Saudi Arabia labels Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Organization

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 8th, 2014

Week in Review

During the Arab Spring President Obama told Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak that he had to go.  A man who was the anchor of peace in the Middle East.  Since then the Middle East has grown less safe.  And closer to Iran.  Which hates Israel, the United States and Western Civilization.

The most organized political opposition in Egypt at the time of the Arab Spring was the Muslim Brotherhood.  An organization that Mubarak had outlawed in Egypt.  As they tended to agree more with Iran than they did with the Mubarak regime.  When they stepped in to fill the political vacuum left by Mubarak President Obama and his fellow Democrats were quick to recognize the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  Even gave them military aid.  Despite their being a terrorist organization (see Saudi Arabia lists Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah as terror groups posted 3/7/2014 on UPI).

Saudi Arabia added the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and two Syrian-based groups to its list of terrorist organizations Friday, officials said…

Abdel Latif al-Sheikh, head of the Saudi religious police, described the Brotherhood, Hezbollah, ISIS and al-Nusra Front as groups “ruled from outside to serve political purposes.”

“They are groups that fight moderate Muslims and are causing troubles around the world. This is what we consider against Islamic principles and has given a negative impression about Muslims in the West,” Sheikh said.

Here’s something you don’t hear often.  Or ever.  A Muslim nation speaking out against Islamist extremism.  But Saudi Arabia prefers peace.  Which is why they liked Hosni Mubarak.  And were very unhappy seeing him go.  Especially with the Muslim Brotherhood replacing the Mubarak regime.  Mubarak kept the peace.  The Saudis liked that.  Even though they don’t much care for Israel.  But they would take a peaceful world with Israel in it any day over a world without Israel if it meant having no peace.

Israel is not the source of all the unrest in the Middle East.  There is a huge divide in Islam that has killed more than any war or occupation involving Israel has killed.  Sunni versus Shia.  Saudi Arabia is Sunni.  Egypt, too.  While Iran is Shia.  Saudi Arabia prefers peace.  Iran prefers revolution.  Which is why Hosni Mubarak was good for Egypt.  Saudi Arabia. Israel.  The Middle East.  And world peace.  The Saudis understood this.  Which is why they call the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.  While the Obama administration does not.  Which is why they gave military aid to the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Things go from Bad to Worse in the Middle East as American Allies fall on Opposite Sides of the Egyptian Power Struggle

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 24th, 2013

Week in Review

Some may think the Middle East is a homogenous region.  Where all Muslim people are the same and think alike.  But it’s not.  And they’re not.  There are huge divides between people in the Middle East.  There isn’t just tension between the United States and this region.  There’s tension between the different Muslim people.  Something President Obama apparently didn’t know with his ‘let’s make nice to Muslims so our former enemies don’t hate us’ foreign policy.  The geopolitical power struggles that exist everywhere else in the world exist, too, in the Middle East.  And you just can’t treat everyone the same (see Obama Caught Between Polarized Allies in Egypt Crisis by Terry Atlas posted 4-19-2013 on Bloomberg).

U.S. regional allies such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey are backing opposite sides in the violent power struggle in Egypt, complicating U.S. diplomacy as the most populous Arab nation is torn by conflict.

In pressing Egypt’s interim government — and the military leaders who hold the real power — for political reconciliation with Islamist protesters, President Barack Obama is finding that U.S. influence is being challenged by financial and political support from Middle East countries pursuing their own stakes in Egypt’s future…

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have pledged billions of dollars in aid to the new Egyptian government. Qatar was a financial backer of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi’s administration, and Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced last week’s government crackdown on pro-Mursi protesters as a “massacre.”

“What Qatar and Turkey say is almost a 180-degree opposite of what the Emirates and the Saudis are saying publicly,” Katulis said.

There was a balance of power in the Middle East.  And because there was a balance of power there was peace in the Middle East.  And there was one man instrumental in keeping that peace.  Hosni Mubarak.  American friend and ally.  And friend of our other friends and allies in the region.  Those who want to maintain the balance of power.  And the peace.  And our friends were not happy when President Obama told Hosni Mubarak he had to go.  Especially Saudi Arabia.  Who is trying to check the spread of radical Islamism spreading in the region.  Something Mubarak did.  Because he and his allies and friends didn’t want radical Islamism spreading through the region.  And neither does the United States.

Yet President Obama threw the one man that was instrumental in suppressing Islamist revolution in the region, by suppressing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, under the bus.  And did nothing as the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power.  Even recognizing the anti-American Muslim Brotherhood as the legitimate ruler of Egypt.  Despite warnings from every quarter.  As the Muslim Brotherhood inspired/spawned Hamas, Hezbollah and al Qaeda.  All anti-Western terrorist organizations.  All anti-Israeli terrorist organizations.  And all anti-American terrorist organizations.  These are the people that President Obama said the U.S. can work with.  Despite their credo being: “God is our objective, the Koran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, struggle [jihad] is our way, and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.”  These are the people that President Obama wanted to make nice to so they would stop hating us.  Because he was naive and inexperienced.  And tended to believe a little too much of the myth-making the American media was spreading about him.

The balance of power and the peace it brought is now gone.  And the U.S. has allies falling on both sides of the Egyptian power struggle.  What a mess.  And it’s not isolated to Egypt.  The Muslim Brotherhood is spreading its tentacles throughout the region.  Making the Middle East a tinderbox.  Where it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.  Sadly.

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Constantinople, Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire, the New World, Tobacco and Slavery

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 16th, 2013

History 101

With the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 Islam spread Unchecked into Christian Lands

Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman Empire to a place on the Bosporus.  Where the ancient city of Byzantium once sat.  Where Asia met Europe.  Where the Mediterranean Sea met the Black Sea.  And the great rivers beyond.  The Danube.  Dnieper.  And the Don.  Constantine named his new city Constantinople.  And made it a jewel.  With great Christian churches.  To celebrate his new conversion to Christianity.  Which started following the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.  Where on the eve of battle Constantine and his soldiers had a vision of the Christian God.  Promising them victory if they placed His symbol on their shields.  Which they did.  And they won.

Constantine spared no expense in his new city.  Which was easy to do because it was a very wealthy city.  For the greatest trade routes went through the Bosporus.  Which is why when the western half of the Roman Empire fell the eastern half, or the Byzantine Empire, carried on for another thousand years.  Give or take.  As it thrived on that trade pouring through it.  Especially from the Far East.  Along the Silk Road.  Which peaked during the Byzantine Empire.  Bringing the exotic goods of the Far East west.  From silk to porcelain to spices.  Which flowed unhindered to Christian Europe while the Christians still controlled the Byzantine Empire.

But all good things must come to an end.  Thanks to the Seljuk Turks.  And the rise of the Ottoman Empire.  Islam had united the Arab people.  And with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 Islam spread unchecked into Christian lands.  Up through the Balkans into southern Europe.  Lands they would contest for time and again.  Making for some bitter Christian-Muslim animosity that continues into modern times.  But more crucially at the time was the loss of control over that trade from the Far East.  Making those goods not as reasonably priced as they once were.  Which proved to be quite the problem.  As the European Christians had grown quite fond of them.  Luckily for them, they could do something about that.  Thanks to all of those wars they fought with the Muslims.  The Crusades.  Which brought back a lot of Greek books of science that were collecting dust in some of the old great Greek cities all around the Mediterranean.  Founded during the Hellenistic period.  Which came before the Roman Empire.  Thanks to a fellow by the name of Alexander the Great.  Who spread Greek learning throughout the known world after he conquered it.

Christopher Columbus sailed West to establish Far East Trade without going through Muslim-Controlled Constantinople

From those books the Europeans were able to become better sailors.  On ships that could catch the wind and navigate their way great distances.  Portugal and Spain led the way.  Prince Henry (1394-1460), the Navigator, trained navigators in Portugal.  His students pushed further and further down the African coast until Bartholomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope (1486).  Vasco de Gama would round the Cape of Good Hope and sail up the eastern coast of Africa all the way to India (1498).  Pedro Álvares Cabral was heading south to round the Cape of Good Hope in (1500).  Swung out too far west.  And ran into Brazil in South America.

Spain then financed the voyages of Christopher Columbus.  Who had read that the earth was round.  And wanted to prove it.  As well as spread Christianity.  Columbus wanted to find a way west to the Far East.  Sure it was just beyond the horizon of the Atlantic Ocean.  After a voyage longer than his near mutinous crew expected they finally landed on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas (1492).  Thinking he found an ocean passage to the Far East.  Around the Muslim controlled land route.  He would later understand that he had found the New World.  Which we would be calling Columbia.  Had his dispatches beat a Florentine passenger’s on a Portuguese ship who wrote about what he saw.  Amerigo Vespucci.  Which is why there is not a North Columbia, a Central Columbia and a South Columbia.  Instead, there is a North America, a Central America and a South America.

With Columbus’ success Spain financed others.  Vasco Núñez Balboa.  Who crossed the Isthmus of Panama and reached the Pacific Ocean (1513).  Ferdinand Magellan.  Who sailed around South America through the Straits of Magellan and into the Pacific Ocean.  Sailing on to the Far East.  And back home.  Being the first to circumnavigate the globe (1519-1522).  Hernán Cortés.  Who conquered the brutal Aztec regime in Mexico (1521).  Eventually the Spanish would bring great riches of gold and silver back to the Old World.  Meanwhile France financed Jacques Cartier in his attempt to find a Northwest Passage to the Pacific.  Who sailed up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal (1534).  Then Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec (1608).  Where they established a lucrative fur trade with the native Indians.

Cultivating Tobacco took Large Tracts of Farmland which required more Laborers that they had in the Colonies

Queen Elizabeth of England financed Walter Raleigh.  Who explored the coast of North America (1584).  Looking for a place to settle a colony.  On a subsequent voyage he brought 100 settlers with him.  And settled a colony at Roanoke, North Carolina (1585).  Which became the Lost Colony of Roanoke (1591).  The Virginia Company of London, a joint-stock company, would have better luck.  They raised financing by selling stock shares to investors who would share in any profits of the colony.  Christopher Newport led a voyage that established the first permanent English settlement in the New World.  At Jamestown (1607).

Though the Americas were not the Far East it was a vast landmass with inexhaustible resources.  And endless tracts of fertile soil.  The possibilities were endless.  The marriage of John Rolfe to Pocahontas (1614) provided an uneasy peace between the settlers and their Indian neighbors.  Then Rolfe figured out how to cure tobacco (1612).  Something the English began smoking after Columbus observed the Cubans sticking burning rolls of tobacco in a nostril.  The English refined smoking with a pipe.  And they really enjoyed it.  Importing vast quantities from the Spanish colonies in America.  Thanks to Rolfe, though, the English could produce their own tobacco.  Once they worked out a few problems.

Cultivating tobacco took large tracts of farmland.  But to put large tracts of farmland into production you needed laborers.  And in 1612 Virginia there just weren’t a lot of colonists living there yet.  The demand for labor far outstripped the supply.  So they tried to satisfy that demand with indentured servants.  Preferably from Europe.  Even criminals from English jails.  As well as from Africa.  Who worked in bondage during their indentures.  Then went free.  Until around the 1660s.  When things changed.  Starting in the southern colonies.  Where slavery became hereditary.  For Africans, at least.  Like it was in the Old World.  Where peasants and serfs were bonded to the land.  Once a slave.  Always a slave.  And if your parent was a slave so were you.  Like it was in ancient Athens.  At the end of the Western Roman Empire.  And in the Muslim world.

Muslim didn’t only enslave Christians.  They also established slave markets with African slave traders.  Who opened their markets to the Portuguese, the Spanish, the French and the English.  To help them meet that soaring demand for labor during the early days of the New World colonies.  When there were so few colonists.  Who found their way to the New World in the first place because of the Muslim conquest of Constantinople.  Which sent the Europeans to the seas to find a western way to the Far East.  And when they did they discovered the New World.  Creating the largest market ever for African slaves.  And the greatest convulsions in the New World as they struggled to end slavery in the Americas.

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Cane Sugar, Crystallized Sugar, Sugar Trade, West Indies, Wealth and War

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 7th, 2013

History 101

As Muslim displaced Christians from the Lands of the Roman Empire Sugar moved West

There is a war on sugar.  It’s making us fat.  And it’s making us sick.  Because it tastes so damn good.  We crave it.  And always have.  Since the first days we chewed on sugarcane.  Sucking out the juice.  Which was where that sweet delight was.  It was so good that the people in New Guinea (just north of Australia) learned how to plant it and raise it themselves.  Instead of just looking for it in the wild.  Around the eighth millennium BC.  From there it spread.  North.  To Southeast Asia.  Southern China.  And into India.  Where they took sugar to the next level.  They didn’t just chew on sugarcane to suck out the juice in India.  They refined it into a crystallized substance.  Around 350 AD.  Concentrating that sweetness.  And making it portable.  Then the Arabs entered the picture.

The Arabs took the Indian sugar-making technique and made it into big business.  They established plantations to grow it in tropical climes.  Where the two things that made sugarcane grow best—heat and water—were plentiful.  They built the first sugar mills to refine the cane.  Basically presses to squeeze out the juice.  Which they then boiled the water out of.  Leaving behind sugar crystals.  And added it to their foods.  As Muslim Arabs displaced Christians from the lands of the Roman Empire sugar moved west.  The Arabs introduced sugarcane plantations as far west as southern Spain.  When Christian Crusaders returned from fighting Muslims in the Holy Land they brought back crystallized sugar to Europe.  And they quickly fell in love with those white crystals.  By the late 13th century even England had grown a sweet-tooth.  Who would go on to consume so much of the stuff that they would rot their teeth away.

Then the Europeans entered the sugar business in the 15th century.  At first it was just the wealthy that enjoyed sugar.  Then it spread to the common people.  As demand grew they established new plantations to meet that demand.  In southern Spain.  The Atlantic island of Madeira.  The Canary Islands.  The Cape Verde islands off the west coast of Africa.  All had good growing climates for sugarcane.  And each plantation had its own processing plant.  For a ship’s hold full of crystallized sugar was far more valuable than a ship’s hold full of harvested sugarcane.  Making these plantations labor intensive endeavors.  And working the fields was backbreaking work.  To step up production required a larger labor force than was available.  And to meet that demand they turned to using African slaves.

Sugar was a Turning Point from an Agrarian World of Slaves and Indentured Servants to the Modern Industrial World

By the 16th century the Europeans were taking sugarcane across the Atlantic.  And African slaves.  The Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French and British brought sugarcane and slaves to Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados, the Virgin Islands, Guadaloupe, Saint-Domingue (present day Haiti) and elsewhere in the Americas.  With the Caribbean Islands becoming the sugar capital of the world.  France’s Saint-Domingue being the single largest producer in the world.  Until their slave uprising.  It was France’s wealthiest possession in the Western Hemisphere.  And its loss changed French ambition in the New World.  For Napoleon had his eyes on rebuilding the French Empire in North America that was so rudely interrupted by France’s loss in the Seven Years’ War.  But with the loss of Saint-Domingue and all that sugar wealth Napoleon lost all interest in the New World.  And sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States.  To prepare for war with Britain.  Again.

The British and the French both had lucrative sugar plantations in the West Indies.  When the American Revolutionary War turned into a world war the British and French squared off once again.  Especially in the West Indies.  Where they wanted to protect their possessions producing that valuable sugar.  And take the other’s possessions.  So they could expand their holdings.  And their wealth from the sugar trade.  As well as put down any slave uprisings.  Such as would later happen in Saint-Domingue.  Some say the reason the British lost the American Revolutionary War was because they diverted too much of their military resources to the Caribbean.  But the French were diverting a lot of their military resources to the Caribbean, too.  Which is one reason why the war lasted 8 years.  As the French were more interested in taking the British possessions in the West Indies than American independence.  Their first efforts fighting alongside the Americans (Rhode Island in 1778.  Savannah, Georgia, in 1779) did not help the cause.  It was only when the French fleet could be spared from the action in the West Indies that they joined General Washington in trapping General Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781.  With Cornwallis’ surrender effectively ending the war.  Even though they wouldn’t sign the final peace treaty until 1783.

By the end of the international slave trade Europeans sent approximately 10 million Africans to the New World.  Mostly to Brazil and the Caribbean.  To work in the sugar plantations.  Where slave ships left Africa.  They unloaded slaves in the New World.  Loaded the sugar these slaves grew.  Shipped the sugar back to the Old World.  Unloaded the sugar and loaded on finished goods.  Then sailed back to the African slave stations.  Where they traded their finished goods for more slaves.  There was big money in The Trade Triangle (trade from Africa to the New World to the Old World and back to Africa).  But sugar also helped to kick off the Industrial Revolution.  For the iron industry grew to make the machinery of the sugar mills.  As each plantation processed their sugarcane into crystallized sugar that was a lot of cast iron gears, sprockets, levers, axles, boilers, etc.  Basically a turning point from an agrarian world of slaves and indentured servants.  To the modern industrial world and wage-earners.

There is a Correlation between America’s Obesity Problem and the Switch from Cane Sugar to Corn Sugar

By the 19th century technology was making better sugar at lower costs.  The British designed a low-pressure boiler.  As water boils at a lower temperature when at lower pressure they were able to refine sugar with less energy.  Cutting production costs.  And waste.  As higher temperatures caramelized some of the sugar.  Though caramelized sugar can be delicious on crème brûlée you don’t want it when you’re producing crystallized sugar to sell.  Then the Americans improved this process by creating the multiple-effect evaporator.  A multi-stage device where the pressure is lower in each successive stage.  They use steam to boil water in the first stage.  This vapor then provides the energy to boil water in the next stage.  Which is at a lower pressure.  And, therefore, has a lower boiling point.  That vapor then boils water in the next stage which is at a lower pressure.  And so on.  Where one energy input creates a lot of useful work cost-efficiently.

With the advance in refining equipment refinery plants grew more complex.  And expensive.  So instead of building one on every plantation they built fewer but larger ones.  And shipped raw product to them.  Modern ships and economies of scale made this the new business model.  Companies grew and opened other refineries.  And expanded vertically.  Growing sugarcane as well as refining it.  One of the best at this was the American Sugar Refining Company.  That at one point controlled 98% of the sugar processing capacity in the United States.  Which earned it a spot on the original Dow Dozen.  The first 12 industrial stocks the Dow used in calculating their Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1896.  And remained a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average until 1930.

Eventually the Americans couldn’t compete with foreign sugar producers any more.  They enlisted the help of Congress to impose tariffs on cane sugar imports.  Forcing Americans to pay more for their sugar.  Then they started making sugar out of government subsidized corn.  High-fructose corn syrup.  Which pretty much sweetens anything manufactured in the United States today.  That some say causes more health problems than cane sugar.  Including obesity.  Those in the high-fructose corn syrup business vehemently deny this.  But there is a correlation between America’s obesity problem and the switch from cane sugar to corn sugar.  Because of the different way the body metabolized corn sugar it did not satiate our appetite.  Leading us to over consume.  Such as with sugary drinks.  Which have gotten so large in size that New York City Mayor Bloomberg tried to make these large sizes illegal.  Because America’s over consumption of sugar was making us obese.  While Britain’s over consumption of cane sugar only rotted their teeth away.  It didn’t make them obese.  Which makes the case that corn sugar is less healthy than cane sugar.  Despite what the corn sugar lobby says.

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The American Left and Islamic Extremism

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 25th, 2013

Politics 101

Osama bin Laden may be Dead but Islamic Extremism is on the Rise

It didn’t take long to blame America for the Boston Marathon bombings.  Before we knew who the bombers were those on the left were hoping and praying that the bombers were radical conservatives.  A rightwing militia nut.  Or a member of the Tea party.  Anyone but a Muslim.  And when we learned that the bombers were Muslim the Left found new ways to blame America.  For the left hates conservatives.  And for some reason has a soft spot for radical Islamists.  Radical Islam is not to blame for the bombings.  The War in Afghanistan is.  The Iraq War.  And all of those drone strikes.  In general it’s this imperial aggression of America that is to blame.  Not this poor 19-year old kid and his brother.  And until we learn this we are going to keep radicalizing innocent 19-year old kids.  Making them place bombs next to 8-year old boys.

The Americans helped liberate Libya from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.  Who had become an American ally in the War on Terror after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.  Despite this we helped the rebels based in Benghazi overthrow Gaddafi.  Who they eventually caught.  And killed without a trial.  Since then Benghazi grew into a hotbed of anti-Western Islamic radicalism.  Despite the West having helped them overthrow Gaddafi.  It got so bad that after an attempt on the life of the British ambassador the British pulled out of Benghazi.  While the American ambassador asked his superiors for additional security.  Which his superiors denied.  Because President Obama had won the War on Terror.  Osama bin Laden is dead.  And General Motors is alive.  This was their campaign slogan.  We should reelect the president because he won the War on Terror.  By killing bin Laden.  It was just like President George W. Bush on that aircraft carrier.  This was President Obama’s ‘mission accomplished’ banner.  And he just couldn’t jeopardize his reelection chances by increasing security to protect the American diplomatic mission against a vanquished enemy.

So this is one reason why the left has a soft spot for radical Islamists.  To say we have a problem with radical Islamism would bring this horrible policy record to light.  Which they really didn’t want to do for it finally made the left look tough on national security.  For they have appeared weak on national defense since LBJ.  And they didn’t like LBJ being tough on national defense.  Which is why they emasculated the Defense Department afterwards.  Which was all well and fine with those on the left until our enemies started attacking us.  Giving the Republicans the advantage in elections during times when there were threats to national security.  But killing Osama bin Laden changed that.  Finally it was the left that demonstrated strength in national security.  For they won the War on Terror by killing Osama bin Laden.  Or so they believed.  Thus negating one of the Republican’s campaign advantages.  Which not only helped George W. Bush win reelection.  But it helped President Obama win reelection.  Despite one of the worst economic recoveries in U.S. history.  And a pretty poor foreign policy record.  He may have killed America’s number one enemy, Osama bin Laden, but he did nothing to help the Iranians overthrow their oppressive dictatorship.  America’s new number one enemy.  But he did help overthrow longtime American ally Hosni Mubarak.  And now Egypt is under control of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Who is closely allied with Iran.  And our thanks for helping the Libyans overthrow their oppressor?  We’re seeing al Qaeda gaining strength in Libya.  Who killed our ambassador.  And three other Americans.  So the president’s foreign policy is making the Middle East a less safe place.  And more anti-American.  But Osama bin Laden is dead.  And General Motors is alive.

The American Left fears American Conservatism more than Islamic Extremism

With the capture of 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev President Obama was anxious to downplay the bombers’ religion.  That we shouldn’t rush to judgment just because the bombers were Muslim.  He didn’t even use words like ‘Islamist’ or ‘Islamist terrorist’.  For he has worked hard to convince the American people that there is no militant Islamist element still trying to kill Americans because of their religion.  And when two radical Islamists killed and maimed Americans because of their religion he lectured Americans sternly not to make anything of this fact.

“In this age of instant reporting, tweets, and blogs, there’s a temptation to latch on to any bit of information sometimes to jump to conclusions. When a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it’s important that we do this right. That’s why we have investigations. That’s why we relentlessly gather the facts, that’s why we have courts. That’s why we take care not to rush to judgment, not about the motivations of these individuals and certainly not about entire groups of people,” he said.

And this despite Islamic extremism in the United States increasing during his presidency.  According to Wikipedia during the 8 years of George W. bush there were 5 Islamist terrorist attacks and 10 failed plots.

Islamist Attack or Foiled Plot 2001-2008

While during about 4 years of the Obama presidency things got worse.

Islamist Attack or Foiled Plot 2009-2013

*Not included on original source cited.  See Benghazi attack.

During the approximate 4 years of the Obama administration there have been 4 Islamist terrorist attacks and 18 failed plots.  So clearly Islamist extremism is getting worse.  Not better.  And yet all we hear from this administration and their allies in the mainstream media is that Islam is a religion of peace.  While the real enemy to fear is American conservatism.  Despite the record clearly showing that the thing to fear is Islamic extremism.  For it is Muslim terrorists killing Americans every chance they get.  Not American conservatives.  So why is it that the American left has such a soft spot for radical Islamists?

The Adage ‘the Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend’ has brought Radical Islamists and the American Left Together

During the 2012 presidential election the most important things to women were free birth control and abortion.  According to the Democrats.  Who advanced the idea about a Republican war on women.  When George Stephanopoulos asked Mitt Romney if he wanted to take birth control away from women.  The next thing you knew birth control and abortion were women’s health issues.  And if women didn’t vote Democrat they would die from an epidemic of cancer and never have sex again unless they were in some loveless marriage making babies instead of enjoying a career.  The ultimate goal of this strategy?  If the left can turn people away from Christianity they can turn people away from the Republican party.  For while a lot of people identify themselves as fiscally conservative a lot of these same people still identify themselves as socially liberal.  And the more they can drive a wedge between these two groups within the Republican Party the more socially liberal Republicans they can push into the Democrat Party.  Hence the relentless assault on Christianity.  Who they identify as controlling the Republican Party.  This Religious Right.  Who they paint as wanting to return women back to a time when they were obedient wives serving their masters.  Like they were in the Fifties.  This is what piety and morality was all about.  Controlling women.  And the only way to prevent this from happening was to allow women to have sex outside of marriage.  For if they can do that and have a career they would have no need for a husband.  This was real freedom.  And this was what the Republican Party and the Religious Right were against.  All the left had to do was to get these socially liberals to see this simple fact.  And they found a very simple way of doing that.  Sex.

The Left likes having their sex.  It’s what defined them in the Sixties when they kicked off the sexual revolution.  These baby boomers were so into personal gratification that they earned the moniker the Me generation.  During the Seventies they enjoyed their swinging life style.  Drugs.  And casual sex.  A lot of it.  With a lot of different partners.  Even married couples were getting into the action with open marriages and wife swapping.  It was a time of anything goes.  Whatever felt good they did.  No matter how much Christianity disapproved of it.  And were vocal about it.  Which fueled the left’s hatred of Christianity.  Who are always trying to judge them.  Telling them how they should live their lives.  Which just frosts their shorts on the left.  So they flaunted their lifestyles in front of Christians.  Mocked Christians.  Belittled them in television and the movies.  Insulting them with blasphemous images they call art.  Attacked their traditions.  And tried to remove any signs of Christianity from public life.  They removed it from our schools.  And banned Christ from Christmas displays.  When they weren’t trying to attack Christianity they were trying to change it.  By making Catholics hand out free birth control in their institutions.  Including the abortion pill.  And demanding that they changed church doctrine to recognize same-sex marriage.

So the left is no friend of Christianity.  Which brings us to why they have such a soft spot for radical Islamists.  For they hate Christianity as much as they do.  And you know what they say.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend.  So they relish radical Islam’s hatred of Christianity.  Despite radical Islam hating the lifestyle of the Godless left more than Christians.  And having a real war on women.  A brutal one at that.  Even condoning the honor killing of women.  But the left overlooks all of this and tells us we mustn’t rush to judgment whenever radical Islam kills Americans.  But we should be scared of conservative Republicans.  Because they may make us pay for own birth control.  Or may actually put the abortion issue up to a vote of the people.  Instead of leaving it to the whims of liberal Supreme Court justices.  A fate too horrible even to consider on the left.  So they attack Republicans.  And Christianity.  As well as make Faustian bargains with radical Islam.  But in radical Islam’s seething hatred of America it is the left’s lifestyle they hate most.  And while the radical Islamists are enjoying the free pass they’re getting from the American left it doesn’t mean they like them.  They may tolerate them.  Because the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  But that tolerance will be short-lived.  For radical Islam is about as tolerant as the American left.

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Like most Acts of Domestic Terrorism the Boston Bombings have a Connection to Militant Islam

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 21st, 2013

Week in Review

We’ve had some people with mental health problems obtain firearms and go on shooting sprees on soft targets.  Grade schools.  Colleges.  Theaters.  High schools.  The government’s answer to these?  Take guns away from law-abiding people.  As they don’t appear to want to track people with mental health problems.  Which would be easier.  Because there are a lot of warning signs.  Schools complain about strange and disturbing behavior.  Strange and disturbing enough to expel some people from school.  But it ends there.  And these people wander free amongst us.  Family members have even tried to get these people committed for public safety concerns.  But doing that today is so difficult that few can get people who are a danger to themselves or to the public committed.  Changing this would make grade schools, colleges, theaters and high schools safer than new gun control legislation.  For using guns is not the only way to kill soft targets (see Boston bombers: FBI hunting 12-strong terrorist “sleeper cell” linked to brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by Christopher Bucktin and Andy Lines posted 4/21/2013 on the Mirror).

The FBI was last night hunting a 12-strong terrorist “sleeper cell” linked to the Boston marathon bomb brothers.

Police believe Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were specially trained to carry out the devastating attack.

More than 1,000 FBI operatives were last night working to track down the cell and arrested a man and two women 60 miles from Boston in the hours before Dzhokhar’s dramatic capture after a bloody shootout on Friday.

A source close to the investigation said: “We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone. The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google.

“They were too advanced. Someone gave the brothers the skills and it is now our job to find out just who they were. Agents think the sleeper cell has up to a dozen members and has been waiting several years for their day to come…”

Investigators have begun piecing together how the “well-mannered” brothers of Chechen origin were radicalised. Neighbours of the family said older brother Tamerlan had recently become obsessed with Islam. He mysteriously left the US in January last year to spend six months in Russia. Yesterday senior FBI counter-terrorism official Kevin Brock said: “It’s a key thread for investigators.”

It also emerged the Bureau interviewed Tamerlan two years ago, at the request of the Russian government, but could not establish that he had ties to terrorist radicals.

This was despite his worrying Russian-language YouTube page featuring links to extremist Islamic sites and others since taken down by YouTube.

One link showed an hour-long speech by an Islamic teacher called Shaykh Feiz Mohammed, while other videos are labled “Terrorists” and “Islam”.

The radical cleric, with links to extremist British Muslims, encouraged his followers to become martyrs for Islam. He said: “Teach them this: There is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid…”

US Government officials have said the brothers were not under surveillance as possible militants. And an FBI statement said the matter was closed because interviews with Tamerlan and family members “did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign”. But now they believe the pair, who emigrated to the United States from Dagestan about a decade ago, were part of a terror cell.

If there is a sleeper cell they may be able find a trail to them by exploring the past lives of the two bombers.  There were a lot of warning signs before the bombings we missed.  Perhaps we’ll be able to see them when we’re actually looking for them.

It almost appears that we have a problem looking at people.  Whether they’re people with mental health problems.  Or domestic terrorists.  It’s as bad as our airport security.  Where we’re patting down every grandmother and child.  We need to start profiling people.  Not so much by skin color.  But by behavior.  And with good questioning.  “Where are you traveling?  Who are you visiting?  Where does he work?  What’s his boss’ name?  Where does his wife work?  How good are you at making bombs?”  Depending on the answers to these questions security either moves on to someone else.  Or they pull this person aside for further questioning.

We need well-trained and highly skilled people.  So we don’t turn the country into a police state.  Observe everyone.  Question those whose behavior looks off in some way.  And read their body language.  Is he searching for answers?  Or do they appear too well rehearsed?  Does he seem nervous?  Is he avoiding eye contact?  Is he sweating?  Does he laugh at the bomb question?  Or does he flinch involuntarily?  Does he seem different from other travelers?  Is he carrying a large backpack and doesn’t appear interested in what everyone else is interested in?  Like a marathon?  If so perhaps security should approach this person.  Talk to him.  Ask what’s inside that backpack.  And search that backpack.  You can’t search everyone standing along a marathon course.  But you can have security mingling through the crowds looking for things that are not like other things.

Of course before you can do that you have to admit that there are people out there that want to hurt us.  That there is a War on Terror.  And not explain terrorist attacks away as workplace violence (the Fort Hood shooting).  Or say that al Qaeda is on the ropes and deny additional security requests in a hot bed of Islamist activity (Benghazi).  Just because it wouldn’t look good during an election campaign where a common refrain was Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.

To fight the War on Terror will require some in government to stop putting politics first.  The gun control debate is more about passing long-desired legislation than it is about making our kids safe.  To prevent the senseless slaughter of innocent people by people with mental health problems it would be far more effective to institutionalize these people that are a risk to themselves and to the public.  And to protect us from further acts of domestic terrorism we have to be able to say words like Muslim extremist.  Militant Islamist.  Islamist terrorist.  For even Bill Maher has said that Islam is the one faith that has a history of killing Americans.  Not all Muslims are terrorists.  But Muslims carry out the majority of terrorist attacks.  And until you accept that fact how are you going to defend the United States against militant Islam?  For you can’t fight this war with one arm tied behind your back because of political correctness.  Which means when we’re profiling people we have to look at those who are most likely to kill us in a terrorist attack.  People who travel to hotbeds of Islamist activity.  Those who are kicked out of mosques for being too radical.  People who have YouTube pages featuring links to extremist Islamic sites.  And what do these all have in common?  That word the Obama administration does not like to use attached to any acts of domestic terrorism.  Muslim.

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President Obama’s Change in Policy during the Arab Spring to Support Change instead Stability spreads Instability

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 17th, 2013

Week in Review

Before the Arab Spring there was the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009.  Where thousands used social media to gather in protests over what they claimed were voting irregularities that kept President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power.  President Obama did not support the Green Revolution.  Despite Iran being a sponsor of terrorism, an enemy of the United States and the greatest threat to regional stability.  President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suppressed the uprisings.  And jailed some of the opposition.  Where some have made claims of torture and rape.  But as closed a society Iran is these claims have been unsubstantiated.  Though we have the word of the ruling regime that crushed the rebellion that there was no torture or rape.

When the Arab Spring kicked off in Tunisia in 2010 President Obama announced a change in policy.  The U.S. would support change in the Arab world instead of stability.  When the Arab Spring spread to Egypt in 2011 President Obama told Hosni Mubarak that he had to step down from power.  Despite being a stalwart U.S. ally.  An enemy to al Qaeda.  And being the anchor of stability in the Middle East and North Africa.  Now the Muslim Brotherhood is in power there.  Who has close ties with Iran.

When the Arab Spring spread to Libya President Obama supported the opposition based in Benghazi.  Despite Colonel Muammar Gaddafi renouncing terrorism.  And being an ally of America in their War on Terror.  Like Mubarak he oppressed radical Islamists including al Qaeda.  Which explains why al Qaeda was part of the opposition trying to overthrow Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.  They hated him.  And his oppression of anti-western  radical Islamists.  President Obama supported the opposition.  Gave them weapons.  And helped enforce a no-fly zone.  In 2012 Islamists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  Killing 4 Americans.  Including the Libyan ambassador.  Chris Stevens.  Perhaps killed with weapons we brought into Libya.

When the Arab Spring spread to Syria President Obama did not support the opposition.  Despite Syria being a sponsor of terrorism.  And a close ally of Iran.  As Syria broke down into civil war al Qaeda joined the opposition.  Making any U.S. support now even more complicated.  However Syria turns out it will be a foreign policy failure.  In fact the foreign policy of President Obama has been to abandon U.S. allies that bring stability to the region.  While not getting involved in uprisings in states hostile to the U.S.  Bringing great instability to the Middle East and Northern Africa.  And beyond (see Police: 7 foreigners kidnapped in north Nigeria by SHEHU SAULAWA and JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press, posted 2/17/2013 on Yahoo! News).

Gunmen attacked a camp for a construction company in rural northern Nigeria, killing a guard and kidnapping seven foreign workers from Britain, Greece, Italy Lebanon and the Philippines, authorities said Sunday, in the biggest kidnapping yet in a region under attack by Islamic extremists…

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the abductions, though Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north has been under attack by the radical Islamic sect known as Boko Haram in the last year and a half. The country’s weak central government has been unable to stop the group’s bloody guerrilla campaign of shootings and bombings. The sect is blamed for killing at least 792 people in 2012 alone, according to an AP count.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s north, has demanded the release of all its captive members and called for strict Shariah law to be implemented across the entire country. The sect has killed both Christians and Muslims in their attacks, as well as soldiers and security forces…

Foreigners, long abducted by militant groups and criminal gangs for ransom in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta, have become increasingly targeted in Nigeria’s north as the violence has grown. However, abductions of foreigners in the north have seen hostages regularly killed…

Foreign embassies in Nigeria have issued travel warnings regarding northern Nigeria for months. Worries about abductions have increased in recent weeks with the French military intervention in Mali, as its troops and Malian soldiers try to root out Islamic fighters who took over that nation’s north in the months following a military coup. Last week, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, put out a warning following the killings of polio workers in the northern city of Kano and the killing of the North Korean doctors.

President Obama campaigned in 2012 that al Qaeda was on the ropes.  While blaming the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans on a spontaneous uprising because of a YouTube video.  Which if it was it means the average Libyan on the street in Benghazi walks around carrying heavy weapons.  Which is highly unlikely.  Then again, the opposition the U.S. supported in Benghazi included al Qaeda.  So maybe they did walk around the streets of Benghazi with heavy weapons.  Just waiting for dates with symbolic meaning (9/11) to attack Americans.

President Obama got what he wanted.  Change instead of stability.  For there is little stability in the Middle East or North Africa.  And now in West Africa.  Where Islamists and al Qaeda affiliates are reaching into Algeria.  Mali.  And Nigeria.  Radical Islamists are spreading their reach throughout the Middle East and Africa and in other parts of the world.  Fueled by the decline of U.S. influence.  And a rise in Iranian influence.  The winner in the Arab Spring?  It would appear that it is the radical Islamists that are benefitting most from the Arab Spring.  While the people in these countries go from a somewhat western culture of liberty (especially for women) towards oppressive theocracies.  Just as the Iranian people did during the Iranian Revolution in 1979.  No doubt the Iranian women who protested the Shah of Iran rue the day they ever joined that protest movement.  For they have none of the liberties they enjoyed under the Shah.

Guess this is what happens when you abandon your friends and help your enemies.  Your friends suffer while your enemies grow stronger.  And the world grows a more dangerous place.

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2012 Endorsements: Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 1st, 2012

2012 Election

Workers Enthusiastically Supported the Nazi Party because it had the Word ‘Workers’ in It

Adolf Hitler joined the German Workers’ Party (DAP) in 1919.  The party platform included nationalist, anti-capitalist and anti-Marxist policy positions.  As well as being anti-Semitic.  A socialist party where everyone was equal.  Unless you were a Jew.  Something Hitler could wrap his arms around.  As he would blame the Jews for Germany’s loss in World War I.  A war in which Hitler served as a messenger.  Even got awarded for bravery.  And he would later blame the bad German economy on the Jews as well.  Having a scapegoat is very important if you want dictatorial powers.  For you have to attack someone as you really can’t run on a platform of wanting dictatorial power so you can oppress your people.  The DAP became the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP).  And Hitler designed the party banner.  Creating the swastika.  And the Nazi Party.

Now there isn’t a whole lot of difference between socialism and Marxism.  They are both about sharing the wealth and both are anti-capitalist.  The real reason Hitler hated Marxism is that they were a strong contender for power in Germany.  Power that Hitler wanted for his National Socialists.  And for him.  Which he consolidated by scapegoating, lying and using his personal charisma.  Another important quality for one aspiring to be a dictator.  To create a cult of personality.  Hero worship.  You have to be able to charm the masses so they don’t look that close at your policies.  Or your record.  Germans voted Hitler into office.  He didn’t seize power.  They fell in love with him.  But they had no idea what they were voting for.  World War.  Genocide.  He just moved them so much that they were willing to trust him fully.  Even when some began to learn about what was happening at the death camps or what the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squads) were doing on the Eastern Front they told themselves that the Führer was doing what he had to do to protect the German people.  Or, at the least, they blamed these atrocities on excesses of the SS and not their beloved Fuehrer.  Or simply chose not to believe these reports.

The Nazis created an employment boom coming off of the Great Depression.  With massive public works projects.  And an aggressive rearmament program to prepare for World War II.   The war economy made industry hum.  Paid for with funds confiscated from enemies of the state.  And through massive monetary expansion.  That is, they printed a lot of money.  Causing a lot of price inflation which raised the cost of living for the working German.  Businesses were buried in red tape.  The Nazi state controlled everything.  Including the private sector.  Complying with Nazi regulations took up about half of all communications for those in business.  As one task could require up to 40 forms.  Probably in triplicate.  The Nazis shut down small businesses and small corporations.  Wanting to deal only with big industry.  So they could better control the businesses.  And the workers.  Business people once warmly supported Hitler during the ascent of his power only to discover later that Hitler was ruining German industry.  Making them to regret their previous support.  As did the workers.  Who enthusiastically supported a party that had the word ‘workers’ in it.  Only to see higher prices.  Lower wages.  Longer hours.  No collective bargaining.  No right to strike.  High income taxes.  Compulsory contributions for sickness, unemployment and disability insurance.  Union dues (for a union that represented the state, not the worker).  As time passed they even lost the ability to quit their job.  Or change jobs.  Being forever chained to the job the state chose for them.  Which worked well to maximize industrial output.  And to prepare for war.

After 9/11 George W. Bush kept America Safe from another al Qaeda Attack while he was in Office

America’s problem with radical Islam probably dates back to the Iranian Hostage Crisis (1979).  Then came the United States Embassy Bombing (1983) in Beirut.  And then the Beirut Barracks Bombing (1983) that killed 241 Americans.  Who were there in a peace-keeping mission during the Lebanese Civil War.  To be neutral referees between the warring Muslim and Christian sides.  Where the Muslims felt that although the Americans claimed neutrality in the conflict they leaned Christian.  Hence the bombing of the Barracks.  There was no real American retaliation for the attack.  As they weren’t certain who was responsible.  With other threats to American forces President Reagan eventually abandoned the mission and pulled out US forces.  One person took great interest in this American response to terror.  Osama bin Laden.  Who learned the following lesson.  When Americans suffer casualties they quit.

Islamist attacks (and plans for attacks) against American targets increased during the Nineties.  Perhaps the most shocking being the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing.  An attempt to topple the Twin Towers that failed.  Then came the New York City Landmark Bomb Plot (1993).  The Khobar Towers Bombing (1996).  The United States Embassy Bombings (1998).  The Millennium Attack Plots (2000).  The USS Cole Bombing (2000).  Then 9/11.  An attempt to topple the Twin Towers that succeeded.  Until 9/11 we treated all of these events as criminal offences.  Not acts of war.  We talked about bringing these people to justice.  In a court of law.  Despite bin Laden having declared war against the United States back in 1996.  Well, after 9/11 George W. Bush declared war against Osama bin Laden.  And his terrorist organization.  Al Qaeda.

Bush attacked bin Laden’s safe haven in Afghanistan.  Chasing him underground.  Bush invaded Iraq.  In part to pressure Saudi Arabia to crack down on the Wahhabi in their kingdom financing al Qaeda as the Saudis feared Iran filling any power void in Iraq.  Which made American success in Iraq important to the Saudis.  (The Wahhabi hated the Saudi Royal family as much as they hated America.  While the Saudis had to tread lightly around the Wahhabi lest they provoke a civil war in the kingdom).  It worked.  Bush captured Islamist terrorists and sent them to a detention center at the US Naval facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Interrogating them for intelligence.  As enemy combatants.  Not as people with American Constitutional protections.  Which helped to thwart future terrorist plots.  Causing the Islamist world to hate George W. Bush with a passion.  But he kept America safe from another al Qaeda attack while he was in office.

If Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden were Alive Today they would likely Endorse Barack Obama and Joe Biden

Things changed under President Obama.  Who also hated George W. Bush.  Blaming him for the Muslim hatred against America.  So he tried to offer a softer, friendly face to the Muslim world.  He stopped using the term ‘War on Terror’.  He wanted to try some 9/11 terrorists in the civilian court system in New York City.  Instead of by military tribunal.  He said the US would no longer torture people.  And promised to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.  When a radical Muslim in the US Army killed fellow soldiers on an Army base because of America’s ‘crimes against Islam’ the president called that workplace violence.  Not terrorism.  A lot of these things the Islamists liked.  But President Obama also killed indiscriminately with unmanned drones.  Anyone killed that wasn’t on the kill-list was deemed an enemy combatant.  So collateral damage of innocents was greatly reduced.  By simply calling everyone killed an enemy combatant.  And by killing all terrorist and terrorist-adjacent people there were no prisoners to house.  But there was also no intelligence to gather.  Which had its drawbacks.

Years of interrogations and intelligence gathering eventually located Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.  When advised President Obama gave the ‘go’ order to kill him.  So in one day the president killed bin Laden.  Defeated al Qaeda.  And ended the War on Terror.  Something the president likes to say over and over again.  A never ending spiking of the football.  This relentless bragging and the unmanned drone attacks inflamed the Islamist world.  Providing a great recruiting tool for al Qaeda.  Possibly being the impetus for the attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi.  Which was left poorly protected.  Even after the American ambassador requested additional protection.  Especially around the anniversary of 9/11.  But someone in the Obama administration denied the request because President Obama had killed Osama bin Laden.  And defeated al Qaeda.  And having to beef up security in Benghazi would have gone against that narrative.  So they didn’t.

So if Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden were alive today who would they endorse in the 2012 election?  Well, Hitler would have liked the Democrat attacks on rich people.  Seeing that as good scapegoating.  He would be impressed by the cult of personality around President Obama.  Though it wasn’t as good as his.  He would like the attack on capitalists and the massive government interference into the private sector.  And the high income taxes and regulations.  As well as those public works projects.  Those roads and bridges.  No doubt Hitler would have liked a lot of what he saw in the Obama administration.  Though, perhaps, he would be confused as the ultimate purpose of this massive power grab.  And Osama bin Laden?  Well, he hated George W. Bush.  President Obama may have killed him but it was all that War on Terror stuff that brought the Americans to him in Pakistan.  He would prefer the Obama light touch over the Bush hammer.  And he’d probably prefer his people getting killed by drones instead of being captured and pumped for information.  Like the guy that gave up a name that eventually led the SEALs to his hiding place.  And he would just love the opportunity to speak in a US court.  Something that just wouldn’t have happened under Bush.  Finally he would have liked the naïveté and arrogance of President Obama.  Which would have given him a target-rich environment.  Like Benghazi.  If Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden were alive today they would likely endorse the Democrat candidates Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

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Birth Control and Abortion Activists attack the Catholic Church while Islamic States kill Gays and Lesbians

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 11th, 2012

Week in Review

Christians and Jews are under pressure for their beliefs.  And their existence.  The recent attacks against the Catholic Church by the Obama administration forced the church to defend its Constitutional protections from such state interference.  Catholic theology does not permit the use of birth control.  Or abortions.  Obamacare tried to force Catholic institutions to provide insurance coverage that paid for birth control and abortion.  Even though it’s a violation of conscience for Catholics.  You can support and advocate the use of birth control and abortion.  You just can’t be Catholic if you do.  At least, according to Catholic theology.

Christians are constantly being maligned for their opposition to gay marriage.  And their belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.  People calling this Christian position archaic.  And out of touch.  That not only do Christians hate women (because they preach abstinence instead of birth control and abortion) they also hate gays and lesbians.  Some going so far to say that Christians are persecuting gays and lesbians.  In a cruel and oppressive theocracy.

Jews living in Israel live under the constant threat of rocket and mortar fire into their cities.  The surrounding Arab lands want to replace the state of Israel with a Palestinian state.  Islamist groups Hezbollah and Hamas refuse to recognize the state of Israel and fight for its destruction.  The Islamist state of Iran feels the same way.  And funds and supplies Hezbollah and Hamas in their Israeli attacks.  Despite all of this hostility against the state of Israel, the most important and loyal US ally in the region, there are those in the US that want Israel to surrender land and go back to the pre 1967 borders.  Borders that would greatly weaken Israel’s ability to defend herself.  This despite the fact that Israel is the greatest democracy in the region.  Where Jew, Christian, Muslim, straight and gay all live with the same rights and protections in the Israeli state.  Which is a lot more than you can say about some other nations in the region (see ‘Emo’ killings raise alarms in Iraq by LARA JAKES, Associated Press, posted 3/11/2012 on Yahoo! News).

Officials and human rights groups estimated as many as 58 Iraqis who are either gay or believed to be gay have been killed in the last six weeks alone — forecasting what experts fear is a return to the rampant hate crimes against homosexuals in 2009. This year, eyewitnesses and human rights groups say some of the victims have been bludgeoned to death by militiamen smashing in their skulls with heavy cement blocks…

Like many places in the Muslim world, homosexuality is extremely taboo in Iraq. Anyone perceived to be gay is considered a fair target, and the perpetrators of the violence often go free. The militants likely behind the violence intimidate the local police and residents so there is even less incentive to investigate the crimes.

Emo is short for “emotional” and in the West generally identifies teens or young adults who listen to alternative music, dress in black, and have radical hairstyles. Emos are not necessarily gay, but they are sometimes stereotyped as such…

The Quran specifically forbids homosexuality, and Islamic militias in Iraq long have targeted gays in what they term “honor killings” to preserve the religious idea that families should be led by a husband and a wife. Those who do not abide by this belief are issued death sentences by the militias, according to the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, a human rights watchdog group. The same militias target women who have extramarital affairs…

He said an estimated 750 gay Iraqis have been killed because of their sexual orientation since 2006.

America is not the brutal theocracy some would claim it to be.  At least nothing like that in the Islamic world.  Where there is no separation of church and state.  And no tolerance to those who don’t toe the state religion line.  Yet people in America attack Christianity and Judaism.  But are pretty mum on Islam.  Deferring to their cultural and religious beliefs.  Unlike they will for Christianity and Judaism.  Case in point the recent pressure on Catholic institutions to pay for birth control and abortion.

Where do you think these religious critics would rather live?  Especially the gay and lesbian community?  The United States?  Israel?  Iraq.  Or Iran?  A rhetorical question.  For it is clear they would rather choose the intolerance in America or Israel over the intolerance in Iraq or Iran any day.  Because the intolerance in American and Israel stops at moralizing.  It doesn’t advocate the use of cement blocks.

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The Line of Diocletian, the Byzantine Empire, Italian City-States, Banking, Usury and the Protestant Reformation

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 3rd, 2012

History 101

Europe began to Awake from its Slumber of the Dark Ages in about 1300 Italy

Once upon a time the only lending was to help someone in need.  Such as someone with a poor harvest to survive the winter.  We did it out of the goodness of our hearts to help others in need.  So to charge interest for a loan like this would have been cruel.  Taking advantage of someone’s misfortune wasn’t the Christian thing to do.  Or the Jewish.  Or the Muslim.  That’s why no one then charged interest for loaning money.  You just didn’t kick a person when he or she was down.  And if you did you could expect some swift justice from the religious authorities.  As well as the state.

Rome was once the center of the civilized world.  All roads led to Rome, after all.  Then Diocletian split the Empire into two in 285.  Along the Line of Diocletian.  Into East (Greek) and West (Latin). The West included Rome and fell around 486, ushering in the European Dark Ages.  Meanwhile the Eastern half, the Byzantine Empire, carried on.  And skipped the Dark Ages.  Its capital was Constantinople (named in 330) .  Formerly Byzantium.  Modern day Istanbul.  Where all Asian overland trade routes led to.  This city of Emperor Constantine.  His city.  Who reunited East and West.  And adopted Christianity as the Empire’s new religion (381).  Located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, trade flourished and made the Byzantine Empire rich.  And long lasting.  Until weakened by the Venetian-financed Fourth Crusade (1202–1204).  (The Latin Christians’ attack on the Greek Christians was fallout from the Great Schism of 1054 where Christianity split between Latin Catholic and Greek Orthodox).  And then falling to the Ottomans in 1453.

Europe began to awake from its slumber in about 1300 Italy.  Great city-states arose.  Genoa.  Pisa.  And Venice.  Like those early Greek city-states.  Great ports of international trade.  Rising into trade empires with the decline of the Byzantine Empire.  Where these Italian merchants bought and sold all of those Asian goods.  Putting great commercial fleets to sea to bring those Asian goods into Genoa, Pisa and Venice.  Getting rich.  But to make money they had to have money.  Because in the international trade game you had to first buy what you sold.  Which included the cost of those great merchant fleets.  And how did they pay for all of this?  They borrowed money from a new institution called banking.

That Europe that Slumbered during the Dark Ages Arose to Rule International Trade

Modern finance was born in Italy.  Everything that makes the commercial economy work today goes back to these Italian city-states.  From international banking and foreign exchange markets to insurance to the very bookkeeping that kept track of profits and losses.  It is here we see the first joint-stock company to finance and diversify the risk of commercial shipping.  London would use the joint-stock company to later finance the British East India Company.  And Amsterdam the Dutch East India company.  Where the Dutch and the English sent ships across oceans in search of trade.  Thanks to their mastery of celestial navigation.  And brought back a fortune in trade.  Putting the great Italian city-states out of business.  For their direct sea routes were far more profitable than the overland routes.  Because the holds of their ships could hold far more than any overland caravan could.

The Catholic opposition to usury (charging interest to borrow money) opened the new banking industry to the oppressed Jews in the European/Christian cities.  For it was one of the few things the Christian rulers let the Jews do.  Which they did.  Even though it was technically against their religion.  And they did it well.  For they had an early monopoly.  Thanks to that same Catholic Church.  Then came another schism in the Christian church.  The Protestant Reformation.  Where, among other things, Protestants said the Old Testament did not bind them to all rules that the Jews had to follow.  Then John Calvin took it a step further and said commercial loans could charge interest.  And, well, the rest is banking history.

Europe was then the dominant region of the world.  That region that slumbered during the Dark Ages arose to rule international trade.  Thanks to their navigational abilities.  And their banking centers.  Which financed their trade.  And the great things to come.

The Enlightenment led to the Modern World, Limited Government, the Industrial Revolution and Beyond

With the fall of the Byzantine Empire and the rise of the Italian city-states, Greek thinkers left the Byzantine Empire and went West.  To those rich Italian city-states.  Bringing with them great books of Greek knowledge.  The intellectual remnants of the Roman Empire.  Translated them.  And massed produced them on the new printing press.  And kicked off the Enlightenment.  Which then spread throughout Europe.

The Enlightenment led to the modern world.  From limited government.  To the Industrial Revolution.  And beyond.  All thanks to those Italian city-states.  International trade.  And banking.

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