"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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pakistan Court Jails 10 for Malala Murder Conspiracy

But the man who ordered it and the man who attempted to carry it out are still free
So far, Malala is my hero of the 2nd decade of the 21st century
From BBC Asia
Malala Yousafzai is pictured before officially opening
The Library of Birmingham in Birmingham, central England.
Malala Yousafzai was seriously injured in the 2012 gun attack
A Pakistani court has jailed 10 men for life for involvement in the attack on education activist Malala Yousafzai.

Ms Yousafzai, who was 15 at the time, was shot in the head on board her school bus in the Swat valley in 2012, in an attack that shocked the world.

She was awarded last year's Nobel Peace Prize for campaigning for children's rights, despite the risk to her life.

Officials say the 10 men, who do not include the man named as chief suspect, belonged to the Pakistani Taliban.

Ataullah Khan, a 23-year-old militant, was identified by a police report at the time of the shooting - but he did not appear in the list of 10 men convicted on Thursday.

Pakistani female students walk past the school of child activist,
Malala Yousafzai, in Mingora the capital of Swat Valley
Malala was shot on her way home from this school in Mingora
A Pakistani teacher leading a class of girls at a school in Mingora,
the main town of Swat valley. The 15-year-old had campaigned
for the right of girls, like these in her home town, to access education
They were tried in an anti-terrorist court in Swat, in north-west Pakistan.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that no local journalists were aware that the court case was taking place, so there is uncertainty as to the exact charges the men were facing and who the witnesses were.

A lawyer from the local District Bar Association told the BBC that "there were no open hearings".

Those convicted "had a role in the planning and execution of the assassination attempt on Malala", a police official in Swat told Reuters.

A Pakistani army soldier stands guard at an army post overlooking
the city of Mingora in Swat valley, the Yousafzai family's home town
Death threats

Pakistani officials believe local Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah ordered the attack. He is thought to be in Afghanistan.

Ms Yousafzai, now 17, was treated for her injuries in the UK and currently lives in Birmingham with her family. They are unable to return to Pakistan because of Taliban death threats.

A file photograph showing Laureate Malala Yousafzai displaying her medal
during the award ceremony of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize at
Oslo City Hall, Norway, 10 December 2014.
Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her campaigning work
Profile: Malala Yousafzai
1997: Born in Swat Valley, Pakistan
2009: Wrote anonymous BBC blog about life under the Taliban
2009-10: Identity revealed in TV interviews and a documentary
2011: International Children's Peace Prize nominee
2012: Shot in assassination attempt by Taliban
2013: Addresses the United Nations
2014: Becomes youngest ever winner of Nobel Peace Prize
2015: An asteroid is named after Malala

Malala speaking at the UN
Pakistan's mountainous Swat valley was overrun by the Taliban from 2007 to 2009.

It was the threat by Mullah Fazlullah to close down schools offering girls' education that led to Malala's diary for BBC Urdu, which was written when she was just 11 years old.

The blog, which described life under the Taliban, was anonymous, but the schoolgirl also began to campaign publicly for children's rights.

'Who is Malala?'

Malala Yousafzai at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on 7 Nov. 2012
Malala underwent further surgeries at QEH
By the time Malala was shot in October 2012 most militants had been cleared from the valley by Pakistan government forces - but people who spoke out were still at risk.

Malala was travelling home from school in the town of Mingora when her bus was flagged down.

A group of gunmen asked "Who is Malala?" and opened fire.

Two of her classmates were also injured in the attack.

Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz have recovered from their injuries and are now studying at Atlantic College in Wales.

Malala Yousafzai (left) and Shazia Ramzan chat after meeting
for the first time after the attack. They were reunited in Birmingham in 2013

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Is ISIS Star Doctor a Creep and a Drunk?

by Daniel Greenfield
Recently ISIS announced its version of ObamaCare fronted by this guy, an Australian trained Muslim doctor who hadn’t figured out how to shave or grow a beard.

Colleagues remember him as a creepy drunken pervert, which is exactly the kind of guy you expect to end up as the face of socialized medicine in the Caliphate.

Tareq Kamleh, who referred to himself as Abu Yusuf in a stylised IS propaganda video, said he was a doctor who had travelled to the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa from Australia to offer his medical services as part of his “jihad for Islam”.

His Jihad in Australia though was 100 proof sexual harassment.

The former Adelaide University medical student was previously referred to as a “womaniser” and a drinker…

His Facebook site shows photos of him surfing and hunting but does not list his crude party trick — sneaking up behind seated women and placing his exposed penis on their shoulder.

Let's hope that is not indicative of his bedside manner, especially since he is a pediatrician.

“He was pretty drunk at the time, but when I rang him the next day to tell him the woman was quite upset he thought it was just one big joke,” a former colleague who was at the function recalls.

Another colleague — who declined to be named — said Kamleh claimed to have had sex with a Mannum District Hospital patient — a former sex worker — after first checking her medical records from Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The former colleague said Kamleh operated a second Facebook page under the name “Adam Kamlah” to pursue women while hiding his indiscretions from girlfriends. The page has since been deleted.

The colleague said Kamleh admitted to being forced out of a shared house following “improper conducts” towards a female housemate.

I am disappointed at the lack of drug dealing, since that seems standard for Jihadists, but the rest is exactly the sort of person who would be attracted to a totalitarian state in which bandits have absolute power and can buy women at slave markets.

But all this is fairly typical of how “devout” Muslims behave in the West and it’s not even at the extreme end, which includes rape and sex grooming of young girls. None of this contradicts Islam which allows Muslim men to abuse women as long as they’re not married to another Muslim man.

Michael Gannon, president of the WA branch of the Australian Medical Association, told the West Australian on Monday that he was “appalled” that an Australian doctor would join Islamic State, saying: “It’s mind-boggling that the death cult could hold appeal for an educated man.

The Muslim Brotherhood and assorted terror groups are fronted by educated men, mostly doctors and engineers. (They don’t need jobs.)

There are a lot of pediatricians like Kamleh that go into terrorism for some reason. 

I can think of a reason or two, can you?

According to the Adelaide Advertiser, Kamleh stocked up on outdoor gear in a Perth shop in December and told the store owner he was going to join Doctors without Borders.

Doctors without Borders and ISIS are pretty close.

He grew up in Perth with a Palestinian father and a German mother who converted to Islam and became “ultra-religious”, a former associate said.

Just more cultural enrichment. How much more of it can we afford?

But the money question is, was Kamleh able to get away with so much that would have gotten another doctor “sacked” because he was Muslim and no one wanted to appear Islamophobic?

About Daniel Greenfield

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Divided US Supreme Court Hears Same-Sex Marriage Arguments

A man holds a giant rainbow flag with several other demonstrators
in front of Supreme Court
BBC US & Canada

The US Supreme Court has heard arguments in a historic case that could legalise same-sex marriage.

Outside the court, protesters for and against rallied with signs, music, and preaching - reflecting the deep and sometimes bitter national divide.

Inside, the proceedings were interrupted by someone shouting that the justices would "burn in hell" if they were to back gay marriage.

Based on their questions, the nine justices appeared divided on the issue.

The court is also determining whether to require states to recognise marriages performed in other states.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote could prove pivotal on the issue, said marriage has been understood as being between one man and one woman for "millennia-plus time".

Kennedy is often the swing vote between the 'right' and 'left' leaning judges.

He also questioned whether scholars and the public had had enough time to debate the issue.

A man preaches into a microphone in front of Supreme Court
But he also challenged John Bursch, a lawyer representing the states that ban same-sex marriage, to explain how the legalisation of same-sex marriage would harm traditional marriages.

For his part, Mr Bursch argued that child-rearing is the central rationale for marriage. Removing it would weaken people's commitments to stay together because of children they share.

Pastor Larry Hickam - should learn how to spell before making big signs.
He's feeding the argument by some that Christians are uneducated.
At the scene - Paul Blake, BBC News

Traditional rainbow flags and the newer "equal sign" flags, emblamatic of the gay rights movements, fluttered in the spring breeze alongside signs denouncing homosexuality as sin.

For many there, including Pastor Larry Hickam from Amarillo, Texas, the issue is a matter of religious belief.

John Hall and Rio Franciosa
"I'm not trying to be mean or ugly, it's just what God said," he said as he cited biblical verse and explained his belief that marriage should be between a man and woman.

"The Supreme Court can want whatever they want, but the Supreme God has already spoken," he said.

A few feet away, Rio Franciosa and his boyfriend John Hall held hands as they watched Mr Hickam and others preach.

At one point, Mr Franciosa quipped: "If people in 500 years read Harry Potter, they will think we played quidditch." (Quidditch - hockey on broomsticks). 

A protester holds a sign that says
 "I was queer then I found Jesus"
The lawyers' arguments and the justices' questioning gives the public its first glimpse into the court's thinking on the matter.

The justices are considering whether the US Constitution's 14th Amendment require every state to grant a marriage licence to two people of the same sex.

And they are also pondering whether the same amendment requires every state to recognise a marriage between two people of the same sex that was performed lawfully in another state.

The first state to allow same-sex marriage was Massachusetts, which granted the right in 2004.

Today, same-sex couples can marry in 36 states and the federal district of Washington, DC.

I think, essentially, what the LGBT community is looking for is validation. Equality with the rest of society would 'validate', or 'legitimize' them. On the surface, and in the short term, they may get it. But it will never be real validation, it will expire when they do or sooner if God's Judgement falls on America for going the way of Sodom. 

Science has proven that gays (at least the vast majority of them) are not born gay. God has spoken that it is an abomination. God does not change!

Photos by Paul Blake

Monday, April 27, 2015

George W. Bush Bashes Obama on Middle East

Personally, I am not an Obama fan. George's criticisms are right on the mark! However, in criticizing his predecessor, he leaves himself open for criticism. So, criticism he will get in the interest of truth and integrity.
By Josh Rogin
Bloomberg View
In a closed-door meeting with Jewish donors on Saturday night, former President George W. Bush delivered his harshest public criticisms to date against his successor on foreign policy, saying that President Barack Obama is being naïve about Iran and the pending nuclear deal and losing the war against the Islamic State.

One attendee at the Republican Jewish Coalition session, held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas with owner Sheldon Adelson in attendance, transcribed large portions of Bush’s remarks. The former president, who rarely ever criticizes Obama in public, at first remarked that the idea of re-entering the political arena was something he didn’t want to do. He then proceeded to explain why Obama, in his view, was placing the U.S. in "retreat" around the world. He also said Obama was misreading Iran’s intentions while relaxing sanctions on Tehran too easily. 

According to the attendee's transcription, Bush noted that Iran has a new president, Hassan Rouhani. “He's smooth," Bush said. "And you’ve got to ask yourself, is there a new policy or did they just change the spokesman?”

I think we know the answer to that.

Bush said that Obama’s plan to lift sanctions on Iran with a promise that they could snap back in place at any time was not plausible. He also said the deal would be bad for American national security in the long term: “You think the Middle East is chaotic now? Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren. That’s how Americans should view the deal.”

Bush then went into a detailed criticism of Obama’s policies in fighting the Islamic State and dealing with the chaos in Iraq. On Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011, he quoted Senator Lindsey Graham calling it a “strategic blunder.” Bush signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to withdraw those troops, but the idea had been to negotiate a new status of forces agreement to keep U.S. forces there past 2011. The Obama administration tried and failed to negotiate such an agreement.

Bush said he views the rise of the Islamic State as al-Qaeda’s "second act” and that they may have changed the name but that murdering innocents is still the favored tactic. He defended his own administration’s handling of terrorism, noting that the terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed to killing Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was captured on his watch: “Just remember the guy who slit Danny Pearl’s throat is in Gitmo, and now they're doing it on TV.”

That he had 8 years to get Osama Bin Laden and didn't, seems to have slipped his mind.

Obama promised to degrade and destroy Islamic State's forces but then didn’t develop a strategy to complete the mission, Bush said. He said that if you have a military goal and you mean it, “you call in your military and say ‘What’s your plan?’ ” He indirectly touted his own decision to surge troops to Iraq in 2007, by saying, “When the plan wasn’t working in Iraq, we changed.”

I hate to rag on you George, but that was the first good decision you made in that whole fiasco. Your decision to go in was completely wrong and you had absolutely no plan for what you would do once you did go in. Mountains of weapons and ammunition disappeared only to be used later against American troops. You incorrectly assumed that the Iraqi people would welcome you with open arms. You diverted attention from Osama Bin Laden onto the hapless Saddam Hussein. And, you set into play the dynamics for the formation of ISIS. Thanks a  lot.

“In order to be an effective president ... when you say something you have to mean it,” he said. “You gotta kill em.”

Bush told several anecdotes about his old friend and rival Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bush recalled that Putin met his dog Barney at the White House and then later, when Bush went to Moscow, Putin showed him his dog and remarked that he was “bigger stronger and faster than Barney.” For Bush, that behavior showed him that Putin didn’t think in “win-win” terms.

Good observation. Putin is an 'I win - You lose' kind of guy. His competitiveness reveals both pride and immaturity, neither of which are very becoming on a world leader. 

Bush also remarked that Putin was rich, divorced his wife and loves power. Putin’s domestic popularity comes from his control of Russian media, according to Bush. "Hell, I'd be popular, too, if I owned NBC news," he said.

You mean you don't own Fox?

Regarding his brother Jeb’s potential run for the presidency, Bush acknowledged that he was a political liability for Jeb, that the Bush name can be used against him, and that Americans don’t like dynasties. He also said that foreign policy is going to be especially important in the presidential campaign and that the test for Republicans running will be who has got the “courage” to resist isolationist tendencies.

Regarding Hillary Clinton, Bush said it will be crucial how she plays her relationship with the president. She will eventually have to choose between running on the Obama administration’s policies or running against them. If she defends them, she's admitting failure, he said, but if she doesn't she's blaming the president.

For George W. Bush, the remarks in Vegas showed he has little respect for how the current president is running the world. He wouldn't be a Republican if he did. He also revealed that he takes little responsibility for the policies that he put in place that contributed to the current state of affairs. He wouldn't be a Republican if he did.

Josh Rogin at joshrogin@bloomberg.net

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Shocker - Amnesty Int'l Investigator Discovers that Palestinians Lie

The Algemeiner
Donatella Rovera, an Amnesty field investigator, wrote an interesting article about the challenges of fact finding in war situations. So did I - The First Casualty

Donatella Rovera
One of her main points is that eyewitnesses are often unreliable. For example:

In Gaza, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, and other places I interviewed civilians who described what they thought were artillery or bomb strikes being launched by far away government forces and striking near their homes – whereas in reality the loud bangs and tremors were caused by mortars or rockets being launched by opposition fighters from their positions nearby. For the untrained ear it is virtually impossible to distinguish between incoming and outgoing fire, and all the more so for those who find themselves close to the frontlines.

Another factor she mentions:

Even if they disregard it, investigators must be alert to the fact that disinformation and misinformation can contribute to shaping the perception of events, the narrative surrounding the events, and the behaviour of people who take it in good faith and internalize it, including victims, witnesses, and others potential sources.

Here Rovera  is referring to lies that spread quickly and then become widely believed – including by “unbiased” NGOs – before anyone has a chance to investigate. How many times have we seen that?

She gives a specific example from Gaza:

Fear can lead victims and witnesses to withhold evidence or give deliberately erroneous accounts of incidents. In Gaza, I received partial or inaccurate information by relatives of civilians accidentally killed in accidental explosions or by rockets launched by Palestinian armed groups towards Israel that had malfunctioned and of civilians killed by Israeli strikes on nearby Palestinian armed groups’ positions. When confronted with other evidence obtained separately, some said they feared reprisals by the armed groups.

Meaning that “eyewitnesses” will often claim that there was no terrorist activity in the area of an airstrike and Israel wantonly and indiscriminately killed people for no reason.

This gets wholly believed and parroted by the UN and other NGOs. The Goldstone Report has many such examples.

Unfortunately, in many cases the NGOs themselves are part of the problem. Rovera  admits, a little elliptically:

Conflict situations create highly politicized and polarized environments, which may affect even individuals and organizations with a proven track record of credible and objective work. Players and interested parties go to extraordinary lengths to manipulate or manufacture “evidence” for both internal and external consumption.

It is a shame that Rovera didn’t include Amnesty International itself as being guilty of this, and she ascribes the lack of objectivity almost only to fake evidence that is created by one side rather than to the ideological desire to find war crimes when none exist.

They might strenuously deny it, but Amnesty and HRW have systemic biases against Israel. This article, while a step in the right direction, only scratches the surface of how NGOs themselves contribute to the culture of lies in order to issue their reports and maintain their funding without doing basic fact checks.

And while Rovera notes that some “eyewitnesses” act out of fear, she doesn’t go far enough. At least in the territories, the lies about Israel are repeated so often that the witnesses will often  tell Western reporters and researchers what they expect to hear rather than what happened. This isn’t necessarily out of fear; it is part of their culture to ensure that Israel is always blamed no matter what. It saturates their media. I cannot count how many times “eyewitness” accounts were found to be complete fiction, and fear didn’t enter into the equation. However, many of the “witnesses” happen to work for the largest employer in the West Bank – the PA – which lies constantly.

Not to mention that many anti-Israel activists that will knowingly repeat the most outrageous lies to further their own agenda.

Lets hope that this article can at least open up the discussion of how inaccurate much of the reporting and research is about Israel, even from NGOs that pretend to be objective.

Young Arabs Agree: Israel Isn’t Arab World’s Major Problem, Arabs Are

Attitudes Shifting in the Middle East
Evelyn Gordon

One of the most positive strategic developments for Israel of the past few years has been its marked improvement in relations with significant parts of the Arab world. Three years ago, for instance, the most cockeyed optimist wouldn’t have predicted a letter like Israel received this week from a senior official of the Free Syrian Army, who congratulated it on its 67th anniversary and voiced hope that next year, Israel’s Independence Day would be celebrated at an Israeli embassy in Damascus.

Yet many analysts have cautioned that even if Arab leaders were quietly cooperating with Israel for reasons of realpolitik, anti-Israel hostility in the “Arab street” hadn’t abated. So a new poll showing that this, too, is changing came as a lovely Independence Day gift.

The ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, which has been conducted annually for the last seven years, polls 3,500 Arabs aged 18 to 24 from 16 Arab countries in face-to-face interviews. One of the standard questions is “What do you believe is the biggest obstacle facing the Middle East?”

This year, defying a long tradition of blaming all the Arab world’s problems on Israel, only 23 percent of respondents cited the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the region’s main obstacle. In fact, the conflict came in fourth, trailing ISIS (37 percent), terrorism (32 percent) and unemployment (29 percent). Given that respondents were evidently allowed to choose more than one of the 15 options (the total adds up to 235 percent rather than 100), it’s even more noteworthy that only 23 percent thought the conflict worth mentioning.

A comparison to previous surveys shows that this figure has been declining slowly but steadily for the past few years: In 2012, for instance, it was 27 percent, a statistically significant difference given the poll’s margin of error (1.65 percent). But the 2015 decline is particularly remarkable because last summer’s war in Gaza made the past year the conflict’s bloodiest in decades for Palestinians. Hence one would have expected Arab concern about the conflict to increase. Instead, it dropped.

The poll also highlights another encouraging fact: The issues young Arabs do see as their top concerns–ISIS, terrorism, and unemployment–are all issues on which cooperation with Israel could be beneficial, and in some cases, it’s already taking place. For instance, Israeli-Egyptian cooperation on counterterrorism is closer than it’s been in years–not only against Hamas, but also against the ISIS branch in Sinai, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. Israel and Jordan cooperate closely on counterterrorism as well, and it’s a safe bet that quiet cooperation is also occurring with certain other Arab states that officially have no relations with Israel.

Egypt and Israel have also ramped up economic cooperation, even manning a joint booth at a major trade fair earlier this year.

In short, the issues currently of greatest concern to young Arabs are precisely the issues most conducive to a further thawing of Israeli-Arab relations.

What the poll shows, in a nutshell, is that young Arabs have reached the same conclusion Arab leaders made glaringly evident at the last year’s inaugural session of the Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate: Israel simply isn’t one of the Arab world’s major problems anymore, if it ever was. Now all Israel needs is for the West to finally come to the same realization.

Good luck with that! That would require some honesty and decrease in antisemitism. I don't see that happening any time soon as Muslims increase in influence in North America and Europe.

Although, in spite of the encouraging trend, Islam is a very volatile people and are quite capable of turning on a dime.

400 Muslims Try to Join Islamic State from Australia Every Day


Australian police
400 Muslims a day are trying to join the Islamic State from Australia alone. One might almost get the impression that the Islamic State is…Islamic.

Also, is it really wise for Australian police to stop them? Why not let them go and not come back? After all, trying to join the Islamic State is tantamount to declaring war against Australia, since the Islamic State has vowed war against and conquest of the non-Muslim world. And what if these Muslims who are prevented from joining the Islamic State decide to wage jihad right there at home?

“Australian counter-terror police ‘stopping 400 per day,'” 


Australian police are stopping hundreds of people every day at airports in an attempt to prevent would-be jihadists leaving the country.

A new counter-terror unit conducted nearly 76,000 “real-time” stops – more than 400 per day – at eight airports between August and February.

The screenings are not random. Counter-terror police are targeting potentially suspicious travellers.

Around 90 Australians are believed to be fighting in the Middle East.

The Border Force Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU) is a new unit designed to tackle extremists attempting to leave the country and join terror groups such as Islamic State (IS).

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the CTU teams had “successfully intercepted a number of people of national security concern” since August,

‘Severe stress’

According to Fairfax Media, CTU teams in Sydney and Melbourne intercepted at least 11 terror suspects in their first three weeks of operation, as well as seizing extremist material.

The Customs and Border Protection Service said the teams had also found evidence of attempted movement of large sums of money.

The tactic has led to accusations of racial profiling from Australia’s Muslim community, including the country’s most senior Islamic cleric, Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, who said in September that the policy had caused “severe stress and unwanted inconvenience”.

It seems to me that only those involved in 'jihad' would suffer from 'severe stress'.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison declined to say whether the CTU was using racial profiling to decide who was pulled aside at airports to be questioned or searched.

Mr Morrison, who was Immigration Minister when the CTU was established, said the unit was doing “outstanding work”.

The government has earmarked A$150m (£78m; $114m) of the total $630m counter-terror fund to establish CTU teams at eight airports across the country.

The teams operate at Australia’s eight international airports: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Cairns, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Darwin.

Earlier in the month, CTU officers at Sydney airport intercepted two brothers suspected of attempting to join Islamic State (IS).

The boys, aged 16 and 17, raised suspicions as they attempted to pass through customs and were detained.

They were later released without charge into the custody of their parents.

So, now what happens to those boys and all the other would-be jihadists prevented from leaving the country? Like Robert, my first inclination is to say, 'let them go, but don't let them back into the country'. However, many of those attempting to go are just naive children with no real idea what they would be getting into. 

They need to be educated on what IS is doing - the genocides, the raping and selling of women and girls, the destruction of churches, mosques, statues, and historical buildings, etc. 

They need to know what life will be like there in reality. 

They need to know that there is no 'love' in radical Islam, women are there to be used for the purpose and pleasure of men; their pleasure is completely irrelevant. 

They need to know that their female children are likely to suffer female circumcision, ensuring that they never know pleasure from sex.

They need to know that the religion they find so appealing is completely false. That it was the spawn of a pedophilic monster. 

They need to know that Islam puts you back under 'the Law', as were the Hebrews in the 'Old Testament', only much worse law - Sharia law.

They need to know that Jesus Christ lived and died and rose again to set us free from the law which produces only sin and death. That 'grace' is a million times better than the law.

 They need to know that everything they are being told on the internet about Islam and IS is a lie.

Then, if they still want to go, let them go, knowing they cannot come back!

Russia Jails 3 Women over Twerking Video at WW2 Memorial

A Russian court has jailed three women for performing a twerking dance in front of a World War Two memorial.

The Orenburg dance school video has been a huge YouTube hit
The court in Novorossiysk gave two of the dancers 10 days in jail each, a third 15 days and two others received fines on charges of petty hooliganism.

Prosecutors had said their "erotic and sexual twerk dance" was disrespectful to historic memory and unacceptable.

Earlier this month, Russian officials closed a dance school (Orenburg) after a similar dance video emerged on the internet.

The latest incident involves six dancers - one of them a minor who was not convicted - who had posted a video on YouTube.

"This incident of disrespect for the memory of war history is unacceptable and any attempts to desecrate sites of military glory will be stopped immediately," prosecutors said.

Aside from the questionable, old Soviet attitude that the military can produce glory, the memorial represents soldiers who laid down their lives for their country. Twerking was not the image of the country they had in mind when they went to fight. Having their memory used and abused in a vulgar, dance video is beyond contemptible. 

The sentences come as Russia prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the World War Two victory.

They also follow the incident early in April when a video clip from the Orenburg dance school on YouTube was viewed millions of times.

The video clip, entitled Winnie the Pooh and the Bees, showed a group of teenage girls dancing on stage in striped leotards, long socks and mini-skirts,

They perform hip-thrusting moves characteristic of twerking. Not to mention sex.

A committee is investigating whether the performance amounts to negligence or even "debauched action", which is punishable by a range of sanctions from community service to three years behind bars.

Thank you Miley Cyrus for taking vulgarity to another level. Can there be anything worse in society than a fallen Christian?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Muslim Principal in Australia: ISIS a Jewish Conspiracy, Girls Who Run Lose Their Virginity

by Daniel Greenfield 
Frontpage Mag
April 25, 2015 

Now you don’t have to go to Saudi Arabia to be in Saudi Arabia. You can stay in Australia, America or Canada and the insanity will come to you

Meet Omar, a moderate Muslim principal, who took a firm stand against ISIS… as an American/Jewish conspiracy.

A principal has claimed radicalisation is not a problem at his Islamic school because he tells pupils that the Islamic State death cult is manufactured by Western countries.

Finally. We kept hearing that ISIS was un-Islamic. That’s because it’s really American.

The principal’s belief that IS is simply a plot caused by Israel and America stems from his theory that the terrorists use ‘shiny new equipment’.

A spokesman for the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia Keysar Trad told Fairfax Radio on Monday the principal was just trying to discourage young people from joining the terror group.

Don’t join ISIS. It’s got Jewish cooties. Also don’t run.

Girls at Al-Taqwa College have been banned from running at sporting events because the principal believes it may cause them to lose their virginity, former teachers claim.

It follows revelations in The Age last month that the principal of the Islamic school, Omar Hallak, told students that Islamic State was a plot by Western countries.

Also running is a plot by Western countries.

Obviously, sanity is not a requirement to be a principal at an Islamic school. But then, I think we already knew that.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.

Doctor Joins ISIS Medical Team in “Jihad” Against the West: “I Wish I’d Come Sooner”

Australian-doctor joins jihad
Pamela Geller
Another doctor, affluent and Western educated, leaves everything to join the Islamic State, blowing up Obama’s and every other Western leader’s delusional narrative about poverty, disaffection and illiteracy driving Muslims to jihad.

It’s Islam.

I’ll also point out that calling those who oppose jihad terror “racists” is laughable. Islam is not a race. Just ask this blue-eyed doctor.

Herdsmen in Nigeria, rappers in Germany, doctors in Glasgow, chemical engineering students in Canada, heart surgeons in Saudi Arabia, university students in Britain, imams in America and so forth – what brings these wildly different people together? Jihad. From the Sahara to the Kalahari, London to Lisbon, Manhattan to Madrid, Bali to Boston, Tiananmen Square to Thailand, Myanmar to Malaysia, Nairobi to Nigeria ….. no matter what the background, upbringing, schooling, wealth or poverty, color, what have you, it doesn’t matter. The understanding of Islam and jihad is the same, and it is the motive, the incitement to this monstrous war on the West and and the East and all points in between.

If the world were as concerned with the mass slaughter of non-Muslims by jihadists as they are about the fictional narrative of “islamophobia,” we might begin to defeat this enemy of humanity.

Why a 'normal' person would chose to become Muslim is barely conceivable. Unfortunately, the inability of politicians and media to relate the truth about Islam makes it seem more attractive than it is. To make it worse, people like Pamela Geller are shouted down as bigots, or barred from entering some countries, for telling the truth. 

The west is feeding the human supply lines of jihad with our culturally suicidal, political correctness. Boy, are we stupid!

The Age
Victoria, AU APRIL 25, 2015
Australian doctor joins ISIS medical team in ‘jihad’ against the west
The Australian doctor, who calls himself Abu Yusuf, says he travelled from
his home country to join IS and is using his medical skills
“as part of my jihad for Islam”
A YOUNG Australian doctor has appeared in an Islamic State video urging other medical professionals to travel to the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in Syria to join the jihad against the west.

The stylish promotional IS video has not been verified but was circulated on IS-affiliated social media accounts.

The video introduces the “ISHS” — or IS Health Service — and appears to have been filmed in Raqqa in the Raqqa General Hospital.

The video features a number of doctors talking about medical facilities in the IS stronghold.

The Australian doctor introduces himself as Abu Yusuf and says he travelled to Raqqa from Australia to offer his medical services as part of his “jihad for Islam”.

Aussie doctor appears in IS video
“My name is Abu Usef. I’m one of the medical team here. I came from Australia to the Islamic State to live under the khalifah.

“I saw this as part of my Jihad for Islam to help the Muslims in the area that I could, which is the medical field and when I got here while I was very happy that I made the decision and I was a little bit saddened by how long I’d delayed it.

“I wish I’d come sooner.”

Facing the camera in a section of the video titled Pediatrics, he urges other doctors and medical professionals to join the medical team.

He is also shown treating babies in incubators. He says repeatedly that equipment is not the issue for the hospital but the availability of well-trained doctors

“We need the brothers and sisters to come and help us from all around the world. We just need the manpower … to help us grow this.

“After being here it’s disappointing to think how many fellow Muslim brothers and sisters who are in the medical field; doctors and nurses, physios and dentists are still living in the west and unfortunately here the Muslims are really suffering from not lack of equipment or medicine but lack of qualified medical care.

“So I suppose a message I would want to send out to any brothers and sister still living in the west who are considering coming … we really need your help. Any little thing gives the local people who are truly suffering a lot of benefit.

“Please consider coming, please don’t delay.

“I’ll see you soon”.

Australian National University terrorism expert Clarke Jones confirmed the video’s authenticity.

“This is certainly legit,” he said.

“It’s appealing with the use of the Australian to others, by showing them any ordinary Australian, in this case, can go across there and live a comfortable life beyond their expectations.

“It’s appealing to normal, rational people within the educated young crowd and it’s not just about fighting now, it’s about going over there and supporting brothers and sisters in the Islamic State.”

Dr Jones said the man broke the mould of those expected to flee Australia to fight.

“People want to say its either or (but) this guy does break the mould and that it appeals to a wide variety of people,” he said.

“If we don’t start to take a more understanding approach to this, which the Islamic State is beginning to have more appeal than Australia, we are going to continue to lose.”

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Staggering After-Effects of Volcanoes

Two hundred years ago the most powerful eruption in modern history made itself felt around the world. It could happen again at almost any time

IF ALIENS had been watching the Earth during 1815 the chances are they would not have noticed the cannon fire of Waterloo, let alone the final decisions of the Congress of Vienna or the birth of Otto von Bismarck. Such things loom larger in history books than they do in astronomical observations. What they might have noticed instead was that, as the year went on, the planet in their telescopes began to reflect a little more sunlight. And if their eyes or instruments had been sensitive to the infrared, as well as to visible light, the curious aliens would have noticed that as the planet brightened, its surface cooled.

Mount Tambora (pictured), a volcano on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, was once similar in stature to Mont Blanc or Mount Rainier. But in April 1815 it blew its top off in spectacular fashion. On the 10th and 11th it sent molten rock more than 40 kilometres into the sky in the most powerful eruption of the past 500 years. The umbrella of ash spread out over a million square kilometres; in its shadow day was as night. Billions of tonnes of dust, gas, rock and ash scoured the mountain’s flanks in pyroclastic flows, hitting the surrounding sea hard enough to set off deadly tsunamis; the wave that hit eastern Java, 500km away, two hours later was still two metres high when it did so. The dying mountain’s roar was heard 2,000km away. Ships saw floating islands of pumice in the surrounding seas for years.

In his book “Eruptions that Shook the World”, Clive Oppenheimer, a volcanologist at Cambridge University, puts the number killed by the ash flows, the tsunamis and the starvation that followed them in Indonesia at 60,000-120,000. That alone would make Tambora’s eruption the deadliest on record. But the eruption did not restrict its impact to the areas pummelled by waves and smothered by ash.

When the sulphur hits the stratosphere
The year after the eruption clothes froze to washing lines in the New England summer and glaciers surged down Alpine valleys at an alarming rate. Countless thousands starved in China’s Yunnan province and typhus spread across Europe. Grain was in such short supply in Britain that the Corn Laws were suspended and a poetic coterie succumbing to cabin fever on the shores of Lake Geneva dreamed up nightmares that would haunt the imagination for centuries to come. And no one knew that the common cause of all these things was a ruined mountain in a far-off sea.

While lesser eruptions since then have had measurable effects on the climate across the planet, none has been large enough to disrupt lives to anything like the same worldwide extent. It may be that no eruption ever does so again. But if that turns out to be the case, it will be because the human world has changed, not because volcanoes have. The future will undoubtedly see eruptions as large as Tambora, and a good bit larger still.

Mixed in with the 30 cubic kilometres or more of rock spewed out from Tambora’s crater were more than 50m tonnes of sulphur dioxide, a large fraction of which rose up with the ash cloud into the stratosphere. While most of the ash fell back quite quickly, the sulphur dioxide stayed up and spread both around the equator and towards the poles. Over the following months it oxidised to form sulphate ions, which developed into tiny particles that reflected away some of the light coming from the sun. Because less sunlight was reaching the surface, the Earth began to cool down.

The sulphate particles were small enough to stay aloft for many months, so the cooling continued into the following year. By the summer of 1816 the world was on average about 1ºC cooler than it had been the year before—an average which hides much larger regional effects. Because the continents are quicker to cool than the heat-storing seas are, land temperatures dropped almost twice as much as the global average.

This cooling dried the planet out. A cooler surface meant less evaporation, which meant less water vapour in the lower atmosphere and thus less rain. Rainfall over the planet as a whole was down by between 3.6% and 4% in 1816.

If such numbers seem suspiciously accurate, considering that most of the world of 1816 was devoid of thermometers and rain gauges, it is because they come from recent computer modelling of the climate that seeks to mimic the conditions Tambora created. Like all modelling results, such numbers need caveats. These results, though, and similar ones from other models, can be accorded the credence that comes from having been proved right in similar situations.

The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines was about a sixth as large as Tambora’s in terms of the volume of lava, rock and ash, and about a third as large in terms of sulphur emissions. Satellites showed that in the summer of 1992 the sulphur it had spewed into the atmosphere was reducing the amount of sunlight getting to the Earth’s surface by well over three watts per square metre; for comparison, the warming effect of the 40% increase in the atmosphere’s carbon-dioxide level since the age of Tambora is just two watts per square metre.

With the energy absorbed by the Earth reduced, temperatures fell by around half a degree in the year after Pinatubo; rainfall dropped off significantly, too. Computer models run after the eruption but before these effects became visible captured the effects reasonably accurately (though they had a tendency to overestimate the cooling). This is one of the best reasons for thinking that such models capture the workings of the climate quite well.

The historical record largely bears out what the models suggest Tambora did. Across Europe the summer of 1816 was cold and wet, and the harvest terrible. The effects were most notable around the Alps; in Saint Gallen, in Switzerland, the price of grain more than quadrupled between 1815 and 1817. Starving migrants took to the roads in their hundreds of thousands; mortality rates climbed due to starvation and disease. Death also stalked Yunnan, where Tambora’s cooling shut down the monsoon and cold days in summer killed the rice harvest for three years running.

Monsoons, which are driven by the difference in temperature between hot land and cooler sea, are particularly vulnerable to the excessive cooling of the land that volcanoes bring. Their weakening can have effects on more than crops. In his excellent account of the global impacts of the 1815 eruption, “Tambora”, Gillen D’Arcy Wood of the University of Illinois draws on the writings of James Jameson, a doctor in Calcutta, who held the lack of fresh water which followed the failure of the 1816 monsoon responsible for the cholera epidemic that swept through Bengal the following year.

Was this all down to one volcano? Not entirely; nothing in the climate has a single cause. The global climate shifts in various ways on a number of timescales, and its particular disposition at the time a volcano strikes will influence the way the volcano’s effects play out. The fact that an El Niño event—a swing in the global climate driven by the slopping of warm water east across the Pacific towards South America—was getting under way at the time of the Pinatubo eruption in 1991 undoubtedly modulated its climatic effects.

Alan Robock, an expert on links between volcanoes and climate at Rutgers University, notes a particularly intriguing initial condition that could have influenced the world’s response to Tambora. There had been another large eruption—larger than Pinatubo—just six years before. No one knows where this 1809 eruption was, but its signature can clearly be seen in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. The sulphur put into the stratosphere by volcanoes shows up quite clearly in the year-by-year records of what was going on in the atmosphere that climate scientists extract from polar ice cores. These records make it possible to give dates to large eruptions in the past even if no one recorded the event at the time (see chart).

Cooling Mr Knightley
The ice cores show that the 1809 eruption was easily large enough to have had effects on the climate, and there is some evidence of cooling in subsequent years. In Jane Austen’s “Emma”, which according to Euan Nisbet, a geologist at Royal Holloway, London, seems to follow the weather of 1814, spring is remarkably late, with apple trees blossoming in the middle of June. Pre-cooling along these lines might have made some of the subsequent effects of Tambora more marked, while possibly lessening others. Some researchers believe that a number of eruptions close together might be able to trigger a climate downturn that lasts considerably longer than the few years models normally predict; a set of eruptions in the late 13th century, this idea suggests, may have been part of the reason for the subsequent global cooling known as the “little ice age”.

If the prior state of the climate system constrains an eruption’s effects, so does that of the human world. The damage done to Europe by the preceding quarter-century of revolutionary and Napoleonic war could have left it particularly vulnerable to 1816’s “year without a summer”. The situation in Yunnan would hardly have been as dire had the population not been hugely expanded by the Qing dynasty’s encouragement of new settlers.

Similarly uncaptured in models, but even more fascinating to speculate about, are the after-effects of the Tambora downturn. In America, the spike in grain prices caused by Europe’s hunger drove a wave of farmers across the Appalachians to where the Ohio Valley was enjoying far more clement weather, with barges taking exports for Europe down the Mississippi in ever larger amounts. The collapse in the grain price when Europe’s harvest recovered contributed to the American economy’s first major depression.

The historian John Post, in a study of Tambora’s effects published in 1977, “The Last Great Subsistence Crisis in the Western World”, held that the volcano reshaped European politics. The disorder that sprang up in the bad weather from 1816 to 1818, and its subsequent repression, created a climate for authoritarian rule that held sway until the middle of the century. Mr D’Arcy Wood points out that it was in the aftermath of the Tambora famines that farmers in Yunnan started to plant opium poppies, the value of which as a cash crop offered some insurance against future failures of the grain harvest.

On top of such structural shifts, there are the personal stories. If Shelley, Byron and their romantic entourage had not been cooped up in a Swiss villa by incessant rain, would they have amused themselves by writing horror stories for each other—including John Polidori’s “The Vampyre”, the first novel to deal with seductive bloodsucking aristocrats, and Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, which has shaped fears of scientific innovation from that day to this? If the summer frosts of “Eighteen-hundred-and-froze-to-death” had not driven Joseph Smith, a farmer, from Norwich, Vermont to Palmyra, New York, a place of vigorous religious enthusiasms, would his son Joseph junior still have been able to find the golden tablets to which the angel Moroni led him a few years later, or would the history of Mormonism have been very different?

Reappraising the risks
And what if this happened again? In general, volcanoes are not something people around the planet worry about very much. In lists of the 40 most expensive and most lethal natural disasters since 1970 recently produced by Swiss Re, a reinsurer, no eruptions feature at all. Models of the economic losses that large eruptions could cause are nothing like as well developed as those that the insurance industry uses for storms, floods or earthquakes, because such losses have mattered little. Some reinsurers, though, are beginning to put that right.

One worry is that even quite a small eruption could cost a lot if it hit a built-up part of a developed country. A study by Willis Re suggests that an eruption of Italy’s Vesuvius like the one which took place in 1631 (a much smaller event than that which destroyed Pompeii) could lead to an economic loss of well over €20 billion ($22 billion). Most of the property damage would be down to buildings collapsing under the weight of the ash that falls on them. The 1707 eruption of Mount Fuji produced only 2% as much ash as Tambora did, but Christina Magill of Macquarie University has calculated that if both eruptions were rerun today the urban area affected by heavy ashfall would be greater in the case of the Fuji eruption, since a great deal of that ash fell on what is now Tokyo.

The other reason for thinking more seriously about the damage done by volcanoes than recent history might seem to merit is that geology shows that they need to be assessed on much longer timescales. Today’s earthquakes, storms and floods—which make up the bulk of the natural disasters that insurers worry about—are doing more damage than yesterday’s did, but that is because they hit a world in which there is more valuable property that is likely to be insured, not because the disasters themselves are getting worse. The world’s worst storm or earthquake over a millennium is not all that much worse than the worst of a century. With volcanoes things get worse and worse the deeper in time you look.

In terms of direct effects, this is still not particularly worrying for most of the world’s population. Seven out of eight people on the planet live more than 100km from any potential eruptions. The “Global assessment report” (GAR) prepared for the UN summit on disaster-risk reduction held in Sendai, Japan, in March found that 95% of those at risk live in just seven countries. Five—Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Mexico and Guatemala—are on the circum-Pacific “ring of fire”, where clashing tectonic plates promote volcanism as well as earthquakes; the other two are Ethiopia and Italy. Two-thirds of the exposed population is in Indonesia.

The good news for the people who are at risk is that volcanoes—unlike earthquakes—provide a fair amount of warning before doing their thing. Scientists are increasingly good at looking out for such warnings, and most volcanoes that are close to lots of people are now pretty carefully monitored, though there are exceptions—the GAR points to the Michoacan-Guanajuato cinder-cone field in Mexico as a worrying one. Satellites and seismology are likely to pick up some signs of imminent eruptions from almost all the others. When the warnings seem to merit it, action can be taken. During the 2010 eruptions of Mount Merapi in Indonesia, the largest so far this century, 350,000 people were evacuated; as a result the death toll was only a few hundred. Evacuations kept the casualties at Pinatubo similarly small.

Unfortunately, predicting really large eruptions may be harder than predicting smaller ones like Merapi’s. Before a very large eruption you can expect a volcano to have been dormant for centuries; it takes time for the infernal forces to build up. But that does not mean that the first eruption of any long-dormant volcano will be catastrophic. It might have decades of throat-clearing to go through before it really lets rip. It might go back to sleep.

It was with this in mind that geologists embarked on a project to try to understand long-dormant Pinatubo’s history soon after it started to show signs of life in 1990. They found that the volcano seemed not to be the throat-clearing type, specialising instead in dramatic eruptions. Stephen Sparks of Bristol University says that understanding did a lot to make people feel justified in calling for a big evacuation.

Wherever the next big eruption happens, though, and whether predicted or not, it will, like Tambora, have global effects—and this time there will be a greater range of them. The climate is not the only global system now open to interruption.

All disasters now reverberate more than they would once have done. Disrupted supply chains transmitted the losses from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011 far and wide; tourism meant many more Swedes died in the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 than in any recent disaster on their home soil. Volcanoes, though, have the added ability to interfere with one of the ways in which such connections between far-off places are supported. As Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland showed five years ago, a quite small eruption’s ash cloud can have a big impact on air traffic if it is in an inconvenient place.

A really big eruption would shut down large swathes of airspace for a couple of weeks. If the airspace in question were hard to reroute around, that would have both direct impacts on the aviation industry—Eyjafjallajokull cost it about $1.7 billion—and indirect impacts on its users—valued at about twice the direct effects in that case. The losses would not be evenly spread or easily predictable. The Kenyan women who provide most of the labour for the country’s cut-flower industry suffered disproportionately when Eyjafjallajokull kept their blooms from market.

Another problem not seen when Tambora erupted would be damage to the ozone layer. The reactions by which chlorine destroys ozone are encouraged by the sulphate particles produced by volcanoes. In the 19th century that didn’t matter; there wasn’t any chlorine in the stratosphere. Now, thanks to human intervention, there is. Pinatubo saw global reductions in stratospheric ozone levels and a marked deepening of the “ozone hole” over Antarctica. If a Tambora-scale eruption were to happen in the near future it would have even stronger effects.

Warmer house on the prairie
And then there is the climate. If, like Tambora and Pinatubo, the volcano in question is close to the equator, Mr Robock says models predict an average cooling of perhaps 2ºC in the summer of the next year over much of North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, and decreased precipitation over the Amazon, southern Africa, India, South-East Asia and China. The models also make predictions about the weather in the intervening winter: the particles that cool the surface warm the stratosphere, which sets up a strong Arctic jet stream in a particular configuration. Expect a peculiarly warm winter in America’s prairies, western Europe and Central Asia, and a very cold one in eastern Canada, the Middle East and southern China.

It came from the depths! New islands created by volcanos
What these shifts would mean for agriculture is hard to say. The experience of Tambora suggests gloom, but this is not that world. For one thing, there is more agricultural land in more places. That gives more scope for bad harvests in some regions being offset by better ones elsewhere. Both models and studies of the years after Pinatubo suggest that, for various reasons, the world’s plant life as a whole gets more productive in the cooler, drier years that follow eruptions. It is also possible that some parts of a world stressed by global warming might experience sudden cooling as less of a problem than it was after Tambora—though the dryness might exacerbate their challenges.

Another reason for tempered optimism is that the world would know what was coming. Mr Robock and his colleagues would be spreading the word before the eruption was over. Futures markets would doubtless pay attention. So, one would hope, would governments.

The Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre is dedicated both to providing warnings about the human impacts of climate shifts and extreme weather and to acting as an advocate for the people who suffer from them most. It spends a lot of time looking at how to get timely warnings of the likely regional effects of El Niño events to the countries and people they are most likely to harm, along with advice on how to limit the damage. Its head, Maarten van Alst, says he thinks that the climate impacts of a contemporary Tambora might be comparable to those of the big El Niño of 1997-98, which have been estimated at $36 billion, with 130m lives affected and 21,000 lives lost. And as with El Niños, forewarned would be forearmed. Mr van Alst and his colleague, Pablo Suarez, are trying to get a programme started that would study what actions should be given priority in that lull between the eruption and the cooling that would follow.

Such vigilance could come into its own well before there is another Tambora, since there is a way for considerably smaller eruptions to have climatic effects. Eruptions that take place well away from the equator cool only their own hemisphere, and these lopsided coolings have an impact on the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), a belt of rain around the equator. When the northern hemisphere cools the ITCZ shifts south, and that causes droughts in Africa’s Sahel. Of the Sahel’s four worst years of drought during the 20th century, three took place after northern-hemisphere eruptions: in the year after the Katmai eruption in Alaska, (1913) and the years of and after the El Chichón eruption in Mexico (1982 and 1983).

A repeat of the Tambora-sized blast at Taupo in New Zealand that took place 1,800 years ago, on the other hand, would push the ITCZ to the north and bring plentiful rain to the Sahel. The Amazon, though, which depends on the ITCZ staying put, would have a dry few years.

For a smallish volcano at high latitudes the effects on the ITCZ would probably swamp the local and regional effects. The direct damage a full-on Tambora would wreak in a populated region would be far greater, and its hard-to-foresee effects further afield, like those Eyjafjallajokull had on Kenya, might conceivably reinforce each other in calamitous ways, multiplying the economic damage. Still, in most cases it seems likely that here, too, the climate effects would trump the rest.

Pinatubo—picayune by comparison
But that does not mean their impacts would be as dire as those felt two centuries ago. As well as having a wider agricultural base and more foresight, the world today is more developed and better governed. A lot of the damage done in famines such as those of the 1810s comes from agricultural workers losing income at a time of price rises and governments doing nothing about it. Today the proportion of the population working the land is in most places much lower than it was then, and most governments both perceive a need to act during famines and have the capabilities to do so. There might well be a need for humanitarian interventions in the weird-climate years that followed; but such interventions do now happen.

That said, there is no reason to limit concern to Tambora-sized eruptions. There are much larger ones on offer. Some 26,500 years ago the Taupo volcano in New Zealand erupted with well over ten times the power it mustered 1,800 years ago. The odds of a really big eruption in any given year are tiny. Over a century, though, they mount up to maybe a few percent. So, though few of those alive today would perish in a rerun of Tambora, the chances of something much worse over their lifetimes cannot be ruled out. And though forewarning would help, there is no way of forestalling. Humans have huge powers over the planet. But they cannot stop a volcano whose time has come.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Where was God in the Armenian 'Genocide' by Ottoman Turks?

Armenia became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion, around 301 AD, becoming the first Christian nation.

The Armenian Church has canonised the 1.5 million people it says were killed
Commemorations are due to begin in Armenia to mark the centenary of the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.

Tens of thousands are expected to march to a memorial on the outskirts of the capital, Yerevan, to lay flowers.

Later, the presidents of Russia and France will be among foreign leaders attending a ceremony.

Turkey strongly objects to the use of the term genocide to describe the killings and the dispute has soured relations between Turkey and Armenia. Were they ever good?

Turkey argues that there were many deaths on both sides during World War One.

A memorial service will also be held in Turkey on Friday and its prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has said the country will "share the pain" of Armenians.

However, he has reiterated Turkey's stance that the killings were not genocide.

On Thursday the Armenian Church canonised the 1.5 million people it says were killed in the massacres and deportations.

March by Armenians in Jerusalem. 23 April 2015
Armenians around the world, as in Jerusalem, insist the killings were genocide
It said it wanted to proclaim the martyrdom of those who died for their faith and homeland.

After the ceremony, bells tolled in Armenian churches around the world.

Also on Thursday, German President Joachim Gauck described the killings as genocide, on the eve of a debate in the German parliament on the issue. You have to like Gauck, he's a gutsy guy, getting the word genocide out there before parliament could block him.

Earlier this month, Turkey recalled its envoy to the Vatican after Pope Francis also used the word genocide while referring to the killings at a Mass at St Peter's Basilica.

Friday's commemorations will be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and France's President Francois Hollande.

France has been a strong advocate of recognising the killings as genocide and President Hollande has pushed for a law to punish genocide denial.

The issue has strained Franco-Turkish relations.

What happened in 1915?

Hundreds of thousands of Armenians died in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, whose empire was disintegrating.

Many of the victims were civilians deported to barren desert regions where they died of starvation and thirst. Thousands also died in massacres.

Armenia says up to 1.5 million people were killed. Turkey says the number of deaths was much smaller.

Most non-Turkish scholars of the events regard them as genocide - as do more than 20 states, including France, Germany, Canada and Russia, and various international bodies including the European Parliament.

Turkey rejects the term genocide, maintaining that many of the dead were killed in clashes during World War One, and that many ethnic Turks also suffered in the conflict.

From Daily Mail:

“Genocide of the Christians: The blood-soaked depravity exceeded even today’s atrocities by Islamic State – now, 100 years on Turkey faces global disgust at its refusal to admit butchering over a MILLION Armenians

She was in bed when the soldiers came in the middle of the night and dragged her father out of the family home in Diyarbakir, a city in eastern Turkey.

The last thing little Aghavni (her name means ‘dove’ in her native Armenian) heard as she cowered in her room was his shout of defiance: I was born a Christian and I will die a Christian.’

Not until first light did Aghavni dare to creep downstairs on that morning 100 years ago. ‘I saw an object sticking through the front door,’ she later remembered. ‘I pushed it open and there lay two horseshoes nailed to two feet.

‘My eyes followed up to the blood-covered ankles, the disjointed knees, the mound of blood where the genitals had been, to a long laceration through the abdomen to the chest.

‘I came to the hands, which were nailed horizontally on a board with big spikes of iron, like a cross. The shoulders were remarkably clean and white, but there was no head.

‘This was lying on the steps, propped up by the nose. I recognised the neatly trimmed beard along the cheekbones. It was my father.’

The year was 1915. In the sprawling, beleaguered Ottoman Empire — an ally of the German Kaiser in the world war that had engulfed Europe and parts of Asia for nine months — the ruling Turks had turned their hatred on the 2 million men, women and children of Armenian extraction who lived within their borders.

The Armenians — who lived on the eastern edge of the empire ruled from Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) — were Christians and had been since the year 301, making theirs the first nation officially to adopt Christianity, even before Rome.

But here, among the Islamic Turks, they had long been second-class citizens, a persecuted minority. Now, as power in the land was seized by a junta of nationalist officers known as the Young Turks, persecution turned to unbridled savagery.

Over the next six months, there was to be a systematic uprooting and slaughter of perhaps as many as 1.5 million Armenians — on the grounds that they were infidels, racially inferior ‘dogs’ and traitors who were siding with Russia against Turkey.

Those who weren’t put to death on the spot, their faith cruelly mocked — such as Aghavni’s father, a mild-mannered, cultivated spice merchant who spoke five languages — were hounded in columns, eastwards, into the deserts of Syria and Iraq to die.

Their remains are long turned to dust, but the controversy that surrounds those terrible events is as alive as ever.

There is a great lessen to be learned here by Islam, if it were capable of learning. The slaughter of Christians by the Ottomans was followed almost immediately by God's raising up Ataturk to overthrow the Ottomans and turn Turkey's government into a largely secular organism. It remained such until the current president Erdogan began slowly reverting to a Muslim government. 

This is not a good thing for anyone. Neither Erdogan, nor any significant Muslim leader can see God's hand in that timing. But they will see it again, soon.

House of Commons Prayer Could be in Violation of Charter

Canada's House of Commons prayer under attack

It was inevitable after the Supreme Court ruled Saguenay City Council's Catholic prayer was inappropriate, that godless twits would go after prayer in the House.
Speaker Andrew Scheer reads prayer in House
CBC News 
A House of Commons prayer that begins with "Almighty God" is under scrutiny following the Supreme Court decision that a municipal council in Quebec cannot open meetings with a Catholic prayer.

The prayer is read by the Speaker of the House ahead of each sitting before the doors are opened to the public. Parliament's website says that the Speaker, MPs and table officers must stand during the prayer, which is followed by a moment of silence.

Though usually a closed-door affair, the prayer was televised on Oct. 23, 2014 — the day after the shooting at the National War Memorial and inside Parliament's Centre Block.

The prayer reads:

Almighty God, we give thanks for the great blessings which have been bestowed on Canada and its citizens, including the gifts of freedom, opportunity and peace that we enjoy. We pray for our sovereign, Queen Elizabeth, and the Governor General. Guide us in our deliberations as members of Parliament, and strengthen us in our awareness of our duties and responsibilities as members. Grant us wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to preserve the blessings of this country for the benefit of all and to make good laws and wise decisions. Amen.

Opposition House leader Peter Julian is looking into whether the decision applies in the House of Commons, which is protected by parliamentary privilege, said NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.

"If there a place where we need to show we fully respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it's here in Parliament," he said.

The prayer has been part of the daily House proceedings since 1877 and was codified in standing orders in 1927, said Heather Bradley, director of communications for the office of the Speaker.

Speaker Andrew Scheer "has no intention of changing this," but standing orders can be amended by the House, Bradley said.

'It's a moment of solemn reflection'   

Justice Minister Peter MacKay said he believes the prayer is "as inclusive as possible." But he said the prayer could be reviewed by the Board of Internal Economy, which is the governing body of the House of Commons.

"I'm personally comfortable with the way it is. The wording, the presentation, is done in such a way that it is to recognize all faiths. And even if a person is agnostic, it calls for a moment of silence and contemplation," he said.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said he is pleased that there are discussions underway about whether or not the prayer should be changed.

"It's important to respect the Supreme Court's ruling and to defend the rights of individuals," he said. "I hope — and I am certain — that we will be able to find a way to proceed. For me, like many others, it's a moment of solemn reflection."

It was Justin Trudeau's father, Pierre, who pushed through the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It's a good charter, although it was obvious from the start that freedom of religion would eventually suffer for it. It was Pierre who put the law above God and it may be his son who kicks God out of Parliament. If you think kicking God around like that will be without consequences, you have a rude awakening coming. What happens when God removes His protection from a country? I don't know, but I think we will find out, and I don't think it will be pretty.

Mulcair said that he enjoyed the moment of silence observed in Quebec's National Assembly. And that's all that's important - whether or not you enjoy that moment. Tsk.

"It's a solemn moment at the beginning of each session. Those who want to pray are free to pray, but it's not imposed," he said.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson replaced the prayer at the beginning of city council meetings with a moment of reflection after the Supreme Court ruled the state must remain neutral in matters of religion on April 15. Wimp!