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.