Sunday, June 29, 2008

Judge Advises Crime Victim To Arm Herself After Attack

Judge Advises Crime Victim To Arm Herself After Attack
Moon Says No Longer Possible For Police To Protect Citizens
posted June 27, 2008

General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon said Friday that crime in Chattanooga "has become so rampant that it is no longer possible for the police department to protect our citizens."

He told a woman who had been pulled from her car and beaten in the head that she or her mother needed to "purchase a weapon, obtain a gun permit and learn to protect yourself." The woman moved back in with her mother after the May 4 incident on E. 17th Street.

Judge Moon said, "The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that all citizens have a right to purchase a weapon to defend themselves, their families and their homes - unless there is some disqualification that prevents them from owning a weapon."

He said, "All area of our city are subject to crime, and some areas have very high crime rates and need to be 'overpoliced.'"

Judge Moon said Coolidge Park is one area that needs to be "overpoliced." He said, "I frequently hear of break-ins, thefts and robberies to tourists and citizens in that area. Having a high police presence there is one way you are going to abate it."

Judge Moon raised the bond for Dewayne Beard from $65,000 to $130,000 on especially aggravated robbery and from $15,000 to $50,000 on theft. He bound both cases to the Grand Jury.

The woman said she was driving on E. 17th Street when Beard came riding up on a bicycle and pulled a gold handgun on her. When she refused to get out of the car, he began hitting her in the head with the gun.

He then pulled her out and drove off with her gold 2001 Toyota Corolla.

Police found the woman semi-conscious with severe head injuries. She had to have eight stitches in her head and 10 stitches in her leg, where she was also hit.

Police located Beard at 4724 Tomahawk Dr. and arrested him as he walked out of the residence. He told officers the stolen car was being driven "by one of my goons."

Officers located the vehicle a couple of blocks away on Bella Vista Drive. Blood was found inside the vehicle, and the woman's purse was also inside.

Beard said he threw the gun out of the window while driving through Highland Park.

Beard was allowed out on an OR bond when the case was not ready for a hearing within 10 days.

On May 31, he picked up new charges of aggravated rape and aggravated burglary.

A woman said she was lying nude in her bed and a man began performing a sex act on her. She said when the man then began having sex with her using a condom, she realized it was not her boyfriend.

She said she pulled the sheets up and saw it was Beard.

That case was bound to the Grand Jury earlier.

Friday, June 27, 2008



June 27, 2008 at 12:01 pm (Guest Blog, Media, Palestine, Phobias)

Photo © by Bud Korotzer
How Hollywood Portrays Arabs
by Remi Kanazi

I love Adam Sandler. From Billy Madison to Happy Gilmore to the Chanukah Song, the predecessor of the Superbad generation has effortlessly conquered the domain of slapstick comedy and inappropriate jokes. But damn you Scuba Steve! If you’re going to propagate misinformation about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, do it quietly—or at least in your non-comedic life.

You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Sandler’s new flick, takes Hollywood chicanery and stereotypes that denigrate Arabs to an unprecedented level—surpassing hit flicks like the Kingdom, the Siege, and every Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris movie that came before it. I group Zohan with other shamelessly racist action movies because a film should at least be minutely funny to be categorized as a comedy. For the Sandler diehards and hilarity-loving skeptics, I should clearly state: using race and prejudices to engender laughter is not the problem. Mel Brooks and the creators of South Park exploit stereotypes far beyond anything Sandler has ever done, but unlike Zohan, I don’t think insidious propaganda and underlying racism drive their comedy. After all, if this hebetudinous clunker was just comedy, Sandler and company wouldn’t have, as the New York Times reported, sought out Arab actors to give the movie “legitimacy.” Their search was successful and a few token Arabs showed their presence to innocuously inform the public that it is okay to vilify the crazy towel-headed terrorists once again.

What makes this movie even worse than many of the unfavorable movies made post-9/11 is Zohan’s disarming presentation; it is a comedic approach to understanding the inner workings of the substandard Arab people. Like the job stealing Mexicans, the liquor store robbing Blacks, and the HIV infested gays, negative stereotypes in Zohan strip down the Arab people to RPG wielding animals that senselessly thirst for Jewish blood.

From the start of the film, Sandler’s character, Zohan, is positioned as the altruistic hero—an Israeli Mossad agent who reluctantly kills Palestinian “terrorists,” while forgoing his real dream: to cut hair in the US for Paul Mitchell. Zohan is “brave,” “lovable,” and “funny,” and even his stereotypical chauvinism is eaten up by women (and men) throughout the movie—including his eventual Palestinian love interest, Dalia.

Compounded with played out, corny penis gags, the Israeli narrative is interwoven into the fabric of the film, including propagandistic reminiscences by Zohan’s father who recalls the oft-repeated myth of being surrounded “on all sides” by powerful enemies during the Six Day War—a war in which Israel preemptively struck and dominated those “enemies.” In line with Israeli and Western intelligence, Israel won the war in six days (and five hours, as Zohan’s father dutifully reminds us)—so much for existential threats and heroic narratives. Other historical revisions include a reference in a verbal battle between a Palestinian and Israeli shop owner, in which the Palestinian proclaimed, “Give it up, like you gave up the Gaza Strip!” This biting taunt, while not as blatant as the common stereotype, infers that Israel “gave up” the Gaza Strip and further insinuates that Israel had claim to it. The “humorous” jeer glosses over the glaring reality: Israel still occupies Gaza’s borders, airspace, imports and exports, and has economically strangulated and suffocated 1.4 million Palestinians in the world’s largest open-air prison.

But rewriting history (and regurgitating jokes from 1996) is hardly the movie’s worst crime. The portrayal of Palestinians as ugly, dirty, incompetent, stupid, goat loving terrorists was jammed down the viewer’s throat more times than Zohan’s lame hummus jokes. It becomes obvious to the audience why these good looking, suave, kindhearted Israelis have to kill these evil Palestinian “terrorists”—because they hate Jews more than they hate soap. The most egregious grievance by a Palestinian “terrorist” throughout the film was the stealing of a pet goat. Israel has killed more than 4,000 Palestinians since the start of the second intifada, including nearly a 1000 children, yet the main gripe of these rabid “terrorists” is a stereotypical love for hillside animals. This “inoffensive” scenario is the equivalent of a scene in a Hollywood “comedy” made by a Palestinian filmmaker stereotypically portraying Jews as pissed off about being sent to Auschwitz because they found out that Hitler was going to make them pay for the train ride.

A particular scene in Zohan went beyond comprehension: Sandler’s casting agency rounded up a handful of children to play Palestinians throwing rocks at Zohan. What does Zohan do in response to the actions of these soon-to-be terrorists? He gleefully catches the stones and turns them into the equivalent of a balloon animal. One is supposed to toss aside any arising sensitivities and overlook the many instances Israeli snipers and soldiers have shot Palestinian children in the head or taken their eyes out with rubber bullets because of these rocks Zohan takes with a smile. The posturing of the noble and affable Mossad agent is a slick attempt to humanize Israel and make the Mossad (an outfit that has engaged in countless operations of state terrorism) look like the valiant GI Joe force in the Middle East combating jihadi thugs in the name of good. But Sandler’s character is not only a hero, he’s also a humanitarian. There are multiple scenes where Zohan informs the audience that Israelis do their best to minimize the loss of innocent Palestinian life, when an examination of the conflict by Israeli human rights organizations exposes quite the opposite.

Other stereotypes saturate the movie. The Palestinian salon that Zohan gets a job at is described as a dump, Palestinians constantly cheer for the “terrorists,” a crowd of Palestinians applaud the death of “heroic” Zohan (which he faked), and the “terrorists” are so stupid and illiterate that they purchase Neosporin instead of liquid nitrogen to make their bomb to kill Zohan. There is no distinction made between Hezbollah, Hamas, jihadists, and terrorist sexcapading sheiks. Furthermore, the film conveniently illustrates how Israelis in the US, as “fellow” natives of the Middle East, suffer the same discrimination and tribulations as Arabs in a post-911 world. Oddly, Israelis are passed off as “brown” and “other” like the Arabs in the film, yet Zohan’s parents look like European Ashkenazi Jews. Moreover, while Israelis are shown as native hummus loving Middle Easterners, Zohan’s family is portrayed distinctively differently from the backwards Arabs. Zohan’s parents are sweet, comforting, reasonable and accepting from beginning to end, not rigid like their Arab counterparts. Even when Zohan finally captures Dalia’s heart, his parents show up in America and warmly embrace their relationship without question—while Dalia and others resist the notion of a courtship between the two and tells Zohan that her family would never accept him. Ah, if only all Arabs could just get to know Israelis and see how kind, generous, and amorous they all are, the sooner we could all sit in a circle singing Kumbaya over s’mores and unfunny Zohan hummus jokes.

The worst dialogue throughout this 102 minute laughless action flick is made by Dalia (played by Emmanuelle Chriqui), Zohan’s eventual Palestinian love interest. She serves at the omnipotent propagandist—blaming the troubles of the conflict on “extremists” and “hate” on both sides. She endlessly and vaguely laments about how much “hate” there is “over there,” and describes to Zohan that things are “different here.” As any knowledgeable American knows, Palestinians and Israelis love each other here in the US; they frequently have bake sales together; they form sit-ins for blind coexistence on college campuses; and have Palestinian/Israeli karaoke nights where they sing their favorite Beatles tunes like Give Peace a Chance. What Sandler, and co-writers Judd Apatow and Robert Smigel, fail to understand is that before there was Hamas, Yasser Arafat, Fatah, the PLO, or any resistance movement, there was the dispossession of the Palestinian people, whereby 780,000 indigenous Palestinians were displaced from their homeland by Jewish gangs and terror groups. Flash forward 60 years and the Palestinian people are living in squalor in demolished towns and refugee camps enduring a 40 year occupation that strangulates their economy and diminishes any semblance of normalcy or a proper life. What we are to believe by watching this film is that if everyone would just stop “hating” (which Israelis are depicted as clearly willing to do, while Palestinians resist it vehemently) Israelis and Palestinians could effortlessly live together in harmony. But “hate” has little to do with a conflict rooted in a people’s desire for basic human rights and an end to oppression.

In the end, everything ends up happy and joyful: Zohan gets the girl, he saves the block from a conniving mall developer, and the “terrorists” stop terrorizing. But the jovial ending left a sour taste in my mouth. As nearly a dozen “nameless” Palestinians were killed by innocent and heroic Israeli soldiers last week and another report of the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza went unnoticed in the US press, people were laughing all over the country at how stupid, feeble, violent and backwards Arabs are. A diehard Sandler fan proclaimed: “He’s making it for 13 year old boys. It’s Critic Proof.” That’s what scares me most of all.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Zenn frame of mind could be next big thing

Zenn frame of mind could be next big thing

Nicolas Van Praet, Financial Post Published: Thursday, June 26, 2008

EEStor, Andrew Barr, National Post

Gilles Allard, production chief of Zenn Motor Co., still visits his local gas station despite the fact he drives one of the company's gas-less electric cars. As he says, he needs his milk and cigarettes.

Mr. Allard is a busy guy these days. His small team is building Zenn cars at a factory just north of Montreal at a rate of two to three vehicles a day and counting. Every one of them is being shipped to dealers in the United States for willing buyers. They're still illegal on most Canadian roads.

Like other companies selling alternative transportation in an oil-dependent world, Toronto-based Zenn has suddenly become a sexy stock. Its shares have gained 81% over the past three months on the Toronto Venture Exchange despite the fact the company has yet to post a profit.

Thing is, Zenn could soon be much more than sexy. It could be downright disruptive, turning the automotive industry on its head.

Sometime over the next several weeks, a privately held and ultra-secretive company named EEStor Inc., based in Cedar Park, Tex., is expected to release the results of independent third-party testing of its electrical energy storage unit, which aims to replace the electrochemical batteries we now use in everything from hybrid cars to laptop computers. EEStor says its system, combining battery and ultracapacitor technology and based on modified barium titanate ceramic powder, could power a car for 400 kilometres with regular performance. It claims the unit would charge in a few minutes and weigh less than 10% of current lead-acid batteries for the same cost.

If it is proven to work, EEStor, and its equity and business partners, including Zenn and U. S. defence contractor Lockheed Martin Corp., will have a technology that could change the transportation industry, with implications for renewable energy and any sector that needs electrical energy storage technology.

Officials at Lockheed, which this year bought exclusive rights to use EEStor's power system for military purposes, have said the technology "could lead to energy independence for the warfighter." Officials with Zenn, which bought exclusive worldwide rights to the system for vehicles weighing up to 1,400 kg, say they believe it is the "holy grail" of electric storage systems.

EEStor has said it expects its technology to be commercially ready within six months.

"This is not small potatoes here. If this works it really changes the transportation sector," says Massimo Fiore, an analyst with Versant Partners in Montreal. He rates Zenn a "speculative buy" with a one-year price target of $6.50.

"You'd have a very strong decoupling from oil," he said. "[Zenn] could have a very big return for investors. But it is still speculative."

Rick Welty of investment advisory firm Welty Capital Management in LaFayette, Calif., recently discussed Zenn on Bloomberg TV. "The caveat is the upside-downside potential" for the company's stock, he said. "If it doesn't work, it probably goes to $1 a share. If it does work, it could be $15 or $20 or far higher."

Zenn's future growth is inextricably linked to EEStor's success or failure. It holds a 3.8% equity position in EEStor, a strategic investment allowing Zenn to participate in the commercialization of its technology in such non-automotive applications as aerospace. And its next generation of planned cars, called the cityZenn, will trade in the company's current lead-acid batteries for EEStor's storage unit.

A commercially viable power source by EEStor would boost the maximum speed of its cars from 40 km/h to 120 km/h, take them from the backroads to the highways, and thrust Zenn from a small company making niche electric vehicles into the global automotive mainstream.

Zenn and EEStor are not alone in the hunt for electric supremacy. Several major and minor companies are working on making better-performing batteries for all-electric and hybrid cars. General Motors Corp.'s Volt car, powered with lithium-ion batteries, is perhaps the most high-profile electric vehicle planned. But Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan, Mitsubishi, Renault-Nissan and others have outlined plans for electric cars coming to market in North America as soon as 2010.

The challenge for all is developing a battery that delivers enough power and range for everyday transportation at a consistent quality for mass production, said Eric Fedewa, an analyst for CSM Worldwide in Northville, Mich. "It comes down to ultimately what is it going to cost the manufacturers to produce that technology in the vehicle. And will consumers accept that cost?"

EEStor certainly has its skeptics. They argue scientists and engineers have been trying to make a similar power unit for 20 years without success. And history has not been kind to some technology hopefuls such as Ballard Power Systems.

But it also has a powerful venture-capital backer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with a pretty good knack for picking winners. Kleiner was an early investor in both Google and Amazon.

"If for some reason EEStor is delayed, we will continue to use the best technologies available," acknowledges Ian Clifford, Zenn founder and chief executive. "But ultimately, to get 400 kilometres of range, the ability to recharge in minutes, low costs and the ability to operate in extreme climates -- all of those benefits, those come from EEStor. Those are the game-changing specifications."

Canada's thought police

Canada's thought police
A trial is raising questions about the balance between free speech and tolerance.
Jonah Goldberg

June 17, 2008

Mark Steyn, my friend, colleague and arguably the most talented political writer working today, is on trial for thought crimes.

Steyn -- a one-man media empire based in New Hampshire -- was published a few years ago in Maclean's. Now the magazine and its editors are in the dock before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal on the charge that they violated a provincial hate-speech law by running the work of a hate-monger, namely Mark Steyn. A similar prosecution is pending before the national version of this kangaroo court, the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Not that the facts are relevant to the charges, but here's what happened. Maclean's ran an excerpt from Steyn's bestseller, "America Alone."

The Canadian Islamic Congress took offense. It charged in its complaint that the magazine was "flagrantly Islamophobic" and "subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt." It was particularly scandalized by Steyn's argument that rising birthrates among Muslims in Europe will force non-Muslims there to come to "an accommodation with their radicalized Islamic compatriots."

Note: Steyn's article was published in 2006, before Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, supported that point earlier this year when he said that it is "unavoidable" that Britain will ultimately have to incorporate some elements of Sharia into its law in the spirit of "constructive accommodation."

You might think that if Steyn had been able to quote Williams or someone else who'd expressed that view, he and Maclean's wouldn't be in trouble. You'd be wrong. One of the council's chief gripes with the article is that Steyn quoted a Norwegian imam who said that "the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes." An accurate quotation is no defense when giving offense.

Indeed, it seems there is no escaping the charge of promoting "hate" in Canada at all. In 31 years, the national Human Rights Commission has never dismissed a case as unfounded.

The council first demanded that Maclean's give it equal and unedited space in the magazine to respond to Steyn's "Islamophobic" tract. The editors refused. So the council took the magazine to "court," but not a real court. These tribunals have all the rigor of a student government star chamber. There are no rules of evidence and, again, truth is not a defense.

Why bother with evidence at all? Hate speech is essentially defined as anything certain "victimized" people find offensive. So, if a group is sufficiently offended to complain to a human rights commission, the burden of proof has already been met.

And what about free speech? Dean Steacy, an investigator for Canada's national commission, explained it nicely: "Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value." He gets points for honesty.

If Maclean's (and Steyn) lose, it could face unspecified fines. Even more troubling, according to Canadian law and tribunal precedents, Maclean's could be ordered to publish something it doesn't want to publish, and be barred in perpetuity from publishing anything the human rights commission deems "Islamophobic."

It might be easy for some to dismiss all of this. After all, we're talking about Canada.

But this is just the latest in a long parade of assaults on free speech, including the aftermath of the Danish Muhammad cartoons and the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Sometimes it seems like a lot of people see free speech as "an American concept," thus in need of rethinking.

As the Atlantic's Ross Douthat observed, the New York Times' only story on the case suggested "that the 1st Amendment is a peculiar and quite possibly outdated feature of the American political system, along the lines of, say, the electoral college or the District of Columbia's lack of congressional representation." By implication, it also lumped Steyn in with rabid Nazis and Holocaust deniers.

Without outlining what Steyn wrote, the Times launched into a discussion of how "hate speech" is treated in the U.S. and elsewhere. Quoth the Times: "Canada, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and India all have laws or have signed international conventions banning hate speech. Israel and France forbid the sale of Nazi items like swastikas and flags. It is a crime to deny the Holocaust in Canada, Germany and France."

Left out of this fascinating tour of speech-control laws around the globe: Mark Steyn is no Nazi, and whatever one makes of his arguments, it is disgusting to insinuate otherwise. If Steyn were in the cross hairs for defending abortion rights, I suspect the New York Times would be more careful about leaping to Nazi comparisons.

But it seems that throughout the West, "leaders" are willing to accommodate those who would stifle, intimidate or, ultimately, ban free speech, all in the name of "tolerance." You could read all about it in Steyn's book. It's not banned -- yet.

Canadian ISPs Plan Net Censorship

Canadian ISPs Plan Net Censorship

Concerns grow that Canada's plan will wipeout alt news sites and spread to U.S.

By Mike Finch

A net-neutrality activist group has uncovered plans for the demise of the free Internet by 2010 in Canada. By 2012, the group says, the trend will be global.

Bell Canada and TELUS, Canada’s two largest Internet service providers (ISPs), will begin charging per-site fees on most Internet sites, reports anonymous sources within TELUS.

“It's beyond censorship, it is killing the biggest ecosystem of free expression and freedom of speech that has ever existed,” I Power spokesperson Reese Leysen said. I Power was the first group to report on the possible changes.

Bell Canada has not returned calls or emails.

The plans made by the large telecom businesses would change the Internet into a cable-like system, where customers sign up for specific web sites, and must pay to see each individual site beyond a certain point. Subscription browsing would be limited, extra fees would be applied to access out-of-network sites. Many sites would be blocked altogether.

“We had inside sources from bigger companies who gave us the information on how exclusivity deals are being made at this moment between ISPs and big content providers (like TV production studios and major video game publishers) to decide which web sites will be in the ‘standard package’ offered to their customers, leaving all the rest of the Internet unreachable unless you pay extra subscription fees per every ‘non-standard’ site you visit,” Leysen said. “We knew the source to be 100% reliable, but we also knew the story would be highly controversial if we released the information. We did it because we knew that we’d get more official confirmations once we’d come forward with it. And indeed that is what happened. Dylan Pattyn, who is writing the soon-to-be published article for Time Magazine, received confirmation from sources within Bell Canada and TELUS after we released the information.”

The plans would in effect be economic censorship, with only the top 100 to 200 sites making the cut in the initial subscription package. Such plans would likely favor major news outlets and suppress smaller news outlets, as the major news outlets would be free (with subscription), and alternative news outlets, like AFP, would incur a fee for every visit.

“The Internet will become a playground for billion-dollar content providers just like television is,” said Leysen. “It won’t be possible for a few teenagers in their parents’ basement to start a small site like E-bay that then grows out to be the next big thing anymore. Right now the Internet belongs to those with the greatest ideas. In the future, it’ll belong to those with the biggest budgets.”

With plans in Canada uncovered, I Power thinks that companies in the United States and other nations are also planning similar actions.

“By 2012 ISPs all over the globe will reduce Internet access to a TV-like subscription model, only offering access to a small standard amount of commercial sites and require extra fees for every other site you visit. These ‘other’ sites would then lose all their exposure and eventually shut down, resulting in what could be seen as the end of the Internet,” Leysen said.

Such a subscription plan could possibly restrict free speech far beyond even the current restrictions set by the governments of communist China. Not only would browsing be limited, but privacy would be invaded, as every web site viewed would likely be recorded on a bill in a manner similar to a phone bill.

Why would the ISPs institute such a plan? One word: money.

“This new subscription model is commercially far more beneficial to them than how it is now,” Leysen said. “If Fox wants to launch a new television show online, they’ll have to pay big money to all major ISPs to ensure that their new show will be offered and pushed in the ‘standard package’ of sites/services/channels that people will get through their Internet access. Plus ISPs will also gain extra revenue out of people trying to access the rest of the Internet, as they’ll pay extra subscription fees for every web site they visit.”

But it’s not just the big ISPs that stand to gain.

“Marketing and big budget ‘content-pushing’ just doesn’t seem to work on the Internet, and this is something that several industries want fixed. ISPs know this and will benefit greatly by fixing this for the marketing and entertainment industry,” Leysen said.

The ISPs are said to be confident they can institute such plans through deceptive marketing and fear tactics.

“The Internet will be more and more marketed as a place full of child pornography and other horrible illegal activity in order to get people on their [the ISP’s] side once they start restricting it and make it ‘safer,’” Leysen said. “Unless we really make a stand for this and make sure that mainstream media thoroughly covers the issue, the whole thing will be eased in with proper marketing to make sure that most mainstream customers won’t make a big deal out of it. They will only realize what was lost long after it’s gone.”

For more information about this story see

For more information about Internet freedom:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sarkozy Target Of Failed Assassination Plot?

Sarkozy Target Of
Failed Assassination Plot?
By Barry Chamish

Call it an update. Twelve hours ago, a shot rang out near the goodbye ceremony for French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Ben Gurion Airport.

The band had just started up its loud farewell repertoire. At the moment Sarkozy, President Peres and Prime Minister Olmert clasped hands in unity for the cameras, a shot was heard. If anyone thought this was an assassination, security went out the window. Instead of jumping on their leaders, security rushed them to their cars and plane. Sarkozy was a wide-open target as he climbed to his plane.

But then the truth was learned. At the moment that the band began and the leaders shook hands for the cameras, a clever longtime soldier assigned to an elite Border Guard unit, thought, great time to kill myself. And just when he was in perfect position; 100 yards from the ceremony with a 400 yard range rifle, on a roof, with the politicians in his sites! Darn.

Plus, he didn't just choose the right moment to die noticed, his dying post was perfect. If he shot himself from a roof, maybe he could arrange for his body to fall off the roof, too. And best of all for the full drama, he decided to kill himself in front of his, "guarding partner," and two women soldiers who fainted and were taken to the hospital. Now, we have seen Israeli woman soldiers after countless ghastly, hideous terror acts, where their sense of duty prevents open shows of revulsion. They don't faint. But today, TWO female soldiers fainted at the same moment and required hospital treatment, which would include terrifying scenarios of what would happen if they opened their mouths.

You see, the entire media was removed from the airport as soon as the shot was fired. No pesky "Kempler" films, which revealed the Shin Bet's role in the Rabin murder, would suddenly appear, exposing the murderers, maybe this time for good. The eye-witnesses just needed coaching under duress.

Now if I was investigating this latest incident, suspect number one would be the victim's partner. However, I know from my Rabin expose, the coverup has already begun in earnest. All relevant physical and ballistic will be rigged to suit the crime and the eye-witnesses will become quiet, like the Rabin family.

I admit, this is early in the game, but still, from what you know about suicide, would anyone really kill himself on the job, without a note? Would he really wait for them to strike up the band to cover his shot? Some attention seeker. He shoots himself just as Peres, Olmert and Sarkozy are hand-hugging, but makes sure the band covers up the act.

There is nothing conclusive here. Just the proper balance of suspicion and intelligence so you take the official explanations with a hugely delicious special double grain of salt.

A border policeman shot himself dead on Tuesday 200 meters from where French President Nicolas Sarkozy was getting ready to board a plane ending his trip to Israel.

Bodyguards that heard the shot over the music being played by a band feared it may have been an assassination attempt, and rushed Sarkozy into the plane alongside his wife Carla Bruni, who ran up the stairs ahead of her husband.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres, who came to bid farewell to the French president, were hurried into their bullet-proof vehicles until the origin of the gunshot could be determined.

Shin Bet security service officials immediately ran toward where they had heard the shot, and found the border policeman, who was positioned on top of a building, lying on the ground below.

Officials soon ruled out the option that he accidentally shot himself before the fall, or that his gun misfired upon impact with the ground, and concluded that he apparently committed suicide using his M-16 rifle, causing him to fall off the building. An autopsy of the body confirmed their conclusion.
Border Police officials said the man, a member of the Druze community, had served as a border policeman for eight years since he was discharged from mandatory service in the Israel Defense Forces.

Airport spokeswoman, Ronit Ekstein, ordered the full media removed, though the police did not object to media scrutiny.,7340,L-3559821,00.html

After the gunshot was heard, security forces began searching for the shooter, who was found lying on the ground. A security officer who witnessed the shooting recounted the incident to the police.

Officer's family: He didn't commit suicide

The dead Border Guard officer was identified as Raid Asaad Ghanan, 32, of the Druze village of Beit Jan. his family members refused to believe that he had committed suicide.

"We scornfully reject the claims that our son took his own life," a family member said. "He was a kindhearted and happy person. He had a family and there was no reason for him to do such a horrible thing."

The officer's father, Asaad Ghanan, said that his son had left the house on Tuesday morning in good spirits.

"He had a family, he had friends, he had plans for the future and had no reason to commit suicide," the father said.

Naif, Raid's brother, said that the police representatives who informed the family of their son's death, had told them that the circumstances of the incidents were unclear and would be probed by an investigating officer.

"It is unthinkable that my brother took his own life. We believe this was an accident, or even an incident in which my brother was accidentally shot by one of the security officials in the area."

There were reports the border policeman, unnamed as yet, shot himself in the head as he stood about 100 yards from the VIP party as part of the guard of honour while a military band played.

Two female Israeli soldiers were reported to have fainted at the sight but apart from that there were no other casualties.

"This was in no way an assassination attempt," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. "A border policeman committed suicide during the farewell ceremony."

According to Rosenfeld, the guard who shot himself was a paramilitary policeman and had been assigned to a security patrol at the airport.,7340,L-3559809,00.html

Peres, Olmert and Sarkozy had just clasped hands as the shot rang out.

The victim's guarding partner was found by the Shin Bet, huddled over the body. He gave testimony to the police.

The incident took place as French President Nicolas Sarkozy boarded a flight back to Paris, concluding a three-day visit to the region. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres had accompanied Sarkozy to the airport. A military band greeted the leaders, and a picture-perfect ceremony commenced, marking the end of an important state visit seen by many as symbolizing the increasingly warm relations between Jerusalem and Paris.
Suicide was the likely cause of death for the border policeman - struck by his own bullet while guarding the departure ceremony, a border police spokesman said.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gun clubs forced to relocate

Gun clubs forced to relocate


Leaf blowers: Banning the noisy machines has been urged over the years, but the last attempt in 2007 wasn't approved.

Smoking: Bans began in 1979 when the city said no smoking in stores and elevators. The curbs expanded to include restaurants and bars.

No jets: Under a 50-year agreement signed in 1983, jet-powered flights are banned from using the island airport except for medical evacuations, emergencies and flights during the CNE air show.

Barenaked Ladies: The Toronto band was banned from playing Nathan Phillips Square at a New Year's Eve concert in 1991 because their name objectifies women.

Nuke free: Toronto declared itself a nuclear-free zone in the 1980s.



• A 20-year management agreement with the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma. Kiwanis to operate the castle.
• A waterfront museum to celebrate Toronto and its history will be built at the foot of Bathurst St.

• An attempt to terminate a lease and sell the building that houses the Marcus Garvey Centre for Leadership and Education that serves youth in the Jane and Finch community.
Plan to cancel leases, permits of facilities called `absurd' by critics

Jun 24, 2008 04:30 AM
donovan Vincent
city hall bureau

It was attacked as a waste of time and "hullabaloo'' but in the end Mayor David Miller's "city-based'' measures to address gun violence in Toronto won council approval yesterday.

The most controversial aspect of the 16-point plan is the cancellation of a lease and permit for two recreational gun clubs that operate separately in city-run facilities – one in a community centre in Scarborough, the other in Union Station.

The city will be helping the two clubs re-establish themselves on private property in Toronto. They'll be allowed to remain in operation, similar to a handful of other gun clubs that exist in the city on private property. The city doesn't have the legal power to close those ranges on private land.

The city will also prepare a zoning by-law restricting any new firing ranges or gun clubs – except for those run by police and National Defence – from setting up shop in Toronto. The same for operations that make, assemble, warehouse and distribute guns.

After daylong debate – that was interrupted for nearly half an hour when Ontario Coalition Against Poverty activists entered council chambers to protest temporary shelter closings – the plan passed by a vote of 31-9. But first, Miller took some harsh criticism, mostly from right-wingers on council.

They argued that Miller is pushing a policy that won't reduce the number of guns ending up in the hands of criminals in Toronto.

"This is politics, window dressing, and it won't get anything done," said councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong.

They also criticized the lease and permit terminations as hollow gestures, in part because the two recreational clubs on city property have no history of problems, and because they'll simply be moving to other locations in Toronto.

"It's absolutely absurd what you're saying here. That these people can go to another place in the city of Toronto with the same guns, and you're doing something for gun control in this city. You know damn well you're not," councillor Doug Holyday shouted angrily at Miller.

Miller invited Holyday to put forward his own plan to address gun violence in the city.

In his opening remarks on the plan, Miller, who is trying to get Ottawa to ban handguns, said it's incumbent on the city to do everything possible to help protect the people of Toronto and help save lives.

He told council that 44,000 handguns once in the possession of legal owners are on Canada's streets.

He said that from a "moral perspective'' council has to end the use of guns in city facilities.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Adolf Hitler, Jesse Owens and the Olympics Myth of 1936

Adolf Hitler, Jesse Owens and the Olympics Myth of 1936
By Rick Shenkman
Mr. Shenkman is the editor of HNN.

Everyone knows that at the 1936 Olympics Hitler snubbed Jesse Owens. As the story goes, after Owens won one gold medal, Hitler, incensed, stormed out of Olympic Stadium so he wouldn't have to congratulate Owens on his victory.

Such a performance would have been perfectly in character, but it didn't happen. William J. Baker, Owens's biographer, says the newspapers made up the whole story. Owens himself originally insisted it wasn't true, but eventually he began saying it was, apparently out of sheer boredom with the issue.

The facts are simple. Hitler did not congratulate Owens, but that day he didn't congratulate anybody else either, not even the German winners. As a matter of fact, Hitler didn't congratulate anyone after the first day of the competition. That first day he had shaken hands with all the German victors, but that had gotten him in trouble with the members of the Olympic Committee. They told him that to maintain Olympic neutrality, he would have to congratulate everyone or no one. Hitler chose to honor no one.

Hitler did snub a black American athlete, but it was Cornelius Johnson, not Jesse Owens. It happened the first day of the meet. Just before Johnson was to be decorated, Hitler left the stadium. A Nazi spokesman explained that Hitler's exit had been pre-scheduled, but no one believes that.

Several other misconceptions about the 1936 Olympics are prevalent. Not only was Owens not rebuffed by Hitler, Owens wasn't shunned by the German audience at the Berlin stadium either. Baker reports that Owens so captured the imagination of the crowd it gave him several ear-shattering ovations. Owens had been prepared for a hostile reception; a coach had warned him in advance not to be upset by anything that might happen in the stands. "Ignore the insults," Owens was told, "and you'll be all right." Later Owens recalled that he had gotten the greatest ovations of his career at Berlin.

Another popular belief is that the games marked a humiliating moment for the Nazis because a few blacks walked away with a fistful of medals while Hitler had predicted the Teutonic lads would be the big winners, proof of the superman abilities of the white race. In reality, the competition was anything but a German humiliation. It is forgotten that Germany managed to pick up more medals than all the other countries combined. Hitler was pleased with the outcome.

Spielberg to Direct Lockerbie Bombing Movie

Bombing of Pan Am 103

Spielberg to Direct Lockerbie Bombing Movie
By Ludwig de Braeckeleer Friday, May 2, 2008

Legendary Hollywood director Steven Spielberg will direct a movie regarding the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing of Pan Am 103 over the town of Lockerbie in Scotland.

The movie is an adaptation of the book Flight 103, written by former Israeli officer and MOSSAD agent Juval Aviv.

”I believe the book will have an impact around the world because what happened over Lockerbie that day affected so many people in so many countries, and continues to do so,” Aviv said a few weeks before the release of the book.

Although the book is presented as a fiction, it echoes the allegations made by Aviv in his famous INTERFOR report prepared to help the defense of Pan Am.

Aviv believes that Libyan national Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the only person convicted of the atrocity, is actually innocent.

The former MOSSAD agent instead claims that Tehran officials ordered the destruction of the Boeing 747 as revenge for the accidental shooting of an Iranian airliner by the United States on July 3, 1988.

Spielberg and Aviv have collaborated previously in the making of Oscar-winning film ‘Munich,’ which was also based on a novel written by Aviv.

”I have been asked to consult on the movie and hope shooting will start later this year,” Aviv said.

Both men are keen to make the movie as realistic as possible. They intend to hire British and Scottish actors and to film in the town of Lockerbie.

For several months, it has been rumored that Harrison Ford would play the central role of a retired Israeli agent, Sam Woolfman, who discovers that Tehran ordered the destruction of Pan Am 103.

”Harrison has already played a similar character in ‘Patriot Games’ where he was Jack Ryan, a CIA agent who becomes embroiled in a terrorist plot,” a Hollywood insider pointed out.

It now appears that Spielberg has narrowed his choice for the job to two Scottish actors: Ewan McGregor and James McAvoy.

The novel alleges that Tehran contracted a Palestinian terror group to carry the bombing and suggests that the CIA turned a blind eye on the plot because on the plane were US intelligence agents returning to the US from Lebanon to denounce a secret drugs-for-hostages deal between Washington and Tehran.

Woolfman, and his glamorous young Irish assistant Orla Sheehy, received his first clue of the conspiracy when he discovered that US diplomats around the world had been told to cancel their reservations on Pan Am 103.

Lockerbie residents do not welcome the plan as they prepare to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the tragedy.

”The last thing we want is a film crew running around when we are trying to remember the people who died,” Ken Bailey, the chairman of the community council, said.

Last June, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was granted a second extraordinary appeal by a special commission on the grounds that his conviction may have been unsafe.

In a move that Kafka would surely have appreciated, the Crown refuses to pass to the defense a document that is the main reason why Megrahi was granted a second appeal in the first place.

The Crown claims that the release of the secret document, provided by an unknown country, is contrary to the public interest, as it would hurt the relations of the United Kingdom with that country. The strategy of the Crown has infuriated quite a few observers of the appeal.

”It is hard to see how the Westminster foreign secretary can justify his attempt to ‘protect’ documents with public interest immunity (PII) certificates on the grounds that they would harm the U.K.’s relations with other nations, and that their release to the defense in the Lockerbie case would disadvantage the very public PIIs are designed to serve,” recently wrote Dr. Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora in the tragedy.

He added:

It appears these documents were supplied to the prosecution (and Dumfries and Galloway police) about 12 years ago, and concern the truth about a terrorist atrocity of nearly 20 years ago. It also appears they were considered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) to be part of their reason for considering the original trial and appeal might have been unsafe. The Foreign Secretary must realize that the longstanding release of them to the prosecution, but not the defense, wrecks any chance of the next appeal being considered fair. Coupled with their inclusion in the SCCRC’s referral back to appeal, this grossly selective restriction can only destroy any remaining vestige of faith in the freedom and independence of Scotland’s judicial system.
”Flight 103 is written as fiction,’ Aviv said, ‘but it is based solidly on real-life facts. The US Government urged me to change my report, but I wouldn’t and I fully stand by my version of events.

”I think 2008 will be the year when the truth finally emerges. There is still an innocent person in jail, but hopefully not for much longer.”

Some observers, such as screenwriter and film journalist Beth White, are unsure the public is ready for a Lockerbie movie.

”I’m not sure that enough time has passed, but it would certainly attract a huge amount of interest. I remember watching a French dramatization of the events leading up to Sept. 11 not long after it took place and being horrified,” White said.

”But in some circumstances, turning real events into entertainment can be justified as it can spark debate,” she added.

Others strongly opposed the idea of a fictional Hollywood movie about Lockerbie, arguing that the movie could destroy whatever hope is left of discovering the entire truth surrounding the bombing of Pan Am 103.

”There were all kinds of questions unanswered about the downing of the Pan flight,” argued an anonymous writer. “The security area where the bags were kept at Heathrow was found broken into, for example. But this was never followed through or treated seriously despite being on the record at the time.¡¦ If it becomes a blockbuster, you can say goodbye to finding what really happened.”

Ludwig De Braeckeleer has a Ph.D. in nuclear sciences. Ludwig teaches physics and international humanitarian law. He blogs on ”The GaiaPost.”

Gas could fall to $2 if Congress acts, analysts say

Gas could fall to $2 if Congress acts, analysts say
Limiting speculation would push prices to fundamental level, lawmakers told
By Rex Nutting & Michael Kitchen, MarketWatch
Last update: 4:24 p.m. EDT June 23, 2008WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The price of retail gasoline could fall by half, to around $2 a gallon, within 30 days of passage of a law to limit speculation in energy-futures markets, four energy analysts told Congress on Monday.
Testifying to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Michael Masters of Masters Capital Management said that the price of oil would quickly drop closer to its marginal cost of around $65 to $75 a barrel, about half the current $135.
Fadel Gheit of Oppenheimer & Co., Edward Krapels of Energy Security Analysis and Roger Diwan of PFC Energy Consultants agreed with Masters' assessment at a hearing on proposed legislation to limit speculation in futures markets.
Krapels said that it wouldn't even take 30 days to drive prices lower, as fund managers quickly liquidated their positions in futures markets.
"Record oil prices are inflated by speculation and not justified by market fundamentals," according to Gheit. "Based on supply and demand fundamentals, crude-oil prices should not be above $60 per barrel."
Futures trading in London has not been a major factor in rising oil prices, testified Sir Bob Reid, chairman of the Chairman of London-based ICE Futures Europe. Rising prices are largely a function of fundamental supply and demand, not manipulation or speculation, he said.
"Energy speculation has become a growth industry and it is time for the government to intervene," said Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the full committee. "We need to consider a full range of options to counter this rapacious speculation." It was Dingell's strongest statement yet on the role of speculators.
There has been much discussion recently about how big a role speculators have been playing in the sharp rise in energy prices, though no consensus has emerged on this point.
Dingell introduced a bill on June 11 that would ask the Energy Department to gather the facts on energy prices, including the role played by speculators. See full story.
There are two kinds of speculators in the futures markets, Masters said. Traditional speculators are those who need to hedge because they actually take physical possession of the commodities. Index speculators, on the other hand, are merely allocating a portion of their portfolio to commodity futures.
Index speculation damages price-discovery mechanisms provided by futures markets, Masters added
The committee will likely consider legislation that would rein in index speculation by imposing higher-margin requirements; setting position limits for speculators; requiring more disclosure of positions; and preventing pension funds and investment banks from owning commodities.
Both major presidential candidates have supported closing loopholes that encourage speculation in the energy markets. Read more on Election Blog.
However, other witnesses said that pure speculators have had little impact on energy prices, which have doubled in the past year to about $135 per barrel. Both Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman have dismissed the impact of speculators on prices paid by consumers.
Speculators now account for about 70% of all benchmark crude trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up from 37% in 2000, said Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., chairman of the investigations subcommittee. Stupak introduced a bill on Friday that would limit index speculation.
There has been much discussion recently about how big a role speculators have been playing in the sharp rise in energy prices, though no consensus has emerged on this point.
Congress, however, has grown increasingly concerned over speculative investors' role in the energy market in comparison with those buying futures contracts to hedge against risk from price changes. Lawmakers are expected to consider legislation to set strict limits -- or in some cases, an outright ban -- on speculative trading in energy futures in some markets.
Dingell is looking into any legal loopholes that may have contributed to speculation in energy markets. In 1991, according to documents provided by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to the committee's investigators, the agency authorized the first exemption from position limits for swap dealers with no physical commodity exposure. This began what Dingell said was "a process that has enabled investment banks to accumulate enormous positions in commodity markets."
Is Congress barking up the wrong tree?
Neal Ryan, manager at Ryan Oil & Gas Partners, said that if Congress develops regulations to cut back speculative trading, speculation will just find a new home.
"Speculation is the root of capitalism," he said. "If the speculation is forced out of the U.S. exchanges, it'll simply show up on other exchanges that are OTC like the ICE, or new exchanges will pop up to allow for the spec trades to continue functioning."
Ryan said he does see a reason for Congress to look at eliminating aspects such as allowing West Texas intermediate crude oil futures to trade on foreign markets and the "Enron loophole," but "these exchanges are currently functioning as they are supposed to in a free marketplace."
The creation of a comprehensive U.S. energy policy that tackles issues of increasing domestic supply and reining in consumer demand via conservation should be Congress' focus, Ryan said. "Instead we're on bended knee begging the Saudis to put more oil on the market and talking about shutting down spec trades."

Council votes on bylaw that would crack down on guns

Council votes on bylaw that would crack down on guns


It's open season on gun clubs in Toronto.

City council, which starts a two-day meeting today, is set to vote on a bylaw that would prevent new firing ranges and firearm manufacturing within Toronto's borders.

"To try to hold these honest, law-abiding people to this (proposal) is over the top," Councillor Doug Holyday complained last night.

"For (Mayor) David Miller to come along and try to force something onto the citizens of Toronto that he's doing something about the gun crime by stopping these people from following their sport is ridiculous," he added. "This is a political statement that does absolutely nothing except cost these people a lot of money and inconvenience."

After protests from two clubs long-established on city-owned property, the mayor backed down from his proposal to cancel their leases.

At a meeting of the city's executive committee, he agreed three weeks ago to permit the Scarborough Rifle Club and the CNRA Handgun Club to carry on shooting where they are -- as long as they seek new sites at private ranges.

Established in 1964, the Scarborough club moved into the Don Montgomery recreation centre 12 years later. Since Union Station opened in 1921, at a time when such ranges were heavily used for militia training, the CNA's range has been hidden away on top of the Front St. building.

The city bought the railway passenger terminal in 2000 from Toronto Terminals Railway Company Ltd.

CNRA's 130 shooters include lawyers, doctors, Bay St., executives plus athletes such as Avianna Chao and paralympic competitor Karen Van Nest.

After holstering his tougher proposal at the June 3 meeting of the executive committee, Miller told reporters "my preference would be to have no gun clubs in the City of Toronto."

"It's only fair we at least give a chance" to the two clubs, he said, suggesting members could join private ranges.

Critics accuse the mayor of focusing too much on legal firearms owners, and insist he should lobby Ottawa for tougher gun possession laws.

Firearms have been targeted politically for almost 20 years in the wake of increased shootings and the establishment of U.S.-style, drug-related street gangs in Toronto.

On May 28, 1991, Toronto council shelved several anti-firearms resolutions by then-councillor Jack Layton, now head of the federal NDP, for a gun zone and armouries for storing legal owners' collections.

Critics pointed out such armouries would be tempting one-stop shopping sites for criminals to raid.

Homicide investigators, meanwhile, have traced evidence from cartridge casings found near where Dylan Ellis and Oliver Martin were murdered June 13 on Richmond St. W. to records of a handgun used in a previous crime. No details have been released.

At a Toronto Police Services board meeting last Thursday, Chief Bill Blair released the force's first compilation of firearm seizures.

Of the 2,603 guns seized in 2007, 817 were linked to crimes -- 366 were pistols or revolvers, he said. Some not directly tied to criminals are classified as "crime guns" since they had their serial numbers removed.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Exposing the women's shelter industry

Exposing the women's shelter industry ONE VIDEO AT A TIME! from Canada Court Watch on Vimeo.

Another video in the women’s shelter series in which a mother from Ontario, Canada describes her horrifying experience residing in women’s shelters in Ontario. In the shelters where she was a resident, women were beaten, robbed, intimidated and sexually exploited. Children were exposed to violence, swearing and abuse by the women and often witnessed their mothers being abused and humiliated by shelter staff. Children are being taught that being “Canadian” and respecting yourself means to hate fathers, lie to your own parents and to call the Children’s Aid Society on your mother if you don’t get your way.

When is the government of Ontario going to put an end to women’s shelters being used as indoctrination centers where lesbian women prey on vulnerable women? When is the Ontario government going to make these women’s shelters accountable and professional?

When is all this government funded madness going to end?

Women who have experienced abuse while a resident of a women's shelter and would like to make their stories public by way of video, should contact Canada Court Watch. This will help in efforts to make women's shelters more accontable and professional and help to provide a truly safe place for those unfortunate women who legitimately need such facilities.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jews and censorship

Jews and censorship
By Ezra Levant on June 15, 2008 10:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (40) | Trackback

You would think that a religion also known as The People of the Book wouldn't be much into book burning. Oh, I know that in 2008 our human rights commissions, and the Official Jews who support them -- the Canadian Jewish Congress, the B'nai Brith, the Simon Wiesenthal Center -- don't actually burn books. That's too 20th century. Now we order political deviants to to shut down their websites. And if the deviant is a Christian pastor, we order him never to send an e-mail or give a sermon.

I'm giving a talk today to the Canadian Jewish Civil Rights Association on the subject of free speech. I'm glad to learn from the organizer that the event is standing room only. To me that is a sign that grassroots Jews, normal Jews, Jews who aren't Official Jews, are increasingly offended by the pro-censorship line taken by our self-appointed betters. But, as I've said before, pretending that Bernie Farber of the CJC represents Canadian Jews is like pretending that Mohamed Elmasry of the Canadian Islamic Congress represents Canadian Muslims. More and more Jews look upon the likes of profesional race-hustlers like Farber the same way Clarence Thomas looks at Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton: Get a real job and stop embarrassing the rest of us. Or as we Jews would say, Stop being a shanda for the goyim.

Just tonight, a friend gave me a report about a major Simon Wiesenthal fundraiser, held in Toronto a few weeks ago -- their "Spirit of Hope" event, featuring former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former U.S. House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, and CNN's Glenn Beck. Those are pretty big names, and other than Beck (on whose show I've appeared a couple of times) I wouldn't think they'd be following Canada's human rights commissions and their censorship laws.

My correspondent writes:

Glenn Beck said sarcastically "maybe I'll move up here to Canada" and Gingrich retorted "watch out, Glenn, if you do that the human rights commission up here will probably shut down your program and throw you in jail." (Paraphrase).

About half the audience exploded in spontaneous cheering, laughing and applause. No one looked angry or booed - I got the impression that the other half of the audience didn't understand the reference.

That confirms another report of the event, here.

What does it mean? It means that many Jews, even fancy society Jews, understand that freedom of speech is an essential Jewish value, and that censorship is an essentially violent and barbaric substitute. Censorship says: "I can't convince you, or I'm too lazy or worried to try, so I'll silence you by force." How un-Jewish.

As I've written before, disagreement and debate are woven into Judaism itself. The entire Jewish Talmud is an argument between two "houses" of thought. As Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, said, "the test of democracy is freedom of criticism." I can think of a half-dozen Jewish cliches and jokes that go to the Jewish love for disagreement and noisiness, and even offensiveness. "Two Jews, three opinions". Or, as the rabbi who introduced Mark Steyn at the Vancouver Hillel fundraiser two weeks ago said, "after Mark's speech, we'll have an answer and answer session".

The second thing to learn from that Wiesenthal dinner incident is that very serious people in other countries -- on both the left and the right -- are watching what is going on in Canada, and they are deeply unimpressed.

The third thing -- and this is my point, actually -- is that the Simon Wiesenthal Center, whose high-powered guest speakers trashed Canada's human rights commissions and whose well-heeled dinner guests applauded that trashing, is one of the most vicious interveners in Canadian Human Rights Commission censorship trials.

In other words, the SWC's boss, Leo Adler, is utterly disconnected from his own membership on the essential matter of free speech. Adler raises money from opponents of censorship to spend in the pursuit of censorship.

Surely, of all the Jewish groups intervening for censorship, Adler, with his focus on the Holocaust, should be the most sensitive to book burnings. But he's not. Perhaps it's some weird vengeance, some psychological therapy, some turn-around, where the Jews get to burn the Nazi books now. That's precisely the kind of immoral, unprincipled vengeance that some self-appointed gay activists are now indulging in, too, when they persecute Christians using the HRCs.

Book burning is funny stuff to Richard Warman, the chief complainaint under the thought crimes provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act. It is in support of Warman that the Official Jews intervene again and again in human rights hearings, the same Warman who, in a recent Maclean's article (excerpt at left) joked about seizing and incinerating books. Hilarious.

But Warman is not the executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Bernie Farber is. And, though Farber never ceases to disappoint, his comments in today's Toronto Star have got to be his most disgusting yet.

Farber was interviewed by Haroon Siddiqui, perhaps Canada's most anti-Jewish, anti-Israel writer outside of the Arab press. Again, this isn't about Siddiqui; he doesn't say he's the King of the Jews like Farber does.

So let's focus on what Farber said in the Star: "our anti-hate laws are probably the most underused". That sounds like Ian Fine, senior counsel for the CHRC, who declared that "there can't be enough laws against hate." So while the rest of the country is realizing that our government censorship has gone too far, Farber says it goes nowhere far enough; it's underused. He wants more censorship, more government intervention into thoughts and ideas -- and the emotion called "hate".

Siddiqui wrote that the only reason people are now complaining about government censorship is because Muslims -- e.g. Elmasry, and the Calgary bigot Syed Soharwardy -- are the ones implementing the gags now. Farber couldn't agree more:

That's really what it's about... When non-Muslims were using it, nobody really cared. People need scapegoats. It used to be Jews. Now it's Muslims, to a great extent. Tomorrow, it may be Bahais or somebody else ...

People should focus on the law, not on those using it. If the complaint is frivolous, the system will deal with it.

So the backlash in response to Elmasry's complaints against Mark Steyn and Maclean's isn't legitimate. That backlash is merely anti-Muslim bigotry, says Farber. And it's the same sort of bigotry as anti-Semitism.

There is no other way to read Farber's comments: he's legitimizing Elmasry's complaint, and delegitimizing criticism of Elmasry, calling such criticism scapegoating.

Farber is defending the complaint against Maclean's.

And he goes further: he says that if -- by some minuscule chance -- Maclean's isn't guilty, we can trust the HRCs to acquit them. (This, in the face of a 100% conviction rate at the CHRC.) So the complaints against Maclean's and Mark Steyn (and, surely, against me for publishing the cartoons) are not illegitimate. Criticizing those complaints is illegitimate, racist even. And it is impossible for the infallible HRCs to be wrong, or corrupt -- if Maclean's weren't guilty, they'd be found not guilty. If they're found guilty, they're guilty. QED.

Farber supports the Canadian Islamic Congress in their complaint against Maclean's. There is no other way to interpret his comments. Farber is shilling for a fascist organization that routinely indulges in anti-Semitic propaganda, whose president-for-life went on TV to declare that any adult Jew in Israel is a legitimate target for a terrorist attack. I suppose it shouldn't be too surprising; Farber's newest recruit to the CJC, Warren Kinsella, has provided political and media advice to the CIC's young bigots-in-training, the "sock puppets". Farber just verbally supports Elmasry. Kinsella -- on the CJC's legal affairs committee -- actually rolls up his sleeve and helps the anti-Semites out a bit.

This is the Canadian Jewish Congress in 2008. How repulsive.

No wonder my speech today is sold out.

RBS issues global stock and credit crash alert

RBS issues global stock and credit crash alert
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor
Last Updated: 12:19am BST 19/06/2008

The Royal Bank of Scotland has advised clients to brace for a full-fledged crash in global stock and credit markets over the next three months as inflation paralyses the major central banks.

"A very nasty period is soon to be upon us - be prepared," said Bob Janjuah, the bank's credit strategist.

A report by the bank's research team warns that the S&P 500 index of Wall Street equities is likely to fall by more than 300 points to around 1050 by September as "all the chickens come home to roost" from the excesses of the global boom, with contagion spreading across Europe and emerging markets.

RBS warning: Be prepared for a 'nasty' period
Such a slide on world bourses would amount to one of the worst bear markets over the last century.

RBS alert: Quotes from the report
Fund managers react to RBS alert
Support for the euro is in doubt
RBS said the iTraxx index of high-grade corporate bonds could soar to 130/150 while the "Crossover" index of lower grade corporate bonds could reach 650/700 in a renewed bout of panic on the debt markets.

"I do not think I can be much blunter. If you have to be in credit, focus on quality, short durations, non-cyclical defensive names.

advertisement"Cash is the key safe haven. This is about not losing your money, and not losing your job," said Mr Janjuah, who became a City star after his grim warnings last year about the credit crisis proved all too accurate.

RBS expects Wall Street to rally a little further into early July before short-lived momentum from America's fiscal boost begins to fizzle out, and the delayed effects of the oil spike inflict their damage.

"Globalisation was always going to risk putting G7 bankers into a dangerous corner at some point. We have got to that point," he said.

US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank both face a Hobson's choice as workers start to lose their jobs in earnest and lenders cut off credit.

The authorities cannot respond with easy money because oil and food costs continue to push headline inflation to levels that are unsettling the markets. "The ugly spoiler is that we may need to see much lower global growth in order to get lower inflation," he said.

Morgan Stanley warns of catastrophe
More comment and analysis from the Telegraph
"The Fed is in panic mode. The massive credibility chasms down which the Fed and maybe even the ECB will plummet when they fail to hike rates in the face of higher inflation will combine to give us a big sell-off in risky assets," he said.

Kit Jukes, RBS's head of debt markets, said Europe would not be immune. "Economic weakness is spreading and the latest data on consumer demand and confidence are dire. The ECB is hell-bent on raising rates.

"The political fall-out could be substantial as finance ministers from the weaker economies rail at the ECB. Wider spreads between the German Bunds and peripheral markets seem assured," he said.

Ultimately, the bank expects the oil price spike to subside as the more powerful force of debt deflation takes hold next year.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Can the Corn

Can the Corn

Corn ethanol does nothing but bring the bushel price to an all-time high, vaguely put a dent into our energy demand, pollute lands with pesticides and drink up a limited water supply… Bottom line is, corn is a food, not a fuel.

Well there’s a new ethanol in town and by the looks of it, it’s here to stay…cellulosic ethanol.

This technology will ultimately help environmental problems, diminish the U.S.’s dependency on oil, boost the economy, increase food supply and even put an end to controversial wars…

Cellulosic ethanol, made from cellulose — the most common organic compound on earth — is potentially produced from your lawn trimmings, switchgrass, wood chops, paper sludge, corn stalk, stems and even manure and sewage.

Cellulosic ethanol differs from corn-based in so many ways. It’s by far much better in every aspect. The fact that it will be cheaper, more efficient, more abundant and environmentally cleaner than corn-based is enough to raise an eyebrow.

A Solution for America’s Oil Dependency

Studies have shown that the maximum amount of corn ethanol the U.S. could possibly produce without completely taking over the food supply is 15 billion gallons a year. That’s less than 10 percent of the crude oil America will use today.

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy did a joint study showing that the U.S. could grow 1.3 billion dry/tons of biomass while keeping forestry and agricultural lands sustainable. That could produce over 150 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol, which has the energy equivalency to over 100 billion gallons of gasoline. That could drop total U.S. oil imports by over 80 percent.

With fuel-efficient cars and energy conscious attitudes, we can completely do away with all oil imports. We won’t have to worry about OPEC jacking up prices and protests in Venezuela anymore.

Cleaner Than Corn

For the 21st century, it appears “green” is the way to go. It just so happens that cellulosic ethanol is environmentally sound.

Cellulosic ethanol emits 85 percent less CO2 than gasoline while corn-based only emits 30 percent less than gasoline. It has actually proven to have net negative emissions because the plants would absorb more carbon than they emit when used as fuel. It also emits less sulfur.

The leading candidate for cellulosic ethanol, switchgrass, needs 75 percent less water, 70 percent less fertilizers and pesticides than corn. On top of that, switchgrass is a cheaper and more abundant resource.

Switchgrass yields twice as much ethanol per/acre than corn, has a short growth time and requires a lot less maintenance while lessening erosion. It also easily adapts to its environment and is very resistant to droughts and disease.

Switchgrass already has amazing benefits… It’s hard to imagine the capabilities of this plant will have once scientist start genetically altering the crop…

Following the Big Money

Switching to cellulosic ethanol will create thousands of domestic jobs and keep billions of dollars from jumping overseas for oil imports.

Currently, many U.S. farmers are struggling and relying on government subsidies for survival. Cellulosic production would increase rural incomes by 200 percent.

One economist estimated that cellulosic ethanol could increase the U.S. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by $1.7 trillion from 2008-2022. With a majority of that money staying within the U.S., imagine the economic boom that we would witness…

The only draw back to cellulosic ethanol is that it’s not commercially mass-produced yet. Cellulosic ethanol is still in its developing stage…

To make the fuel, you first extract the cellulose through a heating process. Then, you break the cellulose down into sugar using enzymes. After that, you ferment the sugar into alcohol. Last, distill the alcohol into fuel. On paper, the process sounds simple, but there are some important screws that still need be tightening…

Scientists have yet to find the most efficient and least expensive way to produce the fuel. The biggest problem is developing enzymes that could break down the cellulose rapidly on a large scale.

Currently, cellulosic ethanol can be made around $1.50-$2.50 per gallon depending on the process and type of material. There’s estimates that ethanol will be able to be mass-produced at less than $1 dollar a gallon.

There are several pilot-plants running and proving to be successful. Range Fuels is currently constructing the first commercial plant estimated to produce 20 million gallons/year.

The U.S. Government is also getting highly involved. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandates heavy increases of ethanol. Some states are requiring ethanol-mixed gasoline.

The Renewable Fuel Standard Program headed by the U.S. government is requiring the production of 36 billion gallons per year of biofuels by 2022. Even if the U.S. reaches the maximum corn ethanol prodcution of 15 billion gallons, the majority of the quota will come from celluloic ethanol.

The European Union, and countries like Venezuala, Brazil, Columbia, India and China are all instituting similar programs…

Unfortunately, the cellulosic industry is way too premature to predict the biggest gainers.

Whoever discovers the most efficient way to produce ethanol or whichever chemical/biochemical company finds the best enzymes will be a winner.

Venture capitalists own a majority of the current cellulosic companies…but at the magnitude and potential of the cellulosic industry, it’s likely we will see many of these companies go public. Those that already have are still small-caps. Here are a few out there right now:

Verenium Corp. (VRNM: NASDAQ)
SunOpta Inc. (STKL: NASDAQ)
Abengoa S.A. (ABG: MCE)
BlueFire Ethanol Fuels (BFRE.OB: OTC BB)
While these would provide you with a slight interest in cellulosic ethanol, we wouldn’t recommend any of them. This technology is still too premature.

Beyond these emerging ethanol companies, keep an eye on agriculture companies, chemical companies, equipment suppliers, transportation companies and even automobile companies that will be producing flex-engine cars that can run on ethanol.

Even industries such as cattle, meats, animal feed and various packaged food companies will all benefit because of much larger grain supplies.

When something has the potential to impact the world’s governments, environments and economies…it’s worth a look at…

The Second Amendment: What a Difference a Comma Makes

The Second Amendment: What a Difference a Comma Makes
Gregory D. Lee

The Supreme Court's upcoming decision in a Washington, D.C. handgun ban case could potentially nullify thousands of gun laws on the books. The case stems from a security guard who was denied a request to keep a firearm in his District residence for self-protection.

Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty recently said that the District's handgun ban "has saved many lives since 1976 and will continue to do so if allowed to remain in force." How does he measure that? The truth is that murder by handguns has gone up substantially in the District since the handgun ban was passed. I wonder how many honest people in the District were killed by thugs with guns because they were deprived of the ability to adequately defend themselves.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads in its entirety: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

What is it about "shall not" the anti-gun crowd doesn't understand? For years they have argued that the Second Amendment doesn't apply to individual gun ownership, when the comma between the words "free state" and "the right" clearly shows that the framers of the Constitution were masters of brevity and were addressing two different issues they obviously did not want tampered with. Some might not like what the amendment says, but it doesn't change the fact that it says it.

Let's suppose there is a constitutional amendment that reads: A well regulated free government health care system, being necessary to the health of the people, the right of women to have abortions on demand, shall not be infringed. Would the typical anti-gun advocate suddenly understand what "shall not" and "infringe" mean? Would conservative pro-gunners argue that abortions could be regulated, denied or restricted at every level of government?

In the worst case scenario for anti-gunners, the Supreme Court could negate all gun laws on the books because the Second Amendment is the gun law of the land. Keeping and bearing arms shall not be infringed. Gun laws infringe that right. Any law contrary to that is obviously unconstitutional. The amendment doesn't say the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed except if you are a juvenile or a mental patient or live in the District of Columbia. It doesn't restrict convicted criminals from keeping and bearing arms either.

The ramifications of this decision could be enormous. "Keeping" and "bearing" arms are two different issues. Keeping arms would allow citizens to maintain a firearm in their residence, tent, vehicle, boat or other conveyance. Bearing arms could be interpreted as legally carrying firearms in public. Concealed weapon permits would be a thing of the past because they are designed by state governments to infringe residents from bearing firearms.

Should mentally deranged people, organized street gang members or convicted felons be allowed to carry concealed firearms? I don't think so. But they may suddenly regain that right. The Supreme Court could place restrictions on firearm ownership the same way it restricts free speech by excluding libel, slander and yelling fire in a crowded theater when there isn't one. But those restrictions came after decades of rulings handed down by the Court. It seems to me that the only constitutional way to restrict gun ownership is to have a separate amendment that specifies when a person loses his Second Amendment rights.

Even if all gun laws were declared unconstitutional, gun violence would probably not increase significantly because criminals have never followed gun laws, so why would they start now?

No matter where you stand on the issue, it will be exciting to see where the Justices stand on the literal interpretation of the Constitution.

Gregory D. Lee is a criminal justice consultant, author of three college textbooks and a syndicated columnist with North Star Writers Group. You can see his previous material here.

'Weather Wars’ Pummel US-China Heartlands, India In Total Chaos

June 17, 2008

‘Weather Wars’ Pummel US-China Heartlands, India In Total Chaos

By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers (Traducción al Español abajo)

Russian Military Analysts are reporting to the Kremlin today that China is continuing its bombardment of the ionosphere over North America from its Lop Nor nuclear test facility in Sinkiang with its massive 4 billion watt, 300 acre over-the-horizon radar weapon in retaliation for what the Chinese say was the United States ‘deliberate’ attack upon them causing the massive May 12th 8.0 magnitude earthquake that has killed over 80,000, and as we had previously reported on in our May 30th report titled “China Orders Strike Against US For Catastrophic Earthquake”.

The United States has, likewise, these reports say, continued its attacks upon China from its Alaskan based High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), and whose power is estimated to be at 1 billion watts, and which the consequences for both of these Nations has been the catastrophic destruction of vast areas of their ‘heartland’ grain producing regions.

From the United States we can read of their catastrophe as reported by the Reuters News Service:

“The worst flooding in the U.S. Midwest in 15 years sent fresh shocks to global markets and consumers as corn prices hit record highs on devastating crop losses in the heart of the world's top grain exporter.

The price of corn at the Chicago Board of Trade soared above $8 a bushel for the first time as relentless rains and overflowing rivers raised fears that Midwest farmers will not be able to grow much of anything on as many as 5 million acres.”

From China we can read of their catastrophe from these ‘freak’ rain storms as reported by the AFP News Service:

“China ordered emergency work to strengthen swollen dykes and reservoirs Tuesday and evacuated tens of thousands of people as large swathes of the south reeled under their worst storms in decades.

Officials said more than 40 rivers nationwide were exceeding their warning levels with torrential rain continuing to pound the densely populated region.

The civil affairs ministry said the death toll in nine southern provinces and regions had reached 63 Tuesday, with 13 missing, since the latest bout of rains began pummeling the area in early June.

The spike in fatalities brought the overall death toll so far this year to 171, Chinese state television reported, while nearly 1.7 million people have been driven from their homes.”

To the greatest danger to the World, however, according to these reports, are that the massive bombardments of our Earth’s ionosphere by the Americans and Chinese are now destabilizing weather systems all over the Globe, with the worst hit Nation being India where their yearly monsoon season has arrived early for the first time this century and has flooded nearly the entire country.

Russian Agriculture Specialists further point out in these reports, that with the Americans and Chinese destroying each others Nations ability to produce food to feed its people through massive flooding, and with India now being affected too, and when added onto the growing Global Food Crisis, and the continuing historic drought devastating the vast growing regions of Australia, the potential for massive food riots breaking out all around the World in the coming months is ‘all but assured’.

Not being understood by the ordinary peoples of these Nations is the vast (and potentially catastrophic to the whole Planet) destructive power of these massive new weapons systems based upon Einstein’s 1928 Unified Field Theory, but which even to this day is still suppressed by the West due to their fears of being put to death should their citizens ever fully learn of what their future holds in this age of the return to using those weapons once used by the ‘Ancient Gods’.

As our World hurtles towards the same outcome of the last ‘Great War’, and which, 12,000 years ago, nearly destroyed our own Planet, like those of our sister Planets Mars and Elyria-Lumer (the former which remains dead, the latter which was exploded), the Western people continue to deny their most ancient history even though the evidence for our most ancient parent cultures continue to survive to this day.

But, with these people’s denials of these things, even when faced with the most ancient structures on our Earth still unable to be replicated to this very day, they also deny the ancient warnings given for these times, and with the false belief that what is seen now could not have been seen tens of thousands of years ago.

To the ancients, however, and in their knowing from ‘seeing’ of these times what is now occurring, the most important, and vital, warning they put into our human DNA, and which if ignored by the peoples of today would, literally, drive them insane. And, as evidenced by the astronomical rates of depression and suicide among these peoples one can plainly see that these peoples would rather die insane than to recognize the web of lies their whole lives have become.

To a very, very, few though their remains hope that through the application of true things, true words and true sight, one can turn away from these false things, and in turning away see for themselves what they know they feel within themselves.

To those who do not take this path, however, the coming brutality of the horrific catastrophes soon to befall them will render them into slaves, at best, or at the worst into the World beyond this one where being lost they will go mad. Forever.

© June 17, 2008 EU and US all rights reserved.

[Ed. Note: The United States government actively seeks to find, and silence, any and all opinions about the United States except those coming from authorized government and/or affiliated sources, of which we are not one. No interviews are granted and very little personal information is given about our contributors, or their sources, to protect their safety.]

Translation to Spanish by: Sister Maru Barraza, Mazatlán, Mexico

Apocalypse Now: Floods, Tornadoes, Locusts

Weather of Biblical Proportions Sets Off Debate Among Theologians and Scientists
June 12, 2008—

In the beginning, God created heaven and Earth, and he saw that it was good. So begins the Book of Genesis, the dramatic opener of the Old Testament.

But things went downhill from there.

God's wrath seems at work these days, as the heavens and Earth have unleashed earthquakes in China, a cyclone in Burma, killer tornadoes and record floods across the U.S. and even a plague of locusts (cicadas) in New England.

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa today, floodwaters forced the evacuation of a downtown hospital after residents of more than 3,000 homes fled for higher ground. A railroad bridge collapsed, and 100 city blocks were underwater.

"We're just kind of at God's mercy right now, so hopefully people that never prayed before this, it might be a good time to start," Linn County Sheriff Don Zeller said this week as record floods hit the Midwest. "We're going to need a lot of prayers and people are going to need a lot of patience and understanding."

By the final Book of Revelation in the New Testament, the Earth suffers "Seven Plagues" -- from disease to "intense heat" and drought, then finally a shower of deadly hailstones.

And then comes the Apocalypse, the final judgment of man and destruction of the world by fire.

Biblical imagery is all over the news these days  even including a story last week of a New York baby being enwrapped by a snake in its crib, harking back to evil lurking in the Garden of Eden.

[There was a practical explanation: the non-poisonous snake had embedded itself in a mattress shipped by Toys 'R' Us from California.]

Most theologians and scientists don't take seriously warnings that the end of the world is nigh. But many reputable scholars do lend some credence to the notion that the world is in for some kind of disaster, be it meteorological, ecological or geopolitical.

ABC News will air a dramatic two-hour broadcast in September, Earth 2100, bringing the greatest minds across the globe together to tell us what we must do to survive the next century. And what may happen if we don't.

Though tsunamis, hurricanes and heat waves may not be punishment from God, history teaches that events in the physical world trigger upheaval in society. Civilizations have risen and fallen over drought, famine and water wars.

"Only wild-eyed fundamentalists would think that recent weather phenomena have any theological significance," said John P. Meier, a New Testament scholar and professor at Notre Dame in Indiana. "The Earth has seen and will see much worse in recorded history."

The Apocalypse is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition, but end-of-the-world stories are also woven through some Hindu and Islamic beliefs. One Catholic University spokesman described it as "the magical mystery tour of the Bible," filled with vivid imagery: a beast-like antichrist, an angry God and the destruction of the world by fire.

Modern millennialists and eschatologists -- including Yisrayl "Buffalo Bill" Hawkins, the founder of the House of Yahweh religious sect located on a 44-acre compound outside Abilene, Texas, who predicted (incorrectly) the end of the world yesterday, June 12  have been forecasting Doomsday for decades.

"It's been going on for millennia and they get it wrong all the time," said Thomas Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Seminary at Georgetown University.

"After the first millennium, they thought the world would come to an end," he said. "The pope and the cardinals were in the old St. Peters and they were expecting Jesus to come back. It didn't happen."

The Book of Revelation was written at a time when the Romans were persecuting Christians by setting them afire and feeding them to the lions.

"You have to understand the historical context of the Apocalypse and the time it was written," said Reese. "They were trying to encourage Christians to have hope and to argue that their cause is just and God will not let the bad guys win."

"The central message is that sin is not good for people and it has consequences, but we wouldn't think hurricanes, tidal waves and locusts," he said. "We know enough about science today to look on natural events as natural and not coming from God to punish people."

Meteorologists say there is a natural explanation for all this catastrophic weather  Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Since the 1970s, the Pacific Ocean has been warming, but now it is going through a cooling phase, according to Jay Searles, forecaster instructor at Penn State University.

"But now, we are flipping, and these flips happen over decades," said Searles. "When we go through transition phases like right now, they tend to favor stormy more violent weather  everything we have been observing."

"We are not being punished, though it may seem like it," said Searles. "But there is a scientific reason behind what is happening and that makes sense."

Stephen B. Chapman, associate professor of the Old Testament at Duke University Divinity School, says the Bible has a lot to say about man's relationship to the eco-system.

"In the Bible there is an essential relationship between social justice and right worship and ecology," said Chapman. "The Bible has an intense interest in ecology."

Religious scholars are beginning to pay more attention to what the Bible has to say about man's destruction of the environment and its relationship to natural catastrophes

"The land bearing the cost of global warming is new, but the connection between what humankind does and what societies they form and the health of the land and agriculture is as old as the Bible itself," he said.

One of the great Bible stories  the flood of Genesis that destroyed the Earth  was caused by "violence," said Chapman. But when the floods subside and Noah step out of the ark, the Bible uses "one of the great symbols of hope"  the rainbow.

"The rainbow is explicitly a sign that God will not destroy the earth again and the hope that humankind can live in harmony with natural world."

But evangelists like Ken Han, founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., believe God  not man  is at work in recent weather phenomena.

"There is earthly death payment for sin," said Han. "Because of sin, God doesn't hold the world perfectly together at times, and he uses certain events to judge a nation."

The Bible is filled with symbolism, poetry and parables, and Han says Revelation should not be taken "literally." Still, "just because it's apocalyptic literature doesn't mean there is no truth there."

When the world sins, "the whole of creation groans," according to Han's interpretation of a Biblical passage in Romans. Those groans are reflected in recent tornadoes and storms.

"If you carefully look at events there are certain catastrophes," said Han. "But God is in control and it's not God's fault, it's our fault because we sinned against God."

What will the fire of the Apocalypse look like? "Whatever happens, God will be in charge of it," he said. "I don't see man blowing it up [either through nuclear destruction or global warming]."

"If you believe in the Bible or the Big Bang, everyone agrees about the end of the universe," said Han. "Eventually those who believe in the Big Bang say it dies of heat death and it's all purposeless. But the Christian perspective in there is meaning to life."

New Age circles agree that some sort of cataclysmic event will occur  perhaps as early as 2012, according to ancient Mayan astronomers, who developed the world's most accurate calendar.

Science writer Lawrence Joseph explores those predictions and other theories of cybernetics  the behavior of complex systems  in his 2007 book, "Apocalypse 2012."

He says science can explain why the Earth has experienced recent violent weather patterns. "When you go from one state to the next period, there is chaos in between," according to Joseph. "There are periods of transition and chaos and it's never a straight line."

Scientists can predict major changes on the Earth by looking at its relationship to the sun, which has behaved "in more startling ways" in the last century, and more dramatically in the last three or four years.

Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma were "one of the stormiest periods on earth, and one of the stormiest on the sun," said Joseph. "People are starting to understand the Earth's relation to the sun."

Solar climaxes occur in cycles and the next is expected in 2012, when some scientists predict its activity will be 30 to 50 times more intense than previous ones.

In the 1400s the sun spots disappeared, and a century of drought and global cooling ensued, according to Joseph. It triggered chaos, and the eventual collapse of empire in China. It's the "domino effect" of weather on civilization "that has me worried," he said.

"If things in the Middle East were previously unstable, all we need is something that causes starvation in a system that is already teetering over the edge," Joseph said.

Joseph acknowledges that all the answers don't lie with science, and people project emotional meaning to natural catastrophes when they are anxious. Indeed, Americans have much to worry about: political threats, a foundering economy and even high gas prices.

"There is a certain end of the empire anxiety," he said.

And when weather patterns change, even rational people get nervous.

"There are unchallenged, unspoken assumptions that the seasons come and go your whole life, until the seasons start to mix themselves up and records are broken," he said. "It's profoundly unsettling. But we've seen nothing yet."

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