Friday, September 9, 2011
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American war film set during the Vietnam War, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The central character is US Army special operations officer Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen), of MACV-SOG, an assassin sent to kill the renegade and presumed insane Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando).
Coppola's and John Milius's script is based on Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness, and also draws from Michael Herr's Dispatches, the film version of Conrad's Lord Jim (which shares the same character of Marlow with Heart of Darkness), and Werner Herzog's Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972).
The film drew attention for its lengthy and troubled production. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse documented Brando showing up on the set overweight, Sheen's heart attack, and extreme weather destroying several expensive sets. The film's release was postponed several times while Coppola edited millions of feet of footage.
Honored with the Palme d'Or at Cannes, and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, the film was also deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" and selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2001.
Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen), a seasoned and deeply troubled special operations veteran, has returned to Saigon from deployment in the field. He drinks excessively and has difficulty adjusting to life in the rear-area. Two intelligence officers, Lt. General Corman (G. D. Spradlin) and Colonel Lucas (Harrison Ford), and a civilian (Jerry Ziesmer) approach him with an assignment: follow the Nung River into the remote Cambodian jungle to find Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a member of the US Army Special Forces who has gone insane, and kill him. Their claims are supported by bizarre radio broadcasts and recordings made by Kurtz himself.
Once considered a model officer and future general, Kurtz has gone rogue and is commanding a legion of his own Montagnard troops deep inside neutral Cambodia. Ordered to terminate the Colonel's command "with extreme prejudice", Willard joins the crew of a Navy Patrol Boat, Riverine (PBR) composed of boat commander George "Chief" Phillips (Albert Hall), and crewmen Lance Johnson (Sam Bottoms), Jay "Chef" Hicks (Frederic Forrest), and Tyrone "Mr Clean" Miller (Laurence Fishburne).
Willard and the PBR crew rendezvous with Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall), commanding a squadron of Air Cavalry attack helicopters, for escort to the Nung River. Initially scoffing at their request for escort, Kilgore, a keen surfer, learns Johnson is a professional surfer and befriends him. When Willard suggests the coastal mouth of the Nung River for the boat and crew to be taken, Kilgore is reluctant to approach the heavily fortified position held by the Viet Cong, but changes his mind after learning of the excellent surfing conditions there. The beach is taken amid napalm strikes and "Ride of the Valkyries" played over the choppers' loudspeakers, after which Kilgore orders Lance and other surfers in his command to surf the beach amid enemy fire. While Kilgore nostalgically regales all around him of a previous napalm strike, Willard gathers his men to the PBR, which has been dropped from a helicopter into the river, and they begin their journey.
While navigating upstream, the crew has a run-in with a tiger, watches a USO show featuring Playboy Bunnies, and encounters a sampan, mistakenly killing almost all civilians onboard. Willard shoots the one survivor to prevent any delay of his mission. On reaching a US Army outpost at a bridge under constant attack, Willard is informed that an army captain named Colby (Scott Glenn) was sent to find Kurtz and is now missing. The next day, the boat is fired upon by an unseen enemy hiding in trees by the river, killing Mr Clean and causing Chief, who had a close relationship with Clean, to become increasingly hostile toward Willard.
Later, Montagnard warriors begin shooting arrows at them. The crew opens fire and Chief is impaled with a spear. Willard tries to help the dying Chief, who tries to kill Willard by pulling him onto the spear tip protruding from his chest. Willard grapples with Chief, who finally dies. Afterwards, Willard confides in Chef and Lance about his mission, and the two surviving crew of the boat reluctantly agree to continue their journey upriver. As they draw closer to Kurtz' camp, they see the coastline is littered with bodies. After arriving at Kurtz' outpost, Willard takes Johnson with him to the village, leaving Chef behind with orders to call in an airstrike on the village if he does not return. In the camp, the two men are met by a manic freelance photographer (Dennis Hopper), who explains that Kurtz' greatness and philosophical skills inspire his people to follow him. As they proceed, they see bodies and severed heads scattered about the nearby Buddhist temple that serves as Kurtz's living quarters, and encounter the missing Captain Colby, who is nearly catatonic.
Willard is brought before Kurtz in the darkened temple, where Kurtz derides him as "an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill". Bound to a post, he watches helplessly as Kurtz drops Chef's severed head into his lap. After some time in captivity, Willard is released and given the freedom of the compound. Knowing that Willard would not leave, Kurtz lectures him on his theories of war, humanity, and civilization. As Kurtz explains his motives and philosophy while praising the ruthlessness and dedication of the Viet Cong, he asks Willard to tell his son everything about him in the event of his death.
That night, as the villagers ceremonially slaughter a water buffalo, Willard enters Kurtz' chamber as Kurtz is making a recording, and attacks him with a machete. Lying bloody and dying on the ground, Kurtz whispers "The horror ... the horror ..." before dying. Willard descends the stairs from Kurtz' chamber and drops his weapon. The villagers do likewise, and silently allow Willard to take Lance by the hand and lead him to the PBR. The two of them sail away as Kurtz' final words echo.Hmmmm.....what can you say?"I love the smell of Napalm in the morning?"
Seems like God has the last word on this occasion
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Chile 5.3 and 5.2 Atlantic Ocean ! More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Hurricane Katia : Latest Updates here.
- Memorials of Grief.By DanielGreenfield.I think Daniel has summerized it perfectly what every American feels on 9-11.
"September 11 is not the day we cry, it is the day we get angry. It is the day we remember who our killers were, how many have been lost, and how little has been done to bring down the ideology responsible as completely as they brought the towers down. It is the day we remember not to forget. It is the day we remember that the war has just begun and that until it ends, there can be no comfort or solace. The fight goes on."Read the full story here.
- What is the Super Congress their mission?Pay for Obama's plans?The term Super Congress refers to a select group of 12 members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate chosen to identify ways to reduce the national debt by $1.5 trillion over 10 years.The Super Congress, or super committee, was created under the Budget Control Act of 2011. The law was passed by the U.S. Congress in the first two days of August 2011 to increase the nation's $14.294 trillion debt ceiling in order to avoid a potential default. It was the fourth increase of the mandatory borrowing cap in President Barack Obama's first term.The Super Congress consists of six members of the House and Senate, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. The House members were chosen by Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The Senate members were chosen by Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.The official name for the Super Congress is the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
Super Congress Responsibilities
The Budget Control Act of 2011 immediately raised the nation's debt ceiling by $400 billion, to $14.694 trillion, so the federal government could meet spending obligations previously approved by Congress. But it required the Super Congress to find ways to reduce the national debt by $1.5 trillion before the end of 2011. If the panel's plan is approved by Congress, the debt ceiling can be increased by the same amount. If the committee fails in its mission, automatic spending cut measures will be triggered.Proposals from the Super Congress would be placed on a fast track through the House and Senate, with no allowance for the legislation to be amended by lawmakers.Hmmmmm.....President Obama wants $ 220Billion of his 'plan' financed by the 'Supercommittee'........find ways to reduce the national debt?
- KUHNER: Obama and the lunatic left.President and his followers intend to end America’s greatness.(Washingtontimes).President Obama is politically insane. This is the real meaning of his speech Thursday night in front of a joint session of Congress. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. By that definition, Mr. Obama is a lunatic leftist.Much of his speech called for more of the same - government activism; massive spending on infrastructure, bridges and roads; extending the payroll tax cut; and more public aid to states and municipalities. In short, he seeks to perpetuate the dismal policies of Obamanomics. He is a reckless ideologue masquerading as a pragmatist.Mr. Obama’s presidency has been dominated by one seminal reality - failure. His nearly $1 trillion stimulus; record budget deficits; unprecedented levels of public spending; the government bailouts of the auto, insurance, housing and banking sectors; billions heaped on “green jobs”; Obamacare; Dodd-Frank to reform Wall Street, and huge outlays for food stamps and unemployment benefits - all have failed to restore the economy.In fact, they have done the opposite. Unemployment is 9.1 percent. Growth is anemic. In August, no new net jobs - none - were created. Consumer confidence is low. Inflation is rising. The value of the dollar plummets. Burdensome regulations are strangling business. America is being buried under a mountain of debt. For the first time in history, its credit rating has been downgraded. The country is not only on the verge of national bankruptcy, but of economic collapse.Any reasonable person would change course - but not Mr. Obama. He is a big-government liberal who worships at the altar of statism. The fact that we are broke and can no longer afford his borrow-and-spend policies means nothing. Like all fanatics, he is disconnected from reality.Contrary to popular myth, liberalism is not politics committed to science or rational thought. It is a substitute religion - a secular philosophy similar to Marxism that seeks to replace Christianity and provide believers with existential meaning. Hence, it must be defended at all costs, even in the face of irrefutable evidence or logic. Mr. Obama is not an anomaly among progressives. They share his stubbornness. Reassessment is not possible. If Mr. Obama truly were to tack to the center, it would represent a fatal admission of error. The liberal faith would collapse.In 2009, Mr. Obama vowed that if the stimulus were passed, the jobless rate would remain under 8 percent. Under his tenure, America has lost more than 2 million private-sector jobs. Mrs. Wasserman Schultz is the equivalent of a Stalinist-era hack jabbering about the Soviet economic miracle. No one believes her - not even her staunchest supporters.This leaves political gangsterism. Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa recently said that it’s time for unions to declare “war” on Republicans and Tea Partyers. “President Obama, this is your army,” Mr. Hoffa thundered at a Sept. 5 Labor Day rally in Detroit. “We are ready to march. Let’s take these SOBs out and give America back to an America where we belong.” Mr. Hoffa’s comments were vile, reprehensible and could foment civil violence. Labor unions, such as the Teamsters, have a long history of street brawls and physically intimidating opponents. Once these kinds of furies have been unleashed, it is difficult to contain them.The Democrats’ hypocrisy is staggering. For days following the Tucson shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others, leading Democrats and the liberal media blamed conservative talk radio, Sarah Palin and a “climate of hate” for the massacre. Mr. Obama even called for a “new civility” and “tone,” tacitly chastising his critics. Yet, now that a key ally has called for blood to flow in the streets, the White House is silent.Mr. Obama is a man of the hard left. He deeply loathes everything America stands for - capitalism, limited government, individual freedom and Christian civilization. In particular, he despises our exceptionalism. His stated goal is to create a “post-American world” where the United States is simply one of many countries - no bigger, better or stronger. He exhibits a form of madness, a self-loathing, reminiscent of the late pop singer Amy Winehouse. Mr. Obama keeps injecting the heroin of class warfare and socialism into our national bloodstream. And he can continue to play on the biggest stage and boast a huge audience. In the end, however, it leads to the same result: insanity and death.Read the full story here.
- Obama's Illegal Alien Uncle Quietly Released From Jail: House chairman; Obama's Uncle Got Backdoor Amnesty.(BirtherReport).Boston Globe: Officials released President Obama’s uncle from Plymouth County jail yesterday after holding him for more than two weeks on an immigration detainer for violating an order to return to his native Kenya in 1992.US officials refused to disclose any other information about Onyango Obama, who remained in the United States undetected until Framingham police arrested him Aug. 24 on drunken driving and other charges.Yesterday, federal immigration officials refused to say whether the 67-year-old Framingham resident posted bond, whether they are keeping track of his whereabouts, or even whether they are still seeking his deportation, raising questions about public accountability in the case.
Washington Times: The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Friday that President Obama’s half-uncle, an illegal immigrant who was picked up but has reportedly been released from jail, appears to have benefited from the new “backdoor amnesty” the administration announced last month.“It appears there is a double standard — one for President Obama’s family and one for everyone else,” Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, said. “Last year, President Obama’s illegal immigrant aunt was granted asylum and now his illegal immigrant uncle has been released from [the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency] custody, even though he was arrested by authorities for drunk driving.”Mr. Smith said the case will be the first “test case” for a new Homeland Security policy announced last month that gives immigration authorities more discretion to let illegal immigrants go, rather than pursue efforts to deport them.Hmmmm......"Let my 'people' go".Got suddenly a whole different meaning.Read the full story here.
- FACT CHECK: Obama's jobs plan paid for? Seems not.(AP). By Calvin Woodward and Tom Raum.WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama's promise Thursday that everything in his jobs plan will be paid for rests on highly iffy propositions.It will only be paid for if a committee he can't control does his bidding, if Congress puts that into law and if leaders in the future - the ones who will feel the fiscal pinch of his proposals - don't roll it back.Underscoring the gravity of the nation's high employment rate, Obama chose a joint session of Congress, normally reserved for a State of the Union speech, to lay out his proposals. But if the moment was extraordinary, the plan he presented was conventional Washington rhetoric in one respect: It employs sleight-of-hand accounting.A look at some of Obama's claims and how they compare with the facts:
OBAMA: "Everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything."
THE FACTS: Obama did not spell out exactly how he would pay for the measures contained in his nearly $450 billion American Jobs Act but said he would send his proposed specifics in a week to the new congressional supercommittee charged with finding budget savings. White House aides suggested that new deficit spending in the near term to try to promote job creation would be paid for in the future - the "out years," in legislative jargon - but they did not specify what would be cut or what revenues they would use.Essentially, the jobs plan is an IOU from a president and lawmakers who may not even be in office down the road when the bills come due. Today's Congress cannot bind a later one for future spending. A future Congress could simply reverse it.Currently, roughly all federal taxes and other revenues are consumed in spending on various federal benefit programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans' benefits, food stamps, farm subsidies and other social-assistance programs and payments on the national debt. Pretty much everything else is done on credit with borrowed money.So there is no guarantee that programs that clearly will increase annual deficits in the near term will be paid for in the long term.
OBAMA: "Everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, including many who sit here tonight."
THE FACTS: Obama's proposed cut in the Social Security payroll tax does seem likely to garner significant GOP support. But Obama proposes paying for the plan in part with tax increases that have already generated stiff Republican opposition.For instance, Obama makes a pitch anew to end Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which he has defined as couples earning over $250,000 a year or individuals over $200,000 a year. Republicans have adamantly blocked what they view as new taxes. As recently as last month, House Republicans refused to go along with any deal to raise the government's borrowing authority that included new revenues, or taxes.
OBAMA: "It will not add to the deficit."
THE FACTS: It's hard to see how the program would not raise the deficit over the next year or two because most of the envisioned spending cuts and tax increases are designed to come later rather than now, when they could jeopardize the fragile recovery. Deficits are calculated for individual years. The accumulation of years of deficit spending has produced a national debt headed toward $15 trillion. Perhaps Obama meant to say that, in the long run, his hoped-for programs would not further increase the national debt, not annual deficits.
OBAMA: "The American Jobs Act answers the urgent need to create jobs right away."
THE FACTS: Not all of the president's major proposals are likely to yield quick job growth if adopted. One is to set up a national infrastructure bank to raise private capital for roads, rail, bridges, airports and waterways. Even supporters of such a bank doubt it could have much impact on jobs in the next two years because it takes time to set up. The idea is likely to run into opposition from some Republicans who say such a bank would give the federal government too much power. They'd rather divide money among existing state infrastructure banks.Hmmmm........Indeed there is a 'serious threat to America'.Read the full story here.
- Reaction Roundup: Heritage Responds to Obama’s Jobs Speech.Heritage’s experts are watching President Barack Obama’s address on jobs to a joint session of Congress. Here are some of their immediate reactions.
- The market stall jihadists: Ex-Afghan camp extremist used inner city stall to peddle hatred.(DailyMail).A Muslim who used his market stall as a front to persuade people to join a holy ‘Jihad’ war against the UK was facing jail last night.Munir Farooqi, 54, turned his inner city book stall into a secret Al Qaeda recruiting school.He targeted young British men and used literature and films to brainwash them to convert to Islam.Using fanatical Islamic manuals, books and DVDs at the market stall in Manchester, he converted a former British soldier, an estate agent and even members of a local crime gang.Over a two year period Farooqi - who boasted of being a Taliban fighter and was detained in Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks - tried to persuade people visiting his stall to travel to training camps and battlefields abroad to fight in Afghanistan.Last night he was facing jail after he was convicted of soliciting multiple murder and a series of terrorism offences.Matthew Newton, 29, an estate agent, was convicted of preparing acts of terrorism and distributing terrorist publications.Farooqi was arrested in November 2009 after two white undercover policemen infiltrated the recruiting school and underwent radicalisation ceremonies in the basement of his terraced home in Longsight, Manchester.During the undercover investigation one of the detectives taped Farooqi boasting: ‘If we die, we win. You have Allah on your side, how can we lose?‘You know Jihad is not about you giving your life away. If we’re going to go there you make sure you take at least 40 or 50 people with us so we’ve done something.’ When police raided his house they found a haul of extremist literature and pamphlets and up to 5,000 DVDs.Manchester Crown Court heard Farooqi had been born in Pakistan and came to England in 1962 with his family when he was five-years-old.But he became an active supporter of the Taliban in Afghanistan and went there in 2001 after the attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre.He was captured by authorities in Afghanistan and jailed from November 2001 to May 2002 before being released.He returned to the UK after his wife flew out with some money and successfully applied for a new UK passport in 2003.A 12 month undercover anti-terror operation was launched in November 2008 with officers monitoring his market stall in Longsight, Manchester.Speaking from behind a screen, one undercover officer told the court: ’I was playing the part of someone who has very low social ties, somebody who was for want of a better word down on their luck.‘Mr Farooqi asked me if I was an atheist and I asked what he meant by that. He said: ‘Do you believe in God?’’ The jury heard the pair later exchanged mobile phone numbers and the officer was handed a series of Islamic leaflets, a copy of the Koran and some DVDs.He was given the Islamic name Abdul Rahman and converted to Islam on December 30, 2008 in a ceremony.One imam was secretly filmed by the undercover officer conducting a lecture at Indian restaurant in which he discussed the 9/11 terror attacks - but told followers not to record his speech as it could be used against him.The undercover officer said Farooqi told him he had been jailed for fighting in Afghanistan and he had been trailed by MI5 after returning to Britain.Among the literature found at his terraced house were two books described as in court as ‘classic jihadi texts‘.There was no evidence that anyone from the UK had travelled abroad to fight as part of a Jihad.Farooqi’s son, Harris Farooqi, 27, who ran a perfume stall was acquitted of various terror charges.Jurors are still deciding on verdicts upon former Trafford centre shop assistant Israr Malik, 22.Read the full story here.
- 'Germany Is in the Jihadists' Crosshairs'.(Spiegel).Two men were arrested in Berlin on Thursday on suspicion of stockpiling chemicals which could be used to build a bomb. German commentators have praised the work of the security forces, but warn that, as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, more needs to be done to combat terrorism.The arrest of two men in Berlin accused of stockpiling chemicals which could be used to build a bomb was a timely reminder of how the global threat presented by terrorism has yet to wane, as the world gears up to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities. The pair, a 24-year-old German citizen of Lebanese descent and a 28-year-old stateless Palestinian, were detained on Thursday. They are due in court on Friday, when a judge must decide whether there is enough evidence to remand them in custody.Police arrested them in an operation involving 230 officers, which saw two apartments searched along with a Muslim cultural center in Berlin's Wedding district, although officials were at pains to insist the latter had no links to extremism. "The Islamic culture center is not under suspicion in this investigation," police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf told broadcaster N24, explaining that the two suspects were simply known to have spent time there.The men had reportedly assembled large quantities of chemicals including cooling elements and acids used in the agriculture industry. Police were first tipped off by chemical suppliers, who were suspicious of the large amounts being ordered.With the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks this coming Sunday, the arrests have reignited the debate over terror laws in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel told broadcaster RTL that, a decade on from 9/11, there was still a long way to go in the fight against terrorism: "We have a latent danger of terrorism. It has become the major new threat, and the global community needs to continue to work together to learn how to finally meet this threat." Merkel also defended the tightening of security laws in Germany since 2001, insisting it was necessary to "ensure the high standard of liberal life for the large majority of people."German commentators Friday were quick to praise the authorities in Berlin for preventing an attack, and insisted that draconian new anti-terror laws were not necessary -- even if, they say, citizens also have a duty to remain vigilant.
The center-right Berlin daily Berliner Morgenpost writes:
"The fact Germany has -- yet again -- been saved from its first major Islamist terror attack is thanks to the mindfulness of two businessmen, who alerted the authorities to their suspicion over the dangerous chemicals. Vigilance is the price of security and freedom. This is not simply a challenge for the intelligence community, but for citizens as well. Some in Germany still refuse to admit it or have repressed the fact that America, Britain and Israel are not alone -- we Germans, too, are in the crosshairs of jihad warriors. Their commander-in-chief is dead and al-Qaida has been dealt a considerable blow. But individual fighters, acting independently, took the 'war against infidels' upon themselves long ago, making defense that much more difficult.""Caution and good fortune have until now kept Germany from becoming the bloody site of an Islamist extremist attack. Despite all the successes, this remains troubling. The cynicism once trumpeted by the underground Provisional Irish Republican Army still rings true for Islamist fighters: 'We only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always.'"
The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
"Three days before Sept. 11, it seems likely that those arrested planned to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in a terrible way. The police have so far found no evidence of this, but they harbor no doubts that these men wanted to carry out a terrorist act. If this is correct, then the arrests in Berlin confirm two things: first, that Germany is still threatened by Islamic terrorism. Second, that the vigilance of the German security authorities remained high even after Osama bin Laden's killing. An abatement would be fatal. Al-Qaida has been decapitated, its structures largely destroyed. But the seeds of hatred sown by its founder continue to find fertile soil, in Europe as well."Read the full story here.
- Joe Walsh Israeli resolution "support for Israel’s right to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank" being prepared.(Politico).Tea party firebrand Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) plans to introduce a provocative measure in the House expressing congressional support for Israel’s right to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank as the Palestinians move forward with a controversial request for a declaration of statehood at the United Nations.The resolution, which is modeled closely on a bill introduced in the Israeli Knesset, is the latest effort by Congress ahead of the proposed vote. Lawmakers from both parties returned from stints in Israel last month warning that Congress could seek to cut Palestinian aid if the vote goes forward.The resolution, which is modeled closely on a bill introduced in the Israeli Knesset, is the latest effort by Congress ahead of the proposed vote. Lawmakers from both parties returned from stints in Israel last month warning that Congress could seek to cut Palestinian aid if the vote goes forward.“We’ve got what I consider to be a potential slap in the face coming up with the vote in the U.N., which is absolutely outrageous,” Walsh told POLITICO. “It’s clear that the United States needs to make a very strong statement. I would argue that the president should make this statement, but he’s not capable of making it. So, the House needs to make this statement, if the [Palestinian Authority] continues down this road of trying to get recognition of statehood, the U.S. will not stand for it. And we will respect Israel’s right to annex Judea and Samaria.”President Barack Obama has threatened a U.S. veto of any statehood declaration at the U.N. Security Council. But that hasn’t stopped lawmakers in both countries from threatening the consequences of a declaration.Walsh is moving forward with his resolution after meeting last month in Israel with Danny Danon, a deputy speaker of the Knesset and Likud Party member known for criticizing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from the right. Earlier this year, Danon introduced a bill that would annex all of “Area C,” a large portion of the West Bank that includes Jewish settlements and rural lands but would spare the largest Palestinian cities. Danon’s now leading a campaign to pressure Netanyahu to move forward with the unilateral annexation.Walsh, who said he’d been considering a similar measure before arriving in Israel in August, confirmed that he and Danon “bounced some ideas off each other” on the resolution.Danon argued in a New York Times op-ed earlier this year that a request from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for a U.N. statehood declaration would amount to a nullification of the Oslo Accords, which dictate that “neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.” That means the country would be free to annex unilaterally, he wrote.In the op-ed, Danon downplayed the potential international consequences by pointing to past Israeli annexations as evidence the country could withstand international condemnation.“This is perfect timing for us and the right decision for us, not just from ideological perspective but security perspective as well,” said Jonny Daniels, a senior adviser to Danon, who said he also worked with conservative commentator Glenn Beck when he was in the country last month for his pro-Israel “Restoring Courage” rallies.Walsh says he plans to spend the rest of the week gathering cosponsors.Read the full story here.
- Judicial Watch Obtains Obamacare Records from Department of Health and Human Services.(JW).Judicial Watch, the public interest organization that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it recently obtained 3,497 pages of documents from the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Judicial Watch obtained the records as a result of a Freedom of Information Act FOIA) lawsuit filed on December 30, 2010 (Judicial Watch v. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 10-2328)).The records include internal HHS email correspondence and strategic documents, as well as email communications with unions and companies applying for waivers. The records also include preliminary drafts and multiple versions of the health care plan along with comments from the Office of Management and Budget, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other agencies with concerns and suggestions for revising the plan.The majority of the communications related to the granting of waivers by the Secretary of HHS exempting companies and unions from the minimum annual cap on the amount payable to an individual in benefits. Such waivers enable companies and unions to keep their existing plans in place until January 1, 2014.As of July 2011, 1,472 one-year waivers and 106 three-year waivers were granted, covering some 3.4 million enrollees, more than half of which belong to unions. Yet, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, union members account for only about 12% of the total workforce.Judicial Watch previously obtained documents from HHS regarding closed-door health care meetings between union officials and Vice President Joe Biden, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and then-Obamacare Czar Nancy-Ann Min DeParle. The documents include a list of all of the labor union leaders who attended a meeting with President Obama, along with brief biographical information on each participant. The list includes: Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO; Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union; and Jim Hoffa, President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, among other Big Labor leaders. The documents suggest that the key provisions of the Obamacare law were written solely to address the concerns of union interests.Speaking at a rally for organized labor over Labor Day Weekend attended by Barack Obama, Hoffa criticized the Tea Party and urged attendees to get out the vote for Democrats: “President Obama, this is your army…Everybody here has got to vote. If we go back and we keep the eye on the prize, let's take these sons of bitches out and give America back to America where we belong.”“This first batch of documents has the gory bureaucratic details of the Obamacare mess. The Obama administration has tried to keep its government takeover of healthcare veiled in secrecy, especially the details of these waivers. Waiving the law for 3.4 million Americans is unfair and an affront to the rule of law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It seems corrupt when political supporters in Big Labor are getting a disproportionate number of waivers from Obamacare. Unions helped write the Obamacare law, and then get exempted from it! Now Big Labor is paying back these waiver favors with campaign support for Barack Obama. Judicial Watch is committed to bringing as much transparency as possible to Obamacare, especially this ongoing abuse of the ‘waiver’ process.”Hmmmmm......Thugocracy in it's natural habitat.Read the full story and documents here.
- Google Uses More Electricity Than Salt Lake City.(NYT).The company said that its data centers continuously drew almost 260 million watts — about a quarter of the output of a nuclear power plant — to run Google searches, YouTube views, Gmail messaging and display ads on all those services around the world.Though the electricity figure may seem large, the company asserts that the world is using less energy as a result of the billions of operations carried out in Google data centers. Google says people should consider things like the amount of gasoline saved when someone conducts a Google search rather than, say, driving to the library. “They look big in the small context,” Urs Hoelzle, Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure, said in an interview.Google says that people conduct over a billion searches a day and numerous other downloads and queries, and it calculates that the average energy consumption for a typical user is small, about 180 watt-hours a month, or the equivalent of running a 60-watt light bulb for three hours. The overall electricity figure includes all Google operations worldwide, including the energy required to run its campuses and office parks, he added.While comparing different types of electricity loads is difficult, utility companies estimate that 260 million watts could power all of the homes in a sizable city — say, 100,000 to 200,000 homes.For years, Google maintained a wall of silence worthy of a government security agency on how much electricity the company used — a silence that experts speculated was used to cloak how quickly it was outstripping the competition in the scale and sophistication of its data centers.Hmmmm....Carbon footprint?Read the full story here.
- Erdogan's Dhimmi Problem.(ForthesakeofZion).Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Erdogan has taken upon himself to make Israel a “dhimmi state.” Edorgan was raised as a Sufi Muslim and was imprisoned in 1998 for singing out loud that "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.” While mainstream Western media are at pains to describe Turkey’s Islamist AKP Party as “moderate,” Erdogan himself declared on Kanal D TV in August 2007 that describing Islam as moderate “is offensive and an insult to our religion.” Erdogan has been embracing the presidents of Iran and Sudan. While Sudan’s president is accused of genocide by the International Criminal Court, and while Turkey has been asked to apologize for the Armenian genocide, Erdogan has declared that “No Muslim can perpetuate genocide.”Erdogan comes from an anti-Jewish tradition. His political mentor Necmettin Erbakan was an anti-Semite. As soon as he became Prime Minister in 2003, Ergodan adopted a hostile policy toward Israel. In March 2004, Erdogan called Israel a “terrorist state” following the elimination of Ahmad Yassin. In February 2006, he received Hamas leader Khaled Mashal in Ankara. In January 2009, he publicly humiliated Shimon Peres at the Davos conference. In October 2009, the Turkish state television started airing fiction series showing Israeli soldiers intentionally murdering Palestinian children. In November 2009, Erdogan declared that he’d rather meet Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In March 2010, Erdogan claimed that the Temple Mount, Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem were never Jewish sites. While Erdogan’s hatred of Israel is authentic, his public outbursts at Israel are opportunistic. Those outbursts are the easiest way for him to be acclaimed as a hero by Islamists both in Turkey and around the world. The Israeli government made the right decision by refusing to behave as a “dhimmi state.” The attitude of the Obama Administration, by contrast, is irresponsible and scandalous. Instead of making Erdogan pay the price for his foreign policy choices, the Obama Administration has been hopelessly trying to appease him.Erdogan is ultimately responsible for the death of his co-citizens aboard the “Mavi Marmara.” He is the one who sent out the jihadist organization Insani Yardim Vakfi (or IHH) to militarize Gaza and arm Hamas. Yet, President Obama called Erdogan after the Marmara incident to express “his deep condolences for the loss of life and injuries resulting from the Israeli military operation.” The Palmer Report recently released by the UN (an organization not known for its pro-Israel bias) says unambiguously that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was legal, that Turkey should have done more to stop the flotilla, and that Israeli soldiers were brutally attacked and had to use force in self-defense. And yet the Obama Administration is still asking Israel to apologize instead of scolding Turkey for its troublemaking.Rather than stopping Erdogan from bullying Israel and from destabilizing the Middle East with his irresponsible policies, the Obama Administration has adopted an appeasing stance, which in turn is encouraging Erdogan who is now threatening to go to war in order to lift the siege of Gaza.It is precisely because the Obama Administration has opted for appeasement that Israel must show steadfastness. As Churchill has said, an appeaser is someone who feeds the crocodile hoping he will be eaten last. Israel cannot afford to play that game. But steadfastness is not enough. Israel should go on the offensive by exposing Erdogan’s hypocrisy to the world.Doing so is no rocket science. While scolding Assad for shooting at Syrian demonstrators, Erdogan ordered last month air strikes in Kurdistan, killing over 100 Kurds. While saying that Israel should accept the establishment of a Palestinian state, Erdogan is adamant not to allow an independent Kurdish state to emerge. While Erdogan urges Israel to negotiate with Hamas, he himself recently declared that Turkey “considers it a disgrace to sit down at the negotiating table with [the Greek Cypriots] at the United Nations” as Turkey just celebrated its 37 year-old occupation of Cyprus. And in 2006, after obtaining Syria’s capitulation to Turkey’s occupation and annexation of the Alexandretta Province, Erdogan offered Israel to broker a peace deal with Syria based on Israeli, not Syrian, capitulation over the Golan.While Erdogan must be made to understand that Jews are no longer dhimmis, we Israelis have to realize that the end of dhimmitude does not only mean the end of humiliation. It also provides the ability, and perhaps even the duty, to make our enemies get a taste of their own medicine.Hmmmm........Great analysis.Read the full story here.
- Turkey will not stop at Israel.(Doc'sTalk).I tried to find out on Tuesday whether Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman regrets being so resolutely opposed to the compromise apology suggested by Dr. Yossi Ciehanover after his talks with Turkish representatives. Instead, I received the following response from Lieberman's office: “We are not commenting so as not to fan the flames.” The foreign minister has been struck dumb. That's too bad. Lieberman and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe (Bogey) Ya'alon are not responsible for the dramatic decline in Turkey's relationship with Israel. This was a strategic and rational decision by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Yet while his motives are rational, his drive and appetite appear uncontrollable. Still, had Lieberman and Ya'alon toned down their opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's apparent willingness to bridge our differences with Ankara, they could have slowed down the decline. In the constantly shifting Middle East, there was hope that the pendulum would have swung back and restored equilibrium.The Turks did not deserve an apology, yet the compromise wording, validated by the Palmer report, would have been the lesser of two evils. On Tuesday, a government minister told me that Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Dan Meridor were not the only ones who supported an apology. In fact, the majority of the government might have been for it. But the ministers did not want to personally come out and say so because the broader public were opposed to an apology.On Tuesday officials also expressed disappointment with the U.S., which had grown close to Turkey and stopped pressuring it on the issue of an apology. Disappointment is uncalled for. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed in two capitals, Jerusalem and in Ankara. Both the Israelis and Turks were intractable. The U.S. is in retreat and its client states feel it.Right now there is no point in appealing to Turkey's better senses, in keeping with the principle, “Do not appease your friend at the height of his anger.” Especially when the Turks aren't even friends at this stage. Erdogan has made the atmosphere extremist. When he speaks, he is harsh, and when he is silent it is even more worrisome. Is he a megalomaniac? A villain? Is he unaccountable for his actions? If so, he is not going to stop with Israel. In fact, Ankara has already threatened Cyprus, which is hoping to mine natural gas from the Mediterranean Sea. What is his limit? Is he itching for a catastrophic escalation? Nobody knows. But the possibility does exist that things could deteriorate all the way down to a war.It would behoove Israel to act according to that tried and true maxim, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Any Israeli who respects himself and his government should stay away from Turkey unless he has a very specific reason to visit, such as a business deal or family there. We should not stay away as part of some kind of organized boycott, as several strident MKs are suggesting, but rather out of a sense of solidarity that Israelis do not go where we are not wanted. We don't have to vacation in Turkey. There is no hardship in enjoying a nice glass of wine by the sea in Piraeus, Greece.Hmmm.......Article One of the NATO charter reads as follows:
The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
Erdogan’s warlike threats obviously contradict the NATO charter!Get Turkey out of NATO! Read the full story here.
- Iran - Women’s rights activist severely beaten by plainclothes agents, in critical condition.(Persian2English).Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) - According to reliable reports from Tabriz, women’s rights activist Faranak Farid has been severely beaten by plainclothes agents at the time of her arrest.As a result of the beating, her arm has been severely injured and her left eardrum has been seriously damaged. She has allegedly lost her hearing in that ear. Additionally, due to the lack of medical care and medical facilities at Tabriz’s police detention center, her general health condition has deteriorated.According to the reports, during the first days of her detention, Faranak Farid was interrogated for long hours by the Tabriz Ministry of Intelligence agents. Her charges were announced as, “Insulting the Supreme Leader”, “Propaganda against the Islamic Republic regime”, and “Acting against national security”.Faranak Farid was secretary of the First Azerbaijan Women’s Congress on March 8, 2005. She was also the editor of the women’s section of the banned journal Dilmaj and editor of the special edition of this journal.This researcher for Azerbaijan women’s issues was arrested on September 3rd during peaceful protest gatherings against the gradual drying of Lake Orumiyeh. The peaceful gathering turned violent following the interference of security forces in Tabriz and Orumiyeh.Read the full story here.