Another bogus story in what used to be the legitimate media, this one featuring a stock-picking boy wonder named Mohammed Islam at New York’s Stuyvesant High. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. Or, then again, maybe you have to in order to get a story in a newspaper or magazine these days:
It’s been a tough month for factchecking. After the Rolling Stone campus rape story unraveled, readers of all publications can be forgiven for questioning the process by which Americans get our news. And now it turns out that another blockbuster story is —to quote its subject in an exclusive Observer interview—”not true.”
Monday’s edition of New York magazine includes an irresistible story about a Stuyvesant High senior named Mohammed Islam who had made a fortune investing in the stock market. Reporter Jessica Pressler wrote regarding the precise number, “Though he is shy about the $72 million number, he confirmed his net worth is in the “’high eight figures.’” The New York Post followed up with a story of its own, with the fat figure playing a key role in the headline: “High school student scores $72M playing the stock market.”
And now it turns out, the real number is … zero.
Journalism always gets thing wrong. Lying at the top levels of officialdom too often goes unchallenged. But never in more than forty years in this business have I seen such abject credulity on the part of reporters. Some stories, it seems, really are too good to check. But, hey, it’s all fun and games until somebody loses his reputation or worse.
The saddest quote from the New York Observer piece, debunking the New York Magazine piece:
Mohammed, you’re from Queens and you go to this elite public high school. Is this a hobby of your parents as well or would you be the first person in your family to pursue high finance?
Mohammed Islam: In my immediate family, just me.
So what did your parents think when they’re reading that you’ve got $72 million?
Mohammed Islam: Honestly, my dad wanted to disown me. My mom basically said she’d never talk to me. Their morals are that if I lie about it and don’t own up to it then they can no longer trust me. … They knew it was false and they basically wanted to kill me and I haven’t spoken to them since.
Nice work, New York. The original story is here.
“The highest in two decades.”
Democrats are primed to confirm up to 88 of President Obama’s judicial nominations through the Senate before the year’s close.
Thanks to Reid’s weakening of the Senate filibuster, Republicans have had little power to stop Obama’s nominations.
So far, the Senate has approved 76 federal appeals court and district court nominees. Last year, the Senate only confirmed 43, and in 2012 49 were confirmed. The new confirmations will really expand Obama’s influence over the judiciary.
“He’s changed the face of the judiciary,” said Russell Wheeler, who studies the judiciary for the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution. “Whether or not that will have a long-term impact, I think, is another question.”
It probably will have a long-term impact and we’ll hear about it when one of these jokers makes a ridiculous ruling. The Associated Press writes, “Another measure of Obama’s impact is on federal appeals courts, which have enormous influence on their regions of the country and can be conduits for cases to reach the Supreme Court. When he took office, 10 of the 13 appeals courts had more judges appointed by Republican than Democratic presidents. Now the balance has switched, with Democratic-appointed majorities on nine of the courts.”
If the Senate ends up confirming all 88 of Obama’s picks, it will be the most number of confirmations since Bill Clinton had 99 confirmations in 1994.
Although the establishment talking points blame Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee for Reid’s “opportunity” to get these nominations approved, it was always Reid’s plan to get as many of these folks through the system before control of the Senate is turned over to the Republicans.
Cruz spokesman Phil Novak confirmed that Reid was planning on going on a spree of confirmations: “Everyone knows Harry Reid planned to jam forward as many nominees as he could.”
Millennials are “increasingly more pro-life and supportive of restrictions on abortion” than their Boomer and Gen-X parents.
“There’s a window into the womb with ultrasound. Just having the look into the womb you can see, even in the first trimester, the early development of the child — you can see the humanity of the child,” Rose said. “Now that we have that imagery and it’s more prevalent, people are having that personal encounter with the child, so it’s easier to recognize their human rights.”
…”Years ago, it was the case that advocates for abortion would talk about the ‘thing’ growing in a woman’s womb as a lifeless blob of tissue,” Monahan explained. “And I think our advances in sonography and ultrasounds, and even our understanding of fetal development has dispelled those myths.”
She continued: “We know that, from the moment of conception, a baby has all of its DNA that it needs for the rest of its life. It has everything inherent that it will need for later on. Really, the only difference [between the preborn and adults] is in size and development.”
When most millennials were in the womb, ultrasound technology was still relatively new to pregnancy. Mothers of Gen-X/millennial crossovers most likely only had an ultrasound if there were suspected complications with the pregnancy. Today, however, those crossovers and their fellow millennials will have an ultrasound as early as 8 weeks to confirm pregnancy, including fetal heartbeat. One-dimensional sonograms will continue throughout the pregnancy. Parents will also have the option to have a 3-D or 4-D ultrasound done so that they may see their smiling baby in the womb.
Abortion is at an all-time low in the United States. And while abortion advocates are quick to note that the majority of women who are required to view sonograms before their abortions will choose to proceed with the abortion, the reality is that the majority of abortions in America are being performed before an 8 week ultrasound can be done. The women who abort after the ultrasound are in the minority that is growing smaller by the year.
So the company making all those silly “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts pays its employees $6 an hour.
Liberal hypocrisy is always a bountiful source of unintentional humor.
For intentional humor, you have to turn to the right:
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be a real t-shirt design, just a gag.
In the 1800s, London became a haven for tens of thousands of Russian Jews fleeing their czarist homeland. Today, a similar scene takes place in the United Kingdom, but this time the refugees are Muslim converts to Christianity fleeing persecution in England or the Middle East.
Many Muslims who convert to Christianity face threats of death and harm, and friends and family turn them away. One organization in particular, Christian Concern, is helping converts find safe haven in homes, churches, and other places in the UK.
Christian Concern believes thousands of Muslims are anxious to convert and in need of housing so they can get back onto their feet after suffering verbal — and sometimes physical — attacks from families, friends and co-workers.
“We are motivated by a deep sense of love and compassion for those that feel trapped in a situation from which they cannot escape,” said Andrea Williams, the group’s chief executive.
“The penalty for converts at best is to be cut off from their family; at worst they face death,” she added. “This is happening not just in Sudan and Nigeria but in East London. The government has failed to deal with the rise in anti-Christian sentiment.”
Some of these converts are like Shokit Ali Sadiq, whose wife is also a Christian. He and his family received safe haven thanks to members of their church. Sadiq now works to convert others from Islam to Christianity, and he says that many Muslims want to convert but are afraid to do so.
“There are hundreds of people out there who want to leave Islam,” said Sadiq. “But they’re frightened of making their desire known.”
Others are like a woman who went unnamed for her interview. She faced physical attacks from other women after becoming a Christian. She prays that “one day my own family will have me back.”
Twenty-three-year-old Ali, whose former friends stabbed him and left him for dead when he converted in Pakistan at age 17, fled to England, where these same young men from his hometown tracked him down and threatened him again. He now works at a store and lives essentially in hiding,but he is hopeful that he can return to Pakistan one day to do the same work that saved his life.
“My life’s ambition,” he said, “is to return and start a charity that would provide safe houses for Muslims who convert to Christianity.”
This post uses a modified image from Shutterstock.
Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, came to this South Texas outpost on Monday to inaugurate a 50-acre detention center that will hold as many as 2,400 migrants caught crossing the Southwest border illegally, becoming the largest immigration detention facility in the country.
Though President Obama has offered work permits and protection from deportation to millions of unauthorized immigrants, he also ordered new policies to reinforce border security, hoping to prevent a new surge of illegal crossings. Mr. Johnson presided over the opening of the center in Dilley, 85 miles northeast of Laredo, to draw more attention to the border security pieces of the president’s executive actions, in response to the furor those actions caused.
Yay, border security, right?
The center is specially designed to house migrant women and their children, from babies to teenagers, as their deportation cases move through the courts.
Standing on a barren dirt roadway lined with cabins in a fenced-in compound, Mr. Johnson delivered a blunt message to migrants without legal papers considering a trip to the United States. “It will now be more likely that you will be detained and sent back,” he said.
“More likely!” Well, they’re certainly putting their feet down now. Below is a picture of part of this “We mean business!” detention facility (no, really):
‘Despite NRA’s Negative Onslaught,’ Controversial Surgeon General Pick Squeaks Through Confirmation Vote
Dr. Vivek Murthy, a Harvard Medical School instructor who founded Doctors for Obama (which changed its name to Doctors for America), was nominated by President Obama to be surgeon general in November 2013.
The 37-year-old’s nomination stalled amid opposition in the upper chamber, yet was one of the flurry of nominees whose cloture votes were pushed through in the extended weekend Senate session. Today, Murthy was barely confirmed 51-43, with six senators not voting.
The only Republican to vote for Murthy’s confirmation was Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). Among the nays were Democrats Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.).
“Our surgeon general serves as America’s leader on public health services and chooses what health policies we should prioritize. For that reason, I don’t believe it’s appropriate for America’s number one doctor to participate in political activism,” Manchin said. “It is essential that the surgeon general gains the public’s trust, so this position must be separated from the political arena.”
“After meeting with Dr. Murthy, I don’t question his medical qualifications; I just question whether the public will believe that he can separate his political beliefs from his public health views,” he added. “I am wary that his past comments and political involvement will have an impact on his leadership capabilities and effectiveness. For these reasons, I am unable to vote for his confirmation as the United States’ next surgeon general.”
The National Rifle Association issued a legislative alert Friday warning that the long-delayed confirmation of Murthy, who has equated gun violence with a “public health epidemic,” was imminent.
“The coordination between the Brady Campaign and those seeking to engineer Dr. Murthy’s confirmation heightens already significant concerns about his willingness to politicize the office of Surgeon General to promote gun control,” the NRA’s Chris Cox wrote to Senate leaders.
Democratic senators who have traditionally supported gun rights but were defeated in midterms — Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) — voted for Murthy. So did Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who ran unsuccessfully on a 2nd Amendment platform.
Obama issued a statement praising the confirmation of the Doctors for Obama leader. “As ‘America’s Doctor,’ Vivek will hit the ground running to make sure every American has the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe,” Obama said. “He’ll bring his lifetime of experience promoting public health to bear on priorities ranging from stopping new diseases to helping our kids grow up healthy and strong.”
“Vivek will also help us build on the progress we’ve made combatting Ebola, both in our country and at its source,” the president continued. “Combined with the crucial support for fighting Ebola included in the bill to fund our government next year, Vivek’s confirmation makes us better positioned to save lives around the world and protect the American people here at home.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who was in Hartford earlier in the day marking the two-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting, said the NRA had “spun a specious smokescreen” on Murthy’s nomination, “working shamefully and tirelessly to block him simply because he stated the obvious fact that gun violence is a public health issue.”
“Despite the NRA’s negative onslaught, today the United States gets a great surgeon general and a superbly qualified public health leader,” Blumenthal said.
But Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), one of the physicians serving in Congress, said in a floor speech today that while Murthy has “impressive academic credentials and I’m sure he will be a fine doctor,” they’re “simply not sufficient qualifications for this important job.”
“Is Dr. Murthy a renowned expert in treating patients or researching diseases? No, not at all. He’s not. Has he actually built a career teaching medicine or leading public health organizations? No, not yet. In fact, Dr. Murthy only completed his medical training, his residency, in 2006, just eight years ago,” Barrasso said. “Now, I speak as someone who has actually practiced medicine for 25 years, who has been an instructor of surgery at Yale Medical School that Dr. Murthy attended. And I saw that being a doctor is about much more than going to school.”
“The majority of his career has been spent not as a doctor treating patients but as an activist, an activist focused on gun control and political campaigns. Even former Surgeon General Richard Carmona has said that Dr. Murthy doesn’t have the medical experience to serve in such an important position. Let me point out, Dr. Carmona is a Democrat.”
Americans, Barrasso argued, “don’t want a doctor who might let political ideology get in the way of treatment and their best interest.”
“Americans don’t want a Surgeon General who might use this position of trust to promote his own personal campaign against the Second Amendment of the Constitution,” he said. “This is just another example of President Obama giving someone an important job based solely on their support of the president’s political career.”
Though Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he didn’t think Murthy would get confirmed until Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent the Senate into weekend session with their cromnibus objections, Lee told Fox today that wasn’t the case.
“Look, this is an outgoing Democratic Senate majority. It would’ve been political malpractice for [Reid] to adjourn for the year without getting these things through,” Lee said. “I can guarantee you not one person will be confirmed as a result of this that would not otherwise have been confirmed.”
NRA press conference disappointing but predictable – blame everything in the world except guns for the Newtown tragedy. #wakeup
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) December 21, 2012
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) April 20, 2013
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) April 21, 2013
Signs of progress-we got 20 votes in the senate in favor of gun violence legislation that we wouldn’t have had 1 year ago. Have faith #dr4a
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) April 21, 2013
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) April 21, 2013
From The Daily Star in Lebanon:
BEIRUT: Syrian jihadi and rebel militias overran a sprawling government military base in Idlib province Monday, achieving the year’s biggest victory against the regime of President Bashar Assad.
The Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, along with the powerful Ahrar al-Sham militia and other allies, seized the Wadi Deif base after a fierce, two-day push that sent hundreds of regime troops fleeing the area, as regime warplanes pounded the area in a bid to secure their retreat.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-regime monitoring group based in Britain, said 31 government troops were killed in the assault on the base, along with a dozen fighters from the Nusra Front and its allies, although some pro-Nusra social media outlets said nearly 80 rebels had been killed.
A military commander from Ahrar al-Sham claimed in a video statement that around 200 regime troops were killed in the offensive, while several hundred were wounded.
That’s always been the tricky part of dealing with the never-ending turmoil in this part of the world-it’s often a “lesser of two evils but, wow, they’re both really evil” proposition (see: Egypt). One bad actor will just step in and take the place of another, and whatever ill the new bad guys sow will be blamed on the United States for either being too proactive or too inactive.
If there is a solution to what the West can do to “help” in Syria, it has yet to be discovered, probably because almost every foreseeable outcome with the current players is so unpalatable.
Alpha males tend to thrive in cutthroat offices—and restaurants that douse their food in hot sauce.
A study by researchers from the University of Grenoble found that men who preferred spicier foods also tended to have higher testosterone levels than men with milder tastes. In the study, published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, 114 men from age 18 to 44 were polled on whether or not they liked spicy foods, and were later served a dish of mashed potatoes which they were allowed to season with however much hot sauce and salt they wanted.
The researchers found that men with higher testosterone levels tended to use more hot sauce and indicated a greater preference for it. There was no relationship between testosterone and the amount of salt used. High testosterone levels in men have long been linked to dominant and competitive traits.
The conundrum is that many deliciously spicy foods also leave one with breath that doesn’t go over well on a date.
Which is why I am a huge consumer of Altoids.
Remember that story about Pope Francis promising some distressed moppet whose dog had just died that good bowsers go to Heaven too? Bogus. The American Interest has the details, while the increasingly untrustworthy New York Times has the correction. First, the details:
A recent controversy over whether Pope Francis said that dogs go to heaven shows how deeply the media has bought into its own narrative about the pontiff’s brand of feel-good religion. Last week many media outlets reported that Francis told a boy whose dog had died that, “one day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.” He was said to have supported this statement by a reference to a passage in Bible written by St. Paul. Reaction was swift: spiritual but not religious types got the warm fuzzies, while Catholic traditionalists sighed heavily under the burden of having such a Pope.
But the whole story was completely false. Pope Francis not only never said it; he never talked to a boy with a dead dog at all… The media has fallen in love with their own creation—the softhearted, easygoing, liberal pope they’ve long been waiting for—and are willing uncritically to run a story, any story, that puts him on display.
Oh, noes! It gets worse. The Religion News Service debunks here:
Yes, a version of that quotation was uttered by a pope, but it was said decades ago by Paul VI, who died in 1978. There is no evidence that Francis repeated the words during his public audience on Nov. 26, as has been widely reported, nor was there a boy mourning his dead dog. “There is a fundamental rule in journalism. That is double-checking, and in this case it was not done,” the Vatican’s deputy spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, told Reuters on Saturday.
But hey — the story was too good to check! Which is why a red-faced Times had to backtrack on its entire front-page story – which began with this by now-obligatory lede, “Pope Francis has given hope to gays, unmarried couples and advocates of the Big Bang theory. Now, he has endeared himself to dog lovers, animal rights activists and vegans” – with this instant classic of a correction:
Correction: December 12, 2014. An earlier version of this article misstated the circumstances of Pope Francis’ remarks. He made them in a general audience at the Vatican, not in consoling a distraught boy whose dog had died. The article also misstated what Francis is known to have said. According to Vatican Radio, Francis said: “The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us,” which was interpreted to mean he believes animals go to heaven. Francis is not known to have said: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.’’ (Those remarks were once made by Pope Paul VI to a distraught child, and were cited in a Corriere della Sera article that concluded Francis believes animals go to heaven.) An earlier version also referred incompletely to the largest animal protection group in the United States. It is the Humane Society of the United States, not just the Humane Society.
That correction is almost as embarrassing as this one (scroll all the way down. Sheesh.
North Korea on Monday asked the United Nations Security Council to add the issue of torture by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to its agenda and to establish an investigation to ensure those responsible are held to account for human rights abuses.
The request by Pyongyang came as two-thirds of the 15-member council push for the human rights situation in North Korea to be added to the agenda. A U.N. report in February detailed abuses in North Korea that it said were comparable to Nazi-era atrocities.
Once an issue is on the Security Council agenda, it can be discussed by the body at any time.
Wow, who would have thought that this Democrat hit piece designed as a “Senate report” would just give ammunition to various low-life global actors?
Oh yeah, everyone.
The NoKos were busy reveling in all the havoc they wrought at Sony last week so they took longer to respond. The UN is the Devil’s Playground for the the most horrific regimes on the planet and, if I am not mistaken, now exists solely as an oversized water cooler for the international community to gather and complain about the United States and then ask the US to pick up the check.
Why are we still there again?
Our newest caption contest shows our Beloved Leader bearing gifts.
The photo is from a tweet by Matt Drudge of Drudge Report fame with the caption:
“Obama got EVERYTHING. NSA dirt on Boehner must be incredible. Chicago wins.”
For some insight behind Drudge’s tweet, read Bridget Johnson’s report on the $1.1 trillion spending bill passed last Thursday by a close vote of 219-206 in the House of Representatives averting a government shutdown.
So, what is the “NSA dirt on Boehner” that Obama is carrying? What other gifts is Obama giving our nation, his friends and his enemies? Bold and brash speculation is your mission — should you choose to accept it.
Now here are the winners of our last contest where you were asked to comment on Romney Beats Clinton in Quinnipiac Poll – Third Time’s the Charm?
The winner was RockThisTown with:
2016? It took Reagan 3 tries too . . . but you’re not Reagan.
The runner-up was Kuce, who wrote:
The 3rd time’s the charm, but I’m not seeing Prince Charming.
Ouch, that hurt.
Finally, for our new contest, PLEASE try to be nice to our president before he flies off to Hawaii on Dec.19 for his annual Christmas vacation (costing taxpayers millions of dollars). We all know the poor guy works so hard at the White House watching ESPN every morning and meeting 61 times with Al Sharpton.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Lima, Peru, took about two extra days to finish a new agreement, concluding early Sunday morning. The agreement will form the foundation of the global climate agreement due in Paris next December that is to replace the 1997 legally binding Kyoto Protocol.
The Lima Call for Climate Action calls on countries to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the measuring and reporting indices, starting in March 2015. Measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions is a high priority because it is the data necessary for the UN’s passionate desire to eventually tax carbon that would amass trillions of dollars annually for redistribution around the globe.
Even with the U.S. on board for INDCs, China and India pushed back, because they know that a tax on greenhouse gas emissions would greatly increase their cost of luring new industries.
The Lima agreement calls for emissions reduction targets and requires all countries to quantify both greenhouse gas emissions limits and proposed contributions to the UNFCCC’s Green Climate Fund that is to amass $100 billion annually by 2020, growing to $500 billion annually by 2050. The UNFCCC secretariat will publish the contributions.
Ignoring the fact that the earth has not warmed since 1998, non-governmental organizations accused the fossil fuel industry of being “the biggest barrier to progress.” They complained that the Lima Call for Climate Action stopped short of declaring an end to the use of fossil fuels by 2050, but hope to gain further commitments when the UNFCCC meets again in February and June. The NGO, 350.org, accused rich countries of, “dragging their feet on everything from finance to emissions reductions” but celebrated the “goal’s inclusion in the draft text is a win for the fossil fuel divestment movement.”
Americans can breathe a sigh of relief at the conclusion of this year’s UNFCCC, but we must remain vigilant to observe future global plans that would have a tremendous impact on our standard of living.
It’s enough to make you feel sorry for Hillary Clinton. Well, almost. Her presidential campaign of celebrity and inevitability got off to a rocky start, mostly through her own mistakes, as when she claimed they were “dead broke” when she and Bubba left the White House.
But her gaffes were mere speed bumps compared to the real threat forming now. Massachusetts firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren emerges from Washington’s budget clash as the undisputed champion of the rising left, and will almost certainly challenge Clinton for the 2016 nomination. The polls say it’s Hillary’s turn, but I’m starting to believe 2016 could be 2008 all over again, with Warren taking the nomination from her the way Barack Obama did.
Hillary Clinton is a very poor retail politician, who got her lunch eaten and her head handed to her by somebody named Barack Hussein Obama, a man of zero accomplishment who had barely registered on the national radar screen until a couple of years earlier. By contrast, Hillary has been around since Watergate and was in our faces throughout the two terms of the Clinton administration. And yet she still lost.
You just know the Democrats are going to want to keep up their “historic” electoral accomplishments, which means they must nominate a (rich, white, elitist, one-percent member of the Harvard faculty) woman. And that’s going to be Fauxcahontas, the gal from Oklahoma who sets moonbats’ heart all a-flutter with her faux populism. Writing of the recent budget battle in the Senate, Kevin Williamson notes over at NRO:
Senator Elizabeth Warren, the millionaire Massachusetts class warrior who has made the vilification of Wall Street bankers her second-favorite pastime (right behind prospering on the largesse of Wall Street lawyers, the gentlemen and scholars who funded her very generously compensated position at Harvard and fill her campaign coffers) did not exactly make the issue her hill to die on, but the fight did provide her an excellent opportunity for grandstanding.
Flat-footed Hillary hasn’t got a chance.
The bodies aren’t even cold yet in Sydney and already the media is tiptoeing around the elephant in the room to discover the crazed Islamic “political refugee” from Iran’s motivation. Who cares? Everything you need to know about the shooter’s “motivation” I just listed in the first sentence. Naturally, Australia’s Muslims are already whining about a “backlash”:
Religious leaders and ordinary Australians sought to defuse communal tensions on Monday, after a siege at a Sydney cafe by a gunman who forced hostages to display an Islamic flag raised fears of a backlash against the country’s Muslim minority.
Within hours of the attack on the Lindt cafe in the centre of the city, a Muslim group reported that women wearing the hijab had been spat on and the right-wing Australian Defence League called on followers to protest at two major mosques. The protests did not materialise and little is known about the true motives of the gunman.
But in the harbourside city, home to half of Australia’s 500,000 Muslims, police moved on a man shouting anti-Islamic abuse at the scene of the ongoing siege. The man strode up to a police cordon and shouted: “Someone is going to die here because of Islam! There is no such thing as moderate Islam. Wake up and smell the coffee.”
The siege coincides with growing concerns in Australia about the dangers posed by Islamist militants, with the country’s security agency raising its national terrorism public alert to “high” in September. The same month, anti-terrorism police said they had thwarted an imminent threat to behead a random member of the public and days later, a teenager in the city of Melbourne was shot dead after attacking two anti-terrorism officers with a knife.
Vox populi, vox Dei, as the old saying goes.
Iran tried to distance itself from the Iranian cleric who took over a cafe in Sydney, saying Man Haran Monis’ actions had nothing to do with Islam.
The 49-year-old, who called himself Sheikh Haron, was killed when police stormed the Lindt cafe after a 16-hour standoff. Australian authorities said they were forced to move in when they heard shots being fired inside the chocolate shop.
Monis was killed. Two hostages were killed, and a police officer was shot in the face yet is expected to survive.
The Iranian sought political asylum in Australia in 1996.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marziyeh Afkham expressed alarm about “unclear and imperfect news about the Iranian refugee,” according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, which didn’t carry the story of the shooting until the government had something to say.
IRNA said the “psychological conditions of the person, who took refuge in Australia two decades ago, had been discussed several times with the Australian officials.”
Iran’s state-owned Press TV said Afkham “emphasized on Monday that recourse to inhuman methods and terrorism has nothing to do with the divine religion of Islam.”
“She noted that the Australian police have been totally abreast of psychological conditions of the hostage taker, who had immigrated to Australia about two decades ago.”
Iran further tried to tie him to ISIS, noting that “the hostage taker had described Iran and the supporters of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as terrorists.” Monis was wearing a Shiite headband when he took over the cafe, yet reportedly asked for an ISIS flag during negotiations.
“Some blame the incident on those who support terrorism, including the United States, Israel, and certain regimes in the Middle East region that support such Takfiri groups as al-Nusra Front and ISIL,” Press TV reported.
The semi-official Fars News Agency ran with the headline: “Sydney Hostage-Taker Says He is ISIL Member.” Fars said the generic jihadi flag being waved by Monis was that of al-Nusra.
“The formerly Shiite Muslim underlines that he has converted to Sunni Islam, stressing that Shiites are blasphemous people,” read the Fars story. “He also underscores that the war in Iraq is not a sectarian strife, but a war between the Muslims (i.e. ISIL) and the hypocrites.”
After immigrating to Australia, Monis went to court over hateful letters written to the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. He was out on bail on charges of being accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, and subsequently faced more than 50 charges of indecent acts and sexual assault related to his “spiritual healer” practice.
On his website, Monis posted a statement dated December 2014, “I used to be a Rafidi, but not anymore. Now I am a Muslim, Alhamdu Lillah.”
“Islam is the religion of peace, that’s why Muslims fight against the oppression and terrorism of USA and its allies including UK and Australia. If we stay silent towards the criminals we cannot have a peaceful society,” he said in a statement dated Dec. 14. “The more you fight with crime, the more peaceful you are. Islam wants peace on the Earth, that’s why Muslims want to stop terrorism of America and its allies. When you speak out against crime you have taken one step towards peace.”
Who knew the “problem” of “income inequality” (to use a couple of current Marxist buzzwords) could be solved so easily? And here the answer was staring us in the face the whole time, at least according to Betsy Isaacson at what’s left of Newsweek, the near-dead magazine that once told us “We Are All Socialists Now“:
In the United States—as in all of the world’s wealthier nations—ending poverty is not a matter of resources. Many economists, including Timothy Smeeding of the University of Wisconsin (and former director of the Institute for Research on Poverty) have argued that every developed nation has the financial wherewithal to eradicate poverty. In large part this is because post-industrial productivity has reached the point where to suggest a deficit in resources is laughably disingenuous. And despite the occasional political grandstanding against welfare, there is no policy, ideology or political party that is on the books as pro-starvation, pro-homelessness, pro-death or anti-dignity. Yet, poverty continues to exist…
But there may be a solution. Some might see it as radical, but advocates, both libertarian and liberal, are suggesting straight up cash: a guaranteed subsidy to everyone. “We’ve got to a technological level now where no one needs to work the traditional 40-hour week,” says Barbara Jacobson, chair of Unconditional Basic Income–Europe, an alliance of European citizens and organizations that advocate for such subsidies.
A simple cash subsidy—$15,000 per year (which is about what the average retiree gets annually from Social Security) for every household, say—would give the poor and middle class a financial floor on which they could live, take care of their loved ones and maybe, says Jacobson, “think about what really needs doing, what they would like to do, what they have trained to do, as opposed to simply what someone might hire them to do.”
The gist of the argument here is that we inefficiently spend just about as much money servicing the poor via existing programs, so why not just give them a check? This obscures the hidden argument beneath, which is about the meaning of work and the value of one’s labor in the marketplace. Because to Leftists, there ought not be a marketplace at all.
And here silly you thought this kind of thinking went out with the Soviet Union. Marxism is like a pestilence, a virus that refuses to die. What will it take to finally throttle it?
Folks, we should know this by now: if a story appears with a sensational headline yet with few, if any facts or background, presume it’s false. When journalists actually do stumble across stories that obviously require verification, we know to do the verification, and to include the verification in the article. We don’t write 300 words and move on.
On December 14, New York Magazine’s Jessica Pressler included 17-year-old Stuyvesant High School student Mohammed Islam as “Number 12″ in the magazine’s annual “Reasons To Love New York” series. The article went global quickly, including coverage in the NY Post and NY Daily News. It was Facebook’s most popular topic earlier today.
From Pressler’s article:
Late last year, a rumor began circulating at Stuyvesant that a junior named Mohammed Islam had made a fortune in the stock market. Not a small fortune, either. Seventy-two million.
An unbelievable amount of money for anyone, not least a high-school student, but as far as rumors go, this one seemed legit. Everyone at Stuy knew that Mohammed, the soft-spoken son of Bengali immigrants from Queens and the president of the school’s Investment Club, was basically a genius.
Mo, a cherubic senior with a goatee and slight faux-hawk, smiled shyly. “He’s quiet today,” said Patrick Trablusi, who was seated with Mo and Damir at a table littered with empty glasses. “Humble.” And tired: “This is our third meeting of the day,” Damir said, signaling to the waitress for another round. “We saw a real-estate agent, a lawyer, you …”
“Next we’re going to see a hedge-fund guy,” Patrick said. The friends locked eyes and started to giggle.
“He basically wants to give us $150 million,” Mo explained, a blush like a sunset creeping over his cheeks.
Giggling high schoolers locking eyes and blushing. Sounds legit.
So does this Facebook page Islam posted just a few hours ago referring to himself as a “public figure,” and on which his latest post states:
It has came to my attention that some people disprove of my spending habits. As a young man I am just beginning to make friends and understand the world, develop philosophy- but later in life I promise that I will lead a humble existence and dare not to spend lavishly and needlessly.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other lawmakers are lobbying the Department of Health and Human Services to scrap “outdated” polices on blood donation by gay and bisexual men.
The policy on MSM — men who have sex with men — being banned from donating blood is “because MSM are, as a group, at increased risk for HIV, hepatitis B and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion,” the FDA says in a Q&A.
“FDA’s primary responsibility with regard to blood and blood products is to assure the safety of patients who receive these life-saving products,” the website explains. “…FDA’s deferral policy is based on the documented increased risk of certain transfusion transmissible infections, such as HIV, associated with male-to-male sex and is not based on any judgment concerning the donor’s sexual orientation.”
Warren, along with Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Reps. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell today asking that the blanket prohibition be replaced with an individual risk analysis.
Seventy-five other members of Congress signed the letter.
They noted that on Nov. 13 the HHS Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability recommended changing the lifetime ban to a one-year restriction after an MSM encounter, contingent on the “implementation of a blood safety surveillance system.”
“However, such a policy still prevents many low-risk individuals from donating blood,” they wrote. “If we are serious about protecting and enhancing our nation’s blood supply, we must embrace science and reject outdated stereotypes.”
The senators said the one-year-ban proposal “like a lifetime ban is a categorial exclusion based solely on the sex of an individual’s sexual partner — not his actual risk of carrying a transfusion-transmittable infection.”
“The ACBTSA’s proposed policy change would, in practice, leave that lifetime ban in place for the vast majority of MSM, even those who are healthy and low-risk. Both policies are discriminatory, and both approaches are unacceptable. Low-risk individuals who wish to donate blood and help to save lives should not be categorically excluded because of outdated stereotypes.”
They also charged that the recommendation to hinge any change in the MSM blood donation policy to the establishment of a blood safety surveillance system “is an arbitrary condition that will inevitably result in further unnecessary delays.”
“To be clear, a comprehensive surveillance system for our blood supply is a critically important initiative to protect the blood supply from Hepatitis, HIV, and emerging diseases, and is long overdue….Years of HHS inaction on this issue is problematic, but so is the fact that ACBTSA has now suddenly chosen to make such a system a precondition of revising the donation policies specific to MSM.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the weekend drama over the “cromnibus” appropriations bill and Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) failed point of order revealed a “huge” chasm in the GOP.
The $1.1 trillion bill passed in the Senate 56-40 on Saturday night. Between the cloture vote and the final cromnibus vote, Cruz tried to shoot down the bill with a constitutional point of order related to the funding of Obama’s immigration orders. That was firmly rebuked on a 22-74 vote.
Schumer told CNN yesterday that the biggest news of the night was “the open fight between Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz on the — there are huge differences in the Republican Party.”
“On the floor of the Senate, we saw the soul of the Republican Party being debated,” he said. “Ted Cruz was in the well pushing his so-called constitutional point of order, which risks shutting down the government. Five feet away from him was Mitch McConnell imploring senators to vote the other way. And the vote, unfortunately, was about 50/50 on the Republican side.”
“And so that makes me worry a great deal, because if, after the terrible, terrible brickbats Republicans took when they shut down the government a few years ago, half the Republican senators are still willing to risk it again, despite the fact that their leader went against it, I’m worried about the next two years.”
Schumer predicted “it’s going to get worse” in the 114th Congress because “you have the presidential candidates in the Senate pulling things to the right” — a reference to Cruz and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). “We want to work with the Republicans to help the middle class, but I’m worried the Tea Party is going to pull them much too far over.”
Schumer added that the liberals splitting off in the “Warren wing” — senators and potential presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted against the cromnibus — isn’t the same issue that the GOPs are facing.
“I think that the differences between — among Democrats are small compared to the huge chasm of Republicans. On the fundamental issues that face us, the economic issues that we need to address to get the middle class moving again, to get middle-class incomes going again, there’s amazing unity on the Democratic side, from Elizabeth Warren, through Hillary Clinton, all the way to Joe Manchin and some of the more conservatives,” he said.
“You look like — on issues like minimum wage, and equal pay, and infrastructure construction, helping people pay for college, the Democratic Party is unified. And if we put together a strong economic message aimed at the middle class, not only will it unify our party, as the Republicans are truly divided, but we can actually, actually do really well in 2016.”
The “soul of the Democratic Party,” Schumer added, is “economic issues.”
“And I think, on economic issues, we are united. And Elizabeth Warren is — even if people don’t agree with her, she’s constructive. She’s not like Ted Cruz and say, shut down the government or don’t fund things if I don’t get my way. She’s working hard to move things in her direction. And that’s a good thing,” the senator said.
“Ted Cruz, on the other hand, he — people say he’s a great political mover and shaker. He made huge mistakes yesterday. Ted Cruz misfired. He helped us get nominees that Republicans didn’t want. He embarrassed Mitch McConnell, who had gone home Friday night and said, see you on Monday. And he got Republicans publicly for the first time talking against him. So I think comparing the two wings of the party is like night and day.”
The Supreme Court on Monday turned down Arizona’s bid to limit how doctors prescribe drugs that are commonly used in early abortions.
The justices in an unsigned order dismissed an appeal from Arizona state lawyers and let stand a lower court ruling that blocked the abortion regulation from taking effect.
The court’s action is the latest showing the justices are skeptical of strict new state regulations on abortion, or at least unwilling to confront the issue now.
In October, the court blocked Texas from enforcing part of a new abortion law that would have required all abortion clinics to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical center. Lawyers for the clinics said this rule, if enforced, would have closed most of the state’s remaining abortion facilities.
While this is certainly unwelcome news for those of us who are pro-life, it does serve to illustrate just how full of it the pro-abortion lobby is. Since the election in November, dire warnings of end times for convenient abortions have been ringing throughout the left media (Google “abortion rights Republican majority”). The story goes that the states are asserting their rights (in America? Quelle horreur!) and rolling back “a woman’s right to chose” to the point that it’s nigh on impossible to get an abortion.
Some states have tried to make the procedure safer (Texas), which shouldn’t even be debatable after the Gosnell horrors were revealed. Others have tried to make abortion a bit more difficult to get than, say, gum at 7-Eleven. Of course, any restrictions are seen as onerous to the abortion lobby.
In the fevered minds of the professional abortion mongers, one state’s actions will somehow countermand Roe vs Wade overnight.
If there is anything we’ve learned from Jonathan Gruber, it’s that they know they’re playing to a stupid constituency.
Three pieces were linked at the Drudge Report today on the rising Idol of the progressive political cult, first by Michael Goodwin at the New York Post: “Elizabeth Warren poses a challenge to Hillary in 2016“:
The polls say it’s Hillary’s turn, but I’m starting to believe 2016 could be 2008 all over again, with Warren taking the nomination from her the way Barack Obama did.
As Mark Twain said, “History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” So it is with the political dynamic, then and now.
Clinton acted entitled, and Obama offered a charismatic alternative. She represented the tired past, he a fresh future.
A possible Warren sequel to that historic upset has been taking shape for months, but it has now crystallized. The first-term senator’s rallying cry against what she called “a giveaway to the most powerful banks” almost scuttled the budget bill in the House before bipartisan support allowed her to have it both ways.
She comes out of the wreckage as the standard-bearer of progressive populism without being blamed for shutting down the government. Her GOP doppelgänger, Ted Cruz, should have been so lucky.
Second, at the Washington Post: “Elizabeth Warren was told to stay quiet, but she didn’t – and it’s paying off.” Third, another at the Post, ”Amid Warren buzz, Clinton might do well not to wait too long to announce 2016 bid.”
Here’s audio from Warren on NPR:
NN RADIO HOST: “Would you tell these independent groups, ‘Give it up.’ You just never going to run.”
WARREN: “I told them, ‘I’m not running for president.’”
NN RADIO HOST: “You are putting that in the present tense tough. Are you never going to run?”
WARREN: “I’m not running for president.”
NN RADIO HOST: “You’re not putting a ‘never’ on that?”
WARREN: “I’m not running for president. Do you want me to put an exclamation point at the end?”
What do you think? Is Warren a challenger for Clinton in 2016? Or is the Jarrett-Obama/Chicago-Alinskyite wing of the Democratic Party going to make peace with the House of Clinton ascending again?
With the hostage situation resolved — hopefully with no innocent lives lost (reports just coming in – UPDATE: Reports say that one hostage as well as the gunman are dead) — and the release of the name of the hostage taker, Iranian-born Islamic cleric Man Monis aka Shiekh Haron, this seems to be yet another case of what I termed here at PJ Media several weeks ago as “Known Wolf Syndrome.”
In that article, following two separate terror attacks in Canada in which the suspects were already well-known to authorities, I noted that in the U.S., too, in many of the domestic terrorism cases the culprits had already been identified to law enforcement as problems. In the present case, not only was the suspect well-known, but he was out on bail on murder charges related to the stabbing and setting on fire of his ex-wife, with whom he was in a heated custody dispute.
Monis came to Australia in 1996 from Iran and his immigration status was that of political refugee. He has since had other well-known run-ins with law enforcement. In 2009, he sent a series of hate messages, which he deemed as “flowers of advice,” to the families of Australian military members who had been killed in action. He likened their deaths to the deaths of Hitler’s soldiers, as well as to families of Australian victims of international terrorism attacks. He was given 300 hours of community service.
In another case, Monis was charged with 50 counts of sexual assault, where it was claimed that he lured victims in and assaulted them claiming it was a “spiritual healing technique.”
We’ll undoubtedly learn more in the days to come about the intentions and motives of the suspect in the case. The evidence at hand clearly indicates that Monis was another example of the two-faced Islamic cleric. In this case, Monis claimed that he was “an Australian who wanted a safe future for our country” (HT: Stewart Bell) while simultaneously — and openly — hating the very country that gave him refuge.
Yet again, we have a case in the West in which a domestic terrorist was well-known to law enforcement authorities and yet action sufficient to prevent the tragedy at hand was never taken despite the opportunity to do so (in this instance, he was out on bail).
Nonetheless, this will be yet another case where so-called terrorism “experts” will be trotted out by the media and political officials to claim that Monis was a case of “lone wolf syndrome.” Or that his actions were entirely unpredictable, and the government will need more money for terrorism programs that won’t work, and for outreach to the very extremists who continue to murder, rape, and maim innocents. And the “voxsplaining” has begun, distancing the suspect from any known extremist group.
Gosh, it’s stunning to think that this would pop into her head after weeks of relentless bashing of law enforcement by the media and elected officials.
[WATCH] CNN Host Asks Gun-Grabbing Senator: What if an American Wants an Assault Weapon to Protect Against Terrorists?
Notorious gun-grabber Senator Chris Murphy (D) appeared on CNN to talk to Chris Cuomo about the hostage situation in Sydney.
Murphy cautioned about “profiling” against Muslims, when he was asked about assessing terror risks.
Cuomo followed up by asking:
You get a plus minus from situations like this for one of your signature causes. namely gun control in the US. We believe the man in Sydney has shotgun, if he did, that would be an illegal weapon. When you look at what the risk is in the United States generally men like this are involving themselves with weapons but it also creates pressure on people who want weapons so they can defend themselves against citizens who decide to lose it and become sympathizers of terrorism. How does this change what you think you can achieve what you can do with gun control?
Whereupon Murphy responded with the typical, erroneous gun-control talking points without answering the question:
Ultimately what we know is that when a gunman walk into crowded places they kill more people when they have powerful assault weapons and this mythology that you end up killing bad guys by arming good guys just doesn’t work. Study after study shows you in communities where you have more guns, more people get killed and the reality is if you have a gun at home, you are more likely to be killed by it than to kill an attacker. We need to have a conversation about what kind of weapons we make legal because the assault weapons are more likely than not are going to be used in these mass slaughters rather than being used by some citizen to stop someone in one of those situations, hopefully we will be able to have that conversation.
The Taliban has called for an international investigation into the human rights standards of the United States after the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats released a lengthy report criticizing enhanced interrogation techniques used in the war on terror.
Under Taliban rule, Afghans were subject to public floggings or executions for “violations” such as women wearing nail polish or exposing any skin, or both teachers and students trying to learn in underground schools. Women had zero rights and weren’t allowed to leave their homes except with a male relative. Nowadays, the Taliban commits acts of violence against activist or working women, and the Pakistani Taliban shot Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai in 2012 while she was going to school.
“Since the inception of America’s occupation of Afghanistan, the Islamic Emirate has provided information to the international community regarding America’s barbarities and inhumane treatment of the Afghan populace. At the time, no nation dared listen to our nation’s pleas or show even slight response for fear of estranging America,” the Taliban said in a statement posted on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan website over the weekend.
“Now after 14 years of such barbarities, the US Senate itself has lifted the curtain off of America’s intelligence arm, the CIA, and revealed the extent of their tortuous treatment of unarmed prisoners. In reality the practices of CIA mentioned in this report are only a fraction of those committed by this agency throughout America’s occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.”
The Taliban said they hope the full Senate report — last week’s release was the executive summary — “is released to the public for passing judgment.”
“It is hoped that the full report will provide a clearer picture of the extent of these crimes,” the group added.
“…Unfortunately America’s intelligence violations continue unabated to this day. Even today America and its intelligence arms continue to operate black prisons throughout their main centers in Afghanistan. These operatives continue to violate the basic rights of ordinary citizens, they carry out night raids on civilian homes, women and children are regularly held without charges, subject them to degrading treatment, carry out indiscriminate bombings, and subject ordinary Afghans to all forms of inhumane treatment.”
The Taliban claimed the U.S. has “planted chosen individuals inside Afghanistan’s intelligence agencies as well as the local police and warlords and use these individuals to commit unspoken barbarities including kidnappings, rape and torture.”
“We call on the international community as well as those international organizations that call themselves champions of human rights, to examine America’s ongoing policy in light of these human rights standards. These human rights abuses, especially violations of international humanitarian laws, continue to be committed by American installed agents in the Kabul regime. If these human rights organizations fail to stop these abuses and then several years later claim to reveal such abuses, it is a sign of their failure and incompetent. Their failure to address such blatant violations implies that these organizations are concerned less with addressing human rights violations and more with promoting hidden agendas.”
Allah — the Most Compassionate, the Most Incendiary — has, in recent years, made it clear that he’s angry with Americans and uppity women (but I repeat myself). However over the weekend, we learned that Allah — the Nourisher, the Reliever (the latter, doubtless, while standing) — has become enraged by boutique coffee and chocolate shops.
As Australian authorities attempted to negotiate with a soldier of Allah — the Everlasting, the Attention-Deficit Disordered One — to release hostages and come out peacefully from the coffee and chocolates shop in which he has barricaded himself, I managed to secure an exclusive interview with the Muslim deity.
Below is an exact transcript of my one-on-one with Allah — the Most Candid, the Most Quotable — precisely as these words came to me from the angel, Gibreel, his official spokesman.
SCOTT OTT: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I know you’re a busy god.
ALLAH: Not at all. I run a decentralized operation, so I can focus on vision and strategy, while my agents in the field take care of the day-to-day stuff.
SCOTT OTT: Completely autonomous?
ALLAH: Well, they have the manual committed to memory, and as long as they don’t run afoul of it, they’re free to carry out my vision as they see fit. Middle managers help to head off violators.
SCOTT OTT: I see what you did there.
ALLAH: Forgive me.
SCOTT OTT: I thought that was your job.
SCOTT OTT: I can understand why you’ve been enraged by American soldiers and by women — particularly women, since they’re the greater threat — but what is it about coffee and chocolate shops that offends you?
ALLAH: Well, some think it’s the pricing, the atmosphere or the indefinable music. As for me, it’s the pretension that borders on idolatry.
SCOTT OTT: You mean it’s the hipsters?
ALLAH: In a word.
SCOTT OTT: But isn’t armed hostage-taking a bit O.T.T.?
ALLAH: I see what you did there, Scott Ott.
SCOTT OTT: Forgive me.
ALLAH: I’ll think about it.
SCOTT OTT: Seriously, why not organize a boycott of coffee and chocolate shops in the name of Allah, the Most Politically-Savvy?
ALLAH: It could backfire. I’ll give you three words: Chik-fil-A.
— David Swindle (@DaveSwindle) December 15, 2014
Last week I described my current talk radio work-day listening schedule: The Morning Answer with Ben Shapiro, Elisha Krauss and Brian Whitman from 6-9; The Dennis Prager Show from 9-noon; an afternoon break for meetings or writing to classical music from noon to 3; and then The Ben Shapiro Show from 3-6 in the afternoon.
One of the great things about today’s technology is that it’s possible to listen to multiple radio shows at the same time. When the commercials start on one show then it’s time to switch over to the other. Who should I give a shot and try and integrate into my daily routine? And also what podcasts do you recommend for daily listening? I try and catch Walter Hudson’s every day too.
Tweet your suggestions to me and I welcome dialogue on Twitter at @DaveSwindle. I’ll update this post throughout the morning with any highlights from the shows or memorable online exchanges.
image illustration via shutterstock / ktsdesign
Updated at 7:13: Wow, already 2 responses:
— Frank Furter (@FrankFFurter) December 15, 2014
— Jesse Wychules (@wychules) December 15, 2014
Updated at 8:35: I registered my disagreement with Morning Answer Host Brian Whitman’s SoCal fast food recommendations which are as wrongheaded as his political positions:
— David Swindle (@DaveSwindle) December 15, 2014
Forget Tommy’s. The Habit is the best burger in Los Angeles. (Yes, better than In-N-Out!)
The man who is still holding hostages in the Lindt cafe in Sydney has been identified as an Iranian cleric with a history of brushes with the law since arriving to Australia as a refugee in 1996.
Islamic accounts on Twitter identified the headband worn by the terrorist as saying “Labbayk ya Muhammad,” or “at your service, Muhammad,” leading many to believe he’s Shiite. He carried a Shahada flag.
Multiple Australian media outlets have identified the gunman as Sheikh Man Haron Monis, who went to court over sending offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers who died in Afghanistan. It became a freedom-of-speech debate in the country’s High Court.
Earlier this year, he was charged as an accessory in the stabbing and burning death of his ex-wife, but released on bail. “Man Monis then stood outside the court wearing chains and holding a sign claiming he has been tortured in custody,” reported the ABC. In the spring, he was charged with sexual assault while acting as a “spiritual healer.”
Haron began the siege with a pump-action shotgun at 9:45 a.m. Sydney time. Three men and two women managed to escape in the hours left, leaving about 15 hostages left.
He has demanded a live, on-the-air phone call with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and has also said he’ll release one hostage in exchange for an ISIS flag.
“I used to be a Rafidi, but not anymore. Now I am a Muslim, Alhamdu Lillah,” Haron announced on his website in a message marked December 2014.
In a message dated Dec. 14, the day he took the hostages, Haron wrote, “Islam is the religion of peace, that’s why Muslims fight against the oppression and terrorism of USA and its allies including UK and Australia. If we stay silent towards the criminals we cannot have a peaceful society. The more you fight with crime, the more peaceful you are. Islam wants peace on the Earth, that’s why Muslims want to stop terrorism of America and its allies. When you speak out against crime you have taken one step towards peace.”
THE police killing unarmed civilians. Horrifying income inequality. Rotting infrastructure and an unsafe “safety net.” An inability to respond to climate, public health and environmental threats. A food system that causes disease. An occasionally dysfunctional and even cruel government. A sizable segment of the population excluded from work and subject to near-random incarceration.
You get it: This is the United States, which, with the incoming Congress, might actually get worse.
Not a parody! Honest to God, even the great David Kahane couldn’t make this stuff up. In the case, the author is one Mark Bittman, who gets his inner Occupy freak on with an ill-considered, bitter cri de coeur against, well against just about everything that’s cheesing him off about Amerikkka. It’s also a handy guide to every left-liberal cause du jour, a primal scream of hate against the society that continues to frustrate the Left with its stubborn moral rejection of their Marxist principles:
The progress of the last 40 years has been mostly cultural, culminating, the last couple of years, in the broad legalization of same-sex marriage. But by many other measures, especially economic, things have gotten worse, thanks to the establishment of neo-liberal principles — anti-unionism, deregulation, market fundamentalism and intensified, unconscionable greed — that began with Richard Nixon and picked up steam under Ronald Reagan. Too many are suffering now because too few were fighting then.
There follows a laundry list of moonbat fixations, which I will mercifully skip over in the interests of our collective sanity. Here’s the big peroration:
Everything affects everything. It’s all tied together, and the starting place hardly matters: A just and righteous system will have a positive impact on everything we care about, just as an unjust, exploitative system makes everything worse.
Increasingly, it seems, there’s an appetite and even unity to take on the billionaire class. Let’s recognize that if we are seeing positive change now, it’s in part because elected officials respond to pressure, and let’s remember that that pressure must be maintained no matter who is in office. Even if Bernie Sanders were to become president, the need for pressure would continue.
“True citizenship,” says Jayaraman of Berkeley — echoing Jefferson — “is people continually protesting.” Precisely.
As that great former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, wrote in her Wellesley thesis on Saul Alinsky: “There is only the fight.” I say, if they want a fight, let’s give it to them. To bad the GOP squishes in Congress aren’t on our side.
Think the Elf on the Shelf is a cute little holiday tradition to keep your young one on their toes? Think again.
Laura Pinto, a digital technology professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology recently published a paper concluding that Santa’s little spy “sets up children for dangerous, uncritical acceptance of power structures.”
When children enter the play world of The Elf on the Shelf, they accept a series of practices and rules associated with the larger story. This, of course, is not unique to The Elf on the Shelf. Many children’s games, including board games and video games, require children to participate while following a prescribed set of rules. The difference, however, is that in other games, the child role-plays a character, or the child imagines herself within a play-world of the game, but the role play does not enter the child’s real world as part of the game. As well, in most games, the time of play is delineated (while the game goes on), and the play to which the rules apply typically does not overlap with the child’s real world.
“You’re teaching (kids) a bigger lesson, which is that it’s OK for other people to spy on you and you’re not entitled to privacy,” she tells the Toronto Star.She calls the elf “an external form of non-familial surveillance,” and says it’s potentially conditioning children to accept the state acting that way, too.
“If you grow up thinking it’s cool for the elves to watch me and report back to Santa, well, then it’s cool for the NSA to watch me and report back to the government,” according to Pinto.
According to the report, some parent bloggers agree with Pinto’s conclusions. However, others think she’s gone overboard with a fun holiday tradition. Pinto also fails to criticize the Elf’s Jewish counterpart “Mensch on a Bench” for exhibiting the same surveillance state tendencies since the Mensch spends his nights watching the menorah, not the kiddies.
Is this another case of academia gone too far, or is there something to this notion of Big Brother Elf?
CBS this morning interviewed former CIA Director Mike Morell to discuss the hostage situation in Sydney, Australia.
He explained that Australia was targeted because they are a partner of the west, and they are a coalition partner now in the fight against ISIS.
We are going to see this kind of terrorism around the world and we are going to to see it here. Nora, we are going to see this kind of attack here, and we need to be prepared for that. It shouldn’t suprise people when this kind of thing happens here, some time over the next year or so, guaranteed.
If they’re quiet about it, it’s very easy to carry out something like this, he added.
Watch the video:
A cafe in Sydney, Australia is under siege by a Muslim extremist and hostages are being held at gunpoint. The hostages are being forced to take turns holding up the Islamic flag.
The cafe is surrounded by armed police and the area around the cafe is on lockdown.
The reaction from almost all sectors of Australian society has been one of horror and condemnation: It’s “profoundly shocking,” said Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and a coalition of Australian Muslim groups has released a statement decrying the gunman’s actions as “despicable,” and that the “misguided individuals… represent no one but themselves.”
— Rana Rahimpour (@ranarahimpour) December 15, 2014
Un pti selfie devant la prise d’otage à Sydney pic.twitter.com/o3etCbnqcA
— Philippe DouxLaplace (@pheeldoulap) December 15, 2014
— James White (@James_G_White) December 15, 2014
H/T Daily Mail
A New South Wales (NSW) police spokeswoman said officers were called to the Lindt chocolate cafe in Sydney, Australia at 9:44 a.m. on Monday to respond to a hostage situation in progress.
Witnesses say a middle-aged man wearing a black bandana with Arabic writing walked into the cafe with a bag containing a gun and took control of the cafe. Hostages were reportedly told to close their eyes, hold their hands up, and face the window. Lindt employees were seen holding a black flag in the front window with the words “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
7 News in Sydney, which has a studio across the street from the cafe, originally reported that there were 13 hostages and “at least one gunman.” They are now saying there may be as many as 50 people inside the building. They are reporting that a gunman is using a woman as a human shield.
A witness who owns a kiosk near the cafe told the Sydney Morning Herald, “It was about 10 past 10. They [police] came out running like a madman and said close the shop! Get out!”
Buildings in the area have been evacuated and NSW police are directing people in the vicinity of the hostage situation to remain indoors and to stay away from windows.
The Lindt cafe is located at Martin Place, the scene of a foiled terror plot by Omarjan Azari. In September, Azari was arrested after it was discovered that he was plotting to behead a random victim and then cover the body with an Islamic flag.
In addition to the September terror plot, many financial institutions are housed in Martin Place buildings adjacent to the Lindt cafe.
The Sydney Morning Herald pointed out that it is not an Islamic State flag, “but is an Islamic flag that has been co-opted by jihadist groups.”
“The flag appears to be a Shahada flag, which represents a general expression of faith in Islam, but has been co-opted by various jihadist groups,” the newspaper reported. “That means it doesn’t help confirm or rule out that the hostage-takers’ affiliation is with Islamic State or any other group.”
The government has convened a meeting of the National Security Committee. It has been warning about the possibility of a terrorist attack for months.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott warned after a series of September terror raids that all that is needed for an Islamic State terror attack is a “knife, iPhone and a victim.”
The prime minister gave a brief statement early Monday afternoon saying, “We don’t yet know the motivations” of the perpetrator (singular) and “this is an unfolding situation.”
“This is a very disturbing incident,” Abbott said, “our thoughts and prayers must above all go out to the individuals that are caught up in this.”
He said police have made contact with the attacker and said the NSW police will begin providing operational updates shortly.
Abbott assured the public that the ordinary business of the Australian government will go on and encouraged people to go about their normal business.
“The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people out of being themselves,” Abbott said.
Earlier this month I reported here at PJ Media that U.S.-backed Syrian rebel groups were allying with Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, in the south, while others were surrendering their weapons to the terror group in the north.
Now a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights indicates that Jabhat al-Nusra is using TOW anti-tank missiles, which had previously been supplied by the CIA to “vetted moderates” groups, in an assault on a Syrian army position in the north (HT: Zaid Benjamin):
Idlib province: No less than 15 soldiers in regime forces were killed by an attack by Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic fighters on their bastions in Wadi al-Deif and al-Hamdia camps, while no less than 8 fighters from the other side were killed during the clashes in the area, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic battalions have taken over the checkpoints of ” al-Za’lan, al-Raii, al-Rab’an ” around the camps. Jabhat al-Nusra devastated a tank for regime forces around Wadi al-Deif camp with an American Tao [sic] missile.
A report last month indicated that the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and Harakat Hazm — both U.S.-backed and supplied by the CIA with TOW missiles — had surrendered or abandoned their weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra.