Taking notice 5

Yesterday we had 1,336 readers of (or glancers over) the essay by Jillian Becker (under Pages in our margin), posted on January 14, 2015, titled:

 Communism is Secular Christianity

We have no idea why there is a sudden interest in it.

But for those who have discovered it, and enjoyed finding it right and good, or provocative and outrageous, we recommend, for more pleasure or vexation, our post of June 19, 2015, titled:

 Paul and Karl: the most consequential same-sickness marriage in history 

Comments on either article, pro or con, are welcome.

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On the same theme, Steven Hayward at PowerLine quotes this from the concluding chapter of Leszek Kolakowski’s “magisterial three-volume treatise”, Main Currents of Marxism:

Marxism is a doctrine of blind confidence that a paradise of universal satisfaction is awaiting us just around the corner. Almost all the prophecies of Marx and his followers have already proved to be false, but this does not disturb the spiritual certainty of the faithful, any more than it did in the case of chiliastic sects: for it is certainty not based on any empirical premises or supposed “istorical laws”, but simply on the psychological need for certainty. In this sense Marxism performs the function of a religion, and its efficacy is of a religious character.

We like that. But then Kolakowski goes on to say:

But it is a caricature and a bogus form of religion, since it presents its temporal eschatology as a scientific system, which religious mythologies do not purport to be.

And that spoils the point. While it is true that other religions do not purport to be scientific, we cannot see that that nonsensical claim qualifies the religious nature of Marxism. Regardless of its claim, Marxism is not “scientific”. It is as much a superstition as any other religion. It  even has a god, which it names History.

Kolakowski certainly understood the nature of Marxism. After writing three volumes on its shades and interpretations, his undertanding of it could not have been less than profound. But he turned from faith in Marxism in his youth to the Christian faith in his maturity. (In a non-conformist way – see here and here.)

Steven Hayward also quotes this passage from Main Currents of Marxism:

Communism was not the crazy fantasy of a few fanatics, not the result of human stupidity and baseness; it was very real, very real part of the history of the twentieth century, and we cannot understand this history of ours without understanding communism. We cannot get rid of this specter by saying it was just human stupidity. The specter is stronger than the spells we cast on it. It might come back to life.

The same can be said of Christianity – a very real part of the whole history of our Common Era. That specter will be hard to banish too. It seems to have grabbed Kolakowski by the same need in his personality that had once driven him to Marxism. We think he should have rendered himself invulnerable to the temptation a second time. It is the same specter. That Kolakowski could not see it, proves his depressing assertion is right: it is a strong temptation  – whether to “human and stupidity and baseness” or idealism and naivety – and it will not easily die.

Posted under Christianity, Commentary, communism, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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“Give me your Muslims …” 1

… my golden door is barred to Christians,” says the Mother of Exiles, who earlier misspoke, and whose views on who is welcome to America have now evolved.

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We do not like Christianity, but we are appalled by the persecution of Christians  by Muslims in the Middle East.

Donald Trump has noticed that the Christians in the Muslim countries of the Middle East, and those who fall under the rule of IS/ISIS/ISIL, are being persecuted almost to extinction – and that the Obama administration is unmoved by their plight.

From the Refugee Resettlement Watch:

Trump speaks out on Syrian refugees: “We are saving the Syrian Muslims and not the Christians!”

Trump is almost right. It isn’t zero Christians, but it’s pretty close to zero Although we have admitted a small handful of Syrian Christian refugees, the vast majority are Muslims and mostly Sunni Muslims.  96% [of those] admitted so far in 2015 are Muslims.

But, don’t forget!

Led by the Senate Jihad Caucus, the push is on to admit 65,000 Syrians before Obama leaves office and the vast majority of those will be plucked from UN camps populated by mostly Syrian Sunni Muslims.

One man in America is trying to bring Middle Eastern Christians to safety in the US, for which he is now threatened by the  administration with imprisonment.

From Creeping Sharia:

Living as a Christian in many parts of Iraq or Syria has become impossible – a one-way ticket to martyrdom at the hands of ISIS – yet it remains a near-impossible feat for these persecuted religious minorities to find refuge in America.

But if you can get to America and get your case in the hands of Robert DeKelaita, your chances are greatly improved.

As it turns out, this high-powered Chicago attorney may have been a little too successful. He’s gained asylum for thousands of persecuted Christian from Iraq, Syria and Egypt, and that caught the attention of the Obama Justice Department, which is known to be no friend of Middle Eastern Christians.

DeKelaita, 52, grew up in Kirkuk in the heart of Assyria, a portion of northern Iraq that is home to one of the world’s most ancient Christian communities. …

After Saddam Hussein took power, DeKelaita’s family emigrated to the U.S. in 1973 and settled in the Chicago area. …

He’s helped reunite hundreds of families in the U.S., most of them since 2003 when the U.S. invasion and overthrow of Saddam unleashed a wave of Islamic terror against Christians that far exceeded anything that was seen under the secular Baathist regime.

The Obama administration moved against DeKelaita in September 2014, raiding his office and scooping up whatever “evidence” they could find against him. He was indicted on charges of falsifying the asylum applications of 12 clients over a 10-year period, allegedly concocting “phony claims” of religious persecution. The government has delayed his trial twice while it seeks to firm up witnesses who will testify against him. Each count of immigration fraud carries a maximum of 10 years prison and a $250,000 fine.

Some find it ironic that the Obama administration is going after a lawyer who helps persecuted Iraqi Christians gain asylum while it welcomed and granted asylum for more than 68,000 unaccompanied alien children from Central America last summer.

At the same time Central Americans are being greeted with a “catch and release” policy at the border, a group of 27 Assyrian Christians who made it to the border earlier this year are being detained indefinitely.

“The way that some of our federal judges view the plight of Christians in Iraq and the way some of the adjudicators view them, you would honestly think ‘what is wrong with these people?’” DeKelaita [said]. …

One judge told him: “To argue that Christians in Iraq are being targeted for their religious beliefs is to appeal to either ignorance or emotion.”  

DeKelaita, after his indictment, learned that the FBI had been investigating him since 2008, soon after Obama took office.

He points to the Obama administration’s attempt earlier this year to block an Iraqi nun from entering the country to testify before Congress on the issue of Christian persecution in the Middle East. After …  a public outcry, Obama relented and issued the visa to Sister Diana Momeka. …

The Obama-led Department of Homeland Security has detained 27 Iraqi Christian asylum seekers in California for six months, despite the fact that most of them have family who are U.S. citizens living in San Diego. …

One of DeKelaita’s biggest successes was in getting a judge to strike down an outdated and inaccurate report out of Europe that insisted there was no persecution of Christians in Iraq. …

Meanwhile, the slaughter continues in Iraq and Syria. Another 220 Assyrian families were kidnapped just last week in Syria and fears are growing that the men will face beheading, the women a life of servitude as sex slaves. Bishops in Syria and Iraq have put out desperate pleas for help, saying they feel abandoned by the West.

While it detains Iraq Christian asylum seekers, the Obama administration has been welcoming thousands of Muslim refugees from jihadist hotbeds in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, despite warnings from House Homeland Security Chair Michael McCaul, R-Texas, that some of these refugee programs may become a “jihadist pipeline” into the U.S.

Obama is not perturbed by jihadism. He is dropping the bar against admitting Muslim refugees who have links to terrorist organizations:

From a January 2014 report  by the Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. plans to resettle thousands of Syrians displaced by their country’s civil war could hinge on those refugees receiving exemptions from laws aimed at preventing terrorists from entering the country.

A U.S. official stated publicly for the first time this week that some of the 30,000 especially vulnerable Syrians the United Nations hopes to resettle by the end of 2014 will be referred to the U.S. for resettlement.

More than two million Syrians have fled their country since the war erupted in 2011, creating the worst refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide, advocates say. About 20 countries, mostly in Europe, have agreed to take 18,000 Syrians, according to United Nations High Commission for Refugees, or UNHCR, the agency charged with referrals.

The U.S. has not set a specific target for how many refugees it will resettle. But at a Senate hearing Tuesday, State Department Assistant Secretary Anne Richard said, “We expect to accept referrals for several thousand Syrian refugees in 2014.”

Post-9/11 immigration laws designed to keep out terrorists have had the unintended consequence of ensnaring some innocent people. …

And rather admit a thousand terrorists than keep out one “innocent” Muslim. 

Anwen Hughes, a lawyer at Human Rights First …

One of those bleeding-heart organizations that do so much harm in the world …

who has studied the laws’ impact, said that the government has been “reactive, slow,” about giving exemptions up to now, and urged a swifter process, given the magnitude of the Syrian crisis.

The advocacy group has called on the U.S. to work to resettle 15,000 Syrians a year. The International Rescue Committee, another advocacy organization, is pressing the U.S. to set a goal of 12,000 Syrian refugees this year.

The U.S. leads the world in refugee resettlement. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the U.S. received 70,000 refugees from 65 countries, including more than 19,000 from Iraq. In that year, more than 1,340 Syrians already in the U.S. applied for asylum.

And you can safely bet that Anwen Highes wil not be investigated by Obama’s sniffing-dogs.

But aren’t we going too far when we blame Obama personally for this injustice?

No. He makes the decisions:

From a Fact Sheet of the American Immigration Council:

A refugee, as defined by Section 101(a)42 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), is a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” due to race, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, religion, or national originThis definition is based on the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocols relating to the Status of Refugees, which the United States became a party to in 1968.

Each year the President, in consultation with Congress, determines the numerical ceiling for refugee admissions. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, the ceiling is 70,000.

Under Obama, the US has “pivoted eastward”:

Almost half of all refugee arrivals (46.4 percent, or 32,450) in FY 2014 came from the Near East/South Asia—a region that includes Iraq, Iran, Bhutan, and Afghanistan.

There are three principle categories for classifying refugees under the U.S. refugee program.

Priority One. Individuals with compelling persecution needs or those for whom no other durable solution exists. These individuals are referred to the United States by UNHCR, or they are identified by a U.S. embassy or a non-governmental organization (NGO).

Priority Two. Groups of “special concern” to the United States, which are selected by the Department of State with input from USCIS, UNHCR, and designated NGOs. Currently, the groups include certain persons from the former Soviet Union, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Iran, Burma, and Bhutan.

Priority Three. The relatives of refugees (parents, spouses, and unmarried children under 21) who are already settled in the United States may be admitted as refugees. The U.S.-based relative must file an Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) and must be processed by DHS.

The INA requires that the majority of prospective refugees make their individual well-founded fear cases.

The Christians of the Middle East have well-founded fears. But they are Christians. That, apparently, is enough to bar them from the US, which Obama has clearly stated is “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world”. (Watch and listen to him saying so here.) And in his opinion, the more Muslim the better.

Catholic claptrap 1

For a little light relief, here’ s what Catholics believe about “Purgatory”.

Millions of adult, literate, otherwise sane people do actually believe this.

From “Religious Tolerance”:

Logistics of Purgatory:

The Roman Catholic church dogma states that:

  • Purgatory exists for temporary purging of sin.
  • Punishment and prayers by people on earth will help those in Purgatory.

There is a range of beliefs about Purgatory in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Most or all of their theologians reject the Roman Catholic belief system. However, some Church authorities have taught that the inhabitants in Purgatory are systematically tortured with fire 

Passages in the Bible describe many additional forms of torture used on the inhabitants of Hell for all eternity without hope of mercy or relief: worms, unbearable heat, unbearable thirst, etc. However, St. Thomas Aquinas taught that only one form of torture is used in Purgatory “to cleanse us from the remains of sin…the pain of fire only is ascribed to Purgatory.” 

Where is Purgatory?

Some have puzzled whether Hell and Purgatory are actually in the same location. St. Thomas Aquinas quotes Gregory the Great as quoting St. Augustine who wrote: “Even as in the same fire gold glistens and straw smokes, so in the same fire the sinner burns and the elect is cleansed.” St. Augustine apparently believed that the same fire that tortures the sinful in Hell also is used to purify the saved in Purgatory. Some believe that this implies that Purgatory and Hell are either adjacent or in the same location. Aquinas wrote that there are probably two Purgatory locations: one is inside the earth and is close to hell so that they can share the same fire. The other location is above the earth, between us and God.  Aquinas appears to be wrong: Space exploration has not yet uncovered any sign of Purgatory above the earth. Deep holes drilled into the earth have not discovered Purgatory either, although there have been some interesting Christian urban legends to the contrary.

Some have inquired whether the pain that people experience in Purgatory is greater than the pain that we experience in life. Some reasoned that it is not greater because punishment is a result of sin; since we do not accumulate more sins in Purgatory, then the punishment will not be greater than that which we have been used to experiencing. But St. Thomas Aquinas quotes St. Augustine as saying that “This fire of Purgatory will be more severe than any pain that can be felt, seen or conceived in this world. Aquinas agrees with St. Augustine. There will be two types of pain in Purgatory. They feel a keen sense of loss because they will not be in the presence of God while they remain in Purgatory. They will also feel the “punishment by corporeal fire.” The former is an overwhelming pain because the souls there will deeply long to be with God. The thermally induced pain would also be severe because it would be inflicted on the soul itself – there are no bodies in Purgatory. “Therefore it follows that the pain of Purgatory, both of loss and of sense, surpasses all the pains of this life.”  The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions that St. Bonaventure thought: “that this punishment by fire is more severe than any punishment which comes to men in this life.

Many unofficial beliefs have arisen among individual Catholics: One source quotes Mary as saying that there are many levels in Purgatory. Living Christians can pray on behalf of individuals in Purgatory in order to give the latter temporary relief from pain. Those in the lowest level of Purgatory can only receive respite from their torture through the prayers of the living on NOV-2. The greatest number of souls leave Purgatory on Christmas day.

One writer comments:

“Do penance, or you will burn long years in Purgatory, is a fact that there is no getting away from…Which of us does not tremble when he thinks of those who have been burnt to death in a slow fire? What fear would not be ours if we had to face a similar death? Yet their suffering was of relatively short duration. The incomparably fiercer fire of Purgatory, which we may have to face, may last 20, or 50 or 100 years!” 

Another source lists a Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great, which M. Cardinal Pahiarca allegedly said (at Lisbon, Portugal, on 1936-MAR-4) would release 1000 souls from Purgatory each time it is recited:

“Eternal Father, I offer thee the most precious blood of thy Devine [sic] Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my own home and with in my family. Amen.”

It is not beyond the realm of possibility for a person to repeat this prayer 1000 times a day, and thus release 1 million souls from Purgatory. A three person team, working for an entire year could release over one billion souls!

Are there such teams, we wonder, working at this project right now?

Well, someone has to do it, of course.

Posted under Christianity, Comedy by Jillian Becker on Sunday, August 30, 2015

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The pope performs a miracle 3

… or two.

The Washington Post reports:

On an official trip to this ancient city [Naples] in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, Pope Francis entered the local cathedral to pray to Januarius, the patron saint of Naples. Januarius’s 1,700-year-old dried blood is known to “spontaneously liquefy”, a phenomenon seen by true believers as a miraculous sign from above. Those gathered anxiously watched as Francis prayed before, then kissed, the ornate silver and glass reliquary containing the coagulated clot.

And lo and behold, the dark stain dissolved.

The cardinal of Naples, standing beside Francis, joyously heralded the sacred melting, bringing a round of gasps and applause. Then Francis himself acknowledged the mystery, in which the blood had only half liquefied. “It means the saint loves us halfway,” Francis said, according to accounts of those present that day five months ago. “We must all spread the word of God more, so that he loves us even more.” …

For some Neapolitans, the blood-melting made the recent papal visit all the more magical. Rita Santoro, a 69-year-old who sells prayer cards on the steps of the cathedral, was waiting just outside during Francis’s March visit. He touched her head as he left, “and after that, the stomach problems I had been having just disappeared”. …  “For me, the blood liquefaction for the pope was a miracle,” she said. …

Far more than his predecessor, Francis has thrust himself into the contentious world of so-called popular devotions — including the mystical celebration of holy relics, such as the blood, bones and clothing of saints, as well as the adoration of the Virgin Mary through processions and other rites. By doing so, Vatican watchers say the pope is effectively endorsing a more ardent and mysterious brand of Catholicism that is popularly practiced — especially among the poor — in his native Latin America.

Critics, however, say the pope may be flirting with superstition.

May be? Otherwise there is nothing about religious belief in the supernatural which can be called superstitious?

Also citing his frequent mention of the devil and explicit backing of exorcisms, some say he risks undercutting his image as a 21st century moral leader in tune with the times. “The danger is that popular devotion becomes all too important, that we seek to elevate ourselves by touching a body part or a cloth touched by a saint,” said Vito Mancuso, a theologian and author based in Bologna, Italy. “We would be moving backwards, almost to idolatry.”

Almost? Worshiping a painted plaster “Virgin Mary” is not idolatry?

The incident in Naples, where Francis caused a stir with the blood of Saint Januarius, marked only one in a long list of recent papal devotions to relics and other mysterious artifacts. In June, for instance, the pope “venerated” the Shroud of Turin, praying before the cloth believed by some to be the burial garment of Jesus Christ despite disputed tests that have carbon-dated it to centuries after the crucifixion.

The pope made no official claim about the shroud’s authenticity. But his personal charity has sent at least two busloads of homeless Romans to visit the shroud, and the pope additionally taped a special video message celebrating it.

“Let us listen to what it wants to silently tell us, across death itself,” the pope says in the message. “The sole and ultimate word of God reaches us through the sacred shroud.”

And to millions and millions of sane people, that makes perfect sense?

The pope has recently requested that the remains of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, widely known in Italy simply as Padre Pio, be publicly exhibited in St. Peter’s Basilica next year. Six months after Francis became pope, the Vatican for the first time publicly displayed bone fragments said to belong to Saint Peter despite lingering doubts about their true origins.

What, we wonder, would ever make those doubts stop lingering and go away?

American Catholics anticipate a visit soon by the superstitious pope and a corpse.

Coinciding with the pope’s U.S. visit, the body of Saint Maria Goretti — an 11-year-old Italian girl stabbed to death in 1902 by a family friend — will also travel to the United States on a multi-city tour. In Nettuno, Italy, her sanctuary is filled with mementos of gratitude — wedding dresses, rosaries and statues — from those who claim to have been cured of ailments after praying to her.

But here too doubts are lingering:

Even among those who support the pope, his actions have raised red flags. Citing Francis’s affinity for popular devotion, the Catholic blogger and US-based author Taylor Marshall, for instance, wrote that he feared what “sophisticated non-Catholics” might make of the pope’s actions.

Such a person, Marshall wrote, “shakes his head and thinks to himself, ‘This Pope doesn’t get it. This isn’t the Gospel of Jesus Christ! This is shanty town syncretism at best, or ignorant magic at worst’.”

And the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about “ignorant magic”?

Posted under Christianity, Religion general, Theology by Jillian Becker on Saturday, August 29, 2015

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Away with the Fed! 1

The Fed’s track record offers no evidence that the nation’s appointed gurus of monetary policy can either spur real economic growth or halt economic downturns.

This important article is from the Daily Signal of the Heritage Foundation, by Jim DeMint. We like it so much we are quoting it in full:

The Federal Reserve opened its annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Thursday. Its experts have assembled to discuss “inflation dynamics.” Concurrently, another group of economists and financial experts is meeting just down the road.  They’re discussing monetary policy, as well, but they’re considering questions never raised at Fed symposia—questions like: “Do we really need the Fed?”

It’s a question worth asking. America’s monetary system is the Achilles heel of the world’s economic system.

Something is seriously wrong when trillions of new dollars are created out of thin air to bail out big banks, “stimulate” the economy and buy government debt. And something is dangerously wrong when the political establishment is afraid even to discuss it.

The common assumption — in financial as well as political circles —is that America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, not only can manipulate monetary policy to keep the economy rolling, but that it must, if we are to avoid economic ruin.  But ample evidence suggests that this assumption is dead wrong.

Before reviewing that evidence, let’s start with a basic question: “Who decides what money is worth?”  The correct answer is: “We do—the people who use money to buy and sell things.”  As consumers, we decide how much money we are willing to trade for things we want.  As sellers, we decide how much money we require for providing a given product or service.

Money is a proxy for something of value, and it can — and should — work as a market commodity.  In a free market, the dollar price of products and services changes based on supply and demand – based on how we perceive the value of goods and services.  This dynamic is good and healthy for our economy.  But when the actual value of money is altered by a central committee in Washington it is not healthy … in fact, it can be dangerous.

Faith in the Fed is built on three arrogant conceits: that government can create wealth; that designated experts possess the perfect knowledge required to manipulate money for the common good; and that markets cannot sort themselves out without the coercive influence of technocrats.

But the Fed’s track record offers no evidence that the nation’s appointed gurus of monetary policy can either spur real economic growth or halt economic downturns.

Historically, money growth is almost perfectly related to inflation, and near completely divorced from real economic growth. In other words, increasing the money supply increases the prices of the food, machines, and buildings we buy, but in the end, it doesn’t give us more food, machines, and buildings.

As for halting downturns, The Great Depression, the great stagflation of the 1970s, the S&L crisis, and the 2008 financial crisis all occurred on the Fed’s watch. Some argue that the Depression shouldn’t count, because the Fed was just getting started. This conveniently allows them to throw out about 30 years of data — and if you do that, it certainly looks better for the Fed, because recessions were more frequent before World War II than after.

But inconveniently for those who argue the Fed was too young to work its magic in the late ‘30s, Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz demonstrated in A Monetary History of the United States, that it was a major player, even in its infancy. Moreover, Friedman showed that the Fed actually worsened – if not caused – the Great Depression.

Looking at the entire Federal Reserve period, then, we see a different picture.

In 1986 Christina Romer published a paper in the American Economic Review titled “Is the Stabilization of the Postwar Economy a Figment of the Data?”  Its answer to that question was pretty much “yes”.

In that paper, and in subsequent work, Romer and others provided evidence that the Fed really had not tamed business cycles. Some of this research shows that, even with those Depression years tossed aside, recessions since World War II have, on average, lasted longer than pre-war recessions (by almost three months) and taken longer to recover from (also by about three months).

Faced with that evidence, the Fed faithful try to narrow the discussion to the Volcker and Greenspan years, the so-called Great Moderation.  “See,” they say, “The Fed tamed inflation.” But while the variability in inflation came down during those “glory days,” the average annual rate of inflation actually increased—from 3.56 perent in 1948-1978 to 3.74 percent from 1979-2013.

And looking at the full era of the Fed, the record is even worse. The average rate of inflation runs about three times higher than what it was before (less than one-half a percentage point from 1790-1912, as best we can tell).

Some economists will argue that’s not a problem—that higher average inflation is okay because we don’t have as many wild price swings any more.  But most people understand that higher inflation is problematic, that not everything balances out. They realize that not everyone gets an automatic raise every year just because the Consumer Price Index has gone up.

But the fundamental problem with the Fed isn’t its track record. It’s the fact that centralization of monetary and financial power can be just as damaging to our freedoms as centralization of political power. It creates the perception among Americans that their economic futures are out of their control. Unfortunately, this perception is increasingly accurate.

The debasement of monetary policy over the last century is but one element of a larger crisis.  At its root is a presumption among our country’s political and cultural elites that they can override the wisdom and experience accumulated by mankind over the last several millennia.

Posted under Capitalism, Commentary, Economics, government, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 28, 2015

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Allah: a particularly nasty and silly invention 1

In this 2010 video, Christopher Hitchens, with measured scorn, dismisses Islam:

 

Posted under Islam, jihad, Muslims, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Thursday, August 27, 2015

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President Abraham Trump’s Gettysburg address 8

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 November 19, 1863 - Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – President Abraham Trump delivers his famous address

Thanks. What an incredible crowd. They tell me this is the biggest crowd in the history of the North.

A while back some founders got together. And I mean they were good people but they really didn’t know anything about building a country. C’mon, you know, let’s face facts. Franklin with his little glasses and Washington with those horrible dentures — it was a nightmare. They didn’t know what the hell they were doing.

So then everyone comes to me and they say, “Please help us we’re in this terrible mess.” And believe me I knew this was gonna happen because our leaders were a total disaster who didn’t have a clue how to negotiate. Not the first clue, OK. It’s crazy. And I knew em all. Millard Filmore? The guy was a trainwreck. Franklin Pierce? A complete moron. Moron. And then James Buchanan they say dressed up like a woman if you can even believe it. I could tell you stories.

I mean they’re useless but I did business with ’em because I’m a businessman. It’s what I do. I traded cotton. I traded tobacco. I built the biggest plantations in the world. In fact I’ll tell you a story. Jefferson Davis came to me and begged me — begged me to live on a beautiful plantation that I had built in Mississippi. And it was beautiful, everything top notch and luxurious. I mean not the slave cabins ’cause they’re built for slaves. But everything was great and he’s pleading with me and what am I gonna say, “No”? So I sold it to him for an unbelievable profit. Largest profit ever made on a plantation sale. Hundreds of dollars in profit all pre-Confederate, which two centuries from now will be worth around $10 billion if maybe I decide to leave any to my kids. Who knows. We’ll see. And I say that not to brag just to give you an idea what’s what.

And by the way the slaves love me. Love me. The food portions. The amount of sleep. They’re nuts about me. If they end up freed when this is all over I will win the slave vote.

Anyway our politicians are the worst, they’re total failures and they didn’t let the South go bye bye and so I pick up the paper today and I read Salmon Chase may run against me in ’64! This idiot is in my own cabinet. And I like my cabinet, most of them have terrible beards but they’re OK. They follow orders. First of all what kind of name is Salmon? Should be a harpooneer on a whaling ship with a name like that. So I thought to myself, Salmon Chase, isn’t he the guy who night and day pleaded for a job with me after I kicked his ass at the convention in 1860? It was. I even found his telegraph number, give it a try see if it works. Dot dot dash dash dash dot dash dot dot dot dash.

And I can just hear the papers: “Abraham’s attacking again. He’s saying terrible things.” No. I say what I say because I’m honest. And I’m actually doing my job. Not like those nitwits in Washington. I mean I’m out here opening a cemetery for Christ sake! And as I look at this place I’m thinking, “How could there have been so many casualties?” There’s rocks and orchards all around, if I had the time I’d develop the property, but you can’t tell me that if you call yourself a soldier and you hear a shell or something coming you couldn’t have found a place to hide. And incidentally, so what, now Meade is some kind of a great general because he defeated Pickett’s charge? You’re up on a ridge with all your cannons and everything and the other army is walking right toward you. I mean they’re literally walking. Who couldn’t win that!

The point is I’m up all hours saving the Union and then here we are in this cemetery and I’m supposed to do what? Honor the dead? They’re dead. They’re losers. How are we in debt to them? I hate to tell you, but I like the guys who didn’t die. I’ll honor some of them.

And speaking of honoring, they want me to wrap up so they can honor me at a dinner. I’m so in demand it’s insanity half the time. All I’m telling you is if you’re living everything is for you.

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It’s so good, we lit our candle from its flame to bring you all the light and heat of this very funny and clever lampoon.

It’s from FunnyOrDie. 

Thanks, FunnyOrDie!

Posted under satire by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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Look – here comes the loony lefty likely Labour leader 1

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It would be a most desirable thing, a sweet dream for all mankind, if the evil Left were to perish.

Its years of power in the West may be over. The “long march through the institutions” brought it to the peak of power – the presidency of the USA. And there it has failed. Of course.

There are signs of its demise in America, what with corrupt old Hillary’s pathetic dance, and voters waking up to Obama’s treachery, and someone (Trump) daring to defy political correctness at last.

And in Britain, the dream may be about to become true.

Steven Hayward writes at PowerLine:

More fun than watching the Hillary meltdown and the Democratic Party rage against the results of the Obama regime is to cast your gaze over to Britain, where the Labour Party seems to have forgotten the lesson of their 1983 election platform (which included a call for unilateral nuclear disarmament) which UK political junkies referred to as “the longest suicide note in history.”

Labour was crushed in that election, and having not been chastened by the recent election rout at the hands of the Conservatives and the Scottish nationalist party seems to be hankering for a repeat of 1983. By all accounts, the Labour Party is set to choose as its next leader Jeremy Corbyn, a deep-left radical who is generally regarded as completely unelectable [by Tony Blair] if he indeed heads the Labour Party into the next election.

I can’t do better than Boris Johnson, the colorful Tory mayor of London, who posted the following on his Facebook page a few days ago. Since it’s on Facebook and there’s no general link, I’ll just report the entire piece here:

It begins with a look of slow and wondering amazement – as if he hardly dares believe his luck; and then the certainty builds, millisecond by millisecond. Then the eyebrows go up even higher, and the mouth gapes and the eyes pop and the epiglottis vibrates as he lets out a long, whooping yell of sheer incredulous ecstasy.

That is how police chief Brody reacts in the last reel of Jaws when, by some fluke, he manages to shoot a bullet right into the oxygen tank in the mouth of the shark, and the ravening fish improbably explodes. That is frankly how we in the Tory party feel as we watch what is happening in the Labour movement today.

If these polls are right (and that is a pretty big if these days) then we are at that preliminary stage in Roy Scheider’s masterful portrait of the joyful police chief. We aren’t yet whooping, but our eyebrows are twitching north in incredulity. We are filled with disbelief that this can really be taking place, a distrust of the evidence of our senses.

If all these forecasts are right – the polls, the betting markets, the pundits – then that fearsome New Labour machine is in the process of some kind of violent, unexpected and hilarious disintegration. It really looks as though it might be the end for the ruthless beast that won three election victories and struck terror for so long into Tory hearts. Can it be true? Can this be happening? Are they really proposing that Her Majesty’s Opposition should be led by Jeremy Corbyn?

It is not just that he has next to zero support among mainstream Labour MPs in the Commons; it doesn’t matter that he has rebelled against the party leadership ever since he has been in the House. Indeed, it doesn’t matter that he sometimes identifies the right problems – low pay, underinvestment in infrastructure, or whatever. It is his solutions that are so out of whack with reality.

This is a man whose policies are way, way to the Left even of the last Labour leader –[Ed] Miliband – a man who in the end was resoundingly rejected by the electorate for being too Left-wing. … He would take this country back to the 1970s, or perhaps even the 1790s. He believes in higher taxes and a bigger deficit, and kowtowing to the unions, and abandoning all attempts to introduce competition or academic rigour in schools – let alone reforming welfare.

He is a Sinn Fein-loving, monarchy-baiting, Israel-bashing believer in unilateral nuclear disarmament. … Never in all his wildest dreams did he imagine that he might be leader of what has been – until this year – one of the major parties of government; and now he is having greatness thrust upon him. …

The armies of Labour rank and file … honestly seem to think that this might be the way forward. Yes, there really are a few hundred thousand people who seriously think that we should turn back the clock, take huge swathes of industry back into public ownership and massively expand the state.

The problem for Labour is that they do not represent the majority of people in this country. That is the real lesson of this campaign so far: that the mass of the Labour Party is totally out of touch with reality and common sense. How should we Tories react?  … We watch with befuddlement and bewilderment that is turning all the time into a sense of exhilarating vindication: I told you they were loony. 

And Alex Massie writes at The Spectator (UK):

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Willie Horton and Michael Dukakis. That’s what Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to prominence will do to a fellow. Horton, you will remember, was the convicted murderer who never returned from a weekend furlough granted to him while Dukakis was governor of Massachusetts, and subsequently kidnapped a couple in Maryland, stabbing the husband and repeatedly raping the wife.

He became the star of George Bush’s 1988 presidential election campaign. Lee Atwater, Bush’s most pugnacious strategist, had vowed to “strip the bark” from Dukakis and promised that “by the time we’re finished they’re going to wonder whether Willie Horton is Dukakis’ running-mate”.  The Willie Horton ads were ugly … but, by god, they were effective. They gave Bush a message: he wasn’t the other guy. The guy from the most liberal corner of the most liberal state in the Union, the guy who opposed the death penalty, who disapproved of … the Pledge of Allegiance, the guy who let a first-degree murderer out of jail, not once, but ten times. The same murderer, Willie Horton, who invaded a suburban home and raped a woman. The Willie Horton who said “Obviously, I am for Dukakis” (it didn’t matter that he didn’t vote just as the other nuances of the issue didn’t matter at all).

By the end of it all it was a bloody business. In the second presidential debate Dukakis was asked if he’d still oppose the death penalty for someone who raped and killed his own wife. He said he would. Game over. Dukakis never understood what hit him.

Of course it was ugly and of course it was merciless and sometimes it was unfair too. But that didn’t matter.

All his bark was stripped.

So the question is, How many Willie Hortons does Jeremy Corbyn have? 

An astonishing number. Not just ISIS, not just his support for an inquiry into supposed Jewish influence on government decisions, not just the platforms he’s shared with a remarkable number of unsavoury types. Not just his suggestion Hamas is not a terrorist organisation. Not just his willingness to blame Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine on NATO. Not just his instinctive support for anyone opposed to anything proposed by either the United States or the United Kingdom. Not even just his suggestion, in 2013, that Argentina be permitted a say in the governance of the Falkland Islands. Not just these things, but all or any of them.

Most of these, frankly, should disqualify him from serious office.

And so too should his record on Northern Ireland. A vast amount of guff is now being peddled by Corbyn’s supporters on this. If we are to believe them, Corby’s willingness to talk to Sinn Fein and the IRA in the 1980s just showed how he was ahead of the game. After all, the British government eventually did so too, didn’t it?

This misses the vital point. Corbyn might have wanted peace’ but he wanted it on the IRA’s terms. He wanted Sinn Fein and the IRA to win.

People genuinely interested in peace – and cross-community dialogue – back then didn’t speak at Troops Out rallies. They didn’t invite convicted IRA bombers to the House of Commons two weeks after the IRA attempted to assassinate the Prime Minister and the rest of her cabinet in Brighton. (A bomb, remember, that killed five people.) …

Even now he cannot actually bring himself to condemn IRA atrocities, weaselling out of suggestions he do so by condemning all atrocities. But normal people know that condemning IRA murders does not mean condoning Loyalist murders or, for that matter, the excesses of the RUC and British Army. Corbyn, however, still prefers to sing from the [Irish] Republican song-sheet. …

Far from being ahead of the game, Corbyn was, at best, deluded, and at worst, marginally complicit in the murderous actions of a terrorist organisation that targeted his fellow citizens.

That none of this seems to trouble his supporters says all you need to know about the mess Labour finds itself in.

If – and perhaps this is unlikely – Corbyn makes it to 2020 even the most ludicrous, improbable, Tory could beat him. Running an anti-Corbyn campaign would be the greatest turkey shoot in the history of modern British politics.

The only difficulty would be deciding which of Corbyn’s Willie Hortons it would be most effective to focus upon. Bark-stripping will never be easier.

Choosing Corbyn is worse than a blunder, it’s a crime.

Not if his leadership means the end of the British Labour Party.

We hope Corbyn is easily beatable in a general election. We hope the campaign against him will be managed as effectively as Bush’s campaign against Dukakis was managed.

We hope the British Laboour Party is a spent force. Forever.

And we hope that will be the beginning of the end of the evil Left as a force in national politics in the West.

But we are skeptical and rather pessimistic through experience, and will not be surprised if we are disappointed.

Psst! he’s a M-sl-m 4

First, Creeping Sharia reports what the Daily Mail reported:

This is the heavily-armed suspected terrorist with ties to radical Islam who was overpowered by passengers on a train from Amsterdam to Paris.

jihadi_ayoub_el_khazzani

Ayoub El-Khazzani, 26, is being quizzed by French counter-terrorism police after he allegedly opened fire on the high-speed train with a Kalashnikov.

The Morocco-born suspect reportedly wounded one man before he was disarmed and beaten unconscious by two American soldiers and a student.

Alarmingly, he had already been on government officials’ radars in four European countries before he carried out Friday evening’s terror attack.

He had been deemed a terrorist threat following the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris – and had apparently fought with ISIS in Syria earlier this year.

Questions are now being asked as to how El-Khazzani was able to move freely around Europe, despite being widely known as ‘potentially dangerous’.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Saturday that Spanish authorities had flagged the jihadi to French officials last February because he belongs to the ‘radical Islamist movement’ – something El-Khazzani appeared to support on his Facebook page, which has since been deleted.

El-Khazzani, who was reportedly radicalized while living in Spain, was subsequently placed on an intelligence watch list in France.

He was identified as a terrorist threat in January after terrorists stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo and shot dead 12 people, it is reported.

On Saturday, officials confirmed through fingerprints their suspicions that the Thalys train terrorist was the same man who had been on their radar.

Although Cazeneuve did not give a name, a source familiar with the case named the shooter as El-Khazzani, Reuters reports. The source said he was believed to have flown from Berlin to Istanbul on May 10 this year. Turkey is a preferred flight destination for would-be jihadists heading for Syria.

El-Khazzani is thought to have received military training with ISIS there, before traveling to Syria to fight with the terror group, The Telegraph reports

The suspect had left France in 2014, before traveling to Syria and returning to France to assemble a horde of deadly weapons, it is said.

In Spain, he lived in Madrid between 2007 and 2010 before moving to the southern port of Algeciras.

He was arrested in Spain at least once for a drug-related offence, the Spanish counter-terrorism source said.

Cazeneuve said the man had also lived in Belgium and that inquiries ‘should establish precisely the activities and travels of this terrorist’.

French newspaper Le Voix du Nord reported that the jihadi may have had connections to a group involved in a suspected Islamist shooting in Belgium in January. The Belgian government confirmed an inquiry into the shooting is under way, but would not comment further on any potential link.

In total, El-Khazzani had been identified as a terrorist threat by Spanish, French, German and Belgium intelligence services, it is reported.

However, it is unclear whether he was placed under surveillance in any of the countries.

The motive behind Friday’s attack also remains unclear.

Next, Creeping Sharia corrects the Daily Mail:

The only thing that remains unclear to the majority of logically thinking humans is how any of these people – including the media who regurgitate this nonsense – still have jobs.

His motive was jihad, for Islam and Allah, to establish a caliphate ruled by sharia.

It was originally reported that the heroes were U.S. Marines, apparently they were:

[US] Air Force airman Spencer Stone ran at the gunman, along with Oregon National Guard member Alek Skarlatos.

With the help of Anthony Sadler, from California, and British national Chris Norman, they stopped the terror attack.

When even the Daily Mail, a newspaper that has a well-deserved reputation for full and accurate reporting, will not NAME THE ENEMY, what chance do we have of defeating him?

Why the reluctance to say “Muslim”?  Because anyone who does will be labelled a “racist” by the politically correct, aka the Left.

Why didn’t the police, and other authorities whose job it was to prevent and punish crimes against children, act to save the thousands of young girls who were “groomed” for prostitution by  MUSLIMS in Rotherham and other English cities? Why? Because they feared being called “racist”!

If the European countries arrested all the jihadis their intelligence agencies have identified, the funny thing is they would all be MUSLIMS, and so governments with police forces and military strength and the armament of the law, fear they’d be called “racist”!

This state of affairs is not only ridiculous, it is suicidal.

Leaving aside the fact that Islam is not a race, and accepting that the word “racism” has lost its meaning and is now only a “boo” word, we point out that the world has come to fear it as the worst of all possible accusations. “Murderer”, “rapist”, “torturer”, “kidnapper”, “blackmailer”? Not nearly as bad. “Nazi”? Even that, not as bad. “Communist?” Oh, a positive compliment! But “racist”? No, no! Better to die – or let any number of other people die.

Real racism – individuals discriminated against by law on grounds of race – is evil. And the mistreatment of individuals on grounds of race in society generally is nasty. But is it nastier than the forced prostitution of children? Nastier than a massacre in a train?

If the answer by most people to those questions is now “yes”, then it is time for brave men and women to dare to let themselves be called racists.

Bernie’s boot 3

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” – George Orwell, 1984.

This fascinating video about life in the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia after the death of Stalin, was published in December, 2014. It takes three-quarters of an hour to watch, but is worth every minute spent on it.

It does not discuss the worst suffering of the Russian and East European peoples under Communism. With the accession of Nikita Kruschev in 1953, the Russians and some of the other oppressed nations of the Warsaw Pact believed they felt a certain lightening of the yoke of totalitarianism.

In 1968, the Czechoslovakian leader Alexander Dubček tried to launch a new kind of Marxist-Leninist regime which was – so sadly and so hopefully – called “Socialism with a human face“. For about seven months the Czechs and Slovaks had a taste – just a little taste – of comparative freedom, and then the Soviet boot came down on that face, hard.

The supremacy of the Communist Party could not be challenged. Marxism, like all religions, believes its doctrine is the only “truth”. Therefore, a Marxist regime can never be anything but totalitarian.  

To repeat: A Marxist regime can never be anything but totalitarian. Recent history has made that plain enough.

Yet now, as if President Obama hasn’t taken the United States far enough down the road to socialist serfdom, tens of thousands of Americans want him to be followed in the Oval Office by Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders calls himself a “Democratic Socialist” – as Alexander Dubček did.  

Many of his followers, it would seem, understand “democratic socialism” to be a mild sort of socialism as embodied in West European welfare states. They like to point to the Scandinavian countries as the model they envision – egalitarian utopias with a Bernie Sanders face.

But in Bernie Sanders’s own vision of egalitarian utopia, isn’t it he who is wearing the boot?

This review of Bernie Sanders’s political record comes from an article by Matthew Vadum at Front Page:

Bernie has been around communists a long time.

He used to work at the communist-led United Packinghouse Workers Union.

In the 1970s he belonged to the anti-war Liberty Union Party (LUP). Under the LUP banner, he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate and governor of Vermont. His platform called for all U.S. banks to be nationalized, public ownership of all utilities, and the establishment of a worker-controlled federal government.

Sanders quit the LUP in 1979 and was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont. During his decade in office he displayed a Soviet flag in his mayoral office and claimed he did so to honor Yaroslavl, Burlington’s sister city in the U.S.S.R. In addition, he made Puerto Cabezas in Communist Nicaragua another sister city of Burlington.

In 1989 Sanders addressed the national conference of the U.S. Peace Council, a Communist Party USA (CPUSA) front group. The event focused on how to “end the Cold War” and “fund human needs”.

Interacting with the CPUSA was a dangerous thing. During the Cold War, CPUSA members swore an oath “to the Soviet Union, to a ‘Soviet America,’ and to the ‘triumph of Soviet power in the United States’”. …

Sanders hopped on the global warming/climate change bandwagon years ago, claiming that it both threatens “the fate of the entire planet” and is caused primarily by human industrial activity. He wants carbon emissions strictly limited, which would inflict tremendous damage on the US economy without having much of an impact on global temperatures. In 2010 Sanders smeared climate-change skeptics by comparing them to people who had ignored the Nazi threat before World War II. He accused “big business” of being “willing to destroy the planet for short-term profit”, and in 2013 pontificated that “global warming is a far more serious problem than al-Qaeda”.

Not surprisingly, Sanders is a strong supporter of the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of environmentalists and big labor that wants the government to take over America’s energy industry. The group is a hotbed of subversives and other radicals. Former green jobs czar Van Jones who described himself as a “communist” and “rowdy black nationalist” was a member of its board.

Weatherman co-founder and former Weather Underground leader Jeff Jones … who was a fugitive for 11 years, is director of the Apollo Alliance’s New York state affiliate. Jones is proud of his small-c communist, terrorist past. In 2004 he boasted, “To this day, we still, lots of us, including me, still think it was the right thing to try to do.”

For an American politician during the Cold War, Sanders was unusually friendly to the Soviet Union.

As Accuracy in the Media has reported, in the 1980s he “collaborated with Soviet and East German ‘peace committees'” whose objective was “to stop President Reagan’s deployment of nuclear missiles in Europe”. Indeed, he “openly joined the Soviets’ ‘nuclear freeze’ campaign to undercut Reagan’s military build-up”.

[He] also reached out to Soviet allies. He travelled to Communist Cuba in the 1980s where he enjoyed a friendly meeting with Havana’s mayor.

In 1985 he visited Nicaragua to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the ascent to power of Daniel Ortega and his Marxist-Leninist Sandinista government. Sanders wrote an open letter to the people of Nicaragua attacking the Reagan administration, which he claimed was a puppet of corporate interests, for its anti-Communist activities. “In the long run, I am certain that you will win, and that your heroic revolution against the Somoza dictatorship will be maintained and strengthened,” he said.

When he was stateside again, Sanders sent a letter to the White House saying Ortega was interested in meeting with President Reagan to try to negotiate an end to that nation’s civil war. Sanders invited Ortega to visit Burlington but the dictator declined.

In the event Vermont’s favorite communist moves into the White House on January 20, 2017, it seems likely Ortega will at long last accept his comrade’s invitation to the US.

At that time Bernie Sanders and Daniel Ortega will dance on America’s grave.

… in their boots.

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