Sunday, December 4, 2011
Now I know
When I was a child, kneehigh to a grasshoper
I used to speak very loudly to be a man
I used to say, I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW
It was the beginning, it was spring
But when I turned 18
I said, I KNOW, here I go - this time I KNOW
And now, every time I turn around
I look at the earth, a place I paced up and down though
And I still don't know how it turns
When I was about 25, I knew everything
Love, roses, life, money
Oh yeah, love! I knew it thoroughly!
And luckily, like my mates
I hadn't eaten up all my bread*
Halfway through my life, I learned new things again
What I've learned takes up only four, five words:
On the day when someone loves you, the weather is very fine
I can't say it better - the weather is very fine
That's the last thing to amaze me about life
I who am in the autumn of my life
You can forget so many evenings of sadness
But never a morning of tenderness
All the time when I was young, I wanted to say I KNOW
However, the more I searched, the less I knew then
The clock has stricken 60
I'm still standing at my window, looking out and wondering
Now I KNOW, I KNOW THAT YOU NEVER KNOW!
Life, love, money, friends and roses
You never know the noise nor the color of things
That's all I know! But I KNOW that...
* For some reason, in French bread often means money.
Source : lyricstranslate
Young children trained in Nazi-style hatred. A world that pressures Israel to make peace with or legitimize the Palestinian nationhood is evil.
Ironically, this school is located in East Jerusalem and is most likely at least partially funded by the Israeli government.HT: Shoebat.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Mexico 5.1 - 5.2 ; New Zealand 5.2- 5.1 !More info here.
- "Thank you Santa"?It must be nice being
KingPresident... Obama to jet off to Hawaii for SEVENTEEN DAY Christmas vacation.(DailyMail).The president, who was raised in Hawaii until he was six, will be joined by his wife Michelle and their daughters, Malia, 13, and Sasha, 10.The White House travel office announced the president has no public events scheduled for the trip.The President's family covers the cost of a private beach front residence in Kailua, Oahu, for their vacation - a ‘Winter White House’ that costs up to $3,500 a day, or $75,000 a month.But the local and federal taxpayers help pay the bill for travel and security.Last year the trip cost more than $1 million,according to the Hawaii Reporter.Obama announced the trip during a campaign fundraiser on Oahu's Leeward Coast during his stay on the island last month.‘It is great to be home, great to feel that Aloha spirit,’ he said.‘And Michelle and the girls will be back shortly for Christmas vacation, as we do every year. We'll see if Washington gets its business done, so I can get here as well. But that's always a challenge.’It follows an 11-day stay in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, earlier this year, which is also believed to have cost the U.S. taxpayer millions.Next week, the president will be saving a few cents by hosting a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.Obama will speak with Harper at the White House about economic competitiveness, security and key global issues.Harper has urged Obama to support an oil pipeline from western Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast.But the Obama administration said last month it was delaying a decision on the project until it can study new potential routes that would avoid environmentally sensitive areas in the Midwest. The decision is expected to be delayed until 2013.Last year the Obama's Christmas trip to Hawaii cost more than $1 million.He covered the cost of his family's accommodation, but the rest was covered by the taxpayers.The bill to house Secret Service agents and Navy Seals in beach front accommodation stretched to $16,800. A further hotel bill of $134,400 covered 24 White House staff staying in the Moana Hotel at a rate of $400 a day. The estimate, by the Hawaii Reporter, also included $250,000 for local police overtime, $1 million for the president's own round trip flight to Hawaii on Air Force One, and $10,000 for a local ambulance to accompany the presidential motorcade.Hmmm....."WE feel your pain"........Nope , not going to happen!Read the full Santa dream vacation story here.
- Afghanistan could become Obama's "Stalingrad Kessel".(StratRisks).With the Russian threat to cut land routes for supply to Nato troops in Afghanistan, the Afghan battleground may turn into a cold deathtrap for Nato, defence analysts believe. They say that Pakistan should utilise the opportunity for a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan by pulling it out of the American war.Russia has threatened to cut off Nato supply routes to Afghanistan if the alliance doesn’t compromise on its missile defence plans. “If Nato doesn’t give a serious response, we have to address matters in relations in other areas,” Russian news services reported. Russia’s cooperation on Afghanistan may be an area for review, the news services reported.Pakistan has already cut the Nato supply route after the Mohmand Agency attack by Nato troops that killed twenty-six Pakistani soldiers.Lieutenant General (r) Hameed Gul while talking to The News said that Russia would utilise every option to take revenge from the Americans and time has come for the Russians to do this. He said that Russia wants to join hands with Pakistan and Pakistan should reconsider its policy towards Russia. “Americans and Nato troops have been strangled in Afghanistan and time has come for Pakistan to avail the opportunity that it missed on 9/11 to regain the respect and sovereignty”, Gul said.He mentioned that Americans will have to leave Afghanistan and will ask for concessions and Pakistan should negotiate with them for their exit. If Russia cuts the supply then the route will be from Georgia to Baku and then to Azerbaijan, which means NATO will never get the supply, said Gul. “Now Nato troops will have to exit Vietnam style, and that too by using Pakistan’s airspace because Iran will never let USA use its airspace”, the retired general said. He mentioned that the war against terror that was started with our own people will come to an end at once and there will be peace in no time once the Americans leave Afghanistan. He said that Indian interests in Afghanistan were growing but India will get nothing from Afghanistan.Maria Sultan, defence analyst, while talking to this correspondent said that if the Russians also cut the supply line of Nato then it will turn out to be cold death for Nato troops. “They will literally be strangled in Afghanistan with 90,000 troops and as they admit that they have reserves for three months which actually means they have reserves for two months and then Nato will have to airlift the troops and during the airlift only 15 to 20 percent can be alive out of the 90,000 troops”, Maria said.She mentioned that in Afghanistan, everything comes from outside and the insurgency this year has been very high as 700 causalities have been reported. Therefore after the Russian decision, Afghanistan will turn into a reverse Kargil for Nato. “They will have weapons but no bullets to fire; and if Pakistan shuts the air corridors on Nato then it would be a cold death for them and America will have to renegotiate with Pakistan”, she said.Hmmmm.....A community agitator as 'Commander - in - Chief?The Germans at Stalingrad had a Corporal.Read the full story here.
- Canada - Teen with Neo Nazi links arrested after lighting student's hair on fire, 'shocking' attack on Jewish teen at Winnipeg high school.(Edmontonjournal).Winnipeg — A police probe is underway into an incident at a Winnipeg high school involving a student with Nazi links who reportedly used a lighter to burn the hair of a Jewish student. The altercation in a hallway at Oak Park High School last month apparently also saw the 15-year-old boy make anti-Semitic slurs toward the 15-year-old girl."There was definitely some racial comments made and some physical aggression occurred," said Lawrence Lussier, superintendent of Pembina Trails School Division.Lussier said the "ends of (the girl’s) hair were singed" by a lighter.The school became aware of the incident when the girl told a counsellor what happened three days later, said Lussier.A spokesman for the Winnipeg Police Service said Friday officers were in the midst of an investigation and had no comment.Lussier said the male student involved in the incident was immediately suspended and has withdrawn from the school while the girl continues to attend the high school."Shortly thereafter, his legal guardian decided to withdraw him from the school,". "It’s pretty shocking for us that this particular event and the nature of this event happened," said Lussier."We are still working with the school principal on educational efforts that will promote respect and acceptance and hopefully prevent any future action like this. This is not something that happens regularly."It happened and we can’t deny that, of course, but it is something that we actively work against and we will continue to make every educational effort we can to diminish or eliminate any future activity like that.""There's an ongoing investigation to determine if any other students should be disciplined," said Lawrence Lussier the Superintendant for Pembina Trails School Division. A justice source said no charges have been laid, but the Crown is also looking at what kind of charge might be most appropriate. The source told the Winnipeg Free Press the file is being reviewed by senior members of the Crown attorney’s office because of the rarity of the allegations. The source described the accused as having alleged Nazi and skinhead links, but said authorizing a specific hate-crime charge may be difficult."That would likely be used as an aggravating factor at sentencing, however," the source said.The source suggested a more likely charge would be assault with a weapon, although no decision has been made. "I would expect it will come in the next week or so," the source said.There is a rarely used section of the Criminal Code that pertains to hate crimes, where a person could be charged with public incitement of hatred for "communicating statements in any public place" that lead to inciting "hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace.""This kind of case may not be a specific hate crime, per se, under the definition," the source said.In this case, the boy is a youth, so any charge he faces would be under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.Lussier said there’s been contact with the parents of the victim and the alleged attacker."This is an incident that happened between two students to begin with, and there’s been some interaction between students (on) social media, and the parents that need to know are the parents of the victim and the parents of the aggressor," he said.Alan Yusim, midwest regional director for B’nai Brith Canada, said the incident "tears at the fabric of the community." He had not heard about the incident before being contacted by the Free Press."I think there should be zero tolerance for any hate-motivated activity in our schools," said Yusim."It’s unfortunate these things happen, but they’re out there, and they must be dealt with effectively because everybody’s a victim when that sort of an incident occurs."Read the full story here, more here.
- Breaking - Iranian military shot down US drone, local media say.(France24).Iran's military on Sunday shot down a US Army RQ-170 unmanned aerial vehicle after it "briefly violated" Iranian territory in the east, near the Afghanistan and Pakistan borders, local media said. Al-Alam Arabic language satellite channel, quoting a military source, said the drone was shot down "a few hours ago."Fars news agency said the drone had violated Iran's airspace at its eastern borders. Fars has close ties to the Revolutionary Guards, an elite force in charge of the country's air defence and missile programmes."Our air defence and electronic warfare units managed to identify and shoot down an advanced unmanned spy aircraft -- RQ-170 -- after it briefly violated the eastern border territory," Fars said, quoting an unnamed military source.The drone "was downed with slight damage. It is now under the control of our forces," the source added, calling the incident "a blatant territorial violation."The RQ-170 Sentinel is a reconnaissance drone whose existence was revealed in 2009 by specialised media, and later confirmed by the US Air Force in 2010.In January, Iran announced that its forces had downed two US drones after they violated Iranian-controlled airspace. It later said it would put the aircraft on public display.The US military and Central Intelligence Agency routinely use drones to monitor military activity in the region. They have also reportedly used them to launch missile strikes in Yemen as well as in Afghanistan and Pakistan's lawless tribal belt.Hmmm....Obama might send in his lawyers now.Read the full story here.More here.
- Assad sends message: Army test-fires Scud missile.(YNet).The Syrian Arab News Agency reported Sunday that the Syrian army has staged a live-fire drill in the eastern part of the country "under war-like circumstances with the aim of testing the missile weaponry in confronting any attack."According to the report, during the drill the army fired at least one Scud-B missile, which has a range of about 300 kilometers (roughly 190 miles), in the direction of the border with Iraq. It was further reported that 300 and 600-millimeter surface-to-surface missiles were also test fired. The missiles have a range of 150 (93 miles) and 200 kilometers (124 miles), respectively.The government's mouthpiece said forces conducted the drill "with accuracy and achieved distinctive results," adding "the performance of the missile forces showed high spirits which represented the ability of the Syrian missile forces to defend the homeland."The drill is apparently aimed at showing the region's nations that Syria's army is still functioning despite the civil uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime, which, according to the UN, has claimed some 4,000 lives so far. The exercise also sends a message to the international community amid calls for NATO's intervention in Syria. Meanwhile, a senior US official said on Sunday that President Assad is leading Syria to the brink of civil war by inflaming sectarian hatreds through his bloody crackdown on protesters challenging his rule,.Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman accused Assad of forcing his minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, who are the country's ruling elite and have a tight grip on the country's military and security apparatus, into a bloody conflict with the country's majority Sunnis. "Bashar al-Assad is the one who is deepening the sectarian hatred. He seems to be intent on fulfilling his own prophecy that Syria is going to move into chaos and civil war," Feltman, who is in charge of near eastern affairs, told reporters in Amman. "He (Assad) is using one community in Syria, he is drawing on intelligence services that are largely made up of one community in Syria and he is using them against demonstrations that are largely composed of another community in Syria," Feltman said. "So when you are talking of growing sectarian strife in Syria it's happening because of what Bashar al-Assad is doing," he added. Western powers led by the United States have called on Assad to leave power. Feltman said the stepped-up diplomatic moves by the Arab League and the international community to isolate the regime was to avoid a slide into deeper bloodshed. "But the way you save Syria from moving into chaos and civil war is you get rid of Bashar, stop his methods now, so we hope this happens quickly," Feltman said. He said the US administration did not want military intervention in Syria and still had not "exhausted peaceful avenues" to force Assad to end a military crackdown that has pushed the death toll close to 4,600. "I don't think any one of us wants to see any kind of military intervention in Syria..So we need to look at what tools we have to try to show Assad and the clique around him that running Syria like a murderous family in business is not the best way to move forward," he added. Washington, which has tightened sanctions on Damascus in recent months, planned to pile tougher and tougher sanctions to further hurt the country's ruling elite, Feltman said. "I think there has been pain imposed on some people very close to the top circles of the regime cannot predict what the long range impact is going to be but I can tell you we will be looking for ways to continue to increase the pressure on Bashar al-Assad," Feltman added. Read the full story here.
- Obama regime : We're not only in the business of selling guns to drug cartels, we also do money laundry.(NYT).WASHINGTON — Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials.The agents, primarily with the Drug Enforcement Administration, have handled shipments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal cash across borders, those officials said, to identify how criminal organizations move their money, where they keep their assets and, most important, who their leaders are.They said agents had deposited the drug proceeds in accounts designated by traffickers, or in shell accounts set up by agents. The officials said that while the D.E.A. conducted such operations in other countries, it began doing so in Mexico only in the past few years. The high-risk activities raise delicate questions about the agency’s effectiveness in bringing down drug kingpins, underscore diplomatic concerns about Mexican sovereignty, and blur the line between surveillance and facilitating crime. As it launders drug money, the agency often allows cartels to continue their operations over months or even years before making seizures or arrests. Agency officials declined to publicly discuss details of their work, citing concerns about compromising their investigations. But Michael S. Vigil, a former senior agency official who is currently working for a private contracting company called Mission Essential Personnel, said, “We tried to make sure there was always close supervision of these operations so that we were accomplishing our objectives, and agents weren’t laundering money for the sake of laundering money.”Another former agency official, who asked not to be identified speaking publicly about delicate operations, said, “My rule was that if we are going to launder money, we better show results. Otherwise, the D.E.A. could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.” Hmmm....No.... Really, no kidding?Read the full story here.
- Barry Rubin:"The Obama Administration is a strategic enemy" - Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta Shows How the Obama Administration Is Selling Out Israel…And U.S. Interests.(RubinReports).By Barry Rubin.In a major address on U S. Middle East policy to the Brookings Institution U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gave us a clear picture of the Obama Administration’s view of the region. When taken along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent speech on the same subject, we now know the following regarding Obama’s policy:It is dangerously and absurdly wrong. This administration totally and completely, dangerously and disastrously for U.S. interests misunderstand the Middle East. They are 180 degrees off course, that is heading in the opposite direction of safety.Despite the satisfactory state of relations on a purely military level, the Obama Administration is not a friend of Israel, even to the extent that it was arguably so in the first two years of this presidency.It is now an enemy; it is on the other side. Again, the issue is not mainly bilateral relations but the administration’s help and encouragement to those forces that are Israel’s biggest enemies, that want to rekindle war, and that are 100 percent against a two-state solution. And I don’t mean the Palestinian Authority, I mean the Islamists.And the Obama Administration is also a strategic enemy of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Morocco, and Jordan. It is also a strategic enemy to the democratic opposition forces in Iran, Syria, Turkey, Tunisia, and Egypt.Having analyzed and studied the Middle East for almost four decades I say none of this lightly. And these conclusions arise simply from watching what the administration says and does.In his speech, Panetta has bashed Israel based on a ridiculously false premise. Here it is:“I understand the view that this is not the time to pursue peace, and that the Arab awakening further imperils the dream of a safe and secure, Jewish and democratic Israel. But I disagree with that view.” Nevertheless, Israel needs to take risks and particularly, “The problem right now is we can’t get them to the damn table, to at least sit down and begin to discuss their differences.”First, there is a peculiar phrase that I have not seen used even once to describe the Middle East events of 2011, “Arab awakening” instead of “Arab Spring.” This apparently comes from the title of a new book about these events.But what is the origin of this phrase? The Arab Awakening was the famous book written by George Antonius (subsidized by a U.S foundation to do so, by the way) advocating Arab nationalism and opposition to Zionism in 1938. The Arab Awakening began a half-century pan-Arab struggle against Israel’s creation or existence might this not give us a hint of what the new “Arab Awakening” is going to do? Oh, and 1938 marks the year when Great Britain desperately tried to sell out the Jews in order to gain Arab support (for the coming war with Germany and Italy). Within two years of Antonius’s book the form the Arab Awakening took was an alliance with Nazi Germany. One of the main allies of Berlin was the Muslim Brotherhood, now coming into power in Tunisia and Egypt.Interesting parallels.But there are three other major questions raised in Panetta’s statement.First, does the current “Arab Awakening” imperil Israel? Yes, of course it does. By changing a reasonably friendly Egyptian government into a totally hostile Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi dominated political system closely allied with Hamas, the Gaza Strip’s ruler, and by helping establish Islamist regimes in Tunisia and Libya allied with this Muslim Brotherhood International; the changes create a four-member alliance intent on wiping Israel off the map.Add to that Islamist domination of Lebanon by Hizballah, an Islamist regime in Turkey, and the continuing threat from Iran and you’ve got quite a regional situation.Second, and more interestingly, why is the above true? The answer is as follows:
- Democracy in theory is admirable but when you have masses imbued with very radical views, strong Islamist movements, and weak moderate ones, the election winners will be extremely radical Islamists. By winning massive victories, facing a weak (even sympathetic) United States, and seeing even mor extreme forces becoming so popular (the Salafists in Egypt) the Islamists are emboldened to be even more radical in their behavior. Who’s going to stop them?
- We are thus not facing a springtime of democracy but a springtime of extremism.
- The Islamists don’t want peace with Israel on any terms. They want its destruction. They will not be dissuaded by a peace agreement. They will do anything possible–starting with demagoguery and ending with terrorism or even war–to block such a diplomatic solution. How can Israeli action reconcile those who don’t want peace?As of now, the following are governed or will soon be governed by Islamists who want Israel’s destruction and genocide against the Jews there: Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.The following are governed by those who want peace with Israel: Jordan.
- Not only is the United States not opposing this development it is supporting it. In other words, U.S. policy is intensifying the threat to Israel, not helping Israel.
Third, why are there no negotiations? As the history of the issue since January 2009 shows, it is the refusal of the Palestinian Authority to negotiate with Israel. If Panetta and the Obama Administration were either wise or honest they would acknowledge this fact. Instead, they blame Israel. Once again, U.S. policy is intensifying the threat to Israel, not helping Israel.Consequently, Panetta’s statement that Israel has a responsibility to build regional support for Israeli and United States’ security objectives is nonsense. Let me put it in the form of a lesson in logic:
- Israeli security objectives and the U.S. national interest are consistent.
- But Israeli security objectives and Obama administration objectives are not consistent.
- And Obama administration objectives and the U.S. national interest are not consistent.
Consider Panetta’s statement
“I believe security is dependent on a strong military but it is also dependent on strong diplomacy. And unfortunately, over the past year, we’ve seen Israel’s isolation from its traditional security partners in the region grow.”But why has it grown? Because of the advance of Islamist radical regimes and movements which are not tolerant of Israel’s security needs or in fact of Israel’s existence.This is the equivalent of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain making the same statement in 1938:“I believe security is dependent on a strong military but it is also dependent on strong diplomacy. And unfortunately, over the past year, we’ve seen Czechoslovakia’s isolation from its traditional security partners in the region grow.”Panetta’s suggestion, like that of Chamberlain in 1938 is that Israel should mend relations with such “traditional security partners.” Specifically, he stated, “Israel can reach out and mend fences with those who share an interest in regional stability – countries like Turkey and Egypt, as well as Jordan,”That statement is false. Israel can’t reach out and mend fences with Turkey and Egypt because they do not share an interest in regional stability. They are no longer status quo powers; they are countries that want revolutionary change in the Middle East. And this claim takes on special irony since Israel must now not just mend the fence but build an entirely new fence to protect itself from cross-border attacks from Egypt.Turkey today is not the Turkey of the past. Israel had good relations with Turkey when it was governed by center-right or social democratic parties. Today Turkey is governed by Islamists who hate Israel. Doesn’t Panetta understand the difference? No! Now that’s scary.Here’s the truth: The Islamist regime in Turkey has replaced Israel as the number-one Middle East friend and advisor. And this is a government about which a half-dozen years ago Israel’s ambassador told an American counterpart (as we see on Wikileaks) that this regime hates Israel and hates Jews. That message is in a State Department cable.What about Egypt? Well, the Obama Administration helped get rid of that security partner. And as for Jordan, it is understandably scared stiff. In the environment of Islamist advance it is trying to appease its own Islamists and is moving closer to Hamas as a way of surviving. And last month the king of Jordan said in a Washington Post interview that nobody could depend on America any more.Panetta said, “It is in Israel’s interest, Turkey’s interest, and US interest for Israel to reconcile with Turkey, and both Turkey and Israel need to do more to put their relationship back on track,” But it is not—repeat not—in the interest of the current government of Turkey to reconcile with Israel. We saw this in the Israel-Turkey negotiations over the flotilla in which the Turkish prime minister wanted to ensure there would be no deal.There are two more shockingly absurd pieces of advice Panetta has for Israel.“This is not impossible [for Israel to try to mend fences]. If the gestures are rebuked, the world will see those rebukes for what they are. And that is exactly why Israel should pursue them.”What does an Israeli audience think of when it reads this? Of the same old message from the West to Israel: make gestures, give concessions, take risks, and when they are rebuked “the world will see.” This is precisely the same advice given regarding the 1990s’ peace process, the freeze of construction on settlements, and the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. And every time the world doesn’t see. After the risk is taken (and Israel’s security suffers), and the concessions are made (and Israelis die), the world is even more critical of Israel and repeats, as Panetta does, that Israel has done nothing for peace.These are harsh words about the Obama Administration and for those who don’t understand the current situation in the Middle East they will no doubt seem partisan, extreme, and alarmist.This is the worst tragedy of all: sadly and regrettably they are quite true.Hmmm.....Hear,hear.Read the full story here.
- The White House needs to come clean on Elena Kagan and the Affordable Care Act.(WP).By Lamar Smith.The Supreme Court’s current session is likely to prove one of the most important in many years. At the heart of a case the justices will consider is the individual mandate in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which requires every American to purchase health insurance. If the Supreme Court upholds the individual mandate, it will set a precedent for future Congresses and expand the federal government’s reach into our everyday lives.But the outcome of the case is not the only issue of concern to the American people. Interest groups on both sides are calling for the recusal of two Supreme Court justices. While we don’t know whether these justices should recuse themselves, it is clear that not all of the allegations are equal. For example, some groups allege that Justice Clarence Thomas should recuse himself because of his wife’s involvement with groups opposed to the health-care law. But concerns about the job or personal views of a justice’s spouse are not the same as concerns that a justice may have been involved in a matter before it reached the high court. Specifically, Justice Elena Kagan may have played a role in the development and defense of the president’s health-care law during her tenure as U.S. solicitor general. Despite claims from Obama administration officials that Kagan was not involved in the health-care discussions, e-mails released last month indicate that there may be more to the story. One e-mail shows then-Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal telling a public-affairs staffer that Kagan was not involved in any of the discussions or consultations over the legislation. But in an e-mail dated two months earlier, Katyal forwarded to Kagan information about a meeting at the White House on the health-care law and wrote: “I think you should go, no? I will regardless but feel this is litigation of singular importance.” Kagan responded by asking Katyal for his phone number.While we don’t know whether Kagan attended that meeting, her response suggests that she discussed it with Katyal over the phone. This exchange of e-mails raises the question of whether she tried to hide her involvement by conducting conversations over the phone to limit any paper trail.We also know from the e-mails that she personally supported the legislation’s passage. In an exchange with a Justice Department colleague discussing an upcoming House vote on the health-care bill, Kagan exclaims, “I hear they have the votes, Larry!! Simply amazing.”These e-mails reveal inconsistencies with the administration’s claims that Kagan was completely walled off from this issue. To help clear up any confusion, I have written to the Justice Department and the White House to get additional documents and conduct staff interviews. Unfortunately, the administration’s refusal to cooperate with a legitimate congressional inquiry only heightens the public’s concern. The NFL wouldn’t allow a team to officiate its own game. If, as solicitor general, Kagan did advise administration officials on the constitutionality of the president’s health-care law, she should not officiate when the matter comes before the Supreme Court.The Obama administration has a responsibility to fully disclose any information about what role Kagan played in the review of the Affordable Care Act. The validity of the outcome at the high court depends on the impartiality of the justices. This case is far too important for the White House to refuse to provide the facts to the American people. Read the full story here.
- Hillary Clinton's criticism sparks Israeli anger.(AlArabiya).Israeli ministers reacted angrily on Sunday after local media quoted U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying she feared for the future of Israel’s democracy and the rights of women in the Jewish state.Clinton’s remarks, reportedly made Saturday behind closed doors at the Saban Forum in Washington, made headlines in most Israeli newspapers, which reported them without explaining how they obtained the comments.Top-selling Yediot Aharonot said Clinton had expressed concern about a slew of “anti-democratic” bills proposed by right-wing members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.And the newspaper said Clinton had described shock at hearing that some buses in Jerusalem were gender segregated and some religious Israeli soldiers refused to attend events where women would sing.The comments sparked a quick backlash in Jerusalem, where Israeli ministers holding a weekly cabinet meeting accused Clinton of hyperbole.Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz called Clinton’s remarks “totally exaggerated,” Israeli media reported.“Israel is a living, breathing liberal democracy,” he said.Steinitz reportedly acknowledged that gender segregation was a problem in Israel, “but to claim there is a threat on Israeli democracy is a big stretch.”Environment Minister Gilad Erdan also acknowledged some concerns about growing calls for gender segregation by Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community, but suggested Clinton direct her attention elsewhere.“Elected officials all over the world should first worry about their problems at home,” he said.And Interior Minister Eli Yishai of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, defended the Jewish state, saying it remained the “only democracy in the Middle East.”“I assume that whatever will be done here will be within the measure of the law,” local media quoted him as saying.Israeli lawmakers have in recent months championed a series of bills criticized by local rights groups as an attempt to rein in left-leaning NGOs and journalists.Among the most controversial of the proposed laws is one that would limit foreign funding for certain NGOs − legislation that leftist activists say targets groups opposed to Israeli occupation that report on violations of Palestinian human rights.That bill has already attracted international criticism, and Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Sunday that the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, had relayed Washington’s concerns about the legislation to Netanyahu’s staff.A similar message was relayed by Germany’s ambassador several weeks earlier, the newspaper said.Read the full story here.
- The Simon Wiesenthal Center calls on Clinton to fire US Ambassador Gutman.(SWC).The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to "immediately and unequivocally disassociate herself from comments made by U.S. Ambassador Howard Gutman (pictured) who told a Jewish group that, "A distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism which should be condemned and Muslim hatred of Jews which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.""The Simon Wiesenthal Center calls on Secretary of State Clinton to immediately rebuke Gutman for excusing Muslim hatred of Jews," said Rabbis Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder and Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean in a statement on behalf of the 400,000 constituent families of the leading Jewish Human Rights NGO."America has always taken the lead in condemning hate in all its manifestations, not providing a moral free pass to extremists whose hate of Jews besmirches the Muslim religion and has spawned violent hatred against Jews across the Middle East and beyond.""Following Gutman's twisted logic, Christian anti-Semites who insist that their hatred of Jews is based on the fact that the Jewish people failed to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah should also be excused until such time as the underlying reason for that hate - the Jewish people's refusal to accept Jesus as messiah is reversed.""As Ambassador to Belgium, a country where Jews have been attacked by Muslim extremists, Ambassador Gutman's statement is beyond shocking. It will only serve to further embolden hate from Islamist extremists in Europe and beyond. It is critical for Secretary of State Clinton to immediately clarify if Gutman's statement reflects or violates U..S policy vis-à-vis anti-Semitism," Wiesenthal Center officials concluded.Read the full story here.
- Will the White House be forced to fire Gutman?(IsraelMatzav).The Washington Jewish Week reports from a source said to be close to the Obama campaign that while the White House is 'distancing' itself verbally from Gutman, much more will need to be done. We condemn anti-semitism in all its forms, and that there is never any justification for prejudice against the Jewish people or Israel," the White House said in a statement that was sent tonight to Jewish leaders and others. A copy of that statement was forwarded to this blog.While the White House appears to be making it clear that it will not tolerate Ambassador Howard Gutman's
seemingly anti-Semitic comments*chastisement of Israel, at least one source close to the Obama campaign implied that the administration must take concrete action."Anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism," said the source. But "if the Obama administration's rebuke of its Belgium ambassador is to be taken seriously, we expect greater action than a statement."And so, in the interest of not letting the Obama administration off the hook on this one, here are a couple of more condemnations that have come in. This is from the Republican Jewish Coalition. "The remarks reportedly made by President Obama's Ambassador to Belgium are outrageous," [Executive Director Matthew] Brooks said. "It's no wonder that hearing such a message from this country's representative left an audience of European Jewish leaders 'stunned.'"Brooks continued, "Unfortunately, this administration's policies of 'daylight' and pressure toward our ally Israel encourage the dangerously misguided tendency to make excuses for anti-Semitic hatred and bigotry."The linkage in the ambassador's remarks, blaming Israel for anti-Semitism, is a short step from the linkage that President Obama has expressed several times himself, that Israel is to blame for the unrest and instability in the Middle East. Both forms of linkage are fundamentally wrong."Given the importance of the US maintaining its leadership role in the fight against resurgent European anti-Semitism - including in Belgium - it is good that the administration has distanced itself from Ambassador Gutman's remarks. Now, it is essential that the administration address the question of how Gutman can credibly represent our nation in his important post."One of my friends points out: Remember that mainstreaming on this one isn't limited to the US ambassador. Soros has been saying the exact same thing since 1999 and he said it again in 2003. That second time ended up getting posted all over hate sites like Stormfront, the conspiracy sites, the Democratic Underground, etc. That would make it more likely than not that Obama agrees with his ambassador, even if he cannot do so in public right now.Hmmm......"By their fruits you will know them".Read the full story here.
- SEIU Organizing “Occupy” Protest Around In DC, Plan To Storm Congressional Hearings.(CNSNews).The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), whose political action committee made more than $27 million in independent expenditures to help elect Barack Obama president in 2008, is now organizing a Occupy movement encampment scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C. next week.“It’s time for the 99%-ers to be a visible, peaceful presence in Washington, DC,” says a notice for the event posted on the website of SEIU Local 1991.“By day we’ll show up at Congressional hearings and K Street lobbyists’ offices, and by night we’ll crash in church auditoriums, union halls, and in tents around the Capitol,” says the notice. “Our goal is to remind Congress their job is to represent all Americans — not just the richest 1%.”The union’s website also include a registration form for the encampment and an itinerary.In addition to living in tents on the National Mall (as well as at local churches, halls and homes), the campers are scheduled to “Occupy” congressional offices, march on K Street to visit “corporate lobbying firms that have polluted the political system and rigged the economy against the 99%.”Hmmm.....Obama's 'army' preparing their version of the'Reichtag burning"?Read the full story here
- Muslim Anti-Semitism, Israel, and the Dynamics of Self-Destructive Scapegoating.(TAS).(There’s a shorter version of this up at the Daily Telegraph. Check out the amazing comments.).HT: IsraelMatzav.If I am wrong, and Palestinian hatred is merely a result of the “occupation”, then concessions from the Israelis should lead to a lessening of Palestinian hatred, and the road to peace. As Stephen Bronner, prominent scholar of Anti-Semitism noted in an article on the Protocols,Nevertheless, it makes sense to believe that an anti-Semitism that has only grown with the success of Israeli imperialist policy will diminish with a change in that policy.This is the prevailing paradigm that currently dominates thinking about the Arab-Israeli conflict. It projects a kind of positive-sum rationality on Arab political culture, and assumes that if something’s wrong, it is the fault of the stronger party unwilling to compromise (Israel). It’s the same mentality that gives us the universal and universally wrong excitement of the MSNM about the “Arab Spring” – get rid of a dictator… get democracy. No? No.Of course, if the Palestinians really are rational, really want their own state (rather than to destroy Israel), then they should, in principle, be amenable to making some important moves towards reconciliation, like, say, cutting off the hate incitement on TV, and building settlements in the land they control (Area A of the West Bank and all of Gaza) to resettle their refugees. No? No.But if I’m right, if it’s a profoundly rooted anti-Semitism among Arabs today, one that has been “cooking” for over a century, got jacked up on steroids during the Nazi period, and hit a rolling boil in 2000 with the al Durah blood libel, then it’s another story entirely. If I’m right, then “solving the refugee problem” by allowing these poor victims of war to have a real home is not on the Palestinian agenda – even if they got their state. On the contrary, these “refugees” are designated victim-weapons in a war of annihilation.If I’m right, then every time Israel makes concessions, it encourages further aggressions. Thus, despite what the politically correct paradigm, based on projecting our own liberal mentality on others, anticipated, every time Israel engaged in anti-imperialist activities – like withdrawing from most of the West Bank (1994-2000), all of southern Lebanon (2000) and all of Gaza (including uprooting 8000 settlers) – the result was more and more vicious aggression.Nor is this merely a problem faced by Israel. (I know there are many anti-Zionists out there who treasure the thought that if only they throw Israel into the maw of the beast, that they’ll be spared, but that too is a piece of cognitive egocentrism in which their imagined distinction between the West (us) and despised Israel (them) is shared by the Jihadis.) Israel is to Europe dealing with Jihadi Islam what the Sudetenland was to the French and English in dealing with the Nazis. The difference is that, thankfully for the West, Israel is armed and refuses to commit suicide – even though that infuriates those who would prefer they do so quietly.For ultimately, the problem of anti-Semitism is not a Jewish but a gentile problem. Granted the Jews suffer from anti-Semitism, indeed they’re often the first to suffer. But the ultimate price is paid by those foolish enough to either get sucked into the world of hatred and paranoia that anti-Semites peddle, or ignore its presence as a sad but inevitable part of life. As any historian of World War II can tell you, if six million Jews were murdered, more than ten (!) times as many non-Jews died in that madness.The Arab world in the latter half of the 20th century offers a striking parallel to Spain in the 16th century. Both worlds had expelled their Jews (Spain in 1492, Arabs in 1948); both experienced a flood of wealth (Spain got New World gold and the Arabs got Petrodollars); and both were failed societies unable to parlay that wealth into a thriving culture that made life better for all its people. As Ruth Wisse put it recently: “Arab leaders do not yet acknowledge that they sealed the doom of their societies in 1948 when they organized their politics against the Jewish state rather than toward the improvement of their countries.” And they’re doing it again, this time not from the top down, but from the bottom up.In a recent article, Jeffrey Goldberg tried to acknowledge the problem of anti-Semitic sentiments pervading the “Arab Spring” all the while preserving the belief that “The people of the Middle East are finally awakening to the promise of liberty.” But the two are intimately related. The Judeophobia of these alleged “liberty-seekers” isn’t some deplorable but ultimately separate issue. The Judeophobia is not the problem, but the symptom. It’s the conspiracy thinking that blames every problem on the “other”: Muslims attack Copts? It’s the Jews. Police turn violently on the crowds? It’s the Jews. Arab Spring turning into Islamist Winter? It’s the Jews (or, if you’re on the BBC, “outside forces”). How can one possibly inaugurate, foster, and sustain a democratic culture of freedom, one that, the in words of Isaiah Berlin, considers it “shameful not to grant to others the freedom one wants to exercise oneself,” without an ability to self-criticize?Anti-Semitism is everyone’s problem, especially the Muslims. And the sooner the “progressives” who want to help them, stop feeding their anti-Semitic vulnerabilities by joining them in demonizing Israel, and help them deal with the problem of self-criticism (a virtue to which the “left” could well afford to renew its commitments), the sooner we are likely to see a real Arab Spring, one that benevolent people the world over can sincerely cheer. Of course that would mean that anti-Zionists would have to overcome their own scapegoating fantasies.Read the full story here.
- Barak Joins Dots on Mysterious Iranian Explosions.(IsraCast).Defense Minister Ehud Barak: 'In Iran These Days Accidents Can Happen As Well As Other Things"'Those Who Argue That We'll Know When Iran Makes Dash For Nuclear Weapons Ignore Possibility That Iranians Will Get The Bomb On The Sly and Then Become Immune From Intervention'IsraCast Assessment: By Saying Sanctions Would Fail and Refusing To Say If Israel Was Involved In Mysterious Explosions, Barak Inferred That Israel Was Not Ready To Allow Iran To Secretly Develop The Bomb.For the second time in two weeks, a major explosion has severely damaged another Iranian nuclear facility. Who is behind these mysterious explosions, the assassination of nuclear experts, and the bugging of computers at centrifuge centers processing enriched uranium? Interviewed on the Voice of Israel, Defense Minister Ehud Barak assessed various aspects of the Iranian file shortly after Iranian rioters smashed their way into th British embassy in what was an obvious show of the Tehran regime's attitude to London. Analyst David Essing reads between the lines of Defense Minister Ehud Barak's guarded assessment of Israel's current approach to Iran's nuclear weapons program and what the rest of the world is or is not doing about it.A senior IDF intelligence officer Brig. Gen Itay Brun has informed the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the current level of sanctions would not force Iran o halt her nuclear weapons program. Panetta's bottom line was that Iran would have to make a decision about whether they continue to be 'a pariah or whether they decide to join the international community'. This however is a total misreading of radical Islam which is the fanatical creed of Mahmoud Ahmadenijad and his ayatollah masters - their political goal is not to join the international community but to dominate it, once they acquire nuclear weapons. If they do, North Korea will look like a political pushover by comparison.Read the full story here.
- Pakistan to Respond ‘Instantly’ to Any Border Aggression.(Stratrisks).The head of Pakistan’s military has ordered his country’s forces to respond instantly to any future aggression along the border with Afghanistan without waiting for instructions from high command.Pakistani military sources confirmed to VOA Friday that General Ashfaq Kayani has told his soldiers to fully retaliate “irrespective of the cost and consequences” to any future aggression, following the deadly NATO bombing on two Pakistani border outposts nearly a week ago.Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told the country’s Parliamentary Committee on National Security Friday that under no circumstances would his government allow Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity to be jeopardized by, what he called, “ill-considered and rash actions.”He reiterated Pakistan’s frustration over continued calls from the West to do more in the fight against terrorism, saying there is a limit to Pakistan’s patience and that “cooperation cannot be a one-way street.”In Washington, the Pentagon said Pakistan is refusing to participate in a U.S. military investigation into the airstrikes.The Pentagon spokesman said Pakistan was invited to be involved in the probe but has “elected to date not to participate.”Meanwhile, thousands of Pakistanis protested across the country following Friday prayers.One Karachi University student said the Pakistani army is under attack.“That shows that Pakistan is in a state of war. It’s our message out to the citizens of Pakistan, to the world outside, that Pakistan is in a state of war and the citizens of Pakistan are not dead.”Pakistan’s military has blamed a communications breakdown with preventing it from responding effectively to the incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan maintains the attack was unprovoked.Pakistani officials also deny a Wall Street Journal article that quoted U.S. officials as saying Pakistani authorities gave their approval for the November 27 NATO airstrike, unaware that their forces were in the area.According to the unnamed U.S. officials in the report, an Afghan-led assault force, including American commandos, was hunting Taliban militants when the group came under fire from an encampment along the Afghan-Pakistani border in the Mohmand tribal region.The U.S. officials said the commandos thought they were being fired upon by militants, but the assailants turned out to be Pakistani military personnel who had established a temporary campsite.The article also says the initial U.S. account from the field indicates the U.S. commandos contacted a joint border-control center, which said there were no Pakistani troops in the area, before requesting airstrikes against the encampment.The Wall Street Journal says U.S. officials have acknowledged there were errors made on both sides of the incident, which has prompted Pakistan to boycott next week’s international conference on Afghanistan’s future.The newspaper says U.S. authorities have warned that the latest account is based on interviews with members of the commando team and could change as more information is gathered. It says a formal report is due to be completed by U.S. military investigators by December 23.Read the full story here.
- Panetta’s Dangerous Mistake.(PressurePoints).By Elliot Abrams.Secretary of Defense Panetta addressed the Saban Forum, the annual meeting of Israeli and American journalists, officials, and former officials, on Friday evening. What he said is no mystery; why he said it is a considerable one. The transcript is here.What he said was that Israel is largely to blame for its troubles. No doubt he and other Obama administration officials and spokesmen would deny that, but the journalists present had it right. The Washington Post headline was “Panetta Chides Israel Over Stalled Peace Process.”The New York Times reported that “Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta spoke sternly on Friday to America’s closest ally in the Middle East, telling Israel that it is partly responsible for its increasing isolation and that it now must take “bold action” — diplomatic, not military — to mend ties with its Arab neighbors and settle previously intractable territorial disputes with the Palestinians.”“Get to the damn table,” Mr. Panetta shouted, as if it were Israel rather than the PLO that has been refusing to come to the table.But there was worse.How can it be the role of the Secretary of Defense to undermine the declared policy toward Iran? One wonders if the White House cleared this speech. If not, one hopes there will be hell to pay. If there is not, or if it was indeed cleared, we are learning something anew: that the declared policy that “all options are on the table” is simply not credible. Not here, not in Jerusalem, not in Gulf capitals, and alas not in Tehran.Read the full story here.
- Egyptian Parliamentary Candidate: Jizya Is Only Half a Dinar, and It's Taken from the Rich Christians.(TranslatingJihad).This is from the salafi Nour Party, which apparently will be forming part of the majority coalition in the new Egyptian parliament. The votes haven't even all been counted yet, and already they're talking about implementing Islamic law to discriminate against Christians. This shouldn't be a surprise to anybody, as the candidate himself expresses below--it's not like these guys just "fell from the sky." We know who they are, and all along both the salafis and the Brotherhood have been very clear on the fact that they want Islamic law. Those of us with our eyes open know what that means--an assault on individual liberty, institutionalized discrimination against Christians, Jews, and women, and hostility and war against all non-Muslim countries. And yet the Obama administration and far too many Republicans tell us that this is 'progress.' Yeah, the same kind of 'progress' we saw when the Palestinians voted Hamas into power. Translated from elfagr.com, 3 Dec 2011:
Candidate for the Salafi Nour Party in Assiut: Jizya Is Only Half a Dinar, and It's Taken from the Rich Christians Muhammad Kamal, elfagr.com A candidate for the salafi Nour Party, Ahmad 'Umran, expressed his surprise at being asked, "Who are you, and what is your role in politics?" He responded by saying, "They act as if we just fell from the sky." He added, "The Copts should not forget that we were the ones who freed them from the hands of the Romans, and that jizya is only half a dinar, which is taken from the rich and given to their poor." This came during the Friday sermon at the Mosque of the Court in the city center of Abnub. 'Umran stated that they are planning to take their future in their own hands, and put into practice the Islamic Shari'ah. They believe that they must implement it gradually. 'Umran wonders at Egyptian law, saying: "The law which governs us in our Muslim country comes in three sections--first, statutory law, then customary law, and then the Shari'ah. So the Shari'ah comes in the last of the three sections."Read the full story here.
- France: 'There is no such thing as moderate Islam', says minister of Arab origin.(AlArabiya).A French minister said there was no such thing as moderate Islam, calling recent election successes by Islamic parties in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia “worrying” in an interview published Saturday.Jeannette Bougrab, a junior minister with responsibility for youth, told Le Parisien newspaper that legislation based on Islamic sharia law “inevitably” imposed restrictions on rights and freedoms.Bougrab is of Algerian origin, whose father fought on the French colonial side during Algeria’s war of independence, and said she was speaking as “a French woman of Arab origin.”“It’s very worrying,” she was quoted as saying. “I don’t know of any moderate Islam.”“There are no half measures with sharia,” she added. “I am a lawyer and you can make all the theological, literal or fundamental interpretations of it that you like but law based on sharia is inevitably a restriction on freedom, especially freedom of conscience.”She was reacting to electoral successes scored by the Ennahda party in Tunisia, the Justice and Development Party in Morocco and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has called for dialogue with such parties as long as they respect certain criteria, including the rule of law and women's rights.Bougrab conceded that ousted Tunisian and Egyptian rulers Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak had used the Islamist “threat” to win backing from Western countries, but she added, “We shouldn’t go to the other extreme.”And she hit out at the 30 percent of Tunisians living in France who had voted for Ennahda in last month's polls. “I am shocked that those who have rights and freedoms here gave their votes to a religious party,” she said.”Hmmmm.......“It’s very worrying,” she was quoted as saying. “I don’t know of any moderate Islam.”Read the full story here.
- New Egypt finance minister suspends IMF loan talks.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Mumtaz al-Saeed, Egypt’s newly appointed finance minister, announced on Saturday that the country is not yet ready to negotiate with the Internnational Monetary Fund (IMF) for a proposed $3.2 billion loan, set to aid Egypt in tackling its growing budget deficit.“Regarding the fate of the deal with the IMF for the $3.2 billion fund, which is the deal that has been suspended because of the recent events, al-Saeed said it is too early to know the fate of this loan,” said a statement from the Finance Ministry.The move comes as a policy shift for Egypt’s newly appointed cabinet, after the previous cabinet resigned in light of anti-government clashes that broke out across the country in November, leaving at least 41 dead and at least 3,000 injured, according to official state estimates. Egypt’s former finance minster, Hazem el-Beblawi, who was appointed just last July, had announced on November 20 that he was set to move ahead and negotiate for the loan deal.The new cabinet, headed by Kamal al-Ganzouri, seems to be more hesitant about the idea of accepting foreign funding from the IMF.Over the summer when the loan deal was initially proposed, the deal was rejected due to opposition from the military council, who announced that they sought to tackle Egypt’s budget deficit through regional and private funding.El-Saeed has acted as an advisor to el-Beblawi, and will be the nation’s fourth finance minster this year.Egypt’s interim ruling military council has authority to pick the rest of Egypt’s newly appointed cabinet of ministers. They are set to announce the full list of new ministers on Wednesday.Read the full story here.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Russian song;Ivan Rebroff, born as Hans-Rolf Rippert, (31 July 1931 in Berlin, Germany -- 27 February 2008 in Frankfurt), was a German singer, allegedly of Russian ancestry, with an extraordinary vocal range of four and a half octaves, ranging from the soprano to impressive bass registers.
Rebroff was famous for singing Russian folk songs, but also performed opera, light classics and folk songs from many other countries. He was known on stage for his gusto.
Friday, December 2, 2011
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Antigua and Barbuda 5.6 - 5.5 ; New Zealand 5.7 - 5.3 - 5.2 ; Indonesia 5.3- 5.1 : Chile 5.1!More info here.
- Chilling Chart From Yesterday's Reported Drop in Unemployment: "6,278,000 people are unaccounted for".(DougRoss).I am sure it is just coincidence, but it is interesting to note that the flat lining of the labor force began in earnest with the Obama administration.Hopefully you won't hate me and -- not to trivialize the real thing in the least -- but I can't keep myself from thinking that President Obama is the architect of an economic holocaust.Read and SEE the full story here.
- Obamnesty is Here!(JW).Illegal alien amnesty is no longer the theoretical consideration of federal immigration officials inside the Obama administration. No more musings by Obama administration bureaucrats on how best to bypass Congress and implement illegal alien amnesty in stealth. The secret is now out. And, as reported by The New York Times, illegal alien amnesty is now the official policy of the United States of America, courtesy of the Obama administration:The Department of Homeland Security will begin a review on Thursday (November 17) of all deportation cases before the immigration courts and start a nationwide training program for enforcement agents and prosecuting lawyers, with the goal of speeding deportations of convicted criminals and halting those of many illegal immigrants with no criminal record.The accelerated triage of the court docket — about 300,000 cases — is intended to allow severely overburdened immigration judges to focus on deporting foreigners who committed serious crimes or pose national security risks, Homeland Security officials said. Taken together, the review and the training, which will instruct immigration agents on closing deportations that fall outside the department’s priorities, are designed to bring sweeping changes to the immigration courts and to enforcement strategies of field agents nationwide.First off, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should have but one priority: Protect American citizens by enforcing the law. The vast majority of American citizens believe if a law’s worth having it’s worth enforcing, including laws that prohibit people from sneaking across the border and living in the shadows, often on the taxpayer’s dime! But not this White House. This White House simply picks and chooses which laws it wishes to enforce based on its own whims and political and election needs. And that is a sure path to chaos, confusion and discontent.And don’t believe for a second the Obama administration’s line that criminal illegal aliens won’t find themselves “outside the department’s priorities.”Judicial Watch uncovered documents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) proving that immigration officials were urged to use “prosecutorial discretion” to dismiss deportation proceedings against a wide variety of illegal alien criminals — including those convicted of serious crimes such as sexual assault, solicitation of murder, aggravated assault, assaulting a police officer, and kidnapping, as well as numerous drug charges.Of course, the Obama administration’s tired justification for its new “amnesty” policy is that the system is too stressed to enforce federal immigration laws. This is an excuse, not a reason, to purposely give amnesty (and the authorization to work!) to illegal aliens. After all, we’re talking about an administration that doled out half a billion dollars to the now bankrupt energy company Solyndra. And that’s just a tiny drop in the overflowing bailout bucket. Couldn’t even a small portion of the trillions of taxpayer dollars now “invested” in Solyndra or in the ACORN network be better spent helping to resolve the illegal immigration crisis?Most Americans would answer with an emphatic “yes!”I can’t help but think this move by the Obama administration to effectively “legalize” millions of illegal aliens is intended to create a new community of dependable liberal voters (legal and illegal) just in time for the 2012 elections. That appears to be the record of this White House: tossing bones to key voting groups by crafting policies that undermine the rule of law but satisfy their “special interests.” (See: Black Panthers, La Raza, and DOMA for just a few such examples.) And that is simply indefensible.As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Judicial Watch is in the midst of a massive campaign to tell Barack Obama and the governors of all 50 states that Americans want our immigration laws enforced. In fact, in early November we delivered 85,010 petitions to the president with that very message. As I said in my cover letter that accompanied the petitions: “Your administration must obey the law and not implement amnesty through administrative measures or under the ruse of prosecutorial discretion.”You can be sure that your Judicial Watch will continue its leadership role to investigate and litigate in order to expose and stop Obamnesty and all other efforts to undermine our nation’s laws against illegal immigration. For a good summary of our effective activism in this area, please click here.Read the full story here.
- Turkey Given Possession of 60 B61-12 Nuclear Bombs.(StratRisks).Source: News AZ.'Turkey given possession of nuclear warheads, report says.The United States currently has 70 type B61-12 tactical nuclear bombs at its airbase in Incirlik in the southern province of Adana, according to daily Vatan.Vatan acquired the information from a report by Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen that was published on the “Atomic Scientists Bulletin” website, revealing an inventory of the nuclear weapons the US military keeps in Turkey.The Number of warheads decreased from 90 in 2001.Between 10 and 20 of the 70 nuclear warheads at Incirlik were designed to be delivered to their targets by Turkish warplanes, according to the report.The 142nd fighter/bomber squadron of the Turkish Air Forces, nicknamed the “Gazelles,” was assigned the task of delivering the nuclear ordnances. The squadron consists of F-16A/B warplanes.The US military needed a certain warplane type that is different than those stationed at the Incirlik airbase in order to deliver the remaining 50 warheads, the report by Norris and Kristensen said.The Turkish state, however, has declined to allow the US military to deploy the said aircraft at Incirlik.US warplanes would need to land at Incirlik from another location, equip the nuclear warheads and then fly to their targets, according to the report.Turkey’s refusal to station nuclear-capable US warplanes on its soil prevented Incirlik from acquiring a “full NATO position” status. This was a unique case among NATO bases, the report said.The report indicated that the B61-12 nuclear warheads currently deployed at Incirlik would be changed with the new B61-3/4 warheads.Former Turkish Air Force Commander Gen. Ergin Cilasun was quoted as saying that “Turkey’s nuclear strike duty within NATO has ended” in 2001.Hmmm........The enemy of my friend is my friend?Israel should be very worried.Read the full story here.
- Military Rescinding Outrageous Policy of No Bibles in Hospital.(BarackNow).How in the world did a military policy that prohibits Bibles from being brought in to Walter Reed get made in the first place? Someone needs to be disciplined. The good news is the policy is being rescinded. The bad news is it actually took an outraged congressman to do it.Via Fox News: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center said they are rescinding a policy that prohibits family members of wounded military troops from bringing Bibles or any religious reading materials to their loved ones. The decision to rescind the ban on Bibles came exactly one day after a Republican lawmaker denounced the policy on the House floor and called on President Obama to publicly renounce the military policy. “The President of the United States should address this and should excoriate the people who brought about this policy and the individual who brought it about should be dismissed from the United States Military,” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told Fox News & Commentary.The memo was initially signed by the hospital's Chief of Staff. King spoke from the House floor Thursday blasting a policy memorandum from the commander of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center written by Chief of Staff C.W. Callahan. The September 14th memo covers guidelines for “wounded, ill, and injured partners in care.” “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit,” the policy states. “That means you can’t bring in a Bible and read from it when you visit your son or your daughter, perhaps – or your wife or husband,” King said. “It means a priest that might be coming in to visit someone on their death bed couldn’t bring in the Eucharist, couldn’t offer Last Rites. This is the most outrageous affront.”Here is the speech given by Rep. King, after which the decision was made to rescind the policy. Fast forward to the 7:00 mark if pressed for time: We're seeing a slew of these extremely disturbing positions on the part of top military commanders. In May of 2009, the Army in Afghanistan was ordered to burn Bibles while in September of 2010, General David Petraeus denounced Florida pastor Terry Jones for burning the 'Holy Qur'an.' Let's also not forget that a cross at a US Army post in Afghanistan was forcibly removed.Lastly, and perhaps most egregiously, General George Casey's comments just a few short days after the jihadist massacre at Fort Hood. His take? Nidal Malik Hasan's actions would pale in comparison to 'diversity' to becoming a 'casualty.'Read the full story here.
- White House warns spending talks are on track for another shutdown ‘crisis’.(TheHill).White House Budget Director Jack Lew on Friday warned that the negotiations on the 2012 omnibus spending bill are going poorly and could soon lead to a “crisis” that shuts down the government.Appropriators are negotiating a nine-bill, $900 billion omnibus package, but the White House and Republicans are at odds over rider provisions attached to the spending bills, including ones related to abortion and the environment. Funding for the government runs out Dec. 16, leaving little time to resolve the disputes. Lew said President Obama is prepared to veto an omnibus with ideological riders in it. “I don’t think it is in the interest of the country to have a crisis,” Lew warned. “There is absolutely no reason that this needs to go the path of crisis.”The budget director said that, in addition to riders, the White House will not accept any attempt to revisit the top line $1.043 trillion spending cap that was set by the August debt deal, or a bill that provides less additional disaster aid than that agreement allows. “There should be no miscalculation about the intensity of [the president’s] feelings on this,” Lew said.“I haven’t see a clear movement away from the riders that we are going to need to see,” Lew told reporters in a briefing. “I don’t think the signal has been sent to drop the extreme provisions.”He said it would be a “miscalculation” for Republicans to think that by dropping riders, they can get an agreement from Democrats to defund such Obama administration priorities as Wall Street reform and the healthcare law.House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) denied that a crisis looms over funding the government.“I think cooler heads will prevail and we’ll get this done,” he said when asked about Lew’s comments.Lew would not say that each and every rider needs to be removed from the bill, and instead said that appropriators know which types of provisions must be removed. He cited family planning, women’s health, healthcare reform and mining in the Grand Canyon as examples of extreme provisions that the White House will not accept. “The president is not going to be in a place where he can say everyone can go home for the holidays unless this gets done,” Lew said.Read the full story here.
- "Obamanomics" - A $230,000 Taxpayer-Funded ‘Green Jobs’ Website, but No Jobs Listed.(Heritage).How’s this for a waste of taxpayer money? According to Energy& Environment News, the Department of Energy is paying $230,000 for a website to promote career paths in the green energy sector–and it has, ironically, prohibited the listing of actual jobs in the industry. Here’s the report: The Department of Energy has awarded a $230,000 contract to the Association of Energy Services Professionals to develop a website on energy efficiency jobs — but the agency has prohibited the listing of actual position openings.Instead, the website will include information on what training and education is needed to nab a job, said Suzanne Jones, AESP’s vice president of marketing. In lieu of a job bank, AESP will provide 40 to 50 “very distinct” job descriptions in the energy efficiency industry, along with the education and training needed for such jobs.A DOE spokesman did not return a request for comment in time for publication. The website — called “My Energy Gateway” — will launch in April 2012, according to AESP.It probably shouldn’t be surprising that a “green jobs website” doesn’t actually list any green jobs. After all, President Barack Obama’s green dream has proven to be a bust. The President made green jobs a centerpiece of his Administration, and he hailed them as the future of this U.S. economy. The trouble is, those jobs didn’t materialize, despite a massive infusion of federal spending–including billions in the 2009 stimulus bill.Even The New York Times wrote, ”federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed” and Obama’s goal of creating 5 million new green jobs within 10 years is a “pipe dream.”Maybe the Obama Administration is operating under “The Field of Dreams” theory — if they build a website, the jobs will come. A better strategy would be to get the federal government out of the way and let the free market thrive instead of spending taxpayer money on quarter-million-dollar PR projects.Read the full story here.
- Issa, House Republicans Say Obama HHS Discriminated Against Catholic Church.(DailyCaller).At a Thursday House oversight committee hearing on the administration’s decision not to renew funding to United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to help victims of human sex trafficking, the committee’s Republicans clashed with Health and Human Services official George Sheldon.The hearing, “HHS and the Catholic Church: Examining the Politicization of Grants,” dealt with the Department of Health and Human Services’ denial of a new grant to USCCB — which had been receiving funding to combat trafficking since 2006 under a five year contract.Despite protest from career HHS officials, as the Washington Post reported, three other groups received the grant, including two that received “significantly” lower scores from an independent review board.“The most experienced and top rated national applicant was not selected for this award. Other organizations including ones that submitted much lower rated proposals were somehow funded,” committee Chairman Darrell Issa said, alleging that members of the administration changed the criteria for approval because of a bias against the Catholic Church.Sheldon explained that in its determination HHS granted a preference to those groups “that would provide the full array of services.”“Our experience in operating this program for ten years drove home to us the particular health risked posed by victims of human trafficking. As a result we specified in the funding announcement that we would give a strong preference to applicants that are willing to offer all the services in referrals delineated in the program objectives — including offering victims referral to medical providers that can provide or refer to a full range of services they need,” Sheldon said, noting that if the applicant is unable to perform some of the tasks — such as abortion — they can contract with sub-grantees to provide those services.“We selected grantees that are able to provide a full set of health-related referrals,” he added.Issa pressed Sheldon on the independent scores of the groups that received grant money, asking why USCCR was denied the grant when it had a substantially higher score (89) than two of the three grantees.Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz yielded his time to New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith who lampooned the administration for their “bias.”“The Obama administration’s bias against Catholics is an affront to religious freedom and a threat to all people,” Smith charged.Hmmmm.....Quran Sura 4:24: “And forbidden to you are wedded wives of other people except those who have fallen in your hands.”Read the full story here.
- Canada predicts U.S. approval of Keystone pipeline.(NP).By David Ljunggren and Jeffrey Jones.Canada believes the United States will ultimately approve TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which Washington put on hold last month for more than a year, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said on Friday.Oliver said the project – which would carry crude from Alberta’s oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico coast – still makes enormous economic sense for the United States.“I think it will go through, but obviously later than we had hoped,” he told a Reuters editorial board in Toronto.A recent decision by the state of Nebraska to back changes to the pipeline’s route was “a significant development”, he added.Oliver’s comments were among the most bullish made by Canada’s Conservative government since Washington announced a decision on whether to approve the $7 billion pipeline would be delayed at least until early 2013, after the 2012 U.S. presidential election.“This delay is not a happy event for us but we’re going to continue to talk about the advantages of the pipeline,” Oliver said.Washington’s move followed protests by environmental campaigners and Hollywood celebrities, who say exploitation of the oil sands is causing a huge spike in the emission of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.Oliver said the delay meant it was important for Canada to diversify its oil exports, in particular by developing pipelines to the Pacific Coast, which would allow major shipments to Asia for the first time.The idea is already sparking friction with aboriginal groups and environmental activists, who say such pipeline would present oil-spill risks in environmentally sensitive areas.Aboriginal groups in the Pacific province of British Columbia said on Thursday they had formed a united front to oppose all exports of crude oil from the Alberta tar sands through their territories.Such a ban would create a roadblock for Enbridge Inc’s planned C$5.5 billion ($5.4 billion) Northern Gateway oil pipeline, which would transport tar sands crude to the British Columbia coast.Oliver would not speculate on what the legal implications for the government might be if native communities maintain their opposition to the Northern Gateway or subsequent proposals.“It has to be built in a way that takes into account the environmental impact and the needs and the wishes of the aboriginal community,” he said. “I think that can be done. I’m not saying it will be easy.”Oliver said that developing West Coast oil routes was “an enormous opportunity” for aboriginal groups, offering badly needed economic development, education and jobs.Read the full story here.
- Barak vs US: We can't wait until Iran declares it has a nuclear bomb.(Debka). Major US-Israel differences surfaced suddenly Thursday, Dec. 1, over the timing and circumstances of an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, when Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff, said: "I don't know whether Israel would alert the United States ahead of time if it decided to take military action against Iran." Three hours later, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak maintained US policy would enable Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon without the possibility of attacking it.In an interview, General Dempsey went on to admit a range of differences between the US and Israel on two key issues: The first related to their expectations from the sanctions and the diplomatic moves being taken by the Obama administration, “with the stated intent not to take any options off the table” – language that leaves open the possibility of future military action.“I am not sure that the Israelis share our outlook” on this matter, said the American general.The second issue on which the Americans and Israelis are divided is their perspective on the future course of events relating to the Iranian nuclear program and the Middle East: “And … because to them this (a nuclear-armed Iran) is an existential threat I think probably that it’s fair to say that our expectations are different right now,” said Gen. Dempsey.In an early morning radio interview, Ehud Barak laid Israel's cards on the table with unusual frankness: He said he would be happy if diplomatic moves and sanctions were to stop Iran’s nuclear program and make it possible to give up the military option, but he does not believe that is the case.“They (the Americans) tell us - What’s the hurry with an attack on Iran? Wait until (Ayatollah) Khamenei announces that Iran is abandoning the NPT (nuclear non-proliferation treaty). The Iranians will break the locks (IAEA inspection seals at Iranian uranium enrichment plants) and then it will be clear to all that they have a nuclear weapon.”Barak added: “The difference between us and the Americans is this: We say that because the Iranians are busy moving their nuclear program to underground facilities, they can announce this (that they have a nuclear weapon) after it is no longer possible to attack it." He went on to warn that If Israel is pushed into a corner, “it will have to act.”In other words, Israel is not willing to wait, as the Obama administration proposes, until diplomatic moves and sanctions against Iran have achieved their aim, mostly because Israel is not ready to let Iran complete the transfer of its nuclear facilities to underground facilities and so make them safe from attack.Another point made by the Israeli defense minister was that some of Iran's nuclear facilities have already been hidden underground and are therefore impossible to monitor, even by military satellites. He was referring especially, our sources say, to the Fordo bunker site near Qom where, according to intelligence data, Iran is about to start enriching 20-percent grade uranium to 60 percent. This would bring the program to a few weeks away from weapons grade uranium for a bomb or a warhead.On Tuesday, Nov. 29, former IDF military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin estimated that Iran had already accumulated sufficient enriched uranium to build 4 to 5 nuclear bombs.Israel, Barak replied, is nowhere near being paralyzed by messages of doom. The degree of damage and number of civilian casualties would not, in his view, be alarmingly high. He repeated his estimate of early November that the casualty figure from a combined Arab missile assault resulting from an attack on Iran would be “a lot less than 500” – especially if people took cover.The defense minister concluded this comment by saying: I have no idea what may happen tomorrow morning in Syria, or in Egypt.” debkafile’s military sources interpret this as meaning that the danger of a new Middle East regional war is already present - unrelated to a possible Israeli attack on Iran, but rather as a result of the volatility set up by the uprising in Syria and the predicted rise to power in Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi Islamists.Hmmmm......"Pour les vaincre, messieurs, il nous faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace et la Patrie sera sauvée!" ~ Danton. Read the full story here.
- Panetta: Israel must get to "damn" peace table.(Reuters). Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urged Israel on Friday to get back to the "damn" negotiating table with Palestinians and take steps to address what he described as the Jewish state's growing isolation in the Middle East.Panetta, addressing a forum in Washington, also made one of his most extensive arguments to date against any imminent military action against Iran over its nuclear program, saying he was convinced that sanctions and diplomatic pressure were working."You always have the last resort ... of military action. But it must be the last resort, not the first," Panetta said.Militarily strong, Israel is battling a diplomatic storm as Arab uprisings upset once-stable relationships in the Middle East. But Panetta warned Israel against viewing uprisings like the one in Egypt that toppled president Hosni Mubarak as an excuse to enter a defensive crouch."I understand the view that this is not the time to pursue peace, and that the Arab awakening further imperils the dream of a safe and secure, Jewish and democratic Israel. But I disagree with that view," Panetta said.He said Israel needed to take risks, including by breathing new life into moribund peace talks with Palestinians. When asked by a moderator what steps Israel needed to take to pursue peace, Panetta said: "Just get to the damn table.""The problem right now is we can't get 'em to the damn table, to at least sit down and begin to discuss their differences," Panetta said.Panetta said the United States would safeguard Israel's security, ensure regional stability and prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon -- a goal Tehran denies having."Israel, too, has a responsibility to pursue these shared goals -- to build regional support for Israeli and United States' security objectives," Panetta said."I believe security is dependent on a strong military but it is also dependent on strong diplomacy. And unfortunately, over the past year, we've seen Israel's isolation from its traditional security partners in the region grow."Panetta suggested that Israel reach out and mend fences with countries like Turkey, Egypt and Jordan which "share an interest in regional stability."Turkey was the first Muslim state to recognize Israel, in 1949, but relations worsened last year when Israeli commandos boarded an aid flotilla challenging a naval blockade of the Palestinian enclave of Gaza and killing nine Turks in ensuing clashes.(Hmmmm...Just watch this video then you'll know why things got worse)."It is in Israel's interest, Turkey's interest, and U.S. interest for Israel to reconcile with Turkey, and both Turkey and Israel need to do more to put their relationship back on track," Panetta said.But Panetta said the best course for the United States and the international community was to continue to put pressure on Egypt to follow through with transition to democracy and ensure any future government stands by its peace treaty with Israel.Turning to Iran, Panetta used some of his strongest language yet to explain U.S. concerns about any military strike against Iran over its nuclear program -- which the West believes is aimed at an atomic bomb. Tehran denies this, saying its uranium enrichment is entirely peaceful.Panetta said a strike could disrupt the already fragile economies of Europe and the United States, trigger Iranian retaliation against U.S. forces, and ultimately spark a popular backlash in Iran that would bolster its rulers.It also may not be effective. Panetta cited estimates from Israelis that a strike might set back Iran's nuclear program by one to two years "at best."He finally warned about engulfing the region in war."Lastly I think the consequence could be that we would have an escalation that would take place that would not only involve many lives, but I think could consume the Middle East in confrontation and conflict that we would regret," he said.Hmmmm....It's not about the survival of the U.S or Europe but the survival of Israel!I start to believe that they would take sides with Turkey against Israel.Read the full story here.
- US ambassador in Belgium: 'Jew-hate stems from conflict'.(YNet).BRUSSELS – Growing global anti-Semitism is linked to Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians, the American ambassador to Belgium told stunned Jewish conference attendants in Brussels earlier this week.Speaking Wednesday at a Jewish conference on anti-Semitism organized by the European Jewish Union (EJU,) Howard Gutman told participants he was apologizing in advance if his words are not to their liking. He then proceeded to make controversial statements about his views on Muslim anti-Semitism, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday. A distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Gutman said. He also argued that an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty will significantly diminish Muslim anti-Semitism. The American envoy, a lawyer by training, is Jewish and played a major role in fundraising for the Democratic Party. He was appointed to the post by President Barack Obama.The conference was attended by Jewish lawyers from across Europe. The legal experts at the event were visibly stunned by Gutman’s words, and the next speaker offered a scathing rebuttal to the envoy’s remarks.“The modern Anti-Semite formally condemns Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust and expresses upmost sympathy with the Jewish people. He simply has created a new species, the “Anti-Zionist” or – even more sophisticated – the so-called ‘Israel critic,’” Germany attorney Nathan Gelbart said. “The ‘Israel critic’ will never state ‘Jews go home’ but is questioning the legality of the incorporation of the State of Israel and therefore the right for the Jewish people to settle in their homeland. He will not say the Jews are the evil of the world but claim that the State of Israel is a major cause for instability and war in the region,” he said. “There is no other country, no other people on this planet the ‘Israel critic’ would dedicate so much time and devotion as to the case of Israel.”“For no other country he would criticize or ask to boycott its goods or academics. And this for one simple reason: Because Israel is the state of the Jewish people, not more and not less,” Gelbart said.Conference attendants received Gelbart’s remarks with loud applause, while the American envoy apologized for having to leave the site as result of prior obligations and departed.Earlier, Gutman also presented participants with a short video clip showing him received with warm applause at a Muslim school in Brussels. While he did not mention what prompted the warm reception, his message was that this is the kind of welcome given to a Jew who supports President Obama’s policy of openness to Islam. Approached by Yedioth Ahronoth, the US envoy was asked whether Obama’s policy did not cause America to lose its influence in the region. Gutman responded by saying that the Arab world appreciates Obama following his speech in Cairo, referring to an address delivered by the president in 2009.Hmmmm....."It's the Jews their fault?"Read the full story here.
- Russia: UN sanctions on Iran have been 'exhausted'.(YNet).Moscow believes there is no room for further UN Security Council sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said on Friday."We believe the sanctions track in the Security Council has been exhausted," he told reporters in response to a question about Iran.and its nuclear program. "We continue to believe very strongly that negotiations should continue with Iran."The United States and European powers, trying to further isolate Iran, have seized on a new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency saying Iran appeared to have worked on designing an atom bomb. They have expanded national sanctions against Tehran and suggested the UN council might follow suit.Russia reluctantly supported four rounds of UN sanctions against Iran after working hard with China to dilute the measures before they were approved. Churkin's remarks may indicate that Moscow's tolerance for expanding UN punitive measures against the Islamic Republic have run out.Churkin reiterated Moscow's view that negotiations between the five permanent Security Council members and Germany with Tehran had been undermined by the latest IAEA report. Iran rejects Western allegations that it is developing nuclear arms under cover of a civilian atomic energy program."We were quite upset that that effort was – we hope ... not entirely derailed, but interrupted by recent developments when the IAEA came up with a report which was played up more as a PR exercise than a serious nuclear report," he said.The report contained "very little new information," Churkin added.Churkin also criticized the push by Western and Arab nations to isolate Syria. He said threats against both Syria and Iran were escalating in an unhelpful way."The confrontation scenario is being played out not only with regard to Syria but with regard to Iran as well," he said. "All those threats and insinuations of military action against Iran, they don't help at all."Russia recently vetoed a European-drafted resolution on Syria which would have condemned its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters and threatened possible future sanctions.Hmmmm.....The 'Putin doctrine' : NJET, njet, njet!Read the full story here.
- Alarming rise of Muslim 'honour attacks' in the UK as police reveal thousands were carried out last year.(DailyMail).Nearly 3,000 so-called honour attacks were recorded by police in Britain last year, new research has revealed.According to figures obtained by the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (Ikwro), at least 2,823 incidents of 'honour-based' violence took place, with the highest number recorded in London.The charity said the statistics fail to provide the full picture of the levels of 'honour' violence in the UK , but are the best national estimate so far.The data, taken from from 39 out of 52 UK forces, was released following a freedom of information request by Ikwro.In total, eight police forces recorded more than 100 so called honour-related attacks in 2010.The Metropolitan Police saw 495 incidents, with 378 reported in the West Midlands, 350 in West Yorkshire, 227 in Lancashire and 189 in Greater Manchester.Cleveland recorded 153, while Suffolk and Bedfordshire saw 118 and 117 respectively, according to the figures.Between the 12 forces able to provide figures from 2009, there was an overall 47 per cent rise in honour attack incidents. Police in Northumbria saw a 305 per cent increase from 17 incidents in 2009 to 69 in 2010, while Cambridgeshire saw a 154 per cent jump from 11 to 28.A quarter of police forces in the UK were unable or unwilling to provide data, Ikwro said.The report stated: 'This is the first time that a national estimate has been provided in relation to reporting of honour-based violence.'The number of incidents is significant, particularly when we consider the high levels of abuse that victims suffer before they seek help.''Honour' attacks are punishments usually carried out against Muslim women who have been accused of bringing shame on their family and in the past have included abductions, mutilations, beatings and murder.Ikwro director Diana Nammi told the BBC that families often deny the existence of the attacks.She said: 'The perpetrators will be even considered as a hero within the community because he is the one defending the family and community's honour and reputation.'Calling for more support for victims, she added: 'For some cases, police and some organisations just help them up to a length of time, then they will stop. With honour-based violence, the threat may be a lifetime threat for them.'The problem is that there is no systematic training for police and other government forces in the UK, such as social services, teachers and midwives.' She said that honour-based violence is an 'organised or collective crime or incident' which is orchestrated by a family or within a community. Honour crimes mostly happen in South Asian, Eastern European and Middle Eastern communities, she added. Ms Nammi added that 'lots of things' are considered to be dishonourable including; having a boyfriend, being a victim of rape, refusing an arranged marriage, being gay or lesbian and in some cases wearing make-up or inappropriate dress. The association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said they were working hard to offer support to victims, and front-line staff had been specially trained to deal with complaints. Read the full story here
- Reversing U.S. Retreat from the Arctic.(Heritage).As the Arctic ice cap is decreasing in size, the international race for Arctic resources is heating up.The High North countries—including Russia, Denmark, Norway, and Canada—are scrambling to lay claims on previously inaccessible giant oil reserves and begin their development. Richard Weitz, Ph.D., senior fellow at Hudson Institute, recently published a report on the subject that comes to an unpalatable conclusion: “U.S. is dead last in committing resources to the Arctic mission.”There are a number of reasons for that strategic blunder. First is the lack of public and government attention to the issue and an unwillingness to allocate resources to Arctic exploration. There are certainly some costs involved—the U.S. spent a total of $5.6 million in the Arctic in 2008—but, as The Heritage Foundation rightly notes, that is “a pittance compared to the billions of dollars of Arctic natural resources that are at stake.”A key national interest like this is not an appropriate target for budget cuts. After all, if successful, Arctic exploration could solve multiple economic problems, from creating jobs to reducing dependency on foreign oil from unstable regions.Another reason is that the U.S. is behind countries like Russia and Canada in naval assets and technologies necessary for Arctic exploration and development. Compared to Russia’s flotilla of 18 icebreakers, including seven nuclear-powered ones, the U.S. only has three, two of which are nearing the end of their service lives. Russia is developing new models of nuclear ice breakers, anticipating demand for their services, but unlike Russia, the U.S. government and the private sector are hesitant to commit more funds to building and developing new icebreakers given the current economic situation.Weitz believes that the Arctic “is not fated to become an arena of international conflict” and that most of the disputes will be resolved with international cooperation or negotiations through intergovernmental organizations. However, Russia’s increasingly aggressive posture in the Arctic suggests otherwise.As we wrote, Russia “is increasingly relying on power, not international law, to settle its claims.” To support its Arctic claims, Moscow not only deployed civilian research expeditions; it also resumed military navy and air patrols of the region for the first time since the end of the Cold War. And unlike the U.S., Russia has a number of elite military units trained specifically for combat in the Arctic.We further concluded that that such an aggressive stance and “the current rush to dominate the Arctic Ocean and everything under it indicates that greed and aggression characterize the new Russian polar bear.” Under these circumstances, it remains to be seen whether Russia will use diplomacy, as Weitz outlines. Even if they do, at this point in time it is Russia, not the U.S., who is able to negotiate from a position of strength in the Arctic.Finally, Weitz, mentions that the Arctic countries may use the U.N. Law of the Seas Treaty (LOST) to make resolve disputes. The U.S. is not a party to LOST and thus cannot use the same international legal mechanisms, which he believes somehow may put the U.S. at a disadvantage, as Washington would not be able to use the same international legal mechanisms to enforce its claims as the other Arctic countries. Still, as we wrote before, the claims may still be legally enforceable using President Harry Truman’s Presidential Proclamation No. 2667, which declares that “any hydrocarbon or other resources discovered beneath the U.S. continental shelf are the property of the United States.”To conclude, the U.S. should secure a strong position in the Arctic. Heritage Foundation scholars have written extensively on the issue, and the primary suggestions could be summarized as follows:
- Increase budget spending on Arctic operations, including oil exploration, U.S. coast guard maintenance, and acquisition of icebreakers;
- Check Russian activities in the Arctic;
- Negotiate with other countries with disputed Arctic claims who also oppose Russia’s expansion and are likely to be more friendly to the U.S.;
- Establish secure control over the region with the help of U.S. NATO allies; and
- Using NATO, expand cooperation with other international security organizations, especially EUROCOM, in order to maximize U.S. presence in the region.The stakes in the Arctic are too high for the U.S. to procrastinate on addressing its challenges in the region.Read the full story and more on the subject here.
- THE COPTIC NATIONALISTS WORK FOR A CIVILIAN, SECULAR DEMOCRATIC EGYPT FOR ALL EGYPTIANS REGARDLESS OF RELIGION, SEX, COLOUR OR NATIONALITY. IF THAT IS PROVEN IMPOSSIBLE, IT IS SECESSION. DOUBT IT NOT.(OCN).By Dioscorus Boles.THE COPTIC NATIONALISTS WORK for a civilian, secular democratic Egypt for all Egyptians regardless of religion, sex, colour or nationality. If that is proven impossible, we shall fight for secession and the establishment of an independent Coptic State. When and how the second option may become a first option is frankly in the hands of our co-patriots, the Muslims of Egypt. A special burden falls on the shoulders of the moderate Muslims – they must discard their lethargy, apathy and join us in an anti-Islamist front. There can be no more dangerous enemy to Egypt’s democracy and progress other than the Islamists – their harm touches moderate Muslims and Copts alike. Let us be honest and frank about this: not only Egypt’s democracy and progress is being endangered by the advent of the Islamists, but also its national and territorial unity. Let Egyptians learn the lesson of Sudan!Read the full story here.
- Muslim Brotherhood: Extremist Islamic Group.(HudsonReport).By Khaled Abu Toameh.The Obama Administration is making a mistake by endorsing the Muslim Brotherhood as if it were made up of moderates or "good guys" just because they are not blowing things up.What moderate Arabs and Muslims do not understand is the rush of the Barack Obama Administration to endorse extremist Islamic groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.The Muslim Brotherhood decision to run in the parliamentary elections under the banner of "Freedom and Justice" does not necessarily mean that the organization has changed its ideology.Its credo was and remains: "Allah is our objective, the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our way and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations."The organization believes the Quran and Sharia law (the "Justice" part of "Freedom and Justice") should be the basis for any Islamic government; that all Muslims should be unified under a Caliphate, and that its principles include "liberating Arabs and Muslims from foreign imperialism."The Obama Administration seems deliberately to want to be unaware of "taqiyya" [dissimulation], a silent and therefore even more dangerous tactic advocated in Islam to achieve the strategic goal of soothing the infidels into submitting without their even realizing what they have submitted to until it is too late for them -- called "Stealth Sharia."If anyone thinks that the Muslim Brotherhood will abandon jihad and extremism once its members come to power, they are living in an illusion.Hamas did the same thing in the Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006, when it contested the vote under the banner of Change and Reform. In Tunisia, the Islamists chose to run under the banner of Annahda [Renaissance], while in Morocco they hid behind the name Justice and Development.The nice and attractive names that the Islamists choose for their parties are above all intended to fool Westerners into thinking that Muslim extremists do not pose a threat to non-Muslims. The Muslim Brotherhood and its allies will do everything to hide their true intentions from Western governments and people. But once they come to power, they reveal their true colors.The US Administration, which has determined that the Muslim Brotherhood is probably not that bad after all, is most likely unaware of what happened in Cairo last week, when thousands of the organization's supporters chanted "death to the Jews" and vowed to wage jihad [holy war] against Israel.At a rally co-sponsored by Al-Azhar University under the banner "The Friday for Supporting Al-Aqsa Mosque," Muslim Brotherhood supporters also chanted: "O Tel Aviv, the day of judgment has come!" and "We will march on Jerusalem and sacrifice millions of martyrs!"According to Eldad Beck, an Arab affairs correspondent for the Israeli online newspaper Ynet, about 5,000 Egyptians participated in the event, held to mark the anniversary of the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine.Mohammed Ahmed Tayeb, the imam of Al-Azhar Mosque, told the crowd that the "Al-Aqsa Mosque is currently under an offensive by the Jews. We shall not allow Zionists to Judaize Jerusalem."The messages coming out of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt did not surprise most Arabs and Muslims who are familiar with the organization and its agenda.Although Hamas won the elections in 2006 under the banner of Change and Reform, the movement has since not changed its ideology, and continues to call for the destruction of Israel. Only those who are naive would believe that Hamas would ever recognize Israel's right to exist.In 2006, the Americans made the mistake of allowing Hamas to run unconditionally in the elections. Back then, Washington should have demanded that Hamas first recognize Israel's right to exist and the Oslo Accords, and renounce terrorism as a precondition for participating in the election.Ten years earlier, Hamas boycotted the same election: it said the vote was being held under the Oslo Accords, which the movement does not recognize.There is nothing that Washington can do to stop the Islamists from hijacking the "Arab Spring," but by endorsing the Muslim Brotherhood, the US Administration has facilitated the organization's ultimate goal of establishing an Islamic Caliphate.Those who were chanting "death to the Jews" in Cairo also want to kill all "infidels," including Americans and Europeans.On their way to achieving their goal, the Islamists will also kill the moderate Muslims -- whom they see as just a fifth column.Hmmmm......Thank you Hussein Obama.Read the full story here.
- AnAncient Coptic city discovered in New Valley .(AD).Al Masry Al YoumA Supreme Council of Antiquities mission has discovered a Coptic city dating back to the fourth century. The city is located in the Ain al Sabil area of the New Valley Governorate.In the middle of the city, a basilica church was found, surrounded by buildings that Council Secretary General Mostafa Amin said were service units for the priests."We never had an excavation in Ain al-Sabil before," said Amin. "Maybe we'll find other antiquities that would add to Egypt's archaeological treasures."Mohsen Ali, the council's director of Islamic and Coptic antiquities, said the mission also uncovered a house that consists of a big hall, living rooms, a main entrance, a kitchen with a built-in oven and an intact staircase, in addition to ancient bronze coins and clay jugs.Read the full story here.