How The New York Times Covers The Story Of The Skirt
The New York Times tried to cover the story of the skirt in a semi-accurate manner. But in its on-line series about "women in the world" it shed any pretense of objective reporting. See here.
Even in its initial report, there was a telling absence of context. In France the Muslim population is constantly trying to test the authorities, and the laic state. Men tell girls what to do; things are planned; a war is on. When a Muslim girl is denied the right to wear a hijab to school, she will put on a headband so wide that it amounts to a hijab in order to see if that, too, will be banned. And now some girl has decided to put on a very long skirt which, with other articles of clothing, are designed to flaunt her Islam-ness, her willingness to submit to the dictates of Allah, and to try to force the laic state to accept this ostentatious flaunting of her faith. The French school administrators, and the teachers who now have to endure the permanent insurgency of Muslim students and their parents and others who manipulate and direct those students, are not having it. This low-level war is not understood by the reporters and editors of The New York Times. Their knowledge of France is superficial; they have not been following Rioufol or Zemmour or Finkielkraut or a dozen others; they have, in their minds, composed a little Moraliity Play, where in this corner, forever wearing black trunks and forever to be booed, are the "extreme right" of Marine Le Pen, and those awful islamophobes who so irrationally and comically, the Times thinkis, raise hell over the most harmless and innocent behavior by Muslims, including that modest dress code that only someone deeply prejudiced, someone hyseterical, someone on the "extreme right," could possibly oppose. That's how The New York Times sees things, and a reporter for the Times who, in France, dared to sink below the surface, and came to understand exactly what is going on, and how inaccurate and dangerous is that received view of his editors, would be unlikely to be able to convey this to readers. At least not yet.
For the view of an intelligent French defender against the "communatauristes" ("communitarian" being a word for Muslims, and their willing collaborators, who favor the demands of the (that is, one particular) religious "community" over the laws of the Republic) , see Natacha Polony here. Polony recognizes the "trap" being set by these communatauristes who wish to misrepresent the defenders of the laic state as hysterics, upset about something as trivial as a long skirt, when the well-informed know perfectly well what is really at stake. At The New York Times, there are not, apparently, any of those indispensable well-informed.
The natives of Europe, wary of expense, uncertain of the future, living in societies where the possibilities of finding mates has been reduced by the breakdown or breakup -- the demobbing -- of the little battalions that used to make such things easier, are not reproducing themselves. In the Arab and Muslim lands, and in sub-Saharan Africa, women breed, for that is their function, and Western ideas of the soul-mate do not exist, a wife or wives can be taken, and the breeding starts, and families of eight, ten, fifteen children are not unusual. And this excess -- which keeps being produced -- heads toward Europe for what some in Europe so mistakenly describe as "going in search of a better life" which implies that they understand where they are going, will be able and indeed want to pitch in and work hard and integrate in these societies, and rise, in the horatio-alger manner. But that's not what this blind turning toward the rich West, this frantic lemming-like rush, to Europe, and then within Europe, to the countries that supply the most freebies, in housing, medical care, education, and subsidies of all sorts, is all about. They are coming to get what they can, and the cultural and other differences will not, cannot be bridged, and the attempt to integrate them into advanced Western societies cannot work, and the mere trying will impoverish, in every way, those societies as they attempt to do what is not possible, and make their own peoples endure a steady decline in economic well-being, and a concomitant increase in physical insecurity, and cultural incoherence. Why should Europe ruin itself because others do not limit their own families, but instead see Europe, and North America, as places where they have some kind of divine right to enter, to settle, and to take every possible advantage of every possible benefit, battening on the manna provided by others who are to take care of the excess population even as their own numbers go down, partly as a result of the effects of that outside population that fills so many in Europe with despair that they are unable to, because not allowed to, properly expess?
Just one of the many stories about people vaguely identified as this "couple," these "suspects," their "violent extremist videos":
Germany: Suspects’ Videos Found
Violent extremist videos were found on a computer belonging to a couple suspected of preparing an attack on a cycling race, a police official said Saturday. The official, Udo Buehler, a spokesman for the criminal police office in Hesse State, said the videos were found at the home of the couple in Oberursel, near Frankfurt. The police seized weapons and chemicals at the home on Thursday.
Two Jewish residents of Paris were assaulted on the street by a gang of about 40 people on Friday, Israeli French JSS News reported, citing antisemitism watchdog the Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l’Antisemitisme (BNVCA).
The attack against the two Jewish victims, both in their 20s, occurred at about 2:30 p.m. on Boulevard Voltaire in Paris’ 11 arrondissement, according to the report.
The gang of attackers was associated with the anti-Israel groups Gaza Firm and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, according to security personnel responsible for protecting the Jewish community.
Police launched an investigation into the incident and warned local Jewish businesses owners to be extra vigilant, JSS News said.
Witnesses on the scene said that members of the Jewish community volunteered to watch over the many Jewish-owned stores on Boulevard Voltaire, according to the BNVCA.
The attack marks the latest in a growing antisemitic trend in France, and Europe as a whole. Earlier this year, an Islamist gunman seized a Kosher supermarket in Paris and killed four Jewish hostages. Just a few weeks later, a security guard was killed in Copenhagen when a lone gunman opened fire in front of the city’s Great Synagogue.
In 2006, a French Jew was kidnapped from his cell phone store from the same Boulevard Voltaire. He was tortured and ultimately killed.
Congo-Brazzaville has banned Muslim women from wearing the full face-veil in public, citing security reasons, an Islamic association has told AFP.
"The Interior Minister (Raymond Zephirin Mboulou) notified us of the decision to prohibit Muslim women from wearing the full veil. The decision was taken in order to prevent any act of terrorism and insecurity," said El Hadj Abdoulaye Djibril Bopaka, who heads the Islamic Supreme Council of Congo-Brazzaville."Muslim women can now only wear the full veil at home and in places of worship, but not in public places,"
Congo-Brazzaville is home to some 800,000 Muslims in a population of nearly six million. Only 10 per cent are local with the rest coming from Arab or neighbouring west African nations.Unlike its neighbour Cameroon, which has suffered fierce attacks by the Nigeria-based jihadist group Boko Haram, Congo-Brazzaville has not been hit by any such terror attacks.
The government will also ban non-residents from sleeping in mosques in order to encourage refugees to register with police, he said. "Many Muslim brothers from Central Africa are being housed in mosques and not presenting themselves to authorities. We do not know what they are up to,"
Wilders’ Capitol Hill Press Conference Warns America Revealing CAIR’s Ignorance of First Amendment Law
Geert Wilders at a press conference near Capitol building April 30, 2015 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)
Geert Wilders was on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on April 30, 2015 at a press conference with Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Scott Perry (R-PA). He warned Americans about the dangers of mass Muslim immigration and suggested letting Americans who volunteer leave and join the Islamic State but be denied return to this country. He said:
I am warning America. Don't think that what's happening in Europe today will not happen in America tomorrow because it will. Islamic immigration has proven to be a Trojan horse, the jihadists are among us," he added, warning of "enormous security problems" in the United States if Muslim immigrants are allowed to stay. Let them go, but never let them return.
The Congressmen praised Wilders exercise of free speech vis a vis his criticism of Islam, defense of Judeo-Christian values and Israel. Wilders paid court to this” beautiful land” with its protection of free speech rights and expressed “the wish that the he and other citizens of the EU” had the equivalent protection. Wilders is once again the target of investigations by the Dutch police as the behest of Public Prosecutors in the Hague over his alleged hate speech remarks at a Freedom Party rally during the May, 2014 European Parliament elections in the Hague, over “ fewer Moroccans”. Wilders has criticized Islam for being an ideology and the Qur’an for being the equivalent of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. His most recent book, Marked for Death, presented that and more fundamental arguments referencing Qur’anic doctrine, Hadith, Sunna and Shariah Islamic Law. Wilders defeated an earlier hate crime charge brought against him in the Amsterdam district court in 2011.
Watch the Wilders Capitol Hill press conference with Reps. King, Gohmert and Perry:
Prior to his Capitol Hill press conference, Wilders gave a speech on April 29, 2015 at the Washington, DC, Conservative Opportunity Society. Two Muslim US Representatives, Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Andre Carson sent a letter on April 23, 2015 to Secretary of State Kerry and Department of Homeland Security Chief Jae Johnson seeking to bar Wilders entry to the US on the grounds that his speech violated provisions of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. They wrote:
In the past, the United States has denied entry to international leaders under the authority of the International Religious Freedom Act which allows the Department of State to deny entry to a foreign leader who is responsible for severe violations of religious freedom. This precedent is applicable to Mr. Wilders.
In the U.S., freedom of speech is a bedrock principle that distinguishes free societies from ones living under oppressive regimes. Freedom of speech, however, is not absolute. It is limited by the legal and moral understanding that speech that causes the incitement of violence or prejudicial action against protected groups is wrong. As Mr. Wilders continues his pursuit of political power, granting him entry will embolden him to engage in further incitement of violence and discrimination against Muslims.
Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are sweeping through Europe. Mr. Wilders is among the hateful leaders responsible for perpetuating prejudice. Allowing him to enter the United States will cause harm to our nation that values religious freedom and respects pluralism.
Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor and expert on free speech and religious freedom law in a “Volokh Conspiracy” column in the Washington Post, examined the arguments of the two Representatives, referencing Supreme Court case rulings, notably, Brandenburg v. Ohio and Hess v. Indiana, regarding “incitement. Volokh concluded:
Whether “Christian culture is superior to other cultures,” which groups should be allowed to immigrate into a country, and even whether Islam should be viewed as an ideology rather than a religion (an unsound distinction, in my view) are matters that the First Amendment allows us all to debate. The Congressmen quite clearly don’t want to allow Rep. Wilders to debate such matters here in the U.S. But their “In the U.S.” paragraph suggests that they view even such debates by Americans as constitutionally unprotected.
CAIR, the self styled Muslim civil rights group affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, sent Government Affairs Manager, Robert McCaw, to question Wilders and the Congressional Representatives who participated in Capitol Hill press conference. The CAIR press release noted the exchange:
CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw pressed Rep. Gohmert as to whether he stood by "Wilders' statement that Islam is an ideology of a retarded culture." Congressman Gohmert avoided the question only stating that he "proudly stands by Wilders" and that he may not always agree with him but will defend his right to make such comments.
McCaw also pressed Wilders on whether or not the Republican Party should adopt his Dutch Freedom Party's proposal of "banning the Quran and the building of new mosques." Wilders sidestepped the question by stating that he is "not trying to unify the two parties" and comparing the Quran to Hitler's Mein Kampf.
"By endorsing and promoting Geert Wilders' anti-Muslim hate, these elected officials tarnish the Republican Party's reputation and harm our nation's international image," said McCaw.
CAIR arranged for a counter press with the authors of the letter, Reps. Ellison and Carson, joined by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) protesting Wilders anti-Islam stands and promoting inter-faith unity.
Watch the CAIR YouTube video of McCaw’s questioning of Wilders and Rep. Gohmert:
Tomorrow, May 3, 2015 Wilders will next appear at an event in Texas. According to a Breitbart Newsreport Wilders
Will speak at the First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest. The event will be held May 3rd at the Curtis Caldwell Center, which is owned and operated by the Garland Independent School District, and hosted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI). The Curtis Caldwell Center was the site of an “Honor the Prophet” rally in January. About two thousand Texans came out to protest that event.
Pam Geller and Robert Spencer of AFDI will also be speaking at the event. For those interesting in watching this event. It will be live streamed at 5-7 (CST) and 6-8PM (EST). Read more, here.
We cited Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) from his April 29, 2015 speech at the Washington, DC Conservative Opportunity Society saying:
The UN plan to resettle 1 million immigrants in Western nations will provide jihadis an opportunity to infiltrate Western countries, including the US. It will give terrorists the opportunity to settle in our countries without the extra scrutiny involved in obtaining a visa or a residence permit.
We should not do this. The vast majority of the European citizens disapprove of the way their governments are handling immigration. Moreover, there are plenty of other safe countries where immigrants bound for the West can go to, including the wealthy Gulf States that have almost zero asylum-seekers today.
Immigration, especially Islamic immigration, had devastating consequences. It has made our countries less safe.
A week prior on April 22, 2015. Wilders engaged in a debate with opposition of the merits of the Australian solution- blocking and returning illegal migrants. As he points out in the debate, that resulted in no drownings and yet spared Australia the burden of providing asylum. Moreover, Wilders points out that the wealthy Gulf Emirates and Saudi Arabia do not provide sanctuary nor underwrite the costs of refugees fleeing the jihadi conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. He argues that it would cost $26,000 per annum to support an illegal migrant if granted asylum by the Netherlands, nearly double the average Old Age pension of 13,500 Euros. The opposition invokes the plight of refugees from the jihadi conflicts in Syria, Libya and Africa, but without suggesting a solution. He sticks to his arguments. Perhaps as the leading party in polls taken in the Netherlands, he appears to have the support of many of its citizen harboring grave concerns about illegal Migration from predominately Muslim countries.
Watch this Vlad Tepes YouTube video with English subtitles of The Hague Parliament Debate on Wilder’s Australian solution to the illegal migrant problem:
That is reflected in the number of Muslim émigrés leaving to join ISIS, only to return as possible domestic terror threats. Despite the resonance of Wilders views with the Dutch polity, save for émigré Muslims and political allies on the left in the Hague Parliament, he is once again being investigated by public prosecutors in the Hague over comments in a campaign Rally about Holland not needed “more Moroccans”.
We note his statement on December 8, 2014 prior to a police interrogation on the Hague prosecutor charges:
Those who do not understand that we have an enormous problem with Islam and with Moroccans in the Netherlands, though seeing, they do not see, and though hearing, they do not hear.
For the reasons above, while on campaign in The Hague, I argued that there need to be fewer Moroccans. And, at an election meeting in The Hague, I asked those present a number of questions, one of which was “Do you want more or fewer Moroccans?”
Indeed, I want fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands for the reasons and context that I have previously expressed in this statement as well as in Parliament and for which I refer you to the documents that I now deposit.
I have yet to meet the Dutchman who wants more Moroccans in the Netherlands. Asking for fewer Moroccans is something totally different than if I were to want all Moroccans to leave the Netherlands or if I were to object to every Moroccan.
Like me, 43% of all the Dutch and 95% of my supporters want fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. I have said what millions of Dutchmen think.
One of the first major photo essays I did for this website was of the Rochester Sweeps Festival in 2006, here.
I used to write and photograph a lot about things I did and where I had been; celebrations of our culture. For some reason I have not posted so much of cheerful things this last 18 months. Maybe it is time to make the odd (very odd) cheery post.
Loose Women (that's their name, not a description) outside the Guildhall
I didn't catch the name of this side. But they started with one dancer, reminiscent of the woodcuts of Will Kemp, the Nine day wonder. He was then joined by the other dancers.
Make way for Jack-in-the-Green
The Fabulous Fez heads, a local band. Very competent Rock and Roll, comedy, a total lack of political correctness and dance, in the tradition of Wilson, Betty and Kepple and their sand dance. This song was entitled Space Cadet and featured a flying saucer (cymbal)
The Greenwich Morris Men, very traditional Cotswold side. Cotswold is the dance style; they come from Greenwich in south London. Where the meridian and the Royal Observatory are.
Because serious stuff will get in the way of fun.
Bishop Gundulph's Longsword Morris. Bishop Gundulph, a norman monk, later Bishop of Rochester was a skilled architech and stone mason. He was responsible for the building of not just Rochester cathedral, but Rochester castle, the White Tower of the Tower of London and Colchester Castle. He is called the Father of the Royal Corps of Engineers and the cathedral maintains links with the current regiment to this day. The swords of the dance are more like masons cutting tools than the weapon of battle.
It means the inquiry into Rahman and potential collaborators could now be formally re-opened, bringing into question the Metropolitan Police’s decision to previously shut down the investigation.
The remaining four matters will be examined to see whether a full criminal investigation should be launched, said a Metropolitan Police spokesman.
Scotland Yard has come under repeated criticism for failing to seriously investigate allegations of electoral corruption in Tower Hamlets, which has a population of about 250,000 and an ethnic majority.
A police spokesman said the force had been granted extra time under the Act which governs election law to look into the allegations.
“Due to the exceptional circumstances of this case, the special inquiry team has applied for, and been granted, an extension to the time limit for criminal proceedings to be brought under the Representation of the People Act,” he said.
The Met spokesman said the force originally received 164 complaints of electoral malpractice in Tower Hamlets in relation to the mayoral election on May 22 last year. It said: "As part of the original investigation we supplied early material to the CPS in connection with four allegations. Two people were cautioned by the Met and there is one criminal trial outstanding.”
Police had consulted with the Crown Prosecution Service before deciding to close its original investigation, it added. A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said the force was unable to confirm the identity of any people who may be involved in the new allegations.
And while they are at it they can look again at the complaints made about Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Redbridge.
Erbil, Kurdistan Region – On Friday the so-called Sharia Court of the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) reportedly executed 600 hostages from the Yezidi community of Shingal (Sinjar) in the Talafar district in northern Iraq.
The group piled the bodies into the well of Alo Antar on al-Ayyadiya highway, local sources reported.
Shahin Shingali, a fighter in the ranks of the Peshmerga forces, stated to ARA News that since Friday the IS radicals transferred nearly 700 Yezidi hostages to Talafar.
“Without a direct intervention by the international community, Iraq will be witnessing more genocides against innocent people at the hands of the IS terrorists,” Shingali said.
Aseel al-Nujaifi, governor of Nineveh province in Iraq, confirmed on Friday that the IS terrorists executed hundreds of Yezidi captives.
“A new crime was committed by Daesh (Islamic State) against our Yezidi people on Friday,” al-Nujaifi said in a statement.
“IS gangs executed hundreds of innocent Yezidi prisoners.”
“These terrorists are degrading Islamic religion. Muslim clerics should bear their responsibility to show the public the reality of this terrorist group, demonstrating how it is diametrically opposed to the correct, tolerant teachings of the Islamic religion,” al-Nujaifi added.
Commenting on the incident, the Yezidi writer and researcher Salem Rashidani told ARA News: “We have received reports saying that IS militants executed the Yezidi men in the district of Talafar in Nineveh province, after isolating them from their families, throwing their corpses in the valley near the city.
On April 27, 2015, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon transmitted to the U.N. Security Council his public summary of a 207-page report, which apparently is not to be made public, of the Board of Inquiry regarding the incidents in Gaza between July 8 and August 24, 2014. This was the second U.N. report to be issued about incidents involving U.N. premises, personnel, and operations during the course of conflicts in Gaza.
Indeed, it is essential that there be a clear and objective record of the facts of these incidents and identification of how and why casualties occurred, and what persons or entities committed war crimes. The inquiry was conducted by General Patrick Cammaert, former Dutch commander of U.N. forces in the Congo and military adviser to Ban; Maria Vicien-Milburn, Argentinian former legal adviser to UNESCO; Pierre Lemelin, Canadian professor of international law; K.C. Reddy, Indian former U.N. security official; and, for a time, Lee O’Brien, United States diplomat.
Secretary Ban appreciated Israel for cooperating with the inquiry and also for conducting its own investigations into the incidents. In contrast, he criticized the Palestinian Authority for not having investigated allegations of Palestinian violations and crimes. He hoped the PA would probe, in accordance with international standards, these possible Palestinian war crimes and criminal activity.
The 2015 inquiry was concerned with ten specific incidents. Seven concerned the loss of 44 Palestinian lives and at least 227 injured on U.N. premises. Three dealt with weapons found in U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in the Near East schools, including instances of alleged use by Palestinian armed groups of those school premises, as well as other civilian sites, to launch attacks against Israeli civilians.
In his attempt at balanced remarks, Mr. Ban noted the “agony of Palestinian civilians in Gaza” and the result of Israeli actions in causing casualties, while pointing out that Israeli civilians in southern Israel continue to face the threat of rocket and terrorist attacks by Hamas and other militant groups. Palestinian groups had fired more than 3,600 rockets since July 8, 2014, of which 1,600 came from civilian areas in Gaza.
The hypocrisy, or deliberate ignorance, of officials of UNRWA, whose premises were the subject of the inquiry, remains unabated. In spite of the clear evidence to the contrary, Chris Gunness, spokesman for UNRWA, said that its schools had been hit by the IDF though no weapons were discovered or fired from their premises. He stated that if militants did fire rockets from the schools, he would condemn them.
The reality, as found by the Board of Inquiry, was that three UNRWA schools were used by Palestinians to store weapons and that firing by a Palestinian armed group from them “probably” occurred in two of the schools. A number of schools used by Palestinian fighters were mentioned. Among them are the Maghazi Preparatory Girls School, the Deir El Balah School, the Beit Hanoun Elementary, the Zaitoun Girls School, El Azhar Islamic College, the Abu Nur School, the Jabalia Elementary Girls School, and Rafah Boys School.
The defense of a senior Hamas official was that Hamas had no choice but to use residential areas from which to launch missiles into Israel. Hamas had pre-positioned weapons and military equipment and prepared fighters to move if hostilities occurred and to blend into the civilian population. Besides schools, Hamas had used mosques, hospitals, and other civilian objects for storing weapons, and weapons were fired from or near other places: a Red Cross Ambulance station, Wafa Hospital, and the al-Mashtal hotel. This made it difficult for Israel to distinguish between “fighters” and civilians.
Secretary Ban was dismayed that the Palestinian militant groups, sometimes referred to by name as Hamas, would put U.N. schools at risk by using them to hide their arms. He made clear that United Nations premises are inviolable and should be places of safety, particularly in a situation of armed conflict. Ban stated that the United Nations premises are civilian objects and should not be made the object of attack.
The Inquiry Board concluded that Israel was responsible for firing and causing deaths and casualties. The mainstream media, in its criticism of Israel, has long made this well known. But the UN has now been officially stated that Hamas had placed the civilians of Gaza in danger by storing weapons in the UN facilities, thus causing Israeli fire on them.
The Inquiry Board was also critical of the behavior of UNRWA that failed to address seriously the security of its premises, had no standard operating procedures to report security incidents, and did not have a policy to deal with situations involving the unauthorized presence of weapons on UNRWA’s premises, its schools, and its instillations. It asserted the need for a review of the whole of UNRWA Security Management System. The inquiry should also have said, but was too diplomatically polite to say it, that it is essential to review the personnel of UNRWA and their unremitting bias against Israel.
UNRWA is supposed to deal with programs in education, health, relief, and social services. The spokesman of UNRWA professed to be ignorant of the reality. The staff of UNWRA must have been aware of that reality and should not be involved in issues of weaponry, ammunition, and unexploded ordnance.
On the very day the report of the inquiry was made public, two projectiles were fired from Syria and landed in the area of Kibbutz Ein Zivan in the northern Golan Heights. On the previous day, April 26, 2015, four terrorists attempted to plant a bomb along the Israeli border with Syria.
Secretary Ban is right. The PA must investigate the possible war crimes of Hamas and others. Moreover, what is needed is a new momentum to the search for a resolution of the conflict in the Middle East. Direct negotiations between the State of Israel and Palestinians must begin. Secretary Ban knows the address of President Mahmoud Abbas.
Bassam Youssef has been impressed with just how impressed with him, Bassam Youssef, the famous Jon Stewart has been, and Youssef doesn't mind being compared to Stewart. He's unaware that, beyond the daily-show blather and blague, so loud and often so silly,Stewart's studied ignorance of Islam allows him to continue to dance on the surface of the very things he pretends to discuss more truthfully than others -- such others as the Republican "clowns" he makes such easy fun of, fun that is then Facebooked and Twittered by his faithful fans. If Bassam Youssef wants to see Egypt plain, he has to consider Islam, and its effects on the minds of men, and has to think, too, about how to tame Islam, and about Taha Hussain, and of what Husain called "Pharaonism," a kind of hyper-nationalism that would elevate Egypt in the minds of Egyptians, as Egypt, millennial Egypt, with both its Arab and its Muslim aspects de-emphasized.
That is what Al-Sisi is trying, fitfully, to do, but he is employing the same ruthless means that Ataturk -- too many forget -- also employed. And Al-Sisi, for his crackdown and denial of all those nice rights that the non-Muslim world can enjoy, is a natural target for Bassam Youssef, and his regime's implacable crackdown, but that implacable crackdown is necessary because, Bassam Youssef might begin to understand, Egyptian society does not consist of tens of millions of bassam-youssefs, but of millions of people who are more like Mohammed Badie and Hassan Al-Banna, and Hassan Al-Banna's suave, modern-appearing grandson, the fork-tongued serpent Tariq Ramadan.
All this -- what has to be done to contain Islam - is beyond Stewart. But it should not be beyond Youssef who, in now enjoying his mental freedom and leisure in the West, should be able to begin to grasp what Islam does to minds not as advanced as his, and why the only way to contain the contagion-- Ikhwan or ISIS, it hardly matters -- is to use ruthless methods, and understand that Al-Sisi himself realises this, and should be supported, as long as he keeps on this path of Taha Husain, and does not succumb, under pressure, to other, more hysterical possibilities.
I am often asked my opinion and occasionally my advice on how the newspaper industry should navigate these radically changing times in the media industry. The transformative effect of the Internet need not be emphasized. In general, newspapers still largely use the Internet to offer at least some of their contents as a tease to subscribe online or just to stay with the printed product. The goal remains fixed to raising a contribution to the vast expenses traditional newspapers incur that don’t affect Internet operators: newsprint, presses, and the very expensive physical delivery systems of newspapers in large metropolitan areas.
The explosion of sources of information and entertainment has placed a greater premium than ever on the editorial function. It is more important than ever that someone assemble the news in reasonable variety, thoroughness, and apparent importance and present it conveniently and with some flair and elegance. Ultimately, I suspect we will all be paying subscribers to a round-the-clock Internet newspaper, and will each have a designer edition where our own news preferences are weighted in our own version. They will be updated constantly and if we wish them printed, we will print them on more sophisticated home printers than are generally available now (which just produce regular fax-pages). The designer newspaper would be connected to YouTube, the archives, and all current related stories.
Shepherding our newspaper companies along to this or any similar concept was always going to be a laborious business and was the principal reason that my associates and I headed for the exit in that business in the late 1990s. But there are and will always be people who want a printed newspaper and there are frequent conditions when such a product is much easier to read than anything on a screen. And people who like to read paper newspapers are not exclusively or even mainly those in the extreme winter of their ineluctable old age.
Unfortunately, I have the impression that apart from TheWall Street Journal and a mere handful of other major newspapers, the whole industry is focused almost exclusively on endless and rather undiscriminating cost-cutting. The newspaper industry has been like a retreating army, but not an army conducting an orderly, if painful, retirement to a stronger position, as in the Russian army against Napoleon or Hitler, but rather an army in a rout, scrambling from the enemy with little idea of regrouping, like the French army in 1940.
I know how faddish and obtuse the advertising community can be, and even 20 years ago there was no shortage of advertising agencies convinced that newspapers were for the elderly and frugal and offered a reduced opportunity for an advertising dollar than television or glossy magazines, despite the proliferating number of television channels, the tendency to surf between channels and to edit out the commercial breaks electronically.
Those trends have certainly accelerated in the intervening years, but so has the plethora of media choice and the fragmentation of public loyalty. Now that the Internet has effectively the same picture definition as television, there is an infinite number of channel-equivalents, while there remain very few newspapers and most of them have historic titles and command, even now, immense goodwill for their trademarks of authoritative news and feature and comment delivery.
The teeming innumerability of non-newspaper options has become a potential asset for the newspaper, and so has its demographic. Practically everyone in Canada who buys and reads a newspaper today is an ABC 1 reader: a person of relatively high wealth, income and education, and an ideal target for advertisers. All the traditional admen’s piffle about doddering old newspaper readers should be exposed as the ageist idiocy that it is. Newspaper readers do actually read the newspapers, including the advertisements. They don’t surf, and if they see something they like, they have the money to buy it, unlike most of the slavering devotees of the social media imparting to the world the flavour of ice cream they experimented with when they took their romantic attachment of the moment to the mall. Newspapers are the least mindless medium, and should exploit that commercially.
In these circumstances, good print journalists are hireable at reasonable rates, and newspaper readers have been culled down to the true and prosperous believers who don’t mind paying more for a better product. This was a lesson we proved at the London Daily Telegraph when we defeated Rupert Murdoch’s Times in the cover price war 15 years ago, when he took the Times downmarket as he cut its price and made it a second read for mid-market subscribers (of the Mail and Express) and we cut price a little but invested in quality and took the top off the traditional ultra-desirable Times readership disgusted with Rupert’s pandering to the spivvy and the shallow.
This is an opportunity for the whole industry now: raise quality at minimal cost, continue to economize where it is not reflected in the product in the hands of the readers, and raise the cover prices to compensate for (declining) softness in advertising revenues. With so much unutterable pap floating around the media, quality readers of interest to advertisers will happily pay a little more to get something good.
The first battle remains what it was when I was on the newspaper firing line, though it has become more difficult to reverse the psychology of newspaper defeatism and sell advertisements and edit and price the newspaper in the confidence of opportunity and not in the self-defeating rationalization of “managing decline,” which is rarely other than a morally evasive collaboration in one’s own defeat, and a management excuse for under-performance. This is not France in 1940, but France in 1914 — the long retreat from the Rhine followed by the miracle of the Marne and the defeat of the invader.
All stakeholders at Postmedia are ready for it. They almost suffered the bends with the 90 per cent decline in the stock price in three years, followed by the short-fuse choice to endure an 85 per cent dilution or invest nearly three times the current price of a share to multiply their shareholding by seven. This was the ingenious equity portion of the acquisition of Sun Media newspapers, which brings PostMedia $94 million of free pre-tax cash flow with almost no debt attached to it, and increases the number of shares outstanding seven-fold, from 40 to 280 million.
Shareholders had to make that choice with only patchy pro forma projections to go on and before the Sun acquisition was officially approved. The Ontario Securities Commission should have required a longer delay on more information, and if the acquisition of Sun had been allowed before the refinancing had been launched, the management could have spoken more candidly about the cost savings that a merged company could effect. (They will be larger than was stated, for public and personnel relations reasons.)
As often happens, the OSC behaved as if its initials stood for Office of Stupidity and Cowardice and sat like a suet pudding instead of assisting the management in helping shareholders make an informed decision at no cost to the company. The American fund that controls Postmedia/Sun Newspapers (its incumbency guarded by a minefield of anti-intrusion measures enshrouded by an unusually heavy cloud of poison pills floating from golden parachutes) was well-paid to backstop the issue. No one cares who owns the company and foreign ownership rules are usually absurd, but it’s time for this company to perform.
This stock appears to be stalled at a trickle of trades at around twice free cash flow once the Sun acquisition has been consolidated. The stock has only traded a few thousand shares in the three weeks since the deal closed, and this is the first time in over 50 years of stock market involvement in this and other jurisdictions that I have seen a listed public company multiply its outstanding shares by seven and practically cease trading. Instead of enlightening investors, the management has been as silent as a sphinx.
I bought a small shareholding at a low price a couple of years ago and exercised some rights last month, and I want to sell some shares to pay some legal bills left over from my late persecution. My position is not material. But the shareholders who took the sleigh-ride from $10 or $15 and then poured money into the rights issue on scanty information deserve a break, just as the employees deserve a comfort level that they won’t all walk the plank and the ship won’t sink.
These are fine titles that have been admirably recapitalized in an expanded and stronger company, and there is a way forward. Usuriously overpriced debt is about to be refinanced; that underwriting will fly off the shelves given the cash flow that will back the issue and be enhanced by it, and that offering should be entrusted to whichever financial house undertakes to open up a reasonable market in the stock.
I am sure all stakeholders are anxious for an end to silence, declinism, illiquidity, and under-recognition of value, and expect something useful to occur soon.
“You can put this another way by saying that while in the other sciences the instruments you use are things external to yourself (things like microscopes and telescopes), the instrument through which you see God is your whole self. And if a man’s self is not kept clean and bright, his glimpse of God will be blurred – like the moon seen through a dirty telescope. That is why horrible nations have horrible religions: they have been looking at God through a dirty lens” -- C.S. Lewis
The lens through which Muslims see God is the prophet Mohammed. Could you ever have chosen a dirtier lens to see the Deity? Mohammed as he moved from Mecca to Medina went terribly astray. The Mohammed of Mecca said, “There is no compulsion in religion.” The Mohammed of Medina screamed “Kill the infidels!”
As Mohammed trekked the 275 miles from Mecca to Medina he changed from an inane preacher to a maniacal monster. He became a terrorist and a warlord with a political, instead of a spiritual, agenda. Through fear and intimidation he converted hundreds of thousands in Arabia. And at his death there was no one left alive to oppose his bloody ideology.
Allah was the god created by the depraved, warped mind of Mohammed. Mohammed created god in his own image. And what a god he created. As C.S. Lewis so astutely pointed out Allah is what you get when you view God through the dirty lens of Mohammed. Mohammed, according to the Koran, the Hadiths and the Sira (not my opinions, but directly from the sacred literature of Islam), was a rapist, a terrorist, a slaver, a misogynist, a killer, a pedophile and a necrophiliac. He was also according to Islam the perfect man. All Muslims are taught that he should be emulated. Is it any wonder that Islam is the bloodiest of the world’s religions?
The United States and United Nations have repeatedly asserted that Revolutionary Iran has complied with the terms of the 2013 Geneva Interim Agreement, which involved restrictions in the development of nuclear technology, as well as the scale of enrichment. However, intelligence recently supplied by the British, to a sanctions panel, suggests that the Interim agreement may have been breached in some respects:
Britain has informed a United Nations sanctions panel of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network linked to two blacklisted firms, according to a confidential report by the panel seen by Reuters.
The existence of such a network could add to Western concerns over whether Tehran can be trusted to adhere to a nuclear deal due by June 30 in which it would agree to restrict sensitive nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief. [...]
"The UK government informed the Panel on 20 April 2015 that it 'is aware of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network which has been associated with Iran's Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) and Kalay Electric Company (KEC)'," the Panel of Experts said in its annual report. The panel monitors Iran's compliance with the U.N. sanctions regime.
KEC is under U.N. Security Council sanctions while TESA is under U.S. and European Union sanctions due to their suspected links to banned Iranian nuclear activities.
Worryingly, the Panel also reported that there may be cover-ups by member states concerning Iran's violations:
Apart from the British notice and expressions of concern from some member states about continued Iranian procurement activities, the panel said it had received no new reports from U.N. member states of confirmed cases of non-compliance.
But it said that could simply indicate that some states are refraining from reporting violations to avoid undermining the delicate nuclear talks. It said that some members' assessment was that Iran's procurement and "circumvention techniques" remain mostly unchanged.
It cited an example of an unnamed member state saying that an Iranian entity had recently attempted to acquire compressors, a key component in the uranium enrichment process, using false end-user certificates in an attempt to evade controls.
The panel noted multiple media reports of Iranian weapons shipments to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen as well as Hezbollah and Hamas militants in violation of a U.N. embargo -- some of them quoting Iranian officials talking openly about arms shipments abroad.
And yet, it said, not a single country reported those arms shipments to the Security Council's Iran sanctions committee in line with standard procedure for suspected breaches.
Ministers today stepped in to stop “cronies” of the corrupt ex-mayor of Tower Hamlets destroying potentially damning documents and emails held by the council.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles demanded the borough prevent the deletion of documents after Lutfur Rahman was found guilty in court of corruption and rigging his election.
In a letter sent today Mr Pickles also announced sweeping new orders granting what is effectively complete control of the council to commissioners sent in to oversee the borough’s work.
He also appointed two more officials to help lead the commissioner team including a former high-ranking Met police officer.
It emerged today that Mr Pickles’ commissioners, sent in earlier this year, have already reported missing or incomplete records. In his letter to the borough, Mr Pickles highlighted a part of the court judgement saying that “close cronies” of Rahman remained in positions of influence.
Allies and supporters of former mayor Lutfur Rahman and his political party Tower Hamlets First are planning their reaction to the latest moves which they have described as an “East End power grab”. Rahman has already announced his intention to appeal the judgement against him, and last night addressed a rally at the Waterlily Conference Centre in Whitechapel. Other speakers who were scheduled included Christine Shawcroft (Labour Party NEC), John Rees (People’s Assembly), Andrew Murray (Chief of Staff, Unite), Lindsey German (Stop the War Coalition) and Salma Yaqoob (former Vice Chair of the Respect Party).
Event details announced that the rally was intended to “set out what needs to be done to defend democracy in Tower Hamlets, to challenge racism in the borough and beyond, and to ensure that anti-racist, anti-war and anti-austerity politics find their rightful place in the council.”
Update from The Times. Len McCluskey, the leader of Unite, Britain’s biggest union and Labour’s main donor, sent a message of support to Lutfur Rahman, the country’s first elected Muslim mayor. Christine Shawcroft, a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive, revealed that she was a trustee of a fund to pay for Mr Rahman to challenge his removal.
Mr McCluskey’s message was delivered to (the) public meeting, packed with hundreds of protesters, by Andrew Murray, the union’s chief of staff. “Unite is proud to associate itself with Lutfur Rahman,” Mr Murray said. “We have worked closely with him.” He urged Labour to take back Mr Rahman, a former party member.
Mr Rahman is being reported to the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority and may face bankruptcy because costs in the case are estimated at £1 million.
Ken Livingstone, the former London mayor and another National Executive member, sent a supportive video message, blaming Mr Rahman’s ousting on “this huge underlying fear of Islam”.
Mr Rahman was cheered as he made his first public appearance since being removed. He announced his preferred successor, a local councillor, Rabina Khan. She will fight Labour next month in the election for a new mayor. “That mayor will come from the independents, inshallah,” Mr Rahman said. “I am exploring the possibility of a legal challenge. I am no longer a mayor. I may have fallen but I am not broken.”
George Galloway, the Respect party founder, sent a video message pledging support for Ms Khan. Many of the speakers backing Mr Rahman were veterans of the hard left with years of activism in the Socialist Workers Party, Communist Party of Great Britain and Respect. In condemning his removal, they blamed “racism” 18 times and “Islamophobia” 12 times.
After I posted an article highly critical of the new Whitney Museum building in New York on City Journal’s website, a commentator kindly suggested that readers turn to a review in the Guardian by its architectural and design correspondent, Oliver Wainwright, for “a more balanced” view of the building, designed by Renzo Piano. Wainwright’s article begins: “Crashing into New York’s Meatpacking district, like some great Arctic icebreaker washed up from the Hudson and run aground on the High Line, the new Whitney Museum makes an unlikely container for a beacon of modern art. It is an awkward hulk, lurching this way and that with a clumsy gait, somehow managing to channel the nearby vernacular of warehouse sheds, refrigeration stores and district heating plants into one gigantic industrial lump.”
One might think that to describe a building in such language is to condemn it out of hand. In modern art criticism, however, words which would once have conveyed disapprobation no longer always do so. Just as Milton’s Satan made evil his goodness on his expulsion from Heaven, so art critics now seem sometimes to make ugliness their beauty. Speaking of the Whitney’s previous home, Wainwright writes: “The singular mastery of Marcel Breuer’s building . . . comes from being at once fortresslike and cosy. It is an abrasive brute that you also want to cuddle. As an inverted grey ziggurat that projects out aggressively over the street, surveying its surrounds with a sinister Cyclopean eye, it was a shocking arrival to the neighbourhood. But it was also an entrancing one.”
An aggressive, abrasive, Cyclopean brute: could any description be more damning? And yet the writer wants to cuddle the building he describes in this fashion. In private, this perverse desire to hug such a brute would be, if not attractive, at least morally permissible. But architecture is a public art; it imposes itself on whole populations. Architects have no right to play Frankenstein, and critics have a duty not to praise the monsters that the Frankenstein architects create.
“From the outside,” Wainwright continues, the new Whitney “might be shockingly ugly to most eyes, but it trumpets its awkwardness in a strangely compelling way. It is all elbows, but gradually, thin slivers of sense can be read in the great industrial bricolage. To the east, it sprouts a big steel gantry, once again recalling the terraced decks of an oil rig, or the fire escapes of nearby brownstones— another detail sampled from the low-key, rough-and-ready context.”
Moral and aesthetic evasiveness can go no further. Does “trumpeting awkwardness” in some way cancel out ugliness, and if so, why? Does the boldness of a criminal make his act any the less criminal? Note also that the author refrains from saying whether he (as against, presumably, most people) finds the building shockingly ugly. Nor is there any explanation as to why the ability to read “thin slivers of sense” (would it be better or worse if they were thick slices instead?) from “the great industrial bricolage” should—whatever to do so actually means—be a virtue in a great public building ostensibly dedicated to art.
If this evasive and cowardly verbiage is “balance,” let us be unbalanced.
Police have today been forced to publish a damning child sexual exploitation problem profile document after a Birmingham Mail campaign - and admitted 'significant similarities' to the Rotherham abuse scandal.
The 120-plus page report, released only after our Freedom of Information request, reveals startling new details about the on-street grooming gangs and online perverts targeting our children.
The document tells how the CSE situation in Birmingham has 'significant similarities' with Rotherham, where 1,600victims were abused by Asian grooming gangs.
The new West Midland reports states: There are significant similarities to the Rotherham victim/offender and location
profiles. It goes on to state:
*The majority of offenders are typically Asian, of Pakistani origin, aged from 17 to 40.
*A number of Organised Crime Groups associated with CSE exist in the West Midlands. Many are associated with areas of high population densities of Pakistan heritage.
*Victims are typically, but not exclusively, white females aged 13 to 16. . .
* . . . Home Debriefs suggest victims are transported widely across the West Midlands and the wider region whilst missing and are abused by multiple men.
*Targeting of victims takes place mainly at children’s homes and schools. Offending typically takes place in private houses or hotels often under the guise of “house” parties.
In terms of offenders, the report states: "A profile dating back to 2010 identifies that the majority of suspects and or offenders are Asian (79 per cent) with a large proportioin being of Pakistani heritage and are likely to be from a Muslim faith background. Subsequent profiles identify offenders as typically Asian of Pakistani heritage and aged from 17 to 40 years of age with an average age of (redacted). 49 per cent of offenders live in Birmingham...."
West Midlands Police and the region’s seven local authorities jointly commissioned the in-depth problem profile for both on-street and online CSE last year, but the findings were never made public.
Yet Birmingham City Council had played down the ethnicity link when it published its own report into CSE in November, called We Need To Get It Right. It stated: “The high-profile cases have largely drawn explicit attention to the girls being ‘white’ and the perpetrators ‘Asian’. Our evidence has shouted out that the exploitation can happen to anybody irrespective of where you live or your family circumstances.’’
The Prophet Mohammed is considered the ideal man worthy of emulation by all true Muslims. In many ways the goal of Islam is the imitation of the life of Mohammed. All Muslims should strive to be just like Mohammed.
So, let us count the ways Muslims are still attempting to be like their Prophet.
Mohammed led or directed 74 military actions. In the last 10 years of his life that was one act of bloody violence every month and a half. The doctrine of Jihad arose as a direct formulation of the excessive violence perpetuated by Mohammed. Only Islam of all the world’s religion has a theology of aggressive warfare. In one afternoon Mohammed presided over the beheading of 800 Jewish men and boys.
That same night Mohammed raped the widow of one of the Jewish men killed earlier that day. He routinely endorsed the right of Muslim soldiers to rape women they had captured.
Also, Mohammed when he was fifty married Aisha, a six-year-old girl. Thus he instituted in Islam the practice of pedophilia. Imams even today defended routinely this horrible practice. So it is quite common to see 40-year-old men marrying 4-year-old child brides.
Mohammed endorsed slavery. He taught that all infidels could be enslaved if they were captured in jihad. Islam has had a 1400 year history of slavery. Even in the Sudan and Saudi Arabia slaves exist today in the hundreds of thousands.
Apostasy is a crime punishable by death in all the schools of Islamic jurisdiction. Islam is the only world religion that you cannot leave under any circumstance. And if you have the temerity to leave you will be killed in most countries who fully implement Sharia law.
Mohammed was also a thief. One of his cardinal teachings was that Muslims had an Allah given right to the possessions of non-Muslims. Therefore stealing and looting were perfectly permissible actions.
Women are treated horribly under Islam. They are treated little better than beasts. Mohammed started the long tradition of abusing women, especially his wives. Misogyny is a hallmark of Islam. Stoning and lashing of women are carried out far too frequently in Islamic countries.
Lying, or sacred deception was practiced by Mohammed. Any lie that advances the cause of Islam is a meritorious deed.
So, Mohammed was a warlord, rapist, murderer, pedophile, slaver, brigand, liar and misogynist. (I am sure I have missed several of his prominent vices.) Every other religion seeks to elevate and uplift mankind. The goal of religion, with the exception of Islam, is to make humanity more decent and moral. Islam seeks to appeal to the baser elements of human nature. As long as the folly of Mohammed persists as the founder of a great religion its adherents will live in the gutter. Mohammed is precisely the problem with Islam.
And guess what, Keith Simmonds, our most dedicated crossword solver has done it again. There's a new book on offer this month, so sharpen your wits and keep playing. Our friends at Lexcentrics say this is a tough one.