Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/30/2015

In a series of attacks in the Sinai, forces of the Egyptian franchise of the Islamic State have killed at least forty people, including soldiers, police, and civilians. The Egyptian army is responding by mounting a major offensive against ISIS in the Sinai.

In other news, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney announced his withdrawal from the 2016 presidential race, leaving the Republican field largely open to Jeb Bush.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Fjordman, Insubria, Jerry Gordon, Mithrandir, Papa Whiskey, Phyllis Chesler, Steen, 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
» 47% of Italians Can’t Make it to the End of the Month
» Eurozone Inflation Plunges to -0.6%, Lowest Since ‘09
» Greek Finance Minister Rejects Collaboration With Troika
» Exclusive: Secret Tapes Undermine Hillary Clinton on Libyan War
» NYC to Deploy 350-Unit Anti-Terror Division
» Op-Ed: Obama’s Boys Campaign From Tel Aviv-Ted Cruz Responds
» Romney Exit Resets 2016 Field, Gives Boost to Bush
Europe and the EU
» 46.7% of Italians Pay Medical Bills in Installments
» Charlie Hebdo Attack: French Values Challenged in Schools
» EIB Pledges Almost 1-Bn Euros for Italian Railways
» France: Paris Food Critic Blasts Michelin’s Top Eateries
» France: ‘The Government Invites You to be Wary of Those Who Do Not Eat Baguettes’
» French Free Speech Victory
» Germany: Prost! Beer Sales Hop Up for First Gain in 8 Years
» Hash Helicopter Pilot Was Albanian Major: Reports
» Norway Attempts to Relocate Islamic Hate Preacher to Remote Village 300 Miles North of Oslo
» One in Two Italians Against Mattarella Candidacy
» Paul Nuttall: “Could I Lead UKIP? Yeah, I Think I Could”
» Sweden: Housing Queue Now ‘20 Years’ In Parts of Capital
North Africa
» Egypt: The Military Has a Bureaucrat Problem
» Egyptian Islamic State Affiliate Kills 40 in Sinai Attacks
» Egypt: Sinai Attacks: Army Starts Striking Back
» Egypt: Terror in Sinai, Dozens Reported Dead in Attacks
» Egypt: 27 Soldiers and Police Die in Four Islamic State Attacks in Egypt
» Egypt: For Catholic Church Spokesman, Al-Sisi’s Egypt is More Liberal on New Churches and Freedom of Expression
Israel and the Palestinians
» Unified Arab List Likely to Shake Israeli Vote Up
» Wounded Syrians Treated in Israel: Eliminate Hezbollah
Middle East
» A Forest of Crosses and Names of Martyrs in the Desert of Saudi Arabia
» Caroline Glick: Iran — Unafraid and Undeterred
» Dead ISIS Militants Lined Up in the Street as Kurdish Soldiers Continue Their Fight to Reclaim Hometowns Around Kobane Which Lie in Ruins After Months of Bloody Battles
» ISIS Militants Travel to Europe Disguised as Syrian Refugees
» ISIS Chemical Weapons Expert Killed in Airstrike, US Officials Say
» Italy Donates Copy of Nassiriya Memorial to Iraq
» King Abdullah’s Legacy: How Saudi Arabia Did — And Didn’t — Change
» Syria: ‘Adultress’ Survives Stoning
» Ukraine Conflict: Putin Ally to Build Bridge to Crimea
South Asia
» At Least 20 Killed in Pakistan Shia Mosque Blast
» Nepal Government Revokes License From “Unofficial” Religious Schools
Australia — Pacific
» Lego Pompeii Excites New Audiences
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Kenyan Grandmother at School With Her Great-Great-Grandchildren
» Swedish Troops Join Somali Pirate Mission
Culture Wars
» UK: Churches Oppose Three-Person Baby Plan
» Why the Modern World is Bad for Your Brain

47% of Italians Can’t Make it to the End of the Month

16% up over year

(ANSA) — Rome, January 30 — Almost half of Italians, 47%, say they can’t make it financially to the end of the month, a poll said Friday.

This was 16.4% up on last year, Eurispes said in its annual report.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Eurozone Inflation Plunges to -0.6%, Lowest Since ‘09

Falling energy prices said to be main cause of drop

(ANSA) — Brussels, January 30 — The annual rate of inflation across the eurozone fell in January to -0.6% compared with a rate of -0.2% in December, Eurostat reported Friday.

The fall in prices was attributed to lower energy costs, which dropped by 8.9% in January, and comes as the European Central Bank is pressing ahead with a controversial quantitative easing plan to boost growth and inflation.

The rate among the 19 States in the eurozone was last this low in the middle of 2009, when the rate of inflation was negative for almost half the year.

A spokesman for the European Commission said that the fall compared with a rate of 0.2% one year earlier cannot be considered “outright deflation”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greek Finance Minister Rejects Collaboration With Troika

Varoufakis wants new accord; no unilateral action, Dijsselbloem

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JANUARY 30 — Greece’s new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, said Friday that the country has no intention of collaborating with the EU and IMF international creditors for an extension to the bailout program that expires at the end of February. The minister stressed that a new agreement drawn up in a collaborative spirit was needed, and that Athens refused to deal with the ‘troika’ of creditors. He noted that the “government distinguishes between institutional bodies and the representatives of the creditors tasked with monitoring the program that we have already rejected”. “Our intention is to convince our partners that finding a solution is in the interests of all of us,” Varoufakis added, calling for an “agreement that will come from negotiations between all European partners, to whom we will address ourselves while focusing on Europe’s interests.” “There can be no development through unilateral actions,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the eurozone finance ministers’ group — who is in Athens for talks with the new government — after meeting with Varoufakis. He stressed that “the important thing is that Greece does not throw away everything that has been achieved in these years.

It is up to the Greek government to choose its direction and then we can move forward.” Dijsselbloem added that “the next steps will be decided prior to the end of the program and by the end of February”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Exclusive: Secret Tapes Undermine Hillary Clinton on Libyan War

Top Pentagon officials and a senior Democrat in Congress so distrusted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2011 march to war in Libya that they opened their own diplomatic channels with the Gadhafi regime in an effort to halt the escalating crisis, according to secret audio recordings recovered from Tripoli.

The tapes, reviewed by The Washington Times and authenticated by the participants, chronicle U.S. officials’ unfiltered conversations with Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s son and a top Libyan leader, including criticisms that Mrs. Clinton had developed tunnel vision and led the U.S. into an unnecessary war without adequately weighing the intelligence community’s concerns.

[Devastating. That gorgon shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

NYC to Deploy 350-Unit Anti-Terror Division

Armed with machine guns, says commissioner

(ANSA) — New York, January 30 — The New York City police department will deploy a new division of 350 anti-terrorism cops, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Friday.

The so-called Strategic Response Group will be armed with machine guns and will also be deployed in the case of public protests, Bratton said.

“Terrorism won’t disappear,” Bratton said.

“The system is evolving”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Op-Ed: Obama’s Boys Campaign From Tel Aviv-Ted Cruz Responds

by Phyllis Chesler

The White House is “dismayed,” “displeased,” “angry” over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress.

The White House’s “Dismay over Netanyahu Visit Extends to (Israeli) Ambassador.”

“Obama met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel prior to recent German elections. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met with Obama twice—each time before the British elections.”

That is the title of aJanuary 29th piece in the New York Times. Accepting Speaker Boehner’s invitation is seen as proof of “a further decay in relations between Republicans and the White House;” the White House has called the (Republican Congressional) invitation “a breach of diplomatic protocol,” and has announced that President Obama will not meet with PM Netanyahu as a “matter of policy”: It does not meet with world leaders close to their election so as not to interfere in a foreign election.

           — Hat tip: Phyllis Chesler [Return to headlines]

Romney Exit Resets 2016 Field, Gives Boost to Bush

Mitt Romney’s announcement Friday that he will not run for president a third time has reset the budding 2016 field — with political strategists saying his exit could position Jeb Bush as establishment favorite while helping him assemble a campaign team in key early-voting states.

At the same time, the former Florida governor could become an even bigger target for party conservatives who criticize both Bush and Romney as too moderate; now, only Bush remains.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

46.7% of Italians Pay Medical Bills in Installments

More and more choosing payment plans for cars, appliances

(ANSA) — Rome, January 30 — Nearly half of Italians are paying medical bills on installment plans, part of a growing trend for all kinds of spending, said a poll by Eurispes released Friday. The 46.7% of those surveyed who reported paying medical bills gradually has jumped by 24.3% from 2013, the pollster said. As well, 62.4% said they were paying for their cars on installments, 60.4% used such plans for appliances, and just over 50% bought computers and mobile phones by installment.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Charlie Hebdo Attack: French Values Challenged in Schools

“It hit me in the guts,” she says. “I heard: ‘They (the journalists) got what was coming to them. You do not mock the Prophet.’“ Only the Muslim pupils — about a third of the class — spoke. Others did not say a word.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EIB Pledges Almost 1-Bn Euros for Italian Railways

Funding aimed at conventional network, particularly in south

(ANSA) — Rome, January 30 — Funding of almost one billion euros was pledged on Friday by the European Investment Bank to help finance improvements to the Italian railway system’s conventional network.

The funding of an estimated 950 million euros is aimed at improvements to regional and local routes, particularly in the south, according to a statement from the economy ministry.

Pier Carlo Padoan, Italy’s economy minister, said that the investments are part of broader plan to “improve infrastructure and services to citizens” while stimulating economic growth and job creation.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

France: Paris Food Critic Blasts Michelin’s Top Eateries

One the eve of the release of the new Michelin guide, a leading Paris restaurant critic, who shelled out more than €7,000 to review all the capital’s three-star venues, tells The Local why diners should steer well clear of the “overblown and least exciting” eateries.

“No-one, I mean really no-one, who writes about restaurants actually pays for meals at three-star restaurants. With the cheapest lunch options for two ranging between €450 to €1,100, no writer would pay for themselves and no editor would pay,” the American critic tells The Local.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: ‘The Government Invites You to be Wary of Those Who Do Not Eat Baguettes’

A French government infographic designed to help fight jihadist ideology gets widely shared online — but with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

French Free Speech Victory

by Andrew Harrod

A French appeals court on December 18, 2014, overturned a hate speech conviction involving Christine Tasin’s condemnation of Islam. Tasin’s encouraging victory, won with Legal Project aid, demonstrates that not all threats to free discussion of Islam are violent like the subsequent Paris jihadist Charlie Hebdomassacre.

The retired classics teacher Tasin had appeared on October 15, 2013, in a parking lot before a temporary tent abattoir in use by local Muslims in the French city of Belfort near the Swiss border. During the ritual animal slaughter for the Eid al Adha (“Festival of Sacrifice”) Muslim festival, Tasin before Muslim bystanders had criticized Islam’s halal slaughter as unsanitary and cruel to animals. In an ensuing argument filmed and uploaded to the internet, she received “Islamophobe” accusations.

“Yes I am an Islamophobe, so what? It’s normal!” answered Tasin. “I’m against Islam that causes problems. I don’t find it normal to torture animals” or “to veil women. I’m talking about a serious problem.” Tasin considered “outrageous that everyone has to eat Halal without knowing it . . . sixty percent of animals killed in France are killed ritually in line with Islam.” “I am proud of hatred of Islam,” Tasin concluded. “Islam is piece of sh*t . . . a danger for France.”…

[Return to headlines]

Germany: Prost! Beer Sales Hop Up for First Gain in 8 Years

New figures released Friday by federal statistics office Destatis are numbers breweries can drink to, as German beer consumption saw its first year-on-year rise since 2006.

More than 95.6 million hectolitres of German beer was consumed in 2014: A total of 1 million hectolitres — enough to fill 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools — more than the previous year.

A hectolitre is a unit of 100 litres.

It’s the first time in eight years that beer consumption has seen a year-on-year gain, Destatis reported.

Destatis spokesperson Pamela Martin noted that there was something that held the two years together: Football.

“When the weather was good in a year and the Germans do well in international play, then the brewers can almost certainly rejoice,” Martin told the Local.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Hash Helicopter Pilot Was Albanian Major: Reports

Spain: A helicopter loaded with hashish which crashed in southern Spain on Tuesday after hitting an electricity pylon was piloted by a major with the Albanian army, according to media reports.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Norway Attempts to Relocate Islamic Hate Preacher to Remote Village 300 Miles North of Oslo

Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, known as Mullah Krekar and the original leader of an Iraqi jihadist group with links to al-Qaeda, says the move will separate him from his family.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

One in Two Italians Against Mattarella Candidacy

Majority wants direct election of president of Republic

(ANSA) — Rome, January 30 — One in two Italians is against Sergio Mattarella for president, a survey by Ixé pollsters showed Friday.

Premier Matteo Renzi tapped Mattarella, a Constitutional Court judge and founding member of the ruling center-left Democratic Party (PD), for the post on Thursday.

Another 20% support Mattarella’s candidacy and 29% said they didn’t know.

A majority of respondents, or 72%, said they want the president elected directly by citizens, and not by an assembly of MPs and regional representatives as per the Constitution.

Another 22% were against the idea and 6% didn’t know.

The survey of 1,000 respondents aged 18 and over was carried out January 28 and 29 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Paul Nuttall: “Could I Lead UKIP? Yeah, I Think I Could”

How much longer will Nigel Farage be in charge? His deputy leader, Paul Nuttall, has his eye on the top job.

The cult of Nigel Farage has underpinned Ukip’s rise. Farage has been, with a year’s hiatus, leader for almost nine years. But for how much longer? He has previously said that, if Ed Miliband becomes prime minister — which the bookmakers still make the most likely outcome — he will have “failed”. Even if that doesn’t happen, the aftermath of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union would, Ukip insiders say, be a logical time for Farage to stand-down.

So the question of who will replace him as Ukip leader is a pertinent one. Indeed, it sounds like the jostling has already begun. “Could I lead Ukip? Yeah I think I could lead Ukip and I think I could lead Ukip well.” So Paul Nuttall, the party’s deputy leader, tells me while we meet over three pints in a pub by St Pancras Station. The would-be new leader is upholding the best traditions of his boss…

           — Hat tip: Mithrandir [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Housing Queue Now ‘20 Years’ In Parts of Capital

The queue for housing in Stockholm lengthened dramatically 2014, with many “insecure” residents signing up because of fears the shortage of accommodation in the capital could get worse.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egypt: The Military Has a Bureaucrat Problem

The Muslim Brotherhood called for “a long, uncompromising jihad” in Egypt just days after a delegation of the Islamist group’s key leaders and allies met with the State Department, according to an official statement released this week.

Just days after a delegation that included two top Brotherhood leaders was hosted at the State Department, the organization released an official statement calling on its supporters to “prepare” for jihad, according to an independent translation of the statement first posted on Tuesday.

The State Department meeting was attended by a deputy assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor and other State Department officials.

The Muslim Brotherhood statement also was issued just two days before a major terror attack Thursday in Egypt’s lawless Sinai region that killed at least 25.

“It is incumbent upon everyone to be aware that we are in the process of a new phase, where we summon what is latent in our strength, where we recall the meanings of jihad and prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons, our daughters, and whoever marched on our path to a long, uncompromising jihad, and during this stage we ask for martyrdom,” it states.

Preparation for jihad is a key theme of the Brotherhood’s latest call for jihad.

An image posted with the statement shows two crossing swords and the word “prepare!” between them. Below the swords it reads, “the voice of truth, strength, and freedom.” According to the statement, “that is the motto of the Dawa of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The statement also invokes the well-known Muslim cleric Imam al-Bana, who founded the Brotherhood and has called for the death of Jews…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Egyptian Islamic State Affiliate Kills 40 in Sinai Attacks

The menace of the Islamic State (Daesh in Arabic) has spread to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Gulf News reported that Ansar Beit Al Maqdis attacked police and military facilities in the Northern Sinai killing more than 40 security and military personnel and civilians. Another 36 wounded have been reported by health authorities, “prompting President Al-Sisi to cut short his trip to Ethiopia.”.Gulf News reported The provincial security headquarters, intelligence buildings and an army officers club as well as a newspaper office and army checkpoints were all hit by mortar fire and car bombs, security officials said. The militant group, which last year pledged allegiance to the jihadist militia, claimed responsibility for the attacks — the deadliest blow to Egyptian security forces in years. Note this exchange with Egypt expert Raymond Stock in a forthcoming NER interview:

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Sinai Attacks: Army Starts Striking Back

‘Large offensive with helicopters’ kicks off, according to media

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JANUARY 30 — The Egyptian army has “started a large offensive” in the Sinai peninsula, deploying Apache helicopters, in response to four coordinated terror attacks yesterday against security force positions in northern Sinai, Egyptian daily Al-Ahram announced in a tweet.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi has cut short his trip to Ethiopia, where he was attending an African Union summit, to return to Egypt in the wake of a terror attack Thursday in northern Sinai, Mena news agency reported on Friday, quoting the president’s office.

Sisi will attend the inaugural session of the summit and then return to Cairo, according to the announcement early this morning.

According to the latest unofficial toll, 26 people have died and 59 others have been injured in coordinated attacks in three centers in the northern part of the peninsula.

The coordinated attacks have been claimed by a terror group affiliated with ISIS.

The jihadists claimed responsibility on a Twitter account linked to the ‘Ansar Bait al-Maqdis’ group — or Partisans of Jerusalem — the main jihadist group in Egypt, which is based in the peninsula and has just renamed itself ‘Sinai State’ as part of its alliance with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The group which calls itself ‘Welayet Sinai’ (State of Sinai) in the message claimed responsibility for the “major simultaneous attack” in the centers of Al Arish, Sheik Zuweid and Rafah, the city at the border with Gaza.

The terrorists divided the attack in four parts: one “against the battalion 101 Dayet el Salam with three car bombs” and the other three against checkpoints in the three cities.

Local media immediately blamed the attacks on the ‘Partisans of Jerusalem’.

The death toll is only slightly lower than the one reported in a car bomb attack and subsequent shootout claimed by the Ansar group in northern Sinai which killed at least 31 people last October — the deadliest attack in a year and a half.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Terror in Sinai, Dozens Reported Dead in Attacks

Coordinated raids kill security forces near Gaza

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — A wave of coordinated attacks with mortar fire and car bombs on Thursday killed at least 30 people and injured dozens, mostly Egyptian security forces, in one of the bloodiest days in volatile northern Sinai since ex-general Abdel Fatah al-Sisi rose to power.

The attack, which has not been claimed yet but has been attributed by a number of observers to jihadists based in the peninsula, hit in quick succession three centers of the region, where a group affiliated to ISIS also operates.

And the death toll is expected to exceed that of an attack — with a subsequent shooting — which killed in Sheikh Zuweid at least 31 people in October — the deadliest in at least a year and a half.

Sheikh Zuwaid was once again targeted and a dozen of objectives were reportedly struck. Also hit were Arish and the Egyptian side of Rafah, at the border with the Palestinian Gaza Strip controlled by Islamists from Hama, eyed with increasing suspicion by the Sisi administration. Among objectives were a military base, the nearby police headquarters and an army residential complex. Checkpoints, a government newspaper office and a museum were also targeted.

Although the attack has not been claimed, it is likely that the ‘Ansar Bait al-Maqdis’, the Partisans of Jerusalem, are involved. The main Egyptian jihadist group based in the peninsula has renamed itself State of Sinai as part of a new allegiance to ISIS announced in November.

The deadly attack in October, which led to the shutdown of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for two months, pales in comparison to the attack yesterday, as far as its consequences are concerned.

According to local journalistic sources, the attack amounted to warfare, in a context of ongoing clashes, with a death toll exceeding 40, unofficial sources said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: 27 Soldiers and Police Die in Four Islamic State Attacks in Egypt

A military hostel and the headquarters of the newspaper al-Ahram Al-Arish destroyed; car bomb in Rafah; an attempt to blow up a power station in Port Said. For now, the Suez Canal remains safe. The attacks reveal a high level of coordination.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The Egyptian branch of the Islamic state has claimed today a series of attacks carried out late in the day yesterday, which led to the death 27 soldiers and police.

The attacks reveal a high level of coordination and timing. The first attack took place in Al-Arish with a bombing at a military hostel in northern Sinai, which killed 25 people and wounded 58, including nine civilians. The local office of the newspaper al-Ahram, opposite the hostel, was “completely destroyed”.

Later, militants killed a major and wounded six other soldiers in a checkpoint in Rafah, near Gaza. Later there was a car bomb explosion in south of Al-Arish, which injured four soldiers. Finally, there was an attempt to blow up a power station in Port Said, but the militant was killed.

By posting phrases and photos of the militants via Twitter, the attacks were claimed by the group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, once close to al Qaeda. Last year, it allied with the Islamic State, changing its name to “Waliyat Sinai”, Province of Sinai.

Attacks in Al-Arish and Rafah are quite common after the fall of Mohamed Morsi and exclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood from the power. The attack on Port Said concerns the government more because the area is closer to the Suez Canal, the sea route that supports the Egyptian economy.

The Arab Spring of 2011 and disorder following Morsi’s time in power have reduced foreign investment and tourism. So far the revenues from the Suez Canal remain unchanged or have dropped only slightly.

President Abdelfattah al Sisi has promised to revive the Egyptian economy, providing more security, although many critics accuse him of cracking down even on citizens.

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

Egypt: For Catholic Church Spokesman, Al-Sisi’s Egypt is More Liberal on New Churches and Freedom of Expression

The government has issued construction permits for a new church in New Cairo and two in Upper Egypt. Some permit applications go back 8-10 years. Mubarak never favoured church construction. After the elections, the new parliament is required to upgrade legislation governing the construction of places of worship. Representatives of Christian Churches drafted the bill. A Christian family law is also on the drawing board.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — Things are much better under President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi compared to the Mubarak regime, said Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for Egypt’s Catholic Church. The recent decision to grant three churches a building permit and the greater freedom of speech seen in newspapers and television are signs of the improvement, Fr Greiche told AsiaNews.

Egypt’s current law on church construction dates back to the Ottoman period. “Some permit applications to build new churches date back to the days of Mubarak, but he never granted them.” Even when all the requirements were met (minimum congregation size, distance from mosques, smaller building and non-visibility), Mubarak allowed applications to pile up.

“Now the government has decided to speed up issuing permits for existing applications,” Fr Greiche said. “A permit has already been granted for the construction of a church in New Cairo and two in Upper Egypt. These applications date back to 8-10 years ago. Others go back 15 years ago and have not received any answer.”

The most important sign for greater freedom of religion lies in the president’s decision to adopt a new law on churches and religious buildings. As part of this, the President’s Office called on Church (Coptic Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant) representatives to draft a more modern bill.

“The project is almost ready,” Fr Greiche said. “In the new constitution there is a paragraph that requires the new parliament — which will sit after elections in March — to pass the law within a year. This means that by March 2016, we will have a law on new church construction without the current hassles.”

Another positive sign is the draft bill in the area of Christian family law. “Until now, even Christians were subject to Sharia. At present, the authorities want to value the Christian marriage and recognise it civilly.” All these signs show that Egypt’s al-Sisi is moving towards a more modern and liberal society.

Recently, the international community criticised the Egyptian government for cracking down on some demonstrations marking the fourth anniversary of Mubarak’s fall. Some 15 people died in the clashes, including some police officers.

The government blames Islamists for stirring things up in order to undermine state security. Others blame al-Sisi for restricting freedom of expression.

“You Westerners do not understand the situation,” Fr Greiche said. “In Egypt, there is broad freedom of expression. Talk shows and newspapers have a wide margin to criticise the government; no one is gagged.” However, “there is a problem with those demonstrations in which activists undermine the security of society and the economy.”

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

Unified Arab List Likely to Shake Israeli Vote Up

Aiming for 4th place in Knesset, ‘Democratic Camp’

(by Aldo Baquis) (ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, JANUARY 30 — Israel’s Arab parties are joining forces for the first time ahead of the March 17 parliamentary elections in a unified Arab list. According to three polls, it may become the fourth largest party in the Knesset, with 12 seats out of a 120 total in the Israeli assembly. Only Likud, the center-left coalition called ‘Zionist Camp’ and Jewish Home nationalists are expected to have more seats. “If Likud leads the ‘Nationalists’ Camp’ and Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni the ‘Zionist Camp’, we will be the ‘Democratic Camp’ in Parliament,” the leader of the list, Ayman Odeh, told the communist paper Zo Ha-Derekh. “The new formation marks a turning point in Israeli politics.” Traditionally, Arab votes are generally spread between three main parties: the Marxist-inspired Hadash, the secular, nationalist Palestinian Balad and one closer to the Islamic movement but also open to civil society, Ra’am-Taal. In the outgoing legislature, MPs from the nationalist ring-wing pushed an amendment through that raised the threshold for entrance into Parliament to a minimum four seats, and thus the concern is that the separate Arab parties might not manage to get past the minimum. The unification between such heterogeneous parties has proven painful and troubled. In the communist party (in which there are still many Jews, as well) the merger into an ‘Arab-labeled’ electoral list has met with opposition, both in terms of the form and of contents.

“The struggle against racism and discrimination must not be conducted only by Israeli Arabs,” said Jewish community MP Dov Henin. Despite his doubts, Henin will be one of the candidates on the unified Arab list as well.

“We will try to create a vast, Arab-Israeli democratic alliance,” he said. On the announcement of the creation of the unified Arab list, the Israeli daily Haaretz published a commentary for the first time in Arabic calling on Arab voters to support it in a unified manner. It noted that Arabs should take as an example the Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Orthodox Jews, who vote in mass for their parties and in so doing achieve success.

However, it has been noted that the commentary failed to address an important issue: an explicit appeal to Herzog and Livni to include the list if it manages to form a government after the elections. So far it seems — as was the case with previous Labor governments — the Zionist Camp gives the Arab list only the role of external support against the right. However, should the new part be successful, it would still have significant repercussions for Israeli Arabs: even if not in the ministries, at least in the assigning of parliamentary commissions.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Wounded Syrians Treated in Israel: Eliminate Hezbollah

“We were taught that Israel is the enemy of Syria and all Arab countries. Now that I stayed here, I believe the opposite is true; Israel is better than other Arab countries, which don’t admit wounded people,” says one injured Syrian

Dozens of Syrians wounded in their country’s civil war and currently hospitalized in the Ziv Medical Center in Safed are blaming Hezbollah for the current crisis in their home country. The patients say that Israel must act against sources in Syria in order to take out the Assad regime and Hezbollah. “There is chaos in Syria, no one knows who’s up against whom,” one said, a week after Hezbollah commander Jihad Mughniyeh and a number of other members of the group were killed in a strike on the Syrian border, allegedly undertaken earlier this month by Israel.

Hussam, a 27-year-old from Damscus, worked as an electrician in Quneitra. He was on his way home when a rocket exploded next to him, severely wounding him. “It’s all a big mess in Syria. Every time the rebels approach a certain area, Assad’s army begins to attack all the areas controlled by the rebels,” he says. “Hezbollah causes us more problems than solutions. We will achieve peace only if Hezbollah pulls back. Since the beginning of the war, they have been engaging in acts of crime and assassinating men on the ground.”

One of the wounded, who had no contact with his family since his arrival to Israel, said: “I want to go to Syria to tell them about the amazing treatment I received in Israel. The doctors are treating us just as they treat Israeli patients,” he said.

“It made me change my mind about Israel and wish for peace,” he added. “We were taught that Israel is the enemy of Syria and all Arab countries. Now that I stayed here, I believe the opposite is true; Israel is better than other Arab countries, which don’t admit wounded people. I want to thank the Israeli government for its help.”…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

A Forest of Crosses and Names of Martyrs in the Desert of Saudi Arabia

A Franco-Saudi archaeological team is responsible for the discovery. Prof Frédéric Imbert dated the graffiti to 470-475, a time when anti-Christian persecution began, culminating under the usurper Yusuf. Even the Qur’an refers to it indirectly. The findings show how far Christianity had spread at the time, until the arrival of Islam.

Beirut (AsiaNews/Agencies) — A forest of crosses engraved in the rocks of the desert of Saudi Arabia is a sign of the presence of a vibrant Christian community around the fifth century AD.

Unearthed by a Saudi-French archaeological team, the graffiti include inscriptions with a number of biblical and Christian names, perhaps those of martyrs killed during a wave of persecution in the fifth century.

L’Orient-Le Jour reported that Prof Frédéric Imbert, a professor at the University of Aix-Marseille and a member of the team, presented his findings at a conference at the American University of Beirut on the rock engravings of Jabal Kawkab (“Star Mountain”), in Najran, southern Saudi Arabia.

The area is called Bi’r Hima or Abar Hima, names “that refer to places with wells known since ancient times.” According to Imbert, an epigrapher, the area is located on the route “that connected Yemen to Najran” where caravans could be resupplied in water.

Inscriptions were found with crosses, scattered over a one-square kilometre. Some inscriptions appear to be in a local version of Aramaic, a pre-Islamic form of Arabic, Nabataean-Arabic to be more precise.

The inscriptions have been dated to the reign of Shurihbil Yakkuf, who controlled southern Arabia in 470-475. The persecution of Christians appears to have started under his rule.

It is interesting to note that the names Marthad and Rabi were found inscribed on the crosses. Both are on the list of martyrs of Najran, in the so-called Book of Himyarites.

In order to understand crosses and rock inscriptions, it is necessary to know that back in the 3rd century AD, southern Arabia was ruled by the Ḥimyarite dynasty, which lasted for about 150 years.

In order to maintain its neutrality between the two great powers of the time, the Byzantine and Persian empires, its kings chose Judaism as their religion.

However, Christianity began to spread in Arabia in the fourth century. By “the sixth century, it reached the Gulf region, Najran and the Yemen coast”.

The missionary activities of Christians from Iran’s Sassanid Empire and Monophysite Christians from Syria hostile to the Council of Chalcedon (on Christ’s dual nature) favoured the spread of Christianity. Two Syriac bishops, probably from what is now Iraq, were consecrated in 485 and 519.

Later, Yusuf (Dhu Nuwas) seized power in the Kingdom of Ḥimyar, ordering the massacre of Christians in Najran, an event reported in several Christian chronicles, with a reference even in the Qur’an, in Shura Al-BurÅ”j (The Celestial Stations).

When Christian survivors sent an appeal to Khaleb, King of Ethiopia, he organised a military expedition to rescue the persecuted. Yusuf’s army was defeated and the usurper himself was killed. A Christian kingdom was established in Arabia, as an Ethiopian protectorate, until it was conquered by Islam.

For Frédéric Imbert, the crosses and the inscriptions are “the oldest book of the Arabs,” written “on desert stones,” a “page of Arab and Christian history”.

(picture by F. Imbert)

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

Caroline Glick: Iran — Unafraid and Undeterred

Israel’s reported strike January 18 on a joint Iranian-Hezbollah convoy driving on the Syrian Golan Heights was one of the most strategically significant events to have occurred in Israel’s neighborhood in recent months. Its significance lies both in what it accomplished operationally and what it exposed.

From what been published to date about the identities of those killed in the strike, it is clear that in one fell swoop the air force decapitated the Iranian and Hezbollah operational command in Syria.

The head of Hezbollah’s operations in Syria, the head of its liaison with Iran, and Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Hezbollah’s longtime operational commander Imad Mughniyeh who was killed by Israel in Damascus in 2008, were killed. The younger Mughniyeh reportedly served as commander of Hezbollah forces along the Syrian-Israeli border.

According to a report by Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shimon Shapira, a Hezbollah expert from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the Iranian losses included three generals. Brig.- Gen. Mohammed Alladadi was the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps liaison officer to Hezbollah and to Syrian intelligence. He was also in charge of weapons shipments from Iran to Hezbollah. Gen. Ali Tabatabai was the IRGC commander in the Golan Heights and, according to Shapira, an additional general, known only as Assadi, “was, in all likelihood, the commander of Iranian expeditionary forces in Lebanon.”

The fact that the men were willing to risk exposure by traveling together along the border with Israel indicates how critical the front is for the regime in Tehran. It also indicates that in all likelihood, they were planning an imminent attack against Israel…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]

Dead ISIS Militants Lined Up in the Street as Kurdish Soldiers Continue Their Fight to Reclaim Hometowns Around Kobane Which Lie in Ruins After Months of Bloody Battles

Kurdish fighters have killed dozens of Islamic State militants in recent days as battles continue to rage around the strategic Syrian border town of Kobane.

In one village, a Kurd was today pictured standing over the bodies of Islamic extremists after they were killed in Halimce, a village east of the town.

Around 20 jihadists also died in the hills west of Kobane days after it was recaptured following months of heavy fighting which has left the town in ruins.

Kurdish forces retook the town on January 26 in a symbolic blow to the jihadists who have seized large swathes of territory in their onslaught across Syria and Iraq…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

ISIS Militants Travel to Europe Disguised as Syrian Refugees

Isis militants are allegedly being smuggled into Europe among groups of refugees, according to an outspoken member of a jihadist group.

He said that the fighters were being smuggled in ships from Turkey with thousands of refugees bound for Europe, and were determined to commit terror attacks against the West in retaliation for Western airstrikes on Isis positions in Syria and Iraq.

“If someone attacks me then for sure I will attack them back,” said the militant, who spoke to BuzFeedNews on condition of anonymity.

More than 1.5 million Syrians have entered Turkey since the start of the Syrian civil war, where Isis is locked in a brutal battle with the forces of the Syrian government and other rebel groups.

Thousands embark on ships for Italy, and then on to other EU countries to claim asylum.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

ISIS Chemical Weapons Expert Killed in Airstrike, US Officials Say

An Islamic State chemical weapons expert was killed last week in a coalition airstrike in Iraq, U.S. officials said Friday.

Abu Malik, who the U.S. Central Command said worked at Saddam Hussein’s Muthana chemical weapon production facility before affiliating with Al Qaeda Iraq in 2005, was an engineer for the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, or ISIL. He was killed on Jan. 24 in the vicinity of Mosul.

“His past training and experience provided the terrorist group with expertise to pursue a chemical weapons capability,” CENTCOM said in a statement. “His death is expected to temporarily degrade and disrupt the terrorist network and diminish ISIL’s ability to potentially produce and use chemical weapons against innocent people.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy Donates Copy of Nassiriya Memorial to Iraq

(AGI) Baghdad, Jan 21 — A copy of the memorial to the 19 Italian soldiers who died in the 2003 attack in Nassiriya was officially handed over at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Wednesday. The Italian Ambassador in Baghdad, Massimo Marotti, said the monument epitomised the nations’ grief over the deaths of those who would not return, but would never be forgotten.

The monument, by Zainab Sami, is composed of a column on which the names of the fallen Italian soldiers are carved, symbolically represented by 19 stars, the Sumerian symbols of the planets uniting humanity as a whole. In his speech, Mr Marotti noted that Iraq had produced the civilisations who had invented writing, enabling man to express feelings and thoughts, and asked the Iraqi Foreign Ministry officials to accept the gift of the memorial as a symbol of the great friendship and respect of the Italian people for the Iraqi people. Deputy Foreign Minister Nizar Alkarallah thanked Mr Marotti for the “highly symbolic gift”, saying that the Italian presence in Nassiriya had been crucial in helping local governments and for regional development. The donation from the Italian Embassy was extremely meaningful because it was a symbol of Sumerian civilisation and commemorated the Italian military martyrs in Nassiriya. He expressed his great empathy with the families of the fallen men, and said the soldiers’ presence in Iraq had been a great support to the Iraqi government. Italy was one of the few countries that understood the real meaning of Iraqi civilisation, and had engaged with the study and preservation of its cultural heritage. On the sidelines of the ceremony, Mr Marotti said the idea had been sparked by Iraq’s importance to the Italians. There were good relations with the country in all sectors, from culture to agriculture to education, and he hoped relations would become even stronger. Italy had sent aid to Iraqi refugees and would send further consignments at the end of January and at the beginning of March. The Iraqi Ambassador Safiya al Suhail said the memorial would be exhibited at the embassy in Rome. The attack against the Italian Multinational Specialised Carabinieri Unit on Nov. 12, 2003 left 28 people dead, 19 Italians and nine Iraqis, and 58 people injured. The victims of the attack were posthumously awarded the Cross of Honour by Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi at a ceremony on Nov. 12, 2005.

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

King Abdullah’s Legacy: How Saudi Arabia Did — And Didn’t — Change

Though not officially named king until 2005, Abdullah came to power in 1996 as regent when his half-brother, King Fahd, suffered a debilitating stroke. Abdullah, who died on Jan. 23 at age 90, steered the country through turbulent oil markets and the West’s war on terror. His policy was one of slow reform and economic progress. Abdullah was buried in an unmarked grave, in accordance with the tenets of the conservative brand of Islam the royal family espouses. But there is no shortage of monuments to his rule.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Syria: ‘Adultress’ Survives Stoning

BEIRUT: A Syrian woman stoned by the Muslim State group for alledged adultery and left for dead has miraculously walked away from the brutal punishment, a monitor said Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the extremist group sentenced the woman to be “stoned for adultery” in the town of Raqa, the IS stronghold in northern Syria.

Militants carried out the punishment and “stoned her until they thought she had died,” said the Britain-based monitor.

But just as they had stopped pelting her with stones, the woman stood up and tried to flee.

“An IS militant was about to open fire at her when an Muslim jurist intervened and stopped him saying it was God’s will that she did not die,” said the Observatory, without specifying when it happened.

The IS jurist told the woman she can walk free but that she must “repent”…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Ukraine Conflict: Putin Ally to Build Bridge to Crimea

A Russian contract for building a bridge to Crimea has gone to a company majority-owned by a friend of Vladimir Putin who is under Western sanctions.

The $3bn (£2bn) contract was awarded to the SGM Group, owned by Arkady Rotenberg, a childhood friend and judo partner of the Russian president.

The bridge will join Russia directly to the peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in March after a disputed referendum.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

At Least 20 Killed in Pakistan Shia Mosque Blast

Toll expected to rise

(ANSA) — Rome, January 30 — At least 20 people were killed amid fears the toll will mount after a bomb blast at a Shia mosque in Pakistan Friday.

Police said at least 50 people were wounded in the attack after Friday prayers in the Shikarpur district of Sindh province in the south of the country.

The death toll is expected to rise as many of the wounded are in a critical condition.

Local media reports suggest the blast could have been a suicide attack.

It is not yet clear who carried out the attack but Sunni militant groups have targeted the Shia minority in the past.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Nepal Government Revokes License From “Unofficial” Religious Schools

The decision concerns institutions that are not run by religious organisations that can operate and finance them. For the authorities, “economic sustainability” and “suspicious fundamentalist activity” are the reasons for closure. Madrassas are affected.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — The Nepali government has decided to revoke the license of all religious schools that are not run by an official religious organisation. The decision has attracted a lot of criticism in the southern districts of the country, where numerous madrasas (Islamic schools) will be forced to close because of the measure.

In motivating their move, Nepali authorities cited “economic sustainability” and “suspicious fundamentalist activity”. However, the decision seems aimed at Islamic religious schools because most Madrasas are not operated by proper Islamic organisations.

Conversely, the decision does not appear to have had any major impact on schools run by Hindus, Christians and Buddhists, which are operated by solidly self-financed institutions.

“The Council of Ministers decided on 18 December to revoke the licence granted to religious schools that do not operate under the auspices of a religious organisation and with their financial support,” said government spokesman Minendra Rijal.

“The decision,” the official said, “was taken because many of these institutions have become unsustainable from the economic point of view. In addition, some individuals were found to be misusing the schools.” However, he declined to explain what the alleged “misuse” was.

For Mohammad Shahjahan, secretary of the Madarsha Coordination Committee (Saptari District), “the decision is regrettable because it will only lead to the closure of thousands of schools where students can learn in their mother tongue.”

According to Mohammad Ali Anbar, chairman of the Muslim Youth Rights Forum, “instead of helping the schools, the government has nipped them in the bud.”

Interreligious Council Secretary General Nazrul Hussein is convinced that the government “should regulate and check if there are cases of corruption or wrong-doings; however, it should not close the schools. With this move, it seems that the administration wants to suppress the Muslim minority of Nepal”.

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

Lego Pompeii Excites New Audiences

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—Professional LEGO builder Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught has crafted a model of Pompeii at the University of Sydney’s Nicholson Museum, according to The Conversation. The project, which took more than 500 hours to complete and used more than 190,000 blocks, is one of the largest LEGO historical models ever built. The display shows three phases of the ancient city: as it looked in A.D. 79 when Mount Vesuvius erupted; as it appeared when it was rediscovered in the eighteenth century; and as the ruins stand today. Over the past two years, McNaught created a scale model of the Colosseum out of the colorful bricks, and the LEGO Acropolis, now on display at the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kenyan Grandmother at School With Her Great-Great-Grandchildren

A 90-year-old Kenyan woman who goes to class with six of her great-great-grandchildren is believed to be the oldest primary school pupil in the world.

Sitting at the front of class four in her school uniform, Priscilla Sitienei listens intently while she writes the English names of animals in her notebook.

She joined Leaders Vision Preparatory School five years ago and has also served her village of Ndalat in the Rift Valley as a midwife for the last 65 years.

In fact, she has helped deliver some of her own classmates, who are aged between 10 and 14.

Affectionately known as “Gogo”, which means grandmother in the local Kalenjin language, she says at 90 she is finally learning to read and write — an opportunity she never had as a child.

[Color me impressed. Good on her! — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Swedish Troops Join Somali Pirate Mission

Around 70 Swedish soldiers are heading to east Africa as part of EU efforts to prevent attacks from Somali pirates.

The soldiers are heading to the Gulf of Aden, just north of Somalia as part of Sweden’s fourth mission to the region.

Unlike in previous years they will not be stationed there on their own warships, but will instead be based on a giant Dutch ship until the spring, as part of a mission called Operation Atlanta.

The number of attacks dropped dramatically after the EU as well as China and the US stationed ships in the area, but the EU is continuing to maintain a strong presence and in 2014 decided to extend its operation there until 2016.

As well as involving Dutch and Swedish troops, Operation Atlanta includes military experts of fourteen other nationalities.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Churches Oppose Three-Person Baby Plan

Senior church figures have called on the UK government to block the creation of babies from three people.

The Church of England and the Catholic Church in England and Wales said it was not clear the technique — adding a donor woman’s mitochondria to another woman’s egg — was safe or ethical.

But a group of scientists has urged MPs to approve the procedure — intended to stop deadly mitochondrial diseases.

Ministers want to allow the technique and MPs will debate it on Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Why the Modern World is Bad for Your Brain

In an era of email, text messages, Facebook and Twitter, we’re all required to do several things at once. But this constant multitasking is taking its toll. Here neuroscientist Daniel J Levitin explains how our addiction to technology is making us less efficient

Each time we dispatch an email in one way or another, we feel a sense of accomplishment, and our brain gets a dollop of reward hormones telling us we accomplished something. Each time we check a Twitter feed or Facebook update, we encounter something novel and feel more connected socially (in a kind of weird, impersonal cyber way) and get another dollop of reward hormones. But remember, it is the dumb, novelty-seeking portion of the brain driving the limbic system that induces this feeling of pleasure, not the planning, scheduling, higher-level thought centres in the prefrontal cortex. Make no mistake: email-, Facebook- and Twitter-checking constitute a neural addiction.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

10 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/30/2015

  1. Re: “UK: Churches Oppose Three-Person Baby Plan”.

    Now, let me get this right. God allows nasty genetically inherited diseases to evolve- sorry, develop- and some scientists, after years of painstaking research, think they’ve found a way of preventing suffering and premature deaths, and God’s representatives on earth are opposed?

    Am I the only one reminded of attempts to prevent the spread of AIDS in Africa by distributing condoms, being opposed by the catholic church and even the US government?

    • God ‘allows’ nothing Mark. We have been given our lives to live as ‘free’ men and women, it has nothing to do with God as to what we do in our lives until we have lived it. Then and only then, does God come into it.

      As to your reference regarding AIDS and what the Catholic Church issued as a means to combatting its spreading, we then come to morality and the teachings of the Church and its fundamental belief that abstinence is the best panacea for limiting the spread of such diseases. The Church exists today simply because it abides by its own fundamental teachings that has an impact on millions of people worldwide. Contraceptives are banned and only the acts of ‘coitus interruptus’ or the ‘rhythm method’ are promoted as birth control methods within a Catholic marriage.

      Morality is the basis of many folks existence. You just have to accept that millions of people worldwide do not accept or even condone, how the other millions of people worldwide live, let alone behave.

      • Wasn’t it St Augustine who said, “Lord, give me chastity, but please don’t give it yet”?

        My point is that people are weak and fallible- or maybe just have a code of sexual morality which differs from yours. For some to deny a means of limiting the spread of a deadly infection, in order to impose their views on abstinence or contraception, is throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and this baby is human lives, which should surely be especially precious to those calling themselves followers of Christ.

        • Mark, you miss the point in my comment. The Catholic Church imposes its will on no one. People are free to accept and abide by canon law or choose a different path in life to follow, no one forces them to enter a Church or a den of iniquity for that matter. These are free choices as made by individuals.

          All Churches have their fundamental laws which are open for perusal to those who wish to partake of that fundamentalism. When they choose to abide by those beliefs then they have entered into a covenant with God, as they see it. Whether they can stick to the basics of what the Church preaches is entirely up to them not the Church or God. They are free to leave at any time.

          Yes, humans are fickle, weak and fallible, and because of those weaknesses can be easily diverted from their true path in life. You don’t believe that guiding a person through life by instilling in them a moral code as taught within the Christian/Judeo religion is a benefit, rather than a hindrance?

          • Of course not, but by opposing the distribution of condoms because they’re contraceptives, the Church made this more important than their other function, as prophylactics against a deadly disease. A case of choosing the greater of two evils.

  2. Romney was pushed out, the RepubliSCAMS are committing suicide, they have lost their ‘mojo’. The DemocRATS and their wholly owned subsidiary the MSM (i.e. the government media complex) will anoint Madam Hillary and will blitz the masses with mega doses of propaganda luring the masses of voters both legitimate and fraudulent to the polls.There will be massive ‘registration’ drives by the SEIU and the rest of the radical left I am sick even predicting this debacle, but ‘Uncle Joe Stalin’ loosely quoted “it is not who votes. but who counts the votes”. This is not the first and will not be the last ‘stolen’ election in the USA.

    • Big Frank:

      Please use the real names – Democrats and Republicans. It undercuts your argument to use those over-used ad hominems.

      However, I sure do agree with your summation and prediction. Sometimes though the Cosmos throws one out of left field – e.g., Gore’s loss to Bush – and then ROTFLHAO as millions of trees are lost to explain how that ‘travesty’ happened.

      Democrats are experts at rigging the vote because their machine owns the urban areas. It’s one reason they do well in some elections but fail in others…

      We’re headed for some kind of accounting all ’round: the Democrats’ brazen thefts, and the Republicans’ craven desire to stay in second place as long as they keep their insider perks.

      No sane person believes anymore that the federal government can be held to account for anything. That’s why voting on a national level is shrinking. As David Goldman (Spengler) put it, we have a choice between Dumb and Dumber. I leave it to you to decide which is which.

      On the state level, the things that Wisconsin, So Dakota, Texas, etc. have accomplished shows what can happen when the SIEU is either stiff-armed out of competition or isn’t a factor to begin with – i.e., in right-to-work states.

Comments are closed.