- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Papua New guinea 5.6 , Indonesia 5.2 and : 5.1 Vanuatu! More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- New 'documentary' to re-enforce the President's 'gutsy' call myth? New documentary reveals last-minute doubts on Bin Laden raid.(Al-Arabiya).A new documentary reveals that a last-minute double-check of intelligence before the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden last spring cast fresh doubt on whether the al-Qaeda leader was really in the Pakistani compound where he was found.The History network, in its “Targeting Bin Laden” special that airs next Tuesday, said President Barack Obama convened a special “red team” of terrorism experts to take a fresh look at the evidence. That team had greater doubt that bin Laden was in the Abbottabad, Pakistan home primarily because they didn't believe he would take the risk of having as many visitors as he did.Despite the new assessment, Obama ordered the mission to proceed. Four days later on May 2, a team of US Navy SEALs successfully located and killed the terrorist leader behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.Obama was interviewed two weeks ago for the special, which provides a tick-tock account of what went into the planning and execution of the raid. (Was he not touring the states in his bus?)Other people interviewed for the special include national security adviser Tom Donilon, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and former CIA officials.The special “red team” had not been involved in the intelligence operation that searched for bin Laden or planned the raid. It was reviewing the evidence for the first time, History says in the special. Their assessment initially deflated policy makers, and only half of those planning the raid advised Obama to proceed after hearing their report.“At the end of the day only the president can weigh those risks,” Donilon told interviewers. “Only the president can ask, ‘What’s in the nation’s interest? What are the risks worth running here? What will we accomplish if this works? How will I deal with it if it doesn’t work?’ It was a quintessential presidential decision.”“Targeting Bin Laden” was made for the cable network by the same production company that made “America The Story of Us.” It will air on Sept. 6. Hmmmm.....Anything go's to make 'dear leader' look mighty?Movies - Documentaries....What's next?Read the full story here.
- Revealed: Obama administration Warned U.S. Citizens in Jerusalem to Avoid Beck Event?(TheBlaze).In the aftermath of the Glenn Beck “Restoring Courage” rally, questions have emerged about a U.S. State Department message released the day of the event that warned Americans to stay away.The timing and specifics of the event warning have led some to claim that ideological opposition to the Beck event– not just concerns for American safety– could have influenced the decision.The “Emergency Message” addressed to U.S. Government Employees and visiting citizens in Jerusalem is available on the Consulate’s website. The message posted to the site on August 24th stated the following:
“The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem notes that, according to local security sources, Jerusalem is under a heightened Security Alert. The police have established roadblocks in various sections of the city and increased their personnel on the streets. Vehicle inspections are being conducted, and suspicious individuals and bags are receiving further scrutiny.
U.S. citizens in Jerusalem are advised to exercise extra vigilance and avoid large crowds during upcoming rallies and religious holidays, particularly in and around Jerusalem’s Old City.
On Wednesday, August 24, 2011, there will be a rally held near the south east corner of the Old City. The areas between Dung Gate and Lions Gate are off-limits to official U.S. Government personnel from 4:00pm until 10:00pm on that day due to recent clashes in that area.”
So Restoring Courage was off limits on August 24th. Before jumping to any conclusions, though, there are a variety of plausible explanations which should be explored to determine whether any possible bias against the Beck event existed.As has already been reported on the Blaze, there was indeed an elevated terrorist threat to Jerusalem in the wake of the Eilat attacks that killed 8 Israelis. The U.S. consulate would have had to take this information into account when advising Americans for their safety.However, The Blaze also reported two days before the Restoring Courage event that Israeli officials had modified the security alert. The entire country was held steady at a general Level 3 security watch with an “emphasis on Jerusalem and Southern Israel.” But the “specific alert” for the city of Jerusalem had been lifted.It is also worth noting that American casualties are rare in Israel, but have occurred. The U.S. Consulate has a grave responsibility to help ensure the safety of Americans in Israel. Emergency safety messages are a necessity, given the history of the region.In another scenario, however, some are alleging a degree of ideological bias in the decision to ban U.S. government employees and warn off U.S. citizens from attending Beck’s Restoring Courage. They claim it is part of a broader pattern of bias on the part of the Consulate.In one example, the Jerusalem Post opined earlier this year that the U.S. Consulate has ‘gone native,’ meaning its public activities show a pro-Palestinian bias. The Post argued that because the Consulate is in closer proximity to the Palestinian territories and deals with them more directly than the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, there is an inclination to favor Palestinian events and causes at the Consulate.Restoring Courage did not fall into that category.Hmmmmm........."Jews only?".Read the full story here.
- " THE KING'S SPEECH?"Obama Announces Primetime Address To Joint Session Of Congress, Schedules It During GOP Presidential Debate.(National Journal) — President Obama has asked for a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7 to present his plan for jobs.In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, Obama said it is his intention to “lay out a series of bipartisan proposals that the Congress can take immediately to continue to rebuild the American economy.”The president said the proposals focus on “strengthening small businesses, helping Americans get back to work, and putting more money back in the paychecks of the middle class.”Hmmmm......."L'État c'est Moi" (I am the State)?Read the full story here.
- Obama: Veterans benefits won’t be slashed.(Legion).While the United States is in a time of fiscal restraint, President Barack Obama pledged on Tuesday that the restraint won't include cutting benefits of America's veterans.Addressing The American Legion's 93rd Annual National Convention in Minneapolis, Obama said veterans wouldn't bear the brunt of federal cutbacks."As a nation, we're facing tough choices as we put our fiscal house in order," the president said, getting a standing ovation from the crowd of thousands in the process. "But I want to be absolutely clear: We cannot, we must not, and we will not balance the budget on the backs of our veterans. And as commander-in-chief, I won't allow it.While pledging to protect veterans benefits, the president also offered a plan to help revive the economy: the hiring of veterans."We're going to offer more help with career development and job searches," he said. "I've directed DoD and the VA to create a reverse boot camp to help our newest veterans prepare for civilian jobs and translate their exceptional military skills into industry-accepted licenses and credentials. And today I'm calling on every state to pass legislation that makes it easier for our veterans to get the credentials and the jobs for which they are so clearly qualified. This needs to happen, and it needs to happen now."We're encouraging the private sector to do its part. I've challenged companies across America to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans or their spouses. This builds on the commitments that many companies have already made as part of the Joining Forces campaign championed by (Michelle Obama) and the vice president's spouse, Dr. Jill Biden. I've proposed a Returning Heroes Tax Credit for companies that hire unemployed veterans and a Wounded Warrior Tax Credit for companies that hire unemployed veterans with a disability. When Congress returns from recess, this needs to be at the top of the agenda. For the sake of our veterans, for the sake of our economy, we need these veterans working and contributing and creating the new jobs and industries that will keep America competitive in the 21st century."Obama said that those men and women who come home injured and file a claim with VA shouldn't have to wait for that claim to be adjudicated, and that the current backlog of VA claims remains a priority for his administration."Now, I know that over the past year, the backlog has actually grown, due to new claims from Agent Orange," he said. "But let me say this, and I know Secretary Shinseki agrees: When our veterans who fought for our country have to fight just to get the benefits you've earned - that's unacceptable. So this is going to remain a priority. We're going to keep hiring new claims processors, keep investing in new paperless systems and keep moving ahead with our innovation competition in which our dedicated VA employees are developing new ways to process your claims faster - not in months, but days. The bottom line is this: Your claims need to be processed quickly and accurately, the first time. And we're not going to rest until we get this done."Hmmmmm......Ok Big Government will grow and he 'will not rest'?Read the full story here.
- GAFFNEY: Roll back the Muslim Brotherhood.Americans can’t afford to simply watch Islamic law take hold.(WashingtonTimes).By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.In recent weeks, we have been put on notice repeatedly: Absent a fundamental course correction, America will go the way of Europe and others before it, succumbing to an insidious totalitarian doctrine known as Shariah whose purpose, in the words of its prime practitioners - the Muslim Brotherhood - is to “destroy Western civilization from within.”Hurricanes, earthquakes and fiscal crises are preoccupations of the moment. Unless we heed the warnings being issued by three of our most brilliant strategic thinkers, Mark Steyn, Bat Ye'or and Andrew C. McCarthy, however, we risk an irreversible national calamity.Each of these authors has published in the past month powerful alarums about the steady erosion of the West’s societies, governing institutions and freedoms at the hands of Shariah’s adherents and their enablers on the left.
Mr. Steyn released “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon,” a much-awaited sequel to his best-seller, “America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.” Bat Ye'or, who popularized the terms “Eurabia” and “dhimmitude” to describe what is befalling the Europeans at the hands of those seeking to subjugate all nonbelievers as enslaved “dhimmis,” published “Europe, Globalization and the Coming Universal Caliphate.” And just last week, Mr. McCarthy, author of “The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America,” wrote a brilliant column for National Review Online: “Losing Malmo, and Brussels and Rome and Amsterdam.”
A consistent theme of these three important works is that we run grave risks in taking for granted the permanence of a world order dominated by liberal democracies and led by the United States. Yet, we are doing so even as evidence accumulates that Islamists, led by the Muslim Brotherhood and the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), are making steady strides toward their goal of establishing a new, transnational order. They would have it take the form of a global “caliphate,” in which the world will be ruled in accordance with Shariah.Sound crazy? It may be. But if history teaches us anything, it is that determined, disciplined and ruthless people can do incalculable harm to others in the pursuit of crazy, supremacist goals.What is truly crazy, though, is the role being played today by “progressive” intelligentsia doing today what they have done in the face of totalitarians of the past: facilitating the latter’s frightening ambitions. I have had the privilege of interviewing each of these three authors over the past few weeks on Secure Freedom Radio and the message could not be more clear: We persist in such behavior at our extreme peril.Of particular concern is the corrosive effect of the phenomenon known by such names as “transnationalism,” “multiculturalism” and “globalization.” For many in Europe, it has become effectively a new religion, contributing to the precipitous decline of Christianity. To paraphrase Karl Marx, this postmodern, post-national program provides a kind of opiate that numbs the masses to the dangers of acquiescing to the Muslim Brotherhood’s “civilization jihad.”European nations are now increasingly reaping the whirlwind thus sown. Of particular concern are what are known as “no-go zones” - areas where the authorities dare not enter. These are becoming increasingly common across the continent and in the United Kingdom as Muslim-populated enclaves apply Shariah law and drive out those who do not conform. These zones are the direct result of accommodations made in the name of “diversity” and “sensitivity” to Islamic religio-cultural norms, which comprise the supremacist doctrine of Shariah. European leaders are beginning publicly to renounce such practices, but their governments have yet to act accordingly.Make no mistake. If we fail to heed the warnings of Mark Steyn, Bat Ye'or and Andrew C. McCarthy, a similar fate awaits us. Already, the U.S. government has been engaged in serial acts of appeasement of Muslim Brotherhood fronts and other Shariah-adherents. These include: a director of national intelligence who admits to relying on such groups to provide “advice, counsel and wisdom” about “extremists” in their midst; White House direction that all government-funded counterterrorism training will be conducted in accordance with direction of a Department of Homeland Security deeply compromised by the Brotherhood; a new Obama “strategy” for local law enforcement that requires “partnering” with what amount to enemy front organizations; and a Hillary Rodham Clinton-engineered initiative with the OIC aimed at curbing expression that can have negative “consequences” for Muslims.In the face of such folly, members of Congress and private citizens are striving not merely to halt these and other examples of reckless official “engagement” with the Muslim Brotherhood, they are beginning to roll back the Muslim Brotherhood. With the leadership of two freshmen, Rep. Jeff Duncan, South Carolina Republican, and Rep. Paul A. Gosar, Arizona Republican, the House of Representatives has adopted amendments aimed at denying any taxpayer funding to the Brotherhood. These and similar initiatives by citizens across the nation are being profiled at a new website sponsored by the Center for Security Policy, TheRollback.org. Their stories serve as a powerful inspiration and impetus for similar efforts by others.It is past time for Americans to awaken to the danger posed by Shariah and its adherents. We can no longer ignore the inroads made by these forces into Western civilization’s European flank. And we certainly cannot delude ourselves into believing that our homeland will remain immune from their predations as long as we persist in the same sorts of appeasement that have brought our friends and allies across the Atlantic to their present, parlous state.Hmmmm.....Hear,hear!Read the full story here.
- "Not so fast!"Obama administration to Trucking Company: You Cannot Fire Alcoholic Drivers.(Heritage).The federal government has sued a major trucking company for its firing of driver with an admitted alcohol abuse problem. Alcoholism is classified as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the suit maintains, and therefore employees cannot be prohibited even from driving 18 wheelers due to their histories of abuse. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the suit against the Old Dominion Freight Line trucking company on August 16, noted that while “an employer’s concern regarding safety on our highways is a legitimate issue, an employer can both ensure safety and comply with the ADA.”Read the full story here.
- Obama NLRB Eliminates Secret Ballot Elections-Making Card Check Forced Unionism a Reality.(BigGovernment).Outgoing NLRB Chair Wilma Liebman and the of the Obama Appointed NLRB Board members, Craig Becker & Mark Pearce, voted to eliminate secret ballot election protections. Now, when employers make secrets deals with a union bosses agreeing to recognize a union without allowing his employees a secret ballot vote; employees no longer have the right to force an NLRB secret ballot election and allow workers to decide if they want the union or not.Unable to pass EFCA, Card Check Forced Unionism, through a Democrat-controlled congress, Obama is paying off Big Labor through his handpicked NLRB Board. He is doing all this at the expense of worker freedoms and worker paychecks. And, the NLRB Decision is applied retroactively to bar even elections that have already been held but not counted.Employees can now be forced to pay for an undisclosed arrangement between employers and labor union bosses without having the right to put it to a secret ballot election.This is particular heinous in non-Right To Work states where employees are forced to pay union dues and fees regardless of the fact that they did not want the union. The NLRB’s actions again prove why the National Right To Work Act needs to be passed. Then, every American will have the freedom to withhold his paycheck from union bosses if they choose.Hmmmmm......More totalitarian by the day?Read the full story here.
- GOP Rep. Steve King Wants Amnesty Hearings After Arrest of “Uncle Omar Obama ”.(TheHill).Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) this week reiterated his calls for congressional hearings into the Obama administration's decision to review deportation proceedings for illegal aliens, and said this step is particularly needed in light of the Massachusetts arrest of an illegal alien who is a relative of President Obama.Omar Onyango Obama was arrested for drunk driving by a Framingham police officer. Onyango, a half-brother of President Obama's father, has been called "Uncle Omar" by King and others."On August 18, the Obama administration announced that it would be ignoring congressionally mandated deportations, and now it appears one of the first beneficiaries of this decision could be the President's recently arrested uncle, Omar Onyango Obama," King said. "With an existing deportation order, it is not surprising to learn that 'Uncle Omar' Obama told police officers that his first call would be to his nephew in the White House."King said the administration's decision to review all deportation cases means there is "little question" that those with political connections will try to take advantage of this change."This raises a troubling list of questions about the potential for preferential treatment, and is yet another reason Congress should hold hearings to expose Obama's executive amnesty program," he said.King also noted that Onyango's sister, Zeituni, was granted asylum in 2010, and said questions were raised at the time about whether her connection to Obama was the reason."Like Aunt Zeituni Onyango, Uncle Omar is referenced in President Obama's memoir, 'Dreams from My Father,' " King said.The Boston Herald is reporting today that Onyango is an illegal immigrant but has had a valid Massachusetts driver's license and Social Security number since 1992.Obama's Aunt Zeituni OnyangoSocial Security number was Issued between 2001 and 2002 in the state of Indiana. There is no evidence Zeituni Onyango ever stepped foot in Indiana.Hmmmm.....Please do Rep. King.Read the full story here.
- Louisiana state prisons should be allowed to ban inmates from receiving copies of a newspaper published by the Nation of Islam.(Chron).NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana state prisons should be allowed to ban inmates from receiving copies of a newspaper published by the Nation of Islam because its contents pose a security risk, a lawyer for the state argued Tuesday before a federal appeals court.The state wants the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a federal judge's ruling that the David Wade Correctional Center must deliver copies of The Final Call newspaper to Henry Leonard, a convicted murderer who claimed the Homer prison violated his right to free exercise of religion.Kyle Duncan, appellate chief for Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell's office, said the newspaper contains racist rhetoric that could provoke an outbreak of violence.The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, which sued on Leonard's behalf in 2007, says banning The Final Call from prisons is unconstitutional and has no connection to preventing violence.Duncan couldn't point to any violence that could be linked to The Final Call, but he said prison officials have broad discretion to block access to material that may create a disruption."You have to anticipate problems before they occur," Duncan said.ACLU attorney Justin Harrison said the state hasn't produced a shred of evidence that The Fall Call poses a threat."Any deference to prison officials has to be justified with some sort of evidence," he said.Harrison said the Nation of Islam can be a positive force in the lives of inmates, promoting discipline and discouraging the use of alcohol, drugs or weapons."It encourages the sort of lifestyle that one would think inmates should adopt," Harrison said. "It's quite the opposite of something that would create the risk of prison violence."Prison officials implemented a statewide ban on The Final Call in 2005. The state claims the language of "The Muslim Program," a statement of beliefs that is reprinted on the back cover of each issue, is racially inflammatory.5th Circuit Judge James Graves Jr. pressed Duncan to explain how the material poses a risk."The words themselves," Duncan said. "This is an explicit demand for racial separation."In March 2010, U.S. District Judge Donald Walter in Shreveport ruled the prison can't censor or restrict Leonard's access to The Final Call. Walter expressed concern that completely banning the newspaper was an exaggerated response to security concerns.Leonard is a former Baton Rouge police officer who was convicted of murdering his estranged wife's boyfriend and is serving a life sentence.The ACLU filed a similar case in February 2009 on behalf of an inmate at the state prison in Angola, La., who also says he has been denied access to The Final Call. The case is pending in the federal court based in Baton Rouge."However this case is determined will dictate the fate of the other one," Harrison said after Tuesday's hearing.Read the full story here.
- New body 'liquefaction' unit unveiled in Florida funeral home.(BBC).A Glasgow-based company has installed its first commercial "alkaline hydrolysis" unit at a Florida funeral home.The unit by Resomation Ltd is billed as a green alternative to cremation and works by dissolving the body in heated alkaline water.The facility has been installed at the Anderson-McQueen funeral home in St Petersburg, and will be used for the first time in the coming weeks. It is hoped other units will follow in the US, Canada and Europe.The makers claim the process produces a third less greenhouse gas than cremation, uses a seventh of the energy, and allows for the complete separation of dental amalgam for safe disposal. Mercury from amalgam vaporised in crematoria is blamed for up to 16% of UK airborne mercury emissions, and many UK crematoria are currently fitting mercury filtration systems to meet reduced emission targets."Resomation was developed in response to the public's increasing environmental concerns," company founder Sandy Sullivan told BBC News. "It gives them that working third choice, which allows them to express those concerns in a very positive and I think personal way."The Resomator can dissolve the body tissue in under three hours, say its makers The installation was only made possible after the state legislature in Florida approved the use of the technology, one of seven US states in which the process has now been legalised. The system works by submerging the body in a solution of water and potassium hydroxide which is pressurised to 10 atmospheres and heated to 180C for between two-and-a-half and three hours.Body tissue is dissolved and the liquid poured into the municipal water system. Mr Sullivan, a biochemist by training, says tests have proven the effluent is sterile and contains no DNA, and poses no environmental risk. The bones are then removed from the unit and processed in a "cremulator", the same machine that is used to crush bone fragments following cremation into ash. Metals including mercury and artificial joints and implants are safely recovered.The machine is patented in Europe with patents pending in other countries.Hmmmm........One more reason to drink bottled water?Read the full story here.
- The Rise of Islamic No-Go Zones.(Aina).Three and a half years ago, one of the Church of England's most senior bishops, Pakistani-born Michael Nazir-Ali, warned that Islamic extremists had created "no-go"areas across Britain too dangerous for non-Muslims to enter. His politically incorrect concern sparked a firestorm of denial and criticism. The Muslim Council of Britain, for example, dismissed it as the Bishop's "frantic scaremongering" and "intolerance," and scoffed,We wouldn’t allow "no-go" areas to happen. I smell extreme intolerance when people criticise multiculturalism without proper evidence of what has gone wrong.Well, the evidence of how multiculturalism "has gone wrong" is in. This week Soeren Kern at the Hudson Institute documented the proliferation of such no-go zones throughout Europe -- autonomous Islamic "microstates" under Sharia rule (having rejected their host countries' legal systems), where non-Muslims must either conform to the cultural, legal, and religious norms of fundamentalist Islam or expect to be greeted with violence. As Daniel Pipes puts it, "a more precise name for these zones would be Dar al-Islam" -- the House of Islam, or the place where Islam rules.England, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands -- in every European country with a large Muslim immigrant population, the story is the same: Islamic supremacists refuse to assimilate into the Western melting pot; instead they carve out a foothold in a neighborhood, and then, through intimidation or outright violence, push out the infidels whose failed secular values are no longer acceptable. Even public services such as police, firefighters and ambulances are often driven out of such neighborhoods with stones, bottles or bullets. Lacking the political and cultural will to assert control in areas that in some cases have become urban war zones, the authorities have simply retreated and abandoned them. As Germany's Chief Police Commissioner Bernhard Witthaut confesses,In these areas crimes no longer result in charges. They are left to themselves. Only in the worst cases do we in the police learn anything about it. The power of the state is completely out of the picture.In Britain, where there are already as many as eighty-five Sharia courts in operation, an Islamist group called Muslims Against the Crusades has launched an ambitious campaign to turn twelve British cities into independent Islamic states, including Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, and what the group calls "Londonistan." In the Tower Hamlets in East London -- or as the Muslims there refer to it, "the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets" -- imams known as the "Tower Hamlets Taliban" issue death threats to unveiled women, and gays are attacked by gangs of young Muslim men. The neighborhood has been littered with leaflets announcing, "You are entering a Sharia controlled zone. Islamic rules enforced." It was in East London, remember, that the Islamist Abu Izzadeen challenged former Home Secretary John Reid by saying: “How dare you come to a Muslim area?” In France, there are an astonishing 751 so-called Sensitive Urban Zones (ZUS). "Sensitive" indeed: the nature of the ZUS, and chaos like the nightly burning of cars in Paris, are topics that the French media largely downplay to avoid accusations of racism or Islamophobia -- hence, for example, their generic description of the immigrant gangs running wild in Paris Métro stations as "youth."An estimated (as of 2004) five million Muslims live in these ZUS, and there is barely a single French city that lacks at least one. In Paris and other French cities with a high percentage of Muslim populations, like Lyons, Marseilles and Toulouse, thousands of Muslims make their presence felt by blocking streets and sidewalks for Friday prayers. Some mosques have begun broadcasting sermons and chants of "Allahu Akbar" via loudspeakers into the streets. Local authorities sit on their hands rather than confront this "occupation without tanks or soldiers," because they are afraid of the situation escalating into violence in the streets.The Dutch government has released a list of forty “no-go” zones in the Netherlands. In Brussels, Belgium, which is twenty percent Muslim, police have to patrol with two police cars, to watch each other's back. And yet the multiculturalist mindset is so deeply entrenched in Europeans that it is the police who are expected to avoid offending cultural sensitivities: officers, for example, who frequently are targeted with rocks by Muslim youth, have been ordered not to drink coffee or eat in public during the Islamic month of Ramadan.In Sweden, which an imam there has labeled "the best Islamic state," whole patches of the city of Malmö -- which is more than twenty-five percent Muslim -- are no-go zones. There and in Gothenburg, Muslim teenagers have been burning cars, attacking emergency services, throwing.stones at patrolling officers and temporarily blinding them with green lasers.Hmmmmm......"We don't want to take over your country?"Read the full story here.
- Canada - B.C. just witnessed the taxpayer's Vimy Ridge.(Canoe)By Brian.lilley.A victory for the taxpayers, a victory for the people, that’s the topic of tonight’s Byline.We`ve been hearing plenty about the Tea Party in the United States for the last couple of years. They have pushed and struggled to take power back from the hands of those who run the system, those in it just for themselves and give it back to the people.While the Americans continue to struggle, a similar movement here in Canada had a major victory late last week, one that was understandably overshadowed by other events.The referendum to scrap the harmonized sales tax in British Columbia is a major victory for those who believe in the idea that you cannot tax without the consent of the governed.In the American Revolution they popularized the idea of no taxation without representation. Too many Canadians still think that is an American ideal that has nothing to do with Canada. That`s just not true.The idea that our rulers need to have the consent of the people to levy taxes is an ancient one.In 1215 King John signed the Magna Carta in which he agreed that “ No scutage nor aid shall be imposed on our kingdom, unless by common counsel of our kingdom.“He agreed not to levy taxes without consulting the barons and nobles who paid the taxes.In 1689 the English Bill of Rights, a document cited in our own Parliament and considered a foundational document of Canada, said that there could be no taxation by royal prerogative.That meant Parliament had to decide, that the people`s representatives, would have a say in any matter of taxation.Gordon Campbell, the former Liberal premier of BC, campaigned on not increasing taxes and specifically on not bringing about the HST.Right after the election, he changed his mind. He attempted to raise taxes by royal prerogative he didn`t even seek a vote in the legislature.The experts do not like this of course, the fact that people rejected the HST.The Globe and Mail sniffed that “ HST’s defeat in BC shows danger of ruling by plebiscite.“Neils Veldhuis, an economist and VP at the Fraser Institute took to twitter to denounce the vote “ Defeat of #HST a crushing blow to BC’s competitiveness“Veldhuis may be right and economically the HST may have been a superior way to raise tax revenue. In fact, raising consumption taxes and lowering income taxes is generally considered good economic policy.But that`s not the point.The point is that the people were told one thing by their supposed betters, that there would be no HST, no tax increase, and then those same people decided they knew better and changed the rules.You can`t do that.We need to take that spirit of BC and spread it across the country.We need to make sure that when a politician says no to taxes and then changes their mind we show them the door.Jean Chretien campaigned on scrapping the GST, he broke that and many other promises and we rewarded him with two more majority governments.Dalton McGuinty promised no tax increases for Ontario and then brought in a health tax and illegal eco taxes, some of which are still being charged.Stephen Harper promises to keep spending under control and yet spending under watch has increased dramatically.We need to hold politicians to their word and when they fail to live up to their promises we should show them the door otherwise they will not fear you, only hold you in contempt.The voters of BC showed that the people can fight back and they can win. Let`s move that spirit across the country.And that`s the Byline.Hmmmmm.....OoooooH Canada?Read the full story here.
- UK - Muslims-Only Day at British Alton Towers Fun Park.(Sun).Up to 28,000 are expected at Alton Towers on September 17 when there will be no music, booze or gambling.Instead there will be prayer areas, Muslim stalls and all food served will be halal.Organisers Islamic Leisure have billed it the First National Muslim Fun Day and tickets can only be bought through their website.Non-Muslims phoning the Staffordshire park have been refused tickets.One, George Hughes, 19, who rang up for 15 tickets for a pal’s birthday, said: “I couldn’t believe it.“It’s the only day we can go, yet I can’t because I’m not Muslim. Can you imagine all the fuss if there was a Christians-only day?”George, of Crayford, Kent, added: “My Muslim friends think it’s outrageous.“What’s the world coming to when people are being banned from flying the St George’s flag yet this sort of day is allowed? If it must be held, then why not on a weekday rather than a busy weekend?”The event is widely promoted on the internet and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee declared it “exclusively for our brothers and sisters”.But some Muslims have condemned the idea. One university student on a Muslim website forum said: “It’s hardly encouraging integration.”Another said: “What next . . . an all Muslims shopping day out in the Trafford Centre in Manchester?”Abid Hussan of Islamic Leisure insisted the day was open to all faiths, although Islamic laws would apply.He added: “There will be no smoking, no alcohol and halal food only.“We’re trying to get Muslims to go to this day because they wouldn’t normally go somewhere like Alton Towers. We’re trying to integrate Muslims into the wider community. People can come down and see the way we live. It will be a peaceful family environment.”Alton Towers said any organization could hire the park for a day.A spokeswoman said “We make no distinction regarding sexuality, religious, ethnic or lifestyle choices.”She confirmed tickets for the day were now available only through Islamic Leisure. And Alton Towers would promote the fact that the day had been booked.She added: “As a general rule, there will be no admission on the day to guests who have not booked through the organization in advance.”Read the full story here.
- Police arrest 15 at Playland in dispute over Muslim headwear.(Lohud).RYE — A melee broke out Tuesday afternoon at Playland Amusement Park when Muslim visitors became angry that the park was enforcing its ban on headgear by prohibiting the women from wearing their traditional head coverings on some rides.Police from at least nine agencies converged on the park beginning at 3 p.m. after county police sought assistance in responding to the disturbance, which involved 30 to 40 people.Two rangers were injured while breaking up a fight between visitors, and two visitors were charged with felony assault, police said. Another 13 people were arrested, most charged with disorderly conduct. Names were not disclosed, and all those charged were released by Tuesday night.One of the rangers suffered an injured knee and the other an injured shoulder, said Deputy Parks Commissioner Peter Tartaglia.Parks officials “painstakingly” told the organizer about the headgear ban, said. Tartaglia. But he said that the rules might not have been communicated by the organizer to some attendees.Three accidents on Playland rides that killed two children and a park worker between 2004 and 2007 were unrelated to clothing the victims were wearing. But the headgear ban was among safety rules that went into effect after those deaths.“It’s a safety issue on rides. If it’s a scarf, you could choke,” Tartaglia said.Accounts of what happened varied, but everyone agreed the dispute began after parkgoers were told the headgear ban applied to women wearing traditional Muslim head coverings, known as hijabs.Tartaglia said once word of that got out there were “a lot of unhappy people.”Tartaglia said park officials were in the process of arranging refunds when members of the Muslim group got into a scuffle with each other.A park cashier told a Journal News reporter that a woman wearing a hijab either pushed or hit a ride operator who forbade her from going on the ride. She said a police officer tried to restrain the woman and the woman’s husband took offense, at which point a multiple-person fight broke out.At 4:30 p.m., more than an hour and a half after the incident started, nearly three dozen cruisers blocked Playland’s entrance and a helicopter was flying overhead. A reporter counted nearly 60 cruisers on the scene from various agencies.Tartaglia said the county believed a mass response was required “as a safety precaution.”The park was never closed to attendees but for a time new visitors were not being allowed in. Crowds were being turned away at Playland Parkway and Forest Avenue. Read the full story here.More here with video.
- Russia's Soyuz Program Crashes and Burns,now Astronauts May Have to Abandon Space Station.(NYTimes).Astronauts will abandon the International Space Station, probably in mid-November, if rocket engine problems that doomed a Russian cargo ship last week are not diagnosed and fixed.Even if unoccupied, the space station can be operated by controllers on the ground indefinitely and would not be in immediate danger of falling out of orbit. Three Russian astronauts, two Americans and a Japanese are living on the space station. “We’re going to do what’s the safest for the crew and for the space station, which is a very big investment of our governments,” said Michael T. Suffredini, manager of the space station program for NASA, during a news conference on Monday. “Our job is, as stewards of the government, to protect that investment, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.” The $100 billion station has been continuously occupied for over a decade. Last Wednesday, an unmanned Russian cargo ship known as the Progress, which was carrying three tons of supplies to the space station, crashed in Siberia. Telemetry from the rocket indicated that a drop of fuel pressure led its computer to shut down the third-stage engine prematurely five and a half minutes into flight. The Soyuz rocket that lifts the Progress is similar to the Soyuz rocket that takes astronauts to the station, and officials want to make sure they understand what failed on last week’s launching and are confident it will not occur again. Two unmanned launchings of Soyuz rockets are likely to occur before the next set of three crew members head to the space station. That launching had been scheduled for Sept. 21. The loss of the Progress is of little immediate impact. One of the Russian astronauts is running short of clothes and might have to borrow some from NASA, Mr. Suffredini said. The current crew has plenty of supplies and could remain in space longer. What expires, however, is their return trip. Two Soyuz capsules, each with seats for three passengers, are currently docked to the space station. But the capsules are certified to last only 200 days in orbit, because hydrogen peroxide for the spacecraft’s thrusters degrades over time. The return of the first capsule has been pushed back a week, to Sept. 15, giving NASA and the Russian space agency more time to study their options. Delaying much more than that would run into a safety rule, that the capsules land during the day. The next opportunity would be in late October, beyond the 200-day limit. The Russians could study whether the capsule’s condition could allow a longer stay, but Mr. Suffredini questioned whether that would be wise.“When you’ve already been handed one significant challenge, maybe you shouldn’t put another one on top of it until you sort that one out,” he said. The other three crew members would return in the second Soyuz capsule in mid-November. If the problem with the Soyuz rocket had not been resolved, the station would then be empty.Read the full story here.
- Israel and Egypt deploy troops opposite each other on border.(JPost).Islamic Jihad cell currently in Sinai consists of over 10 terrorists who on their way to carry out an attack against Israel.The IDF deployed large numbers of infantry soldiers along Israel’s border with Egypt, as fears mount regarding the possible infiltration of terrorists with plans to kidnap residents from borderline communities.According to intelligence collected by the defense establishment, the Islamic Jihad cell currently in Sinai consists of over 10 terrorists who are currently on their way to carry out an attack against Israel along the Egyptian border.The decision to publicize the terror alert was made as part of an effort to dissuade the terrorists from continuing with their plans.“Islamic Jihad is trying for a long time to perpetrate the attacks from the Sinai, and the holiday of Eid al-Fitr is a good time for attacks,” Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said on Tuesday during a visit to an Elbit Systems factory in Sderot in reference to the Muslim holiday.“The defense establishment has concrete intelligence regarding plans by a terror cell from the Sinai consisting of more than 10 people.”Vilnai said that the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) were working closely to thwart the attack and that Israel was also coordinating with Egypt.On Monday, the IDF went on high alert along Israel’s southern border with Egypt and significantly bolstered its forces there amid concrete intelligence that Islamic Jihad terrorists were planning to infiltrate into Israel and carry out a similar attack to the one near Eilat 10 days ago.Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz made the decision to beef up forces along the border late Sunday night and instructed OC Planning Directorate Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel to update the Egyptian military of the decision.IDF sources said that intelligence indicated that the Islamic Jihad cell had crossed into the Sinai Peninsula from the Gaza Strip and was planning to carry out an attack along one of the roads that runs alongside the border in the coming days. As a result, both Roads 12 and 10 remained closed on Tuesday.A senior defense official said on Tuesday that Israel was restraining itself and not taking action against the Islamic Jihad in order to not undermine the Egyptian regime.On Monday, the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported that some 1,500 soldiers and police officers – supported by tanks and armored vehicles – began combing the cities of El-Arish, Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafah, near the Gaza border.Fearing a spike in violence on the Eid al-Fitr holiday, authorities reportedly called on Beduin tribal elders to urge would-be terrorists not to engage in violent acts.On Tuesday, the daily ran a feature on Egypt-Israel relations in the post-Hosni Mubarak era, with a focus on the four-day protest at the Israeli embassy last week.The article noted the growing consensus among Egyptians over scrapping, or at least amending, the treaty, including the clause stipulating the demilitarization of Sinai.Hmmmmm.......Read the full story here.
- Foreign Ministry preparing for release of Palmer Report,accuses IHH of pre-meditated violence and Turkish government of working with IHH.(JPost).Officials: Report expected to uphold Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza Strip, place Ankara in negative light; ‘Mavi Marmara’ suit shelved amid fears Israel could win legal challenge, says Kuwaiti daily.The Foreign Ministry is drawing up talking points and writing press releases in the run-up to Friday’s expected release of the Palmer Commission report on the Mavi Marmara incident.The preparations follow Turkey’s rejection of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s proposal that publication of the report be postponed for another six months. Release of the report has been delayed repeatedly since May 15, when it was first scheduled to be published.According to Israeli officials, the Turks – in addition to demanding an apology for the incident and compensation for the families of the nine Turks killed on the ship – are also interested in seeing the report buried because it upholds Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and places Ankara in a negative light.What Netanyahu hoped to do by postponing publication of the report, the officials said, was to give the Turks what they wanted regarding burying the report, as well as to postpone the apology issue.Israel has already said it would pay compensation through a fund set up by the Turkish government.According to Israeli officials, the 102-page report comes to the following conclusions:
• Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was legal, as was the interception of vessels trying to break the blockade.
• The IHH activists behind the flotilla were looking for a violent provocation.
• Turkey had a role with the IHH in the flotilla setting sail.
• The IDF soldiers defended themselves after coming up against premeditated violence by those on the ship.
• The IDF soldiers used excessive force.
The publication of the report has been delayed for months in the hopes that Israel and Turkey could reach an amicable agreement that would obviate the need for its publication. The concern is that once the report is released – a report that calls on Israel to express “regret” for the incident, but not apologize – it will be more difficult for Israel and Turkey to reach any type of reconciliation.Israel has already expressed regret for the loss of life in the incident.Meanwhile, a Kuwait-based English website, Arab Times, cited on Tuesday the country’s Al-Dar daily as reporting that the Kuwaiti Justice Ministry will “shelve the case which has been filed by MP Dr. Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and others against the Israeli government for humiliating and assaulting them while they were aboard the Turkish flotilla.”According to the report, “The ministry was preparing to file a lawsuit in international courts, but was advised by lawyers not to go ahead with the suit because Israel could win the case and Kuwait would end up paying billions of dollars in compensation because the ship had violated international law by entering the Israeli territorial waters without permission.”Read the full story here.
- How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli.(AsiaTimes). By Pepe Escobar. His name is Abdelhakim Belhaj. Some in the Middle East might have, but few in the West and across the world would have heard of him. Time to catch up. Because the story of how an al-Qaeda asset turned out to be the top Libyan military commander in still war-torn Tripoli is bound to shatter - once again - that wilderness of mirrors that is the "war on terror", as well as deeply compromising the carefully constructed propaganda of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO's) "humanitarian" intervention in Libya. Already last Tuesday, Belhaj was gloating on how the battle was won, with Gaddafi forces escaping "like rats" (note that's the same metaphor used by Gaddafi himself to designate the rebels). Abdelhakim Belhaj, aka Abu Abdallah al-Sadek, is a Libyan jihadi. Born in May 1966, he honed his skills with the mujahideen in the 1980s anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan. He's the founder of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and its de facto emir - with Khaled Chrif and Sami Saadi as his deputies. After the Taliban took power in Kabul in 1996, the LIFG kept two training camps in Afghanistan; one of them, 30 kilometers north of Kabul - run by Abu Yahya - was strictly for al-Qaeda-linked jihadis. After 9/11, Belhaj moved to Pakistan and also to Iraq, where he befriended none other than ultra-nasty Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - all this before al-Qaeda in Iraq pledged its allegiance to Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and turbo-charged its gruesome practices. In Iraq, Libyans happened to be the largest foreign Sunni jihadi contingent, only losing to the Saudis. Moreover, Libyan jihadis have always been superstars in the top echelons of "historic" al-Qaeda - from Abu Faraj al-Libi (military commander until his arrest in 2005, now lingering as one of 16 high-value detainees in the US detention center at Guantanamo) to Abu al-Laith al-Libi (another military commander, killed in Pakistan in early 2008). The LIFG had been on the US Central Intelligence Agency's radars since 9/11. In 2003, Belhaj was finally arrested in Malaysia - and then transferred, extraordinary rendition-style, to a secret Bangkok prison, and duly tortured. In 2004, the Americans decided to send him as a gift to Libyan intelligence - until he was freed by the Gaddafi regime in March 2010, along with other 211 "terrorists", in a public relations coup advertised with great fanfare. The orchestrator was no less than Saif Islam al-Gaddafi - the modernizing/London School of Economics face of the regime. LIFG's leaders - Belhaj and his deputies Chrif and Saadi - issued a 417-page confession dubbed "corrective studies" in which they declared the jihad against Gaddafi over (and illegal), before they were finally set free. A fascinating account of the whole process can be seen in a report called "Combating Terrorism in Libya through Dialogue and Reintegration". Note that the authors, Singapore-based terrorism "experts" who were wined and dined by the regime, express the "deepest appreciation to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation for making this visit possible". Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda's number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same - and Belhaj was/is its emir. In 2007, LIFG was calling for a jihad against Gaddafi but also against the US and assorted Western "infidels". Fast forward to last February when, a free man, Belhaj decided to go back into jihad mode and align his forces with the engineered uprising in Cyrenaica. Every intelligence agency in the US, Europe and the Arab world knows where he's coming from. He's already made sure in Libya that himself and his militia will only settle for sharia law. There's nothing "pro-democracy" about it - by any stretch of the imagination. And yet such an asset could not be dropped from NATO's war just because he was not very fond of "infidels". The late July killing of rebel military commander General Abdel Fattah Younis - by the rebels themselves - seems to point to Belhaj or at least people very close to him. It's essential to know that Younis - before he defected from the regime - had been in charge of Libya's special forces fiercely fighting the LIFG in Cyrenaica from 1990 to 1995. The Transitional National Council (TNC), according to one of its members, Ali Tarhouni, has been spinning Younis was killed by a shady brigade known as Obaida ibn Jarrah (one of the Prophet Mohammed's companions). Yet the brigade now seems to have dissolved into thin air.From the beginning, Gaddafi said this was a foreign-backed/al-Qaeda operation; he was right (although he forgot to say this was above all neo-Napoleonic French President Nicolas Sarkozy's war, but that's another story). He also said this was a prelude for a foreign occupation whose target was to privatize and take over Libya's natural resources. He may - again – turn out to be right. The Singapore "experts" who praised the Gaddafi regime's decision to free the LIFG's jihadis qualified it as "a necessary strategy to mitigate the threat posed to Libya". Now, LIFG/AQIM is finally poised to exercise its options as an "indigenous political force". Ten years after 9/11, it's hard not to imagine a certain decomposed skull in the bottom of the Arabian Sea boldly grinning to kingdom come. Hmmmmm.....Meanwhile the Obama Administration guidelines for the 9/11 rememberance says not to mention Al-qaida.....makes you really wonder who's who?Thanks.......'Hussein'.Read the full story here.
- Two Clashing Scenarios for Afghanistan Following the U.S. and Coalition Withdrawal in 2014, and Beyond That to 2024.(Memri).By: Tufail Ahmad and Y. Carmon.U.S. and international troops are slated to hand over security responsibilities to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014. However, there are two clashing scenarios emerging in the run-up to 2014, and well beyond that into 2024, a key year in U.S. strategy. Of these scenarios, one is being considered by the U.S. and Afghan government; and the other is being engineered by the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and its surrogates: the Taliban, Hizb-e-Islami and other terrorist groups.Both sides have a vision of what a desired outcome should be in Afghanistan. The U.S. has a hopeful vision of an independent Afghan state capable of taking over its security responsibilities; the ISI's current strategy is to take control of Afghanistan and shape its domestic policymaking and strategic relations with neighboring nations. This analysis looks at the U.S.-led strategy to ensure a stable Afghanistan, and how the ISI is engineering a counter-strategy as evident in political and military spheres.Read the full story here.
- In Egypt, Holiday Dinner to be Held Outside U.S. Embassy in Solidarity with the Blind Sheikh.(Memri).The Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya organization in Egypt has announced that it would hold its Eid Al-Fitr prayers outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo in solidarity with the leader of the organization, Sheikh Omar Abd Al-Rahman (the Blind Sheikh).Abd Al-Rahman has been imprisoned in the U.S. since 1996 due to his involvement with the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.Eid Al-Fitr is the holiday marking the end of the month of Ramadan.Hmmmm......The 'people' the Obama administration is pledging 2.57 Billion Dollars and Abrams tanks to.Read the full story here.
- Zahar: Abbas visit in Gaza could become violent.(JPost).Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has no intentions of visiting the Gaza Strip in the near future, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar told London-based al-Quds al-Arabi, hinting that there may be threats on Abbas's life should he choose to do so.Zahar stressed that Hamas was not interested in jeopardizing the internal security situation in the Gaza Strip should Abbas decide to visit and cause internal Fatah violence to occur as a result of "unsettled accounts."According to al-Quds al-Arabi, Zahar may have been referring to the ongoing conflict between the Palestinian Authority president and ex-Fatah official and strident Abbas critic Muhammad Dahlan.Most recently, Dahlan claimed that a $1 billion fund had gone missing since Abbas became president in 2005. He made those comments only a few days after PA security forces raided Dahlan's Ramallah home confiscating documents, weapons, and private luxury vehicles. Zahar also dismissed any attempts by Abbas to rekindle the stalled reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah's leadership as futile, saying of the failed process: "the [reconciliation] agreement was completed [in Cairo], but it's implementation is defunct."Zahar dismissed any sort of talks that have occurred between officials in Fatah and Hamas of being concerned simply with "peripheral matters."Hmmmmmm......According to the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, which is now part of customary law and therefore binding on all countries," a state must possess a permanent population, a defined territory, a government and a capacity to enter into relationships with other states."Yup that doesn't sound like it.Read the full story here.
- Seven killed, 18 injured in Chechnya suicide bombings.(Rainovosti).Seven people were killed and 18 wounded in two explosions that occurred in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, on Tuesday evening, the Russian North Caucasus republic's head Ramzan Kadyrov said on Wednesday.He said five police officers, an Emergencies Ministry official and a civilian were killed. Those injured included both law enforcers and civilians.The first explosion occurred when police officers attempted to detain a suspected militant in the city's Leninsky district, and a second blast followed some 30 minutes later when police officers and passersby gathered on the site.Earlier it was reported that four people died and five were injured in the blasts apparently committed by suicide bombers.Chechnya, which witnessed two brutal separatist wars in the 1990s and early 2000s, has seen a relative calm in recent years, with neighboring Dagestan and Ingushetia bearing the brunt of North Caucasus militant violence.Read the full story here.