southern Calabria region were among six people arrested in an organized-crime bust Thursday. Sebastiano Giorgi, ex-mayor of the town of San Luca, is suspected of mafia affiliation, while Rosy Canale, coordinator of the San Luca Women’s Movement, was charged with embezzlement and fraud. In 2009 Giorgi was elected on a tough-talking platform against the Calabria-based ‘Ndrangheta, believed to be the most powerful of Italy’s mafias for its virtual stranglehold on the European cocaine trade. The following year his administration was dissolved for mafia infiltration. The local clan from his town of San Luca sprang to international attention with the 2007 murder of six mafiosi in the German city of Duisburg. The other four arrests Thursday were described as former local administrators and businessmen. Last week Carolina Girasole, another former mayor known for her stance against organized crime in the same region, was arrested for alleged ties to the mafia.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Police Have ‘Never Gotten So Close’ To Catching Mafia Boss

Arrests made of 30 associates of Matteo Messina Denaro

(See related) (ANSA) — Palermo, December 13 — Police said Friday that they have never been so close as they are now to capturing the Sicilian Mafia’s fugitive number one boss, Matteo Messina Denaro.

The comments came as close relatives of Messina Denaro were among 30 people arrested on Friday in a massive police operation. “This is one of the most important operations,” in recent anti-Mafia efforts, senior police official Mario Parente said.

“We have never gotten so close as we are now to Matteo Messina Denaro”.

Despite his life as a fugitive, Messina Denaro is still reportedly active as the closest thing the Mafia has to a chief following the capture of the ‘boss of bosses’ Bernardo Provenzano in 2006 after 43 years on the run. Messina Denaro’s sister Patrizia, his nephew Francesco Guttadauro and three of his cousins, Giovanni Filardo, Cimarosa Lorenzo and Mario Messina Denaro, were nabbed in an operation believed to have dismantled the web of protection around the Cosa Nostra chief. The relatives are thought to have maintained contact with Messina Denaro, who has been on the run since 1993, to help him run his crime syndicate based in the Sicilian city of Trapani and the surrounding province.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the arrests are “really important” in isolating the fugitive and cutting off his finances.

“We thank the forces of order,” said Alfano.

Police said that cutting off Messina Denaro’s economic activities and financing is extremely important.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Prozac in the Womb ‘Can Cure Down Syndrome’ Study Says

‘Resets proper brain development’

(ANSA) — Bologna, December 12 — Researchers at the University of Bologna said Thursday they were able to cure the effects of Down syndrome in mice while they were still in the womb using Prozac. The results of the study were published in the neuroscience magazine Brain. Led by Professor Renata Bartesaghi, scientists say the treatment effectively resets proper brain development in newborns afflicted with the genetic disorder by using doses of fluoxetine, known by the brand name Prozac.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Jailed Ex-Sicily Governor Denied Community Service

Serving jail time for aiding and abetting Mafia

(ANSA) — Rome, December 20 — A Rome tribunal has rejected a community-service request from former governor of Sicily Salvatore Cuffaro, currently serving a seven-year sentence in jail for aiding and abetting the Mafia.

Cuffaro lost his appeal in 2011 for divulging information about anti-mafia investigations.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Catholic Expert Says Angels Don’t Have Wings

Angels may be heard on high this holiday season, but according to one Catholic church official, they don’t have wings.

Catholic Church “angelologist” Father Renzo Lavatori says angels do exist, but are surrounded by shards of light, not wings, according to a Sky News report.

“I think there is a re-discovery of angels in Christianity,” Father Lavatori said at a conference in Rome this week. But he suggests the traditional portrayal of angels as winged cherubs is not accurate.

“You do not see angels so much as feel their presence — they are a bit like sunlight that refracts on you through a crystal vase,” Lavatori added.

Art historian Professor Valerio Massimo Manfredi said the first mention of the word “angelos” came more than 3,000 years ago from the Mycenaean civilization in Greece. Angelos means “messenger” in ancient Greek.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Just in Time for Christmas: Things You Might Not Have Known About Actual Reindeer

Reindeer are featured on Christmas cards and in movies worldwide this time of year, galloping across the sky with Santa’s sleigh in tow. But on Europe’s northern fringe, the migratory mammals are part of everyday life all year round as they roam the fells of Lapland — the Arctic homeland of the indigenous Sami people of Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwest Russia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Mars Curiosity Rover Lego Model Set for New Year’s Day Release

LEGO will launch its 2014 toy line with a fan-created model of NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover.

The Danish toy company announced on Wednesday (Dec. 18) that its new “NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover” building brick set will be available for sale from the LEGO Shop online beginning Jan. 1. The 295-piece model will retail for $29.99.

“Hailed by NASA as a ‘miracle of engineering’ when (the real rover) landed on Mars in August 2012, we are thrilled to present a LEGO set based on this historic spacecraft,” Tim Courtney, LEGO’s community manager, wrote on the company’s website.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Mein Kampf Plan Fuels Debate in Germany

Under German law, a copyright expires 70 years after the death of the author, meaning that after 2015 anyone can print a copy of Mein Kampf. In response, the government announced last year that it would work with a group of historians at Munich’s Institute of Contemporary History and publish an annotated version to coincide with the expiration of the copyright.

Clemens Heni, director of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, backs the Bavarian government’s decision to scrap the project and stop publication of the book. “Mein Kampf is a very dangerous book,” he said. “Anti-Semitism is again on the rise in Germany and we don’t need this book to be printed.”

Mr. Heni added that scholars who want to read Mein Kampf can already do it in an academic setting. And he pointed to strong sales of the book in Turkey, the Middle East and Malaysia as a worrying trend. “Germany has no free speech and for good reason. We know in Germany and Austria where free speech can lead to: National Socialism.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Never the Twain Shall Meet

In the development and discussion of liberty there are two strains which fit this description the English and the French

When Kipling coined this phrase in the 19th century he was lamenting the gulf of understanding between the imperial British and their subjects on the Indian subcontinent. It has since entered general usage meaning two things that are so different they have no opportunity to unite.

In the development and discussion of liberty there are two strains which fit this description. There is the English school of thought born out of fits and starts developed over centuries by trial and error as first the Lords and then the common people of England fought for and gained individual liberty, personal freedom and economic opportunity. On the other side is the French School of thought which sprang from the French Revolution. This revolution was based upon a foundation of several generations of French thinkers who labored under the extremely autocratic divine right monarchy which held France in thrall for so long.

Our Republic sprang from the English tradition, and for most of its History has developed along the lines it defined. Today we find our traditions and our model of governance under assault not from without but from within. After successfully defeating the Fascist totalitarians in World War II and subsequently defeating the Soviet totalitarians in the Cold War we find ourselves face-to-face with home grown want-to-be totalitarians. Many wonder how this can be. How can people raised in America think so differently than Americans have thought for so long?

What we face is a clique of academics who have no real world experience and who have accepted the French as opposed to the English school of thought. Once we explore the two this will reveal it to be what one might expect from those who have inhabited the ivory towers for their entire adult lives.

So what are the differences between the English and the French theories of Liberty?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Scotland: Memorials to Mark Lockerbie Attack Anniversary

Bagpipes played and wreaths were laid in Scotland’s town of Lockerbie Saturday, as the families of those who died in the deadly airliner bombing over the town 25 years ago gathered to remember the victims.

Pan Am 103, which was bound for New York, exploded over the southern Scottish town less than an hour after takeoff from London on the evening of Dec. 21, 1988, killing 270 people either aboard the plane or on the ground.

Only one man, former Libyan intelligence oficial Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, was convicted of the bombing. He was given a life sentence, but Scottish authorities released him on humanitarian grounds in 2009 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died in Tripoli last year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Christmas Goat Engulfed in Flames, Charred to the Ground for 27th Time

Vandals in Sweden have burned down for the 27th time a giant straw goat meant to symbolize Christmas spirit.

The 13-meter (43-foot) high and 3.6-ton heavy straw goat was engulfed in flames early Saturday after unidentified assailants attacked it in the Swedish town of Gavle, 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Stockholm.

The straw goat is a centuries-old Scandinavian yule symbol that preceded Santa Claus as the bringer of gifts. Since 1966, when the tradition of erecting the giant straw goat in the town square was introduced, Vandals have burnt it down 27 times.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden Moves Closer to a Cashless Society With New Money Laundering Registry

Effort to restrict the use of physical money is a further step towards a modern day fascism in the Scandinavian country

On October 1st the Swedish government posted new regulations on its site (“corporation agency”) which prohibits citizens from engaging in certain business activity without registering with authorities and paying a fee of close to 100 EUR (850 SEK). Three regional administrations have been selected to supervise and maintain the registry which affects private firms as well as limited companys (LLC/INC). It also applies to foreign corporations that have a branch in Sweden.

Running a business in Sweden in any of these areas is now prohibited without being on the government registry and paying the fee:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Pitbull Owner Whose Crazed Dog Savaged Five Police Officers Wins Legal Appeal Because They Let it Out of His House During Raid

Appeal judges ruled today that Symieon Robinson-Pierre was not responsible for the injuries of five policemen who visited his home in East London.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Egypt: The Secret Conspiracies Between Morsi and Al-Zawahiri to Spread Terrorism Around the World!

Al-Watan newspaper exclusively published official recordings of a number of telephone calls between al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and ousted president Morsi.

Cairo, Egypt — When we reiterate that ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were supporting terrorism, and were implementing plans to resettle terrorists in Egypt, we weren’t speculating or exaggerating. Every day more evidence surfaces to confirm these accusations. We find that the schemes exceeded what we expected and goes beyond imagination.

Al-Watan newspaper exclusively published official recordings of a number of telephone calls between al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and ousted president Morsi.

The recordings reveal the involvement of Khairat Al-Shater, the Brotherhood deputy leader, playing the role of mediator between Morsi, Brotherhood and al-Qaeda leaders.

High level security sources commented saying that the Brotherhood established their own communication network with the assistance of private American companies to avoid being traced or watched. Egyptian security was able to decode this communications network. Here are some of the most important points which came up in these phone calls:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Arab League Rejects US Proposal in Mideast Deal

The Arab League says it rejects a continued Israeli troop presence on the eastern border of a future state of Palestine, a proposal Palestinians say was floated by the U.S. earlier this month.

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said Saturday no peace deal would work with Israeli presence in a Palestinian state.

Palestinian officials said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry proposed Israel control Palestine’s future border with Jordan for at least 10 years to address Israeli concerns about a potential influx of militants and weapons.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Christian Group Plans 100-Foot-Tall Jesus Statue in Muslim-Dominated Nazareth

As Christians from across the globe flock to the Holy Land in time for Christmas prayers and ceremonies, some in the community in Nazareth are seeking to reaffirm the historical importance of their town by erecting a statue of Jesus that would tower more than 100 feet above the city.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Dead Sea: Environmentalists Question Pipeline Rescue Plan

An “historic” agreement between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians is supposed to save the shrinking Dead Sea. But some environmentalists believe the plan to pump water from the Red Sea could do the salt lake more harm than good.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Mercenary Admits Syrian Rebels Had Chemical Weapons (Video)

Matthew Van Dyke acknowledges US-backed militants had chemical weapons before August attack.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Morgan Freeman Mistaken for Nelson Mandela in India Billboard Gaffe

A billboard in India purportedly mourns the death of Nelson Mandela, marking his long and eventful life with a kind and thoughtful message — and a picture of Morgan Freeman.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Nepal: Migrants’ Money Sustains the Economy at the Cost of Slavery and Violence

€ 3.2 billion per year remittances from migrant workers account for 24% of the local economy . In five years, more than 2630 Nepalese have died in mysterious circumstances in Arab countries .

Kathmandu ( AsiaNews) — The Nepalese migrant workers are a great resource for Nepal. Through their remittances they help the nation cope with the economic crisis. Approximately 24% of state revenues is the result of remittances which in 2012 alone amounted to approximately € 3.2 billion . The money sent home contributes to the development of families and the country, but is the result of working conditions on the verge of slavery and many young migrants often lose their lives in their host countries.

According to Kathmandu government sources there are about 3 million workers living abroad, but the figure reaches 5 million if irregular immigrants are included. A report by the Foreign Employment Promotion Board ( Fepb ) and the International Tribhuwan airport authority published for World Day of Migrants, December 18 , shows the tragic living conditions of the Nepalese abroad. Every day at least 3 bodies of migrants who died in mysterious circumstances arrive home, while there are hundreds of workers injured on the job who choose to return to Nepal.

In 20 years, bout 7,400 Nepalis have died during their stay abroad for work. Since 2000 there has been an increase in deaths at work in Muslim countries: 3500 in Sauudi Arabia and 2,000 in Malaysia. In five years, the Gulf countries and Asian countries in the developing world have become one of the main destinations for Nepalese migrants, willing to work in conditions of semi — slavery. For the Fepb about 2,630 people emigrated in the Gulf and South- East Asia have died since 2004: 736 in Saudi Arabia, 915 in Malaysia, 614 in Qatar , 215 in the UAE, 72 in Kuwait, 47 in Bahrain and 31 in Korea . There are thousands of cases of torture and abuse recorded in Muslim countries because of the migrants faith. Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch emphasizes that “the Gulf countries should recognize the crucial role of foreign workers in their economies and take appropriate measures to protect their rights and their safety.” The head of Human Rights Watch in Asia also called on the countries of South Asia to “kick start labor reforms to put an end to abuses against migrants .”

For the International Domestic Workers Network ( Idwn ) , an organization that brings together workers engaged as domestic servants, HRW and the International Trade Union Conferederation , at least 40% of migrants employed as domestic workers and carers experience violence , including beatings, detention in slave-like conditions and sexual abuse. Most are women from India, Nepal , Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. In some countries it is the state that promotes restrictive laws against human rights. An example is the system of “ Kafala “ in force in Qatar and other Arab countries , which requires the new employee to hand over his or her passport to the employer , who often uses this power to blackmail the employee . Sali Shelly Human Rights Watch representative in Qatar highlights that “it is absurd to think that in the richest countries of the world there are people who are hungry. Qatari authorities should take immediate action”. So far, only 25 countries have acceded to international conventions for the protection of migrant workers. South America has made €‹€‹great strides in the defense of foreign workers, while in Asia, only the Philippines has signed such agreements, which regard above all to domestic workers and carers.

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

Turkmenistan: Ashgabat: Imams, Police and Intelligence Services Ban Bibles and Christian Songs

Official of the Department of Religious Affairs, the imam of a local mosque , says that Christianity is “a mistake , not a religion but a myth.” And warns people to convert to Islam . “Songs of praise to God” also banned. Jehovah’s Witness sentenced to 18 months in prison for crimes of opinion and defense of religious freedom.

Ashgabat ( AsiaNews/F18 ) — Police and Secret Service agents in Dashoguz , a city in the north of Turkmenistan , have carried out a raid against a group of believers of the “Church of the Light of the East” , a local Protestant community . Special forces raided two houses of prayer, and confiscated religious materials including Bibles . An official of the Department of Religious Affairs, who is also an imam at the local mosque , turned to the pastor of the Pentecostal community stating that his faith “ is wrong” and warned him to convert to Islam . “Christianity is a mistake — added the Muslim leader — it’s not a religion, but a myth.”

The police also threatened a Turkmen believer to 15 days in prison and deportation. To a group practicing hymns for Sunday service, the officers stated that “ the songs of praise to God are banned here”.

The Norwegian Forum 18 news website , committed to documenting violations of religious freedom in Central Asia , reports that the number and scope of fines against individuals and communities who want to exercise their right to religious freedom has increased. The restrictions on the practice of faith is even targeting Muslims — the vast majority in the country — with the state that continues to limit the number of visas granted to the faithful who wish to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The community of Eastern Pentecostal Church of Light has obtained official registration in April 2005 and was one of the first state recognized realities that was not Muslim or Russian Orthodox to be able to worship outside of the capital Ashgabat . However, in recent weeks, the faithful have been the subject of repeated raids by the authorities and the secret police, with threats of arrests and the seizure of religious materials . During one of these operations in a private home, the agents claimed that “ it is forbidden to sing hymns to God ,” and without identifying themselves , they have seized the book of songs and brought the members of the community in for “investigations “ ..

Meanwhile, an increasing number of people are being incarcerated for crimes of opinion and defense of religious freedom. News has emerged in recent days of a Jehovah’s Witness being sentenced to to 18 months’ imprisonment. Suhrab Rahmanberdiyyev, who has just turned 18 is the ninth conscientious objector to end up in prison, where he was beaten and abused because he refused to declare himself a Muslim and convert to Islam.

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

China’s Military Lashes Out at Japan’s New Defense Plan, Says Tokyo Raising Regional Tensions

BEIJING — China’s military has lashed out at Japan’s plans to increase defense spending, accusing Tokyo of raising regional tensions under the pretext of safeguarding national security.

China’s strongly worded statement reflects the increasingly hawkish stance taken by its military amid a bitter dispute with Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. Geng accused Japan of maintaining a “Cold War mentality” that runs counter to the trends of peaceful development, cooperation and mutual benefit.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Chinese Moon Display Contains Image of Europe Being Nuked

Startling detail a sign of Beijing’s plan to militarize space?

A display to promote China’s Jade Rabbit Moon rover includes a background photograph of a mushroom cloud over Europe, a startling detail which some have interpreted as an indication that Beijing’s space program is a cover for the militarization of space.

The image, which was used as a backdrop at an exhibit for China’s recently deployed Yutu Rover, clearly shows a nuclear explosion occurring over eastern Europe, with some speculating that the location eerily matches that of the planned U.S. missile defense system in Romania.

The photograph was not designed deliberately for the moon rover display, it is taken from a stock image. This fact has been cited by those who claim that the selection of the image was a mere oversight on behalf of Chinese officials.

However, the title of the stock image, Nuclear Explosion on Earth from Space, has prompted more cynical observers to suggest otherwise…

In addition, the author of the original image has accused the Chinese government of stealing his work and giving him no credit.

“Many thanks to the Chinese government (More precisely, The Chinese International Industry Fair) for stealing & printing my work, with no credit, permission or a damn note!” the artist stated on his website, adding, “I hope your Jade Rabbit falls into a ditch on the moon and is unable to recover, you communist bastards.”

As we previously highlighted, Chinese state media itself has bragged that the moon landing program is merely the first step towards a “Death Star” moon base from which the PLA could launch missiles against any target on Earth.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

In Asia, Especially China, Consumers Are Getting a Sweet Tooth for Chocolate

In China, the demand for chocolate confectionery has double in the past ten years. In the Asia-Pacific region, sales are expected to rise 5 per cent annually. Confectionery makers plan new plants in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) — The demand for chocolate in Asia is growing more and more. In three or four years, this might lead to shortages to the delight of confectionery companies already rubbing their hands over potentially record earnings.

Global sales of chocolate confectionary will gain 2 per cent this year and 2.1 next year, Bloomberg reported, citing estimates by Euromonitor International Ltd.

China is expected to take the biggest bite out of the chocolate confectionery market after sales doubled in the past ten years with greater revenue potential than Western Europe, the biggest consumer.

This year alone, sales in China will jump 6.9 per cent year and expand another 6.6 per cent in 2014. By comparison, sales in Western Europe should rise 0.5 per cent this year and 0.6 per cent next year.

Next year, global sales of chocolate confectionary should reach a record 7.3 million tonnes. Although Western Europeans dwarf everyone else with 2.2 million tonnes eaten in 2013, their 4.5 kg per-capita consumption has not changed much in recent years. Growth potential there is thus limited.

The story is different in the Asia-Pacific region, home to half of the world’s population, where demand is expected to grow. Next year, per capita consumption should reach 200 grams, twice as much as a decade ago, fuelled by rising disposable incomes and the world’s fastest growing middle classes.

Given China’s “huge untapped market”, overall sales of chocolate confectionary in the Asia-Pacific region are expected to expand 5 per cent annually.

For this reason, several confectionery companies are building plants in Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as vetting the continent’s tastes, more specifically China’s, where milky candies dominate the market.

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

Korea Celebrates as Kimchi Becomes Part of the World’s Heritage

The decision was taken at the UNESCO general assembly. The Korean dish is thus added to humanity’s ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ because it has “voluntarily” been passed through the generations and represents the communal spirit of Koreans in winter, solidifying their Korean identity.

Seoul (AsiaNews) — Kimjang, the winter-time tradition of making and sharing of kimchi, was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.

According to the UN body, kimjang has “voluntarily” been passed through the generations and represents the communal spirit of Koreans in winter. In doing so, it has solidified their Korean identity.

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage made the decision during the UNESCO general assembly at Baku, Azerbaijan, on 2-7 December.

“Kimjang” is the process of preparing large vats of spiced and fermented cabbage and other vegetables before the start of winter and storing the kimchi vats underground for fermentation.

It has long been an essential part of preparing for the long winter when fresh vegetables are not readily available, usually done in a large gathering of family, friends or community members.

“Kimjang involves preserving different kimchi-making processes and the flavourings of different families. It also shows the ‘jeong’ spirit of affection and caring, something that the Korean communities have preserved for a long time,” said Park Sang-mi, a professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.

According to the Cultural Heritage Administration’s 2011 survey, about 95 per cent of Koreans eat kimchi more than once a day and 64 per cent prefer kimchi with all three meals of the day. It also showed that 80 per cent of Koreans make kimchi themselves or participate in the kimchi-making process in various ways.

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

58-Year-Old Had Fuel and Cigarette Lighter in His Car, NSW Magistrate Hears

A disgruntled former taxi driver who sparked a two-hour standoff outside the New South Wales state parliament will remain behind bars after being refused bail.

Abdula Ganiji caused a lockdown of Macquarie St in central Sydney when he drove his white car on to the footpath outside the parliamentary complex on Friday.

For more than two hours, the 58-year-old from the Wollongong area passed lists of demands from inside the car to plain-clothes police negotiators.

The drama ended dramatically just before 2pm when up to a dozen heavily armed tactical officers swarmed the vehicle, fired a canister of gas inside and dragged Ganiji into custody.

He was charged with threatening sabotage, possessing an explosive device to damage property and threatening to destroy or damage property.

Yesterday, a Parramatta court heard that a 2-litre fruit juice container, fuel and a cigarette lighter were found in Ganiji’s car.

Defence lawyer Jane Healey didn’t apply for bail on her client’s behalf, and it was formally refused by Magistrate Allan Moore…

           — Hat tip: Michael Laudahn [Return to headlines]

4 Wounded as US Military Aircraft Takes on Fire During Evacuation Mission in South Sudan

Rebel gunfire hit a U.S. military aircraft trying to evacuate American citizens caught in a remote region of South Sudan that on Saturday became a battle ground between the country’s military and renegade troops, officials said. Four U.S. service members were wounded.

The U.S. military aircraft were heading to Bor, the capital of the state of Jonglei and scene of some of the nation’s worst violence over the last week. One American service member was reported to be in critical condition.

The U.S. military’s Africa Command said the hit aircraft was “participating in a mission to evacuate American citizens in Bor.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Half-Brother: ‘Barack Thought I Was Too White’

In an interview with AP, President Obama’s half-brother, Mark Obama Ndesandjo, described his relationship with his brother as “cold” and stated that when the two first met in Kenya in 1988, “Barack thought I was too white, and I thought he was too black.”

AP conducted the interview as a lead up to Ndesandjo’s autobiography that, in part, highlights the alcohol-fueled domestic abuse he experienced under Barack Obama Sr.

As in his first book, Ndesandjo wanted to raise awareness of domestic abuse by using his family’s story, although he said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that the president’s relatives have not universally welcomed his airing of private matters in public. Ndesandjo spoke ahead of a news conference to launch the book in Guangzhou on Thursday.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Samantha Power Downplays Jihadist Threat During Visit to Central African Republic

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has spent a couple of days this past week visiting the violence-plagued Central African Republic (CAR). She toured some areas affected by the sectarian violence that has broken out between Muslims and Christians.

After speaking with victims and their relatives, as well as religious leaders of both faiths, Ambassador Power called for restoration of communal harmony and reconciliation. “I come away from our time in CAR very concerned about the extent of the polarization,” she said. “There is a tyranny of the mob that has taken hold here that is horrific in its own right, but also something that can be hard to stop once it’s been unleashed.”

That is an understatement, to say the least. The Central African Republic is essentially a collapsed state with no ability of its own to restore order. The chaos was triggered by the Muslim rebel group known as Seleka, which took over the government last March. Michel Djotodia, the leader of the Seleka, is now president of a transition government, which was supposed to disarm the Seleka militias, stop the violence and move towards free elections as early as 2015. There is anarchy instead. The violence has worsened as armed Seleka members and other Muslim supporters have continued to engage in atrocities against civilians including pillage, summary executions, rape, and torture. Christian civilians, churches and priests have been targeted. Christian groups have been organized in response to fight back…

Chad and Sudan are Muslim majority countries from which jihadists have spilled into the Central African Republic. They are there to help the Muslim rebel group Seleka consolidate the power of the Muslim minority population of the Central African Republic against the much larger Christian population.

Christian groups have sprung up in defense. Some have conducted violent reprisals against Muslims, but nowhere near the scale of the Muslim dominated Seleka group’s reign of terror against Christian civilians.

Yet Samantha Power appears to be assigning equal blame to both sides. When a Christian young man told the ambassador that he was considering joining a Christian militia after losing cousins to Muslim fighters who initiated the rampage against Christian civilians, Samantha Power showed no understanding of the young man’s fears. Instead, according to the New York Times, she looked up from her note taking and asked: “Does that mean killing people because they are Muslim?”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Topless’ Protest Falls Flat in Rio De Janeiro as Few Flaunt Longstanding Obscenity Laws

RIO DE JANEIRO — A planned protest for the right to go topless on Rio de Janeiro’s beaches fell flat when just a handful of women bared their chests for the movement.

Brazil has an international reputation as a country of liberal sexual mores, where nudity is not only tolerated but enthusiastically embraced during Carnival parades.

But under Brazil’s penal code, which dates back to the 1940s, female toplessness is considered an “obscene act,” punishable by three months to a year in prison, or fines. Even critics of the law admit few are prosecuted.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Cecilia Malmström Signs the Readmission Agreement and Launches the Visa Liberalisation Dialogue With Turkey

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, in Ankara at the invitation of the Turkish authorities, signed, with the Turkish Minister of Interior Muammer Güler, the EU-Turkey readmission agreement, and initiated, jointly with the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu, the EU-Turkey Visa liberalisation dialogue.

The two events took place in a combined and parallel manner within the framework of a single ceremony, with the participation of the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Minister for European Affairs, Egemen Bagiš, and the Ambassadors of all the EU Member States represented in Turkey.

“Today is a day of historical importance. The cooperation between the European Union and Turkey has made a significant step forward. We have started two initiatives in parallel which will boost the relations between Turkey and the European Union and bring benefits for their citizens. I hope that the readmission agreement will now be ratified by the two sides without delay, and that the visa liberalisation dialogue will soon allow to register substantial progress”, added Commissioner Malmström.

The main objective of the EU-Turkey readmission agreement is to establish, on the basis of reciprocity, procedures for the rapid and orderly readmission, by each side, of the persons having entered or are residing on the territory of the other side in an irregular manner.

The agreement includes provisions related both to the readmission of the nationals of the EU Member States and Turkey, and to the readmission of any other persons (including the third country nationals and the stateless persons) that entered into, or stayed on, the territory of either sides directly arriving from the territory of the other side…

           — Hat tip: Jolie Rouge [Return to headlines]

EU and Turkey Agreement on Deporting Migrants and Visas

Turkey and the EU have signed a deal enabling EU countries to send back illegal migrants who entered the 28-nation bloc via Turkey.

The deal also establishes a roadmap for lifting visa requirements for Turks travelling to the EU. Visa-free status is expected in three years’ time.

Turkey is a major transit country for Asians and Africans heading for the EU.

Ankara has set up special camps for thousands of Syrian refugees, but other migrants often face great hardship.

Greece, where migrant reception centres are overcrowded, stepped up security on its land border with Turkey in August 2012.

But the EU border agency Frontex says in its 2013 risk analysis report that detections of illegal migrants on boats in the Aegean Sea, between Turkey and Greece, increased by 912% later that year.

In the past, human rights organisations, including the UN refugee agency UNHCR, have strongly criticised Greece and Italy for “push-backs” — a policy of sending migrants back to their point of departure…

           — Hat tip: Jolie Rouge [Return to headlines]

Italian Church Asks EU to Avoid Hasty Judgments on Lampedusa

Bagnasco suggests European leaders help with refugees

(ANSA) — Genoa, December 20 — The head of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) on Friday called on the European Union to become more involved with, rather than judge, the Lampedusa refugee centre in southern Italy.

“I hope that Europe will involve itself in the situation and not just judge from the outside,” said Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the CEI.

He spoke after the European Commission threatened to stop EU support for Italy in dealing with the thousands of migrants who arrive every year on the island between Tunisia and Sicily.

The threat came after a video was released that showed migrants there stripping off all of their clothes outdoors before being hosed down with disinfectants.

Investigations have been launched into the incident and the government has said it is terminating its contract with the cooperative that had been running the Lampedusa migrant centre.

The government has said the International Red Cross may take over.

Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said that the images in the video, shot with a cell phone by a Syrian refugee and aired by Italian State broadcaster Rai on Monday night, were “appalling and unacceptable”.

The film, partially shown on the Tg2 newscast, revealed migrants queuing in a crowded courtyard and stripping naked in mixed company in the cold winter weather while a worker sprayed them with medication.

The man who filmed the scene told State broadcaster Rai the procedure is repeated every few days on both men and women against scabies, a skin condition, at the permanently overcrowded centre which houses migrants from Africa and the Middle East who survive the perilous crossing to Italy by boat.

He said migrants residing at the centre are treated “like animals”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Arkansas Mom Destroys Common Core in Four Powerful Minutes (Video)

An ordinary mother of three eviscerated Common Core state standards in her powerful four-minute testimony before the Arkansas Board of Education Monday.

The testimony comes in the wake of major protests against the uniform guidelines. The mom, a member of Arkansas Against Common Core, and identified as Karen Lamoreaux, testified that rather than “a set of rigorous, college-ready international benchmark standards” that the Common Core initiative was touted to be, it tends to dumb down math solutions by, ironically, overcomplicating them.

As an example, she gave the board a simple fourth-grade division problem, which Common Core requires students to use 108 steps to solve.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Gay Group Calls for Re-Education of Phil Robertson

For the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), suspending Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty over his comments regarding homosexuality isn’t enough — now they are calling for Robertson to be re-educated.

GLAAD was instrumental in forcing A&E’s hand in the decision to discriminate against Robertson for expressing his First Amendment right. GLAAD met with A&E representatives on Wednesday morning urging them to take action against Robertson and by the evening the Duck Dynasty star had been suspended.

While admitting that they have received an unprecedented backlash over their role in Robertson being suspended, GLADD are by no means finished. They are now calling for Robertson to be re-educated on gay issues by making him meet with homosexual families in some kind of bizarre Alcoholics Anonymous-style treatment.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

I’m Offended and I’m Not Going to Take it Anymore!

I’m not easily offended but in recent months I have become very offended. After all, if homosexuals, Indians, Blacks, Hispanics, sports nuts, radical leftists, atheists, media moguls, and others can be offended, then I have that right also.

It has become axiomatic that the right not to be offended is in the U.S. Constitution; however, I have read our Constitution, memorized some of it, studied it, but cannot find in it the right not to be offended. Maybe it’s in the same place the Court found the right to an abortion and the right to homosexuality.

I wonder if being a Bible believing Christian disqualifies me from being offended. Maybe I’m not permitted that luxury. Whatever the answers to the above, I want to go on record to the world that today I am not just offended, but very offended. I may even stomp my feet and hold my breath!

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Leave Your Secularism at the Door

The PC police have become the official “controller” and “stifler” of free speech

The atheist minority in this country is challenging everything the majority holds dear in their traditions, faith, and beliefs in order to satisfy their agenda of fundamentally changing America in their view of “social justice” promised by the hollow “hope and change.”

Merchants have caved in afraid to say Merry Christmas anymore. We now have Happy Holidays. Nativity scenes, Christmas trees, and decorations seem to offend liberal atheists more and more each year. Frivolous and vindictive lawsuits are filed to remove crosses that have been in place for decades, honoring those who served in the military and gave their lives to our country.

Christmas parties are now holiday parties and start without a prayer — they don’t want to offend anybody. If liberal atheists are so offended, why not leave your secularism at the door or come to work on Christmas Day and Easter? They are federal holidays designated to celebrate our Christian traditions, the birth of Christ and the resurrection of Christ.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New Mexico Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage

The New Mexico Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that gay marriage is legal in the Land of Enchantment.

The court said in an unanimous decision that it is unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

“We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law,” Justice Edward L. Chavez wrote in the decision.Many counties in New Mexico had already been issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, setting up the state Supreme Court to decide whether it was legal or not. The state didn’t explicitly ban or allow same-sex marriage, leaving the issue in limbo.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Paglia: Duck Dynasty Uproar ‘Utterly Fascist, Utterly Stalinist’

The suspension of Phil Robertson from A&E’s Duck Dynasty is outrageous in a nation that values freedom, according to social critic and openly gay, dissident feminist Camille Paglia.

“I speak with authority here, because I was openly gay before the ‘Stonewall rebellion,’ when it cost you something to be so. And I personally feel as a libertarian that people have the right to free thought and free speech,” Paglia, a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Thursday.

“In a democratic country, people have the right to be homophobic as well as they have the right to support homosexuality — as I one hundred percent do. If people are basing their views against gays on the Bible, again they have a right of religious freedom there,” she added.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Tory Councillor, 72, Ordered to Undertake Diversity Training for Claiming Golliwogs Are ‘Nostalgic Not Racist’

Dawn Barnett was found guilty of bringing Brighton and Hove City Council into disrepute with her remarks. She dismissed complaints against a city homestore selling golliwog placemats as ‘political correctness gone too far’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Will Animal “Civil Rights” Trump Human Rights?

I recently received a solicitation from a continuing education in the law provider, the Rutter Group, to sign up for Rutter’s “new” online course from Lewis & Clark Law School which could lead you to what they advertise as an exciting, path-breaking, fulfilling “career in Animal Rights Law.”

Animal civil rights? Animal civil rights enforceable by crusading liberal lawyers in the courts? Animal civil rights as a “legal career.” Yes. Its been out there for awhile, if not on the nightly news. And it is growing apace by progressive liberal self-anointed (the animals haven’t asked) defenders of newly perceived or invented legal “rights” of animals. (It is unknown if these animal “rights” crusaders will specialize in different animals, e.g., pig rights specialists, chicken rights specialists, etc.)

Poor deluded me. Here I have spent the last thirty years or so as an attorney defending, mostly pro bono, the civil rights, constitutional rights, workers rights, employment rights, and veterans rights of humans.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Worst Homeschool Law in History Just Attempted

So what are the specifics here? Well, for one, Teddy’s Law takes the very unusual and unbelievably tragic case of Teddy Foltz-Tedesco and strips the rights of every homeschool family and parent in the state.

If passed, Teddy’s law would require background checks and interviews before the children are allowed to become a part of a homeschool or online program. So before a parent is allowed to teach their own children, social workers have to deem you fit.

School and child service officials would be able to access a statewide data base to determine whether there are past or current abuse investigations against anyone in the child’s household…

Of course local media is reporting the predictiable story. The headlines… “Teddy’s Law Aims To Protect Children.” “Teddy’s Law Would Battle Child Abuse” But the part of the story the media isn’t telling you, that the death of Teddy, while heartbreaking is being mis-represented.

Why? Because Teddy was already in a public school for years while he was undergoing abuse at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend and while his mother allowed it to go on. Signs of abuse were seen by teachers, who reported it and it was Child Protective Services that left him in that home.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Before the Big Bang: Something or Nothing

Has the cosmos existed forever, or did something bring it into existence? Time to grapple with the universe’s greatest mystery

AS BIG questions go, it’s hard to beat. Has the universe existed forever? Over the years, some of the greatest minds in physics have argued that no matter how far back in time you go, the universe has always been here. Others have argued that the opposite must be true — something must have happened to bring the cosmos into existence. With both sides claiming that observations support their view, until recently an answer seemed as distant as ever.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

First Exomoon Glimpsed — 1800 Light Years From Earth

The first known moon outside of our solar system may have been found, and it seems weirder than we ever could have imagined.

Exomoons have long been predicted to exist — some may even be habitable worlds — but until now, no one had detected any. “This is the first serious candidate from any survey that I am aware of,” says astronomer David Kipping of Harvard University, who was not involved in the discovery.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

How Old is the Universe?

Age may only be a number, but when it comes to the age of the universe, it’s a pretty important one. According to research, the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old. How did scientists determine how many candles to put on the universe’s birthday cake? They can determine the age of the universe using two different methods: by studying the oldest objects within the universe and measuring how fast it is expanding.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Man With Tiny Brain Shocks Doctors

A man with an unusually tiny brain manages to live an entirely normal life despite his condition, which was caused by a fluid build-up in his skull.

Feuillet and his colleagues describe the case of this patient in The Lancet. He is a married father of two children, and works as a civil servant.

Intelligence tests showed the man had an IQ of 75, below the average score of 100 but not considered mentally retarded or disabled.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/21/2013

  1. Pingback: Things Are Not What They Seem | Gates of Vienna

  2. Quote:
    GLAAD was instrumental in forcing A&E’s hand in the decision to discriminate against Robertson for expressing his First Amendment right.

    I can’t escape the implication that I should care about this story.
    I don’t.
    The only thing I care about is the idea that the 1st Amendment is designed only to make the government tolerate all types of speech.
    The practice of democracy, the generosity it comes from, is required of all the people in the country.
    That means that the man who expresses the anti-gay view is as human as the man who doesn’t, and his job or well-being should not hinge on his thoughts.
    The 1st Amendment liberates and regulates YOU. Not just the government or institutions.
    YOU. Give democratic space.
    Do not apologize for being free.

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