PM End of Week Market Commentary – 9/11/2015

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  • Sat, Sep 12, 2015 - 08:46am



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    PM End of Week Market Commentary – 9/11/2015

On Friday, gold fell -2.20 to 1107.90 on moderate volume, while silver dropped -0.09 to 14.59 on moderate volume as well.  Gold and silver started dropping in Asia and didn't stop until mid-morning in NY, with gold touching a low of 1097.70 and silver hitting 14.25.  Buyers did show up, however, pushing prices back up substantially back towards even; both gold and silver printed bullish-looking hammer candles on the day.

On the week, gold fell -14.40 [-1.28%], silver rose +0.03 [+0.24%], GDX fell -1.34% and GDXJ dropped -1.34%.  Platinum was off -2.18%, palladium climbed +3.19%, and copper rose a massive +6.06%.

Gold broke down from last week's descending triangle pattern, and then managed to find some buyers around the 1100 price level.  Since gold made a new low just on Friday, it is possible that we could print a swing low on Monday if the buyers continue to appear and price can close above 1112.

Silver along with a number of other commodities sold off relatively hard, only to find some strong buying support at 14.25.  Intraday, you could see the buyers continually push prices back up, with repeated cup & handle breakout patterns until price was back in the 14.50 range.  I feel this was a good day for silver, even though it declined overall.


Miners broke to new lows on Friday, selling off hard on gold's move through 1100, driving below the previous low at 13 and breaking support.  But when gold and silver started to rally, the miners followed, with GDX moving back up into the green and eventually closing up +0.69% on moderate volume.  The strong recovery after breaking to new lows feels quite positive to me.  We are not out of the woods yet with gold or the miners, but this is really the best outcome I could have asked for given the chart formation we were seeing this week.  GDXJ behaved similarly to GDX, rising +1.16% on moderately light volume.


The dollar continued falling this week, losing -1.05 [-1.09%] to 95.19.  Last week the buck pushed up to touch the 50 MA, but it failed to rise above it, and has fallen since then.  It looks like a classic pattern of lower highs is forming, and this defines a downtrend.  We do have an FOMC meeting coming up on Wednesday and Thursday next week; the buck seems to be suggesting there will be no rate hike.  If there is no rate hike, the buck might well sell off even more.

US Equities/SPX

SPX rose on the week, climbing +39.83 [+2.07%], regaining more than half of last week's losses.  After selling off hard and then rallying hard, the market has been chopping sideways for the past 8 trading sessions.  We don't really have a direction for this market yet, but my guess is, we won't have to wait too much longer for the latest installment on the action.  Which way will it go?  Longer term I think we go lower, but we could easily rally in the short term, and that's probably the direction I'd be leaning in.

VIX dropped -4.60 to 23.20.

Gold in Other Currencies

Gold dropped in every currency this week, losing -27.40 in XDR which probably reflects the true price action net of currency effects.


Rates & Commodities

Bonds (TLT) fell on the week, dropping -1.05%.  Bonds continue to meander slowly lower; perhaps the weakening dollar has something to do with that.

Junk bonds (JNK) rose +0.62%; from a longer term perspective, JNK remains in a downtrend.

The CRB (commodity index) was flat this week, rising just +0.01%.  The big rally in commodities two weeks ago seems to have run out of steam.  I can't tell if we continue moving higher, or drop back down to test new lows.  Perhaps it will depend on China and if the market starts to believe that the stimulus China is deploying will have any material effect on China's commodity purchases.

WTIC fell -0.99 [-2.16%] to 44.78 this week; it too is looking for direction.  So far oil has found support on moves below 44, but it has been unable to rise above its 50 MA.  One possible clue was how it performed on Friday: silver's rally off its lows was strong, while oil's rally was much weaker.  This suggests oil is more likely to drop rather than rise.  A close below 44 would be a bad sign and lead to a fair amount of selling, in my opinion.

Physical Supply Indicators

* Premiums in Shanghai over spot are now at +4.81 over COMEX, down vs last week.

* The GLD ETF lost -4.17 tons, with 678.18 tons remaining.

* GC futures are not in backwardation, but the current two-front-month spread has moved to flat at +0.00.

* ETF Premium/Discount to NAV; gold closing (15:59 close price on Sept 11th) of 1107.00 and silver 14.58:

 PHYS 9.13 -0.33% to NAV [down]
 PSLV 5.67 +0.85% to NAV [up]
 CEF 10.60 -10.30% to NAV [down]
 GTU 38.10 -6.26% to NAV [down]

ETF premiums were mostly down with the exception of PSLV.

* Bullion Vault gold (!/orderboard) shows no significant premium for gold, and a 2-3% premium for silver [14.87-14.99] in Zurich, Toronto, and Singapore.

* HAA big bar premiums are slightly lower for gold [2.17% for 100 oz bars in NYC], and also slightly lower for silver [3.81% for 1000 oz bars in NYC].

Futures Positioning

The COT report covered trading through Sep 8th, when gold closed at 1120.70 and silver 14.75.

Gold commercials reduced shorts by -4.3k this week.  They're smart money, and they appear to be buying the dip.  Note this move took place prior to Wednesday's big gold sell-off.  I suspect they've covered even more at this point.  Managed Money increased shorts by +13.7k, a fairly large increase.  Positioning for gold continues to look bullish – as it has now for several months.

In silver, commercials covered -1k shorts, and so did Managed Money.  Over the past week, silver has been slowly climbing, so these changes make sense.  Silver commercial short positions are still quite low, and since they usually close out their positions near the bottoms, that is bullish, and continues to get more bullish.

Moving Average Trends [9 EMA, 50 MA, 200 MA]

Everything red once again this week.  Things got worse, from a moving average perspective.

Name Chart Change 52w ch EMA9 MA50 MA200 50/200 Last Crossing last
Silver Miners SIL 1.61% -48.66% falling falling falling falling ema9 on 2015-08-31 2015-09-11
Junior Miners GDXJ 1.16% -49.78% falling falling falling falling ema9 on 2015-09-09 2015-09-11
Senior Miners GDX 0.69% -45.21% falling falling falling falling ema9 on 2015-08-31 2015-09-11
Gold COMEX.Gold -0.54% -10.87% falling falling falling falling ema9 on 2015-09-03 2015-09-11
Silver COMEX.Silver -0.96% -22.01% falling falling falling falling ema9 on 2015-09-09 2015-09-11
Platinum COMEX.Platinum -1.66% -29.61% falling falling falling falling ema9 on 2015-09-04 2015-09-11


Gold broke down out of its descending triangle pattern, but it ended Friday with a possible reversal bar.  Silver climbed on the week, and it printed an even more solid reversal bar on Friday.  Miners added their voice, making a new low and crashing through support only to rally back, to print their own reversal bar.  We still require confirmation on Monday of the low, but it is just possible momentum will reverse here after the three week decline.

The gold/silver ratio fell -1.17 to 75.96, and is now moving back into the 68-76 trading range it has been in for the past 12 months.  The GDX:$GOLD was unchanged this week, as was GDXJ:GDX.  The first ratio looks quite bearish, while the juniors continue to show relative strength.

The COT reports show an increase in Managed Money shorts for gold, and a slight decline for silver.   The potential remains for quite a bit of short covering, but as of yet its just still potential, as it has been for months now.

Gold big-bar physical shortage indicators are unchanged; in the west, ETF premiums were down, GLD tonnage fell, but futures moved closer to backwardation at COMEX.  In the east, premiums in Shanghai declined.   Retail shortages in silver remain elevated, with silver eagles selling at a 30-35% premium to spot.

Copper rallied quite strongly, while oil declined.  As a reflection of that bifurcation, commodity prices are more or less moving sideways.  Copper's strength hints at possible stimulus from China.

The computer this week is showing a short-term (daily) bullish reversal for gold, as well as a positive near term outlook for both gold and silver.  That's something I haven't seen in a while.  Its also positive on oil and now for copper too, at least near term.  Longer term, crude is still at risk for a continued move lower.

The reversal indicator is what I believe most; it is correct relatively often.  Let's hope it is right.

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  • Sat, Sep 12, 2015 - 02:01pm



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    syrian black swan

My sense is, this could well be a black swan that will take Europe down.  I certainly didn't see it coming.

I have some experience of emerging nation life, and a persistent dream of the people in these countries is to move to a place with greater economic opportunity.  If they thought, for just a moment, they could appear in Europe and be able to work and live there, a vast number of them would jump at the chance.

Given that in the current case, you just have to be Syrian (or claim to be Syrian) and the welcome mat is laid out, the outcome is predictable.

"Germany expects 40,000 new migrants from the south at the weekend, despite the willingness of German people our possibilities are smaller and smaller," Steinmeier told counterparts from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland.

So that's 40k new people … per weekend?

  • Sun, Sep 13, 2015 - 01:13pm



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    Interesting Thoughts Dave

I have to admit, during the summer I ignored much of this story, as it was at first isolated and the stories were limited in scope.  It appears any of the refugees that came in June and July got a head start, because any news that makes it back to Syria that some areas of Europe are trying to help those fleeing might actually make the situation worse.  I've watched quite a few of the news reports and through late August into September, the numbers have been staggering.  And the truth is, many of these people may have originally have been refugees from all of the conflict in Iraq over the last decade and a half.  40,000 in one weekend, on top of those already there…wow.  And who knows how many will be behind them.

I'm trying to visualize what it would be like, living in an area where there constantly are people moving through the woods, hugging tree lines, trying to get away from a homeland they have given up on.  In some respects, this amplifies stories from the southern U.S., where people have been dealing with immigrants for years. The numbers in Europe are different though.

I'd like to think the west could set up a system of relief and help for these people, because right now the problem is only pushing people to desperate measures.  Are some of these refugees stealing from people's gardens?  Stores?  Perhaps breaking into empty homes to get food?  Probably.  However, would any of us do any differently?  If our family had already crossed large bodies of water, walked for days and weeks….and we had no food….wouldn't we try to feed our kids any way we could?  My heart goes out to the situation, and I sincerely the humanity in all of us trumps any nationalistic fears. 


  • Sun, Sep 13, 2015 - 02:29pm



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    Refugees stressing the system

A refugee crisis can provide a ton a stress for an already weakened system and it lends itself to disappointment and other hard feelings among both the refugees and 'the system'. I'll give you an example. Over the weekend I saw a clip of a an interview with a clearly intelligent 18 year old Syrian woman who was a refugee. She was an electrical engineering student at a Syrian university and her father had fled 6 months earlier to set up a place for them in Germany, and now it was her turn. She spoke decent English, but I doubt she spoke any German, yet she was beside herself (and rightly so) that she was finally out of Syria and on her way to Germany. She went on about how she is going to go to college in Germany, get a great job, and life is just going to be great. Well, if anyone knows the German system, throughout school they are essentially screened for intelligence and they tell you if you can go to med school, engineering, or have to learn a trade. It's a system that works when you grow up in it, but how about a foreigner stepping in at 18 years of age with preconceived ideas of how it's all going to go down? What if they don't teach in her language? What if they won't pay for her to get a 4-year education and instead tell her to learn a trade or tell her they won't give her any education at all? Do you suppose that someone who cannot speak the language, cannot find a job, and is given little opportunity to do so will feel a little bit of resentment?

Do you suppose a situation such as above could lend itself to radicalization, especially once the Syrian's figure out that the U.S. was giving weapons to the 'moderate' rebels a.k.a ISIS and Al Qaeda, and therefore perpetuating the civil war in that country? At last, imagine a German John McCain or Lyndsey Graham's (hopefully German legislators aren't as stupid as those 2, but who knows) view on this refugee crisis? I'll give you a little example – Let's just assume that ISIS and Al Qaeda have noticed that Western Europe is allowing anyone in, no background checks, no nothing. Being the intelligent people they are, they put a few jihadists on the next boat from syria to greece and then on to Europe. Let's assume they manage to sneak 1 jihadist/1000 refugees. That's 40 per weekend, 2080/year. So, how would a European country know that they were jihadists? They wouldn't, and so I can only imagine that they will set them up with some sort of visa, put them on the government dole, and then they're off to the races. The situation is so great that it doesn't even cost Al Qaeda and ISIS any money to support their sleeper cells in Europe! Woopie! So, how would a German McCain or Graham deal with the situation? No doubt they would be behind closed doors arguing for more government surveillance of the population, more spying on their own people, perhaps more collaboration with the NSA – you spy on us, we spy on you, and we swap data, etc.

I'll be the first to admit that the West has been heavily participating in the civil war in Syria through proxies. We've (citizens) been so stupid as to let them (government) get away with it, and now we will reap the rewards of our indifference to what our government is doing. Whether that is in the form of higher taxes to support welfare payments to the refugees, whether that is an isolated portion of the population secluded from integration with the public due to economic, language, cultural barriers, etc., or whether this means a growing budget deficit, more money printing, more economic instability, or the rise of a xenophobic (Trump) candidate for president, who the hell knows. But this will destabilize the system as Dave has rightly pointed out. 

An interesting side note, could this crisis stress the relationship between Europe and the U.S. mainly because we're doing what we want in Syria and Europe is paying the price for it (40,000 refugees/ week and the U.S. is taking 10,000!! in 2016?). Imagine if Europe were bombing Mexico and we were seeing 40,000 refugees per week and Germany said they would take 10,000 all of next year. Who wouldn't be screaming foul in this country?

  • Sun, Sep 13, 2015 - 02:47pm



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The numbers I've recently read are that there are about 500 million people in Europe.  There are currently about 1 million refugees trying to get into Europe.  That's one refugee for every 500 Europeans.  Absorbing that many refugees doesn't sound like a big stretch.  Particularly on a continent where the population is aging and needs an infusion of young people, especially those who have education and skills, which many of the refugees are purported to have.

Plus, the US has about 320 million people and can also use some young blood with skills and education.  The much ballyhooed "invasion" of immigrants across the Mexican border has reached stasis with about as many leaving as entering the US from Mexico and Central America.

Of course if the current relative trickle trying to enter Europe evolves into a flood because conditions continue to deteriorate in the ME and Africa, all bets are off.  Given the ongoing political, economic and climate deterioration things could get very ugly very fast in the event of a black swan.

  • Sun, Sep 13, 2015 - 03:36pm



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    Have YOU read the Koran?

Yesterday while browsing books in Barnes and Noble I came across Glenn Beck's newest book:  It IS About Islam.

Now I generally do not agree with Beck's perspective on politics or life, BUT I MUST ADMIT that I think he has done an excellent job in this book. I remember reading the Koran a few years back and was horrified at what I read (Have YOU read the Koran?).  He spells out exactly what I was thinking at the time. This sacred book is VERY DANGEROUS, if you take it at its word.  Is there a "moderate" Muslim?
NOTE: AFTER reading the Koran, I felt the need to summarize some of the sections that really bothered me.  See below.
In light of the comments above, I would recommend you look at your "BELIEF SYSTEM" (as Dave/Chris are doing in the Money Flows vs, Timing debate) about all of what is transpiring across the world right now, especially with the MIGRATIONS taking place.
Comments from Ken: 
The Koran (Qur’an) and Supplemental Hadiths (other sayings and stories about Muhammad) Question: Are the Muslim “sacred books” inherently violent? Note: Sura = Chapters
 On Women 
Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other . . . Good women are obedient . . . As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, forsake them in beds apart and beat them. Sura 4 The Women 82 Prophet, We have made lawful for you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and the slave-girls whom God has given you as booty. The daughters of your paternal and maternal uncles and of your paternal and maternal aunts who fled with you. And any believing women who gives herself to the Prophet and whom the Prophet wishes to take in marriage. This privilege is yours alone, being granted to no other believer.
 Sura 33 The Allied Troops 50 Rule by Muhammad’s Quresh Tribe Muhammad built his dynasty by making astute family alliances through marriage. The four caliphs who succeeded Muhammad were related to him by marriage and for centuries after Muhammad all caliphs came from the Quresh family. This was clearly Muhammad’s intention, as his sayings make clear: The prerogative to rule shall remain vested in the Quresh, and whosoever is hostile to them, Allah shall destroy him. The right to rule shall belong to the Quresh even if only two men existed. Hadith Sahih Bokhari Vol. 4 Jame Tirmzi Vol. 2 Having exalted his own people and their tribal deity above other Arab tribes and their gods, Muhammad now sets about exalting the Arabs generally above all other peoples. Muhammad has God declare: ‘You are the best nation ever brought forth’. Despite the protestations of later Muslims, that this verse of the Qur’an refers to the international community of Muslims, this cannot be true, because when Muhammad received this revelation there was no international community, just Arab Muslims. 
Sura 3 The Family of Imran
 Arabic Spoken in Heaven Love the Arabs for three reasons, because I am an Arab, the holy Qur’an is in Arabic, and the tongue of the dwellers of paradise shall also be Arabic. Hadith 5751 Mishkat Vol. 3 Muhammad’s Divine Mission Every Prophet is appointed for his own nation, but I have been appointed the Prophet for all Nations. Hadith 5500 Mishkat Vol. 3 Muslim Religion Over a period of twenty years Muhammad led eighty-two attacks against his neighbors in the Arabian Peninsula. That’s one attack every six weeks! Other Arabs, Jews and Christians were ruthlessly plundered to build the wealth and power of Muhammad’s umma. But this was no longer just the usual banditry that was customary for the time. It was now legitimized by Muhammad’s revelations from God. It was God himself who now declared, ‘Eat of what you have taken as booty’. In a chapter of the Qur’an called ‘The Spoils’ it is God who prevents Muhammad from showing mercy to his captives by stating: Sura 8 The Spoils 69 It is not for any prophet to have prisoners until he make wide slaughter in the land. Sura 8 The Spoils 67 Now he sets out to exalt Islam above all other faiths. The Qur’an boldly asserts: The true religion of God is Islam. Sura 3 The Family of Imran 19 It is He [Allah] who has sent his Messenger [Muhammad] with the guidance and the religion of truth, that he may uplift it above every religion. Sura 48 Victory 28 Heaven and Hell Fear is the basic tool of Literalist religion and there is no fear greater than the fear of death, except the fear of God’s punishment after death. Like so many self-proclaimed prophets, Muhammad uses a crude carrot-and-stick technique to bring people into line, promising a wonderful afterlife if they believe and terrifying them with the horrors of Hell that await all unbelievers. The Qur’an asserts: Whoever desires a religion other than Islam in the next world he shall be among the losers. Sura 3 The Family of Imran 77 The unbelievers of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] and the idolaters shall be in the Fire of Hell, therein dwelling for ever. Surely those who disbelieve in Our signs – We [Allah] shall certainly roast them at a fire. As often as their skins are wholly burned, We shall give them in exchange other skins, that they may taste the punishment. Sura 4 The Women 56 Muhammad declares that anyone who has heard of Islam and not converted (which means about four-fifths of humanity as it is now constituted!) will be tortured for eternity in the most horrible ways imaginable: As for the unbelievers, for them garments of fire shall be cut, and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatsoever is in their abdomens and their skins shall be melted. For them await hooked iron rods. As often as they desire in their anguish to come forth from it, they shall be restored into it. Sura 22 The Pilgrimage 19-22 The dweller of Hell is given to drink oozing pus, which he gulps and can scarce swallow. Death comes upon him from every side, yet he cannot die. And still before him lies harsh chastisement. Sura 14 Abraham 16-17 In the light of this it is astonishing that all the chapters of the Qur’an except one commence with ‘In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate’! Yet Allah is compassionate to those who do what they are told and follow Muhammad. They will be admitted to paradise: Whoso obeys God and his Messenger, He will admit him to the gardens [of paradise]. Sura 8 The Spoils 24 Surely the pious shall be in bliss, upon couches gazing. You find in their faces shining bliss as they are offered to drink of wine sealed with musk. Sura 83 The Defrandeus 20-25 Surely for the God-fearing awaits a place of security, gardens and vine-yards and maidens with swelling bosoms. Sura 78 The Announcement 31-34 Other sayings give details of the ever-young houris, or virgins, that will be available to all men in paradise: A houri is a most beautiful young woman with a transparent body. The marrow of her bones is visible like the interior lines of pearls and rubies. Hadith Tirmzi Vol. 2 35-40 A houri is a girl of tender age, having large rising breasts which are round, and not inclined to dangle. Hadith Mishkat Vol. 3 83-97 Every man who enters paradise will given seventy-two of these houris and, no matter at what age he dies, in paradise he will be a thirty-year-old with the virility of a hundred men. For those of a different sexual persuasion there are also beautiful ever-young boys. Holy War Oh ye who believe! The non-Muslim are unclean. Sura 9 Repentance 17 Surely the worst of beasts in God’s sight are the unbelievers. Sure 8 The Spoils 55 Humiliate the non-Muslims to such an extent that they surrender and pay tribute. Sura 9 Repentance 29 Oh ye who believe! Murder those of the disbelievers . . . and let them find harshness in you.
 Sura 9 Repentance 123
 Muhammad creates a divisive world in which Muslims are to be treated one way and unbelievers another. The Qur’an states: ‘Muslims are hard against the unbelievers, but merciful to one another’. To be a Muslim is to be in ‘God’s party’ and to be an unbeliever is to be against God. Indeed just to be friendly with an unbeliever is to be an evildoer. Even if that person is a close relative: O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends, they are friends of each other, whoso of you makes them his friends is one of them. God guides not the people of the evildoers. Sura 5 The Feast 57 O believers, do not treat your fathers and brothers as your friends, if they prefer unbelief to belief. Whosoever of you takes them for friend they are evil-doers. Sura 9 Repentance 23 Muslims are the people who do not love anyone who opposes God and his Messenger, not even if they were their father, or their sons, or their brothers or their clan. Sura 58 The Disputant 22 Consumed with religious mania Muhammad begins to claim that God wants Muslims to wage a jihad, or holy war, against all unbelievers: O Prophet, urge on the believers to fight, if there be twenty of you, patient men, they will overcome two hundred. If there be a hundred of you, they will overcome a thousand unbelievers. 
Sura 8 The Spoils 65
 Now Muhammad unleashes a savage policy of ethnic cleansing that eventually led to the expulsion of all Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula. Muhammad declares: O ye assembly of Jews . . . you should know that the earth belongs to God and His Messenger, and I wish that I should expel you from this land. Hadith 4363 I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslims. Hadith 4366 Muhammad’s vengeance on the Jews for not accepting Islam was particularly brutal. The Jewish Banu Kainuka tribe had once entered into an alliance with Muhammad, but now fell into disfavor with the Prophet. After a long siege of their town by Muhammad’s armies they surrendered. Muhammad wanted to execute all seven hundred of their soldiers. One of his companions, however, begged for them to be treated with mercy, so instead the tribe was banished from Arabia. The Jewish Banu Quraiza tribe were not so lucky. The angel Gabriel told Muhammad to destroy them entirely Eight hundred Jewish men were slaughtered, their women became concubines, and their chidren slaves. Hadith 4364 The Banu Quraiza were taken out from their fortress and penned up in separate yards. During the night the Muslims, at the command of the Prophet, dug a long trench. As day broke Muhammad said his prayers to ‘Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate’ and took a seat by the pit to supervise the operation. The Jewish men were brought in groups of five or six with their hands tied behind their backs. They were ordered to lie down with their heads stretched out over the edge of the pit. Muhammad’s companions Ali and Zubair then decapitated them with swords. By dusk the job was completed. Among the Jewish women who fell to the Muslims as spoils of war was an enchanting beauty of twenty-two called Rihana. Her husband, parents, friends and relations had just been massacred at the Prophet’s command, but despite her grief Muhammad immediately proposed marriage to her. Rihana refused his offer, so the Prophet simply took her as another concubine. Muhammad was now the leader of the most vicious gang in Arabia, and all those kafirs, or infidels, who dared opposed him met a grisly fate: The only reward of those who make war on Allah and His Messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or they will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world. And in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom.
 Sura 5 The Feast 33 Despite the Qur’anic injunction that no one should be associated with Allah, praising Muhammad becomes an integral part of every Muslim’s daily prayers. The basic Muslim confession is the shahada, which includes the name of Muhammad alongside that of Allah. The Qur’an is unequivocal that obedience to both is required: It is not for any believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter, to have the choice in the affair. Whosoever disobeys Allah and his Messenger has gone astray into clear error. Sura 33 The Allied Troops 36 As Muhammad’s megalomania grows, the whole relationship between God and his Prophet is stood on ifs head with the statement: One may be negligent towards God but one must be respectful toward Muhammad. Shakh, A. Islam: the Arab Imperialism, p. 72 At the end of his life, we are told, Muhammad miraculously ascended to Heaven, where he now sits on God’s right hand waiting to judge us all. With this myth the transition from humble prophet to divine super-being is completed. Muhammad finally usurps God’s power altogether, because it is no longer God who holds the keys to Heaven. It is Muhammad. The Qur’an previously taught that at the time of judgment ‘no one shall be able to benefit someone else because the command shall belong to God’. Now we are told that Muhammad can intercede on our behalf and that the prophet’s intercessions are binding on God. So it is Muhammad who will decide who is saved and who is dammed, because God must be governed by Muhammad’s opinion. Sura 82 The Splitting
 *All of the above, comes from: ch 5, Muhammad: From Mystic to Mobster, pp 82-104, in The Laughing Jesus: Religious Lies & Gnostic Wisdom, by Timothy Freke and Peter Grandy Other books of note: Karem Armstrong, Islam: A Short History (2000) I. Manji; The Trouble with Islam: A Wake-up Call for Honesty & Change (2004) A. Shaikh, Faith and Deception (1996) T. Ali The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads & Modernity (2002) 
Final Comment: “We can no longer go on pretending that religious terrorists are perverting the “true” message of their sacred texts when the texts themselves create an us-versus-them world and unite their readers to divinely sanctioned violence.” 

Sooooooooooo, should we be careful with possible "embedded" terrorists who may be taking advantage of our "compassion?"  Nothing is ever easy, right?  Ken

  • Sun, Sep 13, 2015 - 05:19pm



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    No, it IS not.


  • Sooooooooooo, should we be careful with possible "embedded" terrorists who may be taking advantage of our "compassion?"  Nothing is ever easy, right?  Ken



Did you overlook this discussion?  Any libertarian worth his or her salt know that a state designates internal and external enemies as a way to justify expanding its own power and repression.  The not-so-great thing about emotion is that even when we have evidence of one thing, we can keep fearing or hating something else that is not the cause. 

It's true that the Koran has many references to war and violence.  So does the Old Testament.  My reading of the New Testament is that Jesus taught his followers not to kill others no matter what, but others interpret it differently.

The bottom line is, so what?  There are clearly big gaps of all sorts when it comes to how we actually live versus how our holy books tell us to live. Hence many Christian, Muslim, and even Buddhist regimes have waged war. Some argue that Western culture is also inherently warlike, and 500 years of conquest does provide some support for that hypothesis. But, it would be just as silly to assume that Americans or Spanish are inherently violent because of our history of conquest as to assume that Muslims are inherently warlike because of certain passages found in the Koran. Indeed, it seems that a propensity for violence is part (not all) of being human much more than it is the bailiwick of any particular religion. 

I have met and worked with a lot of Muslims.  They're pretty much just like everybody else: individual humans with positive qualities and flaws, who spend most of their time doing everyday things that you and I do. Yes, there are some cultural generalizations, but I have not observed them to be more violent than other people.

 At least 99.999% of Turks, Egyptians, Algerians and Iraqis here in Europe are not committing acts of terror.  They're mostly running kebab shops, attending university, driving taxis, and otherwise trying to provide for themselves and their families.  In my town in Switzerland, there is one Iranian doctor and one American doctor.  Neither is taking over anything; they're just doing their jobs and living their lives.

I'm not saying that rapid influxes of migrants present no problems; they present many.  But let's focus on real problems instead of bogeymen conjured by demagogues.

  • Sun, Sep 13, 2015 - 05:23pm



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    Glen Beck: Koran Interpreter

I haven't read the Koran, but I'm not inclined to trust Glen Beck as my Koran interpreter, any more than I'd pick Bill Maher to teach me about spirituality.

Something tells me Mr Beck is not likely to pick the nice bits.

I did a brief search looking for the the Hadith that talks about all those virgins – from source material, mind you so I could read it in context – but I was unable to locate anything searchable.  It does seem a little bit odd that a searchable english version isn't online.  One would expect if the book was so horrible, it would be a prime resource so that everyone could see just how terrible it was.

The only copy I could find was a non-searchable PDF that was basically photocopied from a translation published back in 1940.  And frankly, it didn't seem horrible.  I only read 30 pages before I gave up searching for my virgins…

I have this thing about source material.  I never trust someone else's snippets.  They often leave out some really important parts.

Something to make you go, "hmmmmmmm."


  • Sun, Sep 13, 2015 - 05:56pm



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    immigrants & fault line wars

The US is a celebrated country of immigrants, but we're also well known for hosing the latest crop to make it here.  No Irish Need Apply signs in the 1800s come to mind.  In my own lifetime, the Vietnamese boat people were initially eyed nervously because of a supposed desire to consume any nearby cats.  These days, nobody really remembers this.

If the influx is small enough, its no big deal.  They acculturate and help move things forward.  There's nothing like an immigrant from an emerging market country to appreciate just how easy it is to make it here in the states.  Just takes a lot of really hard work, and living three families to a house.  Stuff that's no big deal in the old country, but unheard of here in the US.

If the influx is rapid, large, and the cultures are very different – lets say the immigrants come from a culture on the other side of a fault line war – it may be a very different story entirely.  Immigrants tend to naturally group together when they arrive; they "take over" sections of town.  This may prove disagreeable to the locals, especially if there are a few jihadis mixed into the bunch that end up Doing Bad Things a year or two later.

Read this snippet from a book I read on the subject a few years back.  Written back in 1993, I found the book compelling:

It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.

This is not to advocate the desirability of conflicts between civilizations. It is to set forth descriptive hypothesis as to what the future may be like.

Small number of immigrants that arrive slowly: no problem.  Large numbers that descend on a country in a short period of time?  That's just asking for trouble, especially for nations that are right on the border of the civilizational fault line, and are historically more concerned than the nations at the core.  When your history includes invasions and occupations by the other civilization, and then you have a deluge of immigrants from across that border…its just problematic.

That's why Slovakia is not so happy about all these people arriving from Syria.  Unlike Germany, they have actually been invaded by armies from across the fault line.  Do they have a right to be concerned?  And if Germany overrules them, it just might end the Shengen area; that, or Slovakia will be the first nation that exits the Eurozone.  Like I said: big potential for Black Swan here.

First, some history:

By Turkish invasion, Slovakia became, for almost two centuries, the principal battleground of Turkish wars and Slovakia paid dearly for the defense of the Hapsburg Monarchy and, moreover, the rest of Europe, against Turkish expansion, not only by the blood and the goods of its population, but also by losing practically all of its natural riches, especially gold and silver, which were used to pay for the costly and difficult combats of an unending war.

Now, current events.  Gee, I wonder why there aren't any mosques in Slovakia and why there is just a tiny muslim community.

As Europe grapples with an unprecedented wave of migrants, many fleeing the brutal conflict in Syria, Slovakia announced Thursday that it only wanted to take in Christians.

Slovakian Interior Ministry spokesman Ivan Netik told CNN his country's approach did not result from discrimination.

Instead, he said, it stemmed from concern over whether the migrants would stay in Slovakia for the long term.

Slovakia has only a tiny Muslim community, Netik said, and there are no mosques, making it hard for Muslims to integrate.

"That's the reason we want to mostly choose people who really want to start a new life in Slovakia," he said. "And Slovakia as a Christian country can really help Christians from Syria to find a new home in Slovakia."

  • Sun, Sep 13, 2015 - 07:02pm



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While all world religions seem to be fraught with problems, hypocrisy, and potential violence, Islam seems to take it to a higher level, in my opinion. 

Don't believe me?  Try this experiment. 

Stand on a street corner in any traditionally Christian or Buddhist nation and repeatedly yell "Allah Akbar."  Then stand on a street corner in any Islamic nation (or even in the Muslim-controlled areas of Europe) and repeatedly yell "Jesus is Lord."

I believe you'll find the violence inherent in Islam to make itself apparent quite quickly.


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