Pages:  2 3 ... 614
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / WSJ: Rivkind & Foley: The Case for Suing the President
on: July 30, 2014, 08:07:37 PM
The Case for Suing the President
Rewriting ObamaCare laws on the fly is a violation of the constitutionally mandated separation of powers.
by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Elizabeth Price Foley
July 30, 2014 7:06 p.m. ET
'So sue me" is President Obama's message to Congress. And on Wednesday the House of Representatives took up his taunt, authorizing a lawsuit to challenge the president's failure to faithfully execute provisions of the Affordable Care Act as passed by Congress. The House lawsuit is no "stunt," as Mr. Obama has characterized it. The lawsuit is necessary to protect the Constitution's separation of powers, a core means of protecting individual liberty. Without a judicial check on unbounded executive power to suspend the law, this president and all who follow him will have a powerful new weapon to destroy political accountability and democracy itself.
Article I of the Constitution vests all legislative power in Congress. Article II imposes a duty on the president to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." When a law is unambiguous, the president cannot rewrite it to suit his own preferences. "The power of executing the laws," as the Supreme Court emphasized in June in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, "does not include a power to revise clear statutory terms that turn out not to work in practice." If a law has defects, fixing them is Congress's business.
These barriers between the branches are not formalities—they were designed to prevent the accumulation of excessive power in one branch. As the Supreme Court explained in New York v. United States (1992), the "Constitution protects us from our own best intentions: It divides power among sovereigns and among branches of government precisely so that we may resist the temptation to concentrate power in one location as an expedient solution to the crisis of the day."
The barriers also reflect the Framers' belief that some powers are better suited for a particular branch of government because of its institutional characteristics.
Congress has the exclusive authority to make law because lawmaking requires pluralism, debate and compromise, the essence of representative government. If Congress cannot achieve consensus, that doesn't mean Congress is "broken." A divided Congress reflects a divided people. Until there is a compromise acceptable to the majority, the status quo is the only correct path. An impasse emphatically does not warrant a president's bypassing Congress with a pen and phone, as Mr. Obama claimed the power to do early this year.
The separation of powers also guarantees political accountability. When Congress makes a law and the president executes it as written, citizens will know whom to reward or punish at the next election.
A president who unilaterally rewrites a bad or unworkable law, however, prevents the American people from knowing whether Congress should be praised or condemned for passing it. Such unconstitutional actions can be used to avert electoral pain for the president and his allies.
If Mr. Obama can get away with this, his successors will be tempted to follow suit. A Republican president, for example, might unilaterally get the Internal Revenue Service to waive collection of the capital-gains tax. Congress will be bypassed, rendering it increasingly irrelevant, and disfranchising the American people.
Over time, the Supreme Court has come to recognize that preserving the constitutional separation of powers between the branches of government at the federal level, and between the states and the federal government, is among the judiciary's highest duties.
In Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority(1985), the court was asked whether the wage and hour provisions of federal labor law could be imposed on states as employers. The justices refused to examine the substance of the states' claim, declaring that the so-called vertical separation of powers—federalism—was "more properly protected by procedural safeguards inherent in the structure of the federal system than by judicially created limitations on federal power." Because members of Congress are elected on a state-by-state basis, the court thought the national political process itself was the more proper way to protect states' rights against federal encroachment. It was a mistake the court would quickly regret.
Seven years later, in New York v. United States (1992), the Supreme Court did an about-face, acknowledging that the political-remedies process alone could not safeguard the separation of powers, and invalidated a federal law that forced states to "take title" to low-levelradioactive waste. The court abandoned the "hands off" position of Garcia because if it did not do so, the federal government could coerce states to do the federal government's bidding—a power that could have severely undermined the federalist structure of the Constitution, and hence, political accountability.
Litigation in federal court is an indispensable way to protect all branches of government against encroachment on their authority. States have successfully sued to stop federal intrusions into their constitutionally reserved powers. State legislators have also successfully sued to protect their institutional authority when state executives nullified their legislative power.
The executive branch is no different. President Obama has repeatedly resorted to litigation to vindicate the executive branch's constitutional prerogatives. His administration has routinely sued states for violating federal laws, in cases such as Arizona v. United States (2012), involving the constitutionality of a state law dealing with illegal immigration.
And the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional portions of congressional statutes that encroached on the federal judiciary's power. In Northern Pipeline Construction Company v. Marathon Pipe Line Company (1982), the court invalidated a transfer of judicial power to "judges" in bankruptcy cases who were not part of the regular federal judiciary and were exercising powers conferred by Congress, rather than by the Constitution.
Congress is not an institutional orphan. Like the president and the states, it can rightfully expect courts to enforce its institutional authority. Any other result would establish an anomalous loophole preventing Congress, and Congress alone, from vindicating its constitutional prerogatives. Courts would not countenance such a lapse in the constitutional architecture, with the potential to inflict enormous damage to the separation of powers, political accountability and individual liberty.
The problem will be cured once the judiciary declares unconstitutional the president's unilateral suspension of Affordable Care Act provisions and vacates the executive branch measures through which these suspensions were effected.
Mr. Rivkin, a partner at the firm Baker Hostetler LLP, served in the Justice Department and the White House Counsel's Office in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. Ms. Foley is a constitutional law professor at Florida International University College of Law.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver
on: July 30, 2014, 07:14:52 PM
Improving Economy, Weaker Guideposts To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Apparently, an improving labor market and higher inflation are not enough to get any signal from the Federal Reserve that short-term interest rates should be higher or QE should end faster than they thought before.
The Fed did what almost everyone expected, leaving short-term rates unchanged and continuing to taper by $10 billion per meeting. As a result, the Fed will buy $25 billion in bonds in August and remains on a path to end quantitative easing at the end of October.
The Fed did make some important changes to the wording of its statement. On the labor market, it removed language saying the jobless rate “remains elevated.” It’s about time considering how consistently the unemployment rate has been dropping faster than the Fed has anticipated.
But the Fed also added important new language, saying “a range of labor market indicators suggests that there remains significant underutilization of labor resources.” So, despite the jobless rate approaching the Fed’s long-term objective, the Fed isn’t going to provide any firm guideposts on how changes in the labor market are going to influence monetary policy. This is very opaque – the opposite of transparency.
Meanwhile, the Fed acknowledged inflation is approaching its long-term target of 2% and removed language about how inflation running persistently below 2% could hurt the economy. However, it’s important to note that what matters most to the Fed isn’t actual inflation but its own forecast of future inflation. And the Fed has yet to issue a forecast that shows inflation higher than 2%.
Unlike the last meeting in June, there was one dissent from a Hawk. Philadelphia Fed bank President Charles Plosser, who thought the Fed shouldn’t pre-commit to leaving rates low for a “considerable period” after QE ends. After his editorial in the Wall Street Journal, we thought Richard Fisher, President of the Dallas Fed would dissent, but surprise, surprise, he voted with the majority. We assume he was mollified by the minor changes in language to the Fed statement.
Overall, today’s statement is consistent with our view that the Fed is already behind the curve and will end up accepting higher inflation in the longer-run than its current 2% target. Fed policy is easy, the Fed is making a commitment to keep its balance sheet larger for longer, and it sees no real urgency to raise rates. All of this will create a boost for equity markets and the economy over the next 12-24 months. And we still think the bond market does not appreciate the danger it faces.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Q2 GDP
on: July 30, 2014, 06:03:40 PM
The First Estimate for Q2 Real GDP Growth 4.0% at an Annual Rate To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
The first estimate for Q2 real GDP growth is 4.0% at an annual rate, easily beating the 3.0% rate expected by the consensus. Real GDP is up 2.4% from a year ago.
The largest positive contributions to real GDP growth in Q2 were from consumer spending and inventories. The largest drag was net exports.
Personal consumption, business investment, and home building were all positive in Q2, growing at a combined rate of 3.1% annualized. Combined, they are up 2.8% in the past year.
The GDP price index increased at a 2.0% annual rate in Q2. Nominal GDP (real GDP plus inflation) rose at a 6.0% rate in Q2, is up 4.1% from a year ago and up at a 3.7% annual rate from two years ago.
Implications: What a difference one report makes. Real GDP came in higher than the consensus expected for Q2, growing at a 4% annual rate. The rebound more than offset the weather-related hit in Q1, when real GDP fell at a (revised) 2.1% annual rate. Today’s report includes revisions to the GDP data going back several years and shows an economy that was a little weaker in 2010-12, but stronger than originally reported in 2013. New figures show real GDP grew 3.1% in 2013 versus a prior estimate of 2.6%. The one drawback in today’s data was that much of the growth in Q2 came from faster inventory accumulation, which will be tough to duplicate for the rest of the year. We still expect growth between 2% and 3%, but wouldn’t be surprised if it continued to come in at the lower end of that range. Nominal GDP grew at a 6% annual rate in Q2, is up 4.1% versus a year ago and is up at a 3.7% annual rate in the past two years. Nominal GDP is a good proxy for the level of interest rates over time and suggests that the Fed is falling behind the curve. Even though we think they should move faster, the Fed will stick to ending QE by Halloween and then start lifting rates in the first half of 2015. The BEA also released its first estimate of GDO - Gross Domestic Output for Q1 last Friday. GDO attempts to measure “all” economic activity. In other words it includes more business-to-business sales along the value-added chain of production. GDO shows that rather than steeply declining in Q1, the economy was roughly flat. This is not surprising given brutal winter weather and it suggests that the drop in Q1 real GDP was not as sinister as many wanted to believe. In other news today, the ADP index says private payrolls increased 218,000 in July. Plugging this into our models suggests the official Labor report (released Friday) will show a nonfarm gain of 220,000. On the housing front, the Case-Shiller index, which measures home prices in 20 key metro areas, dipped 0.3% in May, the first decline in 28 months, although prices are still up 9.3% from a year ago. The dip in May was led by Atlanta, Chicago, and Detroit. Look for price gains in the year ahead, but not as fast as in the past couple of years. Pending home sales, which are contracts on existing homes, declined 1.1% in June after rising 6% in May. Combined, these figures suggest a 2.4% gain in existing home sales in July. After all that, it’s still the Plow Horse.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sadara Fluke runs for office
on: July 30, 2014, 05:35:45 PM
But can she afford birth control?
Sandra Fluke is trying desperately to carve political career out of being the face of "millennials who want free stuff," so she's running for California's state Senate. It isn't going well. Despite being the most easily recognizable candidate, Fluke floundered in June's open primary, where she carried just 19.4% of the vote in a turnout described as "embarrassingly low." That was enough to give her a weak second place finish. Unfortunately for her, it was probably not enough to bring substantial donors to the table.
Ms. Fluke is now the single largest contributor to her own Senate campaign.
From the Washington Examiner:
Fluke donated $12,000 to her campaign and $4,826.27 in non-monetary contributions. While $16,826.27 may not sound like a lot, Fluke also loaned her campaign $100,000.
Where does a 2012 law school grad working as a social justice attorney get a loan that size? Her campaign never responded to a Washington Examiner inquiry, so we’re left to speculate.
Perhaps the loan was in part secured by the family of Fluke’s husband, Adam Mutterperl. In 2012, Fluke married Mutterperl, an amateur stand-up comic and son of big-time Democratic donor William Mutterperl.
This is not a good sign. It could be an indicator that external support is less than stellar and, combined with Fluke's poor performance in the primaries, could portend trouble in the general election.
Also troubling? It looks like her family is propping up the numbers in order to keep up appearances....
As a family, the Mutterperls have given Fluke $20,500. Fluke’s own family has donated $9,600 to her campaign (her mother gave one donation as Betty and one as Elizabeth).
In total, Fluke has raised $416,185.28, according to disclosure forms. With one-third of that total coming from her family, it appears the campaign is trying to pump up its donation totals to appear stronger than it actually is.
Now, a family donating to a campaign is not surprising or unusual but the percentage of overall funds coming from Fluke's inner circle should raise red flags.
Currently, Fluke's campaign has raised more cash than Ben Allen, but Allen may still still be in a stronger position. First of all, he's considered a potent candidate with deepconnections in the district. He's given his campaign a $50,000 loan, and his parents have each donated $4,100. If you remove his family and his loan from the equation, he's raised $330,141 - slightly more than Fluke, who stands at $278,859.
And according to the Associated Press, the Examiner's numbers represent a "rosy" estimate. In reality, things are probably a bit worse:
“Allen has raised at least $443,388, including more than $50,000 from his law firm, Richardson & Patel LLP, while Fluke has raised about $500,000, including $175,000 from her own loans and contributions, according to campaign finance reports."
That would mean that Allen has funded just over 10% of his campaign, while Fluke is footing the bill to the tune of about 35%.
That's bad news for a campaign, but it's great news for someone who - just a few years ago - was claiming that $15 a month for birth control was a bridge too far....
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran to arm West Bank with missiles
on: July 30, 2014, 11:44:59 AM
video at http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/in-case-anyone-still-thinks-the-two-state-solution-is-a-good-idea?omhide=true&utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Israel+Breaking+News+Video%3A+Iran+Vows+to+Arm+Arabs+in+Judea+and+Samaria&utm_campaign=20140730_m121531978_7%2F30+Israel+Breaking+News+Video%3A+Iran+Vows+to+Arm+Arabs+in+Judea+and+Samaria&utm_term=Iranian+official_3A+We_E2_80_99ll+arm+Arabs+in+_27West+Bank_27+with+missiles
In case anyone still thinks the two-state solution is a good idea... Former adviser to Iran’s defense minister said this week that Tehran would seek to arm Palestinians in the West Bank with “strategic weapons” including missiles to target Tel Aviv and Haifa. Iranian researcher Amir Mousavi told Lebanon’s Mayadeen TV channel that “a major reshuffle awaits the region” as “new and significant fronts will be opened all of a sudden, to support the Palestinian cause in the West Bank and Gaza.” “A new front must be opened from the West Bank, after it has been armed, especially with missiles,” Mousavi said in comments relayed by the Middle East Media Research Institute, “because we know very well that the distance between the West Bank and Tel Aviv, Haifa, and other areas is much shorter than the distance from Gaza. Therefore, simple means are required. There is no need for long-range missiles. Short-range missiles can change the entire picture in the occupied lands.”
Mousavi added that Gaza would also receive increased military support from Iran. As for the Palestinian Authority which controls the West Bank and has in recent years cooperated closely with Israel on security issues, Mousavi remarked: “We hope that the brothers in the Palestinian Authority will help rather than impede this.” On Tuesday Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the Islamic world to arm Palestinians to allow them to counter what he called Israel’s “genocide” in the Gaza Strip. In a speech marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, Khamenei said Israel was acting like a “rabid dog” and “a wild wolf,” causing a human catastrophe that must be resisted. “The US president issued a fatwa that the resistance is disarmed so that they cannot respond to all those crimes (committed by Israel),” the supreme leader said, referring to Barack Obama’s call for the “disarmament of terrorist groups and the demilitarization of Gaza.” “We say the opposite. The world and especially the Islamic world should arm… the Palestinian people.”
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson on how and to whom to give charity 1823
on: July 30, 2014, 11:30:25 AM
"It is a duty certainly to give our sparings to those who want; but to see also that they are faithfully distributed, and duly apportioned to the respective wants of those receivers. And why give through agents whom we know not, to persons whom we know not, and in countries from which we get no account, where we can do it at short hand, to objects under our eye, through agents we know, and to supply wants we see?" --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Michael Megear, 1823
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Religious Scholars a double edged sword
on: July 30, 2014, 10:52:37 AM
Saudi Arabia's Religious Scholars Are a Double-Edged Sword
July 30, 2014 | 0419 Print Text Size
Saudi Arabia's Ulema Represent a Double-Edged Sword
Saudi policemen stand guard in front of the Al-Rajhi mosque in central Riyadh in 2011. (FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
There are signs that imams of influential mosques in Saudi Arabia are re-creating distance between themselves and the Saudi government. For instance, imams recently resisted the government's call to condemn an attack on Saudi soil by Yemen-based al Qaeda fighters. Although it is an early indicator, this bodes ill for Saudi Arabia's counterterrorism strategy. Riyadh's dilemma is that the group of religious scholars and preachers, a group known as the ulema, whose ideas have given way to jihadism is also the antidote to violent extremism. Without the robust support of the ulema class, the Saudis cannot combat the jihadism that threatens the kingdom on its northern and southern borders.
The identity of the Saudi kingdom is a religious one based on the Salafist ideology of its founding theoretician, Muhammad bin Abdulwahab, a puritanical scholar from the Nejd region of the Arabian Peninsula. His pact with the patriarch of the royal family, Muhammad bin Saud, led to the founding of the first Saudi state in 1744 and the establishment of a monarchy. The legitimacy of the monarchy has been based on religion and manifested by the support of the ulema, which have grown into a massive power center over the centuries.
The Ulema as Tools for Containment
This ultra-conservative establishment of religious scholars has been an important tool that the House of Saud has used to prevent the rise of opposition groups. The Saudis have had great success with this strategy, whether the opponents were left-wing secular Arab nationalists, Islamists or even Salafists and jihadists who see the royal family and its supporters as having deviated from the founders' intent. The religious scholars' adherence to the Koranic verse "Obey Allah and obey his Messenger (Mohammed) and those in authority among you" has proved extremely helpful in maintaining a consensus against more extreme and radical elements.
The utility of the ulema has been seen on a number of occasions throughout the modern Saudi state's history, most recently in the kingdom established in the aftermath of WWI. Its founder, King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrehman, with the backing of the ulema in 1929, obliterated the Ikhwan, a religious and tribal militia that had gone rogue after helping Abdulaziz seize most of the areas that form the modern kingdom. Abdulaziz's son, King Faisal, used the ulema's support in 1963 to move against religious extremists opposed to introducing television in the kingdom. In 1979, his successor, King Khalid, was able to get the ulema to support his decision to allow French commandos to deploy and help regain control of the Holy Mosque in Mecca from a group of renegade Salafist militants under the leadership of Juhayman al-Otaibi.
In 1994, King Fahd had to deal with opposition from within the community of religious scholars. Some of the members rose up -- albeit peacefully and through sermons -- calling for reforms and better adherence to Islamic principles while voicing opposition to the stationing of U.S. forces in the kingdom. The latest and perhaps most significant example of the monarchy's use of the ulema was under King Abdullah's administration, when Riyadh defeated the kingdom's branch of al Qaeda, with critical assistance from the religious scholars, in 2005-2006.
Changes Within the Ulema
Riyadh's continued success in rallying the religious establishment notwithstanding, the ulema class has gone through a great deal of change and internal fragmentation. There are significant factions that are uncomfortable -- to say the least -- with the monarchy's policies, especially those involving reforms. More important, there is considerable overlap between the ideas of the ulema and of transnational jihadists. The jihadists have used this common ground to maintain pockets of latent influence within the kingdom. Moreover, there is sympathy for the jihadists among the ulema ranks.
An undersecretary at the Islamic Affairs Ministry told the kingdom's English daily Arab News on July 19 that authorities were investigating imams of 17 mosques in the capital who, in their Friday sermons, refused to condemn a jihadist attack on the kingdom's border with Yemen. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula militants based in Yemen conducted the cross-border raid on the al-Wadia border post near the small Saudi frontier town of Sharurah. It left four border guards and another Saudi citizen dead. Another report in the daily al-Watan quoted the Islamic Affairs Ministry as saying that some 100 imams ignored the call to condemn the incident.
Saudi Arabia and the Regional Jihadist Threat
Click to Enlarge
Under new management, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula re-established itself in Yemen in 2009 and has remained more or less contained there. The ouster of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime during the Arab Spring has aggravated divisions in Yemen, where a variety of forces are tearing the state apart. The resulting anarchy in Yemen has enabled the al Qaeda branch to expand in the country and use it as a base to strike Saudi Arabia.
While the Saudis are trying to deal with al Qaeda on their southern flank, another far more powerful transnational jihadist group has appeared to the north. The Islamic State, which declared the re-establishment of the caliphate in its controlled areas in Syria and Iraq, has emerged as a major threat to the kingdom. In order to protect itself, the kingdom deployed 30,000 soldiers to its border with Iraq after Iraqi soldiers reportedly abandoned posts on their side of the boundary in the wake of the Islamic State offensive. On July 18, Saudi security forces raised the threat level in light of intelligence about an Islamic State plot to attack critical infrastructure, particularly desalination plants, in the country.
Under these conditions, it makes sense for the Saudis to target the belligerent ulema. What is surprising, though, is that the authorities revealed their investigations via Saudi media. Normally such matters would be dealt with quietly, and more senior ulema would be involved in an effort to persuade the defiant imams to obey their rulers' orders. That did not happen, however, and the government decided to leak the investigations to the media. This suggests that the problem is not with a few of the ulema but is more widespread. It also suggests that the government is trying to create a national consensus against the dissidents. The disobedient imams appear to be a small group within the wider body of the ulema, but the number of such religious figures could grow.
Jihadists' Strengthening Position
In the past, the jihadists were a small movement and, despite the ambiguity within religious circles, there was not much support for them. But now that jihadists are gaining strength in the region, they are better positioned to parlay latent feelings of sympathy into more substantive support. The quandary for the Saudis is that the ulema class is an incubator for the ideas that promote jihadism as well as the means by which to fight Islamist militancy. Taken into account the country's youths -- increasingly educated, socially and politically aware, unemployed and inspired by the Arab Spring -- and the allure of resurgent jihadist fervor is an even more dangerous threat for Riyadh.
The jihadists are in a position to more effectively challenge the monopoly of influence that the monarchy has long enjoyed over the kingdom's religious scholars. To a great degree, this has to do with overlapping jihadist and Saudi interests, especially those related to fighting the Shia and Iran. Saudi efforts to enact social reforms also create space for the jihadists to exploit. Riyadh has been stretched thin as it deals with the fallout of the Arab Spring in the region, a fact that works to the jihadists' advantage as well. Finally, there is the matter of transitioning leadership from the second- to third-generation of princes.
Most of all, the perception that the monarchy is weak and ineffective in foreign policy matters, contrasted with a jihadist movement that is gaining support, could influence many in the ulema's ranks to quietly support both sides. Thus, the thing to watch for is whether the Saudis -- who have proved extremely resilient for nearly three centuries -- can deal with a much larger jihadist challenge than they have faced before and continue to use the ulema to wage jihad against jihadism.
Read more: Saudi Arabia's Religious Scholars Are a Double-Edged Sword | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yemen: Rebel Advance could topple regime
on: July 30, 2014, 10:35:00 AM
In Yemen, a Rebel Advance Could Topple the Regime
July 29, 2014 | 0407 Print Text Size
Yemen's Escalating Houthi Conflict
Shia loyal to the al-Houthi movement ride past Yemeni soldiers near Yaz, Yemen, in May. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
The success of a rebel campaign in northern Yemen is threatening to destabilize the already weak and overwhelmed government in Sanaa. After capturing the city of Amran, a mere 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the capital, in early July, the rebels from the al-Houthi tribe are in their strongest position yet. The Yemeni government is developing plans to divide the country into six federal regions, and the rebels believe this is their chance to claim territory for the future bargaining.
The central government is nearly powerless to fend off the rebels; its forces are already stretched thin. Neighboring Saudi Arabia has intervened in Yemen before and still supports Sunni tribes in the north, but the risk of inciting a Shiite backlash or creating space for jihadists to move in could deter another intervention.
Followers of Zaidi Islam, a branch of Shiism, ruled northern Yemen intermittently for centuries before the Yemen Arab Republic was created after a coup in 1962. The Sunni-led government in Sanaa has since marginalized and repressed the Zaidis, who account for 40 percent of Yemen's population. The Zaidis were left to administer their rugged and resource-poor redoubt in northwestern Yemen's Saada province.
In 2004, the al-Houthi tribe, a member of the Zaidi order, rallied Yemen's Shia to reverse decades of subjugation. The tribe led an insurgency from its mountainous territory in the north against Saudi-backed Wahhabi and Salafist tribesmen and the Yemeni military, both of which the al-Houthis believed were encroaching on historically Zaidi territory. Five more bouts of fighting over six years failed to produce any changes on the ground.
Over time, the al-Houthi rebels became an effective insurgent force of more than 10,000 fighters. By the time Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was deposed in 2011, the al-Houthis were strong enough to exploit the ensuing power vacuum. They captured Saada city, installed a governor and began collecting taxes and directing the local government. They also began to openly contest tribal control of adjacent territory in al-Jawf, Hajja and Amran provinces.
Click to Enlarge
The latest round of violence began in October, when al-Houthi and Salafist fighters clashed in Dammaj in northern Yemen. Many groups and tribes had targeted the al-Houthis over the years, viewing them as a threat to their influence or territory in the north.
The al-Houthis launched a major offensive after Yemen's January National Dialogue Conference, which designated a year to draft a new constitution and proposed dividing the country into six regions. The offensive was intended to pressure Sanaa into bending on important territorial disputes during the constitution-writing process.
The tribe is displeased with the demarcation of its region, Azal, which has no access to the Red Sea, a large population and little in terms of water or natural resources. The al-Houthis claim rights to coastal Hajja province, including the valuable al-Midi port to the north, and al-Jawf province, which is within reach of Yemen's central oil fields. They have also rejected the Azal region's connection to the overcrowded and distant Dhamar province.
Proposed Regions of Yemen
Click to Enlarge
Over the course of a month the al-Houthi rebels gained territory in Hajja and al-Jawf, took the town of Kitaf near the Saudi border and forced the Salafists of Dammaj to retreat south to Sanaa. The focus of the offensive was Amran province, which the Ahmar clan (leaders of Yemen's most powerful tribe, the Hashid tribe) has historically dominated and through which the region's largest highway runs to the capital. By early February, the al-Houthis held most of northern Amran province and had expelled the Ahmars from their home district, Khamir. Notably, anti-Ahmar and anti-government tribes, reportedly including supporters of former president Saleh, joined the rebels' military campaign.
The Yemeni government has been unable to divert forces from other regions to reinforce Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar's 310th Brigade, which has been battling the al-Houthi rebels for more than a decade. The Yemeni armed forces are busy containing al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula activities, which are spreading from the country's southeast. Meanwhile, southern secessionists are threatening the country's unity, and tribal militants are threatening its infrastructure.
Despite several short-lived government-brokered cease-fires, heavy fighting continues in Amran, and the al-Houthis have been able to acquire large stockpiles of heavy weaponry and armaments left by withdrawing military forces and tribesmen. With rebels closing in on the capital in early June, President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi approved airstrikes against al-Houthi positions in Amran for the first time since the fighting resumed in October. By July 10, however, the al-Houthi rebels had taken Amran city itself, including the 310th Brigade's headquarters and armaments within the city.
Hadi announced July 23 that an agreement had been reached to return Amran to state control, but the al-Houthis will remain on the outskirts and will ensure that no threatening forces are allowed to move back into the city. Moreover, their advance, which the Iranians quietly encouraged, has raised concern in Saudi Arabia.
The Sectarian Divide in Northern Yemen
Click to Enlarge
A Proxy War
For Iran, Yemen's Shiite insurgency is an opportunity to distract its rivals in Saudi Arabia and eat up their resources, keeping them from focusing on regional theaters in which Tehran has bigger interests. Tehran can use its support for the Shia in Yemen as leverage during exchanges with Riyadh over sectarian competition in Syria, Bahrain, Lebanon and Iraq. Over the years, Iran has provided the al-Houthi rebels with limited materiel and financial support and has reportedly directed Hezbollah operatives and potentially Quds Force commanders to help train and direct the rebels.
The Saudis are concerned that the violence, or the al-Houthis' ambitions of autonomy, may spill over into Saudi territory. Saudi Arabia is home to a small Shiite population in its mountainous territories in the southwest, and a far larger Shiite population in its oil-rich Eastern province. In fact, when al-Houthi rebels in 2009 showed signs of overwhelming Yemeni forces and carried out small-scale operations in Saudi territory, Riyadh massed troops on the border and initiated serious airstrikes against rebel positions in northern Yemen until the al-Houthis capitulated.
As in the past, Saudi Arabia's ability to contain the al-Houthis depends on its ties to northern Yemen's conservative tribes, which Riyadh has historically supported financially to oppose the Shia. Nevertheless, the Saudis' influence over the tribes has waned, especially since Riyadh denounced the Muslim Brotherhood, effectively alienating the powerful al-Islah opposition group -- whose inner circle is dominated by the Ahmar family -- and its affiliated tribesmen.
There is also the fear that Saudi aid may find its way into the hands of jihadists in the north, particularly with the Islamic State expanding its influence in the region and threatening to strike in Saudi Arabia. If recent developments are any indication, such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's decision to create a unit tasked to combat the al-Houthi rebels and the July 4 jihadist attack on the Wadia border post, Riyadh's fears are well-founded.
With Yemen largely unable to contain the rebel threat and the al-Houthis sitting on the outskirts of the capital, the Saudis could consider a military incursion similar to the one they conducted in 2009. There have been several recent high-level Yemeni-Saudi talks, including a July 8 meeting between Hadi and King Abdullah in Riyadh and a July 23 unannounced visit by Yemeni Defense Minister Muhammad Nasir Ahmad to the kingdom. Riyadh is likely providing selective assistance to the more moderate Salafist fighters in northern Yemen -- as it has in the past -- to strike back against al-Houthi territorial gains. Nevertheless, the Saudis must take care not to incite the Shia, particularly in Saudi Arabia's own southern territory, or to allow al Qaeda or Islamic State jihadists to fill the security vacuum in northern Yemen that would follow an intervention.
A Fragile Regime
The al-Houthis are unlikely to advance into Sanaa. They recognize the risk of reprisal from the Saudi military, are wary of triggering a nationalist response that unites northern tribesmen against them and are trying not to spread their forces too thin. The al-Houthis will also probably limit the expansion of their operations northward for fear of repeating the mistakes of 2009, when fighting spread too close to the Saudi border.
Nevertheless, the rebels will work to consolidate control in the territory they have captured and to undermine the support of their Sunni rivals, particularly the Ahmar family. The al-Houthis will also work to strengthen their defensive lines in anticipation of limited counterattacks by Yemeni armed forces and of growing jihadist activity. Yemen's leaders may be flexible on some of the al-Houthi rebels' demands regarding border demarcation and autonomy, but they are unlikely to concede on the al-Houthis' overarching desire for greater autonomy.
More important, the al-Houthi offensive comes at an inopportune time for the Yemeni regime. A large share of Sanaa's military forces have been busy combating al Qaeda elements in Shabwa and Abyan provinces since April. The Hadi regime is also struggling to contain secessionist activity in the south after one of the secessionist movement's most prominent leaders escaped from house arrest and vowed to renew the struggle. Within the government and military, supporters of Saleh are increasingly challenging Hadi; coup rumors came out twice in June. Finally, frequent militant attacks on energy infrastructure have hurt oil and natural gas production, and protests have grown over water, fuel and electricity shortages.
Despite Saudi assistance, Yemen's internal pressures have put Hadi's regime in its most fragile state since the 2011 uprising. The regime could be at risk of breaking down in the near future.
Read more: In Yemen, a Rebel Advance Could Topple the Regime | Stratfor
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty's momentary ruminations
on: July 29, 2014, 09:19:48 PM
Before my Sistema class today Rigan walked in with John Lewis (UFC fighter of note from the mid-90s) John gave me a really nice compliment back at the 1996 BJJ Pan Am Games and we laughed a moment about that. Rigan started talking about his new "secret" game, then demoed it on me-- my first movement on the mat since my shoulder separation in December and I have Rigan "the Anaconda" Machado on top of me playing a pressure game! (He was very nice and gentle-- thank God!)
Then Guro Inosanto had a conflicting commitment, so I got a private with Martin Wheeler.
After class I got together with Rigan and John. Good conversation. Then we walked by a pizza joint with Andrew Dice Clay sitting in front.
A man could go further and have a worse day, , ,
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies
on: July 29, 2014, 08:57:07 PM
Scott G. was kind enough to share his thoughts with me on the Hussman analysis:
First, let me say that Hussman's credentials as a connoisseur of valuations is somewhat suspect. His Strategic Growth Fund (HSGFX) has managed the unenviable record of delivering a -21% total return since early March 2009, while the S&P 500 has enjoyed a total return of 224%. If he has provided a service to mankind, it is in demonstrating just how badly a market timing investment strategy can perform.
But eventually, of course, he will be right and the market will suffer a correction, and perhaps a serious one. It's all a matter of timing, something he unfortunately appears to lack in addition to not being able to recognize valuations over multi-year periods.
Be that as it may, I don't agree with the valuations he cites today.
The standard PE ratio of the S&P 500 is 18, as compared to its long-term average of 16. That is not particularly stretched, in my view, especially in light of the fact that corporate profits are close to record levels relative to GDP and long-term interest rates are exceptionally low.
If I use after-tax corporate profits from the NIPA tables as the "E" and the S&P 500 index as the "P" then I find that PE ratios are almost exactly equal to their average since 1960.
I don't give much credence to Shiller's CAPE ratio, since I think that the level of profits 10 years ago has almost zero bearing on the valuation of equities today. Corporate profits relative to GDP are much higher today not because they are unsustainably high, but because of globalization, which has allowed successful firms here to address markets that are exponentially larger than they could have addressed just a few decades ago.
While he worries that the market is hugely over-leveraged, I note that various measures of leverage in the household sector are as low as they have been for many decades. And the fact that banks have accumulated over $2.6 trillion in excess reserves while only moderately expanding their lending activities suggests to me that banks, as well as households, have been very risk averse and continue to be.
He insists on believing that the Fed's QE policies have directly distorted valuations and interest rates. In contrast, I think most of what the Fed has done has been to accommodate the market's extraordinary demand for safe assets. I believe that if the Fed had really been pumping money into the economy and distorting all manner of things, that we would have seen quite a bit more inflation than we have to date.
Nevertheless, I do wish they would accelerate their timetable for higher short-term rates and for the unwinding of their balance sheet.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson: The spirit of resistance 1787
on: July 29, 2014, 11:52:19 AM
"What country can preserve its liberties, if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." --Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Stephens Smith, 1787
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant
on: July 28, 2014, 09:53:57 PM
Notice that we strive for "thread coherency" i.e. look to use existing threads. Take a few minutes to scroll through some pages of subject headings and you will begin to get an idea. Notice that many threads are many years old. Notice the number of reads that various threads get and the ratio of reads to threads. Having things organized this way makes this forum a very valuable research tool in my opinion. Also, make good use of the Subject line-- this facilitates search commands.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Lurch POs everyone
on: July 28, 2014, 09:44:00 PM
Emerson to Kerry-Obama: Its Terrorism, Stupid
by Steven Emerson
July 28, 2014http://www.investigativeproject.org/4482/kerry-takes-us-diplomacy-off-the-rails
Secretary of State John Kerry's push for a ceasefire in Gaza last week was so flawed it managed to unite Israel's fractious political leadership in opposition while simultaneously being lambasted by the Palestinian Authority.
The proposal called for negotiations on Hamas demands, including opening border crossings into Gaza and relaxed boating restrictions off the Gaza coast. In addition, its language reportedly upgraded Hamas – a designated terrorist organization – to an equal plane with Israel. Then, President Obama called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday to make "clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement."
In other words, Obama demanded that Israel institute an immediate unilateral ceasefire even while Hamas continues its terrorist operations against Israel. True to form, Hamas escalated its attacks on Monday.
A mortar attack on the community of Eshkol near the Gaza border killed four Israeli civilians and wounded nine others, five of whom were in critical condition. At the same time, a squad of heavily-armed Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel near Kibbutz Nahal Oz in an attempt to carry out a mass murder attack. The Israeli military killed one terrorist and is searching for the others.
The U.S. response? In addition to more demands that Israel stop trying to root out the Hamas terror infrastructure in Gaza, administration officials Monday expressed anger that the Israelis would leak details of the proposed ceasefire and criticize Kerry.
This overlooks an important fact – Kerry's proposal also angered the Palestinian Authority – with a senior official telling London-based Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that "Kerry wanted to create a framework that would be an alternative to the Egyptian initiative and to our concept regarding it, in order to please Qatar and Turkey." The move would strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood's stature, the PA official said, "because the Americans think – and will be proven wrong – that that moderate political Islam represented by the Muslim Brotherhood can combat radical Islam..."
In their haste to bring about an end to the hostilities, U.S. officials have lost perspective about the conflict and how to prevent the next flare-up. Israel has acknowledged that the depth and sophistication of the Hamas tunnel network greatly surpassed previous assessments. Reports indicate that Hamas was planning to use the tunnels to wage a massive attack involving 200 terrorists against communities neighboring Gaza during the Jewish high holiday Rosh Hashanah.
Yet U.S. officials continue to pressure Israel has accepted five ceasefires. All of them were broken by Hamas.
Reports out of Israel say Kerry's proposal did nothing to help identify and dismantle Hamas tunnels or strip it of its remaining rocket arsenal. Israel's security cabinet quickly and unanimously rejected it.
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, considered the most dovish in the cabinet, blasted the proposal as "completely unacceptable" and one that "would strengthen extremists in the region."
While its specifics have attracted scant attention in American media, it left Israeli commentators dumbstruck. The result "is clearly a major crisis in Israel-US ties at a time when Israel finds itself in the midst of a complex and costly war," Times of Israel editor David Horovitz wrote Sunday in a commentary headlined "John Kerry: The betrayal."
An unnamed senior U.S. official briefed Israeli reporters Sunday night, claiming the proposal is being misrepresented. "There was no Kerry plan," the official said. "There was a concept based on the Egyptian cease-fire plans that Israel had signed off on."
No one else in the arena seems to agree. The proposal was based on Kerry's consultations with Qatar and Turkey – Hamas' two leading patrons – a move which angered Palestinian Authority officials and other Arab states for empowering a terrorist group and excluding them.
"Those who want Qatar or Turkey to represent them should leave and go live there," PA President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah group said in a statement that Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh wrote was "directed against Hamas."
Kerry's disastrous idea, giving Hamas a clear diplomatic win at a time it had nothing to show but devastation for a fight it started, drew perverse praise.
"It takes a certain artistry to irritate and annoy not only the Israeli left and the Israeli right at the same time, but also both Jerusalem and Ramallah," the Jerusalem Post's Herb Keinon noted wryly.
"This provided Hamas with a badly needed tailwind," Keinon wrote. "Sure, they were getting clobbered, their human shields were dying, but they were getting what they wanted. The world was talking to them, recognizing their standing in Gaza, presenting their demands. Why stop, things were going their way. And, indeed, they didn't stop, and violated three different cease fires Saturday night and Sunday, including one that they themselves declared."
As I noted previously, it was under the terms of the 2012 ceasefire Obama and Kerry are pushing to restore that Hamas diverted money meant to improve life for people in Gaza to building its tunnel network and built an arsenal of 10,000 rockets – each one earmarked for firing on Israeli civilians.
If there are suggestions for a better way for Israel to unearth the tunnels and to stop the rocket fire emanating from crammed neighborhoods surrounded by civilians, by all means, offer them up.
It's safe to assume that, in the course of invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq, American forces killed many more civilians than the last three Gaza conflicts combined. It's a product of war. The difference is there were not network cameras poised to show the carnage from a drone strike or other inadvertent killing.
But let's not pretend that this conflict can be resolved by giving Hamas what it wants. Its officials may talk about economic suffering among Palestinians in Gaza. But if the past month has proven anything, it is that the Hamas leadership cares more about creating Israeli suffering than alleviating the pain and devastation its actions have brought upon the Palestinians. The millions of dollars diverted to building tunnels, to importing or manufacturing rockets, could have done wonders to create infrastructure and jobs in Gaza. And none of that activity would have generated Israeli military strikes. But those facts seem to be lost on the mainstream media which Hamas has handily manipulated to show images of Palestinian casualties rather than show the civilian hiding places—like schools, hospitals, mosques, kindergartens, UN centers—where Hamas has brazenly stored weapons and from where it has also thousands of launched rockets and missiles at Israel.
Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal made clear what Hamas ultimately desires during an interview with CBS' Charlie Rose that was aired on "Face the Nation" Sunday. Rose tried to pin Meshaal down on Hamas' willingness to accept a two-state solution and coexist peacefully next to a Jewish state.
"Do you want to recognize Israel as a Jewish state?" Rose asked.
"No," Meshaal said. After a long pause, he added, "I said I do not want to live with a state of occupiers." To Hamas, as its charter makes clear, all of Israel is occupied Palestinian land. There can be no peace until Hamas either gives up on its founding principle to destroy Israel or until it is removed from power and influence.
Pushing a ceasefire that accentuates Hamas demands could not be more counterproductive.
Kerry may be feeling some of the sting from all the criticism. In new remarks Monday, he emphasized the need to disarm Hamas.
But he has lost tremendous credibility with those elements who stand opposed to Hamas and its benefactors in Qatar and Turkey. "Jerusalem," writes Horovitz, "now regards him as duplicitous and dangerous."
If he really cares about generating a lasting peace, his next, best move might be resignation. As for President Obama, he might start to educate himself about Hamas' horrific murderous actions and agenda before approving a plan that allows this al-Qaida clone to resurrect itself after being seriously wounded by defensive Israeli actions.
Steven Emerson is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) (www.investigativeproject.org
), an international counter terrorist institute focusing on the worldwide threat of radical Islam. He is also the author of six books on terrorism and national security, and producer of two documentaries on terrorism, the latest being an expose of the covert Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure in the US entitled, "Jihad in America: the Grand Deception" (www.granddeception.com
) available at Amazon.com
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury on Fed's huge power grab
on: July 28, 2014, 09:12:40 PM
The Fed’s Massive Power Grab
Take your pick of these two jobs. You get to manage a $4+ trillion bond portfolio and have omnipotent control over banks and other financial institutions. Or, you can manage an $800 billion portfolio, control the level of the federal funds rate and manage some regulatory issues. Is this really a hard choice? Well, it certainly doesn’t seem to be for the Federal Reserve.
The Fed has seamlessly morphed from an institution that occasionally intervened in financial markets to a monster that apparently wants to control a great deal of the US financial system. Federal Reserve Board Chair, Janet Yellen, and her fellow central bankers, with virtually no pushback from Congress, are in the process of adopting an entirely new economic management technique called “macroprudential regulation.”
The definition of macroprudential regulation is hard to pin down. In short, it means managing systemic risks. This is done by regulating specific financial system behavior in an attempt to avoid cascading economic problems. The idea is that the Fed can reduce the risks of financial instability for the economy as a whole by regulating certain behaviors.
In practice, what this really means is that the Fed wants to run a monetary policy that it believes is appropriate for the economy as a whole – to keep unemployment low. But, if this overall monetary policy causes too much financial risk, the Fed wants to micro-manage that risk by deeming it a macro-risk. At its root, this is hypocritical.
Everyone knows that when the Fed holds rates too low, this encourages some investors to leverage up more than they would otherwise. For example, in 2004-05, the Fed held the federal funds rate at 1% which helped cause a bubble in housing. But, rather than raising rates at that point, the Fed wants to have the right to regulate home lending activity. It could do this in any number of ways, by raising the capital required by banks to make home loans or possibly putting a limit directly on certain types of loans. That’s macroprudential regulation.
In effect – and the Fed has argued this – the Fed blames banks for bubbles, not its strategy of holding interest rates artificially low. This is central planning to the second degree. The Fed wants to set rates first and then police the impact of those rates as if these decisions are not related.
This is a very dangerous precedent and it moves the US away from the free market while continuing to concentrate the power in the hands of the Fed. In a true free market, monetary policy should not be used to manage the economy. Rather, monetary policy should have one goal – to keep the value of the currency stable.
Unfortunately, as is true with all government institutions, the Fed is always looking to expand its influence and power. Remember when Rahm Emmanuel said, “never let a crisis go to waste.”? The Fed has taken this to heart. In the thirty years, between 1977 and 2007, its balance sheet (the monetary base) averaged 5.4% of US GDP. Today, it’s 22.4%. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Never, in the history of the United States, outside of the military in World War II, has one government institution been so dominant.
And, under Janet Yellen, the Fed is making a steady, insistent and disciplined argument that growing the Fed’s power is necessary for economic stability. The Fed wants to keep its balance sheet large, hold interest rates low, and regulate banking activities. From a distance this behavior looks awfully like that of the Bank of China.
The alternative would be for the Fed to shrink its balance sheet, hold interest rates where economic fundamentals and the Taylor Rule suggest they should be, and have faith that the free market will police excessively risky behavior. But, the US has entered a new era of doubt about free markets.
This was pre-ordained when Congress passed the Troubled Asset Relief Plan (TARP) in October 2008 – a $700 billion slush fund for the government that was sold as a way to save the world from Wall Street. As President Bush later said, “[We] abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”
But, by violating free market principles, politicians created conditions which allowed the Fed to justify regulation of the economy in new and broadly expansive ways. Republicans were always the defenders of free markets, but TARP signaled a new era. Now, because the GOP won’t say TARP was a mistake, it has no effective argument against the Fed grabbing more power.
What this means for the economy is that flawed economic models, combined with the very visible hand of regulation, are distorting economic activity and leading the US toward more politicized control of financial markets. What could keep the Fed from lowering capital requirements on clean energy and raising them on fossil fuels? After all, many argue that fossil fuels are destabilizing.
But even more dangerous is that the Fed will hold rates down at artificially low levels for long periods of time in order to bring unemployment back down, all the while believing it can control the risks of easy money by using macroprudential regulation tools.
There are many reasons to disagree with this policy, but the most important is that artificially low rates distort decision making. High-return businesses will lever up unnecessarily and probably show up as bubbles. But some low-return enterprises will wrongly assume that borrowing to expand is still profitable. If resources flow too heavily to low return businesses, the economy will be less efficient and have more danger of inflation.
When rates eventually rise, both these behaviors will be tested and perhaps crack. Rather than trying to figure out where dangerous leverage is being employed, the Fed should put rates at the correct level and keep the whole boom-bust process from happening in the first place.
Congress needs to push back hard against macroprudential regulation, but it’s highly doubtful they will because they don’t understand it. The Fed is expanding its mandate in massive and unprecedented ways. Who is going to stand up and say stop?
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Click here for PDF version
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US-Europe escalate sanctions
on: July 28, 2014, 08:48:02 PM
BREAKING NEWS Monday, July 28, 2014 5:14 PM EDT
U.S. and Europe Agree to Sharply Escalate Sanctions on Russia
The United States and Europe put aside their differences and agreed on Monday to sharply escalate economic sanctions against Russia in a set of coordinated actions driven by the conclusion that Moscow has taken a more direct role in the war in Ukraine.
After months in which European leaders were hesitant to go as far as the Americans, the two sides settled on a package of measures that would target Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors. In some cases, the Europeans may actually leapfrog beyond what the United States has done, forcing Washington to try to catch up.
The agreement came during an unusual five-way video conference between President Obama and his counterparts from Britain, France, Germany and Italy in advance of a European Union meeting scheduled for Tuesday to consider new sanctions against Russia. American and European officials said the leaders agreed that Russia has not only not backed down since the shooting of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet but has also accelerated its involvement in Ukraine’s burgeoning civil war.
READ MORE »http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/29/world/europe/us-and-europe-agree-to-escalate-sanctions-on-russia.html?emc=edit_na_20140728
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Love People, Not Pleasure
on: July 28, 2014, 08:45:58 PM
Sunday Review | CONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER
18 July 2014
Love People, Not Pleasure
Arthur C. Brooks
ABD AL-RAHMAN III was an emir and caliph of Córdoba in 10th-century Spain. He was an absolute ruler who lived in complete luxury. Here’s how he assessed his life:
“I have now reigned above 50 years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity.”
Fame, riches and pleasure beyond imagination. Sound great? He went on to write:
“I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: They amount to 14.”
Abd al-Rahman’s problem wasn’t happiness, as he believed — it was unhappiness. If that sounds like a distinction without a difference, you probably have the same problem as the great emir. But with a little knowledge, you can avoid the misery that befell him.
What is unhappiness? Your intuition might be that it is simply the opposite of happiness, just as darkness is the absence of light. That is not correct. Happiness and unhappiness are certainly related, but they are not actually opposites. Images of the brain show that parts of the left cerebral cortex are more active than the right when we are experiencing happiness, while the right side becomes more active when we are unhappy.
As strange as it seems, being happier than average does not mean that one can’t also be unhappier than average. One test for both happiness and unhappiness is the Positive Affectivity and Negative Affectivity Schedule test. I took the test myself. I found that, for happiness, I am at the top for people my age, sex, occupation and education group. But I get a pretty high score for unhappiness as well. I am a cheerful melancholic.
So when people say, “I am an unhappy person,” they are really doing sums, whether they realize it or not. They are saying, “My unhappiness is x, my happiness is y, and x > y.” The real questions are why, and what you can do to make y > x.
If you ask an unhappy person why he is unhappy, he’ll almost always blame circumstance. In many cases, of course, this is justified. Some people are oppressed or poor or have physical ailments that make life a chore. Research unsurprisingly suggests that racism causes unhappiness in children, and many academic studies trace a clear link between unhappiness and poverty. Another common source of unhappiness is loneliness, from which about 20 percent of Americans suffer enough to make it a major source of unhappiness in their lives.
THERE are also smaller circumstantial sources of unhappiness. The Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues measured the “negative affect” (bad moods) that ordinary daily activities and interactions kick up. They found that the No. 1 unhappiness-provoking event in a typical day is spending time with one’s boss (which, as a boss, made me unhappy to learn).
Circumstances are certainly important. No doubt Abd al-Rahman could point to a few in his life. But paradoxically, a better explanation for his unhappiness may have been his own search for well-being. And the same might go for you.
Have you ever known an alcoholic? They generally drink to relieve craving or anxiety — in other words, to attenuate a source of unhappiness. Yet it is the drink that ultimately prolongs their suffering. The same principle was at work for Abd al-Rahman in his pursuit of fame, wealth and pleasure.
Consider fame. In 2009, researchers from the University of Rochester conducted a study tracking the success of 147 recent graduates in reaching their stated goals after graduation. Some had “intrinsic” goals, such as deep, enduring relationships. Others had “extrinsic” goals, such as achieving reputation or fame. The scholars found that intrinsic goals were associated with happier lives. But the people who pursued extrinsic goals experienced more negative emotions, such as shame and fear. They even suffered more physical maladies.
This is one of the cruelest ironies in life. I work in Washington, right in the middle of intensely public political battles. Bar none, the unhappiest people I have ever met are those most dedicated to their own self-aggrandizement — the pundits, the TV loudmouths, the media know-it-alls. They build themselves up and promote their images, but feel awful most of the time.
That’s the paradox of fame. Just like drugs and alcohol, once you become addicted, you can’t live without it. But you can’t live with it, either. Celebrities have described fame like being “an animal in a cage; a toy in a shop window; a Barbie doll; a public facade; a clay figure; or, that guy on TV,” according to research by the psychologist Donna Rockwell. Yet they can’t give it up.
That impulse to fame by everyday people has generated some astonishing innovations. One is the advent of reality television, in which ordinary people become actors in their day-to-day lives for others to watch. Why? “To be noticed, to be wanted, to be loved, to walk into a place and have others care about what you’re doing, even what you had for lunch that day: that’s what people want, in my opinion,” said one 26-year-old participant in an early hit reality show called “Big Brother.”
And then there’s social media. Today, each of us can build a personal little fan base, thanks to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the like. We can broadcast the details of our lives to friends and strangers in an astonishingly efficient way. That’s good for staying in touch with friends, but it also puts a minor form of fame-seeking within each person’s reach. And several studies show that it can make us unhappy.
It makes sense. What do you post to Facebook? Pictures of yourself yelling at your kids, or having a hard time at work? No, you post smiling photos of a hiking trip with friends. You build a fake life — or at least an incomplete one — and share it. Furthermore, you consume almost exclusively the fake lives of your social media “friends.” Unless you are extraordinarily self-aware, how could it not make you feel worse to spend part of your time pretending to be happier than you are, and the other part of your time seeing how much happier others seem to be than you?
Some look for relief from unhappiness in money and material things. This scenario is a little more complicated than fame. The evidence does suggest that money relieves suffering in cases of true material need. (This is a strong argument, in my view, for many safety-net policies for the indigent.) But when money becomes an end in itself, it can bring misery, too.
For decades, psychologists have been compiling a vast literature on the relationships between different aspirations and well-being. Whether they examine young adults or people of all ages, the bulk of the studies point toward the same important conclusion: People who rate materialistic goals like wealth as top personal priorities are significantly likelier to be more anxious, more depressed and more frequent drug users, and even to have more physical ailments than those who set their sights on more intrinsic values.
No one sums up the moral snares of materialism more famously than St. Paul in his First Letter to Timothy: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Or as the Dalai Lama pithily suggests, it is better to want what you have than to have what you want.
SO fame and money are out. How about pleasures of the flesh? Take the canonical hedonistic pleasure: lust. From Hollywood to college campuses, many assume that sex is always great, and sexual variety is even better.
This assumption actually has a name: the “Coolidge Effect,” named after the 30th president of the United States. The story (probably apocryphal) begins with Silent Cal and Mrs. Coolidge touring a poultry farm. The first lady noticed that there were very few roosters, and asked how so many eggs could be fertilized. The farmer told her that the virile roosters did their jobs over and over again each day. “Perhaps you could point that out to Mr. Coolidge,” she told him. The president, hearing the remark, asked whether the rooster serviced the same hen each time. No, the farmer told him — there were many hens for each rooster. “Perhaps you could point that out to Mrs. Coolidge,” said the president.
The president obviously figured these must be happy roosters. And notwithstanding the moral implications, the same principle should work for us. Right?
Wrong. In 2004, two economists looked into whether more sexual variety led to greater well-being. They looked at data from about 16,000 adult Americans who were asked confidentially how many sex partners they had had in the preceding year, and about their happiness. Across men and women alike, the data show that the optimal number of partners is one.
This might seem totally counterintuitive. After all, we are unambiguously driven to accumulate material goods, to seek fame, to look for pleasure. How can it be that these very things can give us unhappiness instead of happiness? There are two explanations, one biological and the other philosophical.
From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that we are wired to seek fame, wealth and sexual variety. These things make us more likely to pass on our DNA. Had your cave-man ancestors not acquired some version of these things (a fine reputation for being a great rock sharpener; multiple animal skins), they might not have found enough mating partners to create your lineage.
But here’s where the evolutionary cables have crossed: We assume that things we are attracted to will relieve our suffering and raise our happiness. My brain says, “Get famous.” It also says, “Unhappiness is lousy.” I conflate the two, getting, “Get famous and you’ll be less unhappy.”
But that is Mother Nature’s cruel hoax. She doesn’t really care either way whether you are unhappy — she just wants you to want to pass on your genetic material. If you conflate intergenerational survival with well-being, that’s your problem, not nature’s. And matters are hardly helped by nature’s useful idiots in society, who propagate a popular piece of life-ruining advice: “If it feels good, do it.” Unless you share the same existential goals as protozoa, this is often flat-out wrong.
More philosophically, the problem stems from dissatisfaction — the sense that nothing has full flavor, and we want more. We can’t quite pin down what it is that we seek. Without a great deal of reflection and spiritual hard work, the likely candidates seem to be material things, physical pleasures or favor among friends and strangers.
We look for these things to fill an inner emptiness. They may bring a brief satisfaction, but it never lasts, and it is never enough. And so we crave more. This paradox has a word in Sanskrit: upadana, which refers to the cycle of craving and grasping. As the Dhammapada (the Buddha’s path of wisdom) puts it: “The craving of one given to heedless living grows like a creeper. Like the monkey seeking fruits in the forest, he leaps from life to life... Whoever is overcome by this wretched and sticky craving, his sorrows grow like grass after the rains.”
This search for fame, the lust for material things and the objectification of others — that is, the cycle of grasping and craving — follows a formula that is elegant, simple and deadly:
Love things, use people.
This was Abd al-Rahman’s formula as he sleepwalked through life. It is the worldly snake oil peddled by the culture makers from Hollywood to Madison Avenue. But you know in your heart that it is morally disordered and a likely road to misery. You want to be free of the sticky cravings of unhappiness and find a formula for happiness instead. How? Simply invert the deadly formula and render it virtuous:
Love people, use things.
Easier said than done, I realize. It requires the courage to repudiate pride and the strength to love others — family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, God and even strangers and enemies. Only deny love to things that actually are objects. The practice that achieves this is charity. Few things are as liberating as giving away to others that which we hold dear.
This also requires a condemnation of materialism. This is manifestly not an argument for any specific economic system. Anyone who has spent time in a socialist country must concede that materialism and selfishness are as bad under collectivism, or worse, as when markets are free. No political ideology is immune to materialism.
Finally, it requires a deep skepticism of our own basic desires. Of course you are driven to seek admiration, splendor and physical license. But giving in to these impulses will bring unhappiness. You have a responsibility to yourself to stay in the battle. The day you declare a truce is the day you become unhappier. Declaring war on these destructive impulses is not about asceticism or Puritanism. It is about being a prudent person who seeks to avoid unnecessary suffering.
Abd al-Rahman never got his happiness sums right. He never knew the right formula. Fortunately, we do.
A contributing opinion writer and the president of the American Enterprise Institute.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver
on: July 28, 2014, 08:27:26 PM
Interesting, but I remain a skeptic. Rising interest rates will kill gold, just as they did in the late 70s.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pigs fly. US says Russia violated arms treaty
on: July 28, 2014, 08:20:50 PM
U.S. Says Russia Violated Arms Treaty
The United States has concluded that Russia’s test of a ground-launched cruise missile violated a landmark treaty, and informed President Vladimir V. Putin of the findings in a letter on Monday.
The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty bans medium-range missiles, which are defined as ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles capable of flying 300 to 3,400 miles. It was signed by President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, who was then the Soviet leader, and helped seal the end of the Cold War.
The allegation adds another dispute to a relationship already burdened by tensions over the Kremlin’s support for separatists in Ukraine.
READ MORE »http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/29/world/europe/us-says-russia-tested-cruise-missile-in-violation-of-treaty.html?emc=edit_na_20140728
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hamas's charter
on: July 28, 2014, 11:49:28 AM
Hamas Covenant 1988
Islamic Resistance Movement
18 August 1988
In The Name Of The Most Merciful Allah
"Ye are the best nation that hath been raised up unto mankind: ye command that which is just, and ye forbid that which is unjust, and ye believe in Allah. And if they who have received the scriptures had believed, it had surely been the better for them: there are believers among them, but the greater part of them are transgressors. They shall not hurt you, unless with a slight hurt; and if they fight against you, they shall turn their backs to you, and they shall not be helped. They are smitten with vileness wheresoever they are found; unless they obtain security by entering into a treaty with Allah, and a treaty with men; and they draw on themselves indignation from Allah, and they are afflicted with poverty. This they suffer, because they disbelieved the signs of Allah, and slew the prophets unjustly; this, because they were rebellious, and transgressed." (Al-Imran - verses 109-111).
Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).
"The Islamic world is on fire. Each of us should pour some water, no matter how little, to extinguish whatever one can without waiting for the others." (Sheikh Amjad al-Zahawi, of blessed memory).
In The Name Of The Most Merciful Allah
Praise be unto Allah, to whom we resort for help, and whose forgiveness, guidance and support we seek; Allah bless the Prophet and grant him salvation, his companions and supporters, and to those who carried out his message and adopted his laws - everlasting prayers and salvation as long as the earth and heaven will last. Hereafter:
Out of the midst of troubles and the sea of suffering, out of the palpitations of faithful hearts and cleansed arms; out of the sense of duty, and in response to Allah's command, the call has gone out rallying people together and making them follow the ways of Allah, leading them to have determined will in order to fulfill their role in life, to overcome all obstacles, and surmount the difficulties on the way. Constant preparation has continued and so has the readiness to sacrifice life and all that is precious for the sake of Allah.
Thus it was that the nucleus (of the movement) was formed and started to pave its way through the tempestuous sea of hopes and expectations, of wishes and yearnings, of troubles and obstacles, of pain and challenges, both inside and outside.
When the idea was ripe, the seed grew and the plant struck root in the soil of reality, away from passing emotions, and hateful haste. The Islamic Resistance Movement emerged to carry out its role through striving for the sake of its Creator, its arms intertwined with those of all the fighters for the liberation of Palestine. The spirits of its fighters meet with the spirits of all the fighters who have sacrificed their lives on the soil of Palestine, ever since it was conquered by the companions of the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, and until this day.
This Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), clarifies its picture, reveals its identity, outlines its stand, explains its aims, speaks about its hopes, and calls for its support, adoption and joining its ranks. Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realised.
Thus we see them coming on the horizon "and you shall learn about it hereafter" "Allah hath written, Verily I will prevail, and my apostles: for Allah is strong and mighty." (The Dispute - verse 21).
"Say to them, This is my way: I invite you to Allah, by an evident demonstration; both I and he who followeth me; and, praise be unto Allah! I am not an idolator." (Joseph - verse 107).
Hamas (means) strength and bravery -(according to) Al-Mua'jam al-Wasit: c1.
Definition of the Movement
The Islamic Resistance Movement: The Movement's programme is Islam. From it, it draws its ideas, ways of thinking and understanding of the universe, life and man. It resorts to it for judgement in all its conduct, and it is inspired by it for guidance of its steps.
The Islamic Resistance Movement's Relation With the Moslem Brotherhood Group:
The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine. Moslem Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times. It is characterised by its deep understanding, accurate comprehension and its complete embrace of all Islamic concepts of all aspects of life, culture, creed, politics, economics, education, society, justice and judgement, the spreading of Islam, education, art, information, science of the occult and conversion to Islam.
Structure and Formation
The basic structure of the Islamic Resistance Movement consists of Moslems who have given their allegiance to Allah whom they truly worship, - "I have created the jinn and humans only for the purpose of worshipping" - who know their duty towards themselves, their families and country. In all that, they fear Allah and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors, so that they would rid the land and the people of their uncleanliness, vileness and evils.
"But we will oppose truth to vanity, and it shall confound the same; and behold, it shall vanish away." (Prophets - verse 18).
The Islamic Resistance Movement welcomes every Moslem who embraces its faith, ideology, follows its programme, keeps its secrets, and wants to belong to its ranks and carry out the duty. Allah will certainly reward such one.
Time and Place Extent of the Islamic Resistance Movement:
Time extent of the Islamic Resistance Movement: By adopting Islam as its way of life, the Movement goes back to the time of the birth of the Islamic message, of the righteous ancestor, for Allah is its target, the Prophet is its example and the Koran is its constitution. Its extent in place is anywhere that there are Moslems who embrace Islam as their way of life everywhere in the globe. This being so, it extends to the depth of the earth and reaches out to the heaven.
"Dost thou not see how Allah putteth forth a parable; representing a good word, as a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed in the earth, and whose branches reach unto heaven; which bringeth forth its fruit in all seasons, by the will of its Lord? Allah propoundeth parables unto men, that they may be instructed." (Abraham - verses 24-25).
Characteristics and Independence:
The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security and safety where their lives, possessions and rights are concerned. In the absence of Islam, strife will be rife, oppression spreads, evil prevails and schisms and wars will break out.
How excellent was the Moslem poet, Mohamed Ikbal, when he wrote:
"If faith is lost, there is no security and there is no life for him who does not adhere to religion. He who accepts life without religion, has taken annihilation as his companion for life."
The Universality of the Islamic Resistance Movement:
As a result of the fact that those Moslems who adhere to the ways of the Islamic Resistance Movement spread all over the world, rally support for it and its stands, strive towards enhancing its struggle, the Movement is a universal one. It is well-equipped for that because of the clarity of its ideology, the nobility of its aim and the loftiness of its objectives.
On this basis, the Movement should be viewed and evaluated, and its role be recognised. He who denies its right, evades supporting it and turns a blind eye to facts,
whether intentionally or unintentionally, would awaken to see that events have overtaken him and with no logic to justify his attitude. One should certainly learn from past examples.
The injustice of next-of-kin is harder to bear than the smite of the Indian sword.
"We have also sent down unto thee the book of the Koran with truth, confirming that scripture which was revealed before it; and preserving the same safe from corruption. Judge therefore between them according to that which Allah hath revealed; and follow not their desires, by swerving from the truth which hath come unto thee. Unto every of you have we given a law, and an open path; and if Allah had pleased, he had surely made you one people; but he hath thought it fit to give you different laws, that he might try you in that which he hath given you respectively. Therefore strive to excel each other in good works; unto Allah shall ye all return, and then will he declare unto you that concerning which ye have disagreed." (The Table, verse 48).
The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders. It goes back to 1939, to the emergence of the martyr Izz al-Din al Kissam and his brethren the fighters, members of Moslem Brotherhood. It goes on to reach out and become one with another chain that includes the struggle of the Palestinians and Moslem Brotherhood in the 1948 war and the Jihad operations of the Moslem Brotherhood in 1968 and after.
Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah's promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:
"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).
The Slogan of the Islamic Resistance Movement:
Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.
Incentives and Objectives:
The Islamic Resistance Movement found itself at a time when Islam has disappeared from life. Thus rules shook, concepts were upset, values changed and evil people took control, oppression and darkness prevailed, cowards became like tigers: homelands were usurped, people were scattered and were caused to wander all over the world, the state of justice disappeared and the state of falsehood replaced it. Nothing remained in its right place. Thus, when Islam is absent from the arena, everything changes. From this state of affairs the incentives are drawn.
As for the objectives: They are the fighting against the false, defeating it and vanquishing it so that justice could prevail, homelands be retrieved and from its mosques would the voice of the mu'azen emerge declaring the establishment of the state of Islam, so that people and things would return each to their right places and Allah is our helper.
"...and if Allah had not prevented men, the one by the other, verily the earth had been corrupted: but Allah is beneficient towards his creatures." (The Cow - verse 251).
As the Islamic Resistance Movement paves its way, it will back the oppressed and support the wronged with all its might. It will spare no effort to bring about justice and defeat injustice, in word and deed, in this place and everywhere it can reach and have influence therein.
Strategies and Methods
Strategies of the Islamic Resistance Movement: Palestine Is Islamic aqf:
The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day. This being so, who could claim to have the right to represent Moslem generations till Judgement Day?
This is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia (law) and the same goes for any land the Moslems have conquered by force, because during the times of (Islamic) conquests, the Moslems consecrated these lands to Moslem generations till the Day of Judgement.
It happened like this: When the leaders of the Islamic armies conquered Syria and Iraq, they sent to the Caliph of the Moslems, Umar bin-el-Khatab, asking for his advice concerning the conquered land - whether they should divide it among the soldiers, or leave it for its owners, or what? After consultations and discussions between the Caliph of the Moslems, Omar bin-el-Khatab and companions of the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, it was decided that the land should be left with its owners who could benefit by its fruit. As for the real ownership of the land and the land itself, it should be consecrated for Moslem generations till Judgement Day. Those who are on the land, are there only to benefit from its fruit. This Waqf remains as long as earth and heaven remain. Any procedure in contradiction to Islamic Sharia, where Palestine is concerned, is null and void.
"Verily, this is a certain truth. Wherefore praise the name of thy Lord, the great Allah." (The Inevitable - verse 95).
Homeland and Nationalism from the Point of View of the Islamic Resistance Movement in Palestine:
Nationalism, from the point of view of the Islamic Resistance Movement, is part of the religious creed. Nothing in nationalism is more significant or deeper than in the case when an enemy should tread Moslem land. Resisting and quelling the enemy become the individual duty of every Moslem, male or female. A woman can go out to fight the enemy without her husband's permission, and so does the slave: without his master's permission.
Nothing of the sort is to be found in any other regime. This is an undisputed fact. If other nationalist movements are connected with materialistic, human or regional causes, nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement has all these elements as well as the more important elements that give it soul and life. It is connected to the source of spirit and the granter of life, hoisting in the sky of the homeland the heavenly banner that joins earth and heaven with a strong bond.
If Moses comes and throws his staff, both witch and magic are annulled.
"Now is the right direction manifestly distinguished from deceit: whoever therefore shall deny Tagut, and believe in Allah, he shall surely take hold with a strong handle, which shall not be broken; Allah is he who heareth and seeth." (The Cow - Verse 256).
Peaceful Solutions, Initiatives and International Conferences:
Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. "Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know."
Now and then the call goes out for the convening of an international conference to look for ways of solving the (Palestinian) question. Some accept, others reject the idea, for this or other reason, with one stipulation or more for consent to convening the conference and participating in it. Knowing the parties constituting the conference, their past and present attitudes towards Moslem problems, the Islamic Resistance Movement does not consider these conferences capable of realising the demands, restoring the rights or doing justice to the oppressed. These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitraters. When did the infidels do justice to the believers?
"But the Jews will not be pleased with thee, neither the Christians, until thou follow their religion; say, The direction of Allah is the true direction. And verily if thou follow their desires, after the knowledge which hath been given thee, thou shalt find no patron or protector against Allah." (The Cow - verse 120).
There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with. As in said in the honourable Hadith:
"The people of Syria are Allah's lash in His land. He wreaks His vengeance through them against whomsoever He wishes among His slaves It is unthinkable that those who are double-faced among them should prosper over the faithful. They will certainly die out of grief and desperation."
The Three Circles:
The question of the liberation of Palestine is bound to three circles: the Palestinian circle, the Arab circle and the Islamic circle. Each of these circles has its role in the struggle against Zionism. Each has its duties, and it is a horrible mistake and a sign of deep ignorance to overlook any of these circles. Palestine is an Islamic land which has the first of the two kiblahs (direction to which Moslems turn in praying), the third of the holy (Islamic) sanctuaries, and the point of departure for Mohamed's midnight journey to the seven heavens (i.e. Jerusalem).
"Praise be unto him who transported his servant by night, from the sacred temple of Mecca to the farther temple of Jerusalem, the circuit of which we have blessed, that we might show him some of our signs; for Allah is he who heareth, and seeth." (The Night-Journey - verse 1).
Since this is the case, liberation of Palestine is then an individual duty for very Moslem wherever he may be. On this basis, the problem should be viewed. This should be realised by every Moslem.
The day the problem is dealt with on this basis, when the three circles mobilize their capabilities, the present state of affairs will change and the day of liberation will come nearer.
"Verily ye are stronger than they, by reason of the terror cast into their breasts from Allah. This, because they are not people of prudence." (The Emigration - verse 13).
The Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is an Individual Duty:
The day that enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In face of the Jews' usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised. To do this requires the diffusion of Islamic consciousness among the masses, both on the regional, Arab and Islamic levels. It is necessary to instill the spirit of Jihad in the heart of the nation so that they would confront the enemies and join the ranks of the fighters.
It is necessary that scientists, educators and teachers, information and media people, as well as the educated masses, especially the youth and sheikhs of the Islamic movements, should take part in the operation of awakening (the masses). It is important that basic changes be made in the school curriculum, to cleanse it of the traces of ideological invasion that affected it as a result of the orientalists and missionaries who infiltrated the region following the defeat of the Crusaders at the hands of Salah el-Din (Saladin). The Crusaders realised that it was impossible to defeat the Moslems without first having ideological invasion pave the way by upsetting their thoughts, disfiguring their heritage and violating their ideals. Only then could they invade with soldiers. This, in its turn, paved the way for the imperialistic invasion that made Allenby declare on entering Jerusalem: "Only now have the Crusades ended." General Guru stood at Salah el-Din's grave and said: "We have returned, O Salah el-Din." Imperialism has helped towards the strengthening of ideological invasion, deepening, and still does, its roots. All this has paved the way towards the loss of Palestine.
It is necessary to instill in the minds of the Moslem generations that the Palestinian problem is a religious problem, and should be dealt with on this basis. Palestine contains Islamic holy sites. In it there is al- Aqsa Mosque which is bound to the great Mosque in Mecca in an inseparable bond as long as heaven and earth speak of Isra` (Mohammed's midnight journey to the seven heavens) and Mi'raj (Mohammed's ascension to the seven heavens from Jerusalem).
"The bond of one day for the sake of Allah is better than the world and whatever there is on it. The place of one's whip in Paradise is far better than the world and whatever there is on it. A worshipper's going and coming in the service of Allah is better than the world and whatever there is on it." (As related by al-Bukhari, Moslem, al-Tarmdhi and Ibn Maja).
"I swear by the holder of Mohammed's soul that I would like to invade and be killed for the sake of Allah, then invade and be killed, and then invade again and be killed." (As related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).
The Education of the Generations:
It is necessary to follow Islamic orientation in educating the Islamic generations in our region by teaching the religious duties, comprehensive study of the Koran, the study of the Prophet's Sunna (his sayings and doings), and learning about Islamic history and heritage from their authentic sources. This should be done by specialised and learned people, using a curriculum that would healthily form the thoughts and faith of the Moslem student. Side by side with this, a comprehensive study of the enemy, his human and financial capabilities, learning about his points of weakness and strength, and getting to know the forces supporting and helping him, should also be included. Also, it is important to be acquainted with the current events, to follow what is new and to study the analysis and commentaries made of these events. Planning for the present and future, studying every trend appearing, is a must so that the fighting Moslem would live knowing his aim, objective and his way in the midst of what is going on around him.
"O my son, verily every matter, whether good or bad, though it be the weight of a grain of mustard-seed, and be hidden in a rock, or in the heavens, or in the earth, Allah will bring the same to light; for Allah is clear-sighted and knowing. O my son, be constant at prayer, and command that which is just, and forbid that which is evil: and be patient under the afflictions which shall befall thee; for this is a duty absolutely incumbent on all men. Distort not thy face out of contempt to men, neither walk in the earth with insolence; for Allah loveth no arrogant, vain-glorious person." (Lokman - verses 16-18).
The Role of the Moslem Woman:
The Moslem woman has a role no less important than that of the moslem man in the battle of liberation. She is the maker of men. Her role in guiding and educating the new generations is great. The enemies have realised the importance of her role. They consider that if they are able to direct and bring her up they way they wish, far from Islam, they would have won the battle. That is why you find them giving these attempts constant attention through information campaigns, films, and the school curriculum, using for that purpose their lackeys who are infiltrated through Zionist organizations under various names and shapes, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, espionage groups and others, which are all nothing more than cells of subversion and saboteurs. These organizations have ample resources that enable them to play their role in societies for the purpose of achieving the Zionist targets and to deepen the concepts that would serve the enemy. These organizations operate in the absence of Islam and its estrangement among its people. The Islamic peoples should perform their role in confronting the conspiracies of these saboteurs. The day Islam is in control of guiding the affairs of life, these organizations, hostile to humanity and Islam, will be obliterated.
Woman in the home of the fighting family, whether she is a mother or a sister, plays the most important role in looking after the family, rearing the children and embuing them with moral values and thoughts derived from Islam. She has to teach them to perform the religious duties in preparation for the role of fighting awaiting them. That is why it is necessary to pay great attention to schools and the curriculum followed in educating Moslem girls, so that they would grow up to be good mothers, aware of their role in the battle of liberation.
She has to be of sufficient knowledge and understanding where the performance of housekeeping matters are concerned, because economy and avoidance of waste of the family budget, is one of the requirements for the ability to continue moving forward in the difficult conditions surrounding us. She should put before her eyes the fact that the money available to her is just like blood which should never flow except through the veins so that both children and grown-ups could continue to live.
"Verily, the Moslems of either sex, and the true believers of either sex, and the devout men, and the devout women, and the men of veracity, and the women of veracity, and the patient men, and the patient women, and the humble men, and the humble women, and the alms-givers of either sex who remember Allah frequently; for them hath Allah prepared forgiveness and a great reward." (The Confederates - verse 25).
The Role of Islamic Art in the Battle of Liberation:
Art has regulations and measures by which it can be determined whether it is Islamic or pre-Islamic (Jahili) art. The issues of Islamic liberation are in need of Islamic art that would take the spirit high, without raising one side of human nature above the other, but rather raise all of them harmoniously an in equilibrium.
Man is a unique and wonderful creature, made out of a handful of clay and a breath from Allah. Islamic art addresses man on this basis, while pre-Islamic art addresses the body giving preference to the clay component in it.
The book, the article, the bulletin, the sermon, the thesis, the popular poem, the poetic ode, the song, the play and others, contain the characteristics of Islamic art, then these are among the requirements of ideological mobilization, renewed food for the journey and recreation for the soul. The road is long and suffering is plenty. The soul will be bored, but Islamic art renews the energies, resurrects the movement, arousing in them lofty meanings and proper conduct. "Nothing can improve the self if it is in retreat except shifting from one mood to another."
All this is utterly serious and no jest, for those who are fighters do not jest.
Social Mutual Responsibility:
Moslem society is a mutually responsible society. The Prophet, prayers and greetings be unto him, said: "Blessed are the generous, whether they were in town or on a journey, who have collected all that they had and shared it equally among themselves."
The Islamic spirit is what should prevail in every Moslem society. The society that confronts a vicious enemy which acts in a way similar to Nazism, making no differentiation between man and woman, between children and old people - such a society is entitled to this Islamic spirit. Our enemy relies on the methods of collective punishment. He has deprived people of their homeland and properties, pursued them in their places of exile and gathering, breaking bones, shooting at women, children and old people, with or without a reason. The enemy has opened detention camps where thousands and thousands of people are thrown and kept under sub-human conditions. Added to this, are the demolition of houses, rendering children orphans, meting cruel sentences against thousands of young people, and causing them to spend the best years of their lives in the dungeons of prisons.
In their Nazi treatment, the Jews made no exception for women or children. Their policy of striking fear in the heart is meant for all. They attack people where their breadwinning is concerned, extorting their money and threatening their honour. They deal with people as if they were the worst war criminals. Deportation from the homeland is a kind of murder.
To counter these deeds, it is necessary that social mutual responsibility should prevail among the people. The enemy should be faced by the people as a single body which if one member of it should complain, the rest of the body would respond by feeling the same pains.
Mutual social responsibility means extending assistance, financial or moral, to all those who are in need and joining in the execution of some of the work. Members of the Islamic Resistance Movement should consider the interests of the masses as their own personal interests. They must spare no effort in achieving and preserving them. They must prevent any foul play with the future of the upcoming generations and anything that could cause loss to society. The masses are part of them and they are part of the masses. Their strength is theirs, and their future is theirs. Members of the Islamic Resistance Movement should share the people's joy and grief, adopt the demands of the public and whatever means by which they could be realised. The day that such a spirit prevails, brotherliness would deepen, cooperation, sympathy and unity will be enhanced and the ranks will be solidified to confront the enemies.
Supportive Forces Behind the Enemy:
For a long time, the enemies have been planning, skillfully and with precision, for the achievement of what they have attained. They took into consideration the causes affecting the current of events. They strived to amass great and substantive material wealth which they devoted to the realisation of their dream. With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others. With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there.
You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.
"So often as they shall kindle a fire for war, Allah shall extinguish it; and they shall set their minds to act corruptly in the earth, but Allah loveth not the corrupt doers." (The Table - verse 64).
The imperialistic forces in the Capitalist West and Communist East, support the enemy with all their might, in money and in men. These forces take turns in doing that. The day Islam appears, the forces of infidelity would unite to challenge it, for the infidels are of one nation.
"O true believers, contract not an intimate friendship with any besides yourselves: they will not fail to corrupt you. They wish for that which may cause you to perish: their hatred hath already appeared from out of their mouths; but what their breasts conceal is yet more inveterate. We have already shown you signs of their ill will towards you, if ye understand." (The Family of Imran - verse 118).
It is not in vain that the verse is ended with Allah's words "if ye understand."
Our Attitudes Towards:
A. Islamic Movements:
The Islamic Resistance Movement views other Islamic movements with respect and appreciation. If it were at variance with them on one point or opinion, it is in agreement with them on other points and understandings. It considers these movements, if they reveal good intentions and dedication to Allah, that they fall into the category of those who are trying hard since they act within the Islamic circle. Each active person has his share.
The Islamic Resistance Movement considers all these movements as a fund for itself. It prays to Allah for guidance and directions for all and it spares no effort to keep the banner of unity raised, ever striving for its realisation in accordance with the Koran and the Prophet's directives.
"And cleave all of you unto the covenant of Allah, and depart not from it, and remember the favour of Allah towards you: since ye were enemies, and he reconciled your hearts, and ye became companions and brethren by his favour: and ye were on the brink of a pit of fire, and he delivered you thence. Allah declareth unto you his signs, that ye may be directed." (The Family of Imran - Verse 102).
The Islamic Resistance Movement does not allow slandering or speaking ill of individuals or groups, for the believer does not indulge in such malpractices. It is necessary to differentiate between this behaviour and the stands taken by certain individuals and groups. Whenever those stands are erroneous, the Islamic Resistance Movement preserves the right to expound the error and to warn against it. It will strive to show the right path and to judge the case in question with objectivity. Wise conduct is indeed the target of the believer who follows it wherever he discerns it.
"Allah loveth not the speaking ill of anyone in public, unless he who is injured call for assistance; and Allah heareth and knoweth: whether ye publish a good action, or conceal it, or forgive evil, verily Allah is gracious and powerful." (Women - verses 147-148).
B. Nationalist Movements in the Palestinian Arena:
The Islamic Resistance Movement respects these movements and appreciates their circumstances and the conditions surrounding and affecting them. It encourages them as long as they do not give their allegiance to the Communist East or the Crusading West. It confirms to all those who are integrated in it, or sympathetic towards it, that the Islamic Resistance Movement is a fighting movement that has a moral and enlightened look of life and the way it should cooperate with the other (movements). It detests opportunism and desires only the good of people, individuals and groups alike. It does not seek material gains, personal fame, nor does it look for a reward from others. It works with its own resources and whatever is at its disposal "and prepare for them whatever force you can", for the fulfilment of the duty, and the earning of Allah's favour. It has no other desire than that.
The Movement assures all the nationalist trends operating in the Palestinian arena for the liberation of Palestine, that it is there for their support and assistance. It will never be more than that, both in words and deeds, now and in the future. It is there to bring together and not to divide, to preserve and not to squander, to unify and not to throw asunder. It evaluates every good word, sincere effort and good offices. It closes the door in the face of side disagreements and does not lend an ear to rumours and slanders, while at the same time fully realising the right for self-defence.
Anything contrary or contradictory to these trends, is a lie disseminated by enemies or their lackeys for the purpose of sowing confusion, disrupting the ranks and occupy them with side issues.
"O true believers, if a wicked man come unto you with a tale, inquire strictly into the truth thereof; lest ye hurt people through ignorance, and afterwards repent of what ye have done." (The Inner Apartments - verse 6).
In viewing the Palestinian nationalist movements that give allegiance neither to the East nor the West, in this positive way, the Islamic Resistance Movement does not refrain from discussing new situations on the regional or international levels where the Palestinian question is concerned. It does that in such an objective manner revealing the extent of how much it is in harmony or contradiction with the national interests in the light of the Islamic point of view.
C. The Palestinian Liberation Organization:
The Palestinian Liberation Organization is the closest to the heart of the Islamic Resistance Movement. It contains the father and the brother, the next of kin and the friend. The Moslem does not estrange himself from his father, brother, next of kin or friend. Our homeland is one, our situation is one, our fate is one and the enemy is a joint enemy to all of us.
Because of the situations surrounding the formation of the Organization, of the ideological confusion prevailing in the Arab world as a result of the ideological invasion under whose influence the Arab world has fallen since the defeat of the Crusaders and which was, and still is, intensified through orientalists, missionaries and imperialists, the Organization adopted the idea of the secular state. And that it how we view it.
Secularism completely contradicts religious ideology. Attitudes, conduct and decisions stem from ideologies.
That is why, with all our appreciation for The Palestinian Liberation Organization - and what it can develop into - and without belittling its role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, we are unable to exchange the present or future Islamic Palestine with the secular idea. The Islamic nature of Palestine is part of our religion and whoever takes his religion lightly is a loser.
"Who will be adverse to the religion of Abraham, but he whose mind is infatuated? (The Cow - verse 130).
The day The Palestinian Liberation Organization adopts Islam as its way of life, we will become its soldiers, and fuel for its fire that will burn the enemies.
Until such a day, and we pray to Allah that it will be soon, the Islamic Resistance Movement's stand towards the PLO is that of the son towards his father, the brother towards his brother, and the relative to relative, suffers his pain and supports him in confronting the enemies, wishing him to be wise and well-guided.
"Stand by your brother, for he who is brotherless is like the fighter who goes to battle without arms. One's cousin is the wing one flies with - could the bird fly without wings?"
D. Arab and Islamic Countries:
The Zionist invasion is a vicious invasion. It does not refrain from resorting to all methods, using all evil and contemptible ways to achieve its end. It relies greatly in its infiltration and espionage operations on the secret organizations it gave rise to, such as the Freemasons, The Rotary and Lions clubs, and other sabotage groups. All these organizations, whether secret or open, work in the interest of Zionism and according to its instructions. They aim at undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting consciences, deteriorating character and annihilating Islam. It is behind the drug trade and alcoholism in all its kinds so as to facilitate its control and expansion.
Arab countries surrounding Israel are asked to open their borders before the fighters from among the Arab and Islamic nations so that they could consolidate their efforts with those of their Moslem brethren in Palestine.
As for the other Arab and Islamic countries, they are asked to facilitate the movement of the fighters from and to it, and this is the least thing they could do.
We should not forget to remind every Moslem that when the Jews conquered the Holy City in 1967, they stood on the threshold of the Aqsa Mosque and proclaimed that "Mohammed is dead, and his descendants are all women."
Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people. "May the cowards never sleep."
E. Nationalist and Religious Groupings, Institutions, Intellectuals, The Arab and Islamic World:
The Islamic Resistance Movement hopes that all these groupings will side with it in all spheres, would support it, adopt its stand and solidify its activities and moves, work towards rallying support for it so that the Islamic people will be a base and a stay for it, supplying it with strategic depth an all human material and informative spheres, in time and in place. This should be done through the convening of solidarity conferences, the issuing of explanatory bulletins, favourable articles and booklets, enlightening the masses regarding the Palestinian issue, clarifying what confronts it and the conspiracies woven around it. They should mobilize the Islamic nations, ideologically, educationally and culturally, so that these peoples would be equipped to perform their role in the decisive battle of liberation, just as they did when they vanquished the Crusaders and the Tatars and saved human civilization. Indeed, that is not difficult for Allah.
"Allah hath written, Verily I will prevail, and my apostles: for Allah is strong and mighty." (The Dispute - verse 21).
Writers, intellectuals, media people, orators, educaters and teachers, and all the various sectors in the Arab and Islamic world - all of them are called upon to perform their role, and to fulfill their duty, because of the ferocity of the Zionist offensive and the Zionist influence in many countries exercised through financial and media control, as well as the consequences that all this lead to in the greater part of the world.
Jihad is not confined to the carrying of arms and the confrontation of the enemy. The effective word, the good article, the useful book, support and solidarity - together with the presence of sincere purpose for the hoisting of Allah's banner higher and higher - all these are elements of the Jihad for Allah's sake.
"Whosoever mobilises a fighter for the sake of Allah is himself a fighter. Whosoever supports the relatives of a fighter, he himself is a fighter." (related by al-Bukhari, Moslem, Abu-Dawood and al-Tarmadhi).
F. Followers of Other Religions: The Islamic Resistance Movement Is A Humanistic Movement:
The Islamic Resistance Movement is a humanistic movement. It takes care of human rights and is guided by Islamic tolerance when dealing with the followers of other religions. It does not antagonize anyone of them except if it is antagonized by it or stands in its way to hamper its moves and waste its efforts.
Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions - Islam, Christianity and Judaism - to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam. Past and present history are the best witness to that.
It is the duty of the followers of other religions to stop disputing the sovereignty of Islam in this region, because the day these followers should take over there will be nothing but carnage, displacement and terror. Everyone of them is at variance with his fellow-religionists, not to speak about followers of other religionists. Past and present history are full of examples to prove this fact.
"They will not fight against you in a body, except in fenced towns, or from behind walls. Their strength in war among themselves is great: thou thinkest them to be united; but their hearts are divided. This, because they are people who do not understand." (The Emigration - verse 14).
Islam confers upon everyone his legitimate rights. Islam prevents the incursion on other people's rights. The Zionist Nazi activities against our people will not last for long. "For the state of injustice lasts but one day, while the state of justice lasts till Doomsday."
"As to those who have not borne arms against you on account of religion, nor turned you out of your dwellings, Allah forbiddeth you not to deal kindly with them, and to behave justly towards them; for Allah loveth those who act justly." (The Tried - verse
The Attempt to Isolate the Palestinian People:
World Zionism, together with imperialistic powers, try through a studied plan and an intelligent strategy to remove one Arab state after another from the circle of struggle against Zionism, in order to have it finally face the Palestinian people only. Egypt was, to a great extent, removed from the circle of the struggle, through the treacherous Camp David Agreement. They are trying to draw other Arab countries into similar agreements and to bring them outside the circle of struggle.
The Islamic Resistance Movement calls on Arab and Islamic nations to take up the line of serious and persevering action to prevent the success of this horrendous plan, to warn the people of the danger eminating from leaving the circle of struggle against Zionism. Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.
Leaving the circle of struggle with Zionism is high treason, and cursed be he who does that. "for whoso shall turn his back unto them on that day, unless he turneth aside to fight, or retreateth to another party of the faithful, shall draw on himself the indignation of Allah, and his abode shall be hell; an ill journey shall it be thither." (The Spoils - verse 16). There is no way out except by concentrating all powers and energies to face this Nazi, vicious Tatar invasion. The alternative is loss of one's country, the dispersion of citizens, the spread of vice on earth and the destruction of religious values. Let every person know that he is responsible before Allah, for "the doer of the slightest good deed is rewarded in like, and the does of the slightest evil deed is also rewarded in like."
The Islamic Resistance Movement consider itself to be the spearhead of the circle of struggle with world Zionism and a step on the road. The Movement adds its efforts to the efforts of all those who are active in the Palestinian arena. Arab and Islamic Peoples should augment by further steps on their part; Islamic groupings all over the Arab world should also do the same, since all of these are the best-equipped for the future role in the fight with the warmongering Jews.
"..and we have put enmity and hatred between them, until the day of resurrection. So often as they shall kindle a fire of war, Allah shall extinguish it; and they shall set their minds to act corruptly in the earth, but Allah loveth not the corrupt doers." (The Table - verse 64).
The Islamic Resistance Movement, being based on the common coordinated and interdependent conceptions of the laws of the universe, and flowing in the stream of destiny in confronting and fighting the enemies in defence of the Moslems and Islamic civilization and sacred sites, the first among which is the Aqsa Mosque, urges the Arab and Islamic peoples, their governments, popular and official groupings, to fear Allah where their view of the Islamic Resistance Movement and their dealings with it are concerned. They should back and support it, as Allah wants them to, extending to it more and more funds till Allah's purpose is achieved when ranks will close up, fighters join other fighters and masses everywhere in the Islamic world will come forward in response to the call of duty while loudly proclaiming: Hail to Jihad. Their cry will reach the heavens and will go on being resounded until liberation is achieved, the invaders vanquished and Allah's victory comes about.
"And Allah will certainly assist him who shall be on his side: for Allah is strong and mighty." (The Pilgrimage - verse 40).
The Testimony of History
Across History in Confronting the Invaders:
Palestine is the navel of the globe and the crossroad of the continents. Since the dawn of history, it has been the target of expansionists. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, had himself pointed to this fact in the noble Hadith in which he called on his honourable companion, Ma'adh ben-Jabal, saying: O Ma'ath, Allah throw open before you, when I am gone, Syria, from Al-Arish to the Euphrates. Its men, women and slaves will stay firmly there till the Day of Judgement. Whoever of you should choose one of the Syrian shores, or the Holy Land, he will be in constant struggle till the Day of Judgement."
Expansionists have more than once put their eye on Palestine which they attacked with their armies to fulfill their designs on it. Thus it was that the Crusaders came with their armies, bringing with them their creed and carrying their Cross. They were able to defeat the Moslems for a while, but the Moslems were able to retrieve the land only when they stood under the wing of their religious banner, united their word, hallowed the name of Allah and surged out fighting under the leadership of Salah ed-Din al-Ayyubi. They fought for almost twenty years and at the end the Crusaders were defeated and Palestine was liberated.
"Say unto those who believe not, Ye shall be overcome, and thrown together into hell; an unhappy couch it shall be." (The Family of Imran - verse 12).
This is the only way to liberate Palestine. There is no doubt about the testimony of history. It is one of the laws of the universe and one of the rules of existence. Nothing can overcome iron except iron. Their false futile creed can only be defeated by the righteous Islamic creed. A creed could not be fought except by a creed, and in the last analysis, victory is for the just, for justice is certainly victorious.
"Our word hath formerly been given unto our servants the apostles; that they should certainly be assisted against the infidels, and that our armies should surely be the conquerors." (Those Who Rank Themselves - verses 171-172).
The Islamic Resistance Movement views seriously the defeat of the Crusaders at the hands of Salah ed-Din al-Ayyubi and the rescuing of Palestine from their hands, as well as the defeat of the Tatars at Ein Galot, breaking their power at the hands of Qataz and Al-Dhaher Bivers and saving the Arab world from the Tatar onslaught which aimed at the destruction of every meaning of human civilization. The Movement draws lessons and examples from all this. The present Zionist onslaught has also been preceded by Crusading raids from the West and other Tatar raids from the East. Just as the Moslems faced those raids and planned fighting and defeating them, they should be able to confront the Zionist invasion and defeat it. This is indeed no problem for the Almighty Allah, provided that the intentions are pure, the determination is true and that Moslems have benefited from past experiences, rid themselves of the effects of ideological invasion and followed the customs of their ancestors.
The Islamic Resistance Movement is Composed of Soldiers:
While paving its way, the Islamic Resistance Movement, emphasizes time and again to all the sons of our people, to the Arab and Islamic nations, that it does not seek personal fame, material gain, or social prominence. It does not aim to compete against any one from among our people, or take his place. Nothing of the sort at all. It will not act against any of the sons of Moslems or those who are peaceful towards it from among non-Moslems, be they here or anywhere else. It will only serve as a support for all groupings and organizations operating against the Zionist enemy and its lackeys.
The Islamic Resistance Movement adopts Islam as its way of life. Islam is its creed and religion. Whoever takes Islam as his way of life, be it an organization, a grouping, a country or any other body, the Islamic Resistance Movement considers itself as their soldiers and nothing more.
We ask Allah to show us the right course, to make us an example to others and to judge between us and our people with truth. "O Lord, do thou judge between us and our nation with truth; for thou art the best judge." (Al Araf - Verse 89).
The last of our prayers will be praise to Allah, the Master of the Universe.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Smart power, smart diplomacy with Lurch
on: July 27, 2014, 07:19:03 PM
Even if you knew nothing else about our Secretary of State except this:
"Kerry had a cumulative average of 76 and got four Ds his freshman year - in geology, two history courses and political science, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday."http://www.cbsnews.com/news/kerry-bush-gpas-at-yale-similar/
then THIS would not come as too much of a surprise:
"Leaked comments from unnamed senior government sources to Army Radio, Channel 2 and other Hebrew outlets have described the secretary as amateurish, incompetent, incapable of understanding the material he is dealing with — in short, a blithering fool."http://www.timesofisrael.com/john-kerry-the-betrayal/
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: California
on: July 27, 2014, 09:48:57 AM
Yes, I have.
Unfortunately he is pro-amnesty, pro-abortion, and pro-gay marriage.
In that in California a major part of why the Reps are on the verge of irrelevant is because of the successful passage (and reversal by Fed courts) of Prop 187, which led Latinos to conclude that Reps are anti-Latino, I cannot say that a pro-amnesty position is not necessary to have a chance of winning.
In that in California, the vote is overwhelmingly pro-abortion, so here too I cannot fault the logic.
In that in California the Fed courts struck down TWO initiatives for traditional marriage what a politician says has been made irrelevant, so again here too , , ,
I very much like his insight to define the Rep Party as the "Party of Work". This is pithy, profound, and precisely on point. It speaks well of the man's political instincts, as does his strategy of focusing on Brown's support of the disastrous bullet train.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / More on Dago Dog
on: July 27, 2014, 01:10:38 AM
From when there was still hope :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUCoJjkTaoE
Were celebrated this morning in Merate, in the parish church of Sant'Ambrogio, the funeral of Jacopo Nardi, a sports physician, holder blue and Italian vice-champion of savate and brown belt in brazilian jiu jitsu. In the family chapel, originally from Merate, was composed of the athlete's body, also the author of several publications of success, always in the field of sports medicine. He was 58 years old and was known in Italy as well as in Switzerland, where it had been between 1982 and 1983, one of the founders of Seagulls Lugano, first place team football. By lovers of this sport was known as "yesteryear" and "Samurai" for her competitive experience in martial arts. His profession took him to exercise at high levels, the national Italian boxing, kick-boxing, hockey. Despite all the commitments, he could carve out of parentheses to devote to volunteering, especially with the work of St. Francis of Milan. In the video report of the company Minimal Jacopo Nardi talks about "his" boys how did your passion for the sport and the martial arts in particular, by the mystery of the disease that had struck him and that he hoped to defeat.
This morning in the church of Sant'Ambrogio in many, relatives, friends, teammates and ring, they wanted to give him a final farewell.http://www.merateonline.it/articolo.php?idd=48015&origine=
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW1
on: July 26, 2014, 02:53:00 PM
The War That Broke a Century
A king, a kaiser, a czar—all were undone as they realized what they had unleashed with World War I.
By Peggy Noonan
Updated July 25, 2014 6:52 p.m. ET
Next week marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. It was the great disaster of the 20th century, the one that summoned or forced the disasters that would follow, from Lenin and Hitler to World War II and the Cold War. It is still, a century later, almost impossible to believe that one event, even a war, could cause such destruction, such an ending of worlds.
History still isn't sure and can never be certain of the exact number of casualties. Christopher Clark, in "The Sleepwalkers" (2013), puts it at 20 million military and civilian deaths and 21 million wounded. The war unleashed Bolshevism, which brought communism, which in time would kill tens of millions more throughout the world. (In 1997, "The Black Book of Communism," written by European academics, put the total number at a staggering 94 million.)
Thrones were toppled, empires undone. Western Europe lost a generation of its most educated and patriotic, its future leaders from all classes—aristocrats and tradesmen, teachers, carpenters and poets. No nation can lose a generation of such men without effect. Their loss left Europe, among other things, dumber.
Reading World War I histories, I have been startled to realize the extent to which the leaders or putative leaders of the belligerent nations personally suffered. A number of them fell apart, staggering under the pressure, as if at some point in the day-to-day they realized the true size and implications of the endeavor in which they were immersed. They seemed to come to understand, after the early hurrahs, that they were involved in the central catastrophe of the 20th century, and it was too big, too consequential, too history-making to be borne. Some would spend the years after the war insisting, sometimes at odd moments, that it wasn't their fault.
Illustration of King George V visiting a soldier's grave on the Western Front during World War 1. Getty Images
As Miranda Carter shows in " George, Nicholas and Wilhelm " (2010), the king of England, the czar of Russia and the kaiser of Germany were all in different ways wrecked by the war.
Kaiser Wilhelm, whose bombast, peculiarities of personality and lack of wisdom did so much to bring the conflict, folded almost from the start. Two years in, he was described by those around him as a "broken man"—depressed, lethargic, ill. An aide wrote of him as "violent and unpredictable."
Barbara Tuchman, in the classic "The Guns of August" (1962), notes how in the early days of the war Wilhelm's margin notes on telegrams became "more agitated." ("Rot!" "He lies!" "False dog!") In time, top brass shunted him aside and viewed him as irrelevant. The kaiser rarely referred to the sufferings of his people. Ms. Carter writes: "Wilhelm had always had difficulty in empathizing with others' difficulties." When his country collapsed, he fled to Holland, where in conversation he referred to his countrymen as "pigs" and insisted that the war was the fault of others. He died at age 81 in 1941, two years into World War II.
King George V did have empathy, and it almost killed him. Touring the Western Front, he suffered at the sights—once-rich fields now charred craters, villages blasted away, piles of dead bodies. He aged overnight, his beard turning almost white. Ms. Carter writes that he now surveyed the world with a "dogged, melancholic, unsmiling stare." A year into the war, a horse he was riding on a visit to the front got frightened, reared, and fell on him. The king never fully recovered from the injuries. Years later, he was haunted by what he called "that horrible and unnecessary war." In 1935, war clouds gathering once again, he met up with his wartime prime minister. The king, wrote Lloyd George, "broke out vehemently, 'And I will not have another war, I will not.' " He also said that the Great War had not been his fault. He died the following year.
Czar Nicholas II of Russia, of course, would lose everything—his throne and his life, as his family would lose theirs. But from the early days of the war he too was buckling. His former chief minister, Vladimir Kokovtsov, called Nicholas's faded eyes "lifeless." In the middle of conversations, the czar lost the thread, and a simple question would reduce him to "a perfectly incomprehensible state of helplessness."
Two years in, Kokovtsov thought Nicholas on the verge of nervous breakdown. So did the French ambassador, who wrote in the summer of 1916: "Despondency, apathy and resignation can be seen in his actions, appearance, attitudes and all the manifestations of the inner man." The czar wore a constant, vacant smile, but glanced about nervously. Friendly warnings that the war was not being won and revolution could follow were ignored. For him, in Ms. Carter's words, "Contradiction now constituted betrayal." At the end, those close to Nicholas wondered if he failed to move to save his throne because he preferred a crisis that might force his abdication—and the lifting of burdens he now crushingly understood he could not sustain.
Then there is Woodrow Wilson at his second Versailles peace conference, in the spring of 1919. Negotiations were draining, occasionally volatile. The victors postured, schemed and turned on each other for gain. They had literally argued about whether windows should be opened, and about what language should be the official one of the talks. (They settled on three.) President Wilson developed insomnia and a twitch on the left side of his face. He was constantly tired, occasionally paranoid. After a trying meeting with France's finance minister, Louis Klotz, Wilson joked with a friend of his weariness: "I have Klotz on the brain."
He may have. Weeks earlier, weak and feverish, he had physically collapsed. It was a flu, a cold, possibly encephalitis. He rallied and returned to work but sometimes appeared impatient, euphoric or energized to the point of manic.
On the afternoon of May 1 at the peace conference, Wilson suddenly announced in his office, to his wife and his doctor, Adm. Cary Grayson, "I don't like the way the colors of this furniture fight each other." As biographer A. Scott Berg notes in "Wilson," published last year, the president continued, saying: "The greens and the reds are all mixed up here and there is no harmony. Here is a big purpose, high-backed covered chair, which is like the Purple Cow, strayed off to itself, and it is placed where the light shines on it too brightly. If you will give me a lift, we will move this next to the wall where the light from the window will give it a subdued effect. And here are two chairs, one green and the other red. This will never do. Let's put the greens all together and the reds together."
Mr. Berg : "Wilson's bizarre comments did not end there. He described the Council of Four meetings, how each delegation walked like schoolchildren each day to its respective corners. Now, with the furniture regrouped, he said each country would sit according to color"—the reds in the American corner, the greens in the British.
Grayson didn't know what to think. Perhaps it was nervous exhaustion, perhaps a sign of something more serious. After returning to the U.S., Wilson launched a grueling campaign for America to join the League of Nations. That fall, in the White House, he would suffer the stroke or strokes that would leave him disabled the rest of his life.
So what are we saying? Nothing beyond what I suppose has long been a theme, which may be a nice word for preoccupation, in this space: History is human.
And sometimes it turns bigger than humans can bear.
(Correction: Czar Nicholas II was married to a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. He was not himself Victoria's grandchild, as an earlier version of this column stated.)
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ISIS eliminates Tomb of Jonah and other sites of cultural heritage
on: July 26, 2014, 01:55:48 PM
Jihadists in Iraq Erase Cultural Heritage
By Nour Malas
July 25, 2014 2:41 p.m. ET
Raw footage shows the Shrine of Yunus (Tomb of Jonah) mosque in Mosul being blown up by Islamic State militants. Courtesy: YouTube
BAGHDAD—A campaign by Sunni insurgents to establish an Islamic caliphate across Iraq and Syria and expel other Muslim sects and religions is taking a sharp toll on the countries' cultural heritage.
The latest casualty was a shrine in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul said to contain the tomb of Jonah, who is revered as a prophet by Jews, Christians and Muslims—who call him Younes. The Nabi Younes Mosque, a towering structure that housed the shrine, was also destroyed in Thursday's blast.
Militants from Islamic State, the al Qaeda spinoff that seized Mosul on June 10, wired the periphery of the mosque with explosives and then detonated them, residents said, erasing a revered piece of Iraqi heritage. It collapsed in a massive explosion that sent clouds of sand and dust tumbling into the air.
"They turned it to sand, along with all other tombs and shrines," said Omar Ibrahim, a dentist in Mosul. "But Prophet Younes is something different. It was a symbol of Mosul," said Mr. Ibrahim, a Sunni. "We cried for it with our blood."
Though its population is predominantly Sunni, Mosul was a symbol of religious intermingling and tolerance in Iraq. Nineveh, the wider province, is a Assyrian Christian center dating back thousands of years. That Jonah's shrine was in a mosque was a proud reflection of that coexistence.
Visitors used to stream from across Iraq to pray at the mosque, unique in the country for its grand ascending stairs and alabaster floors. Its large prayer rooms had arched entrances inscribed elaborately with Quranic verses.
The Nabi Younes Mosque, which housed Jonah's tomb, was left in rubble on Friday, a day after extremists detonated explosives around it. Reuters
The site was a monastery centuries ago before it was turned into a mosque, said Emil Nona, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul. "Nabi Younes was famous in the city of Mosul, the most famous mosque in the area," Archbishop Nona said. "I'm very sorry to see this place destroyed."
Islamic State and other groups following ultraconservative Sunni ideology believe the veneration of shrines or tombs is unholy. Many also denounce the veneration of any prophet besides Muhammad, believed by Muslims to be God's messenger.
The group has announced by decree its plan to destroy graves and shrines, a strategy it has already followed in neighboring Syria, where the militants have thrived in parts of the north and east.
Iraqis inspect the wreckage of the Nebi Younes mosque in Mosul on Thursday. European Pressphoto Agency
In Mosul, they have already destroyed at least two dozen shrines, as well as Shiite places of worship, and raided the Mosul Museum, officials said.
"This most recent outrage is yet another demonstration of the terrorist group's intention to shatter Iraq's shared heritage and identity," said Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations secretary-general's special representative for Iraq, on Friday.
Iraqi officials at the tourism ministry and religious officials in Mosul confirmed the shrine as destroyed in a militant attack on Thursday. The attack is captured in amateur video footage shot by locals and posted online. In one, a thick plume of brown smoke rises in the air, presumably over the mosque as it collapsed, as the narrator says: "No, no, no. There goes the Prophet Younes."
The shrine held particular significance for Iraqis because Jonah—who in stories in both the Bible and Quran is swallowed by a whale—"was a prophet for all," said Fawziya al-Maliky, director of heritage at the tourism ministry. "We don't know what these backward militants are thinking, what kind of Islam they are pursuing," she said. "They are pursuing the end of civilization."
The attack was another blow to the country's Christian community. The Islamic State has been pursuing a deliberate anti-Christian campaign in Iraq.
The Muslim shrine, seen above on July 19, was destroyed on Thursday by militants who overran the city in June and are imposing their harsh interpretation of Islamic law. Associated Press
Thousands of Christians fled Mosul last week after Islamic State posed an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a tax, flee or face death. Christian residents said they were terrorized and humiliated in their own city as militants singled out their homes.
Candida Moss, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, called it "part of the irreversible eradication of Christian history and culture in Iraq."
—Ali A. Nabhan
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Latin America
on: July 26, 2014, 01:35:23 PM
Hat tip to CCS:
American "intrusion" is both welcome and not welcome, depending on what it is and depending on who minds and who does not mind. In any case, The US is losing LatAm with Obama's extreme "flexibility."
One day's Yahoo Latin-America headlines:
Japanese PM opens LatAm tour with Mexico energy deals
Chinese president ends regional tour in cradle of Cuban Revolution
Chinese leader signs accords, wraps up Cuba visit
Chinese president backs Cuba's economic reforms
China, Venezuela deepen economic ties during visit
Cuba hopes for more investment as Chinese president arrives
China, Russia leaders seek South American inroads
Chinese leader woos Latin America with deals
Brazil, China sign several trade, business deals
Russia set to reopen Soviet-era spy post on Cuba: source
China seeks to build railways in Brazil to ship out commodities
BRICS meet South American leaders after bank deal
Putin, Kirchner seek 'multipolarity' in Argentina visit
China's leader Xi departs for South America tour
Putin signs nuclear energy deal with Argentina
Putin in Argentina, building Russian ties
Putin in Cuba, Nicaragua to rekindle Latin America ties
BRICS to launch bank, tighten Latin America ties
Putin kicks off Latin America tour with Cuba stop
Putin pledges to help Cuba explore for offshore oil
Putin in Cuba to rekindle Latin America tieshttp://news.yahoo.com/latin-america/
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / NY Court sets aside "gravity knife" prosecution
on: July 25, 2014, 04:14:24 PM
The Volokh Conspiracy
New York court sets aside “gravity knife” prosecution
By Eugene Volokh July 25 at 11:31 AM
From People v. Trowells (N.Y. trial ct. July 11, 2014, published in the N.Y.L.J. today) (some paragraph breaks added):
Defendant, Anthony Trowells, is charged, inter alia, with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree (PL §265.02) [elevated to a felony because of a prior conviction for Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree -EV] ….
It is alleged that on or about June 12, 2013 at approximately 10:05 a.m., the defendant was walking in the vicinity of the Major Deegan Expressway and Jerome Avenue in Bronx County, when he was observed by Detective Keith Ames of the Bronx Narcotics Squad to have a gravity knife clipped to his belt. The People claim the knife was in plain view.
The defendant claims that Det. Ames attempted to engage him in a drug-related conversation, and when he refused to respond and attempted to walk away from him, Det. Ames then physically stopped the defendant, conducted a search of defendant’s person and recovered the gravity knife….
[New York Civil Criminal Procedure Law] §210.40 permits dismissal of an indictment where, for a variety of reasons, the merits are not at issue and the interest of justice would be served by the termination of prosecution. In determine whether granting or denying the motion to dismiss would serve justice, the Court may consider the existence of any compelling circumstance…. In evaluating whether there exists a compelling basis for dismissal, CPL §210.40 sets out ten factors a court may consider. The ten factors are as follows:
(a) the seriousness of the crime;
(b) the extent of harm caused by the offense;
(c) the evidence of guilt, whether admissible or inadmissible at trial;
(d) the history, character and condition of the defendant;
(e) any exceptionally serious misconduct of law enforcement personnel in the investigation, arrest and prosecution of the defendant;
(f) the purpose and effect of imposing upon the defendant a sentence authorized for the offense;
(g) the impact on the public interest of a dismissal of the indictment;
(h) the impact of a dismissal on the safety or welfare of the community;
(i) where the court deems it appropriate, the attitude of the complainant or victim with respect to the motion;
(j) any other relevant fact indicating that a judgment of conviction would serve no useful purpose.
… Courts have made it clear that no one of these ten factors is dispositive, however, taken as a whole, they serve to balance the interests between the individual and the state. Thus, this Court must balance all the factors, as well as any other relevant factors in deciding defendant’s motion. In so doing, defendant’s motion to dismiss is granted….
In 1958, the Legislature enacted Penal Law §265.01 criminalizing the mere possession of a gravity knife, i.e., deeming it a “per se” weapon. The statute was in response to what was then characterized as great public concern over the rampant criminal use of gravity knives by New York City juveniles. Penal Law §265.00 defines a gravity knife as “any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, lever, spring or other device.” Centrifugal force is not defined in the Penal Law, however, it is well-settled law that releasing the blade from the handle of the knife by flicking the wrist constitutes centrifugal force.
Notwithstanding their illegality, gravity knives are widely manufactured and sold across the country in hardware and outdoor stores under brand names such as Clip-it, Husky Utility Folding Knives and other brands. They are sold for and are used for purely legitimate purposes. Despite “locking” safety features, many can be “flicked” open with the appropriate amount of force. Thus, these knives are routinely carried by many New Yorkers for legitimate purposes ignorant of the fact that they may be in violation of the law and face a potential automatic one-year jail sentence.
The law has been criticized by many as resulting in the prosecution of many law-abiding New York City citizens and visitors including artists, construction workers, electricians and others who carry gravity knives for work and other lawful endeavors (see David B. Kopel et al., Knives and the Second Amendment, 47 U Mich JL Reform 167, 210-211 ; Ian Weinstein, Note, Adjudication of Minor Offenses In New York City, 31 Fordham Urb LJ 1157, 1167 ). For example in 2011, New York police arrested John Copeland, a painter, for carrying a Benchmade three-inch folding knife in his pocket. The knife was alleged to be a gravity knife. The charges against Copeland were ultimately dismissed after a showing was made that Copeland was an artist and legitimately used the knife to cut canvas for his artwork.
In 2012, Clayton Baltzer was on a field trip to New York City with his fine-arts classmates from Pennsylvania’s Baptist Bible College & Seminary. While riding the subway, a police officer observed what he believed to be a gravity knife clipped to Baltzer’s belt. After many failed attempts to flick open the knife, the officer was finally able to open it and placed Baltzer under arrest for the possession of the gravity knife. Baltzer was convicted of the misdemeanor possession of the gravity knife and was sentenced to pay a fine in the amount of $125 fine and to complete two (2) days of community service.
These and other cases have led to various proposed amendments of the statute. While apparently recognizing the societal shift from rampant criminal use of gravity knives of the 1950s to the widespread, legitimate possession of gravity knives of today, in 2011, the New York Assembly passed Bill 2259A. It called for the amendment of PL §265.01 to the extent that an individual would be guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree when he or she “possesses a gravity knife with the intent to use the same unlawfully against another.” Similarly, in 2013, Senate Bill 5650 proposed to amend PL §265.15 to create an affirmative defense for criminal possession of a gravity knife. The affirmative defense would be that the possessor did not intend to use it unlawfully. Clearly, the Legislature is addressing the need to delineate the criminal possession versus the lawful possession of gravity knives.
While this Court is in no way minimizing the defendant’s actions, it notes that the defendant was not using the gravity knife unlawfully against another, nor was he threatening its use. Rather the gravity knife was found in his possession following a search of his person by law enforcement.
The stop and subsequent search of the defendant’s person is also at issue. It is unclear as to the basis for defendant’s stop as well as subsequent search of his person. The People assert that the gravity knife was in plain view, clipped to defendant’s belt. The defendant asserts that he refused to respond to questions posed to him by the narcotics detective regarding drug activity in the area, and that he attempted to walk away from the detective. This behavior allegedly prompted the physical stop and search by Det. Ames. While this would not rise to serious misconduct on the part of law enforcement, it certainly calls into question the legality of the stop and admissibility of the gravity knife.
Finally, while certainly cognizant of the defendant’s criminal background — nineteen (19) misdemeanor convictions and one (1) felony conviction, the aforementioned and last conviction for Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree for which he received a sentence of probation — this Court does not believe that dismissal of the indictment would result in any negative impact on the confidence of the public in the system, or that dismissal of the indictment would have any impact on the safety and welfare of the community.
Based on the aforesaid, defendant’s motion to dismiss the indictment in the furtherance of justice is granted.
Note that the judge here is just applying the specific New York statute — New York Civil Criminal Procedure Law §210.40 — and not saying the prosecution is unconstitutional.
Thanks to Keith Kaplan for the pointer.
Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy. Before coming to UCLA, he clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court and for Judge Alex Kozinski on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Volokh is the author of the textbooks The First Amendment and Related Statutes (4th ed. 2011), The Religion Clauses and Related Statutes (2005), and Academic Legal Writing (4th ed. 2010), as well as over 70 law review articles. Volokh is also an Academic Affiliate for the Mayer Brown LLP law firm.