Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Royal Society In Trouble Over False Extinction Claim Paper

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

From Dr. Benny Peiser at The GWPF

Royal_Society_350_logo_400x175[1]

Obama’s Former Science Official: ‘Climate Science Is Not Settled’

It was presented as shocking evidence of the damage being done by climate change: a species driven to extinction because of a decline in rainfall in its only habitat. Now the “rediscovery” of a species of snail is prompting questions about the role played by the Royal Society, Britain’s most prestigious scientific institution, in raising false alarm over an impact of climate change. –Ben Webster, The Times, 20 September 2014

The Royal Society journal refused to publish the rebuttal, saying it had been “rejected following full peer review”. The journal sent Mr Hambler the reviews of the rebuttal by two anonymous academic referees, who had rejected the criticisms made of Mr Gerlach’s paper. However, the Royal Society admitted this week, after questions from The Times, that the referees who had rejected the rebuttal…

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Filed under: bias, corruption, elitism, environment, false, fraud, global warming, ideology, indoctrination, pandering, propaganda, public policy, scandal, science

LZ Granderson doesn’t mind when some presidents lie

December 2, 2013 by Matt Hadro

On CNN Sunday evening, liberal ESPN columnist LZ Granderson justified the President’s repeated lie about ObamaCare, claiming that Americans knew he did it for their own good.

“And, time and time again, Americans have said we can deal with the lies that President Obama tells us because we believe in his heart, he has the best interest for the American people,” Granderson claimed. He also accused Peggy Noonan of whitewashing the “atrocities” of the Reagan administration.

http://www.mrctv.org/embed/124327

“Peggy Noonan has made a living scrubbing clean President Reagan’s administration and all the atrocities that it’s committed,” Granderson responded to Noonan’s criticism of President Obama’s dishonesty.

However, Granderson said the public can “live with” Obama’s lie: “Every president is going to lie to you. Every politician is going to lie to you. The question is, which lies can you live with?”

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on CNN Newsroom on December 1 at 6:24 p.m. EST:

[6:24]

ROSA FLORES: So, L.Z., let’s start with you. Let’s say the reboot works. Has all the damage already been done or can the improved technology make up for that disastrous roll out that we all watched?

LZ GRANDERSON, CNN commentator: Well, it would help Americans forgive but we will never forget. Republicans certainly won’t allow Americans to forget because we head into 2014 for the midterm elections. But let’s get one thing clear. It’s not – this is going to help some Americans. We’re talking tens of millions of Americans that needed health care, not just for themselves and for their family members, but for the American economy. This rise in health care cost has drastically hurt the American economy. And we haven’t spent enough time talking about that impact and the American Care Act to help address that need, as well as the individuals needing insurance.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN commentator: I agree with you on one thing. The rising costs are killing people, and for some of them, literally. The problem is, Obamacare, and the Affordable Care Act has done just that. We have seen people that their premiums skyrocketed under Obamacare. So, yeah, they can get the Web site working. Yet this morning on New Day, we saw the Web site was not working. There was an error page yet again when even we at CNN here tried to get it to work this morning on New Day and they couldn’t get it to finish all the way up. So, that’s your biggest issue is that.

But then you go back to the second part and that is, the Affordable Care Act is showing people prices that they don’t like, that they thought were going to be cheaper. And, in fact, they are not cheaper and that’s where the President I think is going to have a really big problem in the midterms as he promised affordable care and it’s not affordable for a lot of Americans who are seeing sticker shock when they go online.

FLORES: So, let’s talk about the trust issue here, because the Latest CNN/ORC poll revealed that a majority of Americans now say President Obama is not trustworthy. 46 percent say that he can be trusted. So, obviously, it’s a problem when a majority of the Americans believe their president can’t be trusted. And most people say it’s a direct result of his broken pledge — the pledge we all heard that people who like their doctor or their insurance plan can keep them. Now, here is how conservative columnist Peggy Noonan put it this morning on ABC. Take a listen.

(Video Clip)

PEGGY NOONAN, Wall Street Journal columnist: The American people look at the President and they think, he’s no dummy, he is a really smart guy. And because he is a smart guy, they think – well, that means he deliberately misled us to get his program through. People don’t like that. That is another reputation changer, and I think that’s problematic for the President going forward.

(End Video Clip)

FLORES: So, L.Z., is Peggy Noonan right?

GRANDERSON: You know, Peggy Noonan has made a living scrubbing clean President Reagan’s administration and all the atrocities that it’s committed. So, with that being said, I don’t think that history –

FERGUSON: What does that have to do with this?

GRANDERSON: Well, what I’m saying is, is that she is pretending as if once an error has happened, it’s forever going to trail a president. And that just isn’t true. And she is living proof of that with scrubbing clean President Reagan’s reputation.

Now with President Obama, it is true. He should have been more forthright with how the Affordable Care Act was going to impact the country. But with that being said, all Americans know politicians lie. The question is, which lies can you live with? And, time and time again, Americans have said we can deal with the lies that President Obama tells us because we believe in his heart, he has the best interest for the American people. Every president is going to lie to you. Every politician is going to lie to you. The question is, which lies can you live with?

FERGUSON: L.Z., I think it is really sad that we’re sitting here having this debate. And you’re – at least you are willing to admit that the President lied to the American people. The problem is he lied to the American people –

GRANDERSON: Every president does.

FERGUSON: Let me finish, let me finish. He lied to the American people to sell them his signature plan and he lied to them about saying it was personal. This is not about “read my lips, no new taxes.” This is “You can keep your doctor if you like your doctor. You can keep your plan if you like your plan.” When it comes to health care, you’re the ones that sold the American people on this issue of it is important, it is a trust issue, this is something that is incredibly important to seniors and we’re not going to mess with the system if you like it.

GRANDERSON: Forty million people.

FERGUSON: And the president lied to people. And he is smart enough and the American people know he’s smart, and they know he lied to them and I think this is one of those unforgivable lies when you tell someone they can keep their doctor and you knew you were lying to them and now they can’t keep their doctor.

FLORES: Ben and L.Z., I think one thing –

GRANDERSON: I don’t know how much –

FLORES: – is definitely certain, and that is the debate will continue. Thank you so much for spending the time with us today. And I am sure you both will be back.

original article: CNN Pundit Shrugs Off Obama’s Lie: ‘Every President Is Going to Lie to You’

bias, corruption, Democrats, government, health care, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, lies, nanny state, news media, pandering, political correctness, politics, president, propaganda, public policy, reform, relativism, scandal

Filed under: bias, corruption, Democrats, government, health care, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, lies, nanny state, news media, pandering, political correctness, politics, president, propaganda, public policy, reform, relativism, scandal

Muslim kills New Jersey teenager, no media outrage

You recognize the names Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. But you probably don’t know the name Brendan Telvin. Here is an opportunity for more racial strife, but where are the media and other race baiters?

August 21, 2014 by Meg Wagner

Ali Muhammad Brown is accused of killing a 19-year-old in New Jersey and three men in Washington State. According to court documents, the 29-year-old claimed he wanted to kill the teen as an act of ‘vengeance’ to retaliate for U.S. military action in the Middle East.

Ali Muhammad Brown, accused of killing four men in two states, said he killed a New Jersey teen to make up for innocent lives lost in the Middle East, documents show.
FRANCES MICKLOW/APAli Muhammad Brown, accused of killing four men in two states, said he killed a New Jersey teen to make up for innocent lives lost in the Middle East, documents show.

The shooter accused of gunning down at least four men in two states said he murdered a New Jersey teenager as revenge for Muslims killed overseas.

According to court documents, Ali Muhammad Brown described his June murder of 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin as a “just kill” and said it was an act of “vengeance” meant to compensate for U.S. military killings in the Middle East.

In addition to Tevlin’s murder, Brown has been charged will fatally shooting three men in Seattle. All four men were gunned down in remote areas late at night, NJ.com reported.

He is currently held in Newark, but he may be extradited to Washington state.

Brown is a devout Muslim opposed to U.S. intervention overseas, especially Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Iran, prosecutors said.

“All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life,” he told investigators, according to the documents.

Police investigate the scene after Brendan Tevlin, a 19-year-old college student, was found shot to death in his SUV in West Orange.
NBC 4 NEW YORKPolice investigate the scene after Brendan Tevlin, a 19-year-old college student, was found shot to death in his SUV in West Orange.

Brown further justified killing Tevlin by claiming the shooting was a “just kill,” meaning he targeted an adult man and did not put any women, children or elderly people in danger.

In police interviews, Brown described the U.S.’s military campaign in the Middle East as evil and said if a “man sees evil, then he must take action against that evil,” the court papers show.

Police maintained that the June 25 shooting started as a robbery.

Officers said Brown fired 10 shots into Tevlin’s Jeep Liberty when it was stopped at intersection early in the morning in West Orange, N.J. Then he got into the 19-year-old’s car and drove it to a nearby apartment complex to abandon it

Two co-defendants, Eric Williams and Jeremy Villagran, fled the scene of the shooting before Brown took off in the Jeep, police said.

Police said Tevlin was killed when Brown fired 10 rounds into the teen's car.
BRENDAN TEVLIN VIA TWITTERPolice said Tevlin was killed when Brown fired 10 rounds into the teen’s car.

Brown was linked to the New Jersey shooting after police identified the weapon used as the same one used in several Seattle killings.

Police in Seattle said Brown shot and killed 30-year-old Leroy Henderson in April on a state road outside of the city. Investigators said Brown had no relationship to his alleged victim and the crime was likely motivated by robbery, drugs or crime.

Brown also allegedly gunned down Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young in June after meeting them at a Seattle nightclub.

The alleged summer shooting spree is not the 29-year-old’s first run in with police.

Brown was arrested in 2004 for his part in a massive Seattle bank fraud scheme, the New Jersey newspaper reported. Police originally thought the accused crime ring shipped stolen money overseas to terrorists, but that claim was never backed up with evidence.

original article: Suspect says he murdered New Jersey teen as revenge for U.S. military killings in Middle East: police

abuse, criminal, diversity, extremism, hate crime, ideology, islam, religion, terrorism

Filed under: abuse, criminal, diversity, extremism, hate crime, ideology, islam, religion, terrorism

INSURERS BREAKING OBAMACARE ABORTION RULE

September 15, 2014 by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR

WASHINGTON (AP) — A nonpartisan congressional agency is raising new questions about compliance with a key compromise on abortion that allowed the federal health care law to pass in 2010.

The Government Accountability Office said in a report released late Monday that only 1 of 18 insurers it reviewed was separately itemizing a charge for coverage of elective abortions on enrollees’ bills.

That detail is important because the original compromise that President Barack Obama sealed with anti-abortion Democrats stipulated that no federal funds would be used to pay for elective abortions. Instead, private health plans covering the procedure would collect a separate premium, which would be segregated from federal subsidies for other medical services.

Although abortion is a legal medical procedure, longstanding federal laws prohibit taxpayer funds from being used to pay for it, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

The new GAO review did not address the fundamental question of whether federal subsidies under the health law are being used for elective abortions, but abortion opponents said the findings underscore their view that the compromise is an accounting gimmick.

In a written response, the Health and Human Services Department said it “acknowledges that additional clarification may be needed” when it comes to the health law’s provisions on abortions.

The report also found that some insurers were unaware of a requirement in the law that they notify policyholders if they cover elective abortions. Abortion opponents have complained that it’s very difficult for average consumers to determine whether or not their plan covers the procedure. Abortion supporters say they would also like clearer information.

Most health plans offered through employers routinely cover abortions. The health care law created new state insurance markets where people who don’t have access to job-based coverage can buy a government-subsidized policy. The flow of taxpayer dollars to insurers in the new exchanges created another battleground for opponents and supporters of abortion.

The compromise on abortion allowed Obama to secure votes from a small group of Democratic lawmakers who traditionally voted in favor of restrictions on abortion funding. Their support was critical in the face of overwhelming Republican opposition to the legislation.

The GAO report focused on 27 states, plus Washington, D.C., that do not have laws restricting access to elective abortions in the new health insurance markets. Another 23 states restrict or bar coverage.

The GAO found that 1,036 plans in these 27 states covered elective abortions, while 1,062 did not.

The 18 insurers that the agency reviewed accounted for nearly one-fourth of the plans that covered abortion. Each insurer offered multiple plans. None of the companies or plans were identified in the report.

All but one of the insurers said the cost of providing abortion coverage averaged out to less than $1 a month across their entire group of policyholders. In some cases it was as low as 10 cents a month.

The one insurer that itemized the abortion coverage charge on its monthly bill said it describes it as being “for coverage of services for which member subsidies may not be used.”

The report was released by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

original article: NEW QUESTIONS OVER ABORTION COVERAGE IN HEALTH LAW

abortion, babies, bureaucracy, corruption, criminal, ethics, funding, government, health care, nanny state, oversight, public policy, regulation, scandal, spending, study

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Imagine anyone telling Palestine to ‘get over’ Israel’s military actions

September 13, 2014 by Kaitlyn Schallhorn

LARAMIE, Wyo. – America “overdoses” on patriotism on September 11, according to an editorial authored by a University of Wyoming student.

Published on the 13-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a student at the University of Wyoming penned an editorial decrying the sense of “pride” Americans showcase on September 11. The student blames suburban families and public schools as being the worst culprits when it comes to patriotism.

“Pride is by far the most common response to the annual reminder of the attacks on our country, and this is the issue,” Jeremy Rowley, a sophomore at the university, wrote. “Suburban families erect their stars and stripes as public schools broadcast cliché images of bald eagles and American landmarks while blaring Lee Greenwood’s ‘Proud to be an American.’”

Instead, Rowley suggested that those who “may not be ready to move on” mourn quietly and humbly.

“Instead of celebrating our country and shunning all those who don’t fit in or agree, we, the United States of America, need to get over it,” he wrote.

Rowley turned the attention in his editorial to social issues, lightly referencing the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the alleged gender pay gap.

“Contrary to popular belief, America is not the best country in the world,” Rowley writes.

“We live in a country where unarmed people of color are shot to death without justification,” Rowley said. “This same country still struggles with paying women a fair wage. All the while, we neglect to give our children an internationally competitive education. The list of injustices goes on and on, and yet we band together and celebrate our country at a time when pride is the least justifiable reaction.”

A university spokesperson confirmed the author of the editorial is a student at the school. The University of Wyoming declined to comment on the editorial.

The university’s calendar listed one event—a “ 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance”—scheduled for Thursday evening at War Memorial Stadium.

Rowley did not return Campus Reform’s request for comment by press time.

original article: University paper publishes 9/11 editorial, claims USA needs to ‘get over’ terrorist attacks

bias, culture, education, extremism, government, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, propaganda, racism, reform, relativism, scandal

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Webcast: Common Core: The Government’s Classroom

If you missed last night’s webcast hosted by Family Research Council the archive is up.

Guests included Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Dr. Sandra Stotsky of the University of Arkansas; Jane Robbins, Esq. of the American Principles Project; Dr. Neal McCluskey of the CATO Institute; and Will Estrada, Esq. of the Home School Legal Defense Association. FRC President Tony Perkins and FRC Fellow Sarah Perry hosted the webcast.

watch the video: Common Core: The Government’s Classroom Webcast

bureaucracy, corruption, education, funding, government, ideology, nanny state, philosophy, politics, public policy, reform, spending

Filed under: bureaucracy, corruption, education, funding, government, ideology, nanny state, philosophy, politics, public policy, reform, spending

How to rig news coverage and a lawsuit at the same time

September 4, 2014 by Mike Ciandella

In 2011, Steven Donziger, an activist lawyer won a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Chevron environmental damage in Ecuador. But a U.S. district court ruled it a “fraud” in 2014, once it was apparent that Donziger’s own case was polluted and the award “obtained by corrupt means.”

Now, new evidence released as part of Chevron’s counter-suit reveals that not only did Donziger unethically win his court case in Ecuador, but the Vanity Fair reporter who ran a hit job on Chevron had worked closely with Donziger to make sure that the “facts” favored his position.

A recent Miami Herald op-ed by journalist Glenn Garvin declared that the actions of the Vanity Fair reporter responsible for writing a long story about the case four years into the anti-Chevron lawsuit showed the “seamy side of journalism.”

The Vanity Fair story wasn’t written by some intern or new hire either. This piece was written by William Langewiesche, an award-winning journalist. A stockpile of emails that Donziger and company were forced to turn over in Chevron’s counter-suit revealed a serious lapse of journalism ethics as Langewiesche and Donziger had emailed back and forth throughout the entire process, with Donziger even approving interview questions before Langewiesche met with other sources like Chevron.

Donziger was also given the freedom to proof the finished story before publication to make sure that it came across as a “paradigm-shifting, breakthrough article” that he acknowledged was “going to change the entire case from here until it ends in a way that is favorable to us.”

“And just in case you’re wondering, Chevron did not get to see the story before it went into print, nor submit lists of questions it wanted Langewiesche to ask Donziger. Nor did Chevron get the face-to-face interviews they asked for. Except for a single phone conversation just before the story appeared, Langewiesche insisted all their communication be via email,” Garvin wrote.

Garvin also noted that published article in Vanity Fair included a $6 billion cost estimate for clean up of environmental damage allegedly caused by Chevron. But the expert who came up with this estimate had apparently “repudiated it a full year before the Vanity Fair story appeared, warning Donziger in a letter that the estimate was based on faulty assumptions and was ‘a ticking time bomb which will come back to bite you, and very badly, if anyone attempts due diligence on it.’”

Unfortunately, for the company under attack and the public who deserve to watch and read accurate reporting, Vanity Fair wasn’t the only media outlet to promote Donziger’s case. Scott Pelley reported from Ecuador in a 2009 episode of CBS’ “60 Minutes” that was  heavily weighted against Chevron. That 2009 story made attorney Steven Donziger look like a hero helping Ecuadorean tribal people go up against the big, bad oil company.

ABC, CBS and NBC all ignored Chevron’s court victory on March 4, 2014. CBS’s omission on “Evening News with Scott Pelley” was the most egregious, since that network was responsible for a lengthy anti-Chevron hit job on the legal battle.

But more and more media outlets are recognizing the “obvious hanky-panky” Donziger used to win his Ecuadorean lawsuit. The Miami Herald wasn’t alone in pointing to huge flaws in the case, which included video footage of an Ecuadorean judge saying how he would rule in the case before all the evidence was in. Bloomberg Businessweek reported the huge legal victory for Chevron in March, and even The New York Times wrote about a “bizarre twist” in the oil company’s favor in 2013.

In the book “Crude Awakening,” released on Aug. 20, 2014, Michael D. Goldhaber examined some of Donziger’s underhanded tactics. Goldhaber’s book included testimony of locals from the allegedly affected region in Ecuador, experts in the field and relatives of people who appeared in the documentary.

He even quoted Judith Kimberling, an environmental activist who wrote an expose in 1991 about Texaco polluting the rain forest — obviously no friend of Chevron — who worried that blatant inaccuracies in Donziger’s case might hurt other environmental fights against Chevron. “You can win with the truth,” Kimberling said. “You risk discrediting the communities you claim to defend when you try to win based on a lie.

These arguments will also be discussed in “Law of the Jungle: The $19 Billion Legal Battle Over Oil in the Rain Forest and the Lawyer Who’d Stop at Nothing to Win” by Paul M. Barrett, which is set to be released on Sept. 23, 2014.


Donziger’s lawsuit against Chevron stemmed from the oil company’s purchase of Texaco, because Texaco had been a minority partner with PetroEcuador producing oil in the Lago Agrio fields in Ecuador. In 1998, the government of Ecuador released Texpet (Texaco) from future clean up obligations after it cleaned up more than 100 sites. In 2011, Chevron lost a $19 billion dollar lawsuit in Ecuador filed by Donziger. But in 2014, Chevron won a civil racketeering lawsuit against Donziger that accused him of conspiracy.

original article: Vanity Fair Used Polluted Journalism Against Chevron in Ecuador Story

bias, corruption, environment, ethics, false, fraud, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, lies, litigation, news media, oversight, pandering, propaganda, scandal

Filed under: bias, corruption, environment, ethics, false, fraud, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, lies, litigation, news media, oversight, pandering, propaganda, scandal

When helping hurts

What has a half century of government welfare done for the black community? Yes, we’ve been told government programs comprising the social safety net are meant to help people. But why is it, with the profession of “good intentions”, do we stop looking at things critically? Why are so many so eager to accept the good intentions and not look any further? Let us not approach anything in the political realm with static thinking, since that is not how independent thought works.

Politics is a constant battle. It’s primary operation involves two things: (1) peddling influence and (2) spending other people’s money. In this battle, one of the greatest weapons all politicians share is making the world of politics so ugly and revolting that ordinary people avoid it. In doing so, the politicians can do anything they want in the open and only selective shenanigans are brought to light.

Another vital weapon in modern politics is a compliant press. The myth of the objective journalist breeds agenda driven narratives. We all tend to keep informed by those news sources which confirm our view. Most people, whether they realize it, fall into one of two major camps. Both sides accuse the other of bias, dishonesty, mal intent, and other evils. In this way we are constantly distracted with just enough scandals to keep our attention off the big picture. We allow ourselves to get lost in controversies and accusations while the landscape changes around us.

But an honest look at the results of public policies can clarify things, if we are willing to look. A welfare system ostensibly meant to help does not seem to be designed to help. It seems to be designed to keep poor people in poverty. So tell me, black community, are you better off after half a century of government welfare?

bias, corruption, culture, Democrats, economy, education, entitlements, government, ideology, liberalism, nanny state, news media, oppression, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, politics, poverty, propaganda, public policy, unintended consequences, video

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Boston bombers’ mosque tied to ISIS

September 7, 2014 by Paul Sperry

When it was revealed that the Boston Marathon bombers attended a Cambridge, Mass., mosque, its leaders were quick to disavow their actions.

Elder brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s ideology was not their own, the leaders of the Islamic Society mosque claimed. In fact, he was admonished for an extremist outburst he made during one sermon.

So, one crackpot in a congregation. Who can blame the mosque?

But what about eight — including a prominent member of ISIS?

As it turns out, worshippers at the Islamic Society have included:

  •  Abdurahman Alamoudi, the mosque’s founder and first president who in 2004 was sentenced to 23 years in prison for plotting terrorism. In 2005, the Treasury Department issued a statement saying Alamoudi raised money for al Qaeda in the US.
  •  Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT scientist-turned-al Qaeda agent, who in 2010 was sentenced to 86 years in prison for planning a New York chemical attack. Known as “Lady al Qaeda,” she is related to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. ISIS has tried to trade her release for journalist hostages.
  •  Tarek Mehanna, who in 2012 got 17 years in prison for conspiring to use automatic weapons to murder shoppers in a suburban Boston mall.
  • Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a mosque trustee and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader banned from the US after issuing a fatwa that called for the killing of US soldiers.
  • Jamal Badawi, another former trustee who in 2007 was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a plan to funnel more than $12 million to Palestinian suicide bombers.

Now it can be revealed that another regular worshipper at the Islamic Society mosque was Ahmad Abousamra, who is now the top propagandist for ISIS.

Abousamra’s father, a prominent doctor, even sat on the board of directors of the Muslim organization that runs the mosque. He stepped down after the FBI began questioning his son.

The FBI suspects Abousamra now operates ISIS’s sophisticated media wing promoting the group’s beheadings and other atrocities through slick videos posted on the Internet. The brutally effective English-language propaganda campaign has helped attract thousands of Western jihadists, including at least 300 Americans.

The FBI says Abousamra, 32, traveled to Pakistan and Yemen to train to kill Americans while enrolled at Boston colleges. He justified murdering civilians because “they paid taxes to support the government and were kufar [nonbelievers],” Boston FBI Agent Andrew Nambu testified in an affidavit.

Another agent, Heidi Williams, says Abousamra, who has a $50,000 bounty on his head, was inspired by the 9/11 attacks and, in fact, “celebrated it.”

A federal indictment says he even plotted to randomly gun down shoppers, then emergency responders, in a Boston mall. But when he couldn’t obtain the automatic weapons for the attack, he abandoned the plan and moved to Syria where he could enter Iraq and kill US soldiers as part of “violent jihad.”

Where did he learn his views about Islam and jihad?

The Islamic Society insists it’s moderate — that these extremists were fed by online forums. But Charles Jacobs, head of Boston’s Americans for Peace and Tolerance, says the mosque has hosted pro-jihad speakers and has stocked its library with classic jihadi texts — including writings by Osama bin Laden mentor Syed Qutb.

And Islamic Society leaders have openly defended their worshippers convicted of terrorism — including Siddiqui and Mehanna — despite overwhelming evidence against them. At their hearings and trials, officials have sought their release or lenient sentences. They have also held fund-raisers and rallies for the terrorists.

Recently, investigators found a mosque prayer card for Mehanna tucked in a Russian dictionary in Tsarnaev’s Cambridge apartment.

Abousamra’s father, Dr. Abdulbadi Abousamra, was president of the Islamic Center of New England mosques until 2007, when he moved to Detroit. The FBI began questioning his son a year earlier. As mosque president, internal documents show, Dr. Abousamra hired Hafiz Masood, brother of a known Pakistani terrorist, to be the imam of a mosque in Sharon, Mass., which his son also attended.

Dr. Abousamra, now chief of endocrinology at Wayne State University in Detroit, did not return e-mails and phone calls seeking comment.

As for the Islamic Society, it insists it isn’t preaching hate.

But how many terrorists does it take before people are convinced it isn’t a coincidence?

Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

original article: Boston bombers’ mosque tied to ISIS

culture, extremism, islam, philosophy, religion, terrorism

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Checking On My Privilege (do you really understand justice?)

August 4, 2014 by Peter Johnson

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of commentaries on the issue of social justice—what it is, and how Christians can advocate for it based on the Gospel and natural law. Read the first one here.

This is a retort I am seeing in social media debates that center on social justice issues: “Check your privilege.” I am not sure what this means—and maybe this is because I am from a mostly privileged background.

It seems that if one doesn’t have a deep appreciation for the abiding institutional oppression that undergirds all modern life, then it is assumed that one is either willfully ignorant or simply blinded by the sort of privilege that is sustained by said institutional oppression. Professing a profound concern about injustice, structural inequalities, and human rights is en vogue nowadays and academia has wholly embraced Postmodernism, teaching droves of young people to look at western culture through a lens of structural oppression.

I know this because I was one of those young people. At NYU, I was taught by the brightest minds in academia about Postmodern theory. So I suppose this gives me some rudimentary understanding of oppression—even if it isn’t so much first hand.

My Postmodern education taught me, at the very least, to know what I don’t know. Sure I may have lived in Africa and South America for a few years doing international development work, but Postmodern thinking has taught me that as a white-male-American, I am unable to truly understand oppression the way the oppressed do. Maybe I can sympathize with the oppressed, but I can never empathize: Empathy implies some essential understanding of oppression and, as a white-male-American, I can never truly understand it. I should aspire to only sympathize (or feel sorry for) those who are oppressed—at least this is the argument that I often see being made in popular culture.

In contrast, the new film series, For the Life of the World (FLOW), makes the case that even for society’s privileged class, empathy is not only possible—but that it is essential—for the realization of true justice. Produced by a team of theologians from the think tank where I work (the Acton Institute), FLOW could well be described as a Christian guide to engagement in Postmodern culture.

Using a hockey match that has devolved into fistfights as a metaphor for an unjust and broken world, Dr. Anthony Bradley, an Associate Professor of Theology at King’s College in New York City, has been cast in the role of a referee who must restore order. Bradley expounds on his role as referee and then makes a startling revelation about why there is so much injustice and hurt in the world. Bradley says we are missing one thing:

“Hospitality: The reason why there is still so much pain and dependency in our world, I’m sorry to suggest, is because of us, the Church. In this, we’ve abandoned our call to hospitality. One of the most ancient Christian virtues: True hospitality. And I’m talking about opening your door to the stranger.”

The suggestion that the Church has abandoned its calling to hospitality was demonstrated by my own church only a few Sundays ago. From the pulpit, the pastor exhorted the congregation to sign letters that had been prepared for us in the church narthex. We were told that the letters were part of a campaign designed to “end hunger forever.”

Curious (and I admit it: doubtful) about how the Church was going to end hunger through a letter-writing campaign, I asked for a copy of the prewritten letter. It was written by an organization called Bread for the World, which lobbies Congress for an end to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement. Wanting to learn more, I visited the Bread for the World website, which is written in the tone of so many “Christian” lobbying organizations: It manages to patronize even as it panders. The tone is that of a Postmodern thinker who believes that privileged Presbyterians will never truly understand hunger issues from their comfortable, bourgeois lives. Perhaps this is why the letters are prewritten: Privileged folks could never write such a letter on their own.

This example, though egregious, points to a larger trend I’ve started to see at least in my own church: the tendency to focus on the macro, the institutional, rather than the micro, the individual. In thePresbyterian Church (USA), this institutional activism can be seen in the way it has spent the last 50 years debating, ad nauseum, its investment policy. Just a month ago, the Presbyterian Church (USA) divested from a handful of companies who “provided material support” to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. This is just the most recent decision in a long history of divestment activism: tobacco and gambling companies in the Sixties, arms and munitions companies in the Seventies, companies working in segregated South Africa in the Eighties.

I don’t mean to argue that this sort of prudent investing isn’t important. It is. But my worry is that the Presbyterian Church (USA) has taken to heart the notion that the charge “check your privilege” is supposed to invoke: The idea that those with privilege can never truly be in communion with those who are oppressed. This is in stark contrast to the concept of Christian hospitality. This hospitality is profoundly egalitarian in the sense that Paul writes in his letter to the Hebrews:

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

More succinctly, Pope Benedict wrote this: “Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give to others much more than their outward necessities; I can give them the look of love which they crave.” In one short sentence, the former Pope formulates what sets Christian justice apart from Postmodern justice: Postmodern justice is transactional and works toward recompense; Christian justice is relational and works toward redemption.

original article: Checking On My Privilege

christian, conservative, culture, ideology, justice, philosophy, religion, right wing

Filed under: christian, conservative, culture, ideology, justice, philosophy, religion, right wing

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