Fun with Islamic Reformation.

Fun with Islamic Reformation.

So the Muslim Reformation? Hmm. I’m curious. I hear both the Left and Right posture about the need for  a reformation in Islam. If it was happening now, would we, particularly in the West, recognize it? I mean if, say, tens or hundreds of millions of Muslims were incrementally or cautiously asserting pressure to realize the sort of Islam more compatible with their morality and ethics in an increasingly integrated world driving compromise in all things, would that be something that was imposed upon them? What would that look like, apart from  a violent conflagration to satisfy Western bigotries and biases? Or would that change take time, perhaps decades or longer?

The comparison is always made with the miraculous ascension of Christianity from its reformation. Most Christians don’t understand what the reformation was. it certainly was NOT an enlightenment! If it had been there never would have been the Balkan Wars, the genocide of indigenous Americans, the Filipino’s in the 19th Century, the genocides and enslavements of the colonial powers in Asia, India and Africa, a Bosnia or a Chechnya. There would have been no need for Gandhi, Mandela of MLK jr. It was a gruesomely bloody affair, with war, torture, rape, atrocities, witch trials, mass starvation on a global scale in which virtually no one had rights but a few nobles. Millions. Millions died.

Whenever I hear the family Research Council, Ted Cruz, the Westborough Baptist Church or Mike Huckabee speak I think that Christianity, the apart from distractive illusions of fast cars, suits and flashy TV shows, has a very long way to go, and needs to shut up about reforming Islam and clean up its own house a bit. they both need to reform. It’s like a bad marriage in which both spouses are deeply dysfunctional. Encouraging one while ignoring the other isn’t a solution it is, rather, a team sport.


APB for Johannes Gutenberg

APB for Johannes Gutenberg

APB for Johannes Gutenberg

The Department of Homeland Security has issued an all points bulletin for Johannes Gutenberg for causing history to happen.

Authorities say that Gutenberg, a German national, who turned 615 years old this year, remains an unindicted co-conspirator for the proliferation of a technology that led to history taking place. Authorities recently have begun the process of reversing the damage done to the wealthy and powerful, which for centuries has become increasingly abused, led to new and revolutionary technologies, and began encroaching upon the narrative hegemony once enjoyed by industrialists, kings, royalty and wealthy white land owners. DHS officials warn that Gutenberg should be considered clever, informed and therefore extremely dangerous to the status quo.


Shut up, Brexit Babies: The Numbers

Shut up, Brexit Babies: The Numbers

Shut up, Brexit Babies: The Numbers

The numbers always tell the story, which is why this blog gives you the most accurate and complete data statistics on critical issues. Brexit is a case in point as it tells not only the story in Great Britain with regards to the vote to leave the European Union, but it also tells a chilly and cryptic tale about American elections, the looming presidential election in particular.

First a few useful numbers for comparison and clarity. As of 2013 there are around 64 million people living in Great Britain, According to Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) there are roughly 46 million registered to vote. Demographically, that sounds a bit high. That would mean only 18 million are below the age to vote, or otherwise prevented from voting somehow, but it is the official record so we’ll stick with our data. For comparison the USA has 319 million people, with roughly 150 million registered voters. Adjusting for population size, the GB numbers are pretty close. Always, as I have told my college aged sister-in-law, Nina, stand by your data. So, 46 million it is.

The issue, largely, at least that’s what many voted for, had to do with immigration. Muslim and African immigrants became the poster children for alarmist rhetoric despite only representing a very small fraction of immigrants to GB. More than 93% of immigrants to GB come from other EU states. The vast majority are from Poland, with Ireland 2nd and  a large portion of the rest from other Western European states. Brits are capable of living and working in other European states, but do so much less. Some might view that as a lack of competition on the part of Brits. In fact, most immigration to GB was for work, followed by education and third, family members joining family already residing in GB. Refugees, not so much.

The vote was, in a word, lackluster. Working class families, already pinched by dwindling factory and manufacturing jobs (sound familiar?) opted more for a split, their sense of security or insecurity heightened by anti-immigrant rhetoric. The unemployment overall in GB falls currently at an average of 5%, down from  a high of more than 8% in 2011. There’s a reality there. Like the US, its higher in some places and lower elsewhere. Many communities never fully recovered under the nation’s worst employment under Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) which peaked at 1984, or from  a severe recession during the 1990s. That factors here, because the strongest voting block was ground zero for both those painful unemployment periods.caption.

Ranked 59th In the world, GB has a mortality rate of 9.3/1000, compared with the US at 8.1 deaths per 1000 people. That’s important. With a net of 190,000 immigrants annually there is at least a partial offset to a nation in the top 30% of nations with high mortality rates. That’s called replacement rate. Birth rates in western nations have fallen since the end of the Second World War. in the EU the average is 1.5 children per woman, down by more than half in that period.

In fact, there is a demographic change in England, as there is in the US. the world is changing. That is a reality. In 2001 the “white” population of the UK, including foreign-born Europeans and the Irish was around 92%. That number in 2011 was 87%, a substantial enough change to be exploited fully by xenophobes. The difference between 2011 and 2016 likely has seen that decline even greater. Change is never easy.

Let’s be honest, 51.9% of the vote isn’t an astounding victory. Scotland did not vote overwhelmingly to remain in the EU as many Liberal US sources reported. The vote was about 60/40. England and Wales were almost identical and roughly mirrored the final 52/48% tally. Wales ,Scotland and N. Ireland account for 16% of the UK’s population. Even at 100% in favor, they were easily overwhelmed by England’s much larger population. By contrast there were, during the American Revolution, 16-20% loyalists to the King of England and 36-45% American patriots.

Voter turnout in England and Wales was between 71-73%, while Scotland and Northern Ireland came in at 67% and 63% respectively.  That means of the 46 million registered voters somewhere around 33 million voted. That’s still far better than American elections, and more young people participated in the Brexit vote than in American elections. It was the age demographics which told that tale ultimately. Like American elections, far more people over the age of 35 participated, tending towards leaving the EU than those under 35. People 18-24 voted strongly in favor of staying. Even if 100% had voted for staying in the EU, their numbers are almost inconsequential to the 35 years and up voting block where most of the votes to split came from, representing some 56% of the electorate, as opposed to the strongest block in favor of the EU, the 18-24 year olds, with around 9% of the vote.

Despite what Trump and the Right say, the EU is not about to fall domino style in a slate of referendums. First, none are scheduled. Spain, often cited would lose in a vote to split 74% in favor of remaining to 26% opposed. The two most disgruntled EU partners Italy and France, if a vote were held today would lose by 52 and 59% respectively. So on that one Trump is wrong.

So there are the numbers. The vote was a done deal in the minds of older more rural white folks in England. They cut the cord, let’s see how they go it alone. As for the presidential elections, like the Brexit vote…the devil is very much in the details.

How to say “Bite me!”en Francais.

How to say “Bite me!”en Francais.

How to say “Bite me!”en Francais.

That is what French Authorities in Calais on the English Channel are saying after the Brexit vote to Great Britain. The vote yesterday calls into serious and immediate question the fate of some 5000 African and Middle eastern refugees awaiting approval to enter England. Authorities in Calais, where the refugees have been camped in what has been called “The Jungle” since the refugee crisis surged last Fall, may expedite their passage. In fact, that number could rise to well over 50,000 as agreements collapse between the Great Britain throughout the rump Eurozone.

The irony is that Brits were sold on Brexit with a toxic cocktail of anti-immigrant rhetoric, not unlike that prevalent in the US presidential campaign. One of many potentially disastrous interlocking political, social and economic consequences to the vote. The refugees are camped in Calais under the so-called Touquet agreement.

“…we have a positive and strong working relationship with the French at the moment,” a spokesperson for Prime Minister David Cameron said in February, “but clearly the point that is being made here is that should we leave the EU then some of these other arrangements that we may have with other countries…The point here is that if that’s called into question and those controls cease to exist, then you have potentially thousands of asylum seekers camped out in Northern France who could be here almost over night.”

Donald Trump from his luxurious, but money losing golf course in Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, cheered the outcome of the Brexit vote. Endemic of his short-sighted policies, America’s Republican presidential presumptive candidate said “I think it’s a great thing. I think it’s a fantastic thing,” indicating the sort of keen and reflective analysis he’d exhibit as president, likely with the same success the Brits are sure to reap from Brexit.

“The British must take on the consequences of their choice,”  Calais mayor, Natacha Bouchart, told French news cameras. Indeed, and in the way the nationalists were hoping to avoid. Is that irony or simply poetic justice?

By the way, “bite me,” in French is “me mordre,” or Brexit, for short.


Euro Toast: It’s What’s for Breakfast

Euro Toast: It’s What’s for Breakfast

Euro Toast: It’s What’s for Breakfast

You know if Trump is for it there is a scam of some sorts in the works. This one is right under our noses and it hasn’t begun to stink all that bad, but it will. Mark these words. As the saying sort of goes, there’s something rotten in Denmark, er, England.

First a bit of reality. The Dow dropped 600 points on news Great Britain would leave the European Union, EU. Doom and gloom. There goes your 401k. But fear not for the truly rich and powerful, today’s overall Dow Jones market loss was roughly about $40 billion, a relative Starbucks venti cup in the market. If you were worried about hedge fund guys and wealthy traders, its okay, they’re leveraged and buffered. You, hoping to retire from your office job 45 minutes early, cuz you been packing it away in the 401k, or for you veterans and taxpayers, well, your screwed, SHINY KEYS! SHINY KEYS!

The Right wing is selling this as some sort of populist uprising, a referendum on immigration and anti-Obama policies, big government and Muslims. In this country Tea party  national drunk drivers like ex Rep. Joe Walsh herald the outcome of the vote as an international referendum on Trump. They jumped to that conclusion even before the vote and after the driver of all this revealed that he had no plan  at the back end of the vote. Market experts, political leaders and economists all day have simply shrugged their shoulders. They universally describe this event as uncharted waters.

That’s all relatively low level stuff. The big picture is far more sinister…at least in my humble, humble.

There is a longer view here. At one level is, as we’ve seen with companies in this country and with nations like Greece and a number of other southern and eastern European nations, the manufactured dissolution by mammoth financial powers. Perhaps we will see an attack on the nations and companies of Europe who obstinately protect public services from corporate takeover. That process has already begun in earnest in the US. Schneider in Michigan, Walker in Wisconsin and Rauner in Illinois all seek to exploit hyper-exaggerated issues, like pensions and unions (a paltry 4-7% of the overall domestic workforce) to drive privatization through bankruptcy and manufactured crisis. Kansas slashed public programs in favor of tax cuts and subsidies to companies and the wealthy only to find itself borrowing to cover a $900 million shortfall.

The rise of the international corporation is at hand, sold to you as democracy and populism, paraded as ISIS terrorism and Ebola scares.. The goal, to wrest control of the reigns of power, but more importantly the truth wealth of the planet which is locked up in government through taxation, programs like social security, education, the power of the courts and defense. Control the access to taxation, the courts and the media and you have essentially enslaved a planet to the financial benefit of a few very wealthy and powerful.

A friend with connections to the Mob, who passed away some years ago, made a cryptic remark to me on September 11 2001. He said, that the real criminals are the ones capable of passing laws that suit their interests. That’s big money. He was right.

Think I’m wrong? If you are reading this in Dubai or Uganda, or Saigon and you got the Starbucks reference, think back 10 years and ask yourself if you would have gotten it then.  Bottom line, Brexit is not at all about the will of the people, but about the profits and power of a few people. The media would have you watching a room full of balls to keep your eye off the one that matters. I, for one, am not fooled.

Gun Pornographer of the week!

Gun Pornographer of the week!

Each week we’ll take a moment to recognize that the enemy of civil society is not the reasonable gun owner, sportsman and hunter who views guns rightly as a tool in need of sublime responsibility and maturity, but for those who fetishize guns, protect the proliferation of illegal guns and manipulate the fears of the American people in a cynical strategy to sell more guns.