Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Muslim persecution of Christians

Posted: 03 Sep 2012 09:51 AM PDT
(Steven Hayward)
I occasionally click through to Willie Brown’s rambling column in the San Francisco Chronicle–he’s obviously trying to channel or emulate the format of the legendary Herb Caen–in large part because I always regarded Brown as the smartest and most able politician in America during his heyday as Speaker of the California State Assembly.  He flummoxed Republicans at every turn (and several ethics investigations, too, if you believe the rumors).
Today he doesn’t think much of Eastwooding, but then there’s this interesting paragraph on public employee unions:
As reforms go, the pension deal that Sacramento lawmakers reached last week is just a start to correct the mistakes that former lawmakers, including me, have made over the years.
But for all the talk about how the changes were needed to make the governor’s tax plan more palatable to voters this fall, the fact is that lawmakers bucked the unions for one reason and one reason only: They want to keep their jobs.
The unions are really bent out of shape because they weren’t allowed in the room during the negotiations, as they usually are. But why should they be in the room?
The world is changing. Years ago it was the likes of Southern Pacific and other big businesses calling the shots in Sacramento, and we were all highly critical of them.
These days it’s labor. That’s not the portrayal union leaders like to see in the media, but it’s the truth.
Real reform would be barring labor leaders from sitting on state pension boards. The boards ought to be made up of money managers who are concerned with how much cash is going in and out of the fund. There is no justification for any trustee on a pension board being more interested in spreading benefits than paying for them.   (Emphasis added.)
Willie better start checking for a horse’s head in his basement (or tailor’s dressing room more likely).

Posted: 03 Sep 2012 08:09 AM PDT
(Steven Hayward)
I’ve given up following the Eurozone crisis on a daily basis—as has much of the media it seems—because it has settled into Groundhog Day territory.  Greece—still a basket case.  Spain—still having trouble selling its bonds.  Italy and France—still behaving irresponsibly.  Germany: cough up more dough you tight-fisted Teutonic bastards.  How long can this circus go on?  It’s been going on for better than two years now at least, and perhaps the crisis might well be patched up for a long while yet.
But not forever, and the end of “forever” may be coming into sight.  Germany has finally gotten France over the last few weeks to tell the Greeks that “No” really means “NO” about further bailouts.  The New York Times reports ominously that more and more multinational companies are beginning to prepare for Greece to exit from the Euro.  This sounds really serious:
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has looked into filling trucks with cash and sending them over the Greek border so clients can continue to pay local employees and suppliers in the event money is unavailable. Ford has configured its computer systems so they will be able to immediately handle a new Greek currency.
Walter Russell Mead offers a good roundup of the scene this morning, including this warning about Spain:
Meanwhile, Spain’s situation continues to deteriorate, with the country visibly spiraling toward some kind of bailout. Any new funding from the ECB will come with much tougher conditions than the easy funding that got Spain (and Europe) through the summer without a meltdown. . .
But the real ground zero of the Eurozone crisis may be shifting to France:
But without any doubt, the worst news is coming from France. It’s not that France is headed down the tubes like the PIIGS. Yet. But with a major French bank (Credit Immobilier de France) needing a bailout, unemployment rising above the psychologically crucial 3 million mark, and a stubbornly high budget deficit despite a round of tax hikes and spending cuts, things are not looking good. And as Businessweek reports, bond investors are showing early signs of skittishness. French debt currently earns only about a two percent interest rate; it wouldn’t take much for investors to push those yields above 4 or even 5 percent if perceptions of Europe and France continue to deteriorate. France has benefited from a “safe haven” perception, but that perception looks vulnerable to the autumn storms that now seem to be sweeping toward the EU.
This may explain why France has joined the Germans in telling the Greeks that the game is over for them.  The French had been playing something of a double game up to this point, but even the new French socialist government may be starting to get the message that they’re in deep deep trouble themselves.  Dan Mitchell offers additional observations in his indispensible blog.  Both Mitchell and Mead say the thing to watch is French bond rates.  If they spike like Spain and Italy, the next inflection point of the Eurozone crisis will be at hand.
What might set this off?  Hmmm—how about the prospect that Obama is re-elected?

Posted: 03 Sep 2012 07:40 AM PDT
(Steven Hayward)
I tell ya, that Eastwood guy started something.  Wish I didn’t have to catch a plane back to Washington today, or I’d be talking to empty chairs and checking out the local scene.  The empty chair bids to become a better political statement than the old fashioned lawn sign. Can we get a clever bumper sticker from somewhere?  Enjoy:

Revenge for the Churchill bust exile
Finally, this post wouldn’t be complete without a mashup.  (Hat tip: BadgerPundit/William Jacobson at LegalInsurrection/PL reader Jean Y.)

Posted: 03 Sep 2012 07:29 AM PDT
(John Hinderaker)
At the Middle East Forum, Raymond Ibrahim continues his series on Muslim persecution of Christians around the world. It is remarkable how many such instances occur, even though, as Ibrahim says, he provides only a sampling. Ibrahim is doing a great service with his monthly compilations. We can only hope that somewhere, policymakers and voters are paying attention.
This is how Ibrahim sums up the month of July:
Several reports appearing in July indicate that Christian minorities all around the Muslim world—especially women and children—are being abducted, tortured, raped, forced to convert to Islam, and/or enslaved.
In Egypt, at least 550 such cases have been documented in the last five years, and have only increased since the revolution. Christians who manage to escape back to their families often find the government siding with their Muslim abductors. One young mother who recently testified before the Helsinki Commission explained how she was snatched in broad daylight, as her abductor shouted to bystanders while dragging her to a waiting taxi, “No one interfere! She is an enemy of Islam.”
Identical reports are emerging from Pakistan, where “persecution, kidnapping and abduction of Christian women and girls,” including many married women with children, are on the rise. Last year the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that 1800 Christian and Hindu girls were forcibly converted to Islam. Most recently, the sister of a pastor was “kidnapped raped and forcibly converted to Islam.” She “was kidnapped around a month ago by some Muslim men while returning home from college. She was held for days, suffered sexual abuse, threats and violence. In such a state of terror and exhaustion, first she was coerced into converting to Islam, and then marriage. Her family reported the incident to the police station in Chunian, but no investigations have been conducted and instead her abductors have presented a report to the court attesting to the girl now being Muslim and legally married. Among other things, the girl is a minor and, according to the law, marriage is not permitted to minors.”
The tiny Palestinian Christian community in the Hamas-run Gaza strip is also under siege and charges that five Christians were abducted and pressured into converting to Islam. Because they made this forced conversion charge known, “members of the Christian community now fear reprisal attacks by Muslim extremists.” Some have appealed to the Vatican and Christian groups and churches in the West for help. Yet “we only hear voices telling us to stay where we are and to stop making too much noise,” said a Christian man living in Gaza City: “If they continue to turn a blind eye to our tragedy, in a few months there will be no Christians left in Palestine. Today it’s happening in the Gaza Strip, tomorrow it will take place in Bethlehem.”
To that depressing catalog I will add only a couple more items; please do follow the link and read them all:
Kenya: Seven Islamic jihadis launched simultaneous grenade and gunfire attacks on two churches while the congregations were at prayer. Five militants attacked the Africa Inland Church, killing 17 people and wounding approximately 60, including many women and children; two other Muslim terrorists attacked the nearby Catholic Church, wounding three. …
Nigeria: In what is being described as an ongoing genocide of Christians, over 65 people, including two politicians, were killed in triple attacks on Christians. First, Muslims destroyed 43 Christian-owned farms. Nobody was arrested. Then they attacked nine Christian villages around the city of Jos, killing dozens of people. “They came in hundreds,” said an official, “Some had police uniforms and some even had bulletproof vests.” In one instance, Christians fleeing the violence took refuge in the house of a local church leader, which was bombed and more than 50 Christians were burned alive, including the pastor’s wife and children. Then the Muslims attacked the funeral for the victims of the village raids, killing several more people. Security forces said Muslim Fulani herdsmen were responsible but Islamic militant group Boko Haram issued a statement saying “We thank Allah for the successful attack.” Separately, Islamic motorcycle assassins gunned down four Christians. …
South Africa: The Islamic terror group Al Shabaab is accused of murdering 14 Christians, all Ethiopians, in the Western Cape. A Christian bishop, also a former police inspector, fears more of his flock will be targeted: “We want authorities to do something because we know this is the work of al-Shabaab. If nothing is done, the Ethiopian population will be depleted… [those who died are] holy martyrs who have died because they are Christians.” Meanwhile, Father Mike Williams of the Anglican Catholic Church also revealed that members of his congregation have been targeted by gunmen “with connections to Muslim extremists,” saying that “In July, we have lost seven members of our church.”

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