Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/1/2015

Despite years of intervention by social service personnel, “Swedish” “youths” in Gothenburg continue to join gangs and commit violent crimes. Meanwhile, security police (SÄPO) in Sweden arrested two men suspected of being recruiters for the Islamic State.

In other news, a suicide attack on a police base in western Iraq left dozens of people dead.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, JD, Srdja Trifkovic, 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 Fed Has Been Horribly Wrong” Deutsche Bank Admits, Dares to Ask if Yellen is Planning a Housing Market Crash
» Cyprus Unemployment Rate Stands at 16.1% in 2014
» Ex-Im Bank is Welfare for the One Percent
» Forget Greece, Macau is World’s Worst Performing Economy
» The Meaning of Financial Repression
» DOJ Allows Nazi War Criminals to Escape With $20 Million in Social Security Payments
» Don’t Worry, The Government Still Has Plenty of Surveillance Power if Section 215 Sunsets
» Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates Now Repeating the Same Urgent Warnings for Humanity First Issued by the Independent Media Years Ago
» Enemies on the Left False Friends on the Right
» Government Wipes Recent Vaccine Injury Data From Website
» Guns, Bombs and Ieds Allowed Through Security as TSA Fails 95% of Tests
» Hardy Bacteria Thrive Under Hot Desert Rocks
» McDonald’s Stops Reporting Monthly Sales to Hide Plummeting Fast Food Business
» Microsoft Says Windows 10 Available on July 29
» Nazi Supercomputer May Soon be Your Doctor
» Obama Nemesis, Dinesh D’souza, Freed From Nightly Confinement
» Obama Announces Draconian, Unconstitutional Gun Regs by Executive Fiat
» Rand Paul: My Opponents ‘Secretly Want’ Terror Attack ‘So They Can Blame it on Me’ [Video]
» Setting the Stage for the Second American Revolution
» TPP Death Pool: More Pharmaceutical Destruction is Coming
» Vince Vaughn Will be Shunned by Hollywood After Outing Himself as a Conservative
» WV Teacher Threatened With Fine for Violating Michelle O’s School Snack Rules
» Ben Levin: Child Pornography Charges Were the Least of it
Europe and the EU
» 3.4 Million Germans Live in Other OECD Countries
» Austria: Historic Election Gains for FPÖ in Styria
» Breaking the Resistance: How Brussels is Integrating Its Euro-Skeptics
» Denmark: Wild Weekend for MP Hopeful Yahya Hassan
» EU to Open Case Against Germany Over Road Toll
» First-Person Drone Tourism Will Let You See the Sights From Home
» Germany: SPD Euro MPs Reject Compromise With Britain
» ‘Italy You Don’t Expect’ Book Launched in Russia
» Ogliari Goes Back to Pleasing Both Young and Old
» Sales of Made in Italy Luxury Products Rise in 2015
» Sweden: Gothenburg Struggling to Stop Gang Violence
» Sweden: Gothenburg Youths Join Gangs — Despite Interventions
» Sweden: Suspected Terrorist Recruiter Arrested by Säpo
» Sweden Arrests Two in Raids Against Militant Recruitment Activity
» Sweden Rounds Up Two Fresh ISIS Suspects
» The Rebel of St. Peter’s Square: Where is Pope Francis Steering the Church?
» Thousands of UK Girls Injured by HPV Vaccine
North Africa
» Militants Blow Up Natural Gas Pipeline in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Security Officials Say
» Morocco Builds Wall to Divide Country From Algeria
» Western Officials Alarmed as ISIS Expands Territory in Libya
Israel and the Palestinians
» Coming in September: A UN Resolution Establishing a Palestinian State
Middle East
» Iraq Lost 2,300 Humvee Armoured Vehicles to the Islamic State in Mosul
» President Obama, ISIS is Our Problem
» Qatar’s Former Prime Minister Accuses West of Racism, Islamophobia and Bias Against Gulf States Over Claims of Bribery That Led to Country Being Awarded 2022 World Cup
» Qatar Sues French Politician for Terror Claim
» Shipping: Turks Dominate East Aegean Transportation Market
» Suicide Attack on Iraq Police Base Claims Dozens of Lives
» Turkey: Erdogan Attacks Cumhuriyet’s Editor After Scoop
» Turkey’s Main Opposition Leader Passes Voter’s ‘Quran Test’
» Yemen: Captors Post Video of French Hostage
Far East
» A Man in Full: To Hell and Back in the Chinese Healthcare System
» China’s Island-Building Challenge
» China ‘Fearless’ to Fight War With US; State Media
» China: Rows of Pet Dogs Hanging on Hooks and Cats Skinned Ready for the Dinner Table
» South Korea, China Ink Long-Term Trade Deal
» France: Calais Migrant Brawl Leaves Several Hurt
» France and Germany Oppose EU Migrant Relocation Plan
» Germany Pushes Change in EU Asylum Plan
Culture Wars
» French Minister Warns of ‘Militant Secularity’
» Have We Lost the Cultural War?
» Journalist: “Relentless White Racism All the Time and Everywhere is the Biggest Lie of Our Lifetimes”
» Robotics: Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
» Conflicted We Stand About Islam — But We Don’t Have To

“The Fed Has Been Horribly Wrong” Deutsche Bank Admits, Dares to Ask if Yellen is Planning a Housing Market Crash

The reason why Zero Hedge has been steadfast over the past 6 years in its accusation that the Fed is making a mockery of, and destroying not only the very fabric of capital markets (something which Citigroup now openly admits almost every week) but the US economy itself (as Goldman most recently hinted last week when it lowered its long-term “potential GDP” growth of the US by 0.5% to 1.75%), is simple: all along we knew we have been right, and all the career economists, Wall Street weathermen-cum-strategists, and “straight to CNBC” book-talking pundits were wrong. Not to mention the Fed.

Indeed, the onus was not on us to prove how the Fed is wrong, but on the Fed — those smartest career academics in the room — to show it can grow the economy even as it has pushed global capital markets into a state of epic, bubble frenzy, with new all time highs a daily event across the globe, while the living standard of an ever increasing part of the world’s middle-class deteriorates with every passing year. We merely point out the truth that the propaganda media was too compromised, too ashamed or to clueless to comprehend.

And now, 7 years after the start of the Fed’s grand — and doomed — experiment, the flood of other “serious people”, not finally admitting the “tinfoil, fringe blogs” were right all along, and the Fed was wrong, has finally been unleashed.

Here is Deutsche Bank admitting that not only the Fed is lying to the American people:

Truth be told, we think the Fed is obliged to talk up the economy because if they were brutally honest, the economy what vestiges of optimism remain in the domestic sectors could quickly evaporate.

But has been “horribly wrong” all along:

At issue is whether or not the Fed in particular but the market in general has properly understood the nature of the economic problem. The more we dig into this, the more we are afraid that they do not. So aside from a data revision tsunami, we would suggest that the Fed has the outlook not just horribly wrong, but completely misunderstood… the idea that the economy is “ready” for a removal of accommodation and that there is any sense in it from the perspective of rising inflation expectations and a stronger real growth outlook is nonsense

And the kicker: it is no longer some “tinfoil, fringe blog”, but the bank with over €50 trillion in derivatives on its balance sheet itself which dares to hint that in order to make a housing-led recovery possible, the Fed itself is willing to crash the housing market!

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Cyprus Unemployment Rate Stands at 16.1% in 2014

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, JUNE 1 — The Cyprus’ Republic unemployment rate for 2014 amounted to 16.1% of the labour force (males 17.0% and females 15.1%) in comparison to 15.9% (males 16.5% and females 15.2%) in 2013, according to the revised figures of the Labour Force Survey released by the national Statistical Service. The figures, as Cyprus News Agency reports, have been revised based on the new weighting factors resulting from the final estimated population of 2014. The unemployment rate for young persons aged 15-24 amounted to 36.0% of the labour force of the same age group in comparison to 38.9% in 2013.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Ex-Im Bank is Welfare for the One Percent

This month Congress will consider whether to renew the charter of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). Ex-Im Bank is a New Deal-era federal program that uses taxpayer funds to subsidize the exports of American businesses. Foreign businesses, including state-owned corporations, also benefit from Ex-Im Bank. One country that has benefited from $1.5 billion of Ex-Im Bank loans is Russia. Venezuela, Pakistan, and China have also benefited from Ex-Im Bank loans.

With Ex-Im Bank’s track record of supporting countries that supposedly represent a threat to the US, one might expect neoconservatives, hawkish liberals, and other supporters of foreign intervention to be leading the effort to kill Ex-Im Bank. Yet, in an act of hypocrisy remarkable even by DC standards, many hawkish politicians, journalists, and foreign policy experts oppose ending Ex-Im Bank.

This seeming contradiction may be explained by the fact that Ex-Im Bank’s primary beneficiaries include some of America’s biggest and most politically powerful corporations. Many of Ex-Im Bank’s beneficiaries are also part of the industrial half of the military-industrial complex. These corporations are also major funders of think tanks and publications promoting an interventionist foreign policy.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Forget Greece, Macau is World’s Worst Performing Economy

If you think Greece or Ukraine’s economies are in bad shape, the Chinese gambling city of Macau is doing worse than those European countries ever did.

The tiny gambling enclave in China’s south saw its GDP last quarter shrink by about 25 percent — a feat it took Greece six years to achieve.

VIP gaming — the big money spinner for Macau’s casinos — has been hammered by President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, which has snared thousands of officials. Demand is further damped by China’s economic slowdown. Gross gaming revenue in the world’s biggest gambling hub slumped 39 percent in April — an 11th straight decline.

The reliance of the former colony of Portugal on its lucrative but volatile casinos has left the economy vulnerable to swings on the tables. Gambling accounted for almost 80 percent of the city’s GDP last year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Meaning of Financial Repression

With politicians and central bankers seemingly gone mad with their obsession for money printing and ultra low interest rates, it is nice to know that academic economists have a term (i.e., financial repression) for the policies that have created our current economic conditions.

However, it is not a new term. Its use dates back to at least 1973 when two Stanford University economists, Edward Shaw and Ronald McKinnon, used the term in separate publications. The phrase was initially meant to criticize various policies that reduced economic growth in undeveloped countries, rather than as an indictment of the world’s leading modern economies.

Financial repression is a revolving set of policies where the government insidiously takes wealth from the private sector, and more specifically makes it easier for government to finance its debt. In today’s environment this includes:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

DOJ Allows Nazi War Criminals to Escape With $20 Million in Social Security Payments

It’s well-documented by now that when it comes to letting those who aid in the commission of massive white-collar crime off easy, the Justice Department is second to none. Recent guilty pleas from a few large banks related to FX rigging were purely symbolic and the real criminals were allowed to walk away unscathed, fortunes in tow.

As it turns out, there’s another group of less-than-savory individuals that the DoJ allowed to ride off into the sunset in exchange for concessions that aren’t commensurate with their misdeeds: Nazis.

Last October, AP began asking questions about Social Security payments to Nazi war criminals who came to the US after World War II. According to an AP report, ex-Nazis were told they could keep their social security benefits if the voluntarily left the country and some are still collecting taxpayer-funded benefits to this day.

Here’s a list BBC published last year:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Don’t Worry, The Government Still Has Plenty of Surveillance Power if Section 215 Sunsets

The story being spun by the defenders of Section 215 of the Patriot Act and the Obama Administration is that if the law sunsets entirely, the government will lose critical surveillance capabilities. The fearmongering includes President Obama, who said: “heaven forbid we’ve got a problem where we could’ve prevented a terrorist attack or could’ve apprehended someone who was engaged in dangerous activity but we didn’t do so.”

So how real is this concern? Not very. Section 215 is only one of a number of largely overlapping surveillance authorities, and the loss of the current version of the law will leave the government with a range of tools that is still incredibly powerful.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates Now Repeating the Same Urgent Warnings for Humanity First Issued by the Independent Media Years Ago

(NaturalNews) Elon Musk warns that artificial intelligence may spiral out of control and give rise to self-replicating machines that destroy humanity. Stephen Hawking mirrors the same warning with even more dire language about the future of human civilization and its survival in the universe. Bill Gates warns that a killer flu pandemic could wipe out a substantial portion of the human race, spreading uncontrollably across the planet and causing widespread fatalities.

What do all these dire warnings have in common? They’re things that I and many other people have been warning about for years. While I posted a very specific warning list in 2012 (see below), there are people who were WAY ahead of me on these warnings. Steve Quayle, in particular, warned about the risks of biological weapons two decades ago. Some scientists, too have been warning about the rise of AI since the dawn of personal computing in the 1980’s. Similarly, anti-nuclear activists have been sounding the alarm on the dangers of nuclear weapons and nuclear power since the dropping of the first two atomic bombs in World War II. Jeffrey Smith has been warning about the dangers of GMOs for many years, and observers of atmospheric tinkering have been warning about the risks of atmospheric experiments since at least the 1990’s.

What’s fascinating is that the mainstream media doesn’t consider any of these risks to be “real” until someone like Elon Musk points them out. When Alex Jones warned in the 1990’s that the federal government was spying on your phone calls — a fact we now know to be verified as factual and true — he was called a wing nut conspiracy theorist. Regardless of what you think about Jones today (he’s a polarizing figure in New Media), he was dead-on right about this point, and he was over a decade ahead of his time in warning the public.

Hilariously, the Electronic Frontier Foundation now warns:

“The US government, with assistance from major telecommunications carriers including AT&T, has engaged in massive, illegal dragnet surveillance of the domestic communications and communications records of millions of ordinary Americans since at least 2001. Since this was first reported on by the press and discovered by the public in late 2005, EFF has been at the forefront of the effort to stop it and bring government surveillance programs back within the law and the Constitution.”

Even the EFF has it all wrong. No, secret government spying on domestic phone calls wasn’t “discovered by the public” in 2005. People like Alex Jones and Steve Quayle were openly and loudly warning about all this many years before 2005! But the country refused to listen, preferring to dismiss Jones, Quayle and others as “conspiracy theorists.” In reality, these guys were conspiracy analysts who were pointing out true conspiracies which we now know to be entirely true. (Kinda makes you wonder what else they’re warning about today that will be widely acknowledged as true in another decade, doesn’t it?)

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Enemies on the Left False Friends on the Right

Mark Levin was born September 21, 1957, is an American lawyer, author, and the host of a syndicated radio show The Mark Levin Show. Mark is a long time member of the CNP according to a 1998 membership list. He has also been a speaker at the Council for National Policy for one Becky Norton Dunlop, Vice President for External Relations for Heritage Foundation, which is another story in itself…

In a biographical note on the website of the Young America’s Foundation, Levin “served previously in the Reagan Administration, including chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese, Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States, and Deputy Solicitor at the U.S. Department of the Interior. He represented Mr. Meese during the Iran-Contra (Ollie North) investigation and was a leading advocate for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.” He is an MSNBC legal analyst, a contributing editor of CFR, CIA, and Skull and Bonesman, William F. Buckley’s National Review, and a frequent contributor to Human Events and the Moon owned Washington Times.

He is also a strong proponent of a Constitutional Convention, and wrote his book, The Liberty Amendments proposing a con-con. Sadly, he won’t listen to the many arguments against one. Levin states that he wants to foster a national debate about corrective actions. In fact, when listeners call into his radio show to present arguments against an Article V Convention, or a Balanced Budget Amendment, or a Convention of States, they are disconnected, their names put on a list, and they are not allowed to call in again. Like the rest of the pro-Constitutional Convention gang, Levin refuses to hear any arguments against it, to debate anyone who can present the dangers of another Convention, and like the rest of them, will use Saul Alinsky’s tactics of destroying the messenger, because they obviously cannot win on the merits of their own arguments. See, Mark Levin Refuted and Mark Levin’s “Liberty” Amendments: Legalizing Tyranny…

Remember there are over 400 members of the secretive Council for National Policy, and it would be impossible to write about each and every one of them. They are not our friends. They are, in fact, the right arm of the Council on Foreign Relations. There are a few places on the web where membership lists, albeit older lists, are available.

[Comment: Recommended reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Government Wipes Recent Vaccine Injury Data From Website

In March, the federal government removed the latest vaccine injury court statistics—more than a year’s worth of data—from one of its publicly reported charts. It was an abrupt departure from the normal practice of updating the figures monthly.

Wiping the latest data means the “adjudication” chart on a government website no longer reflects the recent, sharp rise in court victories for plaintiffs who claimed their children were seriously injured or killed by one or more vaccines.

Since January of 2014, twice as many victims have won court decisions than the previous eight years combined. In these court decisions, a judge ruled the evidence showed vaccines “more likely than not” caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

Also on the rise is the number of vaccine injury cases the government has “conceded”: up 55% in a little over one year.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Guns, Bombs and Ieds Allowed Through Security as TSA Fails 95% of Tests

It has once again been proven that the TSA is pure security theatre, as an internal investigation found that in 95% of test runs, security screeners allowed weapons and mock explosives through, even after people carrying them had been through body screeners and been patted down.

The tests were conducted by Homeland Security Red Teams and the report released by the Homeland Security Inspector General.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hardy Bacteria Thrive Under Hot Desert Rocks

Beneath the rocks scarring California’s Mojave Desert are colonies of cyanobacteria, tiny creatures thought to be some of the first on Earth to convert light from the Sun into energy in the process known as photosynthesis. By studying how these creatures adapt to life in the hot, dry desert, biologists hope to glean insight into how microbial life of some sort might fare on Mars.

A recent study published last year in the International Journal of Astrobiology examined how these organisms survived when different types of rock stood between them and the Sun. It found that the dominant type, Chroococcidiopsis, thrived beneath a variety of geologic types, from quartz to talc.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

McDonald’s Stops Reporting Monthly Sales to Hide Plummeting Fast Food Business

(NaturalNews) Anti-GMO activists and those who advocate for organic foods have a lot to be happy about regarding the recent decision by fast food retailer giant McDonald’s to stop publishing its traditional monthly revenue reports. Their decision has everything to do with the fact that more Americans are now making better food choices.

As reported by Bloomberg News, McDonald’s has announced it won’t be publishing monthly same-store sales results in the coming days as Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook works feverishly to revive revenue growth at the world’s biggest fast food chain.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Microsoft Says Windows 10 Available on July 29

Microsoft Corp said on Monday its new Windows 10 operating system will be available worldwide on July 29, as a free upgrade for users of the most recent versions of Windows. The world’s largest software company had earlier said Windows 10 would be released this “summer”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Nazi Supercomputer May Soon be Your Doctor

“Watson, the supercomputer that is now the world Jeopardy champion, basically went to med school after it won Jeopardy,” MIT’s Andrew McAfee, coauthor of The Second Machine Age, said recently in an interview with Smart Planet. “I’m convinced that if it’s not already the world’s best diagnostician, it will be soon.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Nemesis, Dinesh D’souza, Freed From Nightly Confinement

Sunday morning, at 4:30 a.m. Pacific Time, filmmaker and bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza rolled up his bedding at the community confinement center in San Diego that had been his nightly home for eight months and placed it in a plastic bag for the last time.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Announces Draconian, Unconstitutional Gun Regs by Executive Fiat

Obama’s Justice Dept. is proposing new firearm regulations, including more restrictions on gun ownership.

“It’s clear President Obama is beginning his final assault on our Second Amendment rights by forcing his anti-gun agenda on honest law-abiding citizens through executive force,” Luke O’Dell, the vice president of political affairs at the National Association for Gun Rights, told The Hill.

In particular, the Justice Dept.’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) wants to revive a 1998 proposal that would ban those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from owning a gun.

“That could be a person who spanked his kid, or yelled at his wife, or slapped her husband,” Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for the Gun Owners of America, stated.

The ATF also wants to revoke gun rights from those the government declares “mentally unfit,” which is easy to do because the official diagnostic system for mental disorders in the U.S., the DSM-5, is so broad that almost every form of human behavior can be “diagnosed” as some type of mental illness.

For example, in 2012 the Department of Veteran Affairs sent out letters to veterans stating that based on “evidence,” their “competency” was under review and if the bureaucrats decided to rate the veterans “incompetent,” they would be prohibited from “purchasing, possessing, receiving or transporting a firearm or ammunition.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rand Paul: My Opponents ‘Secretly Want’ Terror Attack ‘So They Can Blame it on Me’ [Video]

While addressing the Senate Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul said that opponents of his efforts to end the NSA’s bulk data collection and force an expiration of the Patriot Act “secretly want” a terror attack on the U.S. so they can blame Paul for it.

Paul said that would be like blaming the Boston police commissioner for the Boston bombings.

RAND PAUL: People here in town think I’m making a huge mistake. Some of them, I think, secretly want there to be an attack on the United States so they can blame it on me. One of the people in the media the other day came up to me and said, “oh, when there’s a great attack aren’t you going to feel guilty that you caused this great attack?” It’s like the people who attack us are responsible for attacks on us.

Do we blame the police chief for the attack of the Boston bombers? The thing is that there can be attacks even if we use the Constitution, but there have been attacks while collecting your bulk data. So the ones who say when an attack occurs it’s going to be all your fault, are any of them willing to accept the blame? We have bulk collection now, are any of them willing to accept the blame for the Boston bombing, for the recent shooting in Garland? No, but they’ll be the first to point fingers and say, “oh, yeah it’s all your fault, we never should have given up on this great program.”

I’m completely convinced that we can obey the Constitution, use the Fourth Amendment as intended, spirit and letter of the law, and catch terrorists.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Setting the Stage for the Second American Revolution

Most Americans obviously don’t know their history for if we did, we would be much more outraged and disturbed about the Jade Helm 15 military operation. Why? Because we’ve seen eerily similar situations play out in our nation before. In fact, this situation was a precursor to the first American Revolution.

Concurrent with the captive corporate media’s feeding frenzy vilifying patriots and other citizens concerned about Jade Helm 15 by calling them conspiracy fanatics, government officials in various cities, counties and municipalities are welcoming American troops to their towns with open arms, apparently having no clue of the event that precipitated the American Revolution. These local officials are intellectually hobbled and history-deficient, for if they cracked open a history book, they would understand that throwing down a welcome mat for troops in their towns is an invitation to eventual bloodshed.

Nobody, it seems, has raised any Constitutional objections about this operation against the backdrop of the Third Amendment of the Bill of Rights. I’ve yet to hear any politician, local, state or municipal governing body or political pundit discuss the implications of this “exercise” in the historical context of the American Revolution and the Bill of Rights.

To be clear, the Third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

TPP Death Pool: More Pharmaceutical Destruction is Coming

“After any agreement is achieved between high-level criminals, there are two basic phases. First, conflicts arise, and the settlements are crude and sometimes painful. Second, the criminal parties realize, like the ‘gentlemen’ they are, that the jackpot they are sharing is big enough for everyone. So they unify their stance. They focus in on their real target: the public.” —The Underground, Jon Rappoport

Question: “Who said that drug was safe? Where did that assessment come from? People are dropping like flies.”

Answer: “We all said it was safe. Remember? All twelve members of the TPP. We all agreed. So now we have to stick to our guns. Admit nothing. Keep your mouth shut.”

This “trade treaty,” the TPP, will, if passed, eventually morph into a close-knit international collective of government agencies that collaborate on medical-drug “safety.”

Translation: the US FDA and Health Canada, and the Australian TGA, and the New Zealand MEDSAFE, and the medical regulatory agencies of Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, and Peru will: declare dangerous drugs to be safe. Together. On behalf of the corporations who manufacture them.

When a massive global agency, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is actually a criminal organization, it enjoys special benefits, not the least of which is freedom from prosecution.

Now you’re talking about real power. Now you’re talking about the Wild West, in terms of the license to commit crimes.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Vince Vaughn Will be Shunned by Hollywood After Outing Himself as a Conservative

Actor Vince Vaughn hit the headlines today for asserting that guns in schools will prevent mass shootings, comments that will undoubtedly lead to him being shunned by Hollywood, an industry which punishes conservatives who don’t keep their political leanings secret.

During an interview with GQ Magazine, Vaughn was asked if firearms should be available in schools to prevent mass shootings.

“Of course. You think the politicians that run my country and your country don’t have guns in the schools their kids go to? They do,” he responded, adding, “It’s well known that the greatest defense against an intruder is the sound of a gun hammer being pulled back.”

The actor went on to express more pro-second amendment views;

“And we should be allowed the same rights. Banning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat. Taking away guns, drugs, booze … It won’t rid the world of criminality.”

Vaughn explained that the right to bear arms was not about burglars or hunting, but to, “resist the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government.”

“It’s not about duck hunting, it’s about the ability of the individual. It’s the same reason we have freedom of speech,” said Vaughn.

In the days to come, dozens of liberal media outlets are certain to go after Vaughn for daring to stand up for constitutional rights.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

WV Teacher Threatened With Fine for Violating Michelle O’s School Snack Rules

Students and parents are rallying to the defense of a teacher who is accused of violating federal school snack rules.

The Williamson PreK-8 teacher, who was not identified, would give her students “wrapped candy” as a reward for their hard work and good behavior.

Because the practice was an alleged violation of the federal rules championed by first lady Michelle Obama, Mingo County Schools Director of Child Nutrition Kay Maynard “placed a call to officials at the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) to report the incident,” the Williamson Daily News reports.

Maynard also spoke to Williamson PreK-8 principal Shannon Blackburn, telling him about the possibility of a monetary fine for the teacher.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ben Levin: Child Pornography Charges Were the Least of it

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

Levin is not just a person who likes to look at pictures of children having sex; he is a sexual sadist who enjoys at least hearing about pain inflicted upon small defenceless children.

On Friday, former Ontario deputy minister of education, Ben Levin, was sentenced to three years in the penitentiary. In March, Levin pleaded guilty to one count each of possessing child pornography, making child pornography, and counselling the commission of a sexual assault. Four other child porn related charges were withdrawn by the Crown.

At the time of his arrest in July 2013, Levin was a world renowned expert in childhood education and was a professor of education at the University of Toronto. At one time he held the position of deputy minister of education in Manitoba.

According to the Agreed Statement of Facts [PDF], read in to support his guilty pleas, Levin often frequented Internet chatrooms involving teens and incest. He told others of his interests in having sex with children.

In records found by the police, Levin had a list of contacts, many with the word “fake” noted beside the names. Three of his contacts were Jannelle Blackadar, Angela Johnson and Russell Joe Gray. The much praised professor did not seem to think they were fake although he had doubts about Blackadar. All three were undercover police officers. Blackadar is a member of the Toronto Police Force, Johnson is a police officer in London, Ontario while Gray is an investigator in New Zealand. All three posed as mothers with young children…

In 2010, former Premier Dalton McGuinty introduced a new sex education curriculum that was later withdrawn after complaints from parents and the public. At the time, current Premier Kathleen Wynne was the minister of education and up until 2009, Levin was her deputy. Levin also formed part of Wynne’s transition team when the latter became premier.

Earlier this year, Wynne introduced a new sex ed curriculum that parents and the public are protesting. This curriculum includes teaching young children about such things as masturbation and “gender fluidity.”

Although Levin held no formal position within the government, there is evidence that he advised on the new curriculum in an informal way right up until the time he was arrested.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

3.4 Million Germans Live in Other OECD Countries

Germany has one of the highest numbers of citizens living in other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD), the club of the world’s advanced economies, a report showed on Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Austria: Historic Election Gains for FPÖ in Styria

The Social Democrats (SPÖ) and conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) have been left licking their wounds after a historic drubbing in Styria’s state elections on Sunday. The right-wing Freedom Party made significant gains, increasing its share of the vote by 16,3 percent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Breaking the Resistance: How Brussels is Integrating Its Euro-Skeptics

One year ago, more euro-skeptics got elected to the European Parliament than ever before, including a number of MEPs from Austria, Britain, France and Greece. They wanted to attack Europe from within, but instead the EU transformed them.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Wild Weekend for MP Hopeful Yahya Hassan

The star poet turned would-be politician Yahya Hassan had not one but three encounters with police in Aarhus over the weekend.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EU to Open Case Against Germany Over Road Toll

The European Commission will open an infringement procedure against Germany to find out if the EU’s largest member state has acted against non-discrimination rules by introducing a road toll which effectively only taxes foreigners, commission chief Jean Claude Juncker said in an interview published in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

First-Person Drone Tourism Will Let You See the Sights From Home

EVERY year, hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the Valley of the Temples, a large park of Greek ruins situated on the south-west coast of Sicily. But soon you could be able to get a drone’s-eye view of the sights.

Helmut Hlavacs at the University of Vienna has developed a system that allows people to control a drone as it visits faraway sites. The budding tourist sits at home, wearing a pair of virtual reality goggles. As they move their head, they direct a drone that has cameras pointed in all directions, feeding the view back to the user.

“From a flight, you could get a very good impression of the site, things you would not normally be able to see if you were walking through the ruins,” says Antonio Gentile, founder of InformAmuse, an archaeology app start-up and one of the researchers who has teamed up with Hlavacs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany: SPD Euro MPs Reject Compromise With Britain

German Social Democratic Party (SPD) MEP Jo Leinen told The Local on Monday he was unhappy with comments from European Parliament (EP) President Martin Schulz, who suggested that Britain should be allowed to opt out of the call to work towards “ever closer union” among EU countries.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

‘Italy You Don’t Expect’ Book Launched in Russia

(AGI) Moscow, May 22 — The Russian edition of the book “L’Italia che non ti aspetti” (The Italy you don’t expect) was presented at the Italian Embassy in Moscow. The authors Angelino Lonardi and Antonio Cianci, use concrete examples to talk about an Italy of excellence and successful people, just like other EU states, debunking the stereotype of the “sick man of Europe”. For a foreign audience, the translation of the volume is a chance to discover a completely different country to the one they have heard about. Through successful people and stories of entrepreneurship, of science and art the book outlines the development of a nation, whose discoveries have influenced the world’s economy and culture. These include people such as Battista Pirelli, the tyre magnate, Enrico Forlanini, the inventor of the first helicopter, Amedeo Giannini, the founder of the Bank of America, which has now acquired Merrill Lynch and is one of the largest banks in the world, or Rocco Petrone, the head of the Apollo mission that put the first man on the moon. “This book reminds us of their abilities,” said Ambassador Cesare Maria Ragaglini, speaking at the event attended by both authors and the chairman of the board of directors of Banca Intesa and of the “Conoscere Eurasia” (Knowing Eurasia) foundation, Antonio Fallico. “In Russia it is very easy to hear people speak well of Italy, often seen as a model to emulate,” said Mr Fallico, who also wrote the preface to the book. “If, therefore, the way in which Italy is represented veers towards the negative, the guilt probably lies with the Italians first and foremost, who have long been champions at denigrating their own country,” he continued. In Russia, where there is a deep-rooted “positive prejudice” about Italy, the public has discovered, also with a certain amusement, that the two peoples are very similar in this way. Indeed, the famous writer Aleksandr Pushkin said: “the Russians can argue for hours about how things don’t work in their country, but will never allow anyone else to.”

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

Ogliari Goes Back to Pleasing Both Young and Old

The plastic exhibits of the Ogliari Museum can already be visited. The Ogliari is the largest transport museum in Italy, and has given the go-ahead to bringing the collection to Volandia

It has taken one month of work to disassemble, and reassemble, but today, these truly extraordinary exhibits will give pleasure to both young and old. Toy trains of every kind, funfairs, planes, and much, much more. Francesco Ogliari dedicated his life to transport, and his museum in Ranco was famous throughout the world. Now, part of his great collection has gone on display at Volandia.

Together with Giovanni Cordara, Jerry Giordano worked on moving the plastic exhibits from the Ogliari Museum. “It was a delicate job, because we had to replan the exhibits, catalogue everything, divide them into sections, then disassemble them, piece by piece, move them, and here, redo all of the lighting systems. There are thousands of pieces, and the precision with which they were made over 40 years ago, is striking. We found little models even behind the mountains in areas that the public don’t even see. It was made with great passion.”

There was also great satisfaction for Marco Reguzzoni, the Chairman of the Volandia Foundation, and for Gunnar Vicenzi, the President of Varese Province. “It’s a great cultural operation, and an occasion for the province.”…

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

Sales of Made in Italy Luxury Products Rise in 2015

(AGI) Milan, May 21 — The market of Made in Italy personal luxury goods generated 224 billion euro in 2014, gaining 3 percent against 2013 (a 4 percent increase at constant exchange rates). The positive trend has continued in the first quarter of 2015 due to a weak euro. The growth is expected to be between 2 and 4 percent at constant exchange rates by the end of the year, which is meant to represent a major increase in euro. The evidence is drawn from Bain and Company’s Worldwide Luxury Markets Monitor 2015 Spring Update — a world leader in luxury goods consulting. They released their report on Thursday, in collaboration with Fondazione Altagamma. “The Italian upmarket production is leading the industry with its innate top quality, as it is deeply rooted in the country’s historic and cultural heritage, which makes Italy unique in the world. Thanks to this enormous and beautiful heritage, Italian luxury goods embrace a broad scope including fashion, design, food, hospitality, jewellery, the automotive and nautical industries, cosmetics, culture and wellness. No other country in the world manufactures such a wide range of upmarket products in such diverse industrial sectors. The total turnover of the luxury goods market in Italy accounts for approximately 110 billion euro and an average 4 percent yearly increase, making up a market share of approximately 10 percent at a world level. Even more important, however, is the symbolic aspect of its role as Italian ambassador of Italian culture in the world, together with the economic potential it implies. Critical success factors for upmarket industries are creativity, craftsmanship and the component of the cultural traditions of such goods. An increasing number of consumers across the world, including the expanding middle classes in emerging countries, demand Italian luxury goods with a high esthetic component, finding in Italian upmarket brands the ingeniousness and the authentic expression of Italian lifestyle.”.

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

Sweden: Gothenburg Struggling to Stop Gang Violence

Young people identified by Gothenburg authorities eight years ago as being at risk of joining gang violence have since continued to commit crimes, despite repeated interventions by Swedish social services, according to a report by Swedish public radio.

Sveriges radio’s news programme Ekot studied a group of 11 people, who as early as 2007 were identified by Swedish authorities as being at risk of a life of heavy criminality.

In April, two men were killed in less than 24 hours in the Hisingen and Angered areas of the city. This took place just a month after two people died and eight others were injured following a shooting in the Biskopsgården suburb, which made global headlines.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Gothenburg Youths Join Gangs — Despite Interventions

Despite the fact that agencies observed criminal tendencies in a group of youth early on in the Backa neighborhood in Gothenburg, they failed to get the youths to turn their lives around, reports Swedish Radio News.

“Samir” is one of 36 youths Swedish Radio News followed up on since the police noticed criminal tendencies among the group back in 2007. At least 16 of them, including Samir, were convicted of crimes in their teens. Samir, who now is in his 30’s, can be seen as a veteran of the underground criminal world of Gothenburg.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Suspected Terrorist Recruiter Arrested by Säpo

A man around the age of 45 has been arrested in Örebro, suspected of recruiting people to a terrorist organisation — most likely IS, reports Swedish Radio P4 Örebro.

The man is suspected of breaking the law against incitement, recruiting, and education with regards to terrorist crimes or other serious criminal activity.

The arrest was made on Monday morning, and according to prosecutor Ronny Jakobsson, the case involves suspected recruitment. Whether or not the recruitment is specifically for the terrorist organisation IS was not something Jakobsson wanted to comment on when asked by Swedish Radio P4 Örebro.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden Arrests Two in Raids Against Militant Recruitment Activity

Swedish police arrested two people in raids in the capital Stockholm and provincial city of Orebro on Monday as part of a crackdown on recruitment of young men to fight with Islamist militants abroad.

Thousands of European citizens, mainly with Islamic immigrant backgrounds, have joined groups such as Islamic State, an ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim jihadist group that has declared a “caliphate” across parts of Syria and Iraq it has seized.

European Union governments fear that some fighters with European passports could return home and carry out attacks, and are tightening laws and security to pre-empt travel for jihad.

The Swedish Security Police (SAPO) said in a statement that one person had been arrested in Stockholm on suspicion of training recruits for militant combat abroad.

SAPO said it carried out a separate raid in Orebro, 140 km (85 miles) west of Stockholm and arrested one person, which Swedish media said was a 45-year-old man.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden Rounds Up Two Fresh ISIS Suspects

Sweden’s Security Service (Säpo) is holding two men believed to have links to the extremist Islamist group Isis (also known as IS or Islamic State), following separate arrests in Örebro in central Sweden and in Stockholm.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Rebel of St. Peter’s Square: Where is Pope Francis Steering the Church?

In the third year of his pontificate, criticism is growing of Pope Francis. Members of the Vatican establishment are turning against him and he even shocks his own staff with his free thinking. Where does this enigmatic pope want to steer the Catholic Church?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Thousands of UK Girls Injured by HPV Vaccine

Thousands upon thousands of girls in the United Kingdom have suffered adverse reactions as a result of receiving HPV vaccinations, with more than 2,500 of those enduring “serious” debilitating illnesses, a UK government agency reports.

A recent Freedom of Information request seeking the number of people injured by vaccines in the UK revealed the human papillomavirus vaccine was responsible for over 8,200 injuries in the past 10 years, a startling figure which directly contradicts health authorities reassurances.

According to the report, the flu jab was the second most injurious (2,994), with the MMR vaccine coming in third (1,594).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Militants Blow Up Natural Gas Pipeline in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Security Officials Say

Security officials in Egypt say suspected Islamic militants have blown up a natural gas pipeline outside el-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai.

The officials say authorities stopped the flow of the gas to extinguish the fire after the blast, which happened early Sunday morning.

No group immediately claimed the attack. However, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or “Champions of Jerusalem,” a jihadi group based in the Sinai Peninsula, has claimed responsibility for more than a dozen similar bombings and attacks on security forces. It pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group late last year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Morocco Builds Wall to Divide Country From Algeria

(ANSAmed) — RABAT, JUNE 1 — Photos had been circulating for a while but there was no confirmation until now that Morocco was indeed building a wall along its eastern border with Algeria. The over 100-km-long barrier has now been justified in Parliament over ‘‘controversies’’ between the two countries. It was the head of Government Benkirane who admitted the construction of the barrier along the border. The statement ended unconfirmed reports by the small number of tourists over the past year who have travelled to an area beyond the territories usually visited by foreigners in Morocco.

It is not the first time that Morocco accuses Algeria of vileness: inundating the country with smuggled fuel, for example. Algeria, for its part, accuses Morocco of exporting hashish. Borders have been de facto shut down since 1994, when Morocco imposed a visa on the passports of Algerians wishing to cross the border. The restrictive measure was adopted after a terror attack in Marrakech, which targeted a hotel, attributed to the Algerian secret services by Rabat.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Western Officials Alarmed as ISIS Expands Territory in Libya

TRIPOLI, Libya — The branch of the Islamic State that controls Surt has expanded its territory and pushed back the militia from the neighboring city of Misurata, militia leaders acknowledged Sunday.

In the group’s latest attack, a suicide bomber killed at least four fighters on Sunday at a checkpoint west of Misurata on the coastal road to Tripoli, according to local officials and Libyan news reports.

The continued expansion inside Libya of the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has alarmed Western officials because of its proximity to Europe, across the Mediterranean.

Four years after the removal of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the near collapse of the Libyan government has left no central authority to check the group’s advance or even partner with Western military efforts against it.

Two armed factions, each with its own paper government, are fighting for control, and each has focused more on internal quarrels than on defeating the Islamic State.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Coming in September: A UN Resolution Establishing a Palestinian State

There has been a lot of talk about things that are going to happen in September, but something that has been almost totally overlooked is the fact that the UN Security Council is likely to be voting on a UN resolution which will establish a Palestinian state at that time.

Right now, France is working on a proposed resolution which would give formal UN Security Council recognition to the Palestinians, would declare that a divided Jerusalem is the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state, and would set the 1967 borders as the baseline for future negotiations which would establish the final borders between the two nations. It is being reported that France will submit this resolution for a vote after the 70th session of the UN General Assembly begins on the 15th of September. At this moment, 136 nations have already recognized a Palestinian state, but the United States has always blocked recognition by the UN Security Council. This time may be different though, because there are quite a few indications that Barack Obama actually plans to back the French resolution in September. If that happens, and the UN Security Council approves this resolution, it is going to have enormous implications for all of us.

Not a lot of people understand that this is happening, so let’s take this step by step.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Iraq Lost 2,300 Humvee Armoured Vehicles to the Islamic State in Mosul

Iraqi security forces lost 2,300 Humvee armoured vehicles when the Islamic State jihadist group overran the northern city of Mosul, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Sunday.

“In the collapse of Mosul, we lost a lot of weapons,” Abadi said in an interview with Iraqiya state TV. “We lost 2,300 Humvees in Mosul alone.”

While the exact price of the vehicles varies depending on how they are armoured and equipped, it is clearly a hugely expensive loss that has boosted IS’ capabilities.

Last year, the State Department approved a possible sale to Iraq of 1,000 Humvees with increased armour, machineguns, grenade launchers, other gear and support that was estimated to cost $579 million.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

President Obama, ISIS is Our Problem

It is indeed ironic that Defense Secretary Ash Carter would condemn the Iraqi defense forces for a lack of will in the fight against ISIS when Barack Obama shares that same lack of will. Press Secretary Josh Earnest made the point exquisite, even after Carter’s statement, when he said that the Obama Administration expects those same will deprived forces to take the lead in attacking ISIS, leaving the United States to provide back-up air support and limited training support but no leadership in the battle against ISIS. Because ISIS is dedicated to our destruction, passing the buck to green and will deprived Iraqi troops is not a viable option. We cannot rely on a foreign power to achieve an objective that it neither wants to achieve nor has the ability to achieve. There is no substitute for our own defense of our own vital national interests; the lives of our troops, the lives of our people, and the property of the United States are at stake. We must lead in this circumstance; we cannot be led.

The United States must use every means at its disposal to eradicate ISIS and all terrorist organizations dedicated to our destruction or we must expect carnage and destruction within the United States. To avoid use of full power to destroy ISIS is to court disaster. President Obama’s Memorial Day speeches are surreal to the extent that he thinks global warming, and not terrorism, the most important national security threat to the United States.

[Comment: Easy way to stop ISIS = stop funneling arms and ammunition to ISIS]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Qatar’s Former Prime Minister Accuses West of Racism, Islamophobia and Bias Against Gulf States Over Claims of Bribery That Led to Country Being Awarded 2022 World Cup

Claims that Qatar paid bribes to win the hosting rights of the 2022 World Cup are ‘not fair’ and stem from the West’s Islamophobia and racism towards Arabs, the former prime minister of Qatar has claimed.

Appearing yesterday on Fox News, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, who governed from 2003 to 2007, offered the rebuttal when asked about the latest scandal currently engulfing FIFA.

He blamed media for the accusations of corruption during his country’s World Cup bid, which he claimed came after Qatar won the hosting rights for the 2022 tournament in a ‘fair competition’.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Qatar Sues French Politician for Terror Claim

Qatar is suing a far-right French politician for defaming the country “and all its citizens” after he linked the Gulf emirate to “terrorism” following the deadly Charlie Hebdo attack.

In an apparently rare legal action of a state suing an individual, Qatar has filed papers against Florian Philippot, a vice-president of the National Front, in a French court for defamation.

The legal action was confirmed in a statement released by Doha.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Shipping: Turks Dominate East Aegean Transportation Market

Threatening the financial survival of Greek shipowners

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JUNE 1 — Turkish businessmen have taken the lead in controlling the maritime transportation of eastern Aegean tourists, threatening the financial survival of Greek shipowners operating in the islands of Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Kos and Rhodes. As a result, as GreekReporter website writes, many of them have either withdrawn their ships or have switched to the tour operation industry in order to stay afloat amid the Greek financial turmoil. According to several sources, the aforementioned domination in the Greek market comes as a direct result of Turkish multimillionaires’ effort to take full control of the Greek domestic market.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Suicide Attack on Iraq Police Base Claims Dozens of Lives

Iraqi security forces have been killed in a suicide attack on a police base in the turbulent west of the country. Early reports have suggested that “Islamic State” jihadists were behind the assault.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Erdogan Attacks Cumhuriyet’s Editor After Scoop

Turkish Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has harshly attacked the editor-in-chief of leading opposition daily Cumhuriyet Can Dundat after a scoop last Friday on the handover of weapons by Mit secret services to Syrian armed groups.

Erdogan said he will ‘‘pay a high price’’ for the report.

In its Friday issue, Cumhuriyet published photos of heavy weapons hidden under boxes of medicines, that were discovered in January 2014 during a police check on trucks of the secret services travelling to Syria.

At the time, the cabinet claimed that the trucks were not carrying weapons but only ‘‘humanitarian aid’’ for Syrian Turks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey’s Main Opposition Leader Passes Voter’s ‘Quran Test’

Turkey’s main opposition leader has said he proved that he could recite a Quranic verse when a potential voter put him to an impromptu test.

“I am going to vote for you, but I am not comfortable. Can you recite al-Fatiha?” the Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kiliçdaroglu quoted a citizen as saying during a recent rally in the western province of Düzce, daily Sözcü reported June 1.

Al-Fatiha, meaning “the opening” in Arabic, is the first chapter, or surah, of the Quran.

“I recited al-Fatiha and he said, ‘Now I can comfortably vote for you,’“ Kiliçdaroglu recalled.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Yemen: Captors Post Video of French Hostage

The captors of Frenchwoman Isabelle Prime, kidnapped in Yemen on February 24th, posted the first video of her since her abduction.

In the 21-second tape posted on YouTube, Prime is shown seated on the ground dressed in black and appeals to the French and Yemeni presidents to take action to secure her release.

Prime, a 30-year-old woman working for the World Bank, was captured in late February by unidentified gunmen in the Yemeni capital.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

A Man in Full: To Hell and Back in the Chinese Healthcare System

When a farmer and migrant worker got thrombosis in his legs, China failed him. In the end, he had to saw off his own rotting leg in order to survive. Zheng Yanliang’s story is an allegory of the struggle to modernize the Chinese healthcare system.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

China’s Island-Building Challenge

by Srdja Trifkovic

The South China Sea (SCS) is fast becoming one of the key geopolitical battlegrounds of our time. China’s systematic, rapid and large-scale island-building campaign has suddenly altered the strategic equation in “Asia’s Mediterranean.” It has also presented Washington with a long-term strategic dilemma in the Western Pacific.

There are literally dozens of disputed islands, atolls, submerged banks, reefs, rocks and shoals in the SCS. Incompatible territorial claims involving China, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines have been the subject of legal wrangling and rhetorical bickering for years. In recent months China has suddenly upped the ante with its Spratly Island building expansion on the Johnson, Cuarteron, and Gaven reefs. Over Fiery Cross Reef and, more recently, Mischief Reef, fleets of dozens of dredgers have been continually sucking sand off the bottom of the sea and blowing it in huge plumes to create new land above the surface, while simultaneously digging deep harbors. What used to be reefs barely visible above the waves are now massive building projects which already house permanent air and naval facilities. Since early last year China has expanded these islands by 2,000 acres — and the work of its engineering teams appears to be far from over. Future likely flashpoints are the Scarborough Shoals (claimed by Philippines and China), and the Paracel Islands, already occupied by China but still claimed by Vietnam.

For China, asserting control over the disputed zone is seen as a near-existential issue. The UN Environmental Program (UNEP) estimates that the South China Sea currently accounts for as much as one tenth of global fish catches. China will have no more than 20 percent of the world’s population by 2030, but she will account for 38 percent of global fish consumption by that time. Energy-hungry China is also hoping to exploit massive likely deposits of oil and gas below the SCS surface, if and when its fait accompli is accepted as irreversible.

The series of man-made islands and the massive Chinese military build-up on them have alarmed Washington, with the U.S. Navy carrying out P8-A Poseidon surveillance flights over the new islands. Ten days ago former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell told CNN’s Erin Burnett Wednesday night that the confrontation indicates there is “absolutely” a risk of the U.S. and China going to war sometime in the future. “China is a rising power. We’re a status quo power. We’re the big dog on the block . . . They want more influence,” Morell said. “Are we going to move a little bit? Are they going to push? How is that dance going to work out? This is a significant issue for the next President of the United States.”

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic [Return to headlines]

China ‘Fearless’ to Fight War With US; State Media

Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece the Global Times has again invoked the likelihood of a war with the United States over the South China Sea dispute, saying Beijing will display a “fearlessness to fight”.

Entitled China must insist on island-building, the editorial begins by asserting that China values “regional peace” and is merely seeking to encourage economic development. Washington believes Beijing is militarizing the disputed islands in a bid to expand its geopolitical hegemony and get access to lucrative gas and oil reserves.

However, the rhetoric soon becomes more jingoistic, with Beijing re-asserting the fact that it is prepared to go to war if the U.S. continues to interfere.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

China: Rows of Pet Dogs Hanging on Hooks and Cats Skinned Ready for the Dinner Table

Inside China’s gruesome annual ‘meat festival’ that was supposed to have been banned

Thousands of stolen pets are being slaughtered for a Chinese ‘dog meat festival’ which local authorities said was shut down last year, MailOnline has learned.

The local government in Yulin, central China, said they banned the decades-old local tradition after two million furious campaigners in China called for an end to the bloody practice.

But an undercover investigation has found as many as 10,000 helpless animals — many of them still wearing collars having been stolen away from loving homes — are being brought to the city ahead of the festival on June 22.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

South Korea, China Ink Long-Term Trade Deal

South Korea and China have signed a trade deal to phase out tariffs on most goods within two decades. Negotiations on the agreement went on for three years but all obstacles were successfully overcome.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Calais Migrant Brawl Leaves Several Hurt

A brawl broke out in the early hours of Monday morning between Sudanese and Eritrean migrants in the northern French port of Calais, resulting in 24 injuries, 14 of which required hospital treatment.

According to the emergency services, the fight began after a makeshift tent was torched. The brawl escalated quickly into running battles with iron bars.

This is the latest incident between migrants desperately hoping to reach Britain from France.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France and Germany Oppose EU Migrant Relocation Plan

The EU Commission’s plan to relocate asylum seekers has “not found a balance” between responsability and solidarity,” French and German Interior ministers said in a common statement on Monday. They said the plan will work only if countries of first entry for migrants “reinforce surveillance of EU external borders”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany Pushes Change in EU Asylum Plan

European powerhouses France and Germany on Monday called on the EU to revise its plan to admit asylum seekers landing in Europe, saying there was insufficient “balance”.

“Deep discussions are necessary at the European level” to achieve a balance between “responsibility” and “solidarity”, said a joint statement from the French and German interior ministers.

They said efforts taken by countries in welcoming asylum-seekers should be “better taken into account”.

On Wednesday, the European Commission asked member states to admit 20,000 Syrian refugees from outside Europe and process another 40,000 asylum seekers from Syria and Eritrea landing in Italy and Greece.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

French Minister Warns of ‘Militant Secularity’

France’s education minister on Monday warned against “militant secularity” in a country where a long-standing ban on veils, Jewish kippahs and other religious signs in schools continues to cause controversy.

“We have to be careful not to have a form of militant secularity in our country, which is counter-productive for children we would like to see adhere to secularity,” Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told reporters at a meeting of the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris.

France has a long-established secular tradition that has its roots in the anti-clericalism of the French Revolution and a 1905 law enforcing a strict separation between church and state.

In 2004, spooked that the growing number of Muslim girls wearing headscarves in public schools was eroding this separation, the government brought in a controversial law on secularity that banned students from wearing “conspicuous” signs of religion.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Have We Lost the Cultural War?

Paul Kengor’s new book, Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage, provides a detailed explanation of why, according to a new Gallup poll, “Americans are more likely now than in the early 2000s to find a variety of behaviors morally acceptable, including gay and lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage and sex between an unmarried man and woman.” Gallup notes, “Moral acceptability of many of these issues is now at a record-high level.”

What we are witnessing is a “shift to the left” that has been carefully orchestrated and planned over the course of decades. It is a phenomenon known as “Cultural Marxism,” the application of Marxism to culture rather than the economic sphere. Kengor’s book, published by an arm of WorldNetDaily, outlines how this movement has operated, naming the names of the individuals and organizations that have been part of it, and how they have reached their zenith under the presidency of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

Significantly, he writes, Obama’s “most enduring legacy may be on American culture,” not in economics or foreign policy.

This seems mystifying, since as a candidate Obama had presented himself as a strong family man and a Christian, with two young daughters and a wife devoted to them. And yet, Kengor, author of The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis: the Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor, has documented how Frank Marshall Davis, a communist atheist and pedophile, had an enormous influence on Obama. Kengor documents this yet again in the chapter of his new book, “The Gay-Marriage President and His Mentor.”

A professor who has written several books on politics, religion, and anti-communism, Kengor focuses on the role of the universities, especially Columbia University, in this cultural transformation. He calls them “indoctrination centers.” The products, he writes, “now pervade other cultural institutions critical to changing society’s opinions: media, television, films, education, and, the greatest influencer of all…the Internet, where they commandeer engines like Google and Yahoo! and Facebook and Mozilla…”

The evil genius behind the “fundamental transformation” of America lies in making it appear that this descent into immorality and paganism is somehow “progressive,” and a move to a higher level of consciousness. The book documents how the Judeo-Christian foundations of this country are being dismantled right before our eyes. It is not an accident. It is the planned destruction of America and the religious values that gave birth to our political and economic freedoms.

[Comment: Read it all.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Journalist: “Relentless White Racism All the Time and Everywhere is the Biggest Lie of Our Lifetimes”

There is no doubt that we are living in the most racially divisive environment in American history. At every turn the mainstream media, often with direction from influential politicians and civil rights organizations, make it a point to highlight the injustices faced by black people being oppressed by whites. Never mind that it was suburban white America who was effectively the swing vote in an election that saw a black man become President of the United States. You’d think that would have put the notion of white supremacy to rest. Sadly, that was not the case, and if anything it has further fueled the fire, so much so that it is impossible to go a single day without reading about white-on-black violence happening somewhere in the country, while attacks by black people against whites are under-reported or simply ignored.

The agenda should be obvious. As has always been the case, those within the governing centers and agencies of our country want to create division among the populace, because by doing so they can maintain control and give themselves a reason for their existence. If Blacks, Whites, Hispanics and Asians aren’t fighting with each other than they would very quickly turn their attention to the real problem — the puppeteers controlling the strings.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Robotics: Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

Four leading researchers share their concerns and solutions for reducing societal risks from intelligent machines.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Conflicted We Stand About Islam — But We Don’t Have To

Any reasonable stance about the nature of Islam invites both reasoned and unreasoned Commentary, and from all sides of the spectrum of belief systems.

When discussing Islam it seems as if the perspectives we’re stuck with are those of the mink-wearer—vs. the mink. Certainly these two perspectives cannot be reconciled. So it seems with the nature of Islam.

Even when we boot irrational arguments from the room, many legitimate but diametrically opposed arguments remain standing.

The cognitive dissonance of this reality can be enjoyed by viewing any of the dozens of YouTube video debates between articulate, polished, accomplished and prominent cleric apologists for Islam, and articulate, polished, accomplished and prominent apologists for anti-Islamic theses.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]