Thursday, 31 October 2013
A Musical Interlude: Funny, Dear, What Love Can Do (Ruth Etting)
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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
Shi'a Pilgrim To Be Beheaded For Weeping
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 Date: 2013/10/21 - 11:21 int

Saudi authorities to behead a Shia pilgrim for crying in al-Baqi cemetery

 Saudi authorities to behead a Shia pilgrim for crying in al-Baqi cemetery
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Foreign relations committee of Iraqi parliament condemned the arrest of one of its citizens and the ruling for him to be beheaded.

The committee said with such rulings Saudi Arabia showed their enmity towards Shia Muslims. According to Iraqi media the committee added that The Saudi regime has no right to execute the Iraqi Hajji and asked the government of Iraq to save the arrested Hajji.

Hajj Salaam Kazim from Kazemain was arrested whilst crying in Baqi and was told to stop by the Saudi security forces.

He objected to the Wahhabi forces inside the cemetery and cursed them and their teachings and was immediately arrested. He was taken to the court and sentenced to be beheaded after Hajj ceremonies.

The Baqi Cemetery is a cemetery in Medina, located to the southeast of the Masjid al-Nabawi (The Prophet's Mosque). The mosque is built where the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used to live, and is currently buried. The cemetery is also known as Jannatul Baqi, meaning "The Garden of Baqi". However, none of its former greenery has been left, as the cemetery was made desolate by Wahabi demolitions. The cemetery holds much significance. It contains many of prophet Muhammad's relatives and companions.
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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
Re-heated onions
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I was trying to remember who that Mancunian tax-fiddler was, the one who wrote about oranges and onions. Ah, yes, this one:

Anthony Burgess knew his onions. From Inside Mr. Enderby, with thanks to former NER writer John Derbyshire:

His breath smelt startlingly of (startling because few hosts serve, owing to the known redolence of onions, onions) onions.

Derbyshire gushes – and I don’t think he is being tongue-in-cheek:

Has anyone ever improved on that? Gone for the quadruple, I mean, without violating the rules of grammar? Yes, I know about those made-up sentences like:  "Peter, while Tom had had 'had,' had had 'had had'; 'had had' had won the English teacher's approval." I'm thinking of something more Burgessian, something in the onions line, without quotes.

You’ve been had had had. Burgess, with his unwieldy sentence and his string of onions, is not clever, but merely clever-clever. In fact, I would go as far as to say:

Burgess is, when he thinks he is clever, clever-clever. Clever-clever is not the same as clever, and there is no merit in meretricious.

There you go, Mr Burgess – that’s five clevers to your three onions. You want more onions? Sorry, that’s shallot.
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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
Some more onion-shaped things
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From Wikipedia:

An onion dome (Russian: ?????????? ?????, lúkovichnaya glava) is a dome whose shape resembles an onion. Such domes are often larger in diameter than the drum upon which they are set, and their height usually exceeds their width. These bulbous structures taper smoothly to a point.

It is the predominant form for church domes in Russia (Russian: ?????????? ?????, lúkovichnaya glava; mostly on Russian Orthodox churches) and Bavaria, Germany (German: Zwiebelturm (= "onion tower"), plural: Zwiebeltürme, mostly on Catholic churches), but can also be found regularly across Austria, northeastern Italy, Eastern Europe, Mughal India, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Other types of Orthodox cupolas are helmet domes (for example, those of the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod and Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir), Ukrainian pear domes (Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev), and Baroque bud domes (St. Andrew's Church in Kiev).


Onion domes of Cathedral of the Annunciation, Moscow Kremlin.


Detail of onion domes on Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
Robert Spencer reconsiders
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Robert Spencer is right to reconsider  Tommy Robinson:

[E]vents have been unfolding rapidly. Tommy Robinson has written to us emphasizing that he has not changed his positions, and the unfolding events have borne that out. The documentary When Tommy Met Mo shows that Tommy was not fooled by the smooth deceptiveness of the dishonest Islamic supremacist Mo Ansar, and in numerous interviews Tommy has acquitted himself admirably, demonstrating that his commitment to resisting Sharia oppression and Islamic supremacism is as strong as ever.

His association with the Quilliam Foundation was and is problematic. The Quilliam Foundation's anti-Israel stance and its unjustified attacks on counter-jihadists such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders abundantly establish that it is not what it claims to be. But we understand that Tommy has been under enormous pressure. It is impossible to hold him accountable for Quilliam's disingenuousness when he has not repeated it himself. Tommy is planning to start a new organization that is as free from Quilliam as it is from the EDL, and in that, and in his ongoing efforts to defend the British freedom and the vision of human rights that Judeo-Christian civilization has given to the world, we wholeheartedly and unhesitatingly support him.

A good related piece by Ali Sina is here.

Ali Sina's piece, Taqiyah is Onion Shaped, is also posted by Hugh below.  Like Spencer, Robinson asks to be shown the moderate Islam, and challenges it. Unlike Spencer, he is getting heard on the BBC, for now at any rate, while they don't realise how clever he is. 

To mix a metaphor, you don't take a sledgehammer to peel an onion. You do it slowly, carefully, layer after layer; thus the mythical moderate Islam gets smaller and smaller and disappears. This is what Tommy Robinson needs to do with Quilliam and its ilk. He will soon learn this, if he hasn't already, and I believe he has.

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
Ali Sina: Peeling Back The Layers Of Taqiyya
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From AliSina.org: 

Taqiyah Is Onion Shaped

onion

Who has not heard of taqiyah? But did you know that it is onion shaped? It is an Arabic word and it means dissimulation. Another word used synonymously is kitman, which means concealment.

This concealment has many layers.  The most common form of taqiyah is when Muslims deny that certain Islamic behaviors have anything to do with Islam.

On October 27, the BBC aired a documentary in which Mo Ansar, a Muslim activist in UK, was shown addressing a group of English Defense League members. He wanted to meet them in order to dispel their misunderstandings of Islam and to prove that Islam poses no threat to their country and their way of life.  How could he do that when Islam’s goal is to become dominant over all religions and nations? Well, he did it like any Muslim would do. He lied.  (Mo’s speech to EDL is at minute 10).

 mo ansar

Mo starts by saying “as somebody who was born in this country and is British, I think I uphold British values. I am also a Muslim.  Islam is not here to take over the country. Islam is not here to take over the world. That is not the Islam that I know. Islam that I know is one that believes in co-existence and honors and respects British values.”

Nothing can be further from the truth. The British and Islamic values are diametrically opposed. They cannot co-exist. The British values are based on democracy. Democracy implies equality.  Iranian Journalist Amir Taheri says, “Equality is unacceptable in Islam. Un-believers cannot be equal to believers and women are not equal to men. Even the non-Muslims are not deemed to be equal. The People of the Book (Jews and Christians) are accepted as second class citizens and allowed to live in an Islamic state provided they pay the protection tax; Jizyah. But the pagans, atheists and idolaters are not regarded as fully humans. According to the Quran, the idolaters are to be killed wherever they are found.” (9:5)

In the April 9, 2002 issue, The Wall Street Journal published the concept of blood money in Saudi Arabia. If a person has been killed or caused to die by another, the latter has to pay blood money or compensation, as follow.
100,000 riyals if the victim is a Muslim man,
50,000 riyals if a Muslim woman,
50,000 riyals if a Christian man,
25,000 riyals if a Christian woman,
6,666 riyals if a Hindu man,
3,333 riyals if a Hindu woman.

According to this hierarchy, a Muslim man’s life is worth 33 times that of a Hindu woman. This hierarchy is based on the Islamic definition of human rights and is rooted in the Quran and the Sharia. How can we talk of democracy when the concept of equality in Islam is inexistent?

This is not a quirk of Saudi Arabia. The prophet of Islam advised Muslims not to aid non-Muslims to seek justice if they are abused by a Muslim. In his much celebrated edict of Medina, he declared, “A believer shall not slay a believer for the sake of an unbeliever, nor shall he aid an unbeliever against a believer.”  The same document states, “Whoever is convicted of killing a believer… the believers shall be against him as one man, and they are bound to take action against him.”

The Quran 3:28 prohibits Muslims to take non-Muslims as their leaders, or even as friends. If Muslims tell the truth about their hostile intention, they will be kicked out from the countries that they intend to overtake. The same verse allows them to lie, “by way of precaution, that ye may guard yourselves from them.

Co-existence? Yes there is co-existence in Islam, but only if the non-Muslims are reduced into dhimmis, and accept to pay tributes to Muslims while feeling themselves humiliated and subdued. (Q. 9:29)

One characteristic of democracy is freedom of belief. This is utterly alien to Islam. The Quran 3: 85 says, “whoso desires another religion than Islam it shall not be accepted of him.”  The punishment of apostasy in Islam is death. No Islamic country allows its Muslim citizens to change their religion.

Mo also assured his audience that Islam is not here to take over the world. He lied. People often make the mistake of comparing Islam to Christianity and other faiths. All religions are personal. They are about enlightenment or relationship with God.  Islam is about world domination. The focus of Islam is on expansion. A hadith narrated by Bukhari (4: 53: 386) makes this clear. It says that when Umar sent Muslim army to Persia, “the representative of Khosrau came out with 40,000 warriors, and an interpreter got up saying, “Let one of you talk to me!” Al-Mughira replied, “Ask whatever you wish.” The other asked, “Who are you?” Al-Mughira replied, “We are some people from the Arabs; we led a hard, miserable, disastrous life. We used to suck the hides and the date stones from hunger; we used to wear clothes made up of fur of camels and hair of goats, and to worship trees and stones. While we were in this state, the Lord of the Heavens and the Earths, Elevated is His Remembrance and Majestic is His Highness, sent to us from among ourselves a Prophet whose father and mother are known to us. Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah Alone or give Jizya (i.e. tribute); and our Prophet has informed us that our Lord says:– “Whoever amongst us is killed (i.e. martyred), shall go to Paradise to lead such a luxurious life as he has never seen, and whoever amongst us remain alive, shall become your master.”

The order to fight till the non-Muslims worship Allah has not changed. Muslims will not abandon their quest for domination until they succeed or they are defeated. They have no choice in this.  They are programmed to spread Islam through deception or war.  They can’t be a Muslim and not advance their religion. The obligation to spread Islam is on every Muslim.  But we e have the choice. We can submit, or fight back and defeat them.  But how can we do that if we are not even aware that we are under attack? Taqiyah is what Muslims do to keep us in the sedated state.

Muhammad said al Islamo deenun va dawlah, (Islam is religion and state).  The goal of Islam is to take over the world and establish a world caliphate.  Without this goal Islam becomes meaningless.  The whole idea of jihad, which is an obligation on every Muslim, is to expand the Islamic domain.  It is also said that the bigger jihad is the struggle against one’s self. This is a lie too. Many scholars of Islam have refuted this as an innovation, something that was never said by Muhammad.

Jihad is through war, through financing the war (zakat) and through deception. The disagreement between Muslims is not in whether the west should become Islamic or not, but in whether it should be annexed through qital (fighting) or through taqiyah (deceiving).

The Quran 9:33 says, Allah will cause Islam to prevail over all religions. One does not have to read the history of Islamic conquest and oppression of their vanquished nations throughout the last 1400 years to know Muslims have no regards for the human rights of the non-Muslims. A look at how the minorities are treated in Muslim majority countries in the 21st century can make that point clear.

When Muslims become the majority, they deny the minorities any participation in political life. No non-Muslim is allowed to run for the head of any Islamic country and where they are allowed to become a member of parliament, it is only as a representative of their people. They are like ambassadors of their co-religionists in the Islamic state. They have no role in how the country should be run, but only as a liaison between the state and their co-religionists who are regarded as second class citizens.

Some of the EDL members expressed their concerned about their daughters who had to married to Muslims and brainwash to cut their ties with their family.  Mo Ansar responded with more lies. He said, “If there are girls who have converted to Islam and are told you cannot meet your family; if that happens, I’d say now clearly, that it is not allowed in Islam.”

Mo should know that Muhammad ordered his daughter Zeinab to leave her unbelieving husband Abul As, until he was forced to convert. He told his followers to cut their ties with their families and to emigrate from Mecca. These stories are all recorded in the Sira.

Everything Mo said in that meeting was a lie.  Of course he is not an ignorant Muslim.  He just considered that in that gathering lying was more beneficial that telling the truth and that too is acceptable in Islam.

Muslims are permitted to lie even under oath to promote Islam and when the necessity justifies it. All they have to do for expiation of lying under oath is to feed someone or fast for three days (Q. 5:89). The Quran also says, “Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness (vain) in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts; and He is Oft-forgiving, Most Forbearing.” (Q. 2:225). So if the intent is to advance Islam all lies are permissible.

Imam Ghazzali (1058-1111), arguably the greatest Islamic scholar noted, “Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If praise worthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible.”

Mo’s deception had no bounds. He even went as far as saying “I have been fighting for gay rights for 15 years. Many people are surprised by that.”  If it were true, it would be very surprising.  But it is not true.  In at least five places the Quran condemns homosexuality in the severest term and in 4:16, it says, punish them both, unless they repent and amend.

Mo’s audience however, was not fooled. One person noted, “He is just pandering to the audience, saying things he thinks the audience likes to hear. He thinks we are all dimwits.”

Was Mo Ansar really sincere? In the same documentary, (minutes 25) when Tommy Robinson said, there are certain verses in the Quran that glorify murder, rape and slavery and suggested that these verses should be phased out, Mo blamed the lack of understanding of the Quran and not the Quran itself. How can “slay the unbelievers wherever you find them, let them find harshness in you,” or beat your wife if you fear she is thinking of disobeying you” can be interpreted in any other way?   The Quran is a book of hate and violence.  Mo knows it, but he hides the truth.

Mo’s insincerity was put to the litmus test by a fellow Muslim, Maajid Nawaaz, who asked him whether he agreed with the Quranic law of chopping the limbs of a thief and other barbaric laws such as stoning. Mo first tried to play taqiyah and said he wouldn’t, but when pressed, he began stuttering and tried to evade the answer by saying he would seek the consensus of the ulama.  It became clear that he was lying all along.  He would not go against any of the teachings of the Quran, even when they are all barbaric and inhumane.

Maajid Nawaz

What about Maajid Nawaaz? He had no problem saying some of the teachings of the Quran are morally reprehensible. This is quite a statement for a Muslim. Is he sincere? Maajid is the chairman of Quilliam Foundation, a self-styled organization that claims to counter Islamic extremism.

He was a recruiter of Hizbul Tahrir, a terrorist organization, and an advocate for Islamic caliphate for 13 years. He says that he was reformed while serving a five years jail sentence in Egypt for his political activities. Now he claims that he rejects extremism and is a moderate Muslim.

Taqiyah is like an onion. One layer hides another layer, which hides yet another layer and so on and so forth.  There is nothing surprising for a Muslim to realize Islam is not compatible with our time and leave it.  I made the transition myself and have helped thousands to do it.  However, those who come to see the truth, leave Islam. They don’t go around promoting a moderate version of Islam. There is no such thing. You either accept the inhuman and backward teachings of Islam or you don’t accept Islam at all.

Maajid claims to be a Muslim who rejects the Sharia. He is not alone. There are a few more in Canada and USA who make such claim. Among them are, Tarik Fatah, Irshad Manji, Zuhdi Yaser, just to name a few.  Can these people be trusted? Can a Muslim reject any part of the Quran?

We have to understand that there is a big difference between Islam and Christianity or Judaism. Muslims believe that the Quran is the verbatim word of God. Jews and Christians believe their sacred texts were written by humans who were inspired by God.  This is a crucial distinction. So while a Jew or a Christian can reject an outdated part of his scripture as the error of its authors, a Muslim does not have that luxury.  Muslims can’t pick and choose. Allah in the Quran asserts, “Today have I perfected your religious law for you, and have bestowed upon you the full measure of My blessings, and willed that self-surrender unto Me shall be your religion.” (Q.5:3).  How can one add or subtract to what God has perfected? That idea is preposterous to Muslims.

Another verse says, “Do you, then, believe in some parts of the divine writ and deny the truth of other parts? What, then, could be the reward of those among you who do such things but ignominy in the life of this world and, on the Day of Resurrection? They will be consigned to most grievous suffering. For God is not unmindful of what you do.” (Q.2:85)

It is unlikely that Maajid and his fellow so called moderate Muslims don’t know this. So how can they call themselves Muslim and reject the clear laws of the Quran? They are playing another layer of taqiyah. Their goal is not to reform Islam, something they know is impossible, but to buy legitimacy and more time for it until they become the majority and take over the world. I sounded the clarion about the danger of Islam 16 years ago, and now I warn you again that these so called moderates are wolves in sheep clothing. Don’t fear the terrorists. Fear the enemy within.

Muslims are allowed to reject part or all of Islam and even malign their prophet in order to deceive their victims. Bukhari 5:59: 369 narrates that in Medina there was a young handsome man, a leader of the Jewish tribe of Bani Nadir, by the name of Ka’b ibn Ashraf. After Muhammad banished their sister tribe of Bani Qainuqa from the city, Ka’b went to Mecca seeking protection from the Quraish. When Muhammad heard the news he went on his pulpit and said, “who is willing to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?”  Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, “O Allah’s Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?” The Prophet said, “Yes,” Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab). “The Prophet said, “You may say it.” Then Muhammad bin Maslama went to Kab and said, “That man (i.e. Muhammad) demands alms from us, and he has troubled us, and I have come to borrow something from you.”

The story goes on to say how ibn Maslama deceived Ka’b by badmouthing his prophet and when Ka’b trusted him, he and other Muslims, among them Ka’b’s own foster brother who had converted to Islam stabbed him to death.  By denouncing the Quran, Maajid is not doing anything unIslamic. He is taking his deception to a higher level.

The deception has paid off handsomely. Instead of serving time in jail Maajid now shakes hands with George W. Bush and Tony Blair, appears in Bill Maher show and sits next to Richard Dawkins,  is a chairman of a foundation, and has run for MP in UK.  He is far more effective in destroy the western civilization from within, through taqiyah, than by placing bombs in buildings and buses.

Could I be mistaken? Have I come to a hasty conclusion? I invite Maajid Nawaaz to show my error and prove to the world that he is not deceiving them. Maybe I too will join his Quilliam organization and support his efforts. If he is sincere, he will accept this invitation. But based on my experience with “moderate Muslims,” I have a feeling that Maajid’s reply will be a deafening silence.

There is no such thing as moderate Islam. This is the ultimate taqiyah. Falling into this trap is deadly. It may cost your liberty and your life. Moderate Islam is an oxymoron. It is as attainable as perfumed dung; although I may be wrong about the latter.

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
FBI Requires New Agents To Visit MLK Site
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FBI orders new agents to see Martin Luther King memorial

Photo
Mon, Oct 28 2013

By David Ingram

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The new FBI chief on Monday ordered all new agents and analysts to visit the national memorial to late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. as a reminder not to repeat the abuses of the U.S. investigative bureau's past.

In a similar gesture in 2000, the FBI added a stop at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to its required training for new agents. Both sites, along with FBI headquarters, are in Washington.

FBI Director James Comey said in a speech to FBI employees that he wanted to add a similar reminder from the bureau's own history.

"It will serve as a different kind of lesson - one more personal to the bureau - of the dangers of becoming untethered to oversight and accountability," Comey said.

The FBI kept files on King as a potential security threat in the 1950s and 1960s - even wiretapping his phones - because of what the bureau said were suspected ties to communism. Comey called the King investigation an example of "abuse and overreach" in the FBI's history.

A memorial to King, with a 30-foot statue and quotations inscribed in stone, opened on the National Mall in 2011. The civil rights leader, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968.

Sworn in last month, Comey, 52, made headlines in 2004 for demanding changes to a domestic spying program he considered an infringement of civil liberties. At the time, he was the No. 2 official in President George W. Bush's Justice Department.

President Barack Obama named Comey to succeed Robert Mueller, whose 12 years as FBI director made him the second longest-serving director after J. Edgar Hoover.

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Comment:

Would it be churlish to object, especially since Martin Luther King has been given sainthood, not so much by heartfelt popular acclaim a by a desire not to be seen to object in any way to such sanctification? The monument to him, a glorification of one man rather than the reminder of a historical event or condition,  reinforces the notion that he was beyond mere mortals, a secular saint whose words are worthy to be chiseled in stone. While Martin Luther King was someone who had his points, he was also both a plagiarist in his writing and a demagogic, or at least demagogic, in his delivery of obvioius, right-side-of-history platitudes. Hoover may have wrongly suspected him of being a Communist, but all he turned up was an unseemly personal life that has been passed over in general silence because not all the details quite fit under the prefabricated halo. As sculpture, the monument to King reflects the training and experience and esthetic sense of its maker, a Chinese man who has spent his artistic life glorifying in stone assorted heroes of Communist China. As history, the uncorrected and embarrassing attibution, to Martin Luther King of a statement by Theodore Parker, the noted abolitionist of Lexington, which can only remind those aware of its true author of King's history of plagiarism, including his wholesale lifting, of at least one-third of his dissertation for the doctoral degree he was granted by the  School of Theology at Boston University,  both rankles and invites ridicule. 

And the likening, in the story, of the Holocaust Museum (another site to which FBI agents have been sent), which is devoted to one of the most important events in human history, to this monument to one man, one among many Negro or black representatives who might have been chosen for the honor --would not Frederick Douglass, both more articulate and more impressive, have been a better choice, especially since Douglass was alive during the time of slavery? --offends.

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
Robust Women by András Mezei
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Translated from the Hungarian & Edited by Thomas Ország-Land (November 2013)

        I.   A CHOICE

 

When the children were torn from their mothers,

and the ghetto was searched for tiny creatures

left in hiding, and the cries and the screams

were drowned by loudspeakers blaring out lullabies,

and the children were crammed into lorries, a German

soldier turned to one pleading mother,

        How many children have you?

        and she replied, I have three --  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
A Room of One’s Own
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by Bibhu Padhi (November 2013)


This one was different in size

and shape than any other--

22’ by 14’, painted a pale brick.

This was four long months ago,

when I was inside it, always,

dreaming about home.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
Transit
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by Len Krisak (November 2013)

Whatever ghost has drawn her down to sit

The splintered bench below the city’s streets

At 6 A.M. and stare across the track

Through pillared space, I cannot fathom it.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
A Perfect Life
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by Moshe Dann (November 2013)


Holding Mac's unopened letter, I wondered why my brother had written now, after so many months and why he had disappeared.  

A grey winter sky drooled over lines of cars that wound along the icy Boston streets around the park. I imagined him hiding among the dark trees that hovered above the snow. Mac, I thought, where the hell are you?   more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
The NYC Rockaways (That Sandy Made Famous)
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by Richard Kostelanetz (November 2013)


Only rarely do the Rockaways enter NYC news; rarer still, national news. Arriving on unfamiliar turf before returning home as swiftly as possible, reporters often misunderstand or ignore crucial details. When hurricanes hit the City, they don’t notice how terrible winds can hit different places within the Rockaways differently. Filmed in front of the Atlantic Ocean, reporters often miss larger flooding from the Bay water. Reporters showed up after an airplane destined for the Dominican Republic crashed into Belle Harbor a few weeks after 9/11. Killing 260 passengers and crew, in addition to five on the ground, Flight 587 was the second deadliest crash ever on US territory.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
Telling Bad Jokes in Korea
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by NB Armstrong (November 2013)


The following is an extract from the author’s book about living in South Korea, Korean Straight Lines.

I was asked by a member I met at a friend’s house to become moderator of the city’s English forum. Members met to discuss an agreed upon topic on Thursday evenings at seven and then dined together in a nearby seafood restaurant. I would just chip in, monitor for egregious errors, and clarify misunderstood terms. My remit was quasi-monarchical, receiving a stipend for occupying an executive seat of authority. Who could say no to that? Royalty is the second best thing to every man’s dream, which is to be paid the exact amount of money he is, as his job, able to tot up with a front loading bank note counter until whatever time of day it is when vice steals him away. And as for dinner afterwards, even if I dislike the taste of shells I respect the process of bringing me to the table. I said yes, I will.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
The Stupidest Generation
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by Larry Eubank (November 2013)


". . . Americans today are the dumbest human beings since our ancestors crawled down from the trees to have a look around to see what they could steal."
– Thomas Fleming, "The Best Schooling Money Can Buy," Chronicles, Sep. 2013

"U.S. adults are dumber than the average human."
– New York Post headline about the recently-released "Survey of Adult Skills" by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Our country faces problems today more numerous, and greater in magnitude, than we have seen in many a year. And the possibility has to be considered that one major cause of our national difficulties is our sheer stupidity.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2013 9:55 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
“Vertigo” - Yet Again: A Personal Essay
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by Sam Bluefarb (November 2013)


“Can’t repeat the past?. . .Why of course you can!” Jay Gatsby, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

 “No one you love is ever dead.”  Ernest Hemingway, in a letter to a friend

 “You can’t bring back the past--like holding water in your hand.” – Leopold Bloom, in James Joyce’s Ulysses


PROLOGUE 

I have visited San Francisco many times over the years. My first time in pre-war years, when I served a spell in the US Merchant Marine; then later in the mid-1950s, when I was a “Junior” [sic] librarian with the California State Library. In those days, I would drive into San Francisco on weekends to visit friends, both in the city and Berkeley. On all of those occasions, I stayed at the same small hotel I had put up at, in my earlier days. It was located on Market Street, around the corner from the Greyhound Bus Station. In its no-frills décor, it was much like the Empire Hotel in Vertigo where Judy Barton (Kim Novak) stays, except that it was smaller.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
A Reader’s Guide to the New York Musical Comedies of Betty Comden and Adolph Green: On the Town, Wonderful Town, and Bells Are Ringing
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by Terry Dunford (November 2013)


Come on down to the Village Vortex,
Home of the new jazz age – Swing!
Rock and roll to the beat beat beat.1

“One day in 1938, Max was sitting in his little basement, his Village Vanguard, when these three kids came down the stairs.”
-- Lorraine Gordon, Alive at the Village Vanguard (2006)2


Preface: America During the ‘Fifties

During the final days of 1949, Hollywood released the movie version of the Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Jerome Robbins Broadway musical comedy, On the Town, that ran through 1945 to 1946.3 With Leonard Bernstein, the first American-born and American-trained (Curtis Institute) world-class conductor in the vanguard, the movie confirmed that post-World War II America, and more specifically, New York City (the town in On the Town), was the new cultural center of the world. The dominance of American culture had been demonstrated when Leonard Bernstein occasionally performing his own orchestral compositions toured Europe in 1946 – 48 as guest conductor, including a trip to the yet-to-be-born state of Israel to conduct the Palestine Philharmonic (as it was then called). Leonard Bernstein was a world figure.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2013 9:41 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
Slouching Towards Sharia
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by Richard Butrick (November 2013)


The post WW1-2 attack on the authoritarian institutions of Western Civilization launched by The Frankfurt School created the opening and the intellectual foundation for Political Correctness - or so the story goes.

Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse and The Frankfurt School

Their targets?  The evil institutions that brought us World War I-II. Their weapon? Critical Theory. Their base of operations? Academe. The lasting effect was to provide a vacuum or an opening for the legitimization of a new metric of good and evil  - a  “transvaluation of values” -  which is now enshrined in the PC-think which dominates our culture today.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
The Abode of Islam is Philosophically Infertile Ground
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by Paul Austin Murphy (November 2013)


During the short time in which philosophy and science prospered in Muslim lands, it did so only in spite of Islam, not because of it. This is partly shown by the fact that the Arab hegemony, as it were, hardly ever produced any philosophers of its own. Most Muslim philosophers were Persian. Many others were Christians and other non-Muslims who happened to live and work within Muslim lands.  more>>> 

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
Will There be a Peace Agreement between Israel and the Palestinians?
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An Interview with Daniel Mandel, Director of the Z0A Center for Middle East Policy

by Jerry Gordon with Daniel Mandel (November 2013)


A renewal of Israeli Palestinian peace discussions were begun after a hiatus of three years under the aegis of US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, DC on July 29th and 30th, 2013 at the State Department and with President Obama. The goal set by Secretary Kerry was completing discussions leading to a possible final status agreement on all core issues within nine months of launch. Kerry has appointed former US Ambassador Martin Indyk to monitor these discussions with senior Israeli representative Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
The Failed State of Palestine
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a review by Jerry Gordon (November 2013)





State of Failure: Yasser Arafat , Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State

by Jonathan Schanzer
Palgrave Macmillan, October 2013
ISBN 978-1-137-27824-1

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu and Secretary of State John Kerry met in Rome on October 23, 2013 for a seven hour conference to discuss the latest round of  P5+1 negotiations with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program. Netanyahu stressed the looming nuclear breakthrough and the tragic possibility of the US relenting on tough sanctions while he contends that the Islamic republic is on the ropes economically. During the press conference, Netanyahu and Kerry made statements regarding the final status agreement peace process discussions between Israel and  the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas.  more>>>

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Posted on 10/31/2013 12:00 AM by NER
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