discarded lies: saturday, march 24, 2018 12:13 am zst
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daily archive: 01/19/2005
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Soviet Nostalgia
Moscow plans to erect a new statue of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, returning his once-ubiquitous image to its streets after an absence of four decades, a top city official said Wednesday.

Since President Vladimir Putin was elected in 2000, a number of Soviet symbols -- including the national anthem and an army flag -- have been restored to use, reflecting widespread nostalgia for Russia's communist years.

But rehabilitation of Stalin, who was denounced after his death in 1953 by the Soviet leadership for encouraging a cult of personality and killing millions of real and imagined opponents, has previously been out of bounds. Statues of Stalin were removed from Moscow's public spaces in the 1960s.

"A monument will be erected to those who took part in (leading the war against Adolf Hitler), including Stalin," Oleg Tolkachev, Moscow's senator in the upper house of parliament, told Ekho Moskvy radio.

Interfax news agency reported earlier that a Stalin monument would also be built in the Belgorod region near the Ukrainian border to mark the Soviet victory against Nazi Germany 60 years ago -- seen as the country's greatest military triumph.

In another sign of Stalin's growing appeal, state television channels have shown a number of prime-time television shows in recent months depicting him in a positive light.
Maybe they'll put Lenin back too?

Moscow Plans First Stalin Monument Since 1960s
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Traditional Islamic Education
England's chief government education inspector has sparked anger among Muslim groups by warning that some Islamic faith-based schools did not fully prepare their pupils for modern life in the country.

David Bell, head of the Office for Standards in Education warned on Monday that the traditional Islamic education offered by some schools "does not entirely fit" children for living in a diverse society.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Looking Past The China Hype
Let's not quail before phantoms
papijoe at Marlowe's Shade points out the Speccie's interesting cover story: it asserts that "China won't be a superpower". papijoe points out that the article's fretting over environmental destruction in China is rather besides the point-it's China's ability to create havoc militarily, unrestrained by a democratic polity, that causes the greatest concern. I agree with him on that, and have further quibbles with one particular passage:
So it is worth reminding ourselves why China is not necessarily destined for greatness, and certainly does not deserve our unmixed admiration. First, its present growth rate is very far from sustainable, dependent as it is on slave wage rates, corrupt bureaucracy, near total absence of environmental controls and a financial system which is at best rickety and at worst, by Western standards, insolvent.
That's just sort of a weird, undisciplined grab bag of fallacies. First of all, how can an economy's growth rate be unsustainable because it depends on slave wage rates? Was Great Britain in the early days of the Industrial Revolution in the midst of a "very far from sustainable" growth rate? You could certainly call the wage rates then-paid "slave wage rates". As they increased, workers were better able to buy more goods and services and expand the economy even more. Perhaps Weyer means to say that China's exports-led growth can't continue, but if it can't, the increased internal purchasing power generated by higher wages will become its own driver of growth. Besides, as Weyer himself points out-
there are still a billion Chinese who are not part of the economic miracle — instead they are underemployed peasants like Mr Zhang’s displaced and disgruntled ex-neighbours, whose only hope of a better life is to stare through the fence that keeps them out and wait for remittances from their offspring, who labour for a pittance in urban sweatshops.
there's still a billion Chinese who haven't been touched by China's economic renaissance. Only 300 million of them have. So if China's continued growth really did depend on "slave wage rates" then it still has a billion people competing with the 300 million that already earn them and pressuring wages down. Keep in mind, by the way-these rates aren't considered "slave wages" by the people receiving them, or they wouldn't be flocking to the cities in their millions hoping for the opportunity to earn them. They're only "slave wage rates" to someone like Weyer who lives in an advanced post-industrial knowledge economy.
Also, how can he say that China's growth rate is dependent on corrupt bureaucracy? Doesn't he mean that corrupt bureaucracy hinders it? And why would he equivocate in describing the Chinese financial system as "at best rickety and at worst, by Western standards, insolvent". If it's insolvent by Western standards, then it's insolvent, there's no "at best rickety" about it. Western accounting standards try to reflect reality as closely as possible-it's what transparent capitalism demands. It's well-known that staggering proportions of the assets of Chinese banks are uncollectable bad debt. The Chinese financial system will require a government bailout of epic scale; the question is not "whether" but rather "when". And anyway, the strongest criticism that can be made of China's growth rate is that it's a lie, but he doesn't appear to be familiar with this. China is unlikely to be growing much faster than about three percent a year. Look here and here for instance (just the tip of the iceberg).

Like papijoe, I think underestimating China is most unwise. However, we should also be careful not to make far-reaching, lasting decisions based on data that we can't trust. China is lying to the global investor class on an unprecedented scale, taking advantage of gullible Asians and Europeans. Dr. Joe Duarte has much more (extended excerpts below the fold)-essentially, China is probably going to make the world's "hot money" (a.k.a "stupid money") pay for China's insolvent financial system; a huge default is coming.

We believed Soviet self-estimates of their internal growth for a long time even though we knew that our accounting was based on reality and theirs was based on Party doctrine and the need to appear to be burying the West. As a result, the Cold War was likely unnecessarily prolonged and it took the biggest visionary of the century, Ronald Reagan, to finally call their bluff and win the war. We shouldn't trust or make decisions based on data fed to us by people who have a vested interest in lying to us to affect our decisionmaking, and who themselves create incentives for their underlings to lie to them. Caroline Glick recently pointed out that it looks like Ariel Sharon and Israelis in general got taken for a ride by false Palestinian population statistics.
While terrorism is the outward face of the post-modern aggressor, social psychology is perhaps his greatest weapon. If the target population can be manipulated to view itself as the aggressor, if it can be brought to view its position as untenable, then it will sue for peace and surrender. So it was that Kadoura Fares, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and one of the heads of Fatah who signed Yossi Beilin's Geneva Accords, said in an interview with the pan-Arab London-based newspaper Al-Hayat in October 2003 that the Palestinian aim in signing the accords was to "foment a piercing public and political debate in Israel."

While Hamas has placed its emphasis mainly on the terrorist aspect of the post-modern battlefield, the PLO has placed an equal emphasis on the psychological component of the war. In fact, it could be said in retrospect that the greatest single victory the PLO has scored in its 46-year-old war with Israel was the publication of a single report in 1997. That report, "Demographic Indicators of the Palestinian Territory, 1997-2015," is based on a census carried out by the PA's Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) in 1997. It projects that the Arab population west of the Jordan River will by 2015 outnumber the Jewish population.

These numbers were immediately adopted by such prominent Israeli demographers as the University of Haifa's Arnon Soffer and the Hebrew University's Sergio Della Pergola, who have both warned that by 2020 Jews will make up between 40 and 46 percent of the overall population of Israel and the territories. The Palestinian projections, which place the Arab population of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip at 3.83 million and the Israeli Arab population at 1.33 million for a total of 5.16 million Arabs west of the Jordan River, put Israel with its 5.24 million Jews at the precipice of demographic parity with the Arabs.

Largely in reaction to these statistics, which were bandied about by everyone from politicians to diplomats to defense officials, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided a year ago to adopt the Labor Party's campaign platform and withdraw the IDF from Gaza and northern Samaria and forcibly remove the Jews living in those areas from their homes. In his interview with Yediot Aharonot in December 2003, which was the curtain raiser for Sharon's announcement of his policy shift later that month, Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: "Above all hovers the cloud of demographics. It will come down on us not in the end of days, but in just another few years. We are approaching a point where more and more Palestinians will say: 'There is no place for two states between the Jordan and the sea. All we want is the right to vote. The day they get it we will lose everything."

BUT WHAT if the numbers are wrong? What if the doomsday scenarios we hear on a daily basis, arguing that Israel is about to be overrun by the Arab womb, are all based on fraudulent data — part of an ingenious Palestinian plan to psychologically manipulate Israel into capitulating?
I'm gonna skip a bunch of Caroline's stunning article here and head straight for the devastating conclusion:
The average of the last two scenarios, which corrected for the Palestinians living abroad and were based on base populations comprised of ICBS Palestinian population survey projections from the 1990s and Palestinian voting records in 1996 and 2004, brought the final projected number of Palestinians in Gaza, Judea and Samaria to 2.42 million — nearly a third less than the 3.83 million figure currently being used.

The study, which has been accepted by prominent American demographers Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt and Murray Feshbach, shows that contrary to common wisdom, the Jewish majority west of the Jordan River has remained stable since 1967. In 1967 Jews made up 64.1 percent of the overall population and in 2004 they made up 59.5 percent. Inside Israel proper, including Jerusalem, Jews make up 80 percent of the population.

While reading the report, the inescapable sense is that something has gone very wrong within Israeli society. The numbers are so clear. The data have always been readily available. And yet, like bats attracted to the darkness of a cave, we preferred the manipulative lies of the PA to the truth.

The entire 117-page report can be accessed on-line at www.pademographics.com. Given that it shows that the government's current policies are based in large part on an uncritical acceptance of fraudulent data whose purpose was to demoralize us into capitulating to our post-modern foe, hopefully Olmert and Sharon will take a look at it.
Read the whole thing, then come back and read Joe Duarte on China's bubble below the fold, as well as my thoughts on why official Chinese propaganda after 9/11 reveals that it isn't a country that will lead the world any time soon...
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
A French Contribution to the Intifada
The first thing that comes up when you google Mohammed al-Durra's name is a poem written by Sheikh Mohammed of the United Arab Emirates called "To the soul of the child martyr." It gives an idea of the mythical proportions that the young boy has assumed in the Middle East. The images of Mohammed al-Durra hiding from Israeli fire behind his father's back in the early days of the second intifada, only to be struck down by enemy bullets, shocked the whole world. For many Arabs and Muslims, the boy became the symbol of Palestinian suffering under Israeli occupation.

On the Palestinian Authority's TV channel, as well as in Palestinian school books, his example is used to encourage other children to emulate his spirit of sacrifice. Even in the West, the pictures that won so many journalism prizes have become the most recognizable symbol of Israeli aggression. When Ehud Barak, then Israel's prime minister, visited Paris in the same year, French President Jacques Chirac wryly scolded him. "Killing children is no policy."

And yet, it was nothing but a hoax. For those readers who recognize the famous image reproduced here, it might be difficult to believe that the scene was actually staged. (see accompanying illustration -- WSJE Nov. 26, 2004) I will elaborate later how it has been proven that Israeli soldiers could not have killed the boy. Some might ask why it still matters. Haven't too many innocent people on both sides died since then, and is it not time to look ahead now?

Well, it matters for exactly those same reasons. Mohammed al-Durra became more than just the poster boy of the intifada. According to the Mitchell report, drafted in May 2001 by a joint U.S.-European committee, this story was one of the events that sparked the intifada. For peace we need reconciliation and for reconciliation we need the truth. But French state-owned TV channel France 2, which produced and distributed the damning footage, refuses to release the facts.
Read it all: The most damaging story of the Intifada was a fraud

Via Power and Control
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Venice, Vidi, Vici
Let's take a Venetian vacation. Veniceblog has stories, time-lapse videos, and ambient sounds. Read about how an uprooted Venetian community speaks Venet in Mexico and also find out how good old fashioned American ingenuity is giving Venice's quays and building foundations a new lease on life. Chronicles of Venice has stories and photos. And Venetian Blog is primarily a photoblog, with a few lessons on the differences between Venet (the Venetian dialect) and Italian. I stole some of the most beautiful photos from all three weblogs. Click them for larger versions.

The Feast of the Redeemer

The staircase was built in 1499.

zorkie, if I ever manage to stumble into winning your true love (or more likely, you suffer a bout of temporary insanity), let's elope here!
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Month of Terror
Who was behind the September 1999 Moscow apartment building bombings? The official Russian version is "Chechen separatists." But others say the Russian Federal Security Service staged these terrorist attacks in order to spark another conflict in Chechnya. This could be just another conspiracy theory except there are so many people dropping dead here and there. And in the words of the Wall Street Journal,
The idea of a state security service committing mass murder would seem too ludicrous to be entertained until you remember that the FSB was the renamed KGB, whose raison d'etre for decades was basically institutionalized terror in the service of the Communist Party. It is not entirely unfathomable that some cell of the FSB might have done something truly horrific.
Putin's Shadow

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evariste in Discarded Lies:
A True Moderate Muslim In Syria?
All the right people hate him
This Syrian scholar sounds like a breath of fresh air.
DAMASCUS, SYRIA - In a country where conservative Islamic sentiment is rising, Islamist scholar Mohammed Habash's moderate views strike a jarring chord.

Dressed in a tailored tweed suit, he looks more like a college professor than the traditional image of an Islamic religious leader in robes and headdress. But Mr. Habash says he is indeed from the conservative tradition of Islam and was educated only in religious schools.

His interpretation of Islam, however, is anything but conservative. He promotes a reformist vision of Islam that accepts Western ideas, including secular forms of government. Women, he says, are permitted by Islam to receive the same level of education as men and to fully participate in public life, even as religious, political, and business leaders. He advocates peaceful resistance to the US-led occupation in Iraq, in contrast to some clerics in Syria's Sunni Muslim heartland who have encouraged the insurgency. And he rejects what he calls the "monopoly of salvation," the belief that Islam is the only true religion.

"We have to accept other religions," says Habash, director of the Center of Islamic Studies in Damascus. "Islam has to confirm what came before and not cancel [Judaism and Christianity] out. Also, it is not wrong to absorb new ideas from the West and East."

His views have put him at odds with Syria's conservative Muslim clergy that brands all religions other than Islam false and views the West suspiciously.

Even the late Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro, the moderate Grand Mufti of Syria who was a mentor to Habash, released a statement condemning some of his protege's ideas when Habash was campaigning in Syria's 2003 parliamentary election. Nonetheless, Habash was elected with the highest number of votes after the ruling Baath Party candidates.
It sounds like there is a real public appetite in Syria for what he's offering. A hopeful sign.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Glen Wishard's Blogging Ethics
Glen Wishard has some sensible and ethical advice for bloggers. For example:
7. If you web-cam yourself while blogging, please do not wear an SS uniform, a Star Trek uniform, a Munich-style anarchist ski mask, a Dan Rather-style sweater, or underwear that is inappropriate to your gender. Remember always that you represent the blog community.

8. Avoid excessive use of internet acronyms like MSM (Mainstream Media), SCUM (So-Called Unbiased Media), BOOBS (Blogs Obviously Owned By Soros), etc. These confuse the MSM squares who will soon be getting most of their editorial analysis from us.
CANIS IRATUS: Prolegomena to a Future Blogger Ethic
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