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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Kinder Side of Blackbeard


Edward Teach Commonly Call'd Black Beard (bw).jpg

I have always liked the books and short stories detailing the adventures of Captain Blood, a creation from the fertile mind of Rafael Sabatini (there was one novel, and various short stories that were collected into additional books). Captain Blood was a gentleman trained as a doctor that leaves England for adventure, serving as a mercenary, who then decides to return to a quiet life as a practicing physician. However, the novel begins with the intervention of fate, which eventually lands him in the Caribbean as a slave. He and some compatriots escape, and he takes up the life of piracy--yet still a gentleman and talented doctor.

Many of the exploits described in the novel were obviously taken from the life of Henry Morgan. Blood was even portrayed as a Welshman, just as Morgan was. But perhaps the doctor portion was based on another famous pirate: Edward Teach (aka "Blackbeard").

The Daily Mail reports on the recovery of a substantial number of medical artifacts from Teach's ship, the Queen Ann's Revenge. From the article:
The wreckage of the Queen Anne's Revenge was discovered in 1996 on a sandbar in Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina, where Blackbeard, also known as Edward Teach, ran it aground in 1718. 
Since then archaeologists working on the Queen Anne's Revenge project have recovered cannons, glass beads, coins, pottery and gold dust from the remains of the vessel that have provided a glimpse of the pirates' lifestyle. 
But among the wreckage they have also found a number of items that would have been used for medical care, including a syringe, a blood porringer, an apothecary's weight set, along with a mortar and pestle. 
Archaeologists who have been studying the artifacts say that they suggest Blackbeard made great efforts to keep his crew healthy. 
It is a image that contrasts greatly with the pirate captain's ruthless and ferocious reputation. 
The English pirate had a fearsome appearance, tying his thick black beard into pigtails, stringing weapons from slings around his shoulders and sticking lighted matches under his hat when he went into battle. 
He also had a reputation for marooning members of his crew and enforcing strict discipline on board his ships.  
Linda Carnes-McNaughton, an archaeologist with the Department of the Army at the Directorate of Public Works in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, said: 'Treating the sick and injured of a sea-bound community on shipboard was challenging in the best of times.
'Chronic and periodic illnesses, wounds, amputations, toothaches, burns and other indescribable maladies of the crew, captain, and enslaved cargo had to be treated.'
 
She added that maintaining his crew's health was so important to Blackbeard that when he turned the captured French slaver ship La Concorde into the Queen Anne's Revenge, he released most of the original crew but forced the three ship's surgeons to stay. 
... there is also evidence from records at the time that Blackbeard would trade hostages for medical supplies. 
in 1718, for example, he blockaded the port of Charleston, South Carolina, capturing the ships that tried to enter. 
While parleying with the governor of South Carolina, Blackbeard demanded a chest of medicine or he would murder all their prisoners. The governor complied an the prisoners were released.

Astronomy News

The asteroid 2004 BL86 which passed so close to Earth last night apparently has its own moon. Unfortunately, because of persistent fog, I did not get to see it.

Also, astronomers have discovered a star surrounded by a system of rings. "Astronomers discovered more than 30 rings eclipsing the very young sun-like star J1407, each of them tens of millions of miles in diameter." Gaps in the rings suggest that moons or planetoids have formed.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Strategic Failure of Cultural Marxism

Whatever else he is, Obama is a cultural Marxist. As such, he is under the dangerous delusion that everyone else thinks and believes like him--especially rulers of other states and powers. So it was interesting to see two articles discussing the dangers of this delusion. The first--"Know Thy Enemy"--doesn't reference Obama specifically, but notes the general problem and, by reference to the Battle of Salamis, where a combined fleet of Greek vessels defeated the much larger Persian fleet. The key part, though:
Good strategy requires a sound understanding of one’s rivals. A rival in any walk of life is, in a sense, an interlocutor. To engage him effectively in debate one must understand his speech and reasoning patterns. Without that knowledge, conversation is at best pointless, at worst self-defeating. So it is in strategy. It is futile to engage in competition with a rival power without having at least an inkling about his thoughts, fears, and desires. 
The modern Western penchant for trusting in the equal rationality of all suggests otherwise. According to this conceit, there is no reason to plumb the nature of an enemy’s thinking because it is no different in essence from one’s own. But this is wrong. A rival’s response to one’s strategy is not predictable as a simply rational and universal reaction that can be generalized and grasped with relative ease. Rival states or groups respond to similar actions in different ways based on their culture, worldview, history, and the proclivities of their leaders. Good strategy, as Bernard Brodie once put it, “presupposes good anthropology and good sociology.”
It is this very capacity which the multicultural elite lack. Sure, they may understand domestic political rivals, but do they understand the motives of our geo-political rivals or foes? In his article, "The Dangers of Obama’s Cognitive Dissonance," Bruce Thornton argues that they--at least Obama--do not. He writes:
It is the contradiction between fact and fiction, evident in every line of the president’s speech, that typifies progressives in general. This cognitive dissonance may simply be nothing more than the grubby machinations of those who will say and do anything for political power and the wealth and influence it brings. In other words, they know they are hypocrites. But it also could be something more dangerous than a venal character and moral corruption. One gets the feeling that many progressives actually believe what they say, that they are reciting the mantras of their ideological cult, no matter how contrary to reality or their own actions. What’s more important is that whatever the source, this failure to acknowledge reality, to think critically, and to respect intellectual coherence is dangerous to all of us, especially in the many foreign policy crises that have mushroomed on Obama’s watch. 
And the worst crisis we face is the relentless progress Iran is making toward creating nuclear weapons, a development that would set off an arms race in the Middle East and destabilize an already chaotic region. The Islamic Republic has already extended its malign influence into Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, creating a Shi’a crescent that threatens our allies in the region, especially Israel, Jordon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. If a failed gangster-state like North Korea can demand so much international attention just because it possesses nuclear weapons, think what Iran––with 3 times the population and the world’s 3rd largest oil reserves––could do. Oil won’t stay cheap forever. 
But in the face of this threat, Obama has appeased the mullahs under the guise of diplomatic “engagement” and negotiations, the time-proven way to avoid action while pretending to do something. Indeed, so besotted is he by his faith in diplomacy that he has threatened to veto a Congressional bill that would strengthen his negotiating position by toughening economic sanctions, the best non-lethal shot we have for changing the Iranians’ behavior, given the current decline in their oil revenues. But what we see here is a problem that transcends any one president or Secretary of State, for it reflects the intellectual error and failure of imagination peculiar to modernity. 
The heart of this mistake is the belief that whatever their professed beliefs, all peoples everywhere are just like us and want the same things we want. Since our highest goods are peace and prosperity, we think other nations’ privilege the same things. If peoples behave differently, it’s because they are warped by poverty or bad governments or religious superstitions, and just need to be shown that they can achieve those boons in rational, peaceful ways, especially by adopting liberal democracy and free-market economies. Once they achieve freedom and start to enjoy the higher living standards economic development brings, they will see the error of their traditional ways and abandon aggression and violence, and resolve conflicts with the diplomacy and negotiation we prefer. 
The problem with this scenario is not that other peoples don’t want freedom and prosperity, or are incapable of achieving them. Rather, it is that they often have other goals more important than the ones we prize. Like religion, for example, or national honor, or revenge. We may think such motives are irrational avatars from an uncivilized past, but they are still drivers of action in individuals and nations alike. They may be, to quote Orwell on the Nazis, “ghosts” out of the premodern world, but they’re still “ghosts which need a strong magic to lay them.” 

Will Anyone Protest Over This?

The Daily Mail reports that three teenage "boys"--ages 17, 17, and 18--have been charged with beating and shooting dead a 14 year old girl in Kansas City. All suspects and the victims are black. No report of "I Can't Breath" or "Hands Up" or similar protests being held.

True Colors--Shutting Down Oil Production Version

Obama has been touting falling gasoline prices of evidence of his economic acumen, even though oil production on federal land has decreased during his presidency. In a sign that he is still cow-towing to his Saudi masters, Obama, it is reported, filmed an anti-oil drilling video recently while on Air Force One. The article indicates that is part of Obama’s proposal to ban roads, permanent structures, vehicles, drilling, and mining on 12.28 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge--site of one of the largest Arctic oil reserves.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Billionaire Complains of Americans' "Lavish" Lifestyle

Remember that these people are meeting at the World Economic Summit to plan and discuss how economies and countries should be managed. From the Daily Mail:
A U.S. billionaire who made his fortune betting against sub-prime mortgage securities has told Americans to lower their expectations so they have 'less things' in life. 
Jeff Greene made his remarks after flying into Switzerland on a private jet with his wife, children and two nannies. 
The real estate entrepreneur, who is worth around $3billion, said: 'America's lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. 
'We need to reinvent our whole system of life.' 
The 60-year-old founder of Florida-based Florida Sunshine Investments was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

#blackmediaprivilage

Today I want to examine an article by Priscilla Ward, entitled "I’m tired of suppressing myself to get along with white people." You might think this to have been written for the satirical web-site, the Onion, but you would be wrong. 

Anyway, Ward writes:
I met my new roommates on Craigslist. Two white, one Chinese. Together we represented Portland, Florida, China and (with me) D.C., and as we moved into our apartment in Bed-Stuy ["a cultural center for Brooklyn's African American population"] last fall, I was excited for the potential of cross-cultural exchange. 
We had a get-to-know you powwow on the rooftop. We talked about ourselves, what brought us to New York. It was a warm evening in September, a couple of weeks after Michael Brown was shot, and somewhere in the mix I brought up Ferguson, hoping to spark a “conscious conversation.” Then it happened. The nightmarish response. 
“What’s happening in Ferguson?” one of my white roommates asked. “I heard some kid got shot or something like that.” 
The words clamored in my ears. How could he not know? Weren’t his Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds flooded with opinions and hashtags? I’m sure he meant nothing by his statement. We’re all ill-informed from time to time. But as I stood there, awkwardly not saying a word — while hundreds of words ran through my head — it was a reminder of how much I would have to suppress in order to get along with my white male roommates in our tiny four-bedroom apartment. This place I would call my home for a year. 
... The brief conversation on the roof that hot September night lasted much longer in my head. I sent myself into a 200-year-old tizzy, reckoning with outdated ideas on race, tampering with prejudice and stereotypes. I became enslaved by my emotions.
The author goes on about her rage (her choice of words, not mine) that her white roommates (she never mentions the Chinese roommate again) just were not as upset about the Ferguson matter as was she.

I think the general term for someone like the author is "prima donna".

She discusses the shooting of Michael Brown as though she had some shared upbringing or experiences with him. I doubt she had anything, other than melanin, in common. From her own description:
... I’m a girl with a fro, raised in the place once known as “Chocolate City.” I grew up part of a black nuclear family, was home-schooled, then became part of of the mini-Historic Black College Experience at Temple University. After arriving in New York, I became an intern at Essence, a magazine so safe I likened my boss to an aunt. Those settings were as comfortable as my grandma’s cooking on any given Sunday.
Brown, on the other hand, grew up in a broken family, poor neighborhood, enjoyed vulgar rap music, used drugs, and was a bully. Although his family has claimed he did not have a criminal history, he robbed a tobacco shop only minutes before his death. News reports indicated that he had been accepted to college--a community or trade college, though, not Temple University.

Of course, it's not about Brown. It is all about Ward:
I longed to crawl back to my tiny black universe. A place where I could create a sense of peace, identity and acceptance, a place where I could sit there, trying to untangle my fro and make sense of what it means to be an African-American woman in this country, rehashing our history while facing present pain. ...
* * * 
But I want to stop tiptoeing around race. My blackness is not a secret I have to keep. I want to be able to publicly express my honest admiration for being black, outside of my little black planet. I don’t want to feel marginalized, like I can’t speak hard truths about myself. Having honest and challenging conversations with people of another race will hopefully disrupt other people’s ignorance. But it will also help me. I need to stop with my mental temper tantrums. I want to get free.
You would think that given the above, she would want to talk to her roommate, but, instead, she describes sidestepping the subject of her thoughts whenever the opportunity to discuss them came up. Apparently it was not enough that her roommate ask her about Brown or how a protest she attended went. No, he was somehow supposed to intuit from her reluctance to talk about the subject that she, in fact, wanted to discuss everything in detail, and, I suppose, for him to drop to his knees and beg her forgiveness for his being an inferior white man.

What really strikes me, though, is Ward's racism. Her article is all about how she is uncomfortable around Caucasians. She grew up in a black neighborhood, she went to the "mini-Historic Black College Experience at Temple University," she moves to a historically black neighborhood in Brooklyn. She complains of what she terms "the unintentional ignorance of white people." As for work, she writes: "I found my little black planet at work. I went over to my black boss and talked real low and real brief about how disturbing this all was. I grabbed one of my home girls I work with."

We get it, Priscilla. You're a bigot.

Update (1/22/2015): Glenn Reynold's comment on Ward's article: "YEAH, WELL, I’M TIRED OF SUPPRESSING MYSELF TO GET ALONG WITH STUPID PEOPLE."

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Obama Asks Congress to Hold Off on Iranian Sanctions

President Obama told lawmakers, including fellow Democrats, that he would veto a bill imposing new sanctions on Iran, saying there was “no good argument” for increasing penalties on Tehran right now. 
"There is no good argument for us to try to undercut, undermine the negotiations, until they've played themselves out," Obama said in a joint news conference Friday with British Prime Minister David Cameron at the White House. 
"I will veto a bill that comes to my desk," he added, urging Congress to "hold off" on such actions. 
Lawmakers are readying legislation that would place new economic penalties on Iran, as the Obama administration tries to finalize a deal to curtail the country’s nuclear program.
One of Obama's biggest weaknesses is his inability to communicate effectively. Does he have a valid reason for not wanting sanctions against Iran? We don't know. Maybe he thinks that Iran is needed to offset the growing power of ISIS, or balance out the power of the Arab Gulf states. But since he can't articulate this--probably because he thinks the American public too stupid to understand--he can't garner much support for his positions. Instead of talking to the American public as intelligent, educated adults, he spits out tired platitudes that only satisfy the low-information voter base on which he depends.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

European Jews Call for Gun Rights

One of Europe’s most prominent Jewish organizations is petitioning the European Union to pass new legislation that would permit Jewish community members to carry guns “for the essential protection of their communities,” according to a letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. 
The European Jewish Association (EJA), which represents Jewish communities across Europe, says that gun license laws must be altered following a string of deadly attacks on Jews in France and other European countries, where anti-Semitism has been growing at an alarming rate. 
The recent attacks, including one on a Kosher market that killed four, “have revealed the urgent need to stop talking and start acting” in a way that empowers Europe’s Jews, according to a letter sent Tuesday by EJA General Director Rabbi Menachem Margolin to EU leaders. 
The EU, which has enacted very stringent gun control laws, should empower and train Jews to be proficient with guns in order to maintain their safety, according to Margolin.
--The Washington Free Beacon.

Someone finally learned something from the Holocaust. Unfortunately, they don't have an Esther to plead their cause before the EU.

It's Not Really Islam!--Anti-Terror Raid in Belgium and Pakistani Muslims Demand Cartoonists Be Hung

We hear that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam or its tenants. Of course, it is self-evident:
Belgian police tonight shot dead two suspected Islamic State jihadists believed to have returned to Europe to carry out terrorist atrocities. 
Shots and explosions were heard, including machine gun fire, as officers moved against an alleged cell in the eastern town of Verviers, which is some 70 miles from Brussels. 
Officials said the targets were a jihadist cell who had recently returned from Syria with orders to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe. 
--The Daily Mail 

Pakistani Muslims today called for the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists to be hanged for drawing the Prophet Mohammed on its latest front cover. 
As worldwide protests continued for a second day, nearly 300 people from a religious group rallied in the eastern city of Lahore, carrying placards saying 'Down with Charlie Hebdo'. 
One banner read: 'Making blasphemy cartoon of the Prophet is the worst act of terrorism. The sketch-makers must be hanged immediately.' 
--The Daily Mail 




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why Only Police Should Have Guns--Cop Shoots His Finger Off

The Daily Mail reports that a Kentucky police officer shot his finger off, after being handed a loaded gun at a gun store, cocking the trigger, and pulling it. (Video at the link).

You will notice that the officer did not check to see whether the firearm was loaded, did not maintain muzzle control or treat the gun as loaded (one of the basic rules of firearms safety), and actually worked the action that led to a round being chambered. That the slide didn't lock back on an empty magazine should have warned him....

Project Blue Book Materials Available Online

At The Black Vault.

Liberals Change Their Tune

More and more Democrats, including Obama, are trying to take credit for falling oil prices. However, we should never forget that the Democrats, mostly, were the group most hotly opposing new oil developments. In fact, they proclaimed increased drilling as foolhardy:
Back when gas topped $4 a gallon, Republicans chanted "drill, baby, drill" at rallies across the country -- arguing more domestic drilling would increase supplies, reduce dependence on foreign oil and boost the U.S. economy.  
Democrats, almost universally, mocked the GOP plan. In 2012, President Obama called it "a slogan, a gimmick, and a bumper sticker ... not a strategy."  
"They were waving their three-point plans for $2-a-gallon gas," Obama told a laughing audience during an energy speech in Washington. "You remember that? Drill, baby, drill. We were going through all that. And none of it was really going to do anything to solve the problem."  
"'Drill, baby, drill' won't lower gas prices today or tomorrow," Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., echoed on the floor of Congress in 2012. "But it will fuel our addiction to fossil fuel."  
Today, Democrats are singing a different tune, as increased domestic drilling has led to a record supply of domestic crude, put some $100 billion into the pockets of U.S. consumers and sent world oil prices tumbling.  
The price of a gallon of regular gasoline on Monday was $2.13 nationwide, and below $2 in 18 states.  
"Of course [Obama] was wrong. We've seen oil prices fall internationally now by half since last June," said American Enterprise Institute economist Ben Zycher. "The U.S. is now the biggest oil and gas producer in the world, or almost that, and the effect has been to drive prices down as we've seen."  
Most of the domestic increase is due to "fracking" for tight oil in shale deposits across the U.S., as well as advances in directional drilling, where numerous pipelines diverge from a single platform in numerous directions, for a large cost savings.  
But the gains, according to oil experts, come off private, not federal, lands.  
Oil production on federal lands -- those under the president's control -- fell 6 percent since 2009, according to the federal Energy Information Administration, while production on private lands increased 61 percent. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Leap Forward in Aluminum Production

The Silicon Graybeard notes:
Aluminum giant Alcoa has announced a new way of producing aluminum sheet, called a Micromill.  The eye opener is that they claim that the process time from when they melt the alloy constituents until the sheet is done has been reduced from 20 days to 20 minutes.   Along the way, they get improvements in the sheet's characteristics: it's got 40% greater formability, and is 30% stronger.
(Underline added). Wow!

The Prohibition on Depicting Mohammad is Relatively Recent

Source: A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

In his paper entitled "From the Literal to the Spiritual: The Development of the Prophet Muhammad's Portrayal from 13th Century Ilkhanid Miniatures to 17th Century Ottoman Art," Wijdan Ali observes that although the majority of Muslims today hold that depictions of Mohammad are taboo, "there were many illustrations of [Mohammad] in early Mongol manuscripts from the Ilkhanid Dynasty down to the Ottoman period" in the 17th Century. His paper includes several examples.

H/t Diogenes' Middle Finger.

"Who Speaks for Islam?"

Roger Kimball observes that we are repeatedly told that Islamic terrorists do not speak for Islam, so he posses the question: who, then, speaks for Islam?

We were told that the 9/11 terrorists, though Muslim, did not speak for Islam. OK, maybe they didn’t.  But how about the London subway bombers? They claimed to be murdering people in the name of Allah or Mohammed. But maybe they were wrong. Maybe they read the wrong parts of the Koran or Hadith, or interpreted those eyebrow-raising passages too literally or something. Maybe.
 
Yet here’s my puzzlement. Let’s agree, for the sake of the discussion, that the 9/11 bombers did not speak for Islam. Ditto the London murders. Indeed, let’s say that neither the Boston marathon bombers nor the people who murdered a total of 16 people in Paris last week (the 12 at Charlie Hebdo and four at the kosher market), let’s say that they did not speak for Islam either. Like Major Hasan, who murdered 13 people at Ft Hood in 2009 while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” they were just “lone extremists” who carry out murder and mayhem while shouting “Allahu Akbar.” But that has nothing to do with Islam. OK. Got it. 
But here’s my question: Who does speak for Islam? We are assured that it’s not the group that now calls itself Islamic State, but which, following Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, I am considering calling Daesh, a name they apparently dislike. Anyway, we know that they don’t speak for Islam because our political leaders and our media have told us so. It’s the same with Boko Haram, the Nigerian Muslim group.  This morning, quoting the Australian journalist Andrew Bolt, I noted that they had kidnapped and sold into sex slavery 300 Nigerian school girls. That was before I saw the story that Boko Haram had just invaded another town killing as many as 2000. Boko Haram appears to believe that they represent Islamic teaching, but no: our leaders have assured us that that is not the case. Ditto about Syria: this summer an adulteress or two were stoned to death, but that, of course, was the work not of Islam but of “extremists,” if not quite “lone extremists.” 
So who, according to the establishment gospel, does speak for Islam? The Ayatollah Khomeni was the spiritual leader of Iran, a great Shia Muslim country. Did he speak for Islam?  He didn’t like a novel by Salman Rushdie and told his followers to kill him for insulting Islam. Did the ayatollah speak for Islam? 
Two days ago, Raif Badawi, a 30-year-old Saudi blogger, was given 50 lashes by the Saudi authorities for the crime of “insulting Islam.” It was the first installment of 1000 lashes, scheduled to be administered with 50 lashes a session for 20 weeks. No one expects him to last that long, for the order specifies that he is to be “lashed very severely” and be denied medical care. 
Saudi Arabia is a great Sunni Muslim nation, our “friend” and “ally.” Do they speak for Islam?
John Hinderaker would say, yes, that Saudi's are Muslim, and their practices reflect their religious beliefs.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Photos from This Year's Harbin Ice and Snow Festival


The 31st Harbin International Ice and Snow festival held in Harbin, near the Russian border in northeast China

Beautiful. More pictures at the Daily Mail.

Moderate Muslims Are A Myth

Brendan O'Neill does a good job of tearing down the myth of Islamophobia. Noting that the first reaction among the liberal elite after a terrorist attack is to worry about a "backlash" against Muslims, O'Neill observes:
It’s not surprising that there is such a gaping chasm between liberals’ hand-wringing over a potential violent and sweeping Islamophobic backlash and what is actually happening in France and elsewhere. Because the idea of Islamophobia has always been informed more by the swirling fantasies and panics of the political and media elites than by any real, measurable levels of hate or violence against Muslims. ... But fears about widespread anti-Muslim violence, about the spread of toxic Islamophobic hate through the streets and in workplaces, are unfounded, because their driving force is the anti-natives, anti-pleb prejudices of the elites rather than any hard evidence of extreme hostility to Muslims. 
Liberals’ angst about violent anti-Muslim uprisings always proves to be empty. So after the 7/7 Tube and bus attacks in London, there were wide and wild warnings of a violent backlash against the Muslims of Britain. Journalists predicted bloodshed. National Health Service workers were encouraged to keep their eyes peeled — ie. spy — for any signs of anti-Muslim agitation among their patients. But there was no spike in anti-Muslim crimes. According to Crown Prosecution Service crime figures for 2005–06, covering the months after 7/7, only 43 religiously aggravated crimes were prosecuted in that period, and only 18 of those crimes were against Muslims. “The fears of a [post-7/7] rise in offences appears to be unfounded,” the Director of Public Prosecutions later admitted. 
After the Boston Marathon bombings there were loads of media panic about the “ignorance and prejudice [that arise] in the aftermath of a terrorist attack” and concern that Muslims in America would get it in the neck. But Muslims have not been assaulted en masse by stupid Americans in recent years, including in the wake of 9/11. According to federal crime stats, in 2009 there were 107 anti-Muslim hate crimes; in 2010, there were 160. In a country of 330 million people, this is exceptionally low. After the Lindt cafĂ© siege in Sydney at the end of last year, there was once again heated fear on the pages of the broadsheets about dumb Aussies going crazy and attacking brown people. Nothing happened. No mob emerged. Muslims were not attacked. 
Islamophobia is a myth. Sure, some folks in Europe and elsewhere no doubt dislike Muslims, just as other losers hate the Irish or blacks or women. But the idea that there is a climate of Islamophobia, a culture of hot-headed, violent-minded hatred for Muslims that could be awoken and unleashed by the next terror attack, is an invention. 
Islamophobia is a code word for mainstream European elites’ fear of their own populations, of their native hordes, whom they imagine to be unenlightened, prejudiced, easily led by the tabloid media, and given to outbursts of spite and violence. The thing that keeps the Islamophobia panic alive is not actual violence against Muslims but the right-on politicos’ ill-founded yet deeply held view of ordinary Europeans, especially those of a working-class variety, as racist and stupid. This is the terrible irony of the Islamophobia panic: The fearers of anti-Muslim violence claim to be challenging prejudice but actually they reveal their own prejudices, their distrust of and disdain for those who come from the other side of the tracks, read different newspapers, hold different beliefs, live different lives. They accuse stupid white communities of viewing Muslims as an indistinguishable mob who threaten the fabric of European society, which is exactly what they think of stupid white communities.
Or, as Obama characterizes Americans in "fly-over" country--bitter clingers to their guns and religion.

But there is more than just a bigotry against the "great, uneducated and unwashed masses" (which haven't existed since the widespread adoption of public schooling, the spread of universities, and indoor plumbing; and now simply is short-hand for someone not educated at an Ivy League institution). Is also represents an extraordinary misunderstanding of the so-called "moderate Muslim".

Milo Yiannopoulos writes about how Islam is a tarnished brand:
I have dozens of friends who practice Islam. They are, of course, to a man, horrible bores on the subject of Palestine. Some of them wear “boycott Israeli goods” t-shirts, to which I turn a blind eye so as not to start a fight. But have any of them, in any of their supper rants, ever so much as addressed the question, unsolicited, of terrorism performed in the name of their faith? Have any of them shown up to lunch in a “not in my name” shirt? 
The answer, I’m afraid, is no. And it has also been only very recently that solemn processions of Muslim authors, celebrities, and “community leaders”–whatever that ridiculous phrase means–have passed through television studios to denounce the acts and beliefs of fundamentalists and, of course, to say that whatever crime has just occurred is “nothing to do with Islam.” 
I say this not because I get sadistic pleasure from squeezing awkward apologies for terrorist atrocities from innocent friends–but because the silence of Muslims until the last couple of years on the subject has been mystifyingly self-defeating: did imams, writers, and journalists not realise that by refusing to distance themselves strongly from such awful crimes, they open themselves up to suspicion? Did they not see what would happen? 
It sometimes feels as though it might be too late to save Islam’s reputation in the west. If that sounds like an alarmist or absurd thing to say, consider the facts. For decades, Muslim communities turned a blind eye to what was going on in their mosques and schools, with the result that thousands of young western boys have flown to Syria to join ISIS to commit barbaric acts in the name of Allah. 
They also failed to denounce terror where it happened, allowing hate-mongers to blur the distinctions between Islam and Islamism to such a degree that the subtleties are now lost on non-Muslims. Myself included, at times, if I am completely honest. Non-Muslims like us were left to conclude that they must, on some level, secretly sympathise with the acts of their radicalised cousins. Who could really blame us?
She goes on to discuss how Islam could redeem its reputation. However, I believe she starts from a false premise: that most Muslims--or at least those who would self-describe as "moderate"--do not sympathize with the extremists.

Watch the video clip below:


In this clip, CNN's Don Lemon interview a Muslim human rights lawyer, and editor of "The Islamic Monthly", Arsalan Iftikhar, about the attacks in Paris. The interview begins with the general banality about how much Muslims have contributed to the world, that the religion preaches peace, and it is unfair to paint all Muslims with actions of a few. When the Lemon asks if the problem is "radical Islam," Iftikhar says that it is improper to bring religion into it--that these (speaking of the terrorists) are irreligious criminals. Where the interview begins to be interesting is about the 3:30 mark. Lemon sets up a question about how 16% of French Muslims support ISIS, and asks Iftikhar whether those Muslims are extremists. Iftikhar then says that sympathy for the ideology does not equate to justification of the killings; then proceeds to point out all the "bad" things Christians did (mostly centuries ago). Lemon asks the question again, then makes it more pointed about whether Iftikhar supports ISIS. (About 4:45 into the video). A simple "yes" or "no" question, and Iftikhar instead responds that he had already answered the question: 16% supporting the ideology does not equate to supporting mass murder.

Iftikhar's answer is interesting. When asked point blank whether he supports ISIS, he does not deny that he supports ISIS. Earlier, he had described the terrorists as "irreligious"--that they didn't have the support of Muslims and it was a mistake to conflate their motives with the religion. However, after the ISIS question, he essentially acknowledged that these Mulims (and apparently himself) sympathize with the ideology, but don't support mass murder. That Iftikhar would not disclaim support for ISIS personally, and included himself among those he described as having sympathy for their ideology, seems to show where Iftikhar--described as a "moderate" Muslim--stands.

I suspect that what Iftikhar means through his dancing around the question is that, yes, a large number of Muslims sympathize with ISIS. They, themselves, would not dirty their hands by carrying out an actual mass murder, but they will secretly applaud those murders.


Friday, January 9, 2015

French President Ignores the Elephant in the Room

French President Francois Hollande decried "racism and anti-Semitism" in the wake of the deadly siege of a kosher grocery store in Paris in his televised address. 
The president also stressed that the actions of the hostage takers "have nothing to do with Islam."

NYT Won't Publish Cartoons Because It Doesn't Want to Offend Muslims

Many publications have reprinted the cartoons that Charlie Hebdo had published mocking Islam and Mohammad. Other media have refused to do so, including the New York Times. Their reason? Concern that they may offend their Muslim readers.

That concern doesn't extend to other faiths, however. Ed Driscoll notes that the Times hired the artist that produced the "Piss Christ" photo. I would point out that the Times has published not just one, but at least two reviews praising "The Book of Mormon" Broadway musical, without a care if the play is offensive to Mormons and their religion.

The Problem Is Islam

The Diplomad has some initial thoughts on the terrorist attack in Paris, including that we need look for farther than Islam for what motivated the attacks. He writes:
As I repeatedly have said, you can be a good person or you can be a good Muslim. The Venn diagram showing an overlap between those two categories does not exist except in the minds of apologist hacks, progressive idiots, and Hollywood--which is to say the same thing. It is with Islam as it is with Communism, Nazism, or KKKism, you can be an honorable and good person, or you can believe in that mind-rot.
He also points out:
France has to have a serious look at itself and decide what benefit derives to Gaul from having millions of hostile parasitic Muslims in its midst. In fact, all the West from Australia to the USA and Canada, and over to Scandinavia, UK, Holland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and Germany, must engage in the same exercise. 
The targetted satirical French magazine ... forgot one rule: progressives must not criticize Islam or treat Mohammed as they treat Jesus Christ or Moses. Here in America, we have no problem exhibiting the "Piss Christ," or ridiculing the Book of Mormon in plays and cartoons, but shun doing the same with the Koran and its psychotic prescriptions for life and death. Muslims, it turns out, love killing in progressive cities as we have seen in New York, Boston, Ottawa, Sidney, Paris, Madrid, London, etc. Progressives, still not having buried their dead, immediately blame themselves for not being sensitive enough to Islam, and begin to worry about preventing a backlash against the people and ideology killing them. Progressives are a very soft target--e.g., they don't believe in an armed citizenry. 
 We are being murdered by Islam, and the progressive insistence that we have to welcome millions of Islam's followers into our societies and that we have to accommodate them by changing our societies.
Read the whole thing.

          I am currently reading William S. Lind's book, On War, which is a collection of his articles and essays from 2004 to 2009. For those of you unfamiliar with Lind, he is one of the principle proponents of the theory of Fourth Generation warfare--a term that is subject to different interpretations by the people that use it, but used by Lind to describe warfare against and within states by non-state actors. Lind believes that Fourth Generation warfare will dominate the 21st Century because nation-states will face a crises of legitimacy, which will encourage non-state groups to challenge that legitimacy. The tactics of 4th Generation warfare are essentially that of the insurgent or guerrilla, and from what I've read, many writing on the subject simply use 4th Generation warfare as a shorthand for insurgency/counter-insurgency.

           The term "4th generation" comes from what Lind and others envision as stages in modern warfare (as opposed to ancient or primitive warfare). The 1st generation begins roughly at the end of the 30 years war (the Peace of Westphalia in 1648), is characterized by the state obtaining a monopoly on violence ("the Leviathan"), after which war was waged by and between states. This was warfare based on the movement of tight formations of men on a (relatively) ordered battlefield. However, as the order of the battlefield broke down, armies responded in one of two ways. Second generation warfare was one response--it is the warfare of firepower/attrition, where artillery dominates the battlefield, and decision making is centralized and hierarchical. The First World War is the archetype of 2nd generation warfare, but it is Lind's contention that many armed forces, including the United States', still rely on 2nd generation organizations and operations. Third generation warfare was maneuver warfare--the theory that underlie the German blitzkrieg--and requires mobility and pushing decision making down to individual units; speed replaces firepower as the critical tool.

         Lind then explains 4th generation warfare:
4th Generation war is the greatest change since the Peace of Westphalia, because it marks the end of the state's monopoly on war. Once again, as before 1648, many different entities, not states, are fighting war. They use many different means, including terrorism and immigration, not just formal armies. Differences between cultures, not just states, become paramount, and other culture will not fight the way we fight. All over the world, state militaries are fighting non-state opponents, and almost always, the state is losing. State militaries were designed to fight other state militaries like themselves, and against non-state enemies most of their equipment, tactics and training are useless or counterproductive.
These non-state entities' success will not giver rise to new states, but to what Lind refers to as centers of disorder.

          First world countries, including the United States, will not be immune from 4th Generation warfare. Lind writes:
In its ultimate form, [4th generation warfare] is not something we face over there, in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Nor is it an import, like 9/11. 4th Generation theory says that the state here, in the good old USA, is also likely to break apart as Americans too transfer their loyalty away from the state to a wide variety of other things. The conflicts among these new loyalties will, in many cases, be sharp enough to generate fighting.
In developed countries, Lind foresees criminal gangs becoming important components of 4th Generation warfare. But ultimately, it is the "immigration" aspect of 4th Generation warfare that will most affect developed nations. Lind writes:
Centers of disorder will be the growing number of failed states. Sources of disorder will certainly include Islam, thanks to the concept of jihad, even if some Islamic societies are ordered internally. Isolation, I write in TAC, "will mean minimizing contacts that involve flows of people, money, materials and new primary loyalties, such as religions [sic] ideologies, into the United States." First and foremost, that requires ending the current de facto policy of open immigration. In a 4th Generation world, open immigration is akin to leaving the castle gate open at night when the Huns are in the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, Lind sees isolation as being the single hardest strategy for the Establishment--the political and cultural elite--to accept. Likewise, the elite having nothing to offset the ideologies that will fight each other and the state. As he observes, "decent Western elites ... no longer believe in anything"--all they offer is "civil society," and "[u]nlike real belief, civil society is not worth fighting for, killing for or dying for."

          In a topic that I hope to revisit in the future, the United States is being overrun by illegal immigration from Latin America that will, in all likelihood, prove disastrous. But at least they share a common Christian heritage. Europe is being overrun by invading Muslims that refuse to acculturate. Lind writes:
[I]mmigrants who do not acculturate are a greater danger than an invading army. The army eventually goes home, while the immigrants stay, permanently changing the cultural landscape. With 500,000 illegal immigrants now entering Europe each year from North Africa, Islam's muftis in mufti are rapidly reversing the verdict of the Battle of Tours. Strategically, Islamic immigration is a far greater threat to Europe than al-Qaeda's terrorism.
I would contend that due to the failure to acculturate Muslim immigrants, France (and other European nations) have effectively imported or grown centers of disorder within their own borders. Rowan Scarborough wrote in yesterday's The Washington Times:
 A backdrop to the massacre in Paris on Wednesday by self-professed al Qaeda terrorists is that city officials have increasingly ceded control of heavily Muslim neighborhoods to Islamists, block by block. 
France has Europe’s largest population of Muslims, some of whom talk openly of ruling the country one day and casting aside Western legal systems for harsh, Islam-based Shariah law. 
“The situation is out of control, and it is not reversible,” said Soeren Kern, an analyst at the Gatestone Institute and author of annual reports on the “Islamization of France.” 
“Islam is a permanent part of France now. It is not going away,” Mr. Kern said. “I think the future looks very bleak. The problem is a lot of these younger-generation Muslims are not integrating into French society. Although they are French citizens, they don’t really have a future in French society. They feel very alienated from France. This is why radical Islam is so attractive because it gives them a sense of meaning in their life.” 
While not a complete safe-haven for al Qaeda-type operatives, Paris and other French cities have become more fertile places for Muslim extremists in the past decade. City leaders have allowed virtual Islamic mini-states to thrive as Muslims gain power to govern in their own way. 
“There are no-go areas not just in Paris, but all over France, where they are effectively in control,” said Robert Spencer, who directs JihadWatch.org, a nonprofit that monitors Muslim extremists. 
“They’re operating with impunity, apparently secure in the knowledge that authorities cannot or will not act decisively to stop them,” he said. “And with the universal denial and obfuscation of the clear motive for the Charlie Hebdo attack, they have good reason to think that.” 
The attackers who killed 12 people at the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo claimed to be members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen. Witnesses said they spoke perfect French, a strong indication that they are homegrown terrorists who received help from AQAP or another group. 
Mr. Kern said the connection between the attack and the Islamization movement is that French jihadis are becoming bolder in trying to stamp out any criticism of Islam. 
“What they are trying to do is shut down any sort of criticism of Islam, any sort of speech, cartoons, discussion, anything,” he said. “Essentially, the French government and the other European governments have lost control over the situation. It’s a snowball that is growing bigger and bigger, in particular over the past 10 years.”
* * *
“Who has the right to say that France in 30 or 40 years will not be a Muslim country? Who has the right in this country to deprive us of it?” said Marwan Muhammed, a spokesman for Collective Against Islamophobia in France.
Who indeed?

          Earlier this year, Harold Goldmeier reviewed a book entitled The French Intifada. Of it, he wrote:


"The French Intifada" is the most frightening non-fiction book I have ever read. 
Andrew Hussey builds a convincing case that jihadist Islamists seethe with ugly fury for impious Western civilization.  Ruthless violence is the tool of preferred choice to mete out revenge to their oppressors, and deconstruct Western society. 
Hussey concludes that their world, whether they are living in the banlieue, Paris slums, or rural villages in North Africa, is prepared for a long war with the West. The West either pathologically ignores this reality, or is to too arrogant to accept it. Citizen of the French Republic first, Muslim second, is what they naively expect. 
The hallmarks of French colonialism were cultural arrogance, avarice, and racism that inflamed Arab nationalism. Terror, brutality, and fear against colons and innocents became Islamist trademarks in rebellions across Morocco, Tunisia, and most gruesomely in Algeria. 
* * * 
The banlieues of Paris, Lyons, and Marseille are soldiers in the French intifada.  The nation “itself is still under attack from the angry and dispossessed heirs of the French colonial project.” 
Many of the 5 million living in France are first Muslims and citizens of the Republic second. To the French this is impossible. In their country ‘difference’ is sectarianism and a threat to the Republic. To many religious Muslims, civilization means acculturation and assimilation. Their memory keepers educate young Muslims about life under the yoke of colonialism, the massacres of Arabs by French military, and the glory for God in wins like the battle for Algiers. Current French army forays in Somalia and Mali are seen as attacks on Islamist God worshipers. The Muslims do not want reforms of French society, “They are looking for revenge,” writes Hussey. 
The French Intifada paints a picture of ruthless Arabs imbued with feral evil disposition for violence. Muslim ranks are swelling with converts from the West and Black Africa.  Novitiates often collaborate in the ferocious Fourth World War, as Hussey describes it.
The battlefield is without borders.  French soldiers milling around off duty, Jewish children in a Tolouse school, and visitors in the Brussels Jewish Museum, are legitimate targets for Islamist French citizens. ...
Of course, we needn't take the words of a European or American intellectual on what we are facing. In today's USA Today was an op-ed by Anjem Choudary, a Muslim cleric in London and lecturer on sharia. Choudary explains:
Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people's desires. 
Although Muslims may not agree about the idea of freedom of expression, even non-Muslims who espouse it say it comes with responsibilities. In an increasingly unstable and insecure world, the potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. 
Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, "Whoever insults a Prophet kill him." 
However, because the honor of the Prophet is something which all Muslims want to defend, many will take the law into their own hands, as we often see.
Choudary then goes on to call for anti-blasphemy laws to prohibit expression that he believes dishonors Mohammed.

          If we are to take Choudary at his word, then the attack on Charlie Hebdo is a challenge to France and the French people--will they stand up for their culture, or surrender it meekly. The EU and France, acting as a nation-state, will probably do nothing, being too heavily invested in multiculturalism (i.e., cultural Marxism, or the absence of culture). However, there are signs that the Europeans, including the French people, are less sanguine about their impending demise. If the the French state does not intervene to control the Muslim 4th generation warriors, it will lose its legitimacy: not only among the Muslim insurgents, but the French people. After all, the basic function of a state is to protect its citizens; and if it cannot do that, why have a state at all? The result is that there may be non-state groups that begin to step into the gap, and real violence--the type that leads to ethnic cleansing--may erupt.

          Let me add that after the attack--even into the following day--there were some that said it was not appropriate to blame Islam because we didn't know the motivation for the attacks. Well, read this account from a woman in the Charlie Hebdo offices:
A journalist has revealed how the terrorists who massacred her Charlie Hebdo colleagues spared her life - because she was a woman.  
Reporter Sigolene Vinson survived the brutal attack on the French satirical magazine, in which 12 people including six of her co-workers and two police officers were shot dead.
She told Radio France Internationale that one of the killers held a gun to her head, but decided against killing her too.
 
Miss Vinson said the one of the shooters told her: 'I'm not killing you because you are a woman and we don't kill women but you have to convert to Islam, read the Qu'ran and wear a veil.' 
She added that the men shouted 'Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar' as they fled the scene.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Orichalcum Found in 2,600 Year Old Shipwreck Off Coast of Sicily

The Daily Mail reports on the discovery of 39 ingots of Orichalcum found in a 2,600 year old shipwreck off the coast of Sicily. You may wonder what is the significance of the find. It is because orichalcum, a red alloy composed primarily of copper and tin, was associated with Atlantis in Plato's account, which describes buildings being coated with the material.

Islamic Terrorist Attack in Paris (Updated and Bumped)


Third Update (1/8/2015): Two of the suspects have fled into a forest, while heavily armed police engage in a manhunt. The Daily Mail reports:
Two armed suspects wanted over the Charlie Hebdo massacre are being pursued through woodland after a massive anti-terror dragnet closed in on a forest in northern France, it has been reported. 
The men, believed to be brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, have been tracked down to a remote area around 80km north-east of Paris after reportedly robbing a nearby petrol station earlier this morning. 
Officers are said to have found a Molotov cocktail bomb and jihadist flag in their car which they abandoned before fleeing on foot, still armed, into a vast forest measuring 32,000 acres, an area larger than Paris.  
Swarms of armed police in armoured personnel carriers have sealed off the nearby village of Abbaye de Longpont, which has just 300 residents, as they conduct house-to-house enquiries with terrified locals. 
* * * 
French anti-terrorism police and helicopters converged on the area after two men matching the description of the brothers raided a garage around 6km away in Villers-CotterĂȘt. 
The station attendant claimed the suspects drove off in a white Renault Clio with covered number plates in the direction of Paris with 'exposed Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers' inside the vehicle.   
Amid French media reports the men had abandoned their car, Bruno Fortier, the mayor of neighbouring Crepy-en-Valois, said helicopters were circling his town and police and anti-terrorism forces were deploying en masse. 
'It's an incessant waltz of police cars and trucks,' he told Reuters, adding that he could not confirm reports the men were holed up in a house in the area.  
The report goes on to give a significant amount of background on the shooters. The same story reported on another attack, resulting in the death of another French police officer:
In separate disturbing developments, terrified workers in Paris’s business district were warned not to leave their office after a gunman was seen outside – just hours after a female police officer was shot dead by a ‘North African wielding an assault rifle’.  
Workers in Paris's business district La Defense received an email this morning, warning them to stay in their offices as an armed gunman had been spotted in the area, French newspaper Le Figaro reported. 
The email was sent the same morning a police officer, named by Paris Match as Clarissa Jean-Philippe, 27, died after being attacked just before dawn in Montrouge, a suburb in the south of the French capital. 
The street cleaner - who stepped in and confronted the gunman - is also said to be in a serious condition, after he was shot in the face.  
Several attacks against French mosques have also been reported since the massacre - including one which was hit with three blank grenades in Le mans, west of Paris.  
There were also reports this morning of an explosion at a kebab shop near a mosque in Lyon. 
Later in the article, it identifies the weapon used in the second shooting as an MP-5. More details about what are believed to be revenge attacks can be found here.

Automatic weapons and RPGs? Sounds like French Muslims have access to better weapons than the bulk of the police force.

I will be interested to see whether revenge attacks continue because it would be a sign that the French people have given up on the cultural Marxism espoused by the European elites; and, since the French government won't protect them, engaging in their own 4th generation conflict.

Second Update (1/7/2015): The suspects in the murders have been identified. From Mashable:
French police officials have identified three men as suspects in the deadly terror attack at the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper. 
One of the men, 35-year-old Cheriff Kouachi, was convicted on terrorism charges in 2008. 
Two of the suspects, brothers Cheriff and Said Kouachi, 32, are French nationals who were born to Algerian parents in Paris. The nationality of a third man, Hamid Mourad, 18, is unknown; police believe he is a high school student. 
Their names circulated on Facebook and Twitter for an hour before French authorities confirmed that the Kouachi brothers had been identified. 
One of the officials who spoke to the Associated Press said they were linked to a Yemeni terrorist network.
Update (1/7/2015):  A car exploded outside a synagogue in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles. It is being reported as a mechanical malfunction, and unrelated to the terrorist attack. But, as Robert Spencer points out, how do they know?

oue

Islamic terrorists carried out a cowardly attack in Paris. The Daily Mail reports:
Twelve people were killed today when gunmen carried out a massacre at the offices of a notoriously anti-Islamist newspaper in Paris - including a police officer who was executed as he begged for mercy on the pavement. 
Masked attackers brandishing Kalashnikovs burst into the Charlie Hebdo headquarters, opening fire on staff after seeking out journalists by name. 
Clad all in black with hoods and speaking flawless French, the militants forced one of the cartoonists - who was at the office with her young daughter - to open the door. 
Witnesses said the suspected Al Qaeda gunmen were heard to shout 'the Prophet has been avenged' and 'Allahu akbar!' – Arabic for 'God is great' – as they stalked the building.  
They headed straight for the paper's editor and cartoonist, Stephane Charbonnier, killing him and his police bodyguard, who had recruited to protect him following earlier threats. 
They also killed three other renowned cartoonists – men who had regularly satirised Islam and the Prophet Mohammed – and the newspaper's deputy chief editor. 
Horrific footage emerged showing an injured police officer slumped on the pavement as two gunmen approached him outside the office minutes later. 
In an apparent desperate plea for his life, the officer is seen slowly raising his hand towards one of the attackers, who responds by callously shooting him in the head at point-blank range.  
Despite a shoot-out with armed officers, the 'calm and highly disciplined' men were able to escape in a hijacked car and remain on the loose.
Contrary to the above account, the newspaper was not "anti-Islamist," but was the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. It wasn't that it was anti-Islamist, but that it did not exempt Islam from being satirized. There are numerous other accounts and articles concerning the attack: The Washington PostThe New York PostRicochetCBS, and CNN, for a few.

The CBS report further indicates:
Chilling video initially posted to a Facebook account shows two gunmen open fire on police in a small black car, and then shows them executing one officer as he lays on the sidewalk by shooting him at close range. The masked gunmen are then seen in the video getting into the black car and driving off. The Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar” can be heard shouted in video of the attack. 
They later abandoned the small black car and hijacked another vehicle, in which they are believed to have left central Paris. It was not clear where the third suspect went, as he was not seen making a getaway in the black car after the police officer was shot. 
Calling the incident a “terrorist attack,” Hollande said “we must show we are a united country,” and vowed to respond with “firmness.” 
Without further explanation, Hollande said “several” attacks had been averted over recent weeks, and added that France was a target for extremists “because we’re a country committed to liberty.” 
Cobbe reported that, according to at least one witness, one of the gunman was heard asking for people by name. 
The suspects managed to escape the scene and were being pursued by police into Paris suburbs. 
A reporter for Britain’s Telegraph newspaper in Paris told Sky News that the first two officers to arrive, who were apparently unarmed, fled after seeing gunmen armed with automatic weapons and possibly a grenade launcher. 
The Guardian reports a witness in the office building said one of the gunman asked where Charlie Hebdo was located. 
“Then someone opened the door to our office and asked where Charlie Hebdo was. He had a rifle. We backed away. Afterwards he left, we heard gunfire. We went to the windows, there were two men running with guns, speaking in bad French … They were shouting outside, and shooting again. Afterwards I saw someone leaving the building with his hands covered in blood,” the unnamed witness said, according to The Guardian.
 From the NY Post article:
Among those killed, or better say executed, were 10 members of the weekly’s editorial staff, including the flower of French political cartoonists: Stephane Charbonnier, alias “Charb,” Jean Cabut, alias “Cabu,” Bernard Tignou and the magazine’s top star, Georges Wolinski. 
All had been threatened with death on numerous occasions, especially for drawing and publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed (including one with a bomb hidden in his turban) and for a special issue, renamed “Sharia Hebdo” for the occasion, with “Mohammed” as guest editor. 
In 2011, Charlie Hebdo was also been the only major publication in the West to republish the Danish cartoons of Mohammed that provoked violence in numerous countries. 
In 2013, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius distanced the French government from the weekly’s in-your-face criticism of Islamism and Islam and warned Charlie Hebdo not to push provocation too far. 
Wednesday’s attack must have been carefully planned and based on some inside information. For it came precisely as Charlie’s weekly editorial meeting was under way with a maximum turnout of writes, cartoonists and editors. 
The attack also came only hours after the weekly’s new issue went on sale with a cover inspired by a new novel by Michel Houelbeque, which envisions the election of a Muslim as France’s president in 2022. 
The government had provided police protection for four of the weekly’s key editors. The assassination of three of them on Wednesday suggests the protection may have been more more formal than real. 
The style of the attack and the getaway, the weapons employed and the safe haven — probably set up in Seine-Saint Denis, a suburb of Paris with a large Muslim population — indicate some input from professional armed bandits who appear to have reached a coordination agreement with jihadists.
Islam should be mocked. Except for a few lone voices, the supposed "moderates" that we always hear about do nothing to condemn the attacks. So, to join in the mocking, a couple more cartoons mocking Islam:
(Source)

Source
(Source)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chinese Scientists Confirm the Medieval Warm Period ...

... and that it was more extensive than just Europe.

Do Homosexuals Lack Free Will?

Apparently some of them think so. The Daily Mail reports:
A controversial new show on TLC is sparking wave after wave of protests —  as thousands of people ask for the cancellation of the TV special featuring a group of Mormon men who say they're attracted to other men but chose to marry women because of their faith. 
John Sanders —  who launched a Change.org petition asking for 'My Husband's Not Gay' to be axed — says 'the false and dangerous idea that gay people can and should choose to be straight in order to be part of their faith communities.'
In a Liberal world, the only choice there is, is the choice of a woman to kill an unborn baby.

Obama Threatens to Raise Gas Prices

You may remember that prior to being elected President, Obama promised to make energy prices "skyrocket." Once he was President, Obama not only went after the coal and natural gas industries--as he had promised--but also blocked oil drilling on federal land. Now he is making overt threats about raising gas prices. The Detroit News reports that while visiting a shuttered factory for "green" cars, Obama stated:
“I would strongly advise American consumers to continue to think about how you save money at the pump because it is good for the environment, it’s good for family pocketbooks and if you go back to old habits and suddenly gas is back at $3.50, you are going to not be real happy,” Obama said in an exclusive telephone interview with The Detroit News on Tuesday, the eve of his visit to Ford’s Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne.
* * *
Obama said “folks should enjoy” low gas prices, but cautioned that they won’t be around forever. Americans could sock away some of the money, “or better yet” buy a new car or new appliance, he said.
Obama: committed to destroying the American economy.

How will he commit this feat. Well, for one, the RHINOs in Congress will help by imposing a new gas tax supposedly for infrastructure repair.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Pause in Global Warming is Now 18 Years and 3 Months

Story here.

Polar Ice Caps NOT Melting

From the December 25, 2014, Daily Express:
The North and South Poles are "not melting", according to a leading global warming expert. 
In fact, the poles are "much more stable" than climate scientists once predicted and could even be much thicker than previously thought. 
For years, scientists have suggested that both poles are melting at an alarming rate because of warming temperatures - dangerously raising the Earth's sea levels while threatening the homes of Arctic and Antarctic animals. 
But the uncertainty surrounding climate change and the polar ice caps reached a new level this month when research suggested the ice in the Antarctic is actually growing.
And there could even be evidence to suggest the polar bear population is not under threat.
 
Ted Maksym, an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, conducted a study in which he sent an underwater robot into the depths of the Antarctic sea to measure the ice. 
His results contradicted previous assumptions made by scientists and showed that the ice is actually much thicker than has been predicted over the last 20 years.
* * *
Separate satellite data released this month showed evidence that at the other end of the globe, the ice in the Arctic sea is also holding up against climate change better than expected. 
The data from the European Space Agency CryoSat-2 satellite suggests that Arctic sea ice volumes in the autumn of 2014 were above the average set over the last five years, and sharply up on the lows recorded in 2011 and 2012. 
According to this research, Arctic sea ice volumes in October and November this year averaged at 10,200 cubic kilometres. 
This figure is only slightly down on the 2013 average of 10,900 cubic kilometres, yet massively up on the 2011 low of 4,275 cubic kilometres and the 6,000 cubic kilometres recorded in 2012.

FBI Claim No Warrant Needed For Stingray Devices

From Ars Technica:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking the position that court warrants are not required when deploying cell-site simulators in public places. Nicknamed "stingrays," the devices are decoy cell towers that capture locations and identities of mobile phone users and can intercept calls and texts.
There reasoning is that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in public places. So, under that reasoning, once your telephone line reached a publicly accessible area, there would be no reasonable expectation of privacy in having your phone line tapped....

The problem with their reasoning is that they are attempting to stretch a rule governing what anyone could see or observe and apply it to a radio technology which, obviously, no one can see, smell, or hear. This argument didn't work with thermal imaging, and I'm going to guess that the use of stingrays will ultimately be struck down by the courts as well.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Why Only Cops Should Have Guns--Officer Shoots Himself in Elevator

Surveillance video from the elevator shows Jouett removing his gun from a holster under his coat with his right hand, then appearing to attempt to put it back, while holding a box and a bag in his left hand. 
"He was transitioning the holster and transitioning the gun out of his holster. He was going to carry it in his hand as they walked to the car. As he was pulling the gun from the holster, a round discharged, ricocheted in the elevator, struck him in the stomach," Cincinnati Capt. Michael John said. 
The video shows Jouett fall to the floor as his wife calls for help. Jouett gets out of the elevator when the doors open and sits down again. Jouett's wife was not hurt. 
Police said Jouett is a 25-year veteran with the department.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Next Attack on the Right of Self Defense

The Daily Mail reports:
U.S. teens report easy access to firearms, even when they have mental health problems that put them at an increased risk of suicide, according to a new study. 
Overall, 41 percent of teens who reported being in a home with a firearm had easy access to it. Among teens with a history of mental illness or suicidal acts, researchers found that percentage was the same. 
The American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics advise healthcare providers to talk about firearm safe storage with parents - especially those with at-risk youths at home. 
'Our goal of this study was to find out if those recommendations were being implemented effectively in the community,' said Dr. Joseph Simonetti, the study's lead author from the University of Washington School of Medicine's Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. 
Simonetti and his colleagues write in JAMA Psychiatry that suicide is the second leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Having a firearm in the home is one risk factor for suicide, they add.
Yet Australia's suicide rate remained the same after it banned firearms.

Who Is He Wanting to Sabotage This Time?

Mike Huckabee has quit his job at Fox News to consider running for President in 2016. Similar to Ross Perot in the 1990s, Huckabee is a closet Democrat who only runs when there is a Republican candidate that he wants to undermine. The main difference is that Ross Perot drew away the fiscal conservatives, while Huckabee focuses on the social conservatives.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Why Only Police Should Have Guns--Chief Shoots Wife

The wife of a Georgia police chief is fighting for her life after her husband shot her at their quaint home, just a few hours into the New Year. 
At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Peachtree City, Georgia authorities identified the  shooter as local Police Chief William McCollom, 57, and the victim as his 58-year-old wife Margaret.  
The incident happened just after 4am, when officers received a call from the chief, saying he accidentally shot his wife at their home on Autumn Leaf using his service handgun, a Glock 17 9mm.
--The Daily Mail