Monthly Archives: January 2013

Barack Hussein Obama and the Isra of Muhammad

Here is Part 5 of the series, Zero-Sum Historiography: The Palestinian Assault upon History. Reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of the series. This is an important series as Palestine and the myths and misunderstandings around it propagated by the mainstream media (MSM) and the Western intelligentsia (to use an oxymoron) are rampant.

Barack Hussein Obama’s relation to Islam

This is (at least for the time being) the last of a series of essays on the topic of Muhammad’s teaching about History. This essay is intended to take us to where the rubber hits the road – that is, to where we can surely see the effect in current world politics of this uniquely mischievous and devious historiography.

I begin with a word of caution to anyone intending to research and/or hoping to publish anything about Barack Hussein Obama’s relationship to Islam. The presumption in leading opinion circles is that merely raising such a question – Is Barack Hussein Obama really a Muslim? Is he truly a Christian? — exposes a spirit of bigotry. It pegs you at once as a right-wing fundamentalist. The only scholar of first-rate reputation whom I have found walking  up to, instead of walking away from,  this live-wire theme is Daniel Pipes, an intellectually brilliant, roundly-certified academic scholar of Middle East History (with special reference to Islam), President of the Middle East Forum, Editor of the Middle East  Quarterly Journal, and the leading light behind the website http://www.danielpipes.org/. Pipes has offered a number of brief essays on this theme, beginning in 2007, but his findings are updated and effectively summarized in a three –part essay published in the Washington Times  in September, 2012. [Daniel Pipes, “Obama’s Muslim Childhood”http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/NewBeginning/transcripts] while focusing on the brief passages that provide testimony to the theology that guides Barack Obama.

Socialism: An American Scenario II

This post is based on the part 3 video (24:40 minutes) from McAlvany Wealth Management titled The Fuse is Lit Pt. 3: An American Reckoning. They are an investment firm and the later part of the video discusses investment, something that the reader may or may not find useful. Here’s the video and our notes and commentary follow:

Flash Point: The Sustainability of Unsustainability

We have been reading as of late of things that are “unsustainable”. For example, from Zero Hedge today, Student Loan Bubble Update: “This Situation Is Simply Unsustainable”. This is the era of unsuitability. Virtually ever country in the developed world is running deficits that are unsustainable. Their debt levels are unsustainable when the rate of growth is considered and the implications of rising interest rates. Growth in entitlement benefits is unsustainable. And on and on. We leave it as an exercise for the reader to find two examples today in which the word is used.

We have seen the word used so much we have become anesthetized to it. Correctly used, unsustainable means things can’t go on as they are. Things will end. Instead, our reaction has become “things are lookin’ kind o’ bad” or “yeah, we better fix that someday”. Or, in the words of Thelma (Geena Davis) in the movie Thelma and Louise, driving full speed toward the rim of the Grand Canyon,”Let’s keep goin’.”

 

Muhammad the Historian

Here is Part 4 of the series, Zero-Sum Historiography: The Palestinian Assault upon History. Reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of the series. This is an important series as Palestine and the myths and misunderstandings around it propagated by the mainstream media (MSM) and the Western intelligentsia (to use an oxymoron) are rampant.

History and Anti-History

In my previous essay, “The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem,” I considered the anti-historical motivations that govern the ruminations of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, about what might be called the Pre-History of Jerusalem. In the last lines of that essay, I refer regretfully to the disposition among the leaders of our churches to acquiesce, out of an imagined spirit of goodwill, in Islam’s anti-historical spirit. This habit of mind reflects the growing tendency in our culture to surrender the distinction between fact and fantasy.

Flash Point: Hmmm … EROEI?

This will be a short post to capture an idea that is intriguing but requires some thought. Posted on Zero Hedge by Dr. Tim Morgan of Tullet Prebon, The End Of An Era examines certain trends leading us to economic disaster. He writes:

This report explains that this acceleration towards ever-greater immediacy has blinded society to a series of fundamental economic trends which, if not anticipated and tackled well in advance, could have devastating effects. The relentless shortening of media, social and political horizons has resulted in the establishment of self-destructive economic patterns which now threaten to undermine economic viability. We date the acceleration in short-termism to the early 1980s.

The emphasized phrase is an idea we have often used in conversation – nice to see it validated. Another ide we are familiar with:

there has been a relentless shift to immediate consumption as part of something that has been called a “cult of self-worship”. The pursuit of instant gratification has resulted in the accumulation of debt on an unprecedented scale.

He identifies four underlying trends:

  1. the madness of crowds
  2. the globalisation disaster
  3. an exercise in self-delusion
  4. the growth dynamo winds down

It is the fourth point that was new to us and grabbed our attention:

In modern societies, manufacturing, services, minerals, food and even water are functions of the availability of energy. The critical equation here is not the absolute quantity of energy available but, rather, the difference between energy extracted and energy consumed in the extraction process. This is measured by the mathematical equation EROEI (energy return on energy invested).

The path we are on has this characteristic:

Research suggests that the global average EROEI, having fallen from about 40:1 in 1990 to 17:1 in 2010, may decline to just 11:1 by 2020, at which point energy will be about 50% more expensive, in real terms, than it is today, a metric which will carry through directly into the cost of almost everything else – including food.

This is not a future that standard monetary or fiscal policy will be able to touch. It is based on the real state of energy production for which there are no easy solutions if solutions at all, and certainly not in time-frames that society has become adapted to as mentioned in the beginning of this post. As we mentionned, this post is a teaser, a place holder while we dwell upon this at length.

Socialism: An American Scenario I

This essay is based on the promotional video from Porter Stansberry shown below. We warn the reader it is long – we didn’t time it and it doesn’t display its length – and is structured to sell a newsletter subscription. Some readers might find the newsletter beneficial but our intent is to examine the primary scenario, one of a wealth-driven radical increase in socialist programming in the US. We do not have to accept its basic premises but we can extract some valuable points and observations from it. Here’s the video. We follow it with an extract of what we consider to be key points and then we discuss the points.

How Wonderfully Intelligent Is the Western Intelligentsia

The Western Intelligentsia, which includes the Mainstream Media, totally misread the ‘Arab Spring’, seeing it through their red-coloured glasses as a grassroots drive for democracy. In Egypt we now have an infant democratically elected Muslim theocracy under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood. We’re not sure what the Arab Spring has lead to in Libya. We suspect the primary difference between the current regime and the Gaddafi regime is simply the lack of Gaddafi.

But this gem of insight came across our desk today from Ed Steer’s via his daily email report:

RUSSIA TO WEST: We Told You Not To Overthrow Qaddafi!

On Wednesday Russia blamed Western countries for creating the current turmoil in Africa by arming Libyan rebels, Timothy Heritage and Gabriela Baczynska of Reuters report.

“Those whom the French and Africans are fighting now in Mali are the [same] people who…our Western partners armed so that they would overthrow the Gaddafi regime,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference.

The toppling of Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi led to “perhaps the greatest proliferation of weapons of war from any modern conflict,” Emergency Director of Human Rights Watch Peter Bouckaert told The Telegraph.

This very short story appeared on the businessinsider.com Internet site on Wednesday. It’s certainly worth skimming…and it, too, is courtesy of Roy Stephens. The link is here.

The idea is that by ousting the Gaddafi regime the West inadvertently armed an array of Muslim groups including Al Qaeda, leading to the destabilization of Mali and likely increasing insurgency across all of Northern Africa (witness the Algerian hostage taking).

The US, by overthrowing Saddam Husein and the Sunni ruling class in Iraq, destroyed the metastable relationship between Sunni Iraq and Shiite Iran leading to years of sectarian warfare that flourishes today, long after the US turned tail and ran – much like they are doing in Afghanistan at this time.

In short, Western intervention in Libya has directly lead to the problems in Mali.

World Watch: Keep an Eye on Japan

We have long ago discounted what passes for news in the MSM (Main Stream Media) as being mostly fluff. By all means watch it. It’s all feel-good stuff. Learn how little Betty Jones rescued a chipmunk or how the latest run for something raised $13 for some charity. But of national or global events of import you will get nothing that is not long past its ‘best before’ date if at all. As an experiment, we are going to try identifying one issue every Monday that we think is of major importance and likely to have a major effect on all of us.

So we note today’s article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Revolutionary Japan is suddenly the centre of world affairs, and Zero Hedge yesterday published Japan Warns It May Fire On Chinese Aircraft Over Disputed Islands; China Retorts: “There Will Be No Second Shot”. We have previously noted the Japan/China conflict as an event of concern. It appears it may be escalating. The two countries are already involved in a low-level trade war. This could easily expand into a currency war and ultimately a hot war. In addition, Japan has a number of economic and fiscal issues that pose a threat to the global economy and markets.

In short, Japan we rate as a high probability to be the epicenter of a major global event this year.

Flash Point: Canada, You Suck.

Part of a country’s economic strength is in its foreign reserves. It was with great surprise to find out where Canada ranks in terms of 171 countries. Care to guess? According to Global Finance and using IMF data, Canada ranks 30th behind Thailand (16), Algeria (17), Mexico (18), Libya (the country we just tried to bomb into the stone age) (24), and Turkey (26) among others. In US dollar terms, Canada has $69.8 billion in reserves. For comparison, the Philippines (28) have $78.1 billion. China, ranked number 1, has $2.5 trillion.

As the article notes:

Ample IRs allow a government to manipulate exchange rates—usually to stabilize rates to provide a more favorable economic environment or to purchase its domestic currency to protect the country from a capital crisis provoked by an attack on its currency by speculators.

During economically challenging times, countries whose private capital inflows do not cover their financing needs will often bridge the gap by drastically reducing their trade deficits (through reducing imports [austerity]) or by drawing down IRs. However, other government liquid assets can be applied to liabilities in times of crisis, including sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). If SWFs were included, Norway and the Gulf States would rank higher on the list (the UAE would be second after China) [SWFs are funded primarily by income from oil exports. Canadians on the other hand, spend their wealth even before they make it and have no SWF.]

At some point, the sharks in the global financial markets may see a point when Canada is vulnerable, particularly with insufficient foreign reserves to mount a good defense of its currency. If such a time arrives, expect no mercy – just pain for the folly of spending everything today and saving no reserve for tomorrow.

Data on Canada’s foreign reserves can be found at The Bank of  Canada website and the Department of Finance’s website. It is interesting to note in footnote 1 of the Finance site that the gold portion of Canada’s reserves is assigned to the Royal Canadian Mint at 107,700 oz. or 3.35 tonnes. As Wikipedia notes, Canada ranked 81 in 2010 among the countries holding reserve gold.

Flash Point: Learning to Focus

Barry Ritholtz published an interesting piece today: Things I Don’t Care About. The premise is by identifying and ignoring these things, one can recover considerable time used in pursuing them. As we thought about this, particularly in relation to some of our own practices in developing this site, we thought it would be an excellent exercise to develop the theme as a set of guidelines or rules. The reader may do what he wishes with the result.

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