"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Indiana Governor Wants Changes to Controversial Religious Objections Law

Gov. Mike Pence does not believe lawmakers intended 'to create a license to discriminate'

A major development in the ongoing battle of supremacy of rights between Christians and the LGBT lobby. An indication of the losing trend that will not reverse itself - partly because many of us Christians have a rather unChrist-like attitude toward gays and lesbians. Fighting them rather than praying for them is always going to result in loss.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said he wants new legislation on his desk this week that would ensure businesses are not allowed to discriminate against gays and lesbians based on religious grounds.

Gov. Mike Pence defended the measure as a vehicle to protect religious liberty but said he has been meeting with lawmakers "around the clock" to address concerns that it would allow businesses to deny services to gay customers.

The governor said he does not believe "for a minute" that lawmakers intended "to create a license to discriminate."

I wouldn't bet the farm on that, Mike!

"It certainly wasn't my intent," said Pence, who signed the law last week.

But, he said, he "can appreciate that that's become the perception, not just here in Indiana but all across the country. We need to confront that."

Religious Objections Protest
A crowd of at least 2,000 people, including Democratic elected officials,
rallied outside the Indiana Statehouse against the state's new Religious
Freedom Restoration Law. (Rick Callahan/Associated Press)
The law prohibits state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Although the legal language does not specifically mention gays and lesbians, critics say the law is designed to protect businesses and individuals who do not want to serve gays and lesbians, such as florists or caterers who might be hired for a same-sex wedding.

'Fix this now'

In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Indiana officials appeared to be in "damage-control mode" following an uproar over the law.

Earnest also took issue with Pence's claim that Indiana's law was rooted in a 1993 federal law. He said the Indiana measure marked a "significant expansion" over the 1993 law because it applies to private transactions beyond those involving the federal government.

Businesses and organizations including Apple and the NCAA have voiced concern over the law, and some states have barred government-funded travel to Indiana.

Also Tuesday, the Indianapolis Star urged state lawmakers in a front-page editorial to respond to widespread criticism of the law by protecting the rights of gays and lesbians.

The Star's editorial, headlined "FIX THIS NOW," covered the newspaper's entire front page. It called for lawmakers to enact a law that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

The newspaper says the uproar sparked by the law has "done enormous harm" to the state and potentially to its economic future.

Arkansas could pass similar law

Meanwhile, Arkansas was poised to follow Indiana in enacting a law, despite increasing criticism from businesses and gay-rights advocates.

The Arkansas House could vote as early as Tuesday on a proposal that would prohibit state and local governments from infringing on a person's religious beliefs without a "compelling" reason. And unlike in Indiana, Arkansas lawmakers said they will not modify their measure.

"There's not really any place to make any changes now," Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger of Hindsville said about his proposal. "If there are questions in two years, we can fix it."

Hundreds of protesters filled Arkansas' Capitol to oppose the measure, holding signs that read "Discrimination is not a Christian Value" and "Discrimination is a Disease," and chanting "Shame on You" at Ballinger after the measure was endorsed by a House committee.

"I believe that many people will want to flee the state, and many people will want to avoid our state," said Rita Jernigan, a protester and one of the lead plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging Arkansas' gay marriage ban.

Similar proposals have been introduced in more than a dozen states. Nineteen other states have similar laws on the books.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who had expressed reservations about unintended consequences of an earlier version of the bill, has said he will sign the current measure into law.

"But I am pleased that the Legislature is continuing to look at ways to assure balance and fairness in the legislation," Hutchinson said Monday in a statement.

In a letter released Tuesday, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola urged Hutchinson to veto the proposal, which he said would hurt the state's economic-development efforts because it "sends the message that some members of our community will have fewer protections than others. Our city and our state cannot be limited to only certain segments of society."

Apple CEO opposes measures

Sexual orientation and gender identity are not included in Arkansas' anti-discrimination protections. Last month, Hutchinson allowed a measure to go into law that prevented local governments from including such protections in their anti-discrimination ordinances.

Opponents of the bill hoped to target Hutchinson's promise to be a "jobs governor." The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights group, has run ads in Silicon Valley aimed at the same technology firms Hutchinson has said he wants to lure to Arkansas.

Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post over the weekend opposing the Arkansas and Indiana measures. Wal-Mart has said the proposal sends the wrong message about its home state. Little Rock-based data services company Acxiom also urged Hutchinson to veto the bill, saying the measure would enable discrimination and open the state up to ridicule.

"This bill is at direct odds with your position that 'Arkansas is open for business,"' CEO Scott Howe and Executive Vice President Jerry C. Jones wrote Monday in a letter to the governor.

Seriously? What kind of business is it not open to?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Justin Bieber Lawsuit Should be So Much Fun

The Beebs being sued for allegedly punching limo driver 
several times

Two of Canada's top lawyers, if not THE two top lawyers, will go toe-to-toe in this lawsuit. With the bombastic style that Canadian lawyers are known for - this should be quite entertaining to watch.

The lawyer for an limousine driver who has launched a civil lawsuit against Justin Bieber says he is "looking forward to the opportunity of cross-examining" the Canadian pop star in court.

Justin Bieber - humility long gone
Clayton Ruby, the lawyer for Abdul Mohar, has filed documents in an Ontario court that allege that Bieber assaulted his client during an incident in December, 2013.

Ruby says he does "not make allegations lightly" and intends to prove them in court.

"His lawyer said he wasn't present, it wasn't him," Ruby said. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity of cross-examining Mr. Bieber on his non-presence or indeed his non-existence."

Bieber's lawyer, Brian Greenspan, said in a emailed statement that the civil claim against his client is "totally without merit."

Mohar is seeking $850,000 in damages and a permanent injunction preventing Bieber or anyone representing him from coming within 100 metres of him, according to the statement of claim filed on Friday.

Clayton Ruby
The alleged incident occurred in the early morning of Dec. 30, 2013, when Bieber and five other people were picked up by Mohar at a Toronto nightclub in his Ford Expedition SUV.

Mohar, who was working as an Uber driver, said there was "a distinct odour of alcohol and marijuana present" when he picked them up from a night club in Toronto via an Uber account owned by Bieber's tour manager Josh Williams, the documents allege.

Mohar was provided a CD to play in the SUV on the way to a Toronto hotel, and according to the statement of claim, Bieber "loudly and aggressively" told him to "max out the volume" numerous times.

The documents allege that "suddenly and without warning," Bieber moved to the front of the SUV and turned the volume all the way up and without "any provocation or warning" Bieber "viciously assaulted" Mohar in an "unprovoked attack" by punching him in his right cheek with a closed fist.

Mohar then attempted to pull the SUV over to the side of the road, when Bieber allegedly "punched him four to five times in the back of the head," the documents state.

Mohar then exited the SUV and called 911 when Bieber came within inches of him and said "what's your problem?" before a passenger "stopped Bieber from continuing his assault," the documents state.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and Greenspan has not yet filed a statement of defence.

Brian Greenspan
Bieber was charged with one count of assault in connection with the alleged incident, but last September prosecutors withdrew the charge saying they didn't see "a reasonable prospect of conviction."

Greenspan says the charge was withdrawn because Bieber did not fit the description of the alleged assailant.

"During the course of the incident, while speaking with the 911 operator, the limousine driver had, in fact, identified his alleged assailant, who was still present, as black," Greenspan said. "After a careful assessment of the evidence, the Crown Attorney withdrew the charge."

Ruby said Mohar was distraught when he described his assailant at the time of the call, but had properly identified Bieber to police at the scene of the incident.

"I can't imagine what it is that caused them to drop the charges ... but it may have been the high level of proof," Ruby said. "The Crown has to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, that's a very high standard, in a civil case you only have to prove that it's probable."

Mohar alleged in the documents that he had suffered and will continue to suffer both physical and emotional injuries as a result of the incident.

The documents also allege that Bieber has shown "a total lack of remorse" and continued to publicly deny his actions.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pegida Comes to Canada - Oh, Joy!

Sympathizers of a Europe-based anti-Islam, anti-immigration group called
PEGIDA have set up a local chapter in Quebec and are planning on
demonstrating in Montreal on Saturday
The self-described leader of the PEGIDA Québec chapter, Jean-François Asgard, told Radio-Canada his beliefs are closely aligned to those espoused by the National Front, a British political party exclusive to white people that advocates for repatriation of all non-white people to their countries of origin.

"Islam needs to reform itself or leave the West," Asgard said.

Anti-racist protesters, meanwhile, are also planning a counter-demonstration for the same place and time.

Jaggi Singh of the No One Is Illegal activist group said the intention of the counter-protest is to surround the PEGIDA marchers and prevent them from walking into Little Maghreb, a largely Muslim community in the Montreal neighbourhood of St-Michel.

"Neo-Nazis, Islamophobes, internet trolls — they all sort of congregate around this thing called PEGIDA," Singh said.

What is PEGIDA?

The organization is popular with neo-Nazis and other nationalists and is often spoken about favourably on white supremacist online forums such as Stormfront and National Front.

PEGIDA, which in German stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, first popped up in October 2014. The relatively new group began in Dresden, Germany and uses Facebook as a main organizing tool. 

PEGIDA Québec first began posting on Facebook in January, shortly after the Charlie Hebdo attack. Saturday afternoon's demonstration is referred to online as the local chapter's first action.

PEGIDA Québec leader Asgard told Radio-Canada that the itinerary planned for Saturday — which they submitted ahead of time to Montreal police — intentionally passes in front of several Muslim community centres and mosques.

Well-known Montreal activist Jaggi Singh, seen here holding a megaphone
in this file photo, is a main organizer of Saturday's
anti-PEGIDA demonstration. (CBC)
Singh said it's very worrisome that people who normally only espouse racist and xenophobic opinions online are moving into the physical world.

And the reason for that, Mr Singh, is that some of their concerns are resonating with people who are not xenophobes or racists or fascists, but have their eyes open to what Islam is all about - which is: one world - one religion - Islam! 

I know most North American Muslims are not the least bit interested in that. I also know that the Muslim Brotherhood, OIC, and other Muslim organizations operating in North American universities, mosques, and cultural centres, are very interested in propagating Islam globally as well as promoting the destruction of Israel and America. Many universities in the US and Canada are overtly anti-Israel thanks to their influence in student societies.

Pegida, unfortunately, will have only a negative influence on raising awareness of the Islamization of North America because of the involvement of racists and xenophobes and a decidedly liberal (read - blind and stupid) media. Simply reading the black print in this post will tell you where CBC stands without any question. 

Unfortunately, those of us with legitimate concerns about Islamization are simply flushed down the drain with the so-called 'fascists'. That's how liberals avoid addressing difficult questions, and why the rest of us are so very concerned. That's what happened in Germany, and that's what will happen here.

"Now we know there's racists out there, we know there's Islamophobes out there, we know there's fascists out there, but what's different today is that they're trying to march publicly in a working class, immigrant area that is predominantly North African," he said.

Antifa supporters counter-protest

Just over 100 people have RSVP'd to PEGIDA Québec's march, while nearly 900 members of Antifa (anti-fascism) and other anti-racist groups are expected to attend the counter-demonstration.

Singh said he doesn't expect the protest to become violent.

"There's no way that their demonstration will be able to go where they want to go. They won't be able to pass. The police have given them permission to march, but that doesn't mean people in the neighbourhood or anti-racist groups are giving them permission to march," he said.

Montreal police confirmed officers will be on the scene to keep an eye on any potential violence.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Yasser Arafat’s Widow: Time to Recognize Israel and Condemn Hamas

Hero for the Day
Suha Arafat (afp)
The widow of deceased Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat said that it was time for the region’s Arabs to recognize the state of Israel, and that armed struggle to eliminate the Jewish state’s existence was no longer a plausible idea.

“We need to clearly express the recognition of Israel; no one can doubt its existence,” Suha Arafat said on Wednesday.

Arafat, however, did not say whether she believed Israel has a right to exist, only that it does exist. Israeli officials have often spoken about the need for Palestinians to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist because doing so would recognize the state’s long-term sovereignty and permanence.

Speaking on the tenth anniversary of her husband’s death, Suha Arafat was also noticeably dismayed at the actions of Palestinian terror group Hamas. “Since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, Fatah leaders and buildings were attacked,” she stated.

Mrs. Arafat said that Hamas is ruining the futures of Gaza youths, committing “genocide” upon its own population.

She added:
Hamas has taken the people in the Gaza Strip as hostages. When I see what is happening in Gaza, its just genocide. This generation grew up with violence, without education, with only a hope of emigrating. I hope that Hamas will finally understand that it should work towards peace negotiations. They said my husband was an obstacle to peace. [But] we saw what happened to peace after his death.

Yasser Arafat
The father of modern-day terrorism
Nobel Peace Prize winner
Some Middle East analysts have described Mr. Arafat as anything but the man who won a Nobel Peace Prize. After his death, Arafat was described by Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby as “the man who brought modern terrorism to the world … who inculcated the vilest culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich.”

Time magazine described some of Arafats feats, including “his hand in overseeing military groups responsible for bombings, hijackings, assassinations, and even the murder of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes under his “direct or indirect command.”

In 1991, during the first Palestinian “intifada” terror campaign against Israel, Arafat, as PLO chairman, attended the First Popular Arab Islamic Conference. The event was also attended by infamous jihadist leaders such as al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, along with delegations from Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other radical groups.

Yasser Arafat’s controversial past includes comments that directly contrast those his widow currently espouses. In calling for the elimination of the state of Israel, he once said:
We shall never stop until we can go back home and Israel is destroyed. … The goal of our struggle is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromises or mediations. … The goal of this violence is the elimination of Zionism from Palestine in all its political, economic and military aspects. … 
We don’t want peace, we want victory. 
Peace for us means Israel’s destruction and nothing else.

And nothing has changed in 10 years, except Suha Arafat. She's my hero for the day for having the courage to speak out. I don't know if she has a death wish or not but if I were her I would keep my head down for awhile.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Co-pilot of the Germanwings Airbus Was a Convert to Islam - Spiesa

I have not removed this story from my blog, even though it appears quite suspect at this time. Speisa has not retracted the story as of yet, so I am leaving it up for the time being, but caution you that there is a very good chance that the story is not only wrong but malicious.

According to Michael Mannheimer, a writer for German PI-News, Germany now has its own 9/11, thanks to the convert to Islam, Andreas Lubitz.

Translation from German:

All evidence indicates that the copilot of Airbus machine in his six-months break during his training as a pilot in Germanwings, converted to Islam and subsequently either by the order of "radical", ie. devout Muslims , or received the order from the book of terror, the Quran, on his own accord decided to carry out this mass murder.

Is anybody really surprised by this? You shouldn't be.

As a radical mosque in Bremen is in the center of the investigation, in which the convert was staying often, it can be assumed that he - as Mohammed Atta, in the attack against New York - received his instructions directly from the immediate vicinity of the mosque.

Converts are the most important weapon of Islam. Because their resume do not suggests that they often are particularly violent Muslims. Thus Germany now has its own 9/11, but in a reduced form. And so it is clear that Islam is a terrorist organization that are in accordance with §129a of the Criminal Code to prohibit it and to investigate its followers. But nothing will happen.

One can bet that the apologists (media, politics, "Islamic Scholars") will agree to assign this an act of a "mentally unstable" man, and you can bet that now, once again the mantra of how supposedly peaceful Islam is will continue. And worse still, the attacks by the left against those who have always warned against Islam, will be angrier and merciless.

For now the German Islam supporters like never before have their backs against the wall.

The Daily Mail today writes:

Police investigating the Germanwings crash said tonight they had made a 'significant discovery' at the home of pilot Andreas Lubitz, who deliberately ploughed the Airbus A320 into the French Alps.

Officers refused to reveal details of the potential breakthrough but said it was not a suicide note.

Hopefully we'll know in a few days if this article is accurate. 

Who's Bill Browder and Why Does He Want to Bring Down Putin?

Investor turned human rights activist Bill Browder had a harrowing experience
 in Vladimir Putin's Russia. But the story he's been telling for six years found
a larger audience after the crisis in Ukraine focused the West
on the Russian president's behaviour. (CBC )
CBC - Ottawa - At first, nobody listened. Who was Bill Browder, anyway? He wasn't the darling of the New York Times best-seller list when he started his campaign. What standing did he have to say that Vladimir Putin, a proud member of the G8 club, was little more than a vicious gangster?

Back then, six years ago, when Kremlin goons beat his lawyer to death in a prison hospital, Browder was just a talented investor – born in the U.S. but now a British citizen – trying to make his fortune in the rock-and-roll stock markets of post-Soviet Russia.

Sanctions best way to hurt Russia, Bill Browder tells MPs

Browder was tolerated for a while. The Russians let him make some money, and even let him pester the oligarchs with demands for transparency. Then, they kicked him out of the country.

But they didn't stop there. Once rid of Browder, Kremlin officials stole his companies and used them to engineer a massive tax fraud on the Russian state – walking off with $230 million. Then, when Browder's idealistic young lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, blew the whistle, Magnitsky was imprisoned, brutalized, denied medical care and finally murdered by goons with rubber truncheons.

Now, by telling the whole, horrifying tale, Browder has opened a window on the black heart of Putin's Russia – and, this time, everyone's listening. His book, Red Notice, has been a best-seller for six straight weeks.

Putin 'a very scared man'

"I've been screaming bloody murder since Sergei Magnitsky was killed in 2009," Browder says, "and most people thought this was an isolated problem. Who knew what the real story was? Bill Browder has some problem with Putin – so what?"

Reciting the story for the umpteenth time, Browder still makes it seem fresh and his anger still seems hot. But the reception he gets now is very different.

Bill Browder's book has been on the
New York Times  best-seller list for
 six weeks, as readers devour his
 insights into Vladimir Putin's Russia
"Now, all of a sudden, everything that I've been saying is affecting the world more broadly. Putin has invaded Ukraine; he's shot down 298 innocent people on [Malaysia Airlines Flight] MH 17; Boris Nemtsov was murdered right in front of the Kremlin. All of a sudden, what we're seeing is that this is a bad guy who's gonna cause a lot of problems for everybody."

Or maybe it will all come to a crashing end. Now that he's unmasked as a thug, Putin is increasingly at risk, according to Browder.

"Putin is a very scared man," he says. "He's stolen a lot of money over the last 14 years — and then he saw a similar kleptocrat, Viktor Yanukovich, the president of Ukraine, be run out of the country by his own people for doing the same thing."

Approval ratings 'complete nonsense'

Could Putin suffer the same fate? Browder thinks it's possible, despite – and maybe because of – Putin's aggression in Ukraine. That brought soaring approval ratings, but also Western sanctions – creating an economic crisis which, Browder hopes, could sweep Putin away.

"He's on thin ice in the sense that anything could happen that might set the Russian people off ... The approval ratings are complete nonsense. If you're living in Russia and someone calls you up on the phone and says, 'Do you support the president or not?' of course, you're not gonna say no, because you get into trouble if you say no. So you'll say, yes."

Left: A photo of Bill Browder's lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, is held by his mother, Nataliya Magnitskayam during an interview in Moscow in 2009. A court found him guilty of tax evasion, concluding an unusual posthumous trial after he mysteriously died in prison. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press)

Nor does Browder think Western fecklessness in the face of aggression will save Putin. Although he believes "the Obama administration is doing everything possible not to upset the Russians," he thinks Putin is now riding a tiger from which he cannot dismount.

"I don't think Putin is going to give the Western appeasement crowd the opportunity to fully appease him, because Putin is under such pressure to keep on escalating, from his own domestic audience, that he's not going to give the Europeans, for example, any option but to carry on doing the sanctions."

Canada cracking down?

And, as he escalates throughout the old Soviet empire, Browder predicts that the game, eventually, will be up.

"His plan is to stir up the pot of nationalism, to get everybody in a nationalistic frenzy. Russia for Russians! We need to protect our Russian brothers and sisters in foreign countries! This is the Russian empire! This is what he's selling to the Russian people. And it will work up until the point where people say, wait a minute, why are our young men dying in wars and why are we suffering and hungry at the table? ... And there's no amount of propaganda that overcomes physical hunger."

Browder dashes off for yet another interview. He came to Ottawa to lobby Parliament to crack down on Russian criminals with a version of the Magnitsky Act, already adopted in the U.S. and the E.U. It's Browder's mission to hold the Magnitsky killers, and Putin himself, to account.

His appeal found cross-party support. On Wednesday afternoon, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion introduced by Liberal MP Irwin Cotler calling for the imposition of targeted visa sanctions and asset freezes against those responsible for Magnitsky's torture, death, and the subsequent cover-up. 

Can one man bring down a billionaire dictator with nuclear weapons? Well, don't say Bill Browder's not trying. And he's not just one man anymore.

Must confess, I thought Putin's advance into the Crimea and eastern Ukraine was empire building - an attempt to make the Russian empire as big as Putin's ego. It appears, however, that it was merely a distraction so no one will look too deeply for the money he apparently stole from the Russian people.

How long will it take for people to realize that their sons are dying in Ukraine for no other reason than to cover up Putin's sins?

What's the point of all that money if you don't retire and enjoy it? I think, as Browder said, 'he's afraid', afraid to stop running the country. He can't let go of the reins and jump off the wagon for fear that the horses will turn around and trample him. 

Consequently, we're stuck with him until the Russian people are 'fed-up' with being hungry.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Conservative Talk-show Host Believes Jeb Bush is Antisemitic

Jeb Bush has revealed that he is anti-Israel, says leading conservative talk show host Mark Levin. The radio talker says that two things show that Bush seems to be setting himself up as the anti-Israel candidate. Bush is anti-Israel not only for picking well-known Jew hater James Baker as a top advisor but for letting Baker give a headline speech at an anti-Israel conference last weekend.

I don't know how good a source this site is
but for a right wing site to come out and
criticize their star candidate for President
it's pretty astonishing.
Baker, Levin says, is a well-known hater of Israel. But that Bush allowed him to give this speech is pretty blatant.

The annual conference of the activist group J Street features an array of anti-Israel speakers, including proponents of the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divest (BDS) movement, which seeks Israel’s destruction, and advocates for the terrorist group Hamas.

Jeb Bush’s selection of Baker as a foreign policy adviser has sparked concern among conservatives and in the Jewish and pro-Israel communities. Baker is infamous for his hostility to Israel, having said during his tenure as secretary of state in the George H.W. Bush administration, “F—- the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway.” Baker is also a supporter of President Obama’s Iran negotiations.

“Jim Baker, much like Barack Obama, has always had a hate on for Israel,” Levin said. “This antipathy toward Israel is well documented. Baker wanted the U.S. to punish Israel for destroying Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor [in a 1981 airstrike]. He hated Netanyahu as early as 1990, barring him from entering the State Department’s building. And last but not least, Baker co-wrote the Iraq Study Group’s 2006 paper that recommended among other things that the United States tilt its foreign policy away from Israel and toward Syria and Iran—advice that Obama seems to have taken to heart.”

“This is the guy, the leading advisor to Jeb Bush on foreign policy, who Jeb Bush asked to be his leading adviser, and now he’s the keynote speaker to this left-wing hate group J Street,” Levin said.

Do we want an anti-Israel president like the one we already have?

Well this is certainly surprising! A republican in a presidential campaign coming out against Israel! How do you think that will play to the Christian Republican base? Most Christians know that turning your back on Israel will not win any favours from God, indeed, it may result in catastrophe for the US. And not just for the US.

Bushs have a habit of starting wars in the middle east - it keeps the war machine inventory moving. But since Iraq is already at war and Americans are already there, Jeb will have to start one somewhere else. What do antisemites do - they try to find a way to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. 

I have been saying for some years now that the US would abandon Israel in its greatest hour of need. It is easy enough to believe that Obama would stab Israel in the back, but for a Republican government to do so is barely thinkable. Nevertheless, it is becoming more possible every day. God have mercy on America should that day ever come.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

'About 500' Nigerian Children Abducted by Boko Haram

Abubakr Shekau, leader Boko Haram
About 500 children aged 11 and under are missing from a Nigerian town recaptured from militants, a former resident of Damasak has told the BBC.

A trader in the north-eastern town told Reuters news agency that Boko Haram fighters took the children with them when they fled.

Troops from Niger and Chad seized Damasak earlier in March, ending months of control by the Islamist militants.

A regional force has recently been helping Nigeria take on the insurgents.

'Helping' is an interesting choice of words. Damasak was won by troops from Chad and Niger, no mention of Nigerian troops. If recent history is any indication, Nigerian troops couldn't take an empty outhouse.

The senator representing the north of Borno state, Maina Maaji Lawan, told the BBC's Nigeria correspondent, Will Ross, the case in Damasak was typical and many hundreds of children are missing.

He said: "The very young ones they give to madrassas… and male ones between 16 and 25, they conscript them and they indoctrinate them as supply channels for their horrible missions."

No mention what they do with the girls, but I think we already know. God have mercy on them!

Boko Haram caused international outrage in April 2014 after it abducted more than 200 girls from a boarding school in Chibok town in north-eastern Nigeria's Borno state.

The group's leader Abubakar Shekau has said the girls have been married off.

Chadian soldiers drive in the recently retaken town of Damasak
Regional troops have played a key role in recapturing territory from Boko Haram

A girl stands in front of soldiers from Niger and Chad in the recently retaken
town of Damasak. The group is opposed to children receiving a
secular education, alleging that it corrupts their religious beliefs
Damasak is a trading town in Borno state near Niger's border and is about 200km (120 miles) from the state's main city of Maiduguri.

It was overrun by the militants, who began their insurgency in 2009 to create an Islamic state, at the end of last year.

'Decomposing bodies'
Damasak businessman Malam Ali, whose brother is among those missing, told the BBC Hausa Service that young boys had been put in a madrassa, or Islamic school, by Boko Haram when they took over the town.

Following the recapture of the town, those boys had not been accounted for, he said.

The BBC's Will Ross reports from Nigeria's main city, Lagos, that the conflict has torn many families apart.

As towns have changed hands it has been impossible to work out how many people have been killed and how many are missing, he adds.

Last week, the decomposing bodies of more than 70 people were discovered under a bridge near Damasak the town.

It is widely believed that these were civilians killed by the militants, our correspondent says.

Boko Haram promotes a version of Islam which makes it "haram", or forbidden, for Muslims to take part in any political or social activity associated with Western society.

Earlier this month, the group pledged allegiance to Islamic State militants, who control large parts of Syria and Iraq and are also active in Libya.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Now It Begins - Obama's Abandonment of Israel

For years I have been saying that President Obama will abandon Israel when the US is needed most by its ally. Today he took the first step down that path by throwing Israel to the pariahs at the United Nations Human Rights Council. 

The question is: Is this a one-off temper tantrum meant to put Netanyahu in his place, or is it meant to punish the Jewish people for re-electing him, or is it part of a strategy leading to complete abandonment of Israel when it is attacked in full-scale war intended to annihilate the country? As inconceivable as it seems, I believe the last scenario is in play. 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a session of the UNHRC
Pamela Geller

For the first time in modern Israel’s history, the United States has abandoned our ally at the notoriously antisemitic United Nations.

It’s a whole new terrible paradigm. And it isn’t hard to anticipate how the world will react, once it recovers from the shock of such unprecedented betrayal. This is a new reality, unlike anything that has come before. Nothing good can come from America abandoning her closest allies, especially now when the world is embroiled in jihad wars across the world. It’s like cutting off your lungs to spite your breath.

Israel has called for the entire UNHRC inquiry to be shelved over the bias displayed at the UN body.

The Jewish state is the only country in the world with a special agenda item dedicated to it, meaning its rights record is discussed at every session of the UN’s top rights body.

Let me be clear: the United Nations Human Rights Council is a bloody joke. Literally. Their hypocrisy is legendary. This time last year, Prime Minister Netanyahu said this regarding the United Nations Human Rights Council “absurdly” condemning Israel in five resolutions in one week last March while censuring Syria and Iran only once.

“This march of hypocrisy is continuing and we will continue to condemn it and expose it,” he told his cabinet at the start of its weekly meeting in Jerusalem.

“The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC ) condemned Israel five times, this at a time when the slaughter in Syria is continuing, innocent people are being hanged in the Middle East and human rights are being eroded,” he said.

“In many countries free media are being shut down and the UN Human Rights Council decides to condemn Israel for closing off a balcony. This is absurd,” said Netanyahu.

I'm missing something, can anyone help me with the 'balcony' reference?

And now with Obama’s perfidy and betrayal, it’s open season on the Jews.

US Won’t Defend Israel at UNHRC, Israel Boycotts

Unprecedented step at 47-member state forum where Washington has always defended Israel; Israel skips special session against it.

By Gil Ronen, Sarah Leah Lawent, Israel National News, 3/23/2015

The United States will not take the floor at the main U.N. human rights forum on Monday during the annual debate on violations committed in the Palestinian territories, a US spokesman told Reuters.

The step is unprecedented. The UNHRC is a notoriously anti-Israel forum where Washington has always defended Israel.

Asked for an explanation, a spokesman said only that the US ambassador to the council Keith Harper was in Washington.

The Obama administration has said in recent days that it is undertaking a “reassessment” of relations with the Jewish state.

“The U.S. delegation will not be speaking about Palestine today,” a U.S. spokesman in Geneva told Reuters in response to a question as the debate began. He declined further comment.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State John Kerry defended Israel before the UNHRC, urging its members to end its blatant bias towards the Jewish state.

In a speech denouncing human rights abuses in Ukraine, Syria and North Korea, Kerry spoke about what he said is the council’s “deeply concerning record on Israel.” He stated, “no one in this room can deny that there is an unbalanced focus on one democratic country.” Kerry criticized the council for having criticism of Israel as part of its permanent agenda.

Israeli response?

In a possible response to the American move, Israel’s representative did not take part in the UNHRC special session on Monday.

A source close to the UNHRC council said the absence amounted to a boycott, although a spokeswoman with the Israeli mission in Geneva told AFP “we won’t comment on that.”

Monday’s session had originally been scheduled to discuss a probe on the 50-day war in Gaza last year, but the investigators obtained a delay after the head of the team quit after Israel revealed he had previously consulted for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist group.

“The process cannot be rushed,” former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis, who has taken over as head of the “war crimes” probe, told the council. Davis previously was part of the controversial 2009 Goldstone Report – even Judge Richard Goldstone, who led the committee, later retracted the core accusation of “war crimes” leveled in the report.

Canadian international law expert William Schabas resigned as chair of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict last month after Israel complained he could not be impartial because he had prepared a legal opinion for the PLO in October 2012, aside from a long history of anti-Israel bias he had voiced in numerous forums.

UNHRC attacks Israel yet again

Israel has called for the entire UNHRC inquiry to be shelved over the bias displayed at the UN body.

The Jewish state is the only country in the world with a special agenda item dedicated to it, meaning its rights record is discussed at every session of the UN’s top rights body.

Its absence Monday does not mark the first time it has boycotted the council.

It cut all ties with the council in March 2012 over its plans to probe how Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria were “harming Palestinian rights,” and did not resume relations until late 2013.

Monday’s session came after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party soundly defeated Labor last week.

Most other western nations were absent from the meeting on Monday as well, with Pakistan’s representative speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and complaining that it was “a deliberate attempt to undermine the credibility of the Human Rights Council.”

Although the report on the 2014 Gaza war investigation was delayed until June, the UN’s new Special Rapporteur on the situation in the Palestinian territories did not hold back from criticism against Israel at the meeting.

“The ferocity of destruction and high proportion of civilian lives lost in Gaza cast serious doubts over Israel’s adherence to international humanitarian law principles of proportionality, distinction and precautions in attack,” Makarim Wibisono claimed to the council.

Proportionality is an absurd concept - you are only allowed to hit back as hard as you were hit! Meanwhile, your enemy is digging miles and miles of tunnels and stock-piling thousands of bombs preparing for an invasion from which you cannot strike back.

The distribution of leaflets, text messages, phone calls that IDF made before demolishing a building was amazing. I have never heard of such a thing.

He lamented “acute” needs in Gaza, warning that Israel’s continued “blockade keeps Gaza in a strangle hold which does not even allow people to help themselves.”

Since the blockade of Gaza, Hamas has been able to import thousands and thousands of missiles and found the money to build many miles of concrete reinforced tunnels. If they can smuggle in thousands of missiles, they can smuggle in pretty much anything the people need. But their priority is not rebuilding Gaza. They care not one bit for the people of Gaza, only for the destruction of Israel.

Despite his words, 49% of Israeli strikes in the war with the Hamas terrorist organization that deeply embedded in civilian infrastructure were terrorists, meaning the Jewish state achieved a 1:1 ratio of combatants to civilians almost unprecedented in urban warfare.

In contrast, a report last November revealed 96.5% of those killed by US drone strikes in the Middle East were civilians.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Israel Arrests Palestinians for Forming Hamas Terror Cell in West Bank

 JERUSALEM, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Israel's Security Services (the Shin Bet) military and police said on Sunday that six Palestinians have been arrested over forming a Hamas cell in the West Bank.

According to a statement by the Shin Bet, "the cell was planning to carry out terror attacks in Israel."

The suspects built a weaponry laboratory in an apartment in central Nablus, the Shin Bet said.

During an arrest operation, Israeli security forces confiscated dozens of kilograms of sulfur and 25 grams of fulminating mercury, "which are used to manufacture explosive devices," according to the statement.

A military spokesperson said the suspects confessed to plotting a series of terror attacks against Israelis.

The spokesperson added that during the investigation, members of the cell admitted to be recruited to the military branch of the Hamas, while staying in Jordan.

"They were then trained by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and transferred to Judea and Samaria (Israeli term for the occupied West Bank) for further terrorist and recruitment activities," said the spokesperson.

Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist organization, rules the Gaza Strip. A volatile truce in August last year put an end to a 50-day-long war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas militants. About 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed during the mini-war.

I can hardly wait for tomorrow to find out how Hamas is going to spin this. Kudos to Israel's Shin Bet for shutting down this terrorist cell before it could terrorize. The many settlements in the West Bank are quite vulnerable to attack and I fear for them.

The Hyperbolic Media in America is Thoroughly Dishonest

Ted Cruz mercilessly skewered by Seth Meyers 
in amazing late-night interview

Please understand that I am neither Republican nor Democrat, I am not a Ted Cruz fan nor am I a Cruz detractor. My motivation, as it usually is, is to identify what is true, which is not something one can take for granted when watching media reports these days. Hyperbole reigns supreme in the media, especially since the advent of the internet where there is so much competition for attention.

In my own blog posts, I look for more emphatic headlines, otherwise no-one will read my blog. But I have a problem - I am hindered by scruples from headlining something that is not supported in the blog post. Salon.com is not, apparently, so encumbered. For that matter, Zergnet.com and Time.com, which linked to the Salon page, don't seem overly concerned about honesty in headlining either.

Please watch the "skewering" and then we will examine what you just watched.

In surprisingly testy interview, late night host grills GOP senator on video of him scaring a 3-year-old girl 

Ted Cruz and Seth Meyers on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" (Credit: NBC)
Last Monday, a video went viral of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) yelling at a child at a New Hampshire speech that the world was on fire. The 3-year-old, who appeared to be in the arms of her mother at the time, asked aloud “The world is on fire?!” To which, the senator responded with urgency, “Yes! Your world is on fire!”

Would you seriously consider that "yelling"? If you do your spouse must walk around on egg-shells all day.

Turns out, Cruz’s account of that whole debacle was a bit different. A bit different from what? He joined Seth Meyers — a New Hampshire native, incidentally — on “Late Night” Tuesday to set the record straight.

“In the last 24 hours there have been 50 media stories that say ‘Cruz terrifies little girl’ and by the end of it I was Freddy Krueger and had the finger nails — I mean it was terrible,” Cruz said.

“Now the funny thing is, it’s not true,” Cruz continued. He paraphrased a conversation he had with the daughter’s mother after the fact who, in Cruz’s words, was “so upset” by all these stories. Especially since her daughter didn’t seem to be shaken by the encounter with the finger-wagging Republican. “My daughter was incredibly happy,” he recalls her saying.

The video clip cuts off after Cruz says to the little girl, "Yes, your world is on fire." Consequently, it did not show Cruz's next statement to the girl that, "your Mommy and I are going to put that fire out." Whereupon the girl decided that Cruz was a fireman and the world was not lost.

Meyers quipped that he thought with all the “world is on fire” talk that Cruz might be finally coming around on the topic of global warming. Nope. Cruz, we learn, is still a firm nonbeliever.

The definition of 'skewered' is to 'criticize sharply or ridicule'. Did you hear Seth Meyers ridicule or sharply criticize Cruz? If you did, please let me know where in the video it is because I missed it.

Cruz's position on global warming is a discussion for another day, but Meyers in no way ridiculed him for it. He gave him the opportunity to ridicule himself which he fully took advantage of, but it was his doing not Meyers'. 

So, in summary, I saw nothing that could be described as 'merciless', or 'skewering', or 'testy', nor did I find the interview the least bit 'amazing'. It was entertaining. Meyers was quite humorous, quick-witted, and good-natured. But the media headlines were completely dishonest and completely lacking in journalistic integrity. Such reporting does nothing to improve the near hysterical bi-partisanship in American politics these days.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Insane Woman Burns Koran, Muslims Go Nuts and Burn Her

Afghan president orders inquiry into woman's killing

Scene of the killing in Kabul. 20 March 2015
A blackened area by the river marks the spot where the woman's body was burned
 From BBC Asia

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for an investigation after a mob beat a woman to death in the capital, Kabul, and then set her body on fire.

The woman had been accused of setting fire to copies of the Koran in a nearby mosque.

President Ghani said no-one had the right to stand in judgement and use violence to punish others.

At least four suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident.

The family of the woman, named by Afghanistan's Tolo news agency only as Farkhunda, said she had been mentally ill for some years.

Her parents told Tolo she had not intentionally burnt the Koran.

The BBC's David Loyn in Kabul said some bystanders tried to hold the mob back as the woman was dragged from the Shah-Du-Shamshaira mosque.

After she had been beaten to death, her body was thrown down the bank of a river and set alight.

The woman was attacked outside the Shah-Du-Shamshaira mosque in Kabul
Afghan men feed pigeons in front of the mosque
A number of police from different forces were close by, our correspondent says, including anti-terrorist officers protecting the centre of Kabul.

The head of Kabul's criminal investigation division, Mohammad Farid Afzali, said officers had fired into the air to try to disperse the crowd, but had "reacted too late".

Mr Ghani said in a statement: "No-one has the right to take it upon themselves to act as judge and court, nor to commit violence against anyone for any reason."

He ordered an inquiry into the attack to be conducted by the interior ministry together with the Ulama Council - which oversees religious issues - and the leadership of the mosque.

An Ulama Council member, Ahmad Ali Jebreili, condemned the attack and said it was against Islamic law.

An inquiry and even prosecutions will make not one wit of difference in Islam. This is another example of the hair-pin triggers many Muslims have. Their ability to go from the "religion of peace" to hysterical murderers in seconds makes them dangerous and untrustworthy in any society. Western countries who import these potential, lunatic assassins are importing a whole lot of trouble.

FRC’s Perkins on Persecution of Christians in Middle East: ‘It is Genocide’

By Penny Starr

(CNSNews.com) – At a press conference to discuss the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and other parts of the Middle East, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), said what is taking place at the hands of the Islamic State is “genocide.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, spoke about the
persecution  of Christians by Islamic jihadists at FRC headquarters in
Washington, D.C. on March 19, 2015. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)
“Our administration has been reluctant to call this what it is,and it is genocide,” Perkins said at FRC headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. “And there’s a reason.”

“Because if we recognize what is happening in Syria and Iraq, we then have a moral and a legal obligation to do something,” Perkins said.

The BBC reported in February that Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham, -- who is Syrian and was born in Damascus -- said in 2014 that more than 1,000 Christians had been killed in that country,  that entire villages have been cleared, and dozens of churches and Christian centers have been damaged or destroyed.

Perkins said he was calling on American Christians to take a stand against religious persecution both here and abroad and cited the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which requires the United States and, in particular, the State Department, National Security Council and the President of the United States, to take action against violations of the law.

21 Egyptian Christians, in orange suits, moments before they were beheaded
 with knives by members of the Islamic State. (Photo: IS video)
“So we’re challenging Christians across America to stand up for our religious freedom here at home so that we can advocate for our brothers and sisters abroad,” Perkins said. “And we encourage Christians across this country to speak to their members of Congress to hold this administration accountable to the law – the current law, which says this is a priority.”

Perkins also referred to the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crimes of Genocide – joined by 146 countries, including the United States -- that defines genocide as actions “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”

“When we look at the definition, according to the Genocide Convention, the definition of genocide – this prohibits the targeting of a religious group for the purposes of killing members; causing serious bodily or mental harm,” said Perkins.

American journalist James Foley, a Christian, just before he was beheaded
by an ISIS jihadist. His execution was videotaped and posted
on the Internet. (Photo: YouTube)
“Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction, in whole or part, or imposing measures intended to prevent birth within the group or forcibly transporting children to another group,” he said..

“It’s time that we speak up as a country – but our country is only as strong, I believe, as its citizens -- and it’s time that the churches of America make this a priority to pray for, advocate for persecuted Christians and other religious minorities.

“As Christians we stand for the freedom of religion,” Perkins said. “Not just the Christian religion but every human being and their ability to live according to the dictates of their faith.”

Boko Haram: At Least 70 Bodies in Mass Grave, More Empty Promises

Chadian soldiers drive in the recently retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria
From BBC Africa

Chadian and Nigerien troops liberated Damasak, which is near the border with Niger, on Saturday.

A mass grave containing at least 70 bodies has been found in the Nigerian town recently retaken from Boko Haram, soldiers from Niger and Chad say.

They say they found it in Damasak, a town in north-eastern Nigeria they entered on Saturday, ending months of control by the militant Islamists.

Earlier, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan predicted Boko Haram would lose all territory within a month.

"They are getting weaker and weaker by the day," he told the BBC on Friday.

President Goodluck Jonathan: "I'm very hopeful that it will not take us more than a month to recover the old territories".

Two things to say here:

1. Why in the world would anybody believe anything that comes out of his mouth. I've been writing about him for a year and I haven't found one truthful statement in that time. If there is any truth in the man's head, it is totally disconnected from his mouth.

2. If he actually means it, it means a massive assault in which the hundreds of Chibok girls and other kidnapped girls would almost certainly suffer some casualties. It appears Jonathon believes enough time has passed that the welfare of the girls is no longer an issue. Not that it ever was an issue for Jonathon.

Damasak is a trading town in Borno state near Niger's border and is about 200km (125 miles) from state's main city of Maiduguri.

It was overrun by the militants, who began their insurgency in 2009 to create an Islamic state, at the end of last year.

The victims found in the mass grave in Damasak, many with their throats slit and some decapitated, may have been killed some time ago, reports suggest.

Chadian army Col Azem Bermandoa Agouna told the AFP news agency that he had visited the grave and seen "about 100 bodies spread under a bridge just outside the town".

Together with the Nigerian army, forces from Chad, Niger and Cameroon are involved in an offensive against the Islamist insurgents who began taking over territory about a year ago - after being pushed out of their base in Maiduguri.

Nigeria is preparing to hold presidential elections on 28 March after security concerns led to a postponement of the original date in mid-February.

'Under-rated external influence'

President Jonathan's government has been heavily criticised for its failure to end the six-year insurgency in the north-east.

He admitted that the government has been surprised by the group's progress.

Wanted poster for Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in Maiduguri, Nigeria
Boko Haram at a glance:

Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education - 
      Boko Haram means, "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language
Launched military operations in 2009 to create an Islamic state
Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria - has also attacked police and 
      UN headquarters in capital, Abuja
Abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls
Controls several north-eastern towns
Launched attacks on neighbouring states

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Synthetic Marijuana Sold as Incense Sparked Violence, Delusions, Disability and Nearly Death

‘I believe it was eating part of my brain’

An Edmonton woman says she became addicted to a synthetic cannabinoid
and worries the drug damaged her brain and permanently altered her personality
By Mark Harvey, Grant Gelinas, CBC News

An Edmonton woman says her decision to smoke a synthetic drug to beat her employer's drug tests created a two-year addiction that ruined her financially and nearly killed her.

The drug is one of several that are illegal to market as cannabis alternatives, but until recently were sold openly in some head shops and convenience stores as incense, and labelled “not for human consumption”.

While recent police raids may have driven sales in Canada underground, the synthetic cannabinoids are still available on the internet.

"I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy," said the woman.

While head shops may no longer be selling synthetic cannabinoids such as
'Spice' openly, the same drugs are widely available on the internet. (CBC)

Go Public agreed to withhold the identity of the woman, whom we'll call Catherine.

Catherine said she and her husband had high-paying jobs in the energy business. She heard "synthetic pot" could be bought at head shops and that drug tests used in the 'oil-patch' (Alberta tar sands) wouldn't detect it.

"I was addicted from the first toke," she said.

When she and her husband weren't working 10 or 12-hour shifts, they were smoking up, going days without eating, she said.

"I went through every dime I have in the world and I'm severely in debt," she said.

'I knew I was in trouble'

The addiction was incredibly degrading, she said.

"I can't explain the violence, the delusions, the paranoia, the puking, shitting myself, pissing myself. I knew I was in trouble, but I couldn't stop."

"Before this I was an avid golfer. We travelled the world. We liked fishing, swimming, adventures. All that came to a halt for two reasons — we didn't have the money and because these countries didn't carry synthetic weed."

Prof. Alan Hudson says synthetic marijuana can be much more powerful than
natural cannabis and can cause psychosis in some people. (CBC)
Catherine said she knew she needed help when her husband found her choking on vomit after a blackout.

"He rolled me over, got me going again. And I grabbed that pipe and I loaded it up again."

Catherine said the withdrawals were hard to bear.

"I've heard of this term carpet-crawling," she said. "I went through every inch of this house and garbage cans praying that there would be just a little bit in a bag."

Catherine completed a week at a government addiction treatment centre, but is worried the drugs may have damaged her brain and permanently altered her personality. She struggles to keep her hands and legs still when talking.

"I noticed my memory starting to go really, really bad," she said.

"I believe it was eating part of my brain, the cognitive functions. I'd have a thought that I wanted to convey and … I'd either lose it completely or I was all over the map."

Drugs' effects not fully known

The drugs, which are sold under names such as "Spice," "Zinger" and "K2," are known as synthetic cannabinoids because they affect the same brain receptors as the active ingredient in marijuana.

Experts say the similarity ends there, however, and that the drugs' toxicity and risks aren't known fully.

Synthetic cannabinoids were developed by scientists who wanted to study how they affect brain function and whether they could offer potential relief for chronic pain.

Most of the chemicals were found to cause serious side-effects such as convulsions, according to Alan Hudson, associate professor of pharmacology at the University of Alberta.

Since then, there's been little research on the toxicity of synthetic cannabinoids or their long-term effects on physical and mental health.

"No one's willing to fund research to show how toxic they are," Hudson said.

Not everyone experiences a reaction as severe as Catherine's, he said.

What is known, Hudson said, is that the drugs are many times more powerful than natural cannabis and can cause psychosis in some people. He said there has been a recent increase in people winding up in hospital after smoking the drugs.

"I would strongly advise you not to try these substances," he said.

Unlike some countries and U.S. states, Canada hasn't expressly banned synthetic cannabinoids, although it controls them under the term "similar synthetic preparations" to cannabis.

Winning conviction can be difficult

There have been a few drug seizures in Alberta in the past two years, but getting a conviction can be difficult, according to Const. Brent Clarke, an investigator with the RCMP's Serious and Organized Crime Division in Edmonton.

Clarke said there are many different synthetic cannabinoids and not all have made it to the list of those that are banned.

"The problem is we have to wait for Health Canada to complete an analysis for the investigators and confirm this is a controlled substance and go from there," Clarke said.

And while head shops may no longer be selling "Spice" and "K2" "incense aromas" openly, the same drugs are widely available on the internet.

Clarke said the drugs are becoming more common in small Alberta communities.

"We're very concerned right now. There's a lack of knowledge about the dangers," he said.

Although Health Canada is continually adding new cannabinoids to its list of banned chemicals, dealers are working hard to stay ahead of them, said Matthew Young, senior research and policy analyst at the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

"These formulas are changing in some ways to try to outpace existing legislation," Young said.

"There's so many of these substances out on the market right now that it's very difficult to know what's contained in each packet and what the effect will be on your body," he said.

Young said research in the U.S. indicates many of the people who try synthetic cannabinoids are, like Catherine, doing so to avoid testing positive for drugs.

Youth could be next target

That attraction may close if employers make bigger use of new synthetic marijuana drug test kits coming on the market.

Hudson believes the next target market is young people.

"They see these packets of herbal essences, they think they're safe. They don't see the danger," he said.

Catherine said she noted the lack of knowledge about synthetic cannabinoids' first-hand, even among her doctors.

"Health-care professionals may have heard of it, but they are thinking of it as like 'pot light'? It doesn't sound as dangerous as it really, really is," she said.

She said she doesn't want other people to make the same mistake she did.

"I feel so grateful to be alive. I've learned to accept myself and love myself and forgive myself. So if any of these disabilities are forever, I guess, so be it."

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

US Presbyterian Church Recognises Gay Marriage

 From BBC US & Canada

Gay marriage

The largest Presbyterian denomination in the US will formally recognise same-sex marriages after decades of debate.

With nearly 1.8 million members, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is the biggest Protestant group in the US to endorse the ceremonies.

The move was supported by the church's top legislative body last year, but required approval from a majority of the denominations' regional districts.

A New Jersey district delivered the critical vote on Tuesday.

The new church policy reads: "Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives."

But the denomination has included a provision that no clergy would be compelled to preside over a gay marriage or host such a ceremony on church property.

A number of districts have voted against the rule change.

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved the ordination of gay pastors, elders and deacons in 2011, which led to many conservative congregations to leave the denomination.

The fracture may have paved the way for the approval of same-sex unions.

Indeed, I believe it did. With the majority of God-fearing people gone, they're free to ordain anything they want. But the ordination will be by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) not by God! They no longer represent God. Their candlestick has been removed. May God have mercy on them.

The change will take effect June 21.

Netanyahu Wins Elections, Says He Will Not Allow Palestinian State

Israel election: US concern over 'divisive' rhetoric

From BBC Middle East

Breaking news
Bibi does it again!
The White House says it is deeply concerned at what it called the "divisive rhetoric" in the Israeli election, which ended in a surprise win for Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party.

During campaigning, Mr Netanyahu said he would not allow the creation of a Palestinian state if re-elected.

The US, UN and EU have all urged him to continue with the two-state solution. All three of which are left of center organizations with no great love for Israel.

Mr Netanyahu aims to build a new coalition government within two to three weeks, his party says.

This weeks elections were a major surprise in that pre-election polls and exit polls had Netanyahu's Likud party in a virtual dead-heat with the Herzog-Livny Zionist Union at 27 seats each. Israeli's went to bed that night thinking the government was going to be a real mess for weeks to come, but woke up to the news that Likud had won 30 seats, Zionist Union only 24. Herzog conceded defeat.

This was quite an accomplishment for Netanyahu who was under attack from all sides in an 'anyone but Bibi' campaign. There are suspicions that there may also have been interference in the elections from foreign powers who do not like Netanyahu. One can only guess who they might be. Pffft!

It's interesting that the third biggest party to emerge from the election was the Joint Arab List, a coalition of Arab parties, with an impressive 14 seats. And yet, you will still hear lots of Palestinian supporters complaining about the lack of Palestinian rights in Israel. They, in fact, have far more rights and benefits in Israel than they do in any Arab countries where many Palestinians live.