Friday, August 05, 2016

The propaganda never stops

Yes, Trump has fallen ridiculously behind. He has only himself to blame: Had he behaved in a more presidential fashion -- had he simply let himself be handled, guided and shaped by advisers chosen by the "normal" GOP -- he'd be even with Hillary right now.

And yet, obstinate fool that I am, I'm standing by my prediction of Trump victory, absurd as that prophecy may seem at the moment. Regular readers know my attitude toward the business of forecasting: If you always predict the worst, all of your surprises will be happy ones. 

Besides, one must not underestimate the power of propaganda -- not to mention the power of Clinton Derangement Syndrome. From The Daily Caller:
Former President Bill Clinton collected $5.6 million in fees from GEMS Education, a Dubai-based company that teaches Sharia Law through its network of more than 100 schools in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation.

The company’s finances strictly adhere to “Sharia Finance,” which includes giving “zakat,” a religious tax of which one-eighth of the proceeds is dedicated to funding Islamic jihad.
This story, biased and incomplete as it is, is getting huge play on the right. (See here and here and here.) I presume that if GEMS education really were funding jihad, we would have some indication of same in an article published before the election. Here is a profile of GEMS published in 2011...
Gems Education was established in Dubai in 1968 by KS Varkey and his wife Mariamma. The first school, Our Own English High School, opened with 27 students and three teachers. In 1980, their son Sunny took over the business and he is the current chairman of Gems Education. Over the past three decades, Varkey has turned the family-run business into the largest private kindergarten to grade 12 (K-12) education provider in the world.
And here is the GEMS website. As you explore, you'll see that what we are dealing with here is a series of rather conventional private schools located all over the world. The children appear to have many different ethnic and national backgrounds.

Pay particular attention to the "core values" section, where you will find many pictures of girls dressed in western fashion. There is absolutely nothing about Sharia law. In fact, there is no mention of Islam; many of these students clearly are not Muslims. Note this...
4. Global citizenship - Making an active contribution to your local and global community

We respect and celebrate our diversity and recognize that there are many things that unite us all
We make a difference in our local communities so that we can build a sustainable planet to share
We build bridges of knowledge, push boundaries and unite young people.
We aim to produce not just great students, but great people who live with honesty, confidence and integrity
It goes on and on like that. In short: GEMS bears no resemblance to the jihadist monster of right-wing imagination. This series of schools appears to be multi-national, multi-lingual and multi-cultural.

It stands to reason that Bill Clinton would not have associated himself with GEMS if it had any known association with jihad or the imposition of sharia law. Pecunia non olet and all that, but his primary goal is to get his wife elected.

Here's Wikipedia on the Varkey Foundation (which is behind GEMS):
The Varkey Foundation, initially the Varkey GEMS Foundation, is a global charitable foundation focused on improving the standards of education for underprivileged children.[2] It was formed in 2010 by Sunny Varkey, the founder and chairman of GEMS Education, the world's largest operator of kindergarten-to-grade-12 schools.[3] The foundation's main focuses are improving global teacher capacity by training tens of thousands of teachers and principals in developing countries; providing access to education via a variety of programmes and projects; and advocating for change in, and conducting research that can help develop, education policies worldwide.[1][4]

The Varkey Foundation has partnered with a variety of major global organizations including UNESCO, UNICEF, and the Clinton Global Initiative.
Not one word about Islam.

Here's the kicker: Sunny Varkey himself is a Catholic from India.
His father, KS, and mother, Miriamma, were Kerala Christians, and educators.[4][5] The family moved to Dubai in 1959, when the emirate was still very undeveloped.[6] His father worked for British Bank of the Middle East, and both of his parents taught English to local Arabs, including members of the royal family.[5][7][8] At the age of four, Sunny was sent back to Kerala to attend Infant Jesus School, a Catholic boarding school in Kollam city.[9][10] When he was 11 years old, he sold fruit on the side of the road to make a little extra money.[5] He and his elder sister returned to Dubai in 1970,[11][12] and Sunny completed his O-Levels at St. Mary's Catholic High School.
(Kerala is the center of Indian Christianity. There is a sizable Indian community in Dubai.)

In short and in sum: The original Daily Caller piece appears to be pure propaganda. Needless to say, right-wingers are repeating these claims without double-checking.

On another front: I found another story published by a Pakistani source which relays some rather wild claims about Hillary, allegedly from Julian Assange. I don't want to link to the article here because, frankly, my first reaction was to consider it a hoax. If it isn't, I'll talk about it at greater length anon.
The definition of zakat given here is a false one. In its original form it equivalent to income tax. It source of money collected from those who have to be spent on those who don't.
To quote Plautus:
"Aurum enim olet; et fures aurum olfactant. Aurum autem non olet, si sub terra latet."
GEMS has come across my radar before. There is a Prince Charles link.
"Zakat" has nothing to do with jihad, and it's not a tax. It means charitable giving, and it's one of the duties of an observant Sunni Muslim. The requirement to do zakat is one of the five pillars. Giving to homeless or other disadvantaged people directly would count. Whoever wrote that crap probably hasn't ever met a Muslim on a friendly basis and heard them describe what it means to them to be a Muslim.
I don't know whether my comment on zakat got through. Anonymous 9.10 is right. Zakat has absolutely zero to do with jihad or terrorism. But zakat doesn't have to be "collected"; it's fine for people to do their charitable giving privately.

Those who enjoy following connections to find out where they lead may like going from GEMS Prince Charles and then the evil James Sabben-Clare or Gordonstoun school, the Round Square Organisation, the Round Square building, and the 17th century alchemist Robert Gordon.

It's a long time since I looked at Sunny Varkey, but I'm not sure that he's Catholic. I think he may still belong to the Kerala Christians, also known as Nasranis, Syrian Christians, or St Thomas Christians. Attending a Catholic school does not make a person Catholic.

What the fuck is the Wikileaks organisation doing with regard to Hillary Clinton? Does the story you are referring to concern the powerful cement company Lafarge? Many British people will be famiiar with bags of cement that carry a blue circle, the logo of the British cement monopoly that was bought by the French company Lafarge. Lafarge merged with Holcim last year to form LafargeHolcim, based in Switzerland. The company doesn't only supply cement in Europe; it also supplies a lot of construction materials in the United States and it's the world's leading supplier of cement. So those who don't fancy sleeping with the fishes, please be careful.

That Lafarge paid protection money to Daesh to guarantee the continued working of its cement plant at Jalabiya in Syria, up to 2013 when Daesh took the area, has been alleged in both the Anglophone and the Francophone media. Hillary Clinton had previously been a director of Lafarge and has accepted donations from them.

Cement. Construction. I would be very surprised if Donald Trump has managed, always and in every country, to keep his hands squeaky clean where Lafarge is concerned, never having any dealings with them.
So, if a Christian donates to a Policeman's ball, he can be accessed of supporting police brutality?
B is right about "Zakat" and there is no connection to 1/8 or Jihad.
There is a similar charitable giving called "Khomse" which means 1/5 in Arabic. These are general recommended percentage of income to be given as either tax or charitable giving in Islam.
Well, GEMS would, of course, be suspect because it's run by a brown-skinned foreigner and the organization has connections to UN agencies and . . . the wicked Clinton Global Initiative. You mix all those items into a basket and conspiracy and nefarious deeds naturally pop out for the weak-minded. Or how about throwing Oliver North into a discussion regarding the wicked Iranians and never paying ransom for hostages?

It would all be laughable except the stakes are so huge with The Donald & his crew so freaking deranged & dangerous.

Charles Pierce has a piece up about attending The Donald's rally in Portland, Maine. He got himself an earful from the True Believers, the people who swallow the propaganda whole and will not be moved, even though Donny's black hole of a campaign is obvious to everyone else.

Spin vs. Facts. The spin swallowers are still a thing. It's embarrassing. And chilling.

I mentioned in its original form because indeed there was a zaka that was collected from those who chose not to become muslim. For Muslims either give it to those in charge or give it to whomever they think need it themselves. Sorry I wasn't clear. But the important part even in earliest days of Islam zaka was never for financing wars, strictly for helping the poor
I am glad that my readers pointed out the correct meaning of zaka. But the important point is that GEMS is run by an Indian Christian, which means that the whole story was pure balderdash.

Incidentally, I think that the Plautus translates as "Thieves can always smell out gold, except when it is hidden under the earth." (I believe that comedy demands a loose translation.)
Literally: For gold smells, and thieves can smell gold. But gold does not smell, if it lays underground.
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