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Top Ten Ways Islamic Law Forbids Terrorism

April 19, 2013 in Blogs

By Juan Cole, JuanCole.com

Islam’s holy book forbids coercing people into adopting any religion. They have to willingly choose it.


Erik Rush and others who hastened to scapegoat Muslims for the Boston Marathon bombing are ignorant of the religion. I can’t understand why people who have never so much as read a book about a subject appoint themselves experts on it. (Try this book, e.g.). We don’t yet know who carried out the attack, but we know they either aren’t Muslims at all or they aren’t real Muslims, in the nature of the case.

Here are the top ten ways that Islamic law and tradition forbid terrorism (some of these points are reworked from previous postings):

1. Terrorism is above all murder. Murder is strictly forbidden in the Qur’an. Qur’an 6:151 says, “and do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully.” (i.e. murder is forbidden but the death penalty imposed by the state for a crime is permitted). 5:53 says, “… whoso kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.”

2. If the motive for terrorism is religious, it is impermissible in Islamic law. It is forbidden to attempt to impose Islam on other people. The Qur’an says, “There is no compulsion in religion. The right way has become distinct from error.” (-The Cow, 2:256). Note that this verse was revealed in Medina in 622 AD or after and was never abrogated by any other verse of the Quran. Islam’s holy book forbids coercing people into adopting any religion. They have to willingly choose it.

3. Islamic law forbids aggressive warfare. The Quran says, “But if the enemies incline towards peace, do you also incline towards peace. And trust in God! For He is the one who hears and knows all things.” (8:61) The Quran chapter “The Cow,” 2:190, says, “Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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How '420' Became the Big Day for Weed Smokers Across America

April 19, 2013 in Blogs

By Ryan Grim, Huffington Post

The little known origins of the 4-20 holiday


This story originally ran on huffingtonpost.com and has been reprinted with permission by the author, Ryan Grim. He is the author of This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America.

Warren Haynes, the Allman Brothers Band guitarist, routinely plays with the surviving members of the Grateful Dead, now touring as “The Dead.” Having just finished a Dead show in Washington, D.C., the musician gets a pop quiz from this reporter: Where does “420″ come from? 

He pauses and thinks, hands on his side.  “I don't know the real origin.  I know myths and rumors,” he says.  “I'm really confused about the first time I heard it.  It was like a police code for smoking in progress or something.  What's the real story?” Depending on who you ask, or their state of inebriation, there are as many varieties of answers as strains of medical bud in California: It's the number of active chemicals in marijuana; it's tea time in Holland; it's those numbers in that Bob Dylan song multiplied. 

The origin of the term 420, celebrated around the world by pot smokers every April 20, has long been obscured by the clouded memories of the folks who made it a phenomenon. 

An exhaustive search chased the term back to its roots, where it was found in a lost patch of cannabis in a Point Reyes, Calif., forest.  Just as interesting as its origin, it turns out, is how it spread. 

It starts with the Dead.  It was Christmas week in Oakland, 1990.  Steven Bloom was wandering through the Lot – that timeless gathering of hippies that springs up in the parking lot before every Grateful Dead concert – when a Deadhead handed him a yellow flier. 

“We are going to meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset spot on Mt.  Tamalpais,” reads the message, which Bloom managed to dig up for this story.  Bloom, then a reporter for High Times magazine and now the publisher of CelebStoner.com and co-author of Pot Culture, had never heard of “420-ing” …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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Are the Banks Already Orchestrating Another Meltdown?

April 19, 2013 in Blogs

By Alyssa Figueroa, AlterNet

Wall Street is selling the exact same risky mortgage bundles that crashed the economy in 2008.


History repeats itself. And so does Wall Street.

On Friday, the New York Timesreported that banks are continuing to practice risky behavior as the economy “improves.” While the mainstream media has been quick to discuss the improving economy, not much conversation has been situated around whom exactly the economy is improving for and how millions of Americans still struggle financially. Just one example, for instance, is that 11 million renters currently pay more than 50 percent of their incomes on housing.

But Wall Street is making more investments, known as structured financial products, and escaping new financial regulations, such as the Dodd-Frank bill that did not change the structure of how loans are bundled — which, when done riskily, causes crisis.

Tad Phillips, a commercial real estate analyst at Moody’s rating agency, told the Times: “The players in the business are generally the same as they were before. … Because it’s the old players, they know how to push the boundaries.”

The Timesreported that banks have issued $26 billion in new collateralized loan obligations, or loans pooled and given to poorly rated companies, in just 2013 alone — more than what they issued in all of 2007. The Timesstated, “Demand for the loan pools has been so brisk that banks have been able to loosen underwriting standards on the underlying loans and bonds. This provoked the Federal Reserve to release guidance last month warning that “prudent underwriting practices have deteriorated.”

The Timesalso reported that “57 percent of the outstanding money in commercial mortgage-backed securities” was in risky, interest-only loans before the crisis. It has now reached 34 percent — 11 percent more than two years ago.

Though bonds linked to home mortgages (a major cause of the financial crisis) have been slow to reappear on the Wall St. scene, JPMorgan issued one last month, becoming the first major American bank to do so. The Timesstated other banks are also discussing doing the same.

We can demand that banks act more responsibly, and we can surely …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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David Stockman on Mises and Hazlitt

April 19, 2013 in Economics

By Thomas DiLorenzo

“Henry Hazlitt . . . titled his March 1969 Newsweek column “The Coming Monetary Collapse.”  Hazlitt publicly warned the White House that ‘one of these days the United States will be openly forced to refuse to pay out any more of its gold at $35 an ounce.’  The result, Hazlitt insisted, would be a ‘run or crisis in the foreign exchange market’ that could end convertability entirely.  ‘If it does . . . the consequences for the United States and the world will be grave.’  Hazlitt could not have been more clairvoyant.  The postwar monetary order was at a crucial inflection point.  It would soon lurch into a forty-year spree of global debt creation, financial speculation, and massive economic imbalance . . .”

–David Stockman, The Great Deformation, p. 117.

“Newly minted central bank money stimulated rapid private debt extensions, which was used to bid-up asset prices, which elicited more collateralized credit, which drove asset prices even higher.  The Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises had explained this type of credit boom cycle way back in 1911, but by the 1990s the hubris of monetary central planners superseded the plaintive monetary wisdom of an earlier age.  In those benighted times, economists and legislators alike knew the difference between the honest savings of the people and bank credit made out of thin air.”

– David Stockman, The Great Deformation, p. 337.

…read more
Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Ben Bernanke’s Sole Contribution to Economic “Scholarship”

April 19, 2013 in Economics

By Thomas DiLorenzo

“[T]he stated purpose of the Wall Street bailouts — to avoid a replay of the 1930s — was drastically misguided.  It was based on a phantom threat which arose overwhelmingly from the faulty scholarship of a single official . . . who had come to head the nation’s central bank. The analysis was actually not even his own, but was the borrowed theory of Professor Milton Friedman.”

“Forty years earlier, Friedman had famously claimed that the Fed’s failure to run its printing presses full tilt during certain periods of 1930-1932 had caused the Great Depression.  Bernanke’s sole contribution to this truly wrong-headed proposition was a few essays consisting mainly of dense math equations.  They showed the undeniable correlation between the collapse of GDP and the money supply, but proved no causation whatsoever.”

“In fact . . . the great contraction of 1929-1933 was rooted in the bubble of debt and financial speculation that built up in the years before October 1929 . . . . the . . . central bank [is] now led by an academic zealot who had gotten cause and effect upside down.”

– David A. Stockman, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, pp. 42-43.

…read more
Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Is Hemp Legalization on the Horizon? Current Congresspeople Think the Answer is Yes

April 19, 2013 in Blogs

By David Borden, Drug War Chronicle

It's still a fairly bold prediction, considering lawmakers' track record on the issue.


I attended a forum on marijuana legalization at The Brookings Institution Monday, where Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), one of a handful of Congressional champions of marijuana law reform, was one of the speakers. Along with his general optimism for where the issue is going, Blumenauer predicted that the current Congress — #113, in office this year and next — will legalize hemp growing.

That may be a less bold prediction than in the past — with the highest-ranking Republican senator supporting hemp now, Mitch McConnell, it should be more likely — but it's still a fairly bold prediction, when one thinks about just how long Congress has refused to do anything for this utterly no-brainer of an issue. One of Blumenauer's reasons was that a House bill to legalize hemp growing, H.R. 525, also is being sponsored by a Kentucky Republican, Thomas Massie.

You heard it here first. (Unless you also watched the Brookings forum.)

Related Stories

…read more
Source: ALTERNET

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After Boston Bombing, Everyone Is Being Watched–and Everyone is Watching

April 19, 2013 in Blogs

By Kristen Gwynnne, AlterNet

By monitoring social media and using crowd-sourced evidence, authorities have turned the public into both suspects and investigators.


FBI special agent and head of the bureau’s Boston office Richard DesLauriers has been running an crowd-sourced campaign  for information about suspects in the Boston marathon bombing that left three dead and more than 170 wounded. So far, it appears to be working–but it also may herald in an unexpected end to privacy and civil liberties in the U.S.

Let's take a look at the strategy, thus far.

The investigator released photos and videos of the two men authorities identified as suspects and created a website where tipsters and witnesses could come forward with pertinent information about the attack.

At a press conference yesterday, DesLauriers said the release of photographs and videos showing the bombers’ clothes, baseball hats, and faces could pull clues from anyone — in the United States or internationally — who had ever seen or known the suspects.

“With the media’s help, in an instant, these images will be delivered directly into the hands of millions around the world,” DesLauriers said.

And indeed they were. By the time the new information prompted a shootout in a Boston suburb that left one suspect dead, DesLauriers had already received more than 2,000 tips.

At the same time that the FBI was pouring over images and videos from the bombings, so too were internet users. On Reddit and 4Chan, vigilante investigators pointed out in photos and videos people and behavior they deemed suspicious. Claiming a man’s backpack was shaped as if it might have a pressure cooker in it, Reddit users identified the same wrong ‘suspect’ the New York Post pictured on its front page yesterday. The man, Salah Barhoun, was indeed not being sought by police. He was simply an innocent teenager.

“It’s the worst feeling that I can possibly feel,” Barhoun told ABC News, “I’m only 17.”

The FBI’s investigation helped to clear the name of the high schooler. But he remains worried that his life will be forever stained by those who remember that NY Post and much …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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Walter Block: Doug Casey Is an Optimist

April 19, 2013 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

Walter Block is interviewed by Louis James, the Editor of the International Speculator. Topics include Murray Rothbard, Ron Paul, Milton Friedman, the gold standard, his new book, and how to invest during this economic crisis.

…read more
Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Washington Times Op-Ed: An ill-advised Internet tax mandate

April 19, 2013 in Politics & Elections

The Republican Party is supposed to oppose tax increases and burdensome, unnecessary government regulations. But sometimes, they lose their way.
The most recent example is support by some Republicans for the misnamed ‘Marketplace Fairness Act,’ which should really be called the Internet Tax Mandate. This mandate is nothing more than a huge tax increase on the American people backed by lobbyists and some state governments. I must admit, I am disappointed that some in my party are backing this ill-advised bill.
The Internet Tax Mandate would allow states to force private companies to impose a sales tax on online purchases. Rather than reform and prioritize their state budgets, governors are looking to the federal government to take more money out of the wallets of their state’s hard-working citizens. Americans are already struggling due to higher federal taxes, but some seek to soak the taxpayer at the state level as well.
Even worse, state politicians are already fantasizing about all the new spending programs they can create using these additional taxpayer dollars. The last thing we need is more taxes for the purpose of implementing more government.
State governments should be reining in spending and reducing regulation, not looking to Washington to extract even more money from American taxpayers. This is not the type of leadership we need coming from our state capitals.
At a time when businesses are already being strangled by job-destroying regulations, such as those imposed by Obamacare, the Internet Tax Mandate would add even more costs to our nation’s small businesses and job creators. The requirement to collect and calculate sales tax rates for each customer becomes even more burdensome when considering the various state, city, and county sales taxes that will be imposed across the Unites States.
It is no surprise that larger corporations are lobbying vigorously for this bill. After all, they will be able to absorb this additional cost of doing business, while their smaller competitors cannot.
If big companies really wanted to create a fairer marketplace, they would be lobbying the government for less regulation for all businesses, rather than working with government to harm competitors. Businesses should gain customers by providing better products and services than their competitors, not by using government to gain an advantage.
I ask my colleagues on Capitol Hill to reject any attempt at passing a National Internet Tax Mandate. Supporters of the bill have the backing of large corporations, expensive lobbyists, …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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The Impact of Cartel Behavior on Global Oil Prices and the Challenge to Free Markets

April 19, 2013 in Economics

The OPEC cartel has been the key actor in world crude oil markets for four decades and counting. In a new study published by Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), authors Andrew Morriss and Roger Meiners conclude that much of the volatility that characterizes world crude oil markets can be laid at the cartel’s doorstep and, as a consequence, “the international market for oil is not a free market.” On April 25, Morriss and Meiners will discuss the policy implications of their findings at Cato with Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President and CEO of FedEx.

…read more
Source: CATO HEADLINES