Darkness looms over us 3

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In the picture above, an IS member unsheathes his sword as he prepares to behead an ancient Babylonian statue.  His sheath is the Koran and the sword is covered with verses from the Koran. The caption states: “With this sword is civilization and humanity slaughtered.”

We quote Raymond Ibrahim, above and below:

The Daily Mail reports:

Islamic State thugs have destroyed a collection of priceless statues and sculptures in Iraq dating back thousands of years.

Extremists used sledgehammers and power drills to smash ancient artwork as they rampaged through a museum in the northern city of Mosul.

Video footage shows a group of bearded men in the Nineveh Museum using tools to wreck 3,000-year-old statues after pushing them over.

Extremists used sledgehammers and power drills to smash ancient artifacts at a museum in the northern city of Mosul 

Extremists used sledgehammers and power drills to smash ancient artifacts at a museum in the northern city of Mosul

Militant uses a power tool to destroy a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity at the Ninevah Museum in Mosul, Iraq. The statue dates back to the 9th century B.C.

Militant uses a power tool to destroy a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity at the Ninevah Museum in Mosul, Iraq. The statue dates back to the 9th century B.C.

A man shown in the video said the items were being destroyed because they promoted idolatry.

“The Prophet ordered us to get rid of statues and relics, and his companions did the same when they conquered countries after him,” the unidentified man said.

The articles destroyed appeared to come from an antiquities museum in the northern city of Mosul, which was overrun by Islamic State last June, a former employee at the museum told Reuters.

The extremist group has destroyed a number of shrines – including Muslim holy sites – in a bid to eliminate what it views as heresy.

Militants are also believed to have sold ancient artwork on the black market in order to finance their bloody campaign across the region.

ISIS destroy artifacts with sledgehammers at Mosul museum

A man shown in the video said the items were being destroyed because they promoted idolatry

 

Yesterday it was revealed how terrorists had blown up the Mosul Public Library, sending 10,000 books and more than 700 rare manuscripts up in flames.

Leading members of Mosul society reportedly tried to stop the fanatics destroying the building, but failed.

The director of the library, Ghanim al-Ta’an, said that the extremists used homemade bombs in the attack, which took place on Sunday.

He told Middle Eastern website Geran: “ISIS militants bombed the Mosul Public Library. They used improvised explosive devices.”

Presumed destroyed are the Central Library’s collection of Iraqi newspapers dating to the early 20th century, maps and books from the Ottoman Empire and book collections contributed by around 100 of Mosul’s establishment families.

Large segments of the priceless winged-bull Assyrian protective deity are hurled to the ground as militants smash it to pieces

Large segments of the priceless winged-bull Assyrian protective deity are hurled to the ground as militants smash it to pieces

Isis first invaded the Central Library in January. Residents say the extremists smashed the locks that had protected the biggest repository of learning in the northern Iraq town, and loaded around 2,000 books – including children’s stories, poetry, philosophy and tomes on sports, health, culture and science – into six pickup trucks. They left only Islamic texts.

“These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah. So they will be burned,” a bearded militant in traditional Afghani two-piece clothing told residents, according to one man living nearby who spoke to The Associated Press.

The enlightened West is doing nothing to stop them.

“Our evening is over us; our night whelms, whelms and will end us.”

- Gerard Manley Hopkins: Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves. ( He was a Jesuit. But even so, a very good poet.)

The passion of the left: preserving the beauty of poverty 11

It is against reason to oppose fracking. But the Left opposes it with passion. That is to say, the opulent elite who vote left and have political influence, oppose it with passion.

Of course, in the Great Divide between the politics of Reason and the politics of Romanticism, the Left is the Romantic side: the side of the emotions. Reason is its enemy.

So there should be no surprise that wealthy Democrats hate industrial progress. They find the landscapes of poverty too pretty to spoil.

Here’s the story.

We quote from The Liberal War on American Energy Independence, by Arthur Herman, in the February 2015 issue of Commentary.

Williamsport sits on the edge of the Marcellus Shale area, the second-largest natural-gas find in the world. It stretches across most of Pennsylvania and into New York, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. Most of it was inaccessible until a decade ago, when a combination of new extraction technologies—including hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and horizontal drilling—opened up the shale to energy development.

Since 2002, fracking has generated in Pennsylvania more than 24,000 drilling jobs and some 200,000 other support jobs in trucking, construction, and infrastructure, according to the state’s Department of Labor and Industry. Wages in the gas field average $62,000 a year—$20,000 higher than the state average.

To Pennsylvania, fracking has brought in $4 billion in investment, including a steady flow of income to local landowners and local governments leasing mineral rights to their land. According to National Resources Economics, Inc., full development of the Marcellus Shale could bring another 211,000 jobs to this one state alone, not to mention other states on the formation, including New York.

But there will be no such jobs in the state of New York. In December, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a complete ban on the use of hydraulic fracturing. The cost of that move was already foreshadowed three years ago when I drove across the border from Pennsylvania into New York. The busy modern highway coming out of Williamsport, U.S. Route 15, shrinks down into a meandering, largely empty two-lane road. On the way to Ithaca, I passed through miles of a deserted rural landscape dotted with collapsing barns and tumble-down houses reminiscent of Appalachia.

The one thing that broke the dismal monotony were the signs, many painted by hand, that had sprouted up along the road and in the fields, all saying the same thing: Ron Paul for President. The state was then in its fifth year of a moratorium on fracking, and that moratorium had turned upstate New York’s rural residents into libertarians. Bitter ones, at that. They didn’t particularly care about Ron Paul’s views on Israel or the Federal Reserve. All they wanted was a chance to collect the lucrative fees a gas company would pay them to drill on their land; they would have voted for anyone who would help them make their land generate an income again for themselves and their families.

This sort of gain is precisely what the left’s war on fracking (which has scored its most significant victory so far with Cuomo’s permanent ban) aims to prevent. It is nothing less than a policy of selective immiseration.

Fracking — a technique that uses a mixture of chemicals, sand, and water to break apart deep formations of oil- and gas-rich shale rock and draw it to the surface — is the most important American industrial enterprise of the 21st century. It joins the automobile industry, aircraft and aerospace, the computer and the digital revolution, as one of America’s great successes in technological innovation, productivity, and entrepreneurial flair. Like other industrial revolutions, including the first in 18th-century Britain, the fracking revolution is bringing about enormous changes in how we live — and sharply altering the nation’s income-distribution curve.

The fracking revolution has also brought America’s oil and gas industry back to life. In 2000, fracking accounted for less than 3 percent of all oil and natural-gas production in the United States, which was then importing more than 60 percent of its oil. Today, fracking accounts for more than 40 percent, and that percentage is going steadily upward, as the U.S. replaces one country after another on the list of the world’s biggest oil and gas producers. Our oil imports from OPEC countries have shrunk by half.

Indeed, the production gushing from America’s shale oil and gas deposits — from Eagle Ford in Texas to the Marcellus Formation in Pennsylvania and the Bakken oil field in North Dakota — doesn’t just promise the long-elusive goal of energy independence. It points to an energy dominance and economic power that the United States hasn’t seen for 100 years, since the heyday of John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil.

The difference is that instead of that power being lodged in a single megacorporation or the Seven Sisters of the 1950s (Mobil, Shell Esso, etc.), the fracking revolution is being created by hundreds of smaller, more agile independents who are transforming the technology as fast as they are pumping the oil and natural gas out of the ground.

They are also pumping out jobs by the tens of thousands. It is no longer the case that good-paying blue-collar employment in America is on the verge of extinction. Fracking employs thousands of people in physically demanding jobs that require no college degree and pay, in many cases, six figures.

In North Dakota, where fracking has turned the Bakken Shale formation into the most productive oil patch in the country, an entry-level job hauling water and helping to move rigs and machinery averages $67,000 a year. A well specialist with a couple of years experience will be looking at a $100,000 salary, while a directional driller—the highest job a fracking employee can hold without a B.A.—earns close to $200,000.

Overall, the fracking boom has driven up North Dakota’s per capita income to $57,367 in 2012—the highest in the nation save for Washington D.C. The per capita figure has jumped 31 percent since 2008, the year after the fracking boom got under way, compared with 10 percent for frackless South Dakota.

The other beneficiaries are private landowners, many of them farmers. They have been able to lease out the mineral rights to their land for large sums; and if a well opens up, it quickly becomes a gusher of cash. In North Dakota, that has produced a series of so-called High Plains millionaires; for other landowners, leasing fees have become a lifeline for their farm or property.

Private-property rights, often of middle-income people, are the real drivers behind the fracking revolution, with county and state governments leasing rights on their lands not far behind. It’s one reason so many state capitals have been amenable to the fracking revolution: They’ve been prime beneficiaries.

Under the Obama administration, the number of oil- and gas-drilling leases on federal lands has fallen, and oil production on federal lands is at levels lower than in 2007. Nevertheless, America’s oil production jumped by 1 million barrels a day last year thanks to fracking—even as we’re bringing up more natural gas than at any time in our history.

In less than a decade, the boom has already changed the energy map, with the rise of states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Dakota joining Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska as major energy producers, and with many others poised to join the club, from Illinois and Wisconsin to Alabama and California.

Indeed, the fracking revolution is the one sector of the Obama economy that’s been steadily booming, creating more than 625,000 jobs in the shale-gas sector alone—a number estimated to grow to 870,000 in 2015. Its benefits also flow in trickle-down savings by lowering the cost of energy, particularly natural gas. Mercator Energy, a Colorado-based energy broker, has calculated it’s saving American families more than $32.5 billion in lower natural-gas bills for home heating and electricity.

It has also had a positive impact on U.S. manufacturing, especially petrochemical and plastics firms that have cashed in on lower natural-gas and oil prices and the increasingly abundant supply. From 2010 to 2012, energy-intensive manufacturers added 196,000 jobs as Rust Belt cities such as Lansing, Michigan, and Gary, Indiana, have been revived by cheaper, more abundant energy.

Wallace Tyner, an economist at Purdue University, estimates that between 2008 and 2035 the fracking revolution (oil and gas combined) will add an average of $473 billion per year to the U.S. economy. That’s roughly 3 percent of today’s GDP.

The most striking change, however, has been at the gas pump. Falling U.S. demand for imported oil (a drop of 40 percent since 2005) has lowered global prices overall, and has been a huge factor in oil’s 25 percent price plunge in 2014. Filling up the family car at $2.80 a gallon versus $3.80 a gallon is a great benefit to Americans, especially in low-income households. A strong case can be made that the shale revolution’s impact on natural-gas prices has been the equivalent of a poverty-relief program, since the nation’s poor on average spend four times more of their incomes on home energy than do the more affluent. On average, the drop in natural-gas prices has given low-income families an effective tax rebate of some $10 billion a year.

This is one of the most notable aspects of the fracking revolution. Unlike the computer and digital revolution, for example, which created an industry dominated by Ph.D.’s and college-trained engineers, this is an economic bonanza of particular meaning to those in the middle- and low-income brackets, with the potential to benefit many more.

Yet today’s liberal left is, virtually without exception, implacably opposed to fracking, from the national to the state to the local level. In the forefront have been environmental lobbying interests. In localities such as Ithaca, New York—the hub of the anti-fracking movement in New York State—liberal elites have banded together to prevent an economic transformation that would pad the wallets of their neighbors and upset the socioeconomic status quo.

Of all the national environmental groups, the Sierra Club probably has the mildest official position: that further fracking in the United States must stop until its overall impact on the environment has been studied more carefully. More typical is Greenpeace’s April 2012 joint statement on fracking (co-signed by the Water and Environment Alliance and Friends of the Earth Europe) that makes a fracking well seem not entirely different from a nuclear-waste dump.

That document asserts that “fracking is a high-risk activity that impacts human health and the wider environment”. It warns that natural-gas development through fracking “could cause contamination of surface and groundwater (including drinking water)” and pollutes both soil and air while it “disrupts the landscape and impacts upon rural and conservation areas”.  Greenpeace also claims that fracking and its related activities produce smog, particulates, and toxic methane gas; cause workers to expose themselves to toxic chemicals used in the fracking process; increase “risks of earthquakes”; and lock local communities such as Lycoming County into a “boom and bust economy” that will run out when the oil and gas run out. Greenpeace and its allies insist that these places look to “tourism and agriculture instead”.

The document creates a dire picture, yet nearly every one of these claims is false. Since fracking operates thousands of feet below the aquifer, the risk to drinking water is nil; and there are no proven cases of water supplies becoming contaminated from fracking, despite the thousands of fracking wells drilled both in the United States and Canada. Yet the charge is repeated ad nauseam in anti-fracking ads, films, and pamphlets.

So is the charge that fracking exposes people, including workers, to dangerous chemicals. More than 99 percent of the fluid used to fracture rock in the operation is nothing more than water and sand mixed together. In fact, most of the statistical risks associated with fracking in terms of contact with dangerous chemicals (benzene is a favorite example, radioactive isotopes another, methane yet another) are no higher, and sometimes lower, than those associated with any other industrial job or outdoor activity, including driving a big-rig truck.

The charge that fracking can leak methane into drinking water stems from a Duke University study that examined a mere 68 water wells in a region of Pennsylvania and New York in which 20,000 water wells are drilled each year—and those who conducted the study never bothered to ask whether any methane concentrations existed before the fracking began (which turned out to be the case).

That fracking might cause earthquakes is another oft-repeated alarmist charge with no facts or evidence behind it. In certain conditions, deep underground injections of water and sand used in fracking can lead to detectable seismic activities, but so can favored green projects such as geothermal-energy exploration or sequestering carbon dioxide underground. None of these adds up to seismic rumblings any human being will notice, let alone an Irving Allen movie-style catastrophe. And given the fact that for years there have been thousands of fracking wells around the country that operate without any detectable seismic activity, the argument seems clearly driven more by the need to generate emotion than the imperative to weigh actual evidence.

But perhaps the oddest claim from groups such as Greenpeace is that increasing the use of natural gas will not reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The evidence is overwhelmingly the opposite. As natural gas continues to squeeze out coal as a cheap supply of energy, especially for power plants, the greenhouse-gas-emission index will inevitably head downward. In fact, since the shale boom, those emissions in the United States have been cut by almost 20 percent, a number that one would expect to make any environmental activist smile.

All of which suggests that the war on fracking is waged in defiance of facts. And that, in turn, suggests a particular agenda is at work in the anti-fracking camp. A hint of it appears in Greenpeace’s claim that local communities would be better off sticking to “sustainable agriculture and tourism”, meaning organic farming and microbreweries that cater to the tastes of affluent and sophisticated out-of-towners. The war on fracking is a war on economic growth, which the shale revolution has managed to sustain in the middle of the Obama recession, and a war on the upward mobility any industrial revolution like fracking triggers.

It is part of what the Manhattan Institute’s Fred Siegel has called the “liberal revolt against the masses,” and a good place to see it in action is in New York State.

In 2006, then-gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer made a campaign swing through the so-called Southern Tier of upstate New York. The Manhattanite expressed shock at a landscape that was “devastated,” as he put it, and was steadily being abandoned for lack of jobs and economic opportunity. “This is not the New York we dream of,” he said.

Much the same had been true of large portions of rural Pennsylvania. Fracking reversed the downward course there. But the moratorium Spitzer’s successor, Andrew Cuomo, placed on fracking in 2008 before locking it in permanently late last year has frozen those portions of the state in their relative poverty.

Local farmers have been furious over the de facto ban. They are frustrated that the valuable source of income that fracking would generate has been denied them — and that Albany and its liberal enablers are content to crush them under the twin burden of some of the highest property taxes in the country and a regulatory regime that, in Fred Siegel’s words, “makes it hard to eke out a living from small dairy herds.”.

Locals are furious, too, that the ban is denying blue-collar jobs that could help young people find work in a fracking site and could transform local standards of living. In 2012, the state’s health department determined that hydro-fracking could be done safely in the state and concluded that “significant adverse impacts on human health are not expected from routine HVHF (hydro-fracking) operations”.  This was not what state officials wanted to hear, and the report was buried. When someone leaked it to the New York Times, the Department of Environmental Conservation’s spokesperson quickly disavowed it. Meanwhile, Cuomo’s acting health commissioner, Howard Zucker, served as front man for his boss’s permanent ban.

Ithaca is the center of New York’s anti-fracking hardliners. Their leader is Helen Slottje, who organized the Community Environmental Defense Fund to use local zoning regulations to keep fracking out of the surrounding county. She admits that many local people down the hill from Ithaca resent their efforts and think that she and her environmentalist militia are little more than thieves stealing money from their pockets.

But Slottje dismisses their worries, just as she angrily dismisses the charge that she’s a classic example of someone who opposes salutary change because she doesn’t want it in her own back yard. “If a serial killer knocks on your door,” she says, “it’s not NIMBYism to fight back.” She doesn’t bother to wonder whether her comparison of frackers to serial killers might be slightly exaggerated. She simply adds, “We’re not NIMBY, we’re NIABY. Not In Anyone’s Back Yard.”

She is joined in her activism by the Duncan Hines heiress Adelaide Gomer, whose anti-fracking Park Foundation is based in Ithaca and bankrolls much of the activism. “Hydro-fracking will turn our area into an industrial site,” she has proclaimed. After citing the usual charges about poisoning the aquifer, she also adds, “It will ruin the ambience, the beauty of the region.” The beauty of falling-down barns, rusted cars and farm equipment, and abandoned farmhouses may be lost on the locals, but it’s united the rich and influential in New York City. They want to keep things that way — and keep the “creepy advances of environment-trashing frackers” out of the state.

Gomer was able to mobilize demonstrations around the state to maintain the ban despite lobbying in Albany to overturn it, while celebrities such as Alec Baldwin, Robert de Niro, Yoko Ono, Debra Winger, Carrie Fisher, David Byrne, Jimmy Fallon, Martha Stewart, Lady Gaga, and the Beastie Boys signed an Artists Against Fracking petition. Like other Manhattanites, they have no reason to worry much about low land prices in the Southern Tier—but they do worry about development that would benefit the locals while possibly spoiling the view.

By cloaking their social snobbery in the clothes of the environmentalist movement, New York’s well-heeled have managed to forestall the kind of wealth transfer that fracking has brought to Pennsylvania. Indeed, some like Slottje are hoping to spread the same anti-fracking gospel back across the state line and stop Pennsylvania’s economic boom dead in its tracks. …

Anti-frackers also thought they had a shot at stopping the industry in Colorado. The state is one of the wellsprings of environmental activism, after all, with plenty of willing foot soldiers from campuses such as the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Denver. But Colorado also sits on one of the biggest shale fields in North America and is one of the top natural-gas states. In 2013, oil and gas contributed $30 billion to Colorado’s economy, in addition to thousands of jobs.

A serious effort to launch an anti-fracking initiative, which would have banned drilling within 2,000 feet of homes and hospitals and given local community councils effective veto power over fracking efforts, ran aground early in 2014. Colorado Democrats realized it could endanger the reelections of Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Mark Udall. Fracking is popular with Colorado voters, especially working-class voters. They convinced the multimillionaire congressman Jared Polis to set aside his petition drive for the bill just as Hickenlooper and Udall suddenly turned squishy on the fracking issue, to the fury of local environmentalists. …

When regulatory agencies actually investigate the dire charges made against the industry, most of the charges evaporate under scrutiny. Remaining health and safety matters, such as waste disposal, turn out to be manageable with simple oversight. In the end, this means that the fight to ban fracking outright is steadily turning into a losing battle.

And when politicians and courts decide to quit the field, what’s left for the left? More protests, even civil disobedience. “We will resist this with our bodies, our hearts, and our minds,” one southern Illinois organic farmer told the website Green Progress. “We will block this, we will chain ourselves to trucks.” …

While the activists are lying in the road, fracking and its technologies are constantly evolving. Far from rejecting the environmentalists’ demands for more safety and for meeting community standards, companies are constantly adjusting to make their work as clean as possible. Many now employ reusable water for the hydro-fracking process, for example, while cutting back their use of toxic chemicals. Technologies for water-free fracking are already here and will become increasingly widespread in areas where water resources are scarce. That will be another body blow to fracking’s opponents, who like to claim it wastes water needed for human consumption or agriculture.

And we haven’t even begun to explore the possibilities of natural gas. While fracking has yielded record levels of oil production in the United States, those reserves-in-rock are limited. American natural-gas reserves are not. According to a recent Colorado School of Mines study, they amount to 2.3 quadrillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas in the United States, enough to fuel our energy needs for decades — and the constant technological innovations of the industry will make extracting those reserves increasingly cost-efficient.

Beyond that, there are methane hydrates — deep deposits of crystalline natural gas, embedded in large parts of the Arctic permafrost and ocean bottoms. Even when shale oil and gas have eventually run out, technologies to extract methane hydrates will be able to supply almost limitless energy — according to the U.S. Geological Survey, more than all previous discovered oil and gas put together, even while wind and solar are still trying to figure out how to generate power efficiently.

Progressives who believe themselves to be on the side of science and the little guy at the same time are in fact defying both. This is a battle between the partisans of a discredited ideology from the past and those who see the fast-advancing future.

We were reluctant to cut out any parts of the article, which is long but rewarding. Lean meat all the way through.

If you like the taste we’ve given you, read all of it here.

The fall of the pope of environmentalism 12

The heat that the doctrine of Anthropogenic Global Warming can generate could be felt on our Facebook pages recently. Dozens of passionate devotees of the religion hurled furious abuse at us for posting arguments against it. Of course sober commenters replied to them.

Now we have poured oil on the flames by posting the news of the railway engineer and pornographer Rajendra Pachauri’s departure from the UN’s Intercontinental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We await more fury.

Someone rightly said that “One of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism.”

But added: “Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists.”

It is not ours.

Here’s the good news.

We take it from a somewhat disjoined account at Climate Depot, by Marc Morano:

IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri forced out at UN climate panel after sexual harassment complaint

[From] Pachauri’s resignation letter on religion: “For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.”

UN IPCC critic, journalist Donna Laframboise responds: “Yes, the IPCC – which we’re told to take seriously because it is a scientific body producing scientific reports – has, in fact, been led by an environmentalist on a mission. By someone for whom ‘protecting the planet’ is a religious calling.”

The IPCC is quietly popping champagne corks today. Pachauri gone can only be good news for the UN IPCC.

If Pachauri had any decency, he would have resigned in the wake of the Climategate scandal which broke in 2009. Climategate implicated the upper echelon of UN IPCC scientists in attempting to collude and craft a narrative on global warming while allowing no dissent.

Or Pachauri could have resigned when he wished skeptics would rub asbestos on their faces, or conceded that the IPCC was at the “beck and call” of governments.

There were so many opportunities [for him] to do the right thing and fade away. But it took the proceedings of the Indian court system over the allegations of sexual harassment to finally bring Pachauri down. Things can only be looking up for the UN IPCC now that it has ridded itself of this political and ethical cancer.

Michael Crichton: “One of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists.”

We repeat: not ours.

Donna Laframboise: “What’s missing from this (Pachauri’s resignation) letter is any suggestion of remorse. When a scandal-plagued leader resigns because his alleged misdeeds are nuking his organization’s reputation, that is a mark of failure. He has let everyone down. Where are his words of apology to the thousands of IPCC-linked scientists whose honor is now eternally tarnished by their association with him?”

Those scientists let themselves down. They tarnished their own honor. They have done a grave disservice to Science itself. It would be too convenient for them to heap all the blame on the lubricious railway engineer, Rajendra Pachauri.

Will the Chicken Little clamor about global warming now fade out?

We doubt it. It always was only a political ploy, a pretext for collectivists to institute world communist dictatorship.

The Examiner reports:

For years, conservatives have said that radical environmentalism is little more than a front for a move to Communist tyranny. That assertion seems to have been proven with comments made by Christiana Figueres, climate chief for the United Nations, who said Communism is the best model for fighting global warming. …

According to Figueres, China … is “doing it right”, even though it has major pollution problems of its own.

The reason, she explained, is that democracy is no good at handling something like global warming, with different parties arguing over policy. In fact, she said, political differences like those in the U.S. Congress, are “very detrimental” to solving the issue.

The Chinese Communist Party, on the other hand, can dictate policy with no debate. Those who disagree can simply be tossed into prison or suffer a worse fate.

Of course, that’s how things work in a dictatorship with one-party rule. Democrats who have clamored for Obama to rule like a dictator may like the idea of a single-party system in America where the ruling party can simply issue edicts, but the American people have made it clear they will not accept such an arrangement, nor are they likely to adopt the Communist Chinese model.

The Daily Caller is quoted as recalling some inconvenient truths:

“Communism was responsible for the deaths of about 94 million people in China, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Afghanistan and Eastern Europe in the 20th century. China alone was responsible for 65 million of those deaths under communist rule,” the Daily Caller said.

Yet this is the model the UN says the world should adopt.

The reason … is that environmentalists hail the Chinese for being a “leader” in renewable energy. …

In 2012, China received nine percent of its power from renewable resources, while the United States got 11 percent of its power from renewable resources in the same year.

Nevertheless, the UN climate chief maintains that Communism is the model the U.S. should follow.

The Daily Caller also said that both China and the former Soviet Union have deplorable records with regards to air quality.

The Wall Street Journal reported [January 14, 2014]  that about “1.2 million people died prematurely in China in 2010 as a result of air pollution”.

The pollution of human minds that Communism causes is far worse than any pollution of the air, land, and sea in the communist states.

And the UN is the filthy engine pumping it out.

The UN must be destroyed.

Obama’s “downright hatred for this nation” 4

Here comes a future political leader.

We quote from The American Mirror:

President Obama may enjoy the approval of 84% of blacks, but don’t count CJ Pearson among them.

Pearson, a 12-year-old middle school student in Georgia, has more informed opinions than many adults.

The student posted a YouTube video yesterday in which he seeks to “applaud Mayor Rudy Giuliani for his comments about President Barack Obama” [that Obama does not love America].

CJ Pearson says:

Here’s the truth of the matter: I don’t want to be politically correct. I don’t care about being politically correct at this point.

President Obama, You don’t love America. If you really did love America, you would call ISIS what it really is: an assault on Christianity, an assault on America and downright hate for the American values that our country holds. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and every single thing that our country stands for.

I hope that one day people will get enough guts to speak out against your downright hatred for this nation. …

But here’s what you need to realize: here in America, we don’t back down to terrorists. We fight them on their own battleground and we annihilate them till the very end.

Here in America, we don’t allow the government to take away what we work for but we continue to work harder so that we may continue to succeed.”

Pearson is executive director of a group called “Young Georgians in Government”.

His Facebook page says he is “committed to fighting for conservative principles and engaging young people in the political process.”

“Most young people really don’t have an interest in government or politics, but we need to pique that interest. We need to make sure they know that the decisions politicians make are going to affect them,” the student told ABC 6 in a profile story last December.

We overlook the reference to Obama’s “assaulting” Christianity. We assault Christianity too – but far more intelligently than Obama does, of course.

We like everything else CJ Pearson  says.

Posted under Christianity, Commentary, Conservatism, Islam, jihad, United States, Videos, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, February 23, 2015

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Obama appoints a Muslim terrorist supporter to counter terrorism 5

This is from Canada Free Press, by Matthew Vadum:

President Obama is appointing an openly terrorist-sympathizing Muslim to head a government office dedicated to countering Islamic State propaganda.

In April, Rashad Hussain will take over as director of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, a small office within the U.S. Department of State that Obama plans to make bigger. A new component called the Information Coordination Cell will be added to the expanded center and will reportedly be staffed by intelligence analysts. It will have a staff of around 80 people and will coordinate with other government agencies. The head-chopping barbarians of the Islamic State will no doubt cower in fear because the U.S. government has, as the newspaper notes, “more than 350 State Department Twitter accounts, combining embassies, consulates, media hubs, bureaus and individuals, as well as similar accounts operated by the Pentagon, the Homeland Security Department and foreign allies”.

Hussain is reportedly a devout Muslim who maintains close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood’s network in the U.S. He has been spewing radical Islamic propaganda for years. As a law student at Yale University in 2004, Hussain whined that the prosecution of University of South Florida professor Sami al-Arian was a “politically motivated persecution” calculated “to squash dissent”.

How slickly these would-be squashers of dissent have learn to use the language of freedom and tolerance to advance their intolerant totalitarian ideology! 

The academic was recently deported and he entered guilty pleas regarding his activities as a leader of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Hussain’s pro-terrorist activities have continued since he left college. In a 2008 paper for the Brookings Institution he argued that language that links Muslim terrorism to Islam itself should be avoided. “Policymakers should reject the use of language that provides a religious legitimization of terrorism such as ‘Islamic terrorism’ and ‘Islamic extremist’,” he wrote. “They should replace such terminology with more specific and descriptive terms such as ‘Al-Qaeda terrorism’.” This is, of course, exactly what the Obama administration did upon coming into power the next year. Even today Obama argues strenuously that the U.S. is in conflict only with specific terrorist groups and not with the Muslim world as a whole.

In the same paper Hussain urged the U.S. to “welcome and encourage the further development of mainstream Muslim organizations and moderate institutions”.  He specifically referenced the work of the Fiqh Council of North America, which is linked to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.

Hussain has also written that, “The primary cause of broad-based anger and anti-Americanism is not a clash of civilizations but the perceived effect of U.S. foreign policy in the Muslim world.” This is, of course, the standard left-wing rationalization for Islamic aggression against the United States. It ignores the pattern of violent expansionism that has characterized Islam since the days of its founding prophet. It also ignores the fact that Islam, which is the Arabic word for submission, does not believe in the marketplace of ideas. Islam does not recognize separation of church and state. Its purpose from its creation has always been to conquer and eliminate all other religions. It must dominate.

President Obama, who nowadays makes no secret of his sympathy for Islamic terrorists, picked the right man to carry out his policies. Hussain has already been working for the Obama administration for five years. In February 2010 Obama appointed Hussain as his ambassador to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (previously known as the Organization of the Islamic Conference). [The expert on Islam] [Robert] Spencer describes the OIC as “the thuggish international organization that is engaged in a full-scale campaign to intimidate Western governments into adopting hate speech codes that will effectively quash criticism of Islam — including jihad violence perpetrated in its name.” OIC has long been pushing the myth that there is such a thing as “Islamophobia”.

Obama gushed over Hussain when he first appointed him to an administration post. “I’m proud to announce today that I am appointing my Special Envoy to the OIC — Rashad Hussain. As an accomplished lawyer and a close and trusted member of my White House staff, Rashad has played a key role in developing the partnerships I called for in Cairo [in 2009],” Obama said at the time. “And as a hafiz of the Qur’an, he is a respected member of the American Muslim community, and I thank him for carrying forward this important work.” (Hafiz is Arabic for “guardian” and refers to a man who has memorized all of the Koran.)

Of course, Hussain was a natural fit for the OIC, which itself is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. It consists of 56 member states plus the Palestinian Authority and aspires to impose shariah law on the entire world. It seeks to reestablish the Islamic Caliphate.

Now that Obama is safely reelected and the final off-year congressional election of his presidency is completed, he doesn’t care about appearances anymore. Obama doesn’t feel the need for the careful, studied, Alinskyite deception that marked his first six years in the highest office in the land. Now he is free at long last to be Obama and to let his Chicagoland, red-diaper baby, freak flag fly.

His despotic power is essentially unchallenged. 

Jihadism in the White House 5

Is it possible that most Americans are waking up at last to realize what sort of person they elected president?

Hard to say. They – astonishingly – elected him twice!

Roger L. Simon for one is “flabbergasted” at what Obama is doing to America and the world. (But then, as far as we know – and we’d be flabbergasted to be told otherwise – he never voted for him.)

He writes with understandable emotion at P.J. Media:

Barack Obama  …. and the media and the brainwashed public that elected him are destroying our country (and the West) all by themselves.  They don’t need any secret conspirators in the back room. They’re all there in public view. And how.

Obamacare and the sabotaging of the immigration system were bad enough, but they are absolutely trivial compared to what is going on now.  We have the next thing to a jihadist in the White House.  From the inability to name Islamic terrorists as Islamic, to the failure to name Jews as the objects of homicidal anti-Semitism at a kosher market, to the complete omission of the word Christian when 21 Christians have their heads cut off (simultaneously!) for being Christian, we have in the Oval Office not only the worst president in the history of our country, we have the worst person to be president.

And now he is opening the door to a huge number of Syrian refugees, who knows how many of whom may be members of ISIS, al Qaeda or some group we haven’t even heard of yet. If I were a Christian or a Jew … I’d make sure [my] door was locked at night and [I] had exercised [my]  Second Amendment rights.

And if this weren’t enough, Obama is colluding with the Iranian ayatollahs as if he were a Shiite imam, not only to help them get nuclear weapons, but to form a permanent alliance with the United States against the Sunni world. How insane is that! …

But is Obama aware that the alliance is “against the Sunni world”? His closest political buddies are the Muslim Brotherhood, and they’re Sunni. He’s quite capable of being so confused that he hasn’t thought of that. But wouldn’t his Muslim Brotherhood advisers point it out?

I have to say I’m flabbergasted.  I never thought I’d be living in times like this. …

I wish I knew what to do, because convincing Obama to act is a double-edged sword. He is a horrible person to be a commander-in-chief and to put our troops in his hands is an awful thing to do to them. He will undoubtedly pull the rug out from under them just at the wrong moment. And they certainly know it. How could they not?

So what do we do?  Maybe hunker down and hope we make it through to 2016 with the right result.  It’ll be a long slog, and a miserable one.

We see it that way too.

Posted under Commentary, Islam, jihad, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, February 18, 2015

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South Africa: a failure of power 14

South Africa, though saved some twenty years ago from the injustices of apartheid, is going steadily downhill.

We quote a letter from James E. Martins, teacher and lecturer:

What a fortnight it has been! Really, living in Johannesburg is difficult at the moment.We now have load-shedding daily – electricity cut off from ten in the morning till two in the afternoon. Infuriating. Seeing crowds of people rushing to banks and pharmacies before the blackouts is a disturbing sight. Shades of the Soviet Union …

Trade is suffering severely. I hear from my cousin in Oz that “the South African crisis” has even made Australia’s very parochial news reports. And no wonder! A country collapsing because of monopoly, corruption, and a complete failure to plan adequately should be newsworthy.

We are all  expected to be technologically savvy in the midst of such a crisis. At school, there is constant talk of greater use of smartboards, computer avatars, etc., etc. With the country’s electricity supplies at risk, it might be more sensible if we all polished our “chalk and talk” — and not a bad thing, either! (Nothing is superior to a teacher with personality and passion!) Still, it is maddening to live on “this isthmus of a middle state” between First World and disintegrating Third World. To give a rather trivial example, I do not know whether to complain to the local Post Office or simply to grind my teeth and wait: I have a host of orders from Amazon.UK  that have not arrived yet. Perhaps I should be patient. After all, I received a couple of Christmas cards a week ago. Africa!

By the way, it is estimated that, in Soweto, people owe R2 billion in unpaid rates for services – i.e. electricity. The ANC will never call such offenders to account for they – or their votes, rather – guarantee the ANC’s retention of power.

I attended an Advanced Programme English Conference this weekend, and had to endure everyone swooning over a YouTube snippet of a speech by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, on the “danger of a single reading”. This is the new catchphrase of the trendy Left. She sneered inevitably at white stereotyping of blacks – while unashamedly doing the reverse! – and made cheap gibes at John Locke. I had to button my indignant lips, but, in my own address, I did make an impassioned plea for accurate reading, not simply fashionable ones. Sadly, I fear that many of my colleagues did not realize my words were a criticism of the rapturously received anti-white diatribe. Adichie mocked whites who believe that Africa is a bloodsoaked mess in which helpless people await redemption by white imperialists.

Africa is a bloodsoaked mess. And there may be people who “await redemption by white imperialists”. But if so, they wait in vain.

Posted under Africa, Australia, Commentary, corruption, education, Literature, Race, South Africa by Jillian Becker on Sunday, February 15, 2015

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What’s happening to the world wide web 0

We stand on the opposite side of the Great Political Divide (freedom v socialism) from Britain’s Guardian newspaper. But it covers the news better, and provides more useful information, than most of its competitors.

We quote from an extract it has taken from a book titled, The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen.

The story of yesterday’s post was about the US government controlling our uses of the internet. Today’s story is about international controls on this last zone of freedom; and how a country could build a virtual wall round itself to cut itself off from the global internet  – and then enforce extreme censorship within its own “walled garden”.

Each state will attempt to regulate the internet, and shape it in its own image. The majority of the world’s internet users encounter some form of censorship – also known by the euphemism “filtering” – but what that actually looks like depends on a country’s policies and its technological infrastructure. …

In some countries, there are several entry points for internet connectivity, and a handful of private telecommunications companies control them (with some regulation). In others, there is only one entry point, a nationalised internet service provider (ISP), through which all traffic flows. Filtering is relatively easy in the latter case, and more difficult in the former.

When technologists began to notice states regulating and projecting influence online, some warned against a “Balkanisation of the internet”, whereby national filtering and other restrictions would transform what was once the global internet into a connected series of nation-state networks. The web would fracture and fragment, and soon there would be a “Russian internet” and an “American internet” and so on, all coexisting and sometimes overlapping but, in important ways, separate. Information would largely flow within countries but not across them, due to filtering, language or even just user preference. The process would at first be barely perceptible to users, but it would fossilise over time and ultimately remake the internet.

It’s very likely that some version of the above scenario will occur, but the degree to which it does will greatly be determined by what happens in the next decade with newly connected states – which path they choose, whom they emulate and work together with.

The first stage of the process, aggressive and distinctive filtering, is under way. China is the world’s most active and enthusiastic filterer of information. Entire platforms that are hugely popular elsewhere in the world – Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter – are blocked by the Chinese government.

On the Chinese internet, you would be unable to find information about politically sensitive topics such as the Tiananmen Square protests, embarrassing information about the Chinese political leadership, the Tibetan rights movement and the Dalai Lama, or content related to human rights, political reform or sovereignty issues. …

China’s leadership doesn’t hesitate to defend its policies. In a white paper released in 2010, the government calls the internet “a crystallisation of human wisdom” but states that China’s “laws and regulations clearly prohibit the spread of information that contains contents subverting state power, undermining national unity or infringing upon national honour and interests.”

The next stage for many states will be collective editing, states forming communities of interest to edit the web together, based on shared values or geopolitics.

For “edit” read “censor”. States’ governments will decide what values it shares with other states’ governments.

For larger states, collaborations will legitimise their filtering efforts and deflect some unwanted attention (the “look, others are doing it too” excuse). For smaller states, alliances along these lines will be a low-cost way to curry favour with bigger players and gain technical skills that they might lack at home.

Collective editing may start with basic cultural agreements and shared antipathies among states, such as what religious minorities they dislike, how they view other parts of the world or what their cultural perspective is  …

Larger states are less likely to band together than smaller ones – they already have the technical capabilities – so it will be a fleet of smaller states, pooling their resources, that will find this method useful. If some member countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), an association of former Soviet states, became fed up with Moscow’s insistence on standardising the Russian language across the region, they could join together to censor all Russian-language content from their national internets and thus limit their citizens’ exposure to Russia.

Ideology and religious morals are likely to be the strongest drivers of these collaborations. Imagine if a group of deeply conservative Sunni-majority countries – say, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria and Mauritania – formed an online alliance and decided to build a “Sunni web”. While technically this Sunni web would still be part of the larger internet, it would become the main source of information, news, history and activity for citizens living in these countries.

For years, the development and spread of the internet was highly determined by its English-only language standard, but the continued implementation of internationalised domain names (IDN), which allow people to use and access domain names written in non-Roman alphabet characters, is changing this. The creation of a Sunni web – indeed, all nationalised internets – becomes more likely if its users can access a version of the internet in their own language and script.

Within the Sunni web, the internet could be sharia-complicit: e-commerce and e-banking would look different, since no one would be allowed to charge interest; religious police might monitor online speech, working together with domestic law enforcement to report violations; websites with gay or lesbian content would be uniformly blocked; women’s movements online might somehow be curtailed; and ethnic and religious minority groups might find themselves closely monitored, restricted or even excluded. …

There will be some instances where autocratic and democratic nations edit the web together. Such a collaboration will typically happen when a weaker democracy is in a neighbourhood of stronger autocratic states that coerce it to make the same geopolitical compromises online that it makes in the physical world.

For example, Mongolia is a young democracy with an open internet, sandwiched between Russia and China – two large countries with their own unique and restrictive internet policies. … Seeking to please its neighbours [and so] preserve its own physical and virtual sovereignty, Mongolia might find it necessary to abide by a Chinese or Russian mandate and filter internet content associated with hot-button issues.

What started as the world wide web will begin to look more like the world itself, full of internal divisions and divergent interests.

And full of tyranny.

Some form of visa requirement will emerge on the internet. … Citizen engagement, international business operations and investigative reporting will all be seriously affected. …

Under conditions like these, the world will see its first Internet asylum seeker. A dissident who can’t live freely under an autocratic Internet and is refused access to other states’ Internets will choose to seek physical asylum in another country to gain virtual freedom on its Internet. … Virtual asylum will not work, however, if the ultimate escalation occurs: the creation of an alternative domain name system (DNS), or even aggressive and ubiquitous tampering with it to advance state interests.

Today, the internet as we know it uses the DNS to match computers and devices to relevant data sources, translating IP addresses (numbers) into readable names, with .edu, .com, .net suffixes, and vice versa. No government has yet achieved an alternative system, but if one succeeded in doing so, it would effectively unplug its population from the global internet and instead offer only a closed, national intranet. In technical terms, this would entail creating a censored gateway between a given country and the rest of the world, so that a human proxy could facilitate external data transmissions when absolutely necessary – for matters involving state resources, for instance.

It’s the most extreme version of what technologists call a walled garden. On the internet, a walled garden refers to a browsing environment that controls a user’s access to information and services online. … For the full effect of disconnection, the government would also instruct the routers to fail to advertise the IP addresses of websites – unlike DNS names, IP addresses are immutably tied to the sites themselves – which would have the effect of putting those websites on a very distant island, utterly unreachable. Whatever content existed on this national network would circulate only internally, trapped like a cluster of bubbles in a computer screen saver, and any attempts to reach users on this network from the outside would meet a hard stop. With the flip of a switch, an entire country would simply disappear from the internet.

This is not as crazy as it sounds. It was first reported in 2011 that the Iranian government’s plan to build a “halal internet” was under way, and the regime’s December 2012 launch of Mehr, its own version of YouTube with “government-approved videos”, demonstrated that it was serious about the project. Details of the plan remained hazy but, according to Iranian government officials, in the first phase the national “clean” internet would exist in tandem with the global internet for Iranians (heavily censored as it is), then it would come to replace the global internet altogether. The government and affiliated institutions would provide the content for the national intranet, either gathering it from the global web and scrubbing it, or creating it manually. All activity on the network would be closely monitored. Iran’s head of economic affairs told the country’s state-run news agency that they hoped their halal internet would come to replace the web in other Muslim countries, too – at least those with Farsi speakers. Pakistan has pledged to build something similar. …

How exactly the state intends to proceed with this project is unclear both technically and politically. How would it avoid enraging the sizable chunk of its population that has access to the internet? Some believe it would be impossible to fully disconnect Iran from the global internet because of its broad economic reliance on external connections. Others speculate that, if it wasn’t able to build an alternative root system, Iran could pioneer a dual-internet model that other repressive states would want to follow. Whichever route Iran chooses, if it is successful in this endeavour, its halal internet would surpass the “great firewall of China” as the single most extreme version of information censorship in history. It would change the internet as we know it.

As the Guardian puts it (not necessarily implying disapproval): the net is closing in.

The last zone of freedom closing? 6

To “save” us from “corporations” that cannot be trusted not to interfere with our Internet uses, the power-grabbing, control fanatics of the Obama government are ready to come to our rescue.

Only, how much less do we trust government – any government, but especially this one – to safeguard our freedom?

This is from the Heritage Foundation:

The policy the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] is trying to enact is known as “net neutrality,” an unfortunately vague code word for government regulation of the Internet. Supporters of net neutrality will tell you the regulation is necessary to keep the Internet “free and open” and to prevent corporations from “throttling” network speeds, making it faster to download some things, slower to download others. And, in this doomsday, apocalyptic, dystopian future, only the FCC can save the day with more and more government regulations. …

The  reality is much different. FCC commissioner Robert McDowell, who opposes the net neutrality policy, explains that the policy isn’t needed, and regulation by the FCC can lead to even greater problems, such as rival Internet providers attacking each other in hopes of getting them regulated:

Everybody wants an open Internet that enhances freedom, but that’s what we have today. We already have enough consumer protection laws on the books to cure many of the hypothesized fears (that some see). The goal should be to make the market more competitive.

All we are going to do with this FCC decision is clog up the courts and increase billable hours for lawyers; litigation will supplant innovation. …

The net result [of net neutrality]— a slower and more congested Internet, and more frustration for users. Even worse, investment in expanding the Internet will be chilled, as FCC control of network management makes investment less inviting. The amounts at stake aren’t trivial, with tens of billions invested each year in Internet expansion. ,,,

The FCC doesn’t even have the legal authority to enact these regulations. Like any federal agency, the FCC can only issue regulations if Congress delegates it the power to do so. Though the FCC has the power to regulate telecommunications, it hasn’t been granted the power to regulate the Internet. Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC’s attempt to regulate the Internet was outside the scope of its authority. That didn’t stop the FCC, though. It went ahead and issued new regulations anyhow.

That regulatory overreach is unfortunately all too common in the Obama administration. From the FTC [Federal trade Commission] to the FCC, the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] to HHS [Department of Health and Human Services], an alphabet soup of agencies are issuing a spiderweb of regulations touching all corners of American life. The food we eat, the cars we drive, and now the Internet we surf are all subject to regulations by unelected bureaucrats.

The Internet is one of the Obama administrative state’s next targets.

Congress, thankfully, has taken note – this time. But Americans must take note, too, and heed their president’s promise. What he can’t do by law, he will do by regulation. And once enacted under the cover of night, such regulations are not easy to untangle.

Congress saving us? Not according to Julie Borowski, writing at FreedomWorks:

Two pieces of dangerous legislation are currently being debated in Congress that could forever change the Internet: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). The proponents of these harmful bills claim that it is necessary to stop online piracy, the illegal sale and/or distribution of copyrighted and trademarked products on the Internet.

Regardless of how well-intentioned the pieces of legislation may be or one’s perspective on intellectual property laws, SOPA and the Protect IP Act would severely cripple free speech and stifle innovation online.

The Internet is a prime example of what Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek called spontaneous order. One single institution does not control the Internet. This is primarily what makes the Internet so great. Billions of individuals all over the world are free to spread unrestricted information on the Internet. I actually became a libertarian largely because I was exposed to ideas that I never heard before on the free Internet. Can you imagine how terrible the Internet would be if it was centrally planned by the government? A centralized institution cannot possibly know or satisfy the unique wants of billions of individuals across the globe.

Despite the lack of centralized control, the Internet exhibits a high degree of order. As the Taoist Chuang-tzu said, “good order results spontaneously when things are let alone”. Self-policing has worked to a certain degree to keep harmful content off the Internet. As it currently stands, there are no government mandates requiring search engines to remove information. Many websites already voluntarily remove information deemed inappropriate. For instance, Google routinely screens out child pornography from its search results. Facebook and Twitter encourages users to flag malicious content that violates their terms of service. While self-regulation may not be perfect, it is much preferable to government regulation.

The House version SOPA and Senate version PIPA would grant the federal government unprecedented control over the Internet. Both bills would give the federal government the power to shut down literally millions of websites. SOPA, the most dangerous version of the two, contains vague language permitting the government to shut down any website that is found to “engage in, enable or facilitate” copyright infringement. Senior Fellow at New America Foundation Rebecca MacKinnon writes in the New York Times,

The bills would empower the attorney general to create a blacklist of sites to be blocked by Internet service providers, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks, all without a court hearing or a trial. The House version goes further, allowing private companies to sue service providers for even briefly and unknowingly hosting content that infringes on copyright – a sharp change from current law, which protects the service providers from civil liability if they remove the problematic content immediately upon notification. …

SOPA and PIPA threatens our free speech. These bills forcibly require search engines and other third parties to remove links to rogue websites. This is a clear violation of our constitutional right to free speech as well as a burdensome regulation that will destroy jobs. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and all search engines would likely have to hire countless new employees to ensure that no copyright infringing content is posted to prevent their websites from getting shut down by the government.

Social networking sites would surely prefer to spend money on growing their websites rather than complying with costly government rules. David Carr of the New York Times even writes that the bills would “probably not” stop online piracy. He further states that, “even if it made some progress toward reining in rogue sites, the collateral damage would be significant”. These proposed online piracy laws would have disastrous economic consequences while failing to fix the problems that they were supposedly intended to solve.

SOPA and PIPA would undermine the free flow of information on the Internet. This could be a dangerous slippery slope in which the federal government seeks more and more control over the Internet. The Egyptian and Chinese governments have actually shut down citizen access to the Internet over the past few years. Every authoritarian government ultimately desires to have complete control of information and communication technologies.

Twenty-seven Republican lawmakers who strongly opposed net neutrality are strangely cosponsors of SOPA in the House or PIPA in the Senate.

Yet, the proposed online piracy laws are equally as bad or perhaps even worse than net neutrality. SOPA and PIPA would disrupt the growth of technology and infringe on free speech. Any individual interested in preserving the freedom of the Internet should not support either version of this dangerous bill.

And this is from Canada Free Press, by Dr. Brad Lyles, commenting on the Obama administration’s proposals that will put an end to Internet freedom. He too does not agree that “Congress has taken note” and will save us “this time”:

This week one of two Republican FCC Commissioners leaked the new “Net Neutrality” Commandments that will become policy/law by March. At the same time the FEC [Federal Election Commission] is mulling increased regulation of the Internet to prevent “politicking” in that medium. The new information about the inevitable FCC and FEC rulings is demoralizing, deflating. It seems the deathblow to those few freedoms remaining to us. It is difficult to find hope. Government appropriation of the Internet is the last domino falling.

He is very pessimistic – even more than we often are:

All this occurs despite the majority of Americans self-identifying as Conservatives or as adherents to core Conservative principles. Despite our superior numbers we Conservatives nonetheless march toward a battle of total annihilation. It seems we are to be undone completely.

We are beyond the tipping point. Liberalism’s relentless brinksmanship and incrementalism, paired with its successful use of the “doubling effect” bring us now to the exponential growth phase of the Leviathan. Every day assaults us with news of more defeats, more freedoms lost. And every defeat is exponential in its effect, each one a hole in the dike portending our obliteration.

It is remarkable we have survived so long. Perhaps this fact alone rekindles hope.

Can one President save us? Not bloody likely. Could a Ronald Reagan save us? Not likely either. It’s almost as if we’re beyond saving, that we’ve finally arrived at the point where neither words nor actions matter … Like ill-fated protagonists in a Greek Tragedy, [we’re] doomed no matter what we do.

Our foes marshal larger forces each day, committing more and more atrocities each day. How can we be saved after we are already dead? How can we save our Country after it has already been destroyed?

An atheist threatens world peace 13

What a gift to Muslim organizations in America which like to pretend that Muslims are victims of “Islamopobia”: three young Muslims shot dead by a thug of a neighbor in dispute with them over a parking space!

To spice up the claim that the vicious killing was a “hate crime”, the thug is reported to be an atheist. Now watch out for politicians, media, and the loudmouths of various religions claiming that atheists are murderous radicals, as bad and dangerous as ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram. 

Reuters reports:

A gunman who had posted anti-religious messages on Facebook and quarreled with neighbors was charged with killing three young Muslims in what police said on Wednesday was a dispute over parking and possibly a hate crime.

Notice that the very first piece of information Reuter supplies is that he “posted anti-religious messages on Facebook” – even though they have also to report a little later that that has nothing to do with the crime.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, a full-time paralegal student from Chapel Hill, was charged with first-degree murder in Tuesday’s shootings around 5 p.m. two miles from the University of North Carolina campus.

The victims were newlyweds Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, a University of North Carolina dental student, and his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and Yusor’s sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

The suspect, in handcuffs and orange jail garb, appeared briefly on Wednesday before a Durham County judge who ordered him held without bail pending a March 4 probable cause hearing.

Police said a preliminary investigation showed the motive to be a parking dispute. They said Hicks, who has no criminal history in Chapel Hill, turned himself in and was cooperating.

But for Islamic propagandists that wouldn’t do at all. At last they have an incident that, properly spun, will prove what they’ve been saying for years – America is cruelly “Islamophobic”.

The killings drew international condemnation. The shooting sparked the hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter on social media with many posters assailing what they called a lack of news coverage.

Muslim activists demanded authorities investigate a possible motive of religious hatred.

And at once the police did their dhimmi duty:

“We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case,” Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said in a statement.

So far, the leads seem to point another way:

The killings occurred in a condominium complex in a wooded area filled with two-story buildings. Neighbors said parking spaces were often a point of contention.

“I have seen and heard (Hicks) be very unfriendly to a lot of people in this community,” said Samantha Maness, 25, a community college student. But she said she had never seen him show animosity along religious lines.

But there are those Facebook entries for the “hate-crime” advocates to pin their hopes on.

On Facebook, Hicks’ profile picture reads “Atheists for Equality” and he frequently posted quotes critical of religion. On Jan. 20 he posted a photo of a .38-caliber revolver that he said was loaded and belonged to him.

Hicks’ wife, Karen Hicks, told reporters at a news conference that her husband had been locked in a longstanding dispute over parking and the killings had nothing to do with religion. She said Hicks was not hateful and believed “everyone is equal”.

Nevertheless, the sad event must be milked for all the propaganda value it can yield:

Barakat’s family urged the shooting be investigated as a hate crime and said the three were killed with shots to the head.

And at a candlelight vigil held for the dead at UNC, attended by “hundreds of people” –

University and city leaders urged inclusiveness during a time of unease, while a brother of one of the victims called for nonviolence.

The implication being that violence could break out at any moment: whether against Muslims or against non-Muslims, we do not learn from the report.

The prosecution, it seems, will stick to its findings:

The incident appeared to be isolated and not part of a targeted campaign against North Carolina Muslims, Ripley Rand, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, told a news conference with local police officials. …

And the Islamic propagandists will stick to their wishes:

Groups including the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the local Raleigh-based Muslims for Social Justice called for a federal investigation into possible hate crimes.

“I hope this terrible tragedy will be a turning point that brings the reality home that if we keep demonizing Muslims and equating their religion to terrorism, it will lead to more attacks,” said Manzoor Cheema, co-founder of Muslims for Social Justice.

It’s bad enough that three young people have been killed, but not bad enough for Reuters. They present the victims as extra good - while also keeping the idea of political-religious martyrdom before their readers:

“Today, we are crying tears of unimaginable pain over the execution-style murders,” Barakat’s older sister Suzanne told reporters.

She said her brother was light-hearted and loved basketball.

And:

All were involved in humanitarian aid programs.

And:

Barakat, an American citizen of Syrian origin, wrote in his last Facebook post about providing free dental supplies and food to homeless people in downtown Durham. He was raising funds for a trip to Turkey with 10 other dentists to provide free fillings, root canals and oral hygiene instruction to Syrian refugee children.

His sister-in-law, Abu-Salha, a sophomore at nearby North Carolina State University, was involved in making multimedia art to spread positive messages about being Muslim American.

Students at UNC said the three friends came from two of the most prominent Muslim families in the Raleigh area.

“Deah was a very proud Muslim American. He was proud of all his identities,” said Sofia Dard, a 21-year-old senior psychology major. She said Muslims were used to occasional harassment in post-9/11 America, but the shooting “adds a whole level of seriousness”.

 

Postscript: We may soon be in need of a word that suggests a psychopathic hatred of atheists that is permanently lodged in the minds of non-atheists. Suggestions are invited.  

Post-Postscript: Turns out the murderer is a Leftie. Quoting Powerline:

You can see the liberal media’s problem. Craig Hicks is, politically, a member of their team – a garden variety, cookie cutter, Obama-voting, conservative-hating liberal. His Facebook page looks like most reporters’ would, if they didn’t have to worry about appearances. So, much as they might want to publicize a hate crime against Muslims – Islamophobia at last! – can they possibly admit that a dyed in the wool liberal like Hicks can be guilty of an anti-Muslim hate crime? I think that would be too much cognitive dissonance. My guess is that the Chapel Hill murders will fade away as a local news story arising out of a dispute over a parking space.

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