Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Judge Napolitano speaking to the un-Constitutionality of the ‘Super Congress’ being established by the debt ceiling rape and pillage deal now being sent to the Senate for approval. For those that do not know the details of this hidden goodie in the bill, six republicans and six democrats will form a commission to come up with $1.5 Trillion of cuts with the real congress only being allowed an up or down vote on their recommendations. How’s that for representative government? Still think the Tea Party and Ron Paul are the crazy extremist terrorists or that the Tenth Amendment Center’s ‘Nullification’ movement is unnecessary? Still think there is a two party system operating the country and fighting over issues?
Tea Party grassroots members have believed for well over a week that the whole kabuki dance was cover for getting this ‘Super Congress’ established. The fall of the republic will happen when it passes the Senate as the Council of Governors and Obama’s Rural Council have already been established by executive order. Hmmmm..........If he really wanted to destroy America would he do anything different?Ht:LogisticsMonster.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan 4.8 , Indonesia 5.2! More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- "Goodbye Constitution?" - Super Congress Getting Even More Super Powers In Debt Deal.(Blacklistednews).Last weekend, HuffPost reported on the extraordinary powers being delegated to the emerging super Congress, but most beltway media has largely dismissing the group as just another Washington commission.On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sought to disabuse everyone of that notion.“The joint committee — there are no constraints,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “They can look at any program we have in government, any program. … It has the ability to look at everything.”“Let me emphasize the joint committee,” McConnell said Sunday morning on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “In the early stages of this discussion, the press was talking about another commission. This is not a commission. This is a powerful, joint committee with a equal number of Republicans and Senate — equal number of Republicans and Democrats, and, to make recommendation back to the Senate and House by Thanksgiving of this year for an up or down vote. Think of the base closing legislation that we passed a few years ago for an up or down vote in the Senate.”The sticking point, said McConnell and sources, was that Republicans were insisting on “triggers” that would automatically fire at beneficiaries of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare if the super Congress doesn’t act.The 50-50 compromise appears to have resolved the impasse, but rank-and-file House and Senate members still had to sign on. And the defense cuts — brokered the White House — should have the consequence of enlisting defense lobbyists to push for entitlement cuts to stave off their own reductions.If seniors didn’t have enough to worry about, they could now be on the opposite side of Washington’s most entrenched lobby.The progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org also fired out a statement condemning the reported framework reached between the White House and congressional Republicans, including the proposed super Congress and its triggers.“The reason Republicans want a “Super Congress,” especially one that triggers automatic cuts if it fails to reach agreement, is because it would let them slash Medicare and other vital services with no accountability,” said MoveOn.org Executive Director Justin Ruben. “It is extremely troubling that it now appears that some Democrats are willing to give in to Republican demands to make this already disastrous plan worse for working families.If both chambers of Congress swallow the scheme, the next vital component will be which legislators are picked to be the all-powerful members of the budget board.“It will be essential to choose members with minds willing to consider every option, even when the options are tough pills to swallow for both parties,” Reid warned. “Cooperation is the only way forward. Compromise is the only way forward.”Hmmmm..........."Compromise" another word for betraying what you once believed in.No tea party members in the 'super congress'?Read the full story here.
- Fiscal Conservatives Barred from Supercommittee.(WeeklyStandard).The debt ceiling deal will pass the Senate early this afternoon. No suspense there. But the vote will be worth watching for another reason: Three Republican Senate sources tell TWS that senators who vote against the deal will be ineligible to serve on the so-called “supercommittee” for deficit reduction that the legislation creates.While there’s certain logic to such a policy, it could be self-defeating. Excluding those who vote against the debt deal will ensure that some of the most fiscally conservative members of the Senate Republican caucus, including most of its freshmen, will be reading about the committee’s activities in the newspaper rather than guiding its decisions. Among those who have already declared their opposition to the deal: libertarian-leaning senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul; Jim DeMint, the aggressive fiscal hawk from South Carolina; conservative reformers Ron Johnson from Wisconsin and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania; the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, Jeff Sessions; and Florida’s Marco Rubio, already one of the highest-profile conservatives in Congress.More worrisome for conservatives, however, is that private whip counts in the Senate found that some 20 Republicans expressed support for the proposals that came out of the Gang of Six. And while many of the components of that plan have merit as individual policy proposals, the package involves compromises on taxes anathema to most conservatives. Picking a Gang of Six member – or supporter – would further antagonize conservatives skeptical of the debt ceiling deal.There’s the problem. If, say, a dozen of the strongest fiscal conservatives vote against the deal, the pool of Republicans that can be expected to hold the line on taxes shrinks very quickly. And if a key Republican objective for the committee is to block tax increases, the exclusion of these strong fiscal conservatives makes meeting that goal more difficult.Mitch McConnell, who will make the selections, isn’t worried. He told Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto yesterday that the likelihood of tax hikes coming out of the committee is “pretty low.”“What I can pretty certainly say to the American people, the chances of any kind of tax increase passing with this, with the appointees of John Boehner and I, are going to put in there are pretty low,” said McConnell. He added: “I’m comfortable we aren’t going to raise taxes coming out of this joint committee.” Hmmmmmm..........Woooow look a unicorn!Read the full story here.
- Fareed Zakaria: Tea Party ‘Fundamentally Anti-Democratic,‘ Will ’Blow the Country Up’.(TheBlaze).CNN host Fareed Zakaria railed against the Tea Party Friday night, hours after the Senate blocked the House Republican debt plan. Speaking on “Anderson Cooper 360,“ Zakaria accused the Tea Party of being ”fundamentally anti-democratic“ and guilty of ”an extraordinary act of hostage-taking.”“Instead of accepting some compromise that can get through the democratic process, what they‘re saying is we’ll blow up the country if you don’t listen to us,” Zakaria said. “We’ll hold hostage the credit of the United States, the good standing of the United States and we’ll blow it up….it’s an extraordinary act of hostage-taking.”Agreeing with Charles Krauthammer’s reference to the strategy as “counter-constitutional,” Zakaria took it a step further, charging the Tea Party doesn’t “understand the workings of democracy.”“They have not been elected dictators of the United States, they have been elected to one house of one branch of the American government,” Zakaria said.Likening the current fiscal state to a “kind of national emergency almost like a war,” Zakaria hoped President Barack Obama would just fix the situation unilaterally.“I hope that President Obama is seriously exploring the possibility of invoking the 14th Amendment,” Zakaria said, adding that he thinks the Supreme Court would allow it given the “level of dysfunction.”Hmmmmm.......Flashback - CNN's Fareed Zakaria said on Thursday that he has been having regular discussions with President Obama about national security and foreign policy. He then posted a "clarification" of his statement on Saturday.Asked by Eliot Spitzer on Thursday's "In The Arena" if Obama has been calling him up lately, Zakaria said, "mostly it's been face-to-face meetings...usually organized by Tom Donilon, the national security adviser."Advising the President on the Teaparty"?Read the full story here.
- Obama's Top Four Power Grabs.The president stretches executive power to expand the warfare state and the regulatory state.(Reason).Candidates never keep their promises once in office. But even by the unlovely standards of his political peers, President Obama has pulled a rather impressive switcheroo from the anti-Bush to Bush-plus. He ran on a platform to undo President George W. Bush’s legacy and restore government accountability, even signing the pledge from the Reason Foundation (where I work) to “fully and robustly” work toward “open, transparent, and accountable government principles.”Instead, he has expanded executive power to czar-like proportions on fronts where even Bush feared to tread. Progressive crazies such as The New York Times’ columnist Paul Krugman are chiding Obama for being squeamish about using his executive authority to raise the debt ceiling, choosing, instead, to negotiate cuts in government spending—a crime and an abomination in their book—with a Tea Party-cowed GOP. But the 14th Amendment gives Congress, not the president, the authority on debt-related matters. Doing an end run around the amendment would have precipitated a constitutional crisis that the Obama presidency might well have been unable to weather.But the fact of the matter is that when Obama can get away with deploying his executive power to accomplish his agenda, he does so without pause or hesitation, constitutional niceties such as checks-and-balances be damned. His many power grabs are worthy of a book. But below are four of the truly unprecedented ones, two that expand the war state and two that expand the regulatory state.
1. War-making powers.
2. Civil liberties.
3. Legislating through bureaucrats.
4. Killing the auto industry through regulatory fiat.
Reportedly, Obama used to omit the separation-of-powers doctrine when he taught constitutional law. But he must have also skipped school when the doctrine was covered because he evidently doesn’t get it. Bush was a bad student. What’s Obama’s excuse?Hmmmmm.........He wants to "CHANGE" America?Read the full story here.
- 'For God and country - Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo': The words the SEAL who killed Osama Bin Laden radioed home.(DailyMail).When he pulled the trigger on his silenced rifle in a darkened bedroom in Pakistan and shot a tall, unarmed man with a straggly beard in a prayer cap and shalwar kameez, he ended a nine-year manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, the man who claimed 2,973 lives on September 11, 2001.But no-one - not even President Barack Obama - will ever know the name of that SEAL, nor of the comrade who wrapped Bin Laden's wives in a huge bear hug and dragged them aside in case they were wearing suicide bomb vests, knowing he would absorb most of the blast and save the men behind him.For the first time, the full fascinating details of that world-changing raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan have been revealed, from the CostCo sandwiches the White House ordered for the Situation Room to the SEAL's first words after he killed the world's most-wanted man: 'For God and country - Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo.'According to the article in this week's New Yorker, it also emerged 'there was never any question of detaining or capturing' Bin Laden - even though the White House always insisted the terror leader would not have died if he'd surrendered.It also revealed that the SEALs were not wearing cameras on their helmets, and Mr Obama and his colleagues spent nearly 25 minutes anxiously waiting to hear from the 23 SEALs, one translator and a Belgian Malinois dog named Cairo who were engaged in the covert raid to kill the Al Qaeda mastermind.As they waited, Vice President Joe Biden nervously fingered his rosary. After the first dramatic words from Abbottabad, the SEAL added: 'Geronimo E.K.I.A - enemy killed in action.' Geronimo was the codename for a hit on Bin Laden.Read the full story here.
- Ramadan - the 'holy Month'.(IslamVersusEurope).President Barack Obama has sent his greetings to Muslims around the world for Ramadan, the holiest month on the Islamic calendar.In a statement Monday, the president said Ramadan is a time for deep reflection and sacrifice, and that it also draws families and communities together for prayers and iftars - shared meals that break the daybreak-to-sunset fast.A fascinating study was conducted in Algeria during Ramadan in the year 2007. The heads of various large public and private organisations, such as hospital managers, police commissioners, fire station chiefs, company directors, etc. were approached and asked to provide statistics on notable changes that occurred during Ramadan compared to other months. The results, shown below, prove that Ramadan is a menace to the public weal. There should be immediate follow-up studies to see whether these results are replicated among Muslim colonist communities living in western nations. If the results are corroborated here, too, politicians and the media should stop subsidising Ramadan events, and stop pretending that Ramadan is some joyous public occasion. Instead, there should be public recognition of the fact that Ramadan represents a clear and present danger to both Muslims and everyone who comes into contact with them.
Hospital emergency services
- Work accidents: + 150% compared to yearly average
- Medical emergencies: + 300%
- Domestic accidents: + 250% compared to other months of the year
- Fights and disputes causing injuries: +400%
- Traffic accidents: + 42%
- Food poisoning: + 39%
- Deterioration and complications of chronic illnesses: +80%
- Death: +18%
- Petty crime: +220%
- Fights, disputes, battery, assaults: + 320%
- Women and children beaten in the home during Ramadan: +120%
- Number of criminal complaints filed: +40%
- Offences relating to the sale and consumption of drugs and other narcotics: +96%
- Car theft, fraud, forgery and use of forgeries: +180%.
- Traffic accidents: +52%
- Fights and public order offences: +320%
- Women and children beaten in the home during Ramadan: +72%
- Serious work accidents, fires: +20%
- Physical attacks with cuts and injuries, battery: +160%
- Thefts and fraud: +42%
Company directors, public and private sector
- Absenteeism in the workplace: +120%
- Output: – 62%
- Lateness: + 132%
- Total absences at work during the month of Ramadan (various kinds of leave) + 240%
- Work accidents: +72%
- Conflicts at work: + 32%
Price and hygiene monitoring services
- Illegal and unjustified increases in prices: +420%
- Illegal or unauthorised commercial activity: +340%
- Lack of hygiene in large shopping spaces: +140%
- Products unfit for consumption: +540%
- Products of dubious or unknown origin: + 640%
- Commercial activity not compliant with corporate status: 167%
- Merchandise fraud and labelling problems: 212%
- Unauthorised sale on public highway: +620%
- On-site interventions: +520%
- Number of accidents: + 410%
- Domestic accidents: +295%
- Work accidents: +156%
- Number of evacuations to hospital casualty department: +245%
- Number of injured: + 214%
- Number of dead: +80%
- Telephone calls to emergency and safety services: +520%.
Hmmmm.......More global studies would be welcome.Read the full story here.
- Arab Regimes Fear Ramadan will Be Month of Violence.(IsraelNationalNews).Arab governments in the Middle East are preparing for increased tensions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which may reignite the smoldering flames of uprisings that swept the region this year."Throughout history, Ramadan has been the month of revolutions and victory," Abdullah al-Amadi, director of the Qatar-based Islamonline website, explained to AFP. "I think it will inspire the youths of the Arab Spring to complete their struggles against injustice and tyranny."Amadi said the Arab struggle could peak in the final ten days of Ramadan, believed to be the holiest of the month.Authorities in Syria fear that the "Taraweeh" nightly Ramadan prayers will transform every day into a Friday, the Muslim holy day which is also the customary day for violence and mayhem.AFP quoted a Facebook group called The Syrian Revolution 2011, which it called "a driving force of the protest movement," as writing: "The regime is afraid of Ramadan and the Taraweeh prayers," amid calls by Syrian activists for protests every night until dawn.In Libya, a rebel fighting Muammar Qaddafi vowed to fast during the fighting: "If it's war and we're tired, we'll eat. But if we remain in a defensive position, we will fast. God is with us," said Hatem al-Jadi, 24, in Gualish, south of Tripoli.Protesters camped out at a square Yemen's capital San'a since February say they are determined to revive their movement during Ramadan and finish the task of overthrowing President Ali Abdullah Saleh. "This will be the month of change, especially since Ali Abdullah Saleh is not in Yemen," said Walid al-Omari, an activist from Yemen's "Youth Revolution" group.Other Arab governments are closely monitoring the prices of goods, which usually soar during Ramadan, in order to keep their people happy and unrebellious.In Egypt, the government is taking measures to maintain the subsidy system that keeps very low prices for basic foodstuffs such as bread. In Saudi Arabia, the ministry of commerce has forced dairy producers to reconsider their decision to increase prices, and may cut the price of imported barley to prevent an increase in meat prices. And in the neighboring United Arab Emirates, the president has ordered that rice be subsidized during Ramadan.Hmmmmm.......The religion of peace.Read the full story here.
- "Messieurs : les Talibans. Tirez les premiers?"Afghanistan: US May Halt Attacks Next Month Out Of Respect For Ramadan.(BigPeace).KABUL, Afghanistan — The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has until mid-October to submit a plan for the initial withdrawal of American troops, decisions that may hinge in part on whether the latest surge in attacks continues through the holy month of Ramadan.Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says commanders are hearing that Taliban leaders may leave their fighters in the country to try to regain lost ground during the Islamic holy period, which begins Monday.Speaking to reporters traveling with him in Afghanistan, Mullen said Marine Gen. John Allen, who has just taken over as top U.S. commander here, needs time to evaluate the combat, training and other requirements before presenting a detailed withdrawal plan.Mullen’s comments for the first time laid out a deadline for Allen to structure the planned withdrawal of 10,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year, as announced by President Obama.“The next month will be very telling,” said Mullen, noting that often the Taliban leaders will travel back to Pakistan for Ramadan. It’s unclear at this point what they will do, or if there will be any decline in the fighting.A Western official said that while Taliban leaders have pushed for an increase in violence through Ramadan, information suggests there will be some spikes but that they don’t have the ability to carry off a sustained surge. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said some leaders and fighters had already left Afghanistan to cross the border into Pakistan, but it is too soon to tell how many may stay.Mullen, who arrived Friday in Afghanistan, met Saturday with commanders in southern Afghanistan. He was traveling in the east Sunday.He said that so far commanders are saying they are seeing some signs of improved security, but his comments came amid a series of spectacular deadly attacks across the south, including a bombing Sunday outside the main gate of the police headquarters in the southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gah. The suicide bomber killed at least 11 people in a city where Afghans had only recently taken control of security.Hmmmm.....After 'courageous restraint' 'courageous morons'?Read the full 'story' here.
- 64 Percent of U.S. Military Deaths in Afghanistan Happened on Obama’s Watch.(Hapblog). At least 1,019 U.S. troops have died in and around Afghanistan since President Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, according to CNSNews.com’s count, which runs through July 31, 2011.Those 1,019 deaths represent about 64 percent of the total 1,588 deaths that have occurred since Oct. 7, 2001, when U.S. forces began fighting in Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime that was harboring al Qaeda. At least 32 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan last month.So far this year, from January through the end of July, there have been at least 230 U.S. military deaths, 35 fewer then the tally from the same period last year.The 497 American soldiers who died in Afghanistan in 2010 make that year the deadliest since the war started in October 2001.The majority of American fatalities in the Afghanistan war have been combat-related. Of the 1,019 deaths under President Obama’s watch, at least 932 (about 91 percent) have been combat-related.Hmmmm......."Courageous restraint"?Read the full story here.
- Interview with Tea Party Co-Founder Mark Meckler.'We Have Compromised Our Way Into Disaster'.(Spiegel).Mark Meckler, 49, the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots in the United States, talks to SPIEGEL about the US debt ceiling, the radical right's uncompromising fight against the national debt and the "complete economic disaster" he claims President Barack Obama has created.
SPIEGEL: Speaker Boehner failed several times to rally Republicans around his plans. Does he need to go?
Meckler: We have polled our membership and 74 percent of our members in our 3,500 chapters said it is time to look at new leadership.
SPIEGEL: And should he be replaced by a Tea Party representative?
Meckler: The ultimate goal is to have somebody in the House who is fiscally responsible. We have changed the debate in the United States, which is a pretty radical thing to do in such a short period of time. The question back then was: "How much more will we spend next year, not how much can we cut?" But you will see much more profound change in 2012.
SPIEGEL: Who could be the Tea Party candidate in the next presidential election?
Meckler: The movement has no clear preference. Our members are taking a cool and careful look at all the candidates on the Republican side. I am actually glad people are not more excited and blown away. The last time we saw that on the campaign trail, the country got Barack Obama in the White House -- and that led to complete economic disaster.Read the full interview here.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to negotiate a border with a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 cease-fire lines that mark off the West Bank.(CNSNews).JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli TV station has disclosed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to negotiate a border with a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 cease-fire lines that mark off the West Bank.A senior Israeli official said he would not deny the report.Up to now Netanyahu refused to accept the formula, insisting that Israel would not withdraw from all of the West Bank. The report said Netanyahu agrees to use the cease-fire line as a basis, while trading territory with the Palestinians to allow Israel to keep its main West Bank settlements, in line with a proposal by President Barack Obama.The official spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because contacts are ongoing.The official said Netanyahu insists the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian officials said Monday they plan to begin mass marches against Israel's occupation of the West Bank on Sept. 20, the eve of a largely symbolic U.N. vote expected to recognize their independence.Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo said leaders hope to attract millions, and the protest will be the first of a prolonged effort. He said the campaign would be called "Palestine 194," since the Palestinians hope to become the 194th member of the United Nations."The appeal to the U.N. is a battle for all Palestinians, and in order to succeed, it needs millions to pour into streets," he said.With peace talks stalled, the Palestinians have decided to ask the U.N. to endorse their independence. They plan to ask the powerful Security Council, whose decisions are legally binding, for approval as a full member of the world body.The U.S. opposes the Palestinian initiative and has signaled it will use its veto power in the council to defeat the measure.That would force the Palestinians to turn to the much larger General Assembly, where they enjoy widespread support. While a vote there would be symbolic, the Palestinians believe any international endorsement will isolate Israel and improve their position if negotiations resume.Israeli-Palestinian talks have been stalled for nearly three years, and the Palestinians refuse to resume negotiations unless Israel halts settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem — captured areas claimed by the Palestinians for a future state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes the U.N. move and says all issues, including settlements and the borders of a future Palestinian state, must be solved through negotiations. U.S. mediators have been unable to find a formula to restart talks.While Abed Rabbo said all Palestinian demonstrations would be nonviolent, Israeli security officials have repeatedly expressed concern that mass unrest could quickly turn violent.Israel's military chief, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, warned a parliamentary committee this week that "there is potential for a confrontation in September."He said the military expects "many thousands of people to conduct a quiet and nonviolent protest" that would move toward Israeli settlements or Israel proper. "The military will not be able to place the settlements at risk in such cases," he was quoted as saying.Gantz's comments were relayed by a participant in Sunday's meeting. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the testimony was in a closed session.Israeli leaders have appealed to the Palestinians to drop their U.N. initiative. Abed Rabbo said Monday that Netanyahu scuttled a secret meeting last week meant to head off the looming diplomatic showdown.He said Israeli President Shimon Peres called his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, and asked to meet, promising to bring some creative ideas for defusing the crisis.Abed Rabbo said Abbas traveled to neighboring Jordan for the secret meeting last Thursday, but at the last minute, Peres called to cancel, saying that Netanyahu opposed his ideas.Both Peres' and Netanyahu's offices declined comment.Read the full story here.
- Turkish female bodybuilding champion victim of battering, files for divorce.(HurriyetDaily).Işıl Okan Aktan, a journalist and Turkey's bodybuilding, fitness and wellness champion, has filed for divorce from her husband on the grounds of domestic violence, daily Hürriyet reported on its website.Aktan claimed her husband, İbrahim Okan, assaulted her and threatened to throw her out their apartment.The couple was arguing about household finances when Okan threatened to throw his wife out on the street on the grounds that he had paid the rent, the report said."Then he pulled my hair and threw me to the ground," Aktan said. "He sat on me and started hitting me on the neck. When I got up, he told me to retaliate, to use my muscle. I carry a female spirit, I couldn't have hit the man I married."A woman is never supposed to surpass a man, it seems," Okan said. "Not in muscle, not in spirit, not in money."Okan said her husband had slapped her several times in the past and she only had put up with him because of their child.A march will be staged on Istanbul's İstiklal Avenue at 6 p.m. Monday to show support for Aktan and other victims of domestic violence.Hmmmmm.......A study has found that 42 per cent of Turkish women suffer physical or sexual violence at the hands of their husband or partner.Read the full story here.
- China blames unrest on Muslim ‘terrorists’.(HurriyetDaily).China on Monday blamed Muslim separatist “terrorists” trained in neighboring Pakistan for an outbreak of deadly violence and imposed heavy security in a bid to prevent further unrest.“The heads of the group had learned skills of making explosives and firearms in overseas camps of the terrorist group East Turkestan Islamic Movement in Pakistan before entering Xinjiang,” the online statement said. Nineteen people were killed in two separate incidents in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar over the weekend in the latest wave of violence to hit the restive Xinjiang region, home to a mainly Muslim Uighur minority. The Kashgar local government said in a statement on its website the assailants behind one attack that left six dead had learned explosive-making skills in terrorist-run camps in Pakistan.The attackers adhered to“extremist religious ideology” and advocated “jihad,” the statement also said. Chinese authorities have accused the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM, which wants an independent homeland for Xinjiang’s Uighurs, of orchestrating attacks in the region on many occasions.The U.S. and the U.N. have listed the ETIM as a “terrorist” organization, and China has previously said it has operations in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. Many of Xinjiang’s eight million Turkic-speaking Uighurs are unhappy with what they say has been decades of political and religious repression, and the unwanted immigration of China’s dominant Han ethnic group.Meanwhile, residents of Kashgar reported that the streets had reopened after a lockdown on Sunday, but remained quiet with a heavy police presence.Read the full story here.
- An Italian woman in Kuwait takes a lift, gets raped in Kuwait.(Emirates24/7).An Italian woman in Kuwait made a grave mistake when she accepted a lift by two seemingly gentlemen after her car failed to start. Instead of dropping her at home, they took her to an apartment and raped her.The unnamed woman told police she accepted the lift after the two tried to repair her vehicle and politely offered to take her home in their “luxury” car.In the car, their behavior suddenly changed as they threatened to kill her if she screams and took her to an apartment, where they took turns in raping her.“Police tried to locate the apartment but the woman said she does not know the area as she is a newcomer to Kuwait,” Alanba newspaper said on Tuesday.“They then put her in a police car and roamed through the capital…when they reached Al-Raqi area, she told them the flat is likely somewhere there.”Hmmmm.........Read the full story here.
- Minsk bombing suspects risk death penalty.(HurriyetDaily).The two suspects arrested over the deadly April bombing in the Minsk metro could face the death penalty after being charged with terrorism, Belarus' deputy chief prosecutor said on Monday."The maximum punishment envisaged under the grave charge of terrorism is the death penalty," Andrei Shved told reporters, for the first time raising the possibility the accused could face capital punishment.Belarus is the only country in Europe to actively employ the death penalty and local media reports said last month that two people convicted of a triple murder had been executed.The strike on the Minsk metro killed 15 people and wounded dozens more, in by far the deadliest attack in the country in the two decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union.Shved confirmed that the authorities arrested two men – named as Kovalyev and Konovalov -- on suspicion of being behind the bombing as well as more minor attacks in Minsk in 2008 and the city of Vitebsk in 2005.He announced that the preliminary investigation was now over and the authorities had charged the two men with terrorism. The first names of the suspects were not given."The accused have started to acquaint themselves with the charges and according to the law this will take a month. Afterwards the case will go to court," Shved said.He said it appeared the two men acted alone and did not have any further sponsors who could have ordered the crimes. Their criminal activities started in 2000, Shved added.The Minsk metro bombings stunned Belarus and coincided with a massive government crackdown on the opposition following strongman President Alexander Lukashenko's controversial re-election victory in December.The authorities have never explained in detail the motivations of the suspects in carrying out the bombings but some officials have pointed to nationalist extremism.The state border committee of Belarus has confirmed the self-confessed perpetrator of last month's massacre in Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, visited the country in March 2005.But Shved denied any link to the Norway attack, saying there was "no such information" and any such speculation was "journalistic rubbish".Belarus' continued use of the death penalty has earned it international condemnation but is has so far shown no sign of imposing any moratorium.The state-run Vecherny Grodno newspaper on July 20 reported that Oleg Grishkovets, 28, and Andrei Burdyka, 29, were executed by shooting for a triple murder. The pair were residents of the northwestern city of Grodno.Executions in Belarus are carried out with a shot to the back of the head."If confirmed, these latest executions are another important setback to the Council of Europe's aspiration to bring Belarus closer to European values," the secretary general of the pan-European rights body, Thorbjoern Jagland, said after the report.Britain's Minister for Europe David Lidington said he "was gravely concerned to learn that Belarus has recently carried out the death penalty on two of its citizens."Lukashenko, once labeled Europe's last dictator by the United States, has faced increasing isolation by the West after the elections but responded by jailing rivals and cracking down on opposition protests.Read the full story here.
- Saudi Arabia - Lingerie shops dragging feet over deadline to hire women.(SaudiGazette).JEDDAH – Lingerie stores are dragging their feet on an official deadline to avoid embarrassing female shoppers by replacing their male sales clerks with women, saying the change will create staff problems, lose them customers and cost them money. Women in the Kingdom still have to buy their intimate clothing from male salesmen, despite several petitions and two government decrees ordering businesses to hire women.In an effort to enforce the regulations, the Labor Ministry threatened on July 11 to close any lingerie shops that failed to replace all male staff within six months.“We read about the order in newspapers but we did not receive any instructions (from management)... This plan can work but not at the speed they are expecting. The women have to be trained from scratch,” said Tarek, a store manager at a lingerie shop.Shops that hire females must bear the cost of training them, cover their display windows to block the view into the stores and hire a male security guard, for at least 3,500 riyals ($930) a month, during work hours to keep men from entering.One of Saudi Arabia’s leading lingerie brands, Nayomi, made the switch after the first government decree was issued in 2004, staffing their 45 stores with female clerks only to revert to male employees a year later.“In 2004, we implemented the order and hired women... we faced a lot of problems,” said a manager at Nayomi, who asked not to be identified. “The experience lasted about a year and we lost a lot of money, over 10 million riyals.”Poor sales owing to a lack of male customers, the high cost of ensuring security, the inability to lure customers with a window display and the reluctance of some women employees to work late shifts in a country where shops stay open until 11 P.M. led to the losses.The Nayomi manager estimated that a switch to women only staff now would cost over SR2 million.Pressure to hire women is driven by growing unemployment among the 18 million Saudis. Unemployment reached 10 percent in 2010 but for women the rate is estimated around 28 percent.While many lingerie shops are not taking the threat too seriously, a small number have begun preparations.The Fawaz Abdulaziz Al-Hokair Group, which has 400 male employees in its three lingerie brands throughout the Kingdom, has started training 200 females to take over their stores soon.“We have joined with a private company to train the women. There are no trained women here because they did not work in that field before,” said Ahmad Sheikh Al-Shabab, brand manager of La Senza, one of Al-Hokair’s lingerie brands.Read the full story here.
- Women’s movement activists release statement in protest to increase in violence against women in Iran.(Persian2English).Please read and sign on to show your support.
Physical and sexual violence against women in Iran, including violence perpetrated by state security forces, is rapidly increasing. News releases in official media, which usually censor such topics, have surprisingly reported on incidents of gang rape and assaults against women. Examples include incidents in the provinces of Isfahan (where 10 women were gang raped by 14 men), Golestan (where a village doctor was raped and assaulted by 4 men and a young girl was murdered by 2 men), and Khorasan. Reports of similar developments continue to emerge.
Following the attack and rape of a group of women, who had come together for a family gathering, in a private garden in Khomeini Shahr, by a group of thugs, the residents of the town demonstrated in front of the courthouse demanding that officials find and prosecute the perpetrators. However, the judicial officials not only remained silent, but through public declarations began to blame the victims. The local Friday prayer leader said: “the victims of rape were not proper Muslims either.” Even the head of Isfahan’s intelligence service, which is ostensibly responsible for the safety of the citizens, announced: “perhaps these women would not have been harassed in the garden if they had at least kept their veils on.” A similar comment was made by an official at Mashhad University, following a rape and assault of a young female student. The University official said: “a young woman has to maintain her hijab in order to remain safe and to avoid such incidents.”
Such statements stem from a patriarchal mentality that denies men’s responsibility for their sexual behavior. Men are seen as creatures with uncontrollable sexual desires, who are not bound by any moral sense and who could not care less about the consent of the other side. According to this mentality, the only way to prevent such incidents is to make sure that men are not sexually stimulated. This means that all responsibility for male sexual action and aggression paradoxically lies with women. However, rape occurs all over the world, regardless of the way women are dressed and even when they are fully covered in a veil. Devoid of any sympathy, government officials heartlessly pour salt on the wounds of rape victims with such comments, and in essence encourage a culture of assault and violence against women. Along these lines too, they do not describe rape as a crime but as a common sexual response to female sexuality inherent in male nature.
As feminist and anti-rape movements around the world have shown, rape is a common feature of patriarchal societies, which maintain male domination through violence against and intimidation of oppressed groups, especially women. Rape is nothing new, neither in Iran, nor in other countries. In Iran, however, the recent reports of rape and sexual assault reveal the hypocrisy of a State that attempts to present itself as a “model Islamic society” adhering to ethical and religious values. Moreover, rape is being used as a political tool of repression by the state’s security apparatus. For many years reports and testimonies have shown the prevalence of physical, sexual, psychological violence and torture against political prisoners in many of Iran’s prisons. In recent years, during and after the mass protests against Ahmadinejad’s contested re-election (June 2009), rape was used as a systematic tool to intimidate green movement protestors and other dissenters both women and men. The Kahrizak prison tragedy, the attack on Tehran University’s student dormitory, and the harassments in the basement of the Interior Ministry building are among the few incidents that were publicly disclosed. Several courageous rape survivors have broken the silence. The recent video of the testimony of a 22 year old woman released by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran is one example.
These rapes have been occurring at the same time as a broader crackdown against women’s social participation is underway, intent on preventing gender equality. Reintroduction of 1980s’ policies such as gender segregation in universities, strict control over students’ dress code, applied gender quotas in academic fields to limit women’s admission, and a requirement that female students study in their home cities or regions encompass only some of the recent attacks against women. They demonstrate the extent of misogyny of the Iranian state authorities.
Police violence against women has also taken a more public face. Women have been targeted for violence on the streets under the guise of morality and under a policy called “guidance and discipline,” which includes programs such as “fighting against those inappropriately dressed,” “chastity,” or “heightening moral security.” Police have targeted, violated and humiliated women while labeling them as “improperly dressed or poorly covered.” Violence and rape committed by the police, security officers, basijis and plainclothes security forces have been supplemented by thugs disguised as government agents attacking, intimidating and raping women. Even religious leaders have been using official podiums at places such as the Friday prayers, to express their anger towards women, describing them as “biting and devouring” creatures. The regime’s insistence on maintaining an Islamic facade for the country manifests mainly through forcing hijab on women. The Islamic dress code for women is not a religious but a political symbol of sovereignty of the Islamic state, which the regime wants to maintain at the price of sexual and physical violence against women. Different fractions of the regime, regardless of their internal conflicts, come together over their hostility toward women.However, these policies have been ineffective and have led to women’s increased resistance to police violence.
As women and women’s rights activists, we are protesting against systematic violence, constant insults and humiliation, and the blaming of victims for acts of sexual violence against them, by government authorities. We insist on our right to choose our clothing.
Instead of worrying about controlling women’s style of dress or their hair, we call on all Iranian authorities and responsible institutions, such as the judicial and security forces, to take their responsibilities to ensure the life and security of Iranian citizens seriously who are constantly being subject to threats and violence.We call on the judicial and security authorities in Iran to be accountable with respect to the systematic sexual violence and rape of female and male prisoners being carried out in state prisons.We call on judicial and security authorities as well as all religious leaders who insult women and accuse them of being guilty of provoking sexual assault, to stop these destructive accusations and use their same podiums for expressing apologies.Victims of violence are in urgent need of medical care as well as the emotional and social support of the entire community. They are not responsible for the violence they have suffered. We therefore call on medical and social work professionals as well as the entire citizenry to treat victims of rape with sympathy and to support them in their attempt to return to their normal lives.We ask Mr. Ahmad Shahid, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, to call attention to discrimination and violence against women in Iran and pay his respect to them by arranging meetings with women activists and rape survivors on his visit to the country.As a first step, while protesting the recent escalation of violence against women in Iran, we, as Iranian women, affirm our solidarity with our sisters in the region and the rest of the world and with the global campaigns for ending sexual, physical, gender-based and police violence. In honor of our collective struggle, we put on purple bracelets as a symbol of our voices all over the world and in protest to violence against women.Read the full story here.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Canal + “Spécial Investigation” Halal : les dessous du business - Halal : the underside of the business
Canal+ 'Spécial investigation' Halal : the underside of the business aired on 31/07/2011.My excuses for the French version , i hope to obtain an English version in the future.Still very informative for my French readers.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan 4.8 , Indonesia 5.2! More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Syria Live Blog : "On Monday, there was a renewed assault by government forces on the town of Deir Al-zor. But the city of Hama bore the brunt" - here is the latest Al Jazeera report .
- Today is Emancipation Day.(GenealogyCanada). August 1st, 1834 slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire. The government of Upper Canada (Ontario) thereby formally enacted the Emancipation Proclamation. Today, it is known as Emancipation Day. It is, as the website says, a day which is “promoted as a great celebration in Upper Canada. It encouraged thousands to escape slavery in America, and follow the North Star to freedom in Canada”.There will be picnics held throughout the province, and one of them will be at Harrison Park which is in Owen Sound.Read the full story here.
- Barack Obama the Pessimist.(WSJ). His lack of faith in American exceptionalism has dashed any hope of a 'transformational' presidency.By Fouad Ajami.In one of the illuminating, unscripted moments of the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama said—much to the dismay of his core constituency—that the Reagan presidency had been "transformational" in a way that Bill Clinton's hadn't. Needless to say, Mr. Obama aspired to a transformational presidency of his own. He had risen against the background of a deep economic recession, amid unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; he could be forgiven the conviction that the country was ready for an economic and political overhaul. He gave it a mighty try. But the transformational dream was not to be. The country had limits. Mr. Obama couldn't convince enough Americans that the twin pillars of his political program—redistribution at home, retrenchment abroad—are worthy of this country's ambitions and vocation.Temperament mattered. Ronald Reagan was the quintessential optimist, his faith in America boundless. He had been given his mandate amid economic distress—the great inflation of the 1970s, high unemployment and taxation—and a collapse of American authority abroad. Through two terms and a time of great challenges, he had pulled off one of the great deeds of political-economic restoration. He made tax cuts and economic growth the cornerstone of that recovery. Economic freedom at home had a corollary in foreign affairs—the pursuit of liberty, a course that secured a victorious end to the Cold War. The "captive nations" were never in doubt, American power was on the side of liberty.By that Reagan standard, Mr. Obama has been a singular failure. The crippling truth of the Obama presidency is the pessimism of the man, the low expectations he has for this republic. He had not come forth to awaken this country to its stirring first principles, but to manage its decline at home and abroad. So odd an outcome, a man with an inspiring biography who provides no inspiration, a personal story of "The Audacity of Hope" yielding a leader who deep down believes that America's best days are behind it.Americans' confident belief in the uniqueness, yes the exceptionalism, of their country, rested on an essential faith in liberty, and individualism and anti-statism at home, and in the power of our example, and muscle now and then, in foreign lands. Mr. Obama is ill-at-ease with that worldview. Our country has had pessimism on offer and has invariably rejected it. At crucial points in its history, it has remained unshaken in the belief that tomorrow can be better.In 2008, shaken by a severe economic recession and disillusioned by a difficult war in Iraq, Americans voted for charisma and biography. The electorate could not be certain of the bet it made, for Mr. Obama had been agile, by his own admission he had been a blank slate onto which his varied supporters could project their hopes and preferences. Next time around, it should be easier. The man at the helm has now played his hand.Read the full story here.
- The Super Congress to raise taxes?(Redstate).By Erick Erickson.There are a lot of Republicans tonight willing to play the fool for the GOP in this debt ceiling plan. They say, for example, that there will be no tax increases from this super committee. Never mind that the Democrats are saying otherwise.I can prove to you right now that there will be tax increases.The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects the Bush tax cuts to expire. So all the commission has to do is two things: extend middle class Bush tax cuts and enact a permanent alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch. Those two together would look like an increase to the deficit in CBO scoring. So then the commission can start out of the gate with the ability to create several trillion dollars in new tax hikes to equal out to the cuts — cuts that will happen even without the commission most likely. And where will those cuts come from? Those making $250,000.00 or more, of course. And probably the Gang of 6′s ideas to eliminate most deductions to income taxes without revenue neutral rate reductions and the Gang of 6′s pièce de résistance — raising capital gains taxes from 15% to 28%.Have people not been paying attention? In every single address the President has given on the debt ceiling, he has insisted on new tax revenue. John Boehner even put $800 billion on the table, so it is already there.The House and Senate GOP leadership may have convinced themselves that they have snookered the Democrats, but even little ole me, a non-budget genius, can drive a truck through their argument. And their best response probably comes from Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform. That counter argument is best summed up as but . . . but . . . but . . . the House Leadership says so. And if puppies were unicorns, we’d all live in a fantasy land.Apparently, young lefty Ezra Klein who thinks no one pays attention to the constitution because, dude, it’s so old, is brighter than Ryan Ellis at ATR. Klein writes, “Boehner is misleading his members to make them think taxes are impossible under this deal. The Joint Committee could close loopholes and cap tax expenditures. It could impose a value-added tax, or even a tax on carbon.”There will be tax increases. The Deficit Commission will have at least one weak kneed Republican and the commission will only be as strong as its weakest link. The Bush tax cuts will also absolutely expire and not be renewed.The alternative for the GOP would be seeing massive defense cuts and being blamed for senior citizens seeing their medicare cut. “But,” House Republican leaders exclaim, “the cuts would not be to beneficiaries.”True, the cuts would be punishing doctors who will respond by denying access to medicare patients.The Democrats are happy to force through taxes in the committee and then, when the GOP opposes them, claim the GOP would rather hurt our soldiers and seniors than raise taxes on “fat cat millionaires.”And if we’ve learned nothing else these past few weeks, the GOP fears more than anything else what the Democrats say about them. Don’t believe me on taxes, then ask GOP leadership why they haven’t put in a clear statement prohibiting them or, even better, why there is no prohibition on decoupling the middle class Bush tax cuts from the upper income Bush taxes cuts.Last week in the Washington Post, the GOP Leadership in Congress planted a hit job about me. How do I know they planted it? If not obvious from the story itself, it was from the conversation between the reporter and those she talked to.One of the “attacks” on me was that I was too predictable. Yes, it is true. I am predictable conservative and am not willing to sell out my conservatism for the team. I hate to break it to you.There are stories in the press that (A) the White House and Treasury Department won’t give the GOP information about how much money the U.S. has on hand and (B) that both Democrat and Republican leaders are mad as hell that the markets haven’t crashed so they could scare conservatives into taking a deal.It is true — Republican and Democrat leaders are upset the market has not crashed.Now, having run out the clock and admitted that Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell wrote John Boehner’s plan (that was in the Washington Post), they now want to go back to a grand compromise that yet again includes a super committee of Congress that can pass tax increases with no way to block the committee.And if they do somehow stop the committee or kill its idea, then our soldiers in the field would see punitive cuts to the defense budget, even more so than seniors who will see cuts to medicare. In other words, cuts so painful to right and left that both will have to take the committee recommendation.“But it’s okay,” they tell us. “The committee is structured in such a way that they can’t get tax increases.” Having considered the matter carefully — this is utter bullcrap.So here’s what will happen. The people who are predictably willing to fold to save face with the GOP will ridicule you, me, and the tea party. And in November, when the chickens come home to roost and what I predict comes true yet again, they’ll pretend yet again that they were with us the whole time.But taxes will go up and the Democrats will have won, left wing hysteria notwithstanding.Hmmmm.......The King says "Pay your taxes" .Read the full story here.
- White House, congressional leaders reach debt-limit deal.(WashingtonPost).President Obama and congressional leaders Sunday night sealed a deal to raise the federal debt limit that includes sharp spending cuts but no new taxes, breaking a partisan impasse that has driven the nation to the brink of a government default.The agreement brings to an end a self-created crisis that has consumed Washington, rattled Wall Street, and shaken confidence in the American political system at home and abroad. The deal could clear Congress as soon as Monday night — barely 24 hours before Treasury officials have said they could begin running short of cash to pay the nation’s bills.Passage of the agreement, however, remained far from certain in the House, where skeptical Republicans were just beginning to digest the details. “This process has been messy. It’s taken far too long,” President Obama said in brief remarks at the White House. “Nevertheless, ultimately, the leaders of both parties have found their way toward compromise, and I want to thank them for that.”Obama said the agreement “will allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America. It ensures also that we will not face this same kind of crisis again in six months, or eight months, or12 months. And it will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy.”The deal was negotiated primarily by Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). It teetered all day on the edge of completion as House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) bickered with Democrats over whether to freeze next year’s defense budget. In the end, Boehner conceded the point, and Obama finalized the agreement in phone calls to each of the four congressional leaders shortly after 8 p.m. The agreement would raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit in two stages by as much as $2.4 trillion. It represents a victory for Obama, allowing him to avoid another grueling fight over the debt limit in the heat of the 2012 presidential campaign. But he failed to secure other top priorities, including fresh measures to revive the flagging recovery and an end to tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. Obama said he would pursue those goals later this year, when, under the terms of the deal, a new congressional committee would begin searching for further ways to control the national debt.“The ultimate solution to our deficit problem must be balanced,” Obama said Sunday. “That’s why the second part of this agreement is so important.”Republicans, by contrast, won severe cuts to agency budgets over the next decade and the prospect of deeper cuts to come, delivering on the campaign promises that helped them gain control of the House in the fall congressional elections. Democrats also agreed to stage a vote on a balanced-budget amendment, which has become a rallying point for tea-party-aligned conservatives.Read the full story here.
- Obama’s hollow claim of commitment to Israel’s security.(JPost).Is President Barack Obama committed to Israel’s security? Reassuring bromides to that effect in his recent speeches are nullified by specific statements that spell out dangerous Israeli concessions and disregard for Israeli vital interests. Worse, the administration’s wider Middle East policies further denude those commitments of meaning.Thus, when Obama said Israel must have secure, recognized borders “different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967,” many missed the point that this means little, when the new borders are to be “based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps” and therefore be virtually indistinguishable from those lines. Indeed, with Palestinians unlikely to agree to any swaps, Obama gave the Palestinians a veto over any continued Israel presence beyond the pre-1967 lines.Moreover, Obama’s unprecedented call for a Palestinian state to have “permanent Palestinian borders with… Jordan” would require Israel ceding the Jordan Valley, whose retention successive Israeli governments have regarded as vital– another first for a US president.Obama has also become the first US president to suggest that issues of “territory and security” be agreed upon first, before proceeding to negotiations on all other matters, including Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants.Upholding Israel’s basic security would also mean repudiating the repatriation of the refugees and their descendants. Bush did so in his May 2004 letter; Obama has not. On the contrary, he has supported the so-called Saudi peace plan, which demands not only a return to the 1967 lines, but also the return of all refugees and their descendants.In May, Obama reiterated that the US “will hold the Palestinians accountable for their actions and their rhetoric.”But he never has – nor does he now.If Obama was genuine about holding the PA accountable, he would be demanding the disbanding of Fatah’s own Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – a US- recognized terrorist group. He would demand the abrogation of the PA’s unity agreement with Hamas (which calls for a genocide of Jews) as a precondition of any future talks. He has done neither.It is also difficult to imagine what conception of American and Israeli security interests led Obama in January to ditch Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and call for political “transition… now” when protests erupted in Cairo. Still less clear is why his administration spoke immediately of involving “non-secular actors” – a clear allusion to the Muslim Brotherhood – given its virulent hostility to the US and Israel. Now, Obama has legitimized the Brotherhood by initiating contacts with it.THE NET result is that Egypt is on the road from lukewarm ally and peace-maker to a dependable enemy – one to which Obama has announced the sale of 125 state-of-the-art M1A1 Abrams tanks. It is also disturbing that Obama has not pressured Egypt to close its Gaza border at Rafah, whose recent opening has enabled the flow of weaponry into Hamas-run Gaza.For a year, Obama prohibited any new US sanctions to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons – a looming existential threat to both Israel and the US. Indeed, further measures which must be taken to stop Iran is precisely what Obama left untouched in his recent speeches.Thus Obama’s words and deeds not only fail to match his stated commitment to Israel’s security – they negate it.Hmmmmm.......Actions speak louder than words!Read the full story here.
- Hama assault unacceptable, Turkish foreign minister says.(TodaysZaman).The Syrian military's tank-backed assault on the city of Hama, which killed dozens of civilians in the scene of a 1982 massacre, is unjustifiable, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Monday, lamenting that the attack marred the spirit of Ramadan.“The timing is utterly wrong, taking place on the eve of Ramadan. We strongly condemn it," Davutoğlu told reporters before departing for a visit to Norway, where he is due to attend a funeral for a Turkish girl, Gizem Doğan, who was killed in a shooting spree in the island of Utoya last weekend. "We in Turkey were unable to enjoy the spirit of Ramadan because of what happened in Syria.”Davutoğlu also criticized the dispatch of tanks to a residential area, saying it was obvious that such an operation would result in casualties. “It is impossible to approve the timing and methods of this operation,” he said. “It is unacceptable that Ramadan begin with casualties while we were expecting the Syrian regime to implement reforms swiftly.”Despite criticism, however, Davutoğlu also said Turkey remains in contact with the Syrian government, advising it to act with "commonsense and restraint."Davutoğlu's remarks came after a Foreign Ministry statement on Sunday, which said that Turkey was “deeply disappointed” and “saddened” by the Syrian assault in the city of Hama. Estimates of Sunday's death toll, which were impossible to verify, ranged from around 75 people to nearly 140 on a day when the attacks began before dawn and witnesses said they were too frightened to collect corpses from the streets.European leaders also criticized the Syrian regime, saying they were shocked and appalled by Syrian forces' use of tanks to storm Hama. Some analysts regarded the offensive, as an attempt to deter further unrest during the Muslim holy month of fasting.“This attack and the continuing crackdown in other Syrian cities is even more unacceptable coming on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan,” said European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. “The Syrian army and security forces have the duty to protect citizens, not to massacre them indiscriminately.”EU governments plan to extend sanctions against Assad's government on Monday by slapping asset freezes and travel bans on five more people. The EU has already imposed sanctions on Assad and at least two dozen officials and targeted military-associated companies in Syria.“I am appalled by the reports that the Syrian security forces have stormed Hama with tanks and other heavy weapons this morning, killing dozens of people,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said. “The attacks are all the more shocking on the eve of the Muslim holy month. President Bashar is mistaken if he believes that oppression and military force will end the crisis.”Italy called for a UN Security Council move on Syria, something opposed by Russia up to now.Hmmmm......If this were Israel instead of Syria the whole world would be up in arms Hypocrisy rules the UN.Read the full story here.More here.
- Turkey on trial.An Islamic 'Sledgehammer' to destroy Attaturks legacy?(AlJazeera). A slew of trials in Turkey seem to resemble a bad Hollywood courtroom drama rather than legitimate litigations.In a Hollywood courtroom drama, you know that the hero, set up by the bad guys, will eventually be cleared - but not before the noose tightens around his neck. Just when it looks like the accumulating evidence has condemned him, a sudden turn of events will prove his innocence and expose those who framed him.If Turkey's ongoing political-military trials ever find their way to the screen, there will be no shortage of such denouements. In a series of bizarre prosecutions, Turkish courts have jailed hundreds of defendants - military officers, journalists, academics and lawyers - for allegedly plotting to topple the country's democratically elected government.Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promotes the trials as evidence of Turkey's new turn towards democracy and the rule of law. They are also actively supported by news media belonging to the so-called Gülen group - a powerful ally of Erdogan's government comprising followers of the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen. In reality, the trials amount to a grave breach of the rule of law, with the judiciary transformed into a political weapon aimed at opponents of the government and the Gülen movement.The cases are comical - or would be if they were not really happening in a country of 74 million people whose strategic importance is difficult to overstate. In fact, the prosecutions are riddled with such fantastic claims, imaginary conspiracies, outlandish fabrications, obvious set-ups, and credulity-straining plot twists that a Hollywood screenwriter who included them in a script might well be laughed out of the business.Consider the "Sledgehammer" case. More than 200 military officers are charged with plotting a coup in 2003 to dislodge the then newly elected government. The prosecutors have what looks like solid evidence: detailed plans, ostensibly authored by the defendants, describing a series of ghastly operations to destabilise the country. The officers proclaim their innocence and assert that the coup documents are fabricated, but who is to believe them, given what the prosecutors, government and major media say?The trial has already had more than its share of movie-ending moments. Several defendants have shown that they were outside the country and had no access to the computers on which they supposedly authored the plans. Others appear to have misspelled their own names or gotten their titles wrong. Two forensic reports have established that the handwriting on the incriminating CD was forged.Similar examples abound in other cases. A prosecutor questions a suspect about a plan to intimidate Christians before the police have actually "discovered" it. A journalist is jailed because his notes for an unfinished manuscript on the Gülen movement are construed as instructions from a terrorist organisation. A senior police officer who has written an exposé detailing Gülenist prosecutors' misdeeds is jailed after police find illegal recordings of intercepted calls in his office - which he had vacated days earlier.Vindication comes quickly in Hollywood movies, but not in Turkey, whose courts have so far seemed oblivious to the glaring problems with evidence presented by police and prosecutors. Ludicrous cases proceed, and more people are being dragged into them. The mainstream independent media do not even report the inconsistencies for fear of provoking the government or the Gülen network.These cases will eventually collapse under the weight of their collective absurdity. But the damage done will extend far beyond the suffering of hundreds of innocent individuals who have been locked up under false pretences. The hope that Turkey is finally shedding its authoritarian vestiges and becoming a stable democracy will lie in tatters.Hmmmm.......Welcome to Turkey........Iranian style?Read the full story here.
- Afghanistan's Romeo and Juliet: Teenage couple jailed and face being stoned for falling in love.(DailyMail).Two teenagers in Afghanistan face being hanged or stoned to death for the 'crime' of falling in love and trying to get married.When the pair met for their wedding ceremony, they were ambushed by a mob of 300 men who dragged them from their car, accused them of adultery and then started a riot.In the resulting violence in the village of Jabrail, near Herat, one man was killed, a police station was torched and the lovers, Halima Mohammedi and Rafi Mohammed, both 17, ended up in jail.During the riot Mr Mohammed, and his older cousin who drove him to meet Ms Mohammedi, were both badly beaten up.But there have been calls from locals and relatives for the lovers to be killed, as in their eyes they have disregarded strict rules whereby marriages are arranged by families. Even the father of Ms Mohammedi agrees with the punishment.Kher Mohammed told The New York Times: ‘What we would ask is that the government should kill both of them.’Along with her uncle, he visited her in jail, where she was told that she had brought shame upon the family and would be killed.The New York Times reports that although he cried during the visit, Ms Mohammedi’s father barely said a word to her.The pair’s story echoes that of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo And Juliet, where two lovers, despite being from rival families – Montague and Capulet – pledge their devotion to each other.Mr Mohammed is a Tajik and Ms Mohammedi is from the Hazara community.They met in an ice-cream factory and would communicate using fleeting eye contact.One day Ms Mohammedi threw her mobile phone number on the floor for Mr Mohammed and from then on they would speak regularly to each other at night.Their decision to try and marry created a reaction that has left them both baffled.Mr Mohammed told The New York Times that ‘when you love somebody, you don’t ask who she is or what she is, you just go for it’.Ms Mohammedi simply asked: ‘God created us from one dirt. Why can we not marry each other, or love each other?’Despite the death threats from relatives, the pair do have the support of the provincial council, who has declared that they are not criminals and merit the government’s protection.Influential clerics have also refused to condemn them.However, the family of the man killed in the riot blame Ms Mohammedi for his death and say that her only way out is to marry one of their relatives.Their case now rests with prosecutors. Earlier this year horrific video footage emerged of Taliban insurgents stoning a couple to death for alleged adultery in northern Afghanistan.It took place in the district of Dashte Archi, in Kunduz, and was met with outrage in the West.However, a Taliban spokesman defended the practice, saying: ‘Anyone who knows about Islam knows that stoning is in the Koran, and that it is Islamic law. There are people who call it inhuman - but in doing so they insult the Prophet. They want to bring foreign thinking to this country.'Hmmmm......'Foreign' like "Thou shall not kill"?Read the full story here.
- Iraq says it will buy 36 US fighter jets.(HurriyetDaily).Iraq’s prime minister said Saturday he was reviving a stalled deal to buy multi-million-dollar fighter jets from the U.S. and affirmed the need for American trainers to help Iraqi forces operate and maintain the 36 F-16s.However, Nouri al-Maliki avoided saying whether the trainers would be active-duty troops or private contractors sidestepping the key question of whether American military personnel will be asked to remain past an end-of-year deadline for withdrawing. That question is Iraq’s top political issue and is being hotly debated among the country’s leaders.The fighter jet deal, which al-Maliki announced at a press conference, more than doubles the number of aircraft Iraq initially planned to buy. “We should provide Iraq with the means, including warplanes, to protect its sovereignty,” al-Maliki told reporters after addressing a closed session of parliament. It was a turnabout from earlier this year, when Baghdad abandoned the deal and decided instead that it would spend hundreds of millions of dollars on food rations for poor Iraqis.Al-Maliki did not say when the purchase of the F-16s would proceed, where the money would come from or how it would affect other government programs already in place. The U.S. is pushing for a fast decision, arguing that it will soon be too late for it to plan for an extension of its troop presence. The prime minister’s parliamentary appearance came after Iraq’s top political leaders postponed, for the second time in a week, a meeting to discuss whether U.S. troops would be asked to continue training Iraqi security forces beyond the end of the year.Hmmmm.......Read the full story here.
- Iranians stage 'water fight' in Tehran,behaving in a manner "that opposes Islamic values and social order". (Ynet).Men, women, and children of all ages beat the heat in Tehran on Friday with a water fight at the city's Water and Fire Park, drawing criticism from conservatives for their "immodest" behavior and dress. Local police threatened to arrest the revelers after press agencies published numerous photos of the event.The park's manager said the water fight had been coordinated. He added that many of the women's headdresses fell victims to the splashing water, "but police couldn't get control of those involved". Only after authorities halted the water flow – some three hours later – did the battle stop, the park manager said.Tehran Police Chief Hussain Sajedinia was quick to condemn the merrymaking in a country in which young men and women are strongly discouraged to mix. He said a number of people had tried to recreate the water fight on Sunday, behaving in a manner "that opposes Islamic values and social order". He added that police arrested the participants before they could get started.Iranians generally refrain from holding coed events in public, as Islamic code prohibits it. However this code has been broken a number of times, especially during the summer, which in Iran can manifest in temperatures of up to 38 degrees Celsius. Pictures from the water fight have been uploaded to a number of different social websites, causing some concern for participants whose faces can be seen clearly, as many fear reprisals from authorities.Read the full story here.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan 4.8 ! More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Breaking Al Arabiya - “The Free Army of Syria” warns security forces against attacking civilians.MASSACRE IN SYRIA: Some 121 civilians killed.(AlArabiya).Syrian forces killed at least 121 civilians and wounded hundreds in major tank assaults on Hama and other cities that began at dawn on Sunday to crush pro-democracy demonstrations, activists said.“The army and security forces launched an attack on Hama and opened fire on civilians, killing 95 people,” Ammar Qorabi, who heads the National Organization for Human Rights, told AFP.He said that elsewhere, “19 people were killed in Deir Ezzor in the east, six more died in Harak in the south and one in Al Bukamal,” also in the east.Several observers wondered if Mr. Assad was truly in charge of the situation. Some suggested that his brother, Maher, may be leading the assault against pro-democracy protesters. Maher Assad is known for his personal brutality and intolerance of dissent.Reports have suggested that President Assad’s immediate family is in London, including his wife Asma. Mrs. Assad is particularly popular throughout Syria and internationally because of her humanitarian concerns, social work – and her great beauty.While speculation increased Sunday afternoon about her husband’s whereabouts and whether he was still in control of Syria, world condemnation of the Syrian brutality slowly started.The Obama Administration did not directly issue a condemnation from Washington. But a US embassy official in Damascus said on Sunday Syrian authorities had launched a war against their own people by attacking the city of Hama to try to crush pro-democracy demonstrations.The Facebook page of the “Syrian Reveolution Against Bashar Al Assad” posted videos an army unity that has defected in Hama. Another video showed a police station in the city torched down in fighting between defected soldiers and security forces.One of the residents, a doctor, said there were 51 people wounded at Badr hospital alone, which was running short of blood for transfusions. He said tanks had surrounded another main hospital, Al Horani.Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, once one of Mr. Assad’s main allies, said in May that “we do not want to see another Hama massacre,” and warned the 45-year-old president that it would be hard to contain the consequences if it were repeated.Hmmmm.......Just when Turkey's top brass resigns?Read the full story here.
- "You got to be kidding"?U.S. commanders in Afghanistan concerned about fighting throughout Ramadan and its effect on troop withdrawal.(DailyMail).The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, who must submit plans for the initial withdrawal of American troops by mid October, has spoken of his concerns about fighting throughout Ramadan.Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said commanders are hearing that Taliban leaders may leave their fighters in the country to try to regain lost ground during the Islamic holy period which begins on Monday.Speaking to reporters travelling with him in Afghanistan, Mullen said Marine Gen. John Allen, who has just taken over as top U.S. commander here, needs time to evaluate the combat, training and other requirements before presenting a detailed withdrawal plan.Mullen's comments for the first time laid out a deadline for Allen to structure the planned withdrawal of 10,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year, as announced by Barack Obama.'The next month will be very telling,' said Mullen, noting that often the Taliban leaders will travel back to Pakistan for Ramadan. It's unclear at this point what they will do, or if there will be any decline in the fighting.A Western official said that while Taliban leaders have pushed for an increase in violence through Ramadan, information suggests there will be some spikes but that they don't have the ability to carry off a sustained surge.The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said some leaders and fighters had already left Afghanistan to cross the border into Pakistan, but it is too soon to tell how many may stay.Mullen said that commanders are seeing some signs of improved security, but his comments came amid a series of spectacular deadly attacks across the south, including a bombing on Sunday outside the main gate of the police headquarters in the southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gah. The suicide bomber killed at least 11 people in a city where Afghans had only recently taken control of security.Hmmmmm.............Read the full story here.
- Moody's: Neither debt plan protects the nation's AAA rating.(TheHill).The "limited magnitude" of both debt plans put forward by congressional leaders would not put the nation's AAA credit rating back on solid footing, Moody's Investors Service announced Friday."Reductions of the magnitude now being proposed, if adopted, would likely lead Moody's to adopt a negative outlook on the AAA rating," the credit rating agency said in a new report. "The chances of a significant improvement in the long-term credit profile of the government coming from deficit reductions of the magnitude proposed in either plan are not high."It added that "prolonged debt ceiling deliberations" have increased the odds of a downgrade, but that the firm is still confident policymakers will avoid a default."It remains our expectation that the government will continue with timely debt service," the firm said.It also clarified that as far as it is concerned, the nation will only default if it misses an interest or principal payment on U.S. debt, not if it misses payments on other obligations like federal employee salaries or Social Security benefits.The report also gives credence to a claim popular among Republicans: that the government has enough cash to avoid a default even past the Aug. 2 deadline set by the Treasury Department."If the debt limit is not raised before August 2, we believe that the Treasury would give priority to debt service payments and could thus postpone a potential debt default for a number of days," it said. "Revenues would be more than adequate for some period of time to meet those payments, although other outlays would be severely reduced as a result."Moody's previously put the nation's top credit rating on watch for a downgrade on July 13, as lawmakers continue to fight over a deal to raise the debt limit.While Moody's is confident it will not have to downgrade the nation's rating because of a default, it maintained that long-term debt and deficit problems will continue to weigh on the AAA mark.As Republicans and the White House fight over the length of a debt limit increase, Moody's said it would not reaffirm the nation's AAA rating unless there is at least a six-month boost to the debt limit.However, if the nation were to default for a short period of time, Moody's said it would knock its credit rating down to AA, under the assumption that the default would be quickly rectified and investor losses would be minimized. However, in the "extremely unlikely" situation that investors do lose on Treasury investments, a lower rating could be given.Read the full story here.
- Air Force Pulls Christian-Themed Ethics Training for Nuclear Missile Officers After Publication of Truthout Report.(BlacklistedNews). The Air Force, in response to an exclusive report published by Truthout earlier this week, has withdrawn materials used in a training session that relied upon passages from the New and Old Testament and a quote from an ex-Nazi SS officer to teach missile officers about the morals and ethics of launching nuclear weapons.The Nuclear Ethics and Nuclear Warfare training "has been taken out of the curriculum and is being reviewed," said David Smith, chief of public affairs of Air Education and Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. "The commander reviewed it and decided we needed to have a good hard look at it and make sure it reflected views of modern society."Smith said the ethics training has been in place for "20-plus years" and the decision to remove it was made on Wednesday after Truthout's report was published. He added that it will now be "given thorough scrutiny" and "folks will be appointed to look at what we have and determine its utility and if they think its useful to continue having an ethics course they will develop a new course."The course was led by Air Force chaplains and took place during a missile officer's first week in training at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Officers who train to be missileers were required to attend the ethics course, which included a PowerPoint presentation on St. Augustine's "Christian Just War Theory" as well as numerous examples of characters from the New and Old Testament the training materials asserted engaged in warfighting in a "righteous way."St. Augustine's "Qualifications for Just War," according to the way the Air Force characterized it in slides used in the ethics training, are: "to avenge or to avert evil; to protect the innocent and restore moral social order (just cause)" and "to restore moral order; not expand power, not for pride or revenge (just intent)."One of the PowerPoint slides also contained a passage from the Book of Revelation that claims Jesus Christ, as the "mighty warrior," believed some wars to be just.At the conclusion of the ethics training session, missile officers were asked to sign a legal document stating they will not hesitate to launch the nuclear-armed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) "if lawfully ordered to do so by the President of the United States or his lawful successor."The documents' blatant use of religious imagery and its numerous references to the New and Old Testament would appear to constitute a violation of the First Amendment establishing a wall of separation between church and state.Read the full story here.
- "The War on Christianity"."Interfaith Dialog Islamic Style"!An Islamic and anti-Christian poster in the middle of Via Dolorosa, the route through the Old City of Jerusalem.(VaticanInsider).It was placed in the middle of Via Dolorosa, the route through the Old City of Jerusalem where thousands of pilgrims pass each day. “Jesus said: I am indeed a servant of Allah, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so you will pray only Him”. It is written in clear English, preceded by the Shahada, the Islamic profession of Islamic faith, and followed by a reference to the verse of the Koran in question. Next to the figure of a hand with index finger raised, as if in warning, and reference to the web site www.islam-guide.com for those who want to know more.It looks like a regular poster, but the substance is that of a clear provocation against Christians. Because the banner in question did not just pop up anywhere, but in the middle of the Via Dolorosa, the route within the Old City of Jerusalem through which every day thousands of pilgrims retrace the stations of the hill of Jesus up to Calvary, the place of his crucifixion.It has been there for a few days, a "guest" on the railing of one of many homes in the Muslim neighborhood where Via Dolorosa has passed through for centuries. It is located in front of the third station, recalling Jesus first fall along his way to the cross: there is a church here, where Christians alternate each day in prayer before the Eucharist, exposed from day to dusk. This is where Muslims decided to place this banner which bears the isncription “only Allah is to be worshipped”.From Saturday, then, as well as the one on Via Dolorosa there is also another second banner, identical to the first and always inside the Old City. It a little more hidden, but its position is no less sensational: in fact, it is located inside the courtyard of the Mosque of Omar, which is the closest to the basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, only a few tens of meters separate it from the place most revered by Christians.Ironically, this small mosque actually has a history that tells of an important gesture of respect made by a Muslim towards Christians. In fact, when in the year 638 the caliph Omar, the second successor of Muhammad, came to Jerusalem as a conqueror did not accept the invitation of the patriarch Sophronius to enter and pray in the Holy Sepulcher: knowing, in fact, that the gesture would lead to the transformation of the basilica into a Muslim location, Omar stayed outside and for this reason a mosque was built there. Today, however, there is a message of intolerance toward Christians.So therefore, if the news of the mosque in Jordan named after the figure of Jesus spread around the world these days, what is happening in Jerusalem is completely opposite. Recalling how the fact that Jesus is mentioned in the Koran as a prophet is not necessarily an element of encounter between Christians and Muslims. Indeed, often it has been an opportunity for anti-Christian polemic.It should also be added that this is not the first initiative of its kind in the Holy Land: Similar banners have existed in Nazareth for a while, a legacy of controversy which at the end of the nineties arose around the project to build a large mosque next to the Basilica of the Annunciation (the church that commemorates the place where according to tradition, the angel gave Mary the news that she would become the mother of Jesus). That was also a project that was obviously provocative, since Nazareth already has numerous mosques and there was no other reason to build a new one right there. In the end the Israeli authorities revoked the permits and only the banners remained. Now - however - the appearance of the same message right in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem and on the eve of the beginning of the month of Ramadan is a very worrying sign.Hmmmm.......The 'Religion of Peace"?Read the full story here.
- Iranian woman blinded in acid attack spares man who did it from same fate.(DailyMail).An Iranian woman has valiantly declared that she doesn't want to see 'eye for an eye' justice done towards the man who blinded her in an acid attack.Ameneh Bahrami spared Majid Mohavedi from the same fate that she suffered after he poured liquid on her face, taking her sight, when she turned down his marriage proposal.She had been due to mete out the punishment to him but spared him at the last minute, Iranian media reported today.Miss Bahrami was blinded in 2004 when Mohavedi poured acid onto her face after she spurned his hand in marriage.In 2008, a court sentenced Mohavedi to be blinded in both eyes for taking away Ms Bahrami’s sight, using the principle of retribution permitted under Iran’s Islamic law.'I have been trying for seven years to get the qisas [retribution] sentence, but today I decided to pardon him,' Ms Bahrami was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.Tehran prosecutor general Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi praised Ms Bahrami’s move as a 'courageous act', and said the judiciary had until then been determined to carry out the sentence.'Everything was ready for carrying out the qisas on Majid’s eyes, but Ameneh pardoned him on the brink of the execution of the sentence,' Dolatabadi told ISNA.'Ameneh is seeking compensation for other injuries inflicted on her,' he added, but did not give any further details.A lawyer for Mohavedi had previously said his family would have great difficulty in finding the amount of money sought by Mr Bahrami to commute the sentence, as their only asset was a house in Tehran.Hmmmm......To err is human , to forgive divine?Read the full story here.
- Now America warns troops they might not be paid as debt stand-off threatens to plunge world economies back into recession.(DailyMail).American soldiers in Afghanistan have been warned they may not be paid after President Obama failed in an 11th-hour attempt to reach a settlement over the U.S. deficit. In a crisis that has potentially devastating consequences for the world economy, the U.S. will run out of money to pay its bills next Wednesday unless squabbling Washington legislators raise the country's $14.3 trillion (£8.7tn) debt ceiling.Troops fighting in Afghanistan have been told that the Obama administration is expected to make their salaries a lower priority than interest payments to foreign bond-holders.More than $1.2 trillion of America's vast debt is owned by China and another $328bn is owned by UK private investors and pension funds.The Obama administration is expected to continue to pay them next month, along with pensioners.Other social programmes, including medical care for the poor and help for the country's unemployed, also will be fully funded, according to insiders. But that will leave no money to pay federal employees, including troops. America's top military official, Admiral Mike Mullen, delivered the stunning news to soldiers at a meeting at Kandahar air base in southern Afghanistan.Asked if they will be paid if Mr Obama is unable to resolve the deadlock, he said: 'I honestly can't answer that question.'I have confidence that at some point in time, whatever compensation you are owed, you will be given.'Troops will be ordered to continue to work, the admiral said. Economists say the U.S. could be plunged into recession if the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic Senate cannot agree on legislation.After weeks of intense partisanship, the White House and congressional leaders made a desperate, last-minute stab at compromise late on Saturday night to avoid a government default'There is very little time,' declared President Barack Obama.Back-channel talks held the best hope for a compromise.'No one believes this will really happen,' a City financial expert told The Mail on Sunday, 'so no one has thought through the consequences.Even if the U.S. continues to make interest payments to creditors, it will unnerve markets and probably lead to a lowering of its credit rating. 'That means the value of U.S. bonds held by banks will fall and they will have to raise more capital in order to meet their required asset levels and that in turn could force up interest rates, causing a recession.'Senate Democrats killed a bill passed by the Republican-controlled House late on Friday.Democrats opposed it as 'extremist' while Right-wingers said it did not go far enough. And all 43 Republicans in the Senate have signed a letter, saying they will not vote for a rival Democrat plan to raise the debt limit. Mr Obama pleaded for compromise, saying: 'There is very little time.' As the warring continued, Mr Obama was described by The New York Times, as 'largely a bystander'.Hmmmm........If he really wanted to destroy America , would he have done anything different?Read the full story here.
- An Outright Historical Economic Fairy Tale at Whitehouse.gov.(TheVirtuousRepublic).When someone lies to you face, what do you call them? Pathological? All politicians obfuscate, but this President purposefully takes the facts, reorganizes them to suit his needs, and presents them as unchallengeable facts.As evidence, I present this front page post from the White House.When will President Obama become accountable for what happens during his watch and stop blaming Bush? He has been president for nearly 2 1/2 years, yet, his administration puts out charts like this.Notice the inherit dishonesty in this chart. Obama cites “defense and domestic spending” as adding $1.7 trillion to the national debt under Bush. Yet, and let me reiterate, YET, look at the chart closely…there is no listing of “defense and domestic spending” on the Obama side of the ledger. Apparently discretionary spending isn’t spending according to this White House, when it happens under that watch.Another dishonest part of this chart created by the Obama administration is charging the Bush years $1.4 trillion for the Afghan and Iraq wars. Yet, once again, this is absent on the Obama side of the ledger. Did the wars end the day Obama took office? You can’t shift accounts due because it was a policy created by your predecessor. By Obama’s reasoning, he ought to be blaming FDR and LBJ for the deficits caused by Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.Not unexpectedly, this isn’t the end of the untruthfulness of this White House posting. Look how Obama labels the Bush drug benefits for seniors as unfunded, Yet (there is that word again), on the Obama side, the Stimulus and the 2010 tax deal, for instance, have no such label. Was the Recovery Act fully paid for? Really?Now for the ultimate act of dishonesty, the Obama White House claims Bush added $7 trillion to our national debt while, while the former parishioner of Reverend Jeremiah Wright is said to have only added $1.7 trillion to the debt. That is 100%, pure, B.S. and it points to a horrible defect that plagues Obama, in that he refuses to take responsibility for his own actions.Obama was inaugurated on January 20th, 2009. He had been a U.S. Senator since January of 2005. The Democrats won full control of the Congress in 2007. And, Obama himself voted for TARP. Thus, the first full month that he was president, was February of 2009. Like every other president in history, he is responsible for what happens under his watch, and more importantly, he and his party, directly influenced, if not controlled much of the spending from 2007, on.Concurrently, Americans should consider that an affront, that their President would fudge the math regarding our fiscal mess. Not only does this show that Obama is not trustworthy, but it highlights the glaring reality that this administration will recolor history, use accounting gimmicks, and juggle the books to make themselves look good, but they absolutely refuse to do anything about the fundamental problem of our out of control spending. It is the message, it is the placing of blame. They will create a post that required hours of inventive math, but this White House will not even put forth a plan to deal with our fiscal mess.Now you know why Boehner walked out on Obama. How do you negotiate with a pathological liar whose desk placard must read the “Buck stopped on January 19th, 2009″.Read and see the full story here.
- Assad the'Reformer'in action - Slaughter in Syria: 45 killed as tanks storm rebel city of Hama.(DailyMail).The Syrian military killed at least 45 civilians in the central city of Hama before dawn today as tank shells slammed into the streets.Residents said they woke up to machine guns being fired at random wounding dozens of people.'Troops entered Hama at dawn today,' a resident told The Associated Press by telephone. 'We woke up to this news, they are firing from their machine guns randomly and there are many casualties.'The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had compiled the names of 13 dead from hospitals and residents in Hama, but the figure could not be independently confirmed.The Syria-based Local Co-ordination Committees said it had the names of four victims, but that there were more bodies that had yet to be identified.The city has been in a state of revolt for the past month.Residents of northern Hama told Reuters that tank shells were falling at the rate of four a minute there. They also confirmed deaths in the area.It has been reported that electricity and water supplies had been cut in a tactic regularly used by the army when storming towns to crush demonstrations.The government has blamed armed terrorist gangs for most killings during the revolt but reports suggest the protests have been largely peaceful, with only isolated cases of people arming themselves against the military assault.Most foreign media has been banned from the area making it difficult to verify reports of the fighting. An estimated 1,600 civilians have died in the crackdown on the largely peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad's regime since the uprising began more than four months ago. Most of the dead were killed in shootings by security forces on anti-government rallies.Hmmmmm.......Hillary and Erdogans 'buddy'.Read and see the full story here.More here (Video report).
- Iran holds new hearing for US Hikers a.k.a. 'spy suspects'.(AlYazeera).Two Americans jailed in Iran on charges of espionage could be released after a court hearing in the capital, Tehran, their lawyer said.The hearing began on Sunday for Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29, who were arrested along with Sarah Shourd, 32, on the unmarked border between Iran and Iraq on July 31, 2009.Iran accuses the three of "spying and illegally entering the country".They have denied the charges and said they were only hiking in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, near the Iranian border.Dorsa Jabbari, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tehran, spoke to the lawyer representing the three Americans."He is confident that his clients might be released because there is not enough evidence against them," Jabbari said."Sara Shourd has not been summoned to attend the hearing. Their lawyer believes that this could be a good sign and his clients could be free."Shourd, who is being tried in absentia, returned to the United States following her release on humanitarian and medical grounds in September 2010, for which a bail of about $500,000 was paid."Since the hearing date coincides with the two year anniversary of their arrest, and it is the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, I am hopeful that this case has a happy ending," their lawyer Masoud Shafii told the AFP news agency on Wednesday, referring to the Muslim fasting month when compassion, the spirit of caring and sharing is advocated."I believe that they are innocent; the espionage charges have no relevance. Even if the court does not accept my defence, the two years they've spent behind bars is punishment enough," he added.Ahead of the new hearing, the families of the detained issued a statement on Friday in New York, and Shourd used her statement to wish Muslims in Iran and everywhere a blessed Ramadan on behalf of the families of the two men."Please, if you could make a little room in your prayers on the eve of Ramadan for my fiancé, my friend and our families, it would mean the world to us," she said.Shourd, who did not attend the February 6 hearing, told AFP in Washington that she will not return to Iran to join the other two in the dock.She said she had sent Iran's revolutionary court a five-page evaluation by a clinical forensic psychologist, who concluded she was at high risk of psychological problems if she returned to face espionage charges.Shafii said he has met Bauer and Fattal only twice, the last time on February 6, 2011 when they appeared in court for the first hearing."I still have not met them (for) the lawyer-client meeting that I have requested. They told me that they will inform me and I am still pursuing it," he said.The US government has appealed for the two men to be released, insisting that they have done nothing wrong.Iran and the US have no direct diplomatic relations, so Washington has been relying on an interests section at the Swiss embassy to follow the case.Hmmmm.........Read the full story here.
- UK - Muslim teenagers sprayed burka onto scantily-clad models because they offended their religion.(DailyMail).Two Muslim teenagers have admitted defacing advertising hoardings featuring scantily-clad models and painting a 'burka' over them because they offended their religious views.Mohammed Hasnath and Muhammed Tahir, both 18, used black paint to cover up the picture of a female model on a hoarding advertising Lynx deodorant. The duo proceeded to paint over the faces on several other advertisements around London's East End, claiming it was a 'sin' for them to be uncovered. The youths, who represented themselves, had both denied initial charges of religious aggravated criminal damage.However, they both pleaded guilty to six counts of criminal damage when they appeared at Thames Magistrates Court in east London. Taiwo Akinrowo, prosecuting, told the court: 'On the morning of February 26th this year a member of the public called the police because they had seen three males damaging the bus shelters. 'One of the males was seen to paint on the female angel in the advert for Lynx. On the other side was an advert for the film 'Drive Angry' and this male was seen to paint on the female image next to Nicholas Cage. 'Police were called and began to monitor the males and they saw them walking along Whitechapel Road towards Osborne Street where they then used the paint on the window of the Money Shop on the faces of the females. 'The police officers arrived and the defendants ran away. They were then stopped by police, arrested and interviewed and they gave full and frank admissions as to what they had done. 'They told them that the way the women had been photographed was against their religion and they said it was a sin in Islam for a male to look twice at a woman who is not covered. 'If a man looks at a woman the first time it could be accidental, but if they look again it is a sin and they did not want children and other people seeing the image of these woman who were not covered. 'Consequently they began to paint over burkas around the faces of the women. When arrested, Mr Hasnath's clothes were covered in black paint and they also had the brushes on them.Referring to the fact that the charges were originally religious aggravated criminal damage, Hasnath told the court: 'We don't have anything against anyone. 'We have black friends, white friends and Chinese friends. We are not racist. 'The pictures - that is someone's daughter. If someone was to look at our wife or mother or daughter with a bad intention we would not like it so we were just trying to do good.' Hasnath, of Poplar, and Tahir, of Tower Hamlets, both east London, were both ordered to pay costs of £283 each and were each released on a 12 month conditional discharge. A third defendant, Abdul Hakim Langaigne, 24, of Thamesmead, south east London, who was also charged with six counts of criminal damage, failed to appear in court. A warrant was issued for his arrest.Read the full story here.
- UK - What has become of the 'moderate' Muslims?Probe into secretive Sharia law courts scrapped as Muslim leaders close ranks.(DailyMail).Ministers have abandoned an inquiry into the rise of secretive Sharia councils that deal in Islamic justice – because the Muslim courts refused to help.The failure of the Ministry of Justice probe has generated new fears among politicians and pressure groups about the increasing influence of Sharia courts. They are worried the courts' decisions may run against the law of the land, particularly in divorce settlements for women.The scrapping of the inquiry comes in a week when Islamic extremists have launched a campaign to declare 'Sharia-controlled zones' across Britain.Hate preacher Anjem Choudary has claimed responsibility for the scheme, which has so far seen posters put on lampposts in several London boroughs declaring that within the 'zones' there should be 'no gambling', 'no music or concerts', 'no porn or prostitution', 'no drugs or smoking' and 'no alcohol'.The Daily Mail has previously published photographs of Choudary in his student days breaking all but one of the zone laws – holding a cannabis joint, downing a pint of cider, playing cards and leering at porn.But the abandonment of the Government's Sharia inquiry has fuelled fears that such radicals will be able to continue their intimidating activities unchecked. The Ministry of Justice had launched an inquiry into the operation of Sharia courts in Britain because of rising fears that the secretive system has undue influence. The number of Sharia courts here is unknown, although an estimate of 85 made by the Civitas think-tank in 2009 is widely accepted.The failure of the Government's investigation was disclosed to MPs by Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly.He told Tory backbencher Kris Hopkins that before last year's general election his department acted to 'commission an exploratory study of Sharia councils in England with respect to family law'.Mr Djanogly said: 'This identified a number of challenges to undertaking robust research in this area. The study was therefore limited and adds little to the evidence base. 'The findings cannot be regarded as a representative assessment of the operation of Sharia councils. Following expert peer review of the draft report, the Ministry of Justice decided not to publish the findings.'A further statement to the Mail made it clear the 'challenges' researchers experienced boiled down to the Sharia courts failing to co-operate.The Ministry of Justice said: 'The report was essentially an exploratory study which identified a number of challenges to undertaking more robust research. 'The challenges to undertaking more robust research were that the councils are generally run on a volunteer basis, were short staffed and very busy, so there were practical difficulties in speaking with respondents. 'There was also reluctance to discuss the private work of the councils and respondents were wary of the stereotypical ways in which their organisations were represented in the media.' Sharia law is also under scrutiny in the Lords, where the independent peer Baroness Cox has tabled a Bill seeking to make it a crime for anyone to take over the rights of the state's criminal or family courts.Hmmmm.......welcome to "Londonistan".Read the full story here.
- EU: Jihadist calls for tourist Jihad,and attacks on Belgiums.(IslamInEurope).Via De Telegraaf and Standaard (Dutch): Jihadist Abu Suleiman al-Nasser wrote on the Shumukh al-Islam forum that Muslims should go to Europe posing as tourists in order to murder Europeans. Al-Nasser wrote on the site that Muslims should buy a sharp knife when they're in Europe. "You could murder more than a hundred people. Walk about and choose your victims." He wrote that Geert Wilders is an ideal victim. "He looks like a fat calf."Meanwhile, the American intelligence website SITE reports that Jihadists are calling for attacks on Belgium and Belgians in retaliation for the recently enacted burqa-ban. According to one Jihadist: "If you have the freedom to make such decisions, then you must also accept our freedom to take action. I call our Muslim brothers in Belgium to do what they can: bomb them, destroy them, torture and murder them."Read the full story here.
- 'Iran to deploy submarines in intl. waters on 90-day mission'.(Mehr). TEHRAN, – Iran plans to dispatch submarines to international waters on a 90-day mission, Navy Commander Habibollah Sayyari said on Saturday. Sayyari said he told the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution during his recent visit to Bandar Abbas, in southern Iran, that the Navy is ready to send submarines to the international waters on a 90-day mission.He also pointed to the domestically-manufactured Yunis submarine, which has recently accomplished its 67-day mission to the international waters, saying the submarine set a new record.The Yunis submarine was dispatched to the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea in order to gather data on those areas.Hmmmmm.........Read the full story here.
- PA workers threaten strike.(YNet).Public servants in West Bank claim they have not received full salaries, threaten to start strike on Tuesday.Bassam Zakharna, the Palestinian Authority's workers union chairman announced Sunday that the public sector at the West Bank will open an indefinite general strike on Tuesday to protest the delay of pay. Zakharna announced that the union is suspending talks with the government claiming that the Treasury had stopped updating the union about the salary crisis. "It's a fabricated crisis and the government's policy is meant to frustrate the workers," he said. The step comes amid an acute financial crisis in the West Bank. PA workers are under immense pressure at this time of year as the Ramadan fast sets in Sunday night. Muslims will mark Eid al-Fitr at the end of August. Households spend more on food during this time of time prompting outrage over the delay of salaries. The financial crisis has also prompted an Arab League meeting. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has repeatedly urged Arab states to assist the PA in light of its financial crisis. This is the second time the PA has delayed pay for public servants.Hmmmm....On the other hand the more money they receive from the West ....the lower their GDP?Read the full story here.
- The Islamist Attaturk Erdogan's and Turkey's future?(DocsTalk).By J.E. Dyer.More than 40 military officers are currently being held on charges of being involved in the conspiracy. It’s hard to pinpoint what the generals’ intentions are with their mass resignation. They are too old and experienced to believe that they would be currying popular support by perpetrating a dramatic action. They can’t expect their resignation to put popular pressure on Erdogan, who just won reelection with a healthy majority of the seats in Turkey’s parliament.The alternative possibilities are that they have simply given up, and decided to spend their golden years doing something else (perhaps outside of Turkey), or that they are organizing to confront Erdogan.The likeliest possibility is that they are giving up, or rather getting out of the way.Erdogan has the backing of everyone from the EU and the US to Iran and Saudi Arabia. Not to mention the bigoted and racist Turkish public. He has shown himself to be a strong leader. And he is throwing in enough neo-Ottomanism to sweeten the pot.The adamant secularism that seemed to mean so much is over. The idea that you can't be a powerful Muslim state has been drowned in gallons of oil money and Western terror appeasement. The process took longer than it did in Egypt, where Islamic mores dominated long before Tahrir Square got around to toppling the last military officers and secularism was a distant memory outside of the circles of the rich. But it's still done.Ataturk is dead. Turkish Islamists will remember Erdogan as the Islamic Ataturk, who did for Turkish Islamism what Ataturk did for Turkish secularism.The real threat on the horizon for the Islamists isn't the military, which exists only as a punching bag and a scapegoat for European Turkish experts. It's Kurdish nationalism, which is still the ticking time bomb.Tensions in Syria and Iraq are feeding Kurdish nationalistic dreams. And while the US and EU continue to look away from Erdogan's racist brutalization of the Kurds, the dismantling of the Turkish military makes a civil war more likely. Not less.The loss of the upper ranks of the Turkish military and their replacement by Islamist cronies, combined with the growing shift away from the United States, means a weaker and less competent military. A military that's sufficient to murder a few Kurdish teenage girls, but might not fare as well against a full uprising. Or a full scale invasion of Kurdistan.Hmmmm.......The Kurds won't go as easy as the Armenians.Read the full story here.