Indonesia’s Tolerant Take on Islam

By Erich Follath

The Southeast Asian island nation of Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, which practices an open-minded, gentle version of Islam in urban areas. But elsewhere Islamists are beginning to encroach.

Joko Widodo is a strange character, a superstar in his country and a figure of growing importance in Asian politics. He is also a mixture of many things that don’t ordinarily mix.

Sometimes he behaves like the legendary Kalif Harun al-Rashid, who used to sneak out of his palace in Baghdad at night to mingle, in disguise, with ordinary people and learn what they were thinking. Sometimes he emulates Nelson Mandela, who has charmed people with his optimism and eloquence throughout his life. And sometimes he comes across as a Mick Jagger type, charismatic and assertive, but perhaps a little too self-absorbed.

For his fellow Indonesians, this is apparently an irresistible blend of character traits. Widodo, 52, widely known as “Jokowi,” is a pop star and an inspirational tribune of the people. He is the governor of the regional district of Jakarta, a megalopolis of about 23 million people on a strip of land along the coast, which is constantly threatened by flooding. In fact, scientists believe that most of Jakarta will be underwater by 2050.

Greater Jakarta is one of the most chaotic collections of people in the world, a seemingly ungovernable Moloch. But according to opinion polls, Governor Jokowi is doing such a good job in Jakarta that Indonesians say they would elect him president in next year’s national elections. This would also make him one of the leaders of the G-20 group of 20 major economies.

Indonesia, an enormous nation consisting of more than 17,500 islands, stretches from Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra to Borneo, Java, Bali, the Maluku Islands and New Guinea. It encompasses more than 5,000 kilometers (3,107 miles) from west to east, or about the distance from Lisbon to well past Moscow. It is a country with vast, virtually uninhabited regions and some of the world’s most crowded places. It also holds volcanoes and tropical rainforests, the home of giant, 60-meter (200-foot) trees, along with mangroves and coral reefs, orangutans and Komodo dragons.

Indonesia’s manmade wonders are as impressive as its natural features. Magnificent Buddhist temples like Borobudur and impressive Hindu sites like Tanah Lot are UNESCO World Heritage sites. And Jakarta, Surabaya and Medan boast some of the world’s largest and most beautiful mosques.

World’s Largest Muslim Population

Despite the current economic setbacks, including last week’s strikes, Indonesia is still considered one of the up-and-coming Tiger Cub economies. It has sufficient oil and natural gas reserves, is the world’s largest exporter of palm oil and has good relations with Washington, Beijing and Berlin. Germany’s Federal Security Council has approved the export of Leopard 2 tanks to Jakarta, notwithstanding the Indonesian military’s brutal treatment of Papuan rebels. After her visit this summer, German Chancellor Angela Merkel enthusiastically referred to Indonesia as a dynamic and future-oriented economy, with the world’s fourth-largest population after China, India and the United States.

Biden, Wasserman Schultz Congratulate the Wrong Marty Walsh for Boston Mayoral Win: Jessica Chasmar

Vice President Joe Biden, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz all made calls to congratulate Marty Walsh for his win in Boston. Only problem? They got the wrong Marty.

State Rep. Marty Walsh won the first open mayoral race in 20 years Tuesday night to become the next mayor of Boston, but the three called political consultant and former Edward Kennedy staffer Marty Walsh instead, the Cape Cod Times first reported.

“We’ve had this for the past 20 years happening back and forth. Marty tells a funny story from 2006 when Kennedy thanked me from the stage and his mother thought it was for him,” said non-mayor-elect Walsh, joking that sharing the mayor’s name could have its perks.

“If you need a reservation in the city of Boston, I can probably get you any reservation you want,” he told the Cape Cod Times.


The commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific said this week that North Korea’s KN-08 missile — a new road-mobile, intercontinental-range weapon — is a serious threat with the potential to hit the United States with a nuclear warhead.

The comments by Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear to foreign reporters on Tuesday were made as a report provided new details on the six KN-08 missiles — initially thought in 2012 to be mock-ups — that now appear to be hard-to-locate and easy-to-fire mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

“From a military planning perspective, when I see KN-08 road-mobile missiles that appear in a North Korean military parade, I am bound to take that serious, both for not only the peninsula, but also the region, as well as my own homeland, should we speculate that those missiles potentially have the technology to reach out,” Adm. Locklear said.

North Korea wants the United States to believe it has strategic missiles, and the strategic threat cannot be ignored, he said.

The regime in Pyongyang has conducted three underground nuclear tests and several long-range missile tests. But U.S. intelligence has not confirmed that North Korea is able to miniaturize a nuclear device that can be fired atop long-range missiles. North Korea is believed to have small warhead designs that were purchased in the mid-2000s through the covert Pakistani nuclear suppliers group headed by A.Q. Khan.

“Whether [the mobile missiles] are real or not, or whether they have that capability or not, the North Korea regime wants us to think they do, and so we plan for that,” the four-star admiral said.


GENEVA – It’s high time for the nuclear industry to overhaul its conventional technology and shift to radically different reactor designs based on thorium fuel, a Nobel Prize winning physicist said.

Carlo Rubbia, a former director of the CERN laboratory who shared the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physics, described thorium as having “absolute pre-eminence” over all other fuels including fossil fuels and uranium, the metallic element that has driven reactors since nuclear first started powering public grids in 1956.

“In order to be vigorously continued, nuclear power must be profoundly modified,” Rubbia said at the Thorium Energy Conference 2013, held on the CERN campus here last week.

Rubbia pointed out that thorium leaves less long-lived waste than uranium, is far more plentiful and is resistant to weapons proliferation, as I reported on my Weinberg blog. He also noted that thorium is effective at safely breeding more fuel, and that it has a much higher energy content than uranium or fossil fuels (see chart below), a characteristic that he said gives it “absolute pre-eminence…as a source of energy.”

Proponents of thorium disagree over the reactor technology that is best suited to optimize its characteristics. Unlike uranium, thorium is not “fissile,” so it needs to be coaxed into a reaction.

Rubbia, a particle physicist, favors a method that would bombard thorium with neutrons freed from a source hit by protons from a particle accelerator. Advocates of that approach claim it is highly safe because the thorium would not sustain a chain reaction and operators could stop the reactions by simply switching off the accelerator. Operators could also vary a reactors’ energy output by modifying the particle beam.

Critics say that the accelerator method – Rubbia invented one called the “energy amplifier” – is too unwieldy and unreliable.

Israeli Gas Find Could be Game Changer

Motley Fool is waxing enthusiastic about the offshore finds in natural gas that Noble Energy has recently made for Israel. “In 2010, Noble Energy and its partners found something in Israel’s offshore region that the country had been looking for since the oil embargoes of the 1970’s; its own hydrocarbons. . . . The Tamar and Leviathan fields are estimated to have as much as 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which is enough gas to supply Israel for decades even if it were to convert all of its energy consumption from coal and oil to natural gas — with enough left over to export. Noble Energy estimates that this gas field and the planned export projects could net the country more than $130 billion in energy savings and government revenue from gas royalties.” The U.S. Geological Survey also estimates there are 600 million barrels of recoverable oil in the field. Cyprus is also sharing this bounty. Not only will the field turn Israel from an importer to an exporter of hydrocarbons, the find also has the potential of supplying Europe, freeing it from dependence on Russia and Qatar. The potential for political realignment are enormous.

UK Politicians Collaborate with Muslim Brotherhood Islamists? by Samuel Westrop Speakers at the upcoming Global Peace and Unity conference can be categorized as follows: 65% are anti-Semitic, misogynist, homophobic and pro-terror preachers, 20% are public servants offering political legitimacy and moral credibility to the other speakers, while the remaining 15% could perhaps claim to be part of the conference’s “project dedicated to creating […]

The Iranian Hostage Crisis: 34 Years Later Posted By Majid Rafizadeh As the Obama administration stays determined to push for domestic and foreign policies that would prevent further pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran, attempting to diplomatically and pleasantly reach out to the Islamists in Iran, just this week Islamist Iranian leaders responded to Obama’s outreach and foreign policies with a robust reaffirmation of […]

What The $17 Trillion Debt Really Means — on The Glazov Gang

The Glazov Gang was joined by titans Mell Flynn, a Hollywood actress and the president of the Hollywood Congress of Republicans, Kai Chen, a former basketball star on the Chinese national team and the author of One in a Billion, and Monty Morton, a Conservative Entrepreneur and walking Encyclopedia of Economics.

The Gang gathered to discuss What The $17 Trillion Debt Really Means. The discussion occurred in Part II (starts at the 3:55 mark) and focused on the frightening catastrophe the Obama administration is cooking up for us. The segment also shed light on ObamaCare’s Dirty Little Secret, Mao’s Kitchen in Los Angeles and Sean Penn’s Call for Ted Cruz and Tea Party Members to be Institutionalized:

Part II:


“What Max Blumenthal brings to the table in Goliath is not journalism, but uncompromising hatred for Israel. In a media environment where every fake “Jew Stones Dog” story goes to the top of the heap, the fake journalists like Max can only distinguish themselves by setting aside the pretenses of journalism.”

In 1948, The Nation featured a column about the growing conflict between Israel and the Arab powers which warned that “The strength of the [Arab] league is based on the suppression of all progressive movements and civil rights at home”

That was then.

Now The Nation Institute has decided to publish Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, a book which the magazine’s own reviewer, Eric Alterman, no friend of Israel, wrote could have been published by the “Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club.”

But not all the reviews were bad.

Glenn Greenwald, who defended Hamas, called it, “eye-opening and stunningly insightful.” Stephen Walt, who claimed that the Jews controls America (in a thesis he originally published in the house organ of the Saudi Lobby), wished Blumenthal could write for the New York Times.

Charles Glass, who once wrote that “Gaddafi could learn much about crowd control from Israel’s security forces”, praised it; as did Charles H. Manekin, who has written that boycotting the Jewish State “may be the best hope for liberal Zionists who haven’t given in entirely to ethnic loyalties.”

Goliath should be recommended to liberals who haven’t “given in” to their shameful ethnic loyalties and know that Israel is worse than Gaddafi, Hamas and Assad put together and must be boycotted to within an inch of its life (a policy popularized by the Arab League and Saudi Lobby). It not only makes a great Nakba present, but can also be wrapped in a brick and tossed through the window of a Jewish store.

The perfect target audience for Goliath would be The Finkler Question’s Merton Kugle who “had ruined his spine and all but worn out his eyes” searching for racist Israeli goods at the supermarket to boycott and had taken to shoplifting Israeli produce and carrying it around in his coat pockets until it rotted.

Kugle may be fictional, but his real-life counterparts make up most of the small numbers of protesters denouncing Israel, alongside younger recruits from various campus Communist societies. Their academic careers create the illusion that they represent some larger consensus outside their airless rooms where they debate how to best destroy a country that they know, despite their hate, will outlive them.


Reagan conservative Ken Cuccinelli lost his bid for the Virginia governorship because the patrician, turf-protecting Republican Party establishment in his state wanted him to lose.

It’s really that simple.

Cuccinelli campaign strategist Chris La Civita suggested on election night Tuesday that the federal government’s partial shutdown last month may have hurt his candidate in parts of Virginia where many federal employees and contractors live.

He also suggested that Cuccinelli could have won if he had received more money from national GOP sources, which he said dried up as of Oct. 1.

“There are a lot of questions people are going to be asking and that is, was leaving Cuccinelli alone in the first week of October, a smart move?” La Civita said. “We were on our own. Just look at the volume [of ads].”

Cuccinelli lost by a mere 2.5 percentage points in a state that until somewhat recently had been solidly Republican. Even with Cuccinelli’s various tactical mistakes (and there were many), it is still very difficult to believe that the GOP machine couldn’t have gotten another fifty-odd thousand voters to the polls to support him if it really wanted to.

Predictably, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who won re-election comfortably on Tuesday, refused to lift a finger to help his vulnerable fellow Republican in Virginia. Even with mountains of cash, Christie had no electoral coattails, which is not exactly a resume-builder for a presidential candidate.