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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Coming soon? on: Today at 09:07:44 AM


27 Mar 15

This from a friend in Manila.  We’ll soon see this here, and in most  of
Western Europe:

“The Philippine approach to security in business districts and hotels where
most foreigners hang-out is much more rigorous than we see at home, and is
surely a sign of things to come.

You go through metal-detectors to get into malls. There is highly-visible 
armed security at every intersection in the business area. Lots of  p
istol-gripped shotguns, revolvers with soft-lead bullets in loops on gun belts, 
and M16s. Equipment looks well used.  Security guys seem fit and all have 
good situational awareness.

When you drive to western hotels, there is a tall, fit Filipino standing at
the S-curve with a 12-gauge AR15 variant, extra magazines, and hard-shell
knee  pads.  The shotgun is loaded exclusively with slugs, so that he has
some  chance of being able to penetrate vehicles. 

Once you get past him, you arrive at a gate where there is another armed 
security guard and a bomb-dog.  Trunks are popped open, and the driver is 
interviewed.

Once you get to the entrance of the actually hotel lobby, there is another 
dog (usually a beagle), smelling bags. You then go through double-doors of
the  lobby where there are two more people with handheld metal-detectors.

They don’t wand western-looking guests, but all the Filipinos, and 
particularly middle-easterners,  get scanned.  No problem here with  ‘racial
profiling!’

This is ‘security theater,’ and it is much more serious and convincing
than  what we see in CONUS.”

Comment: We better all get used to it, since  respect and reverence for
Western culture and resolve is now a worldwide  joke.  This is what happens
when civilizations, by choice, decline!

“Pacifism is merely cowardice, masquerading as piety”

Anon
 
******
Molon Labe

******
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Water on: Today at 07:42:48 AM
Yes, this is the correct thread for the political and economic aspects of water.
3  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / French TV interview on: Today at 07:40:29 AM
http://video-streaming.orange.fr/sports-extreme/kickstartv-martial-artist-dog-brothers-VID0000001vX2T.html
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CA confiscating legally purchased guns- including for tax debt? on: March 26, 2015, 06:09:34 AM
http://downtrend.com/travis/california-begins-confiscating-legally-purchased-guns
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Houthi rebels capture and hand over US intel files to Iran on: March 26, 2015, 04:25:51 AM
http://pamelageller.com/2015/03/backed-rebels-in-yemen-loot-secret-u-s-files-about-spy-operations.html/
6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran as Lucy pulls the football on Obama-Kerry as Charlie Brown on: March 26, 2015, 04:04:06 AM
Second post

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/03/25/iran-refuses-to-sign-written-nuclear-deal/
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Third semester abortion bill in NY on: March 26, 2015, 03:54:41 AM
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/03/25/new-york-house-passes-bill-allowing-shooting-babies-through-the-heart-with-poison-to-kill-them/
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama releases secret report on Israel's nukes on: March 26, 2015, 03:50:05 AM
*Subject: **US Reveals Israel's Nuclear Program*

 *_US Declassifies Document Revealing Israel's Nuclear Program_*
 Obama revenge for Netanyahu's Congress talk? 1987 report on Israel's
 top secret nuclear program released in unprecedented move.
 By Ari Yashar, Matt Wanderman
 First Publish: 3/25/2015, 8:00 PM

 In a development that has largely been missed by mainstream media, the
 Pentagon early last month quietly declassified a Department of Defense
 top-secret document detailing Israel's nuclear program, a highly
 covert topic that Israel has never formally announced to avoid a
 regional nuclear arms race, and which the US until now has respected
 by remaining silent.

 But by publishing the declassified document from 1987, the */US
 reportedly breached the silent agreement to keep quiet on Israel's
 nuclear powers for the first time ever, detailing the nuclear program
 in great depth./*

 The timing of the revelation is highly suspect, given that it came
 as*_tensions spiraled out of control_*

 <http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/193109>between Prime
 Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama ahead of
 Netanyahu's March 3 address in Congress, in which he warned against
 the dangers of Iran's nuclear program and how the deal being formed on
 that program leaves the Islamic regime with nuclear breakout
 capabilities.

 Another highly suspicious aspect of the document is that while the
 Pentagon saw fit to declassify sections on Israel's sensitive nuclear
 program, it _kept sections on Italy, France, West Germany and other
 NATO countries classified_, with those sections blocked out in the
 document.

 The 386-page report entitled "Critical Technological Assessment in
 Israel and NATO Nations" gives a detailed description of how Israel
 advanced its military technology and developed its nuclear
 infrastructure and research in the 1970s and 1980s.

 Israel is "developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make
 hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion
 processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level," reveals the report,
 stating that in the 1980s Israelis were reaching the ability to create
 bombs considered a thousand times more powerful than atom bombs.
 The revelation marks a first in which the US published in a document a
 description of how Israel attained hydrogen bombs.

 The report also notes research laboratories in Israel "are equivalent
 to our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National
 Laboratories," the key labs in developing America's nuclear arsenal.
 Israel's nuclear infrastructure is "an almost exact parallel of the
 capability currently existing at our National Laboratories," it adds.
 "As far as nuclear technology is concerned the Israelis are roughly
 where the U.S. was in the fission weapon field in about 1955 to 1960,"
 the report reveals, noting a time frame just after America tested its
 first hydrogen bomb.

 Institute for Defense Analysis, a federally funded agency operating
 under the Pentagon, penned the report back in 1987.

 Aside from nuclear capabilities, the report revealed Israel at the
 time had "a totally integrated effort in systems development
 throughout the nation," with electronic combat all in one "integrated
 system, not separated systems for the Army, Navy and Air Force." It
 even acknowledged that in some cases, Israeli military technology "is
 more advanced than in the U.S."

 Declassifying the report comes at a sensitive timing as noted above,
 and given that the process to have it published was started three
 years ago, that timing is seen as having been the choice of the
 American government.

 US journalist Grant Smith petitioned to have the report published
 based on the Freedom of Information Act. Initially the Pentagon took
 its time answering, leading Smith to sue, and a District Court judge
 to order the Pentagon to respond to the request.

 Smith, who heads the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy,
 reportedly said he thinks this is the first time the US government has
 officially confirmed that Israel is a nuclear power, a status that
 Israel has long been widely known to have despite being undeclared.
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Newt: We are losing on: March 26, 2015, 03:24:38 AM


Yesterday the House Committee on Homeland Security
(http://homeland.house.gov/hearing/hearing-global-battleground-fight-against-islamist-extremism-home-and-abroad?utm_source=Gingrich+Productions+List&utm_campaign=4ab8b29faf-testimony_032515&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bd29bdc370-4ab8b29faf-46602837)
, under the leadership of Chairman Michael McCaul, held the first of a series of
very important hearings on the threat of radical Islamism.

As I told the committee in my testimony, it is vital that the United States Congress
undertake a thorough, no-holds-barred review of the long, global war in which we are
now engaged with radical Islamists. This review will require a number of committees
to coordinate since it will have to include Intelligence, Armed Services, Foreign
Affairs, Judiciary, and Homeland Security at a minimum.

There are three key, sobering observations about where we are today which should
force this thorough, no-holds-barred review of our situation.

These three points—which are backed up by the facts—suggest the United States is
drifting into a crisis that could challenge our very survival.

First, it is the case that after 35 years of conflict dating back to the Iranian
seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran and the ensuing hostage crisis, the United
States and its allies are losing the long, global war with radical Islamists.

We are losing to both the violent Jihad and to the cultural Jihad.

The violent Jihad has shown itself recently in Paris, Australia, Tunisia, Syria,
Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Yemen to name just some
of the most prominent areas of violence.

Cultural Jihad is more insidious and in many ways more dangerous. Cultural Jihad
strikes at our very ability to think and to have an honest dialogue about the steps
necessary for our survival. Cultural Jihad is winning when the Department of Defense
(http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=60536&utm_source=Gingrich+Productions+List&utm_campaign=4ab8b29faf-testimony_032515&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bd29bdc370-4ab8b29faf-46602837)
describes a terrorist attack at Fort Hood as “workplace violence”. Cultural Jihad is
winning when the President refers to “random” killings
(http://www.vox.com/a/barack-obama-interview-vox-conversation/obama-foreign-policy-transcript?utm_source=Gingrich+Productions+List&utm_campaign=4ab8b29faf-testimony_032515&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bd29bdc370-4ab8b29faf-46602837)
in Paris when they were clearly the actions of Islamist terrorists and targeted
against specific groups. Cultural Jihad is winning when the administration censors
training documents and lecturers according to “sensitivity” so that they cannot
describe
(http://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/deputy-attorney-general-james-m-cole-speaks-department-s-conference-post-911?utm_source=Gingrich+Productions+List&utm_campaign=4ab8b29faf-testimony_032515&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bd29bdc370-4ab8b29faf-46602837)
radical Islamists with any reference to the religious ideology which is the primary
bond that unites them.

In the 14 years since the 9/11 attacks, we have gone a long way down the road of
intellectually and morally disarming in order to appease the cultural Jihadists who
are increasingly aggressive in asserting their right to define how the rest of us
think and talk.

Second, it is the case that, in an extraordinarily dangerous pattern, our
intelligence system has been methodically limited and manipulated to sustain false
narratives while suppressing or rejecting facts and analysis about those who would
kill us.

For example, there is clear evidence the American people have been given remarkably
misleading analysis about Al Qaeda based on a very limited translation and
publication of about 24 of the 1.5 million documents captured in the Bin Laden raid.
A number of outside analysts have suggested that the selective release of a small
number of documents was designed
(http://www.wsj.com/articles/stephen-hayes-and-tomas-joscelyn-how-america-was-misled-on-al-qaedas-demise-1425600796?utm_source=Gingrich+Productions+List&utm_campaign=4ab8b29faf-testimony_032515&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bd29bdc370-4ab8b29faf-46602837)
to make the case that Al Qaeda was weaker. These outside analysts assert that a
broader reading of more documents would indicate Al Qaeda was doubling in size when
our government claimed it was getting weaker—an analysis also supported by obvious
empirical facts on the ground. Furthermore, there has been what could only be
deliberate foot-dragging in exploiting this extraordinary cache of material.

Both Lt. General Mike Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and
Colonel Derek Harvey, a leading analyst of terrorism, have described the
deliberately misleading and restricted access to the Bin Laden documents.

A number of intelligence operatives have described censorship from above designed to
make sure that intelligence which undermines the official narrative
(http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/21/over-my-dead-body-spies-fight-obama-push-to-downsize-terror-war.html?utm_source=Gingrich+Productions+List&utm_campaign=4ab8b29faf-testimony_032515&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bd29bdc370-4ab8b29faf-46602837)
simply does not see the light of day.

Congress should explore legislation which would make it illegal to instruct
intelligence personnel to falsify information or analysis. Basing American security
policy on politically defined distortions of reality is a very dangerous habit which
could someday lead to a devastating defeat. Congress has an obligation to ensure the
American people are learning the truth and have an opportunity to debate potential
policies in a fact based environment.

Third, it is the case that our political elites have refused to define our enemies.
Their willful ignorance has made it impossible to develop an effective strategy to
defeat those who would destroy our civilization.

For example, the President’s own press secretary engages in verbal gymnastics to
avoid identifying the perpetrators of violence as radical Islamists. Josh Earnest
said
(https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/13/press-briefing-press-secretary-josh-earnest-1132015?utm_source=Gingrich+Productions+List&utm_campaign=4ab8b29faf-testimony_032515&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bd29bdc370-4ab8b29faf-46602837)
such labels do not “accurately” describe our enemies and that to use such a label
“legitimizes” them.

This is Orwellian double-speak. The radical Islamists do not need to be
de-legitimized. They need to be defeated. We cannot defeat what we cannot name.

There has been a desperate desire among our elites to focus on the act of terrorism
rather than the motivation behind those acts. There has been a deep desire to avoid
the cultural and religious motivations behind the Jihadists’ actions. There is an
amazing hostility to any effort to study or teach the history of these patterns
going back to the Seventh Century.

Because our elites refuse to look at the religious and historic motivations and
patterns which drive our opponents, we are responding the same way to attack after
attack on our way of life without any regard for learning about what really
motivates our attackers. Only once we learn what drives and informs our opponents
will we not repeat the same wrong response tactics, groundhog day-like, and finally
start to win this long war.

Currently each new event, each new group, each new pattern is treated as though it’s
an isolated phenomenon—as if it’s not part of a larger struggle with a long history
and deep roots in patterns that are 1400 years old.

There is a passion for narrowing and localizing actions. The early focus was Al
Qaeda. Then it was the Taliban. Now it is ISIS. It is beginning to be Boko Haram. As
long as the elites can keep treating each new eruption as a free-standing
phenomenon, they can avoid having to recognize that this is a global, worldwide
movement that is decentralized but not disordered.

There are ties between
(http://www.cbsnews.com/news/minneapolis-has-become-recruiting-ground-for-islamic-extremists/?utm_source=Gingrich+Productions+List&utm_campaign=4ab8b29faf-testimony_032515&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bd29bdc370-4ab8b29faf-46602837)
Minneapolis and Mogadishu. There are ties between London, Paris and ISIS. Al Qaeda
exists in many forms and under many names. We are confronted by worldwide recruiting
on the internet, with Islamists reaching out to people we would never have imagined
were vulnerable to that kind of appeal.

We have been refusing to apply the insights and lessons of history but our enemies
have been very willing to study, learn, rethink and evolve.

The cultural Jihadists have learned our language and our principles—freedom of
speech, freedom of religion, tolerance—and they apply them to defeat us without
believing in them themselves. We blindly play their game on their terms, and don’t
even think about how absurd it is for people who accept no church, no synagogue, no
temple, in their heartland to come into our society and define multicultural
sensitivity totally to their advantage—meaning, in essence, that we cannot criticize
their ideas.

Our elites have been morally and intellectually disarmed by their own unwillingness
to look at both the immediate history of the first 35 years of the global war with
radical Islamists and then to look deeper into the roots of the ideology and the
military-political system our enemies draw upon as their guide to waging both
physical and cultural warfare.

One of the great threats to American independence is the steady growth of foreign
money pouring into our intellectual and political systems to influence our thinking
and limit our options for action. Congress needs to adopt new laws to protect the
United States from the kind of foreign influences which are growing in size and
boldness.

Sun Tzu, in the Art of War, written 500 years before Christ, warned that "all
warfare is based on deception". We are currently in a period where our enemies are
deceiving us and our elites are actively deceiving themselves—and us. The deception
and dishonesty of our elites is not accidental or uninformed. It is deliberate and
willful. The flow of foreign money and foreign influence is a significant part of
that pattern of deception.

We must clearly define our enemies before we can begin to develop strategies to
defeat them.

We have lost 35 years since this war began.

We are weaker and our enemies are stronger.

Congress has a duty to pursue the truth and to think through the strategies needed
and the structures which will be needed to implement those strategies.

Your Friend,
Newt
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen.Ted Cruz=Baraq Obama in several ways on: March 25, 2015, 06:57:35 PM
http://thefederalist.com/2015/03/25/9-reasons-ted-cruz-is-exactly-like-barack-obama/
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Golf season must have started on: March 25, 2015, 06:07:07 PM
Obama Snubs NATO Chief as Crisis Rages
Josh Rogin
1408 Mar 24, 2015 7:20 PM EDT
By Josh Rogin

    a
    A

President Barack Obama has yet to meet with the new head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and won't see Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg this week, even though he is in Washington for three days.  Stoltenberg’s office requested a meeting with Obama well in advance of the visit, but never heard anything from the White House, two sources close to the NATO chief told me.

The leaders of almost all the other 28 NATO member countries have made time for Stoltenberg since he took over the world's largest military alliance in October. Stoltenberg, twice the prime minister of Norway, met Monday with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa to discuss the threat of the Islamic State and the crisis in Ukraine, two issues near the top of Obama's agenda.

Kurt Volker, who served as the U.S. permanent representative to NATO under both President George W. Bush and Obama, said the president broke a long tradition.  “The Bush administration held a firm line that if the NATO secretary general came to town, he would be seen by the president ... so as not to diminish his stature or authority,” he told me.

America's commitment to defend its NATO allies is its biggest treaty obligation, said Volker, adding that European security is at its most perilous moment since the Cold War. Russia has moved troops and weapons into eastern Ukraine, annexed Crimea, placed nuclear-capable missiles in striking distance of NATO allies, flown strategic-bomber mock runs in the North Atlantic, practiced attack approaches on the U.K. and Sweden, and this week threatened to aim nuclear missiles at Denmark’s warships.

“It is hard for me to believe that the president of the United States has not found the time to meet with the current secretary general of NATO given the magnitude of what this implies, and the responsibilities of his office,” Volker said.

Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, declined to say why Obama didn’t respond to Stoltenberg’s request. “We don’t have any meetings to announce at this time,” she told me in a statement. Sources told me that Stoltenberg was able to arrange a last-minute meeting with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

According to White House press releases, Obama didn’t exactly have a packed schedule. On Tuesday, he held important meetings and a press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House (Ghani will meet with Stoltenberg while they are both in town). But the only event on Obama’s public schedule for Wednesday is a short speech to kick off a meeting related to the Affordable Care Act. On Thursday, he will head to Alabama to give a speech about the economy.

Stoltenberg is in town primarily for the NATO Transformation Seminar, a once-a-year strategic brainstorming session that brings together NATO’s leadership with experts and top officials from the host country. The event is organized by the Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Atlantic Council.

“The focus of this year’s seminar is to think through how best to update NATO’s strategy given real threats in the east and the south, against the backdrop of a dramatically changing world,” said Damon Wilson, a former NSC senior director for Europe who is now with the Atlantic Council. “The practical focus is to begin developing the road map to the next NATO summit, which will take place in Warsaw in July 2016, a summit which will presumably be the capstone and last summit for the Obama administration.”

Last year, the seminar was hosted in Paris, and then-NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen got a separate bilateral meeting with President Francois Hollande of France.

Last Friday, at the German Marshall Fund Brussels Forum, Stoltenberg talked about the importance of close coordination inside NATO in order to first confront Russian aggression and then eventually move toward a stable relationship with Moscow.

“The only way we can have the confidence to engage with Russia,” he said, “is to have the confidence and the strength which is provided by strong collective defense, the NATO alliance.”

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski told the Brussels Forum that there has been a worrisome lag between NATO’s promises of more defensive equipment for Poland and what has actually arrived, a blow to the alliance's credibility. “It’s very important and necessary for everyone to have the conviction, including the potential aggressor to have this conviction, that NATO is truly determined to execute contingency plans,” he said.

The White House missed a perfect opportunity to reinforce that message this week in snubbing Stoltenberg. It fits into a narrative pushed by Obama critics that he would rather meet with problematic leaders such as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who will get an Oval Office meeting next month, than firm allies. The message Russian President Vladimir Putin will take away is that the White House-NATO relationship is rocky, and he will be right.

To contact the author on this story:
Josh Rogin at joshrogin@bloomberg.net
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Interesting Morris analysis on: March 25, 2015, 05:33:42 PM
Dick gets back in his lane and is the better for it:  cheesy

Who Is Jeb's Main Rival?

By DICK MORRIS

Published on TheHill.com on March 24, 2015

Though the GOP nominating process for 2016 is just beginning, CNN/ORC issued a poll
this week that sheds light on how it is unfolding. The survey tested the GOP
candidates in a head-to-head match-up, and with only 14 percent undecided, it shows
the beginning of the makeup of the Republican field.

Jeb Bush garnered 16 percent in the poll, leading the field, with Scott Walker (13
percent) and Rand Paul (12 percent) following closely behind. Mike Huckabee came in
next with 10 percent, and Ben Carson won 9 percent. Chris Christie and Marco Rubio
tied at 7 percent support and were followed by Ted Cruz and Rick Perry, both at 4
percent. Bringing up the rear were John Kasich (2 percent), Rick Santorum (1
percent) and Bobby Jindal (1 percent).

To understand what's going on, you need to put yourself in the place of the typical
Republican primary voter. And the first thing you need to do is decide if you are
for or against Bush.

The former Florida governor been anointed by the media as the front-runner -- he is
the best-known and has the most money. The most notable fact is that Bush is only at
16 percent of the vote in this poll. His name, resources, Florida base and broad
appeal should put him much higher. Among GOP donors and elites, he likely runs much
better. But 84 percent of the primary electorate isn't buying him right now and
wants an alternative. While Bush has not declared, there is no doubt that he is
running. And even though he has not projected his credentials and ideas nationally,
his lack of appeal, despite full name recognition, should be troublesome for his
backers.

Next, you look down the list of candidates and see if there is anyone else you would
vote for -- or, on the other hand, can't support. Paul stands out. You either
support the Kentucky senator's novel brand of economic libertarianism, social
liberalism and neo-isolationism or you don't. Because Paul isn't likely to change
his views or persuade national security or evangelical voters to change theirs, he
is not likely to move up.

Huckabee faces a similar problem. The former Arkansas governor is trapped in an
ecclesiastical ghetto -- he beats the hell (or heck) out of Santorum, but to grow,
he needs to wage a secular campaign on issues like income inequality, Wall Street
deceit and other topics that grow out of his spirituality. He might just do that,
but hasn't done it yet.

Christie, the embattled New Jersey governor, needs Bush to fall for him to gain. Not
very likely.

Setting aside the poll's stragglers, we have to view the candidacies of Walker,
Rubio, Carson and Cruz as a unit, together getting 33 percent of the vote. Some
voters may prefer one or the other, but their support is, at the moment, likely
interchangeable. The winner of this four-way contest will emerge to challenge Bush
-- and the former Florida governor is vulnerable.

Which candidate that will be requires a more subtle calculation.

Walker has a big lead in financial support, seeming to be the favorite of Charles
and David Koch and their allies. But the Wisconsin governor has not yet shown the
depth and grasp of issues necessary for the national stage.

Rubio has a positive image but has flip-flopped on immigration and hasn't motivated
anyone to storm the barricades ... yet. The Florida senator's public appearances
have been too milquetoast and too biographic. He needs to use issues to win.

Cruz turned people off with his stridency on the Senate floor in October of 2013 but
may be capable to motivating the greatest positive passion among the bunch. He's
probably the brightest and best informed. The Texas senator knows how to use issues,
and is currently is the darling of the Tea Party.

Carson is a first-time candidate in an era in which, after our experience with
Barack Obama, we distrust ingenues. He still has to prove himself.

Of course, none of these defects are lethal and all can be overcome. Any of the four
could do it. (And don't count Huckabee out. He's the most likable and articulate of
them all.)
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / John Adams: Property, Marriage 1814 on: March 25, 2015, 04:38:22 PM

"As long as property exists, it will accumulate in individuals and families.
As long as marriage exists, knowledge, property and influence will accumulate
in families." --John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1814
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: March 25, 2015, 08:24:16 AM
http://conservativetribune.com/gowdy-threatens-hillary-arrest/
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Scientists delete HIV on: March 25, 2015, 07:01:09 AM
http://guff.com/glt-scientists-delete-hiv/20?ts_pid=2
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Saudi Arabia masses troops on Yemen's border on: March 25, 2015, 06:48:29 AM
http://link.foreignpolicy.com/view/525443c6c16bcfa46f732b5d2f756.1xkg/41ba70b0
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen.Ted Cruz responds on Health Care on: March 25, 2015, 06:37:21 AM
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/03/24/watch-how-ted-cruz-responds-when-hes-asked-on-cbs-if-he-would-take-away-health-care-from-16-million-people-as-president/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Firewire_Morning_Test&utm_campaign=FireWire%20WYWS%203-25-with%20ad%20returned
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Terror triumverate in Mauritania on: March 25, 2015, 12:26:34 AM
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/03/24/terror-triumvirate-isis-al-qaeda-boko-haram-training-together-in-mauritania/
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: March 24, 2015, 10:34:24 PM
Well said.

In addition to our shared doubts about his electability, I would add that apparently his father is a pretty extreme character-- a lot of shiny objects there with which to disrupt Ted's campaign.
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Obamacare at Five Years on: March 24, 2015, 06:07:51 PM
http://www.forbes.com/sites/sallypipes/2015/03/23/obamacare-at-five-years-old-a-disappointment/

contrast this:

http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2015/uninsured_change/ib_uninsured_change.pdf
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gov. Scott Walker's lagging indicators on: March 24, 2015, 04:22:57 PM
http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-02-24/scott-walker-s-lagging-indicators
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / T. Sowell: Free of accomplishments, full of setbacks on: March 24, 2015, 11:47:33 AM
Hillary’s Record: Free of Accomplishments, Full of Setbacks
by Thomas Sowell
March 24, 2015 12:00 AM

The case for her in 2016 boils down to demographic symbolism. It is amazing how a simple question can cause a complex lie to collapse like a house of cards. The simple question was asked by Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel, and it was addressed to two Democrats. He asked what has Hillary Clinton ever accomplished. The two Democrats immediately sidestepped the question and started reciting their talking points in favor of Hillary. But O’Reilly kept coming back to the fact that nothing they were talking about was an accomplishment. For someone who has spent her entire adult life in politics, including being a senator and then a secretary of state, Hillary Clinton has nothing to show for all those years — no significant legislation of hers that she got passed in the Senate, and only an unbroken series of international setbacks for the United States during her time as secretary of state. Before Barack Obama entered the White House and appointed Mrs. Clinton secretary of state, al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq had notified their higher-ups, stationed in Pakistan, that their cause was lost in Iraq and that there was no point sending more men there. Hosni Mubarak was in charge in Egypt. He posed no threat to American or Western interests in the Middle East or to Christians within Egypt or to Israel. But the Obama administration threw its weight behind the Muslim Brotherhood, which took over and began terrorizing Christians in Egypt and promoting hostility to Israel. In Libya next door, the Qaddafi regime had already given up its weapons of mass destruction, after they saw what happened to Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But President Obama’s foreign policy, carried out by Secretary of State Clinton, got Qaddafi removed, after which Libya became a terrorist haven where an American ambassador was killed, for the first time in decades. The rationale for getting rid of Middle East leaders who posed no threat to American interests was that they were undemocratic and their people were restless. But there are no democracies in the Middle East, except for Israel. Moreover, the people were restless in Iran and Syria, and the Obama-Clinton foreign policy did nothing to support those who were trying to overthrow these regimes. It would be only fair to balance this picture with foreign-policy triumphs of the Obama-Clinton team. But there are none. Not in the Middle East, not in Europe, where the Russians have invaded the Crimea, and not in Asia, where both China and North Korea are building up threatening military forces, while the Obama administration has been cutting back on American military forces. Hillary Clinton became an iconic figure by feeding the media and the Left the kind of rhetoric they love. Barack Obama did the same and became president. Neither had any concrete accomplishments beforehand besides rhetoric, and both have had the opposite of accomplishments after taking office. They have something else in common. They attract the votes of those people who vote for demographic symbolism — “the first black president” to be followed by “the first woman president” — and neither is to be criticized, lest you be denounced for racism or sexism. It is staggering that there are sane adults who can vote for someone to be president of the United States as if they are in school, just voting for “most popular boy” or “most popular girl” — or, worse yet, voting for someone who will give them free stuff. Whoever holds that office makes decisions involving the life and death of Americans and — especially if Iran gets a nuclear arsenal — the life and death of this nation. It took just two nuclear bombs — neither of them as powerful as those available today — to get a very tough nation like Japan to surrender. Anyone familiar with World War II battles in the Pacific knows that it was not unusual for 90 percent of the Japanese troops defending Iwo Jima or other islands to fight to the death, even after it was clear that American troops had them beaten. When people like that surrender after two nuclear bombs, do not imagine that today’s soft Americans — led by the likes of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton — will fight on after New York and Chicago have been reduced to radioactive ashes. Meanwhile, ISIS and other terrorists are giving us a free demonstration of what surrender would mean. But perhaps we can kick the can down the road, and leave that as a legacy to our children and grandchildren, along with the national debt. — Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His website is http://www.tsowell.com. © 2015 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/415855/hillarys-record-free-accomplishments-full-setbacks-thomas-sowell
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen.Ted Cruz's candidacy speech on: March 24, 2015, 11:34:39 AM
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/03/23/a-time-to-reclaim-the-constitution-of-the-united-states-ted-cruz-enters-the-race/
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Washington Farewell Address: Sense of religious obligation is indespensable on: March 24, 2015, 11:04:43 AM
"Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of
religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of
investigation in courts of justice?" --George Washington, Farewell Address,
1796
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Excellent History Resource on: March 23, 2015, 09:40:30 PM
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths3/MFrefugees.html#8
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hubby benefits from Pelosi's actions on: March 23, 2015, 09:31:04 PM
second post

http://freebeacon.com/politics/pelosi-subsidies-benefit-husbands-investment-in-dem-mega-donors-company/
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / SEn. Feinstein's husband wins big CA contract on: March 23, 2015, 09:27:59 PM
http://conservative50plus.com/blog/dianne-feinsteins-husband-wins-near-billion-dollar-california-high-speed-rail-contract/
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary can't type, so look at Huma and Cheryl's emails on: March 23, 2015, 07:29:30 PM
Hillary Can't Type: Look To Huma's and Cheryl's Emails; See 2016 Buzz

By DICK MORRIS

Published on TheDailyHillary.com on March 23, 2015

Don't expect a gold mine of emails on Hillary's private account.  Why not? Because
she doesn't know how to type.  That's right.  She writes everything out in longhand.
 Really.  Anyone who has spent time in meetings with her knows about her endless
yellow pads.

So her emails will most likely turn out to be very short and quick.  She wouldn't
spend a lot of time pecking out long letters.  No way.  That's why the Benghazi
Committee needs to also look very closely at the emails on private accounts that
Hillary's closest aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, maintained.  Anything more
than a few lines were most likely written by someone else on her behalf.  There's a
reason why Hillary set up and used private emails with them for official business:
all the important emails were likely written by her staff.  Without access to them,
we won't know what was going on.

The Clintons never used the White House computer for their own work.  Hillary even
wrote (or copied) her book manuscripts in long hand.  Although ghost writer Barbara
Fineman was paid $120,000 for writing It Takes A Village, she proudly waved hundreds
of hand-written pages on yellow legal pads to pretend she wrote it all herself.  She
never acknowledged Fineman's work.

Bill can't type either.  When I wrote his 1995 State of the Union Speech, I typed it
on an IBM Selectric that the White House dug up from the basement.  He told me that
he didn't want me to put it in the official computer system, because then his staff
would see it.

So, he carefully copied every word in his distinctive left hand penmanship.  I still
have a copy of it.  Then he pretended that he had written it himself.

The Clintons have figured out every which way to avoid disclosure of what they want
to keep private.  So don't expect a smoking gun in Hillary's emails.

Look, instead, to Huma, Cheryl, Jake Sullivan, and Philippe Reines -- if they still
exist.


Here's Exactly Why Hillary Kept Secret Email Accounts In Her House: See How Justice
Dept. Defends In Court

HERE'S EXACTLY WHY HILLARY KEPT SECRET EMAIL ACCOUNTS IN HER HOUSE: SEE HOW JUSTICE
DEPT. DEFENDS IN COURT

By EILEEN MCGANN

If there is actually anyone on the planet who has any doubts about why Hillary kept
a secret email server in her Chappaqua house, guarded by the Secret Service, a quick
look at the Justice Department's response to Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information
request for Hillary's emails will clear things up.  You can read it here:
http://list.dickmorris.com/t/687253/613051/7757/2/

Judicial Watch wants emails related to the Iran sanctions.  In defending the State
Department for failing to produce and records and not disposing Hillary's secret
emails, the Justice Department makes the case that any documents that are not under
their control are not covered by the Freedom of Information Act and, therefore, the
State Department has no obligation to search them.  Since Hillary -- and not the
State Department -- controlled them, they have no obligation to do anything with
them.

The government relied on a U.S. Supreme Court case against Hillary's newest pal,
Henry Kissinger.  Kissinger had his secretaries listen in to all of his phone calls
and take notes.

Hillary knew that would be their response and that's precisely why she went to the
trouble and expense of creating her own server.  The notoriously cheap Clintons,
used to the government and rich friends paying their tabs, made a point of leaking
that President Clinton paid for the server.  That's a first.  But it's important
because, presumably, if the Government paid for it, they could assert control.

Hillary and her lawyers thought of everything.  And now the Justice Department is
following the script that Hillary anticipated when she set up the secret system in
2009 just before she was sworn in as Secretary of State.  She wasn't taking any
chances that some government document could undermine her anticipated presidential
campaign.

And so far, it's working.  Here's what the Justice Department argued to the court:

"FOIA creates no obligation for an agency to search for and produce records that it
does not possess and control. See Kissinger v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the
Press, 445 U.S. 136, 152, 154-55 (1980); Nat'l Sec. Archive v. Archivist of the
U.S., 909 F.2d 541, 545 (D.C. Cir. 1990); Competitive Enterprise Institute v. Office
of Science and Technology Policy, ___ F. Supp. 2d ___, 2015 WL 967549, at *4-5
(D.D.C. Mar. 3, 2015). It certainly provides no basis for a court to issue a
subpoena for such documents." (Emphasis added.)

That's what Hillary is counting on.

But now the State Department has the emails that Hillary hand-picked to turn over.
So, it's hard to argue that they don't have to search at least those documents.
Instead, they want to be able to post them all on a web site.  Why?  That way we
will be the ones who have to search through 55,000 pages, not them.  If they were
required to comply with FOI, they would have to identify the responsive documents.
Oh, and by the way, Hillary's decision to hand over hard copies, instead of
electronic files was another ploy to make searching the documents more difficult.
There's no way to do a word search on manual documents.  She's not going to make
this one easy. It's typical Hillary -- hide, obfuscate, delay, stretch the legal
boundaries while screaming about the rights to keep private emails about your
mother's funeral.

The government's reliance on the Kissinger case is interesting.  Although the
Supreme Court recognized that transcripts of Kissinger's phone calls were official
records that were wrongfully removed, it found that only government agencies -- and
not the press or individuals -- could sue for their return.  Kissinger had taken the
transcripts from the State Department and placed them in a safe on the estate of
Nelson Rockefeller. (Conspiracy theorists, take note).  Eventually, he gave them to
the Library of Congress, which is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act.  He
signed an agreement barring public access until either 25 years after the donation
or 5 years after his death -- whatever is later.  But just recently, Kissinger
agreed that the transcripts and other papers of his can be made public.  Even
Kissinger finally came around to recognize the public's right to documents created
in the course of official government business.  Hillary should follow in his
footsteps.

Things are definitely heating up, but it's just the beginning.  Judicial Watch also
requested access to Hillary's server.  Last week, the Benghazi Committee subpoenaed
the server.  There are multiple pending Freedom of Information requests for her
emails, And the Benghazi Committee is looking at other people's emails, too -- like
Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin.  Stay tuned.
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This one leaves me speechless on: March 23, 2015, 03:08:48 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krXUZwclNbY&spfreload=10
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: March 23, 2015, 01:39:55 PM
Excellent find on the NYT article.  Email me about researching the WSJ for that article.
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: March 23, 2015, 12:37:58 PM
Doug:

Normally I tend to blow off WND as a source; IMHO far too often it bloviates and misleads, but that was an interesting article.
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: March 23, 2015, 12:06:59 PM
Nice work Doug!

"My first search to find Hillary commodity trading scandal background information brought up this thread as a top ten search result!"

Well done gentlemen!

 cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool 

Very good article, though I would LOVE to find that article that I remember in the WSJ.  Now thanks to this article here we have a much more narrowly defined time range to define our search.   What I remember of the article was that it appeared on the editorial page and was written by the man who had been the IRS attorney in charge of prosecuting tax frauds manipulating "commodity straddles".
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Lisa Nichols on: March 23, 2015, 05:34:03 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWc75TDhVOY
34  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts ("Kali") on: March 23, 2015, 05:09:49 AM
http://warriorartsalliance.com/what-is-kali/
35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Obama Fracking Regs on: March 21, 2015, 11:54:15 PM
I have always said there is a proper role for regulation to protect the water table.  My initial response to the following is that it seems like a suitable step at this time.



by Amy Harder and
Daniel Gilbert
Updated March 20, 2015 7:11 p.m. ET
234 COMMENTS

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration issued comprehensive rules on hydraulic fracturing, trying to set a national standard for controversial drilling practices that have helped fuel the U.S. oil and natural-gas boom.

Friday’s move sparked immediate criticism from energy companies that claimed the rules are too onerous. Two industry groups filed a lawsuit minutes after the announcement, seeking to block the rules in a federal court. Environmental groups said the rules don’t go far enough.

The new rules from the Interior Department have been in the works since 2012 and apply to oil-and-gas drilling on federal lands, which produce 11% of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. and 5% of the oil, according to data from the agency. More than 90% of new land-based wells in the U.S. use hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.

Drilling on private or state-owned land won’t be subject to the new federal standards, but states and companies could move to bring their practices in line with the U.S. While big energy-producing statessuch as Colorado, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas regulate fracking already, there have been no overarching standards.

“It’s a complex matrix of regulations out there,” said Neil Kornze, director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management. “In some places, this has been addressed. In other places it has not. We’ve attempted to build a rule that will interface in a positive way with those states that have moved forward and will provide a common baseline across the country in all states.”

Fracking involves blasting a slurry of water, sand and chemicals into a well to break up dense rock and allow the outward flow of oil and gas. The process has unlocked vast reserves of oil and gas across the U.S.

But fracking is controversial because of qualms about environmental impact, especially the potential to contaminate drinking-water supplies.

“There is a lot of fear and public concern, particularly about the safety of groundwater and the impact of these operations,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Friday.

Analysts said parts of the federal regulations are as strict as or stricter than what many states have implemented, though state rules vary.

For example, the new federal rules require more stringent standards than many states have for storage of toxic fluids recovered from a fracking well. U.S. officials said companies must secure wastewater in covered tanks before permanent disposal, instead of using pits dug in the ground.
Read More

    5 Things to Know About the New Rules
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    Oil and Gas Regulatory Push Coming from Obama Administration
    Pennsylvania Governor Bars New Oil and Gas Drilling Leases in State Parks, Forests
    Fracking in Nearby States Benefits New York

While some energy firms have objected to the higher costs of storing fracking-related wastewater in tanks, federal officials concluded that it would help guard against spills.

Eric Kraus, a spokesman for Clean Harbors Inc., a Norwell, Mass., provider of wastewater treatment and other oil-and-gas-industry services, said the storage rules “would be a significant change to methods employed today.”

Ten states now require at least some of the fluids used in fracking to be stored in covered tanks, said Resources for the Future, an environmental think tank in Washington. Storing leftover liquids in open pits has been common in Texas and North Dakota, which recently outlawed the practice.

“We think this is going to be a template for how the federal government expects the states to regulate water as part of their own oversight of fracking,” said Kevin Book, managing director of energy research firm ClearView Energy Partners.

The Interior Department estimated that complying with the new rules will cost $11,400 per drilling operation, or less than 1% of the cost of drilling a well. The figure roughly doubled from an earlier proposal.

The government estimated an industrywide cost of $32 million a year, up from an earlier estimate of $12 million to $20 million.

The likelihood of higher fracking costs comes as U.S. oil and gas producers are struggling with persistently low natural-gas prices and a roughly 50% drop in the price of crude in the past year. The collapse in oil prices has prompted many drillers to slash their budgets and lay off workers.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and other energy companies have expressed concerns that new federal rules would increase how long it takes to process drilling applications. But the drilling slowdown as a result of low oil prices might ease some of those concerns as companies apply for fewer permits. The number of rigs drilling on land in the U.S. fell to a new six-year low on Friday, according to oil-field services company Baker Hughes Inc.

Under the Interior Department rules, energy companies also will be required to test the quality of cement work designed to prevent natural gas from seeping outside a well. The rule will require companies seeking drilling permission to provide more information about existing wells nearby. In some cases, drilling near old, abandoned wells has caused gas to pollute aquifers.

Barry Russell, president and chief executive of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said the federal government’s “so-called baseline standards will threaten America’s economic upturn, while further deterring energy development on federal lands.”

The trade group, which says it represents producers that drill 95% of the oil and natural-gas wells in the U.S., and regional group the Western Energy Alliance sued the Interior Department in U.S. District Court in Wyoming.

The trade groups said the new rules are a “reaction to unsubstantiated concerns” and should be thrown out. Interior Department officials said they expect the rules to withstand challenges.

In a move that upset environmental groups, the new rules require companies to publicly disclose chemicals they use through an industry-run website called FracFocus within 30 days of completing the fracking process.

Environmental groups had pushed for upfront disclosures directly to the Interior Department.

“While this proposal has improved from previous versions, it represents a missed opportunity to set a high bar for protections that would truly increase transparency and reduce the impacts,” said Madeleine Foote, legislative representative for the League of Conservation Voters.

Companies have been fracking for decades, but the practice has come under scrutiny in recent years as its use skyrocketed.

—Erin Ailworth contributed to this article.
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / WSJ: How Virtual Water can help ease CA's drought on: March 21, 2015, 11:28:29 PM
How ‘Virtual Water’ Can Help Ease California’s Drought
Market incentives will reverse the economic logic that drives local farmers to plant more water-intensive crops.
By
Bill Davidow And
Michael S. Malone
March 20, 2015 6:48 p.m. ET
62 COMMENTS

While the recent rains in California are welcome, they’ve barely made a dent in the enduring drought, now in its fourth year. Solving the state’s water problem will take radical solutions, and they can begin with “virtual water.”

This concept describes water that is used to produce food or other commodities, such as cotton. When those commodities are shipped out of state, virtual water is exported. Today California exports about six trillion gallons of virtual water, or about 500 gallons per resident a day.

How can this happen amid drought? The answer is mispricing. A free market would raise the price of water, reflecting its scarcity, and lead to a reduction in the export of virtual water. But California water markets are anything but free. A long history of local politics, complicated regulation and seemingly arbitrary controls on distribution have led to gross inefficiency.

Water trades amount to some two million acre-feet, barely 5% of California’s actual usage. Twenty-two of the state’s 58 counties have ordinances restricting sale of ground water outside the county. These ordinances, combined with local pressures, recently undermined the transfer of water from the Modesto Irrigation District to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission—though the commission would have paid $700 per acre-foot, or 70 times more than local farmers. Because of these practices and difficulties in transferring water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, half of all water sales in the region are local.
Richvale, Calif. ENLARGE
Richvale, Calif. Photo: Associated Press

The result is myriad misdirected incentives. Exhibit A is the almond industry.

California produces about 80% of the world’s almonds. The state’s 940,000 acres of almonds consume about 1.2 trillion gallons of water a year, or about 600 gallons of water per pound of nuts. So how much does all that water cost? Answer: It depends.

In 2014 Oakdale Irrigation District farmers spent about a penny for the water to produce a pound of almonds. Lodi farmers who use well water paid about seven cents a pound. Meanwhile, a farmer who tried in 2013 to purchase desalinized water in San Diego to grow almonds would have paid about $4 per pound.

Producing almonds is highly profitable when water is cheap. With adequate irrigation, new varieties of trees and a surge in almond prices, farmers can net $5,000 per acre, even become overnight millionaires.

This can certainly be a better strategy than growing less-profitable tomatoes—which use about 26 gallons of water per pound. But the advantage of growing tomatoes is that if water is in short supply in any year, you don’t plant them. Almond trees have to be watered every year, drought or glut.

The availability of cheap water made California almond production possible. In the 1970s a little more than 100,000 acres of almonds were under cultivation; today it is nearly 10 times more. Because of the increased use of irrigation, improved trees and better methods, orchard yields have more than doubled. But those trees are thirsty, and almond production uses about 10% of California’s total water supply.

This can’t continue much longer. Given the competing needs of the state’s residents and farmers—and the rapid depletion of the region’s great underground aquifers—something is going to snap.

California needs to use a lot less virtual water, but without putting unreasonable burdens on the state’s farmers. Here is how it might work.

Suppose an almond farmer could sell real water to any buyer, regardless of county boundaries, at market prices—many hundreds of dollars per acre-foot—if he agreed to cut his usage in half, say, by drawing only two acre-feet, instead of four, from his wells.

He would then be given an option to keep one acre-foot for his own use and sell one acre-foot at a very high price. He might have to curtail all or part of his almond orchard and grow more water-efficient crops. But he also might make enough money selling his water to make that decision worthwhile.

Using a similar strategy across its agricultural industry, California might be able to reverse the economic logic that has driven farmers to plant more water-intensive crops. This skewed system of economic rewards has led California farmers in the past 10 years to plant 30% more strawberries, 44% more almonds, 80% more raspberries, and 102% more pistachios—all while reducing the planting of less water-intensive crops such as asparagus by 57% and cantaloupes by 22%.

The devil is in the details, notably in getting all that water distributed and sold. But if markets and exchanges can be created for everything from carbon emissions to placing kids in schools, surely they can be built to price and sell virtual water.

This would take creative thinking, something California is known for, and trust in the power of free markets. Almost anything would be better, and fairer, than the current contradictory and self-defeating regulations. We are running out of time. It is time to do something else we Californians are known for—taking risks on innovation.

Mr. Davidow, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, and Mr. Malone, a journalist, are the authors of “The Virtual Corporation” (HarperBusiness, 1992).
Popular on WSJ

 

37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Al Sisi of Egypt on: March 21, 2015, 10:59:48 PM
http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-weekend-interview-islams-improbable-reformer-1426889862?mod=trending_now_4
Islam’s Improbable Reformer
‘We are keen on a strategic relationship with the U.S. above everything else,’ says Egypt’s new president. ‘And we will never turn our backs on you—even if you turn your backs on us.’
ENLARGE
Photo: Zina Saunders
By
Bret Stephens
March 20, 2015 6:17 p.m. ET
168 COMMENTS

Cairo

When then-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi appointed a little-known general named Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to be his new defense minister in August 2012, rumors swirled that the officer was chosen for his sympathy with the teachings of Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. One telltale sign, people said, was the zabiba on the general’s forehead—the darkened patch of skin that is the result of frequent and fervent prayer.

A pious Muslim must surely also be a political Islamist—or so Mr. Morsi apparently assumed. But the general would soon give the world a lesson in the difference between religious devotion and radicalism.

“There are misconceptions and misperceptions about the real Islam,” now-President Sisi tells me during a two-hour interview in his ornate, century-old presidential palace in Heliopolis. “Religion is guarded by its spirit, by its core, not by human beings. Human beings only take the core and deviate it to the right or left.”

Does he mean to say, I ask, that members of the Muslim Brotherhood are bad Muslims? “It’s the ideology, the ideas,” he replies.

“The real Islamic religion grants absolute freedom for the whole people to believe or not believe. Never does Islam dictate to kill others because they do not believe in Islam. Never does it dictate that [Muslims] have the right to dictate [their beliefs] to the whole world. Never does Islam say that only Muslims will go to paradise and others go to hell.”

Jabbing his right finger in the air for emphasis, he adds: “We are not gods on earth, and we do not have this right to act in the name of Allah.”
***

When Mr. Sisi took power in July 2013, following street protests against Mr. Morsi by an estimated 30 million Egyptians, it wasn’t obvious that he would emerge as perhaps the world’s most significant advocate for Islamic moderation and reform. His personal piety aside, Mr. Sisi seemed to be a typical Egyptian military figure. Unflattering comparisons were made to Hosni Mubarak, a former air force general and Egypt’s president-for-life until his downfall in 2011.

The similarities are misleading. Mr. Mubarak came of age in the ideological anti-colonialist days of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, trained in the Soviet Union, and led the air campaign against Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Anwar Sadat elevated him to the vice presidency in 1975 as a colorless second-fiddle, his very lack of imagination being an asset to Sadat. He became president only due to Sadat’s assassination six years later.

Mr. Sisi, now 60, came of age in a very different era. When he graduated from the Military Academy, in 1977, Egypt was a close American ally on the cusp of making peace with Israel. Rather than being packed off to Russia, he headed for military training in Texas and later the infantry course at Fort Benning, Ga. He returned for another extended stay in the U.S. in 2005 at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.

Recalling the two visits, he notes the difference. “The U.S. had been a community that had been living in peace and security. Before 9/11, even the military bases were open. There was almost no difference between civilian life and life on a military base. By 2005, I could feel the tightening.”

The remark is intended to underscore to a visiting American journalist his deep sympathy with and admiration for the U.S. He also goes out of his way to stress that he has no intention of altering the pro-American tilt of Egyptian foreign policy, despite suggestions that he is flirting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin for potential arms purchases and the construction of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant.

“A country like Egypt will never be mischievous with bilateral relations” with America, he insists. “We will never act foolishly.” When I ask about the delivery of F-16 fighters to Egypt—suspended by the U.S. after Mr. Morsi’s overthrow, and now pending a decision by President Obama—he all-but dismisses the matter.

“You can never reduce our relations with the U.S. to matters of weapons systems. We are keen on a strategic relationship with the U.S. above everything else. And we will never turn our backs on you—even if you turn your backs on us.”

There is also a deeper purpose to Mr. Sisi’s pro-American entreaties and his comments on 9/11: He wants to remind his critics of the trade-off every country strikes between security and civil liberties.

It’s a point he returns to when I note the anger and disappointment that so many Egyptian liberals—many of whom had backed him in 2013—now feel. New laws that tightly restrict street protests recall the Mubarak era. Last June several Al Jazeera journalists, including Australian reporter Peter Greste, were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on dubious charges of reporting that was “damaging to national security,” though they have since been released. The Muslim Brotherhood has been banned, Mr. Morsi is in prison and on trial, and Egyptian courts have passed death sentences on hundreds of alleged Islamists, albeit mostly in absentia.

“My message to liberals is that I am very keen to meet their expectations,” Mr. Sisi rejoins. “But the situation in Egypt is overwhelmed.” He laments the Al Jazeera arrests, noting that the incident damaged Egypt’s reputation even as thousands of international correspondents “are working very freely in this country.”

Later, while addressing a question about the Egyptian economy, he offers a franker assessment. “In the last four years our internal debt doubled to $300 billion. Do not separate my answer to the question regarding disappointed liberals. Their country needs to survive. We don’t have the luxury to fight and feud and take all our time discussing issues like that. A country needs security and order for its mere existence. If the world can provide support I will let people demonstrate in the streets day and night.”

Sensing my skepticism, he adds: “You can’t imagine that as an American. You are speaking the language of a country that is at the top of progress: cultural, financial, political, civilizational—it’s all there in the U.S.” But if American standards were imposed on Egypt, he adds, it would do his country no favors.

“I talk about U.S. values of democracy and freedom. They should be honored. But they need the atmosphere where those values can be nurtured. If we can bring prosperity we can safeguard those values not just in words.”

All of this seems in keeping with Mr. Sisi’s military upbringing and reminds me of Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani general turned president. But the comparison is fundamentally inapt. Under Mr. Musharraf, Pakistan continued to make opportunistic deals with terrorists while giving safe harbor to leaders of the Afghan Taliban.

By contrast, it’s impossible to doubt the seriousness of Mr. Sisi’s opposition to Islamic extremism, or his aversion to exporting instability. In late February he ordered the bombing of Islamic State targets in neighboring Libya after ISIS decapitated 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. Egypt’s security cooperation with Israel has never been closer, and Mr. Sisi has moved aggressively to close the tunnels beneath Egypt’s border with Gaza, through which Hamas has obtained its weapons.

Later this month, Mr. Sisi will host an Arab League summit, the centerpiece of which will be a joint Arab antiterrorism task force. He says he won’t put Egyptian boots on the ground to fight ISIS in Iraq, which he says is a job for Iraqis with U.S. help. And he takes care to avoid mentioning Iran’s regional ambitions or saying anything critical of its nuclear negotiations, which he says he supports while adding that “I understand the concern of the Israelis.”

But he does say the new force is needed “to preserve what is left” of the stable Arab world. In particular, he stresses that “there shouldn’t be any arrangements at the expense of the Gulf states. The security of the Gulf states is indispensable for the security of Egypt.”

He also decries the Western habit of intervening militarily and then failing to take account of the consequences. “Look, NATO had a mission in Libya and its mission was not accomplished,” he says. The U.N. continues to impose an arms embargo on Libya that adversely affects the legitimate, non-Islamist government based in Tobruk while “armed militias obtain an unstoppable flow of arms and munitions.”

“I wasn’t with the Gadhafi regime,” he says, “but there is a difference between taking an action and being aware of what that action will bring about. The risks of extremism and terrorism weren’t clear in the minds of the U.S. and Europe. It is really dangerous if countries lose control because extremists will cause them problems beyond their imagination.” The same lesson, he emphasizes, applies to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

But Mr. Sisi is not a dogmatic critic of muscular U.S. involvement in the Middle East. Pondering the prospect of a broad U.S. retreat from the region, Mr. Sisi sounds like the most enthusiastic proponent of Pax Americana.

“The United States has the strength, and with might comes responsibility,” he says. “That is why it is committed and has responsibilities toward the whole world. It is not reasonable or acceptable that with all that might the United States will not be committed and have responsibilities toward the Middle East. The Middle East is passing through the most difficult and critical time and this will only entail more involvement, not less.”

Meantime, Mr. Sisi sees it as his personal mission to save Egypt, even as he insists he has no intention of becoming another president-for-life. When I ask him to name Mr. Mubarak’s biggest mistake, he says simply: “He stayed in power for a long time.”

A day before our interview, I watched him close an investment conference in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he celebrated General Electric’s decision to invest to ease Egypt’s chronic power outages. He describes his economic philosophy as “the need to encourage the business community to come here and invest.” He constantly stresses the imperative of acting swiftly: “The magnitude of the effort needed to secure the needs of 90 million people is huge and beyond any one man’s effort.”

He’s also aware that the most important work will take time. In January Mr. Sisi went before the religious clerics of Cairo’s Al-Azhar university to demand a “revolution” in Islam. The follow-through won’t be easy. “The most difficult thing to do is change a religious rhetoric and bring a shift in how people are used to their religion,” he says. “Don’t imagine the results will be seen in a few months or years. Radical misconceptions [about Islam] were instilled 100 years ago. Now we can see the results.”

That’s not to say he doesn’t think it’s doable. “Popular sympathy with the idea of religion was dominating the whole scene in Egypt for years in the past. This does not exist anymore. This is a change I consider strategic. Because what brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power was Egyptian sympathy with the concept of religion. Egyptians believed that the Muslim Brothers were advocates of the real Islam. The past three years have been a critical test to those people who were promoting religious ideas. Egyptians experienced it totally and said these people do not deserve sympathy and we will not allow it.”

Throughout our interview, Mr. Sisi has been speaking in Arabic through an interpreter. But after delivering this point, he said in colloquial American English, “You got that?”

Mr. Stephens writes the Journal’s “Global View” column.
Popular on WSJ



38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Al Sisi of Egypt on: March 21, 2015, 10:58:45 PM
Second post

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-weekend-interview-islams-improbable-reformer-1426889862?mod=trending_now_4

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-weekend-interview-islams-improbable-reformer-1426889862?mod=trending_now_4
Islam’s Improbable Reformer
‘We are keen on a strategic relationship with the U.S. above everything else,’ says Egypt’s new president. ‘And we will never turn our backs on you—even if you turn your backs on us.’
ENLARGE
Photo: Zina Saunders
By
Bret Stephens
March 20, 2015 6:17 p.m. ET
168 COMMENTS

Cairo

When then-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi appointed a little-known general named Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to be his new defense minister in August 2012, rumors swirled that the officer was chosen for his sympathy with the teachings of Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. One telltale sign, people said, was the zabiba on the general’s forehead—the darkened patch of skin that is the result of frequent and fervent prayer.

A pious Muslim must surely also be a political Islamist—or so Mr. Morsi apparently assumed. But the general would soon give the world a lesson in the difference between religious devotion and radicalism.

“There are misconceptions and misperceptions about the real Islam,” now-President Sisi tells me during a two-hour interview in his ornate, century-old presidential palace in Heliopolis. “Religion is guarded by its spirit, by its core, not by human beings. Human beings only take the core and deviate it to the right or left.”

Does he mean to say, I ask, that members of the Muslim Brotherhood are bad Muslims? “It’s the ideology, the ideas,” he replies.

“The real Islamic religion grants absolute freedom for the whole people to believe or not believe. Never does Islam dictate to kill others because they do not believe in Islam. Never does it dictate that [Muslims] have the right to dictate [their beliefs] to the whole world. Never does Islam say that only Muslims will go to paradise and others go to hell.”

Jabbing his right finger in the air for emphasis, he adds: “We are not gods on earth, and we do not have this right to act in the name of Allah.”
***

When Mr. Sisi took power in July 2013, following street protests against Mr. Morsi by an estimated 30 million Egyptians, it wasn’t obvious that he would emerge as perhaps the world’s most significant advocate for Islamic moderation and reform. His personal piety aside, Mr. Sisi seemed to be a typical Egyptian military figure. Unflattering comparisons were made to Hosni Mubarak, a former air force general and Egypt’s president-for-life until his downfall in 2011.

The similarities are misleading. Mr. Mubarak came of age in the ideological anti-colonialist days of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, trained in the Soviet Union, and led the air campaign against Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Anwar Sadat elevated him to the vice presidency in 1975 as a colorless second-fiddle, his very lack of imagination being an asset to Sadat. He became president only due to Sadat’s assassination six years later.

Mr. Sisi, now 60, came of age in a very different era. When he graduated from the Military Academy, in 1977, Egypt was a close American ally on the cusp of making peace with Israel. Rather than being packed off to Russia, he headed for military training in Texas and later the infantry course at Fort Benning, Ga. He returned for another extended stay in the U.S. in 2005 at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.

Recalling the two visits, he notes the difference. “The U.S. had been a community that had been living in peace and security. Before 9/11, even the military bases were open. There was almost no difference between civilian life and life on a military base. By 2005, I could feel the tightening.”

The remark is intended to underscore to a visiting American journalist his deep sympathy with and admiration for the U.S. He also goes out of his way to stress that he has no intention of altering the pro-American tilt of Egyptian foreign policy, despite suggestions that he is flirting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin for potential arms purchases and the construction of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant.

“A country like Egypt will never be mischievous with bilateral relations” with America, he insists. “We will never act foolishly.” When I ask about the delivery of F-16 fighters to Egypt—suspended by the U.S. after Mr. Morsi’s overthrow, and now pending a decision by President Obama—he all-but dismisses the matter.

“You can never reduce our relations with the U.S. to matters of weapons systems. We are keen on a strategic relationship with the U.S. above everything else. And we will never turn our backs on you—even if you turn your backs on us.”

There is also a deeper purpose to Mr. Sisi’s pro-American entreaties and his comments on 9/11: He wants to remind his critics of the trade-off every country strikes between security and civil liberties.

It’s a point he returns to when I note the anger and disappointment that so many Egyptian liberals—many of whom had backed him in 2013—now feel. New laws that tightly restrict street protests recall the Mubarak era. Last June several Al Jazeera journalists, including Australian reporter Peter Greste, were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on dubious charges of reporting that was “damaging to national security,” though they have since been released. The Muslim Brotherhood has been banned, Mr. Morsi is in prison and on trial, and Egyptian courts have passed death sentences on hundreds of alleged Islamists, albeit mostly in absentia.

“My message to liberals is that I am very keen to meet their expectations,” Mr. Sisi rejoins. “But the situation in Egypt is overwhelmed.” He laments the Al Jazeera arrests, noting that the incident damaged Egypt’s reputation even as thousands of international correspondents “are working very freely in this country.”

Later, while addressing a question about the Egyptian economy, he offers a franker assessment. “In the last four years our internal debt doubled to $300 billion. Do not separate my answer to the question regarding disappointed liberals. Their country needs to survive. We don’t have the luxury to fight and feud and take all our time discussing issues like that. A country needs security and order for its mere existence. If the world can provide support I will let people demonstrate in the streets day and night.”

Sensing my skepticism, he adds: “You can’t imagine that as an American. You are speaking the language of a country that is at the top of progress: cultural, financial, political, civilizational—it’s all there in the U.S.” But if American standards were imposed on Egypt, he adds, it would do his country no favors.

“I talk about U.S. values of democracy and freedom. They should be honored. But they need the atmosphere where those values can be nurtured. If we can bring prosperity we can safeguard those values not just in words.”

All of this seems in keeping with Mr. Sisi’s military upbringing and reminds me of Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani general turned president. But the comparison is fundamentally inapt. Under Mr. Musharraf, Pakistan continued to make opportunistic deals with terrorists while giving safe harbor to leaders of the Afghan Taliban.

By contrast, it’s impossible to doubt the seriousness of Mr. Sisi’s opposition to Islamic extremism, or his aversion to exporting instability. In late February he ordered the bombing of Islamic State targets in neighboring Libya after ISIS decapitated 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. Egypt’s security cooperation with Israel has never been closer, and Mr. Sisi has moved aggressively to close the tunnels beneath Egypt’s border with Gaza, through which Hamas has obtained its weapons.

Later this month, Mr. Sisi will host an Arab League summit, the centerpiece of which will be a joint Arab antiterrorism task force. He says he won’t put Egyptian boots on the ground to fight ISIS in Iraq, which he says is a job for Iraqis with U.S. help. And he takes care to avoid mentioning Iran’s regional ambitions or saying anything critical of its nuclear negotiations, which he says he supports while adding that “I understand the concern of the Israelis.”

But he does say the new force is needed “to preserve what is left” of the stable Arab world. In particular, he stresses that “there shouldn’t be any arrangements at the expense of the Gulf states. The security of the Gulf states is indispensable for the security of Egypt.”

He also decries the Western habit of intervening militarily and then failing to take account of the consequences. “Look, NATO had a mission in Libya and its mission was not accomplished,” he says. The U.N. continues to impose an arms embargo on Libya that adversely affects the legitimate, non-Islamist government based in Tobruk while “armed militias obtain an unstoppable flow of arms and munitions.”

“I wasn’t with the Gadhafi regime,” he says, “but there is a difference between taking an action and being aware of what that action will bring about. The risks of extremism and terrorism weren’t clear in the minds of the U.S. and Europe. It is really dangerous if countries lose control because extremists will cause them problems beyond their imagination.” The same lesson, he emphasizes, applies to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

But Mr. Sisi is not a dogmatic critic of muscular U.S. involvement in the Middle East. Pondering the prospect of a broad U.S. retreat from the region, Mr. Sisi sounds like the most enthusiastic proponent of Pax Americana.

“The United States has the strength, and with might comes responsibility,” he says. “That is why it is committed and has responsibilities toward the whole world. It is not reasonable or acceptable that with all that might the United States will not be committed and have responsibilities toward the Middle East. The Middle East is passing through the most difficult and critical time and this will only entail more involvement, not less.”

Meantime, Mr. Sisi sees it as his personal mission to save Egypt, even as he insists he has no intention of becoming another president-for-life. When I ask him to name Mr. Mubarak’s biggest mistake, he says simply: “He stayed in power for a long time.”

A day before our interview, I watched him close an investment conference in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he celebrated General Electric’s decision to invest to ease Egypt’s chronic power outages. He describes his economic philosophy as “the need to encourage the business community to come here and invest.” He constantly stresses the imperative of acting swiftly: “The magnitude of the effort needed to secure the needs of 90 million people is huge and beyond any one man’s effort.”

He’s also aware that the most important work will take time. In January Mr. Sisi went before the religious clerics of Cairo’s Al-Azhar university to demand a “revolution” in Islam. The follow-through won’t be easy. “The most difficult thing to do is change a religious rhetoric and bring a shift in how people are used to their religion,” he says. “Don’t imagine the results will be seen in a few months or years. Radical misconceptions [about Islam] were instilled 100 years ago. Now we can see the results.”

That’s not to say he doesn’t think it’s doable. “Popular sympathy with the idea of religion was dominating the whole scene in Egypt for years in the past. This does not exist anymore. This is a change I consider strategic. Because what brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power was Egyptian sympathy with the concept of religion. Egyptians believed that the Muslim Brothers were advocates of the real Islam. The past three years have been a critical test to those people who were promoting religious ideas. Egyptians experienced it totally and said these people do not deserve sympathy and we will not allow it.”

Throughout our interview, Mr. Sisi has been speaking in Arabic through an interpreter. But after delivering this point, he said in colloquial American English, “You got that?”

Mr. Stephens writes the Journal’s “Global View” column.
Popular on WSJ
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hirsi Ali: Why Islam needs a reformation on: March 21, 2015, 10:51:12 PM
Why Islam Needs a Reformation

To defeat the extremists for good, Muslims must reject those aspects of their tradition that prompt some believers to resort to oppression and holy war
By Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Updated March 20, 2015 10:00 a.m. ET
WSJ


“Islam’s borders are bloody,” wrote the late political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1996, “and so are its innards.” Nearly 20 years later, Huntington looks more right than ever before. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims. In 2013, there were nearly 12,000 terrorist attacks world-wide. The lion’s share were in Muslim-majority countries, and many of the others were carried out by Muslims. By far the most numerous victims of Muslim violence—including executions and lynchings not captured in these statistics—are Muslims themselves.

Not all of this violence is explicitly motivated by religion, but a great deal of it is. I believe that it is foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself. For more than a decade, my message has been simple: Islam is not a religion of peace.

When I assert this, I do not mean that Islamic belief makes all Muslims violent. This is manifestly not the case: There are many millions of peaceful Muslims in the world. What I do say is that the call to violence and the justification for it are explicitly stated in the sacred texts of Islam. Moreover, this theologically sanctioned violence is there to be activated by any number of offenses, including but not limited to apostasy, adultery, blasphemy and even something as vague as threats to family honor or to the honor of Islam itself.


It is not just al Qaeda and Islamic State that show the violent face of Islamic faith and practice. It is Pakistan, where any statement critical of the Prophet or Islam is labeled as blasphemy and punishable by death. It is Saudi Arabia, where churches and synagogues are outlawed and where beheadings are a legitimate form of punishment. It is Iran, where stoning is an acceptable punishment and homosexuals are hanged for their “crime.”

As I see it, the fundamental problem is that the majority of otherwise peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are unwilling to acknowledge, much less to repudiate, the theological warrant for intolerance and violence embedded in their own religious texts. It simply will not do for Muslims to claim that their religion has been “hijacked” by extremists. The killers of Islamic State and Nigeria’s Boko Haram cite the same religious texts that every other Muslim in the world considers sacrosanct.

Instead of letting Islam off the hook with bland clichés about the religion of peace, we in the West need to challenge and debate the very substance of Islamic thought and practice. We need to hold Islam accountable for the acts of its most violent adherents and to demand that it reform or disavow the key beliefs that are used to justify those acts.

As it turns out, the West has some experience with this sort of reformist project. It is precisely what took place in Judaism and Christianity over the centuries, as both traditions gradually consigned the violent passages of their own sacred texts to the past. Many parts of the Bible and the Talmud reflect patriarchal norms, and both also contain many stories of harsh human and divine retribution. As President Barack Obama said in remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast last month, “Remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”


Yet today, because their faiths went through a long, meaningful process of Reformation and Enlightenment, the vast majority of Jews and Christians have come to dismiss religious scripture that urges intolerance or violence. There are literalist fringes in both religions, but they are true fringes. Regrettably, in Islam, it is the other way around: It is those seeking religious reform who are the fringe element.

Any serious discussion of Islam must begin with its core creed, which is based on the Quran (the words said to have been revealed by the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad) and the hadith (the accompanying works that detail Muhammad’s life and words). Despite some sectarian differences, this creed unites all Muslims. All, without exception, know by heart these words: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah; and Muhammad is His messenger.” This is the Shahada, the Muslim profession of faith.

The Shahada might seem to be a declaration of belief no different from any other. But the reality is that the Shahada is both a religious and a political symbol.

In the early days of Islam, when Muhammad was going from door to door in Mecca trying to persuade the polytheists to abandon their idols of worship, he was inviting them to accept that there was no god but Allah and that he was Allah’s messenger.

After 10 years of trying this kind of persuasion, however, he and his small band of believers went to Medina, and from that moment, Muhammad’s mission took on a political dimension. Unbelievers were still invited to submit to Allah, but after Medina, they were attacked if they refused. If defeated, they were given the option to convert or to die. (Jews and Christians could retain their faith if they submitted to paying a special tax.)

No symbol represents the soul of Islam more than the Shahada. But today there is a contest within Islam for the ownership of that symbol. Who owns the Shahada? Is it those Muslims who want to emphasize Muhammad’s years in Mecca or those who are inspired by his conquests after Medina? On this basis, I believe that we can distinguish three different groups of Muslims.

The first group is the most problematic. These are the fundamentalists who, when they say the Shahada, mean: “We must live by the strict letter of our creed.” They envision a regime based on Shariah, Islamic religious law. They argue for an Islam largely or completely unchanged from its original seventh-century version. What is more, they take it as a requirement of their faith that they impose it on everyone else.

I shall call them Medina Muslims, in that they see the forcible imposition of Shariah as their religious duty. They aim not just to obey Muhammad’s teaching but also to emulate his warlike conduct after his move to Medina. Even if they do not themselves engage in violence, they do not hesitate to condone it.

It is Medina Muslims who call Jews and Christians “pigs and monkeys.” It is Medina Muslims who prescribe death for the crime of apostasy, death by stoning for adultery and hanging for homosexuality. It is Medina Muslims who put women in burqas and beat them if they leave their homes alone or if they are improperly veiled.


The second group—and the clear majority throughout the Muslim world—consists of Muslims who are loyal to the core creed and worship devoutly but are not inclined to practice violence. I call them Mecca Muslims. Like devout Christians or Jews who attend religious services every day and abide by religious rules in what they eat and wear, Mecca Muslims focus on religious observance. I was born in Somalia and raised as a Mecca Muslim. So were the majority of Muslims from Casablanca to Jakarta.

Yet the Mecca Muslims have a problem: Their religious beliefs exist in an uneasy tension with modernity—the complex of economic, cultural and political innovations that not only reshaped the Western world but also dramatically transformed the developing world as the West exported it. The rational, secular and individualistic values of modernity are fundamentally corrosive of traditional societies, especially hierarchies based on gender, age and inherited status.

Trapped between two worlds of belief and experience, these Muslims are engaged in a daily struggle to adhere to Islam in the context of a society that challenges their values and beliefs at every turn. Many are able to resolve this tension only by withdrawing into self-enclosed (and increasingly self-governing) enclaves. This is called cocooning, a practice whereby Muslim immigrants attempt to wall off outside influences, permitting only an Islamic education for their children and disengaging from the wider non-Muslim community.

It is my hope to engage this second group of Muslims—those closer to Mecca than to Medina—in a dialogue about the meaning and practice of their faith. I recognize that these Muslims are not likely to heed a call for doctrinal reformation from someone they regard as an apostate and infidel. But they may reconsider if I can persuade them to think of me not as an apostate but as a heretic: one of a growing number of people born into Islam who have sought to think critically about the faith we were raised in. It is with this third group—only a few of whom have left Islam altogether—that I would now identify myself.

These are the Muslim dissidents. A few of us have been forced by experience to conclude that we could not continue to be believers; yet we remain deeply engaged in the debate about Islam’s future. The majority of dissidents are reforming believers—among them clerics who have come to realize that their religion must change if its followers are not to be condemned to an interminable cycle of political violence.

How many Muslims belong to each group? Ed Husain of the Council on Foreign Relations estimates that only 3% of the world’s Muslims understand Islam in the militant terms I associate with Muhammad’s time in Medina. But out of well over 1.6 billion believers, or 23% of the globe’s population, that 48 million seems to be more than enough. (I would put the number significantly higher, based on survey data on attitudes toward Shariah in Muslim countries.)

In any case, regardless of the numbers, it is the Medina Muslims who have captured the world’s attention on the airwaves, over social media, in far too many mosques and, of course, on the battlefield.

The Medina Muslims pose a threat not just to non-Muslims. They also undermine the position of those Mecca Muslims attempting to lead a quiet life in their cultural cocoons throughout the Western world. But those under the greatest threat are the dissidents and reformers within Islam, who face ostracism and rejection, who must brave all manner of insults, who must deal with the death threats—or face death itself.

For the world at large, the only viable strategy for containing the threat posed by the Medina Muslims is to side with the dissidents and reformers and to help them to do two things: first, identify and repudiate those parts of Muhammad’s legacy that summon Muslims to intolerance and war, and second, persuade the great majority of believers—the Mecca Muslims—to accept this change.

Islam is at a crossroads. Muslims need to make a conscious decision to confront, debate and ultimately reject the violent elements within their religion. To some extent—not least because of widespread revulsion at the atrocities of Islamic State, al Qaeda and the rest—this process has already begun. But it needs leadership from the dissidents, and they in turn stand no chance without support from the West.

What needs to happen for us to defeat the extremists for good? Economic, political, judicial and military tools have been proposed and some of them deployed. But I believe that these will have little effect unless Islam itself is reformed.

Such a reformation has been called for repeatedly at least since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent abolition of the caliphate. But I would like to specify precisely what needs to be reformed.

I have identified five precepts central to Islam that have made it resistant to historical change and adaptation. Only when the harmfulness of these ideas are recognized and they are repudiated will a true Muslim Reformation have been achieved.

Here are the five areas that require amendment:

1. Muhammad’s semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran.
Muhammad should not be seen as infallible, let alone as a source of divine writ. He should be seen as a historical figure who united the Arab tribes in a premodern context that cannot be replicated in the 21st century. And although Islam maintains that the Quran is the literal word of Allah, it is, in historical reality, a book that was shaped by human hands. Large parts of the Quran simply reflect the tribal values of the 7th-century Arabian context from which it emerged. The Quran’s eternal spiritual values must be separated from the cultural accidents of the place and time of its birth.

2. The supremacy of life after death.
The appeal of martyrdom will fade only when Muslims assign a greater value to the rewards of this life than to those promised in the hereafter.

3. Shariah, the vast body of religious legislation.
Muslims should learn to put the dynamic, evolving laws made by human beings above those aspects of Shariah that are violent, intolerant or anachronistic.

4. The right of individual Muslims to enforce Islamic law.
There is no room in the modern world for religious police, vigilantes and politically empowered clerics.

5. The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war.
Islam must become a true religion of peace, which means rejecting the imposition of religion by the sword.

I know that this argument will make many Muslims uncomfortable. Some are bound to be offended by my proposed amendments. Others will contend that I am not qualified to discuss these complex issues of theology and law. I am also afraid—genuinely afraid—that it will make a few Muslims even more eager to silence me.

But this is not a work of theology. It is more in the nature of a public intervention in the debate about the future of Islam. The biggest obstacle to change within the Muslim world is precisely its suppression of the sort of critical thinking I am attempting here. If my proposal for reform helps to spark a serious discussion of these issues among Muslims themselves, I will consider it a success.

Let me make two things clear. I do not seek to inspire another war on terror or extremism—violence in the name of Islam cannot be ended by military means alone. Nor am I any sort of “Islamophobe.” At various times, I myself have been all three kinds of Muslim: a fundamentalist, a cocooned believer and a dissident. My journey has gone from Mecca to Medina to Manhattan.

For me, there seemed no way to reconcile my faith with the freedoms I came to the West to embrace. I left the faith, despite the threat of the death penalty prescribed by Shariah for apostates. Future generations of Muslims deserve better, safer options. Muslims should be able to welcome modernity, not be forced to wall themselves off, or live in a state of cognitive dissonance, or lash out in violent rejection.

But it is not only Muslims who would benefit from a reformation of Islam. We in the West have an enormous stake in how the struggle over Islam plays out. We cannot remain on the sidelines, as though the outcome has nothing to do with us. For if the Medina Muslims win and the hope for a Muslim Reformation dies, the rest of the world too will pay an enormous price—not only in blood spilled but also in freedom lost.

This essay is adapted from Ms. Hirsi Ali’s new book, “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now,” to be published Tuesday by HarperCollins (which, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp). Her previous books include “Infidel” and “Nomad: From Islam to America, A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations.”
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Poland vs. Russia War 1919-1921 on: March 21, 2015, 04:25:27 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJX0MJotVyE&feature=share
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Krauthammer: No peace in our time on: March 21, 2015, 03:43:45 PM
As usual, CK nails it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/no-peace-in-our-time/2015/03/19/8df19520-ce61-11e4-a2a7-9517a3a70506_story.html?postshare=1021426951825559
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jeb Bush and Jim Baker on: March 21, 2015, 02:33:42 PM
Hat tip to CCP for this one, this bears watching:
http://www.breitbart.com/video/2015/03/20/levin-criticizes-jebs-association-with-israel-hater-advisor/
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glenn Beck calls out Karl Rove on: March 21, 2015, 02:24:42 PM
I would LOVE to see this happen!

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/03/21/the-spine-of-a-worm-the-ethics-of-whores-and-the-integrity-of-pirates-read-glenn-becks-brutal-open-letter-to-karl-rove-and-the-gop/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Firewire&utm_campaign=Firewire%20-%20HORIZON%203-21-15%20FINAL
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Lies about "Bush lied" on: March 21, 2015, 06:32:59 AM


http://www.nationalreview.com/article/390725/biggest-lie-victor-davis-hanson
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney vaporized his Governor emails on: March 21, 2015, 06:31:50 AM
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/mitt-romney-email-hillary-clinton
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Electricity on: March 21, 2015, 05:04:37 AM
http://pamelageller.com/2015/03/iran-endorses-nuclear-emp-attack-on-united-states-while-obama-clings-clinging-to-preposterous-argument.html/
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption, Skullduggery, and Treason on: March 20, 2015, 10:41:30 PM
Better for the Rule of Law thread.
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Daughter of two lesbians says on: March 20, 2015, 07:39:37 PM
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/03/19/she-was-raised-by-lesbian-mothers-but-this-womans-open-letter-reveals-why-she-opposes-gay-marriage/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Firewire&utm_campaign=Firewire%20-%20HORIZON%203-19-15%20FINAL
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Goldberg on: March 20, 2015, 02:31:10 PM

Proselytizers of atheism seem to have concluded that if they’re big enough jerks,
they will seduce the faithful into abandoning God. It’s sort of like asking Don
Rickles to run your customer-service desk. Christopher Hitchens was a friend, but
when he talked about religion, he could be -- to use a technical term -- a Grade-A
Schmuck. Likewise, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and the other champions of a
soulless, antiseptic world have all the charm of a toothache when they lecture
people to kick the habit of the opiate of the masses. And then there are their shock
troops. When pastor Rick Warren’s depressed son committed suicide recently, an army
of the unfaithful took to Twitter to assure the grief-stricken father that there was
no heaven, God was a myth, and his son was gone forever. When USA Today wrote about
the mind-bogglingly hateful attacks, one commenter on that article counseled that
Warren should “abandon primitive superstitions and accept the universe for what it
is -- a place that is utterly indifferent to us.”

One reason the atheistic horde has grown so aggressive and nasty is that they feel
the wind at their backs. The pews are emptying and science is declaring, more and
more loudly, that it has Figured Everything Out. Another reason is that
conservatives, mostly conservative Christians, have been pretty much the only ones
fighting back.

Perhaps just in time, some allies seem to be walking onto the field. Thomas Nagel --
no Christian conservative -- recently published Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist
Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. It generated an
enormous controversy because the (once) respected philosopher has come to the
conclusion that boiling all life, all existence, down to a bunch of atoms and
molecules bumping around doesn’t make much sense. He doesn’t come right out and
embrace God or anything wacky like that. But he says there’s just got to be
something more to things than what the materialists can measure and quantify.
Predictably, the discrediting has begun. Expect Nagel to be paraded around in a
dunce cap any day now.

Another quasi ally is Jonathan Haidt, the psychologist who studies, among other
things, how political attitudes are formed and who has come to the apparently
controversial conclusion that conservatives are not crazy. Indeed, Haidt argues that
conservatives tend to be more morally sophisticated than liberals, in part because
we are better at understanding the liberals’ position than liberals are at
understanding ours.


The latest entrant to the fray, and probably an unwitting one, is Frans de Waal, the
world’s foremost primatologist and a heavyweight in the neo-Darwinist camp. A big
chunk of his new book, The Bonobo and the Atheist: The Search for Humanism Among the
Primates, is aimed at telling the atheists to chill out.

“What good,” de Waal asks, “could possibly come from insulting the many people who
find value in religion?” While a nonbeliever himself, he respects people of faith
and is quite simply bored by efforts to disprove the existence of God. (Imagine how
bored God is.) He rejects the importance of the question posed by Nietzsche, “Is man
only a blunder of God? Or is God only a blunder of man?” If forced to choose, de
Waal would answer yes to the latter. But he thinks little will be gained by forcing
everyone to accept that God is dead.

The way to cut through the knot, according to de Waal, is to accept that morality
originates from within. De Waal persuasively argues that morality is part of our
factory-installed software. In the chicken-or-egg argument about which comes first,
morality or religion, de Waal argues it is morality by a mile. It entered our
genetic software “at least a hundred millennia” before anything recognizable as
modern religion manifested itself (though I’m not sure how he knows what religion
looked like 100,000 years ago). He believes his findings refute what he calls
“veneer theory” -- the idea that morality is simply a thin overlay of words and laws
that we need to keep us from doing terrible things. As Ivan Karamazov says, “If
there is no God, everything is permitted.”

And here we have something of a problem, and I think it would be helpful for
conservatives and perhaps our newfound allies to flesh it out a bit . . .
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: March 20, 2015, 02:28:18 PM
As plausible as it is bold.
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