Thursday, December 8, 2011
HT : TundraTabloids.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Portugal 5.0 ; Japan 5.0 !More info here.
- Live Blogging Euro cricis Here (FinancialTimes).
- Live Blogging Today's Fast and Furious Hearing here.
- BREAKING story: Nasim Online posts photograph and video of "unveiling" of US Drone - US RQ-170 Here.
- Related - 'Russia, China asked to inspect downed US drone'.(Ynet).Chinese and Russian military officials requested to send experts to Iran, in order to examine the American drone that crashed in Iranian territory earlier this week, Nasim Online news website reported on Thursday.Meanwhile, Chairman for the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security Alaeddin Boroujerdi said Tehran's intention to display the stealth drone in public "is a testimony to the power of the Iranian regime."According to Boroujerdi, shooting down the American aircraft sends a clear message to Western states, which "should be aware of Iran's might and not make any mistakes.""Entering Iranian airspace without authorization is an illegal invasion, he added, "And it is our legitimate right to rapidly respond to any such attack.The committee chairman also noted that shooting down the American drone has stirred a media frenzy around the world, claiming that even China and Russia "were astonished by our great armed forces."Committee member Hussein Ibrahimi added that "if the American plane is more modern than those used by Iran, we will without doubt duplicate it and build one of our own."The RQ-170 Sentinel, a high-altitude stealth drone known as the Beast of Kandahar, went down in Iran while on a surveillance mission. Iran said it shot the drone down, but the US maintained it crashed due to a malfunction.Earlier, it was reported that The US considered sending in covert missions to Iran to recover or destroy a drone that crashed in the country.According to the Wall Street Journal, US officials considered sending in a commando team to recover the drone, sending in a team to blow it up or destroying the wreckage with an air strike.Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Ministry has summoned a delegate form the Swiss Embassy in Tehran to officially protest the breach of Iranian airspace, Iran's state TV reported.The Swiss Embassy in Tehran represents the US in Iran, since its own embassy in Tehran closed.Read the full story here.
- Holder Hearings Part Two: Rep. Issa Confirms Holder Is under Oath, Yet Holder Changes His Story Again.(Biggovernment).When it came time for Attorney General Eric Holder to make his opening comments, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) requested that the A.G. be sworn under oath. Issa had already noted that Congress had been lied to and that in previous hearings, Holder and Co. displayed the “unheard of” habit of redacting their letters and testimony to the Congress. Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) said that it wasn’t necessary for Holder to be sworn under oath because it was understood that he was already under oath by virtue of the purpose for which he was appearing. Issa then asked Smith if he was sure that Holder was bound as being under oath, and Smith verified that he was.So it was settled, and Issa had made his point – Holder should choose his words carefully.Cameras then turned to Holder who said he was happy to describe the “decisive action” his department has taken “to ensure the flawed tactics actions used in operations Fast and Furious and in earlier operations under prior administration are never repeated.” (Notice the jab at Bush.) He then took time to brag on how the 117,000 employees of the DOJ throughout world have basically saved American from apocalypse. (He did this by describing what he called the DOJ’s historic progress in protecting the American people “from global terrorism and violent crime, financial fraud, human trafficking, and more.”)He finally turned his attention to the Southwest border, i.e., the one the DOJ/ATF allowed 2,500 weapons to walk across. Here, DOJ’s “battle against gun violence” took center stage:In recent years, the department has devoted specific resources to this fight and specifically, to addressing the unacceptable rate of illegal firearms trafficking from the United States to Mexico. Unfortunately, in the pursuit of that laudable goal, unacceptable tactics were adopted as part of Operation Fast and Furious. As I have repeatedly stated, allowing guns to walk, whether in this administration or the prior one, is wholly unacceptable. The use of this misguided tactic is inexcusable. It must never happen again. Soon after learning about the allegations raised by agents involved in Fast and Furious I took action designed to ensure accountability. In February I asked the department’s acting Inspector General to investigate the matter. And in early March I ordered that a directive be sent to law enforcement agents and prosecutors prohibiting such tactics.I have a question: How did Holder address the “allegations” associated with gun walking in Fast and Furious in February if he didn’t know about Fast and Furious until mid-April? Remember, when he first gave testimony to Congress on May 3, he told Issa he had only known about Fast and Furious for a few weeks: On May 3rd Issa asked: “When did you first know about the program…called ‘Fast and Furious?”Holder responded: “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks”This exchange notwithstanding, Holder is now telling Congress about the actions he took in light of allegations about Fast and Furious in February and March. In fact, he specifically said he issued a directive in March against “such tactics” (i.e., gun walking) after the allegations of such tactics were made by ATF agents.No wonder Issa is mad and tired of being lied to. The American people should be outraged as well.Somebody in Issa’s office needs to review Holder’s opening comments and call him out for this.Hmmmm......Thugocracy in it's natural habitat.Read the full story here.
- Holdergate - Rep. Issa Strikes a Blow and Rep. Sensenbrenner Says Holder Could Face Impeachment.(Biggovernment).Once Lamar Smith (R-TX) opened the hearings with comments on Fast and Furious and then passed the baton to Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), it seemed the hearings would be a wash. That’s because it was evident from the start that Conyers was there to carry water for Holder. For example, Conyers used his opening comments to highlight the “life and contributions” of Holder, and to highlight the need for more gun control in the United States. He particularly supported the new requirement for border state gun stores to file special reports on customers who make multiple long gun purchases. (Conyers made no mention of the thousands of long guns transferred to criminals via the DOJ/ATF operation Fast and Furious.)Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) used his opening comments to call for more gun control, and was particularly critical of concealed handgun laws and of Republican support of concealed handgun laws. Moreover, Scott actually defended Holder by blaming gun walking on President Bush. (For the record, there was an operation called Wide Receiver under Bush, but it was very small and was done in conjunction with the Mexican government rather than by keeping the Mexican government in the dark as Holder did with Fast and Furious.)Folks, the whole tone of the hearing changed when Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) was allowed to make his opening statement. He contented that gun control was not the important matter before the committee. Rather, “what is important is the 2nd Amendment.” Added Issa, “ATF Used Fast and Furious to make case for gun regulations”After this opening salvo, Issa was on a roll: This administration is more interested in building data bases, in talking about control, than controlling the flow of guns they had control over. …[Fast and Furious] was not an accident. This project was failed and flawed from the beginning.Issa went on to make the point that “Brian Terry is dead today because of this program,” yet Holder and Co. are hesitant to investigate Terry’s murder for fear of uncovering their own culpability to a greater degree. Said Issa: “This justice department is not looking for who killed Brian Terry” in order to preserve their own “plausible deniability.”Issa continued: The president has said he has full confidence in this attorney general. I have not confidence in a president who has not terminated those…who knew enough to stop this program. …Mr. attorney general, the blame must go to your desk. Why haven’t you terminated the many people involved?Once the opening comments were over, and the actual hearing began, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) warned Holder that he was tired of not getting the truth on Fast and Furious. He complained that up till now, Holder’s answers had been “gees, somebody else did it.”Sensenbrenner then basically said we can do this the easy way or the hard way. He told Holder that the A.G. could either give Congress the truth they were asking for or “impeachment” could be pursued.That’s right: Sensenbrenner said “impeachment” to Holder’s face.Read the full story here.
- President Obama won't go to Hawaii while payroll tax is in limbo.(TheHill).President Obama is not vacationing in Hawaii with his wife and children while the extension of the payroll tax holiday remains in limbo, and has warned GOP congressional leaders to stay in town as well.Obama had planned to fly to Hawaii with his family on Dec. 17 and stay there through New Year’s.After getting ripped by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney over his vacation plans, Obama told Senate Democratic leaders Wednesday that he will stay in town until Congress finishes work on the payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits and other issues.Obama told Democratic leaders: “Michelle and the girls are going to have a great time in Hawaii, they don’t need me there,” according to Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.).Romney blasted Obama’s vacation plans on Monday.“I just think it’s time to have a president whose idea of being ‘hands on’ doesn’t mean getting a better grip on the golf club,” Romney told potential caucus voters in Iowa. Obama told leaders it would be unacceptable if House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) adjourned for Christmas next week without extending a 2-percentage point reduction of the payroll tax.A White House official disputed the notion that Obama had altered his vacation plans because of Romney's criticism. The official noted that Obama had already threatened to spend Christmas with Republicans in Washington if Congress failed to take action on payroll taxes. “We’re going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen," Obama said Friday. "Now is not the time to slam the brakes on the recovery. Right now, it’s time to step on the gas. We need to get this done. And I expect that it’s going to get done before Congress leaves. Otherwise, Congress may not be leaving, and we can all spend Christmas here together.”Hmmmm.....Who's the 'donkey' in the Nativity scene?Read the full story here.
- Why is the Obama Administration So Devoted to Criticizing Israel?(DocsTalk).By Newt Gingrich.At a fundraiser in New York last week, President Obama said his administration "has done more in terms of the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration."Is the President looking at the same record we are? Last week's news abounded with evidence that his administration often coddles forces opposed to Israel's very existence while his officials publically brutalize Israel in the diplomatic arena. Hostility towards Israel has become a habit for members of the Obama administration. His ambassador to Belgium argued last week in a speech to the European Jewish Union that pervasive anti-Semitism among Muslims was Israel's fault. "A distinction should be made," he said, "between traditional anti-Semitism, and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians." This outrageous attempt to dismiss "hatred for Jews" as a political problem should have immediately disqualified the ambassador from continuing to serve in President's administration.Also last week, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta declared that Israel needed to "just get to the damn table" with Palestinians, implying that Israel is the primary obstacle to Middle East peace.Who is it, exactly, that Israel needs to "get to the damn table" with? Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, has stopped short of even recognizing Israel's right to exist. He has also repeatedly insisted that Israel abandon its right to defend its borders even after a Palestinian state is created.Other high level members of Abbas's government have been even less coy. One declared earlier this year that Abbas's Fatah party "has never recognized Israel and will never do so." And last month, the Palestinian Authority's ambassador to India wrote in the PA newspaper:"[Israelis] have a common mistake, or misconception by which they fool themselves, assuming that Fatah accepts them and recognizes the right of their state to exist, and that it is Hamas alone that loathes them and does not recognize the right of this state to exist. They ignore the fact that this state, based on a fabricated [Zionist] enterprise, never had any shred of a right to exist..."These are the people with whom Secretary Panetta claims Israel must "get to the damn table"?While administration officials publically criticize Israel, they welcome into their offices Islamist groups that express ideologies counter to free societies and the existence of an Israeli state. Just days after chastising Israel for "unfair" treatment of women, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will welcome a Saudi-based Islamist group, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to Washington for a conference on "tolerance." Far from a tolerant organization, however, a primary mission of the OIC is to restrict free speech critical of Islam. As Nina Shea and Paul Marshall wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Monday:In 2009, the "International Islamic Fiqh [Jurisprudence] Academy," an official OIC organ, issued fatwas calling for free speech bans, including "international legislation" aimed at protecting "the interests and values of [Islamic] society," and for judicial punishment for public expression of apostasy from Islam. OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu emphasizes that "no one has the right to insult another for their beliefs."In one example of policies advocated by the OIC, they report that "In Afghanistan, Ali Mohaqeq Nasab, editor of "Haqooq-i-Zen" ("Women's Rights") magazine, was imprisoned by the Karzai government for publishing "un-Islamic" articles criticizing stoning as a punishment for adultery." Entertaining Islamist organizations is not restricted to the State Department, either. In October, the Department of Justice removed all references to Islam from its terror training materials after what were described as "complaints from advocacy organizations including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others identified as Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the 2004 Holy Land Foundation terror fundraising trial."All of this happened in just one week: One of the President's ambassadors said Israel was to blame for anti-Semitism, his Secretary of Defense said Israel needs to "just get to the damn table" with negotiating partners who refuse to recognize its right to exist, and his Secretary of State criticized Israeli treatment of women as occasionally "unfair" while welcoming to Washington an organization which promotes censorship of speech about Islamism.And this is the administration that has "done more in terms of the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration"?We aren't fooled.Your Friend,Newt.Read the full letter here.
- Here's An Estimate For The Post-Euro Value Of The Drachma, Lira And Franc.(BI).I've been wondering how weak the drachma and other currencies would be if there was a break up of the eurozone. The following is just a rough estimate ... but imagine how much more expensive gasoline will be in Greece? From Joseph Cotterill at the Financial Times Alphaville: Post-euro currencies, charted.Along with “redenomination risk” for eurozone financial assets, this is another of those pieces of bank research that’s as interesting for being considered necessary to be written in the first place, as much as for its conclusion.(Yes, we know it’s a dampener to talk about a euro break-up when the German and French governments are promising European unification, sweetness and light on a scale not seen since Charlemagne. But since it really is about either complete fiscal union, or this – it’s worth noting.)Once again it’s Nomura taking the plunge on covering the break-up issue. In his December 4 note, the bank’s FX analyst Jens Nordvig warned that conclusions about the value of a post-euro currencies would have to be extremely provisional:... we want to stress up-front that these estimates are unlikely to be particularly precise. They are intended to give a sense of potential magnitudes involved over a 5-year forward time frame, after which we believe temporary transition effects should be smaller.A eurozone break-up will create additional short-term risks and require new risk premia for investors. These extraordinary risk premia will vary by country depending on factors such as market volatility, liquidity conditions, as well as issues relating to capital controls, including possible taxes on capital flows. Since our analysis is focussed on equilibrium considerations over a 5-year period, we will not focus directly on these more temporary effects, although we recognize that they could be crucial in the short-term.Read and SEE the full story here.
- GOP Rep. Peter King: U.S. Military Infiltrated By a “Significant Number” Radical Islamists.(TheHill).Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) says the U.S. military has been infiltrated by “a significant number of people” who are tied to “radical movements and who could be potential terrorists.”Speaking Thursday on Fox and Friends, King discussed his fourth hearing into the radicalization of Muslim-Americans within the U.S., which opened on Wednesday.“There are a significant number of people who have enlisted in the military or are in the military who we believe have Islamic ties, who are tied to radical movements and who could be potential terrorists themselves,” King said. “It is a growing, growing concern.”On Wednesday, the chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, along with the committee’s Senate chairman, Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), held a joint hearing in which they said the U.S. military was the “most sought-after” target for “radical Islamist extremist groups.”King blamed “an overriding tendency in this administration to try and treat these as workplace incidents, to somehow not highlight the fact that it is Islamic terrorism” responsible for the uptick in the attacks.“They don’t want to give any impression that somehow there’s a difference between Islamic terrorism and a person who happens to be a burglar or a bank robber,” he said.Hmmm......"By their fruits you will know them."Read the full story here.
- The 'Significant' Acorn seven - ACORN Visits Obama White House.(Spectator).Leaders of the resurrected radical group ACORN are lobbying the Obama administration in what appears to be a concerted effort to game the electoral system to help Democrats, new evidence suggests.At least five Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now leaders have visited the White House this year alone. One of those ACORN officials has been involved in vetting Department of Justice hires who may help to enforce the voter fraud-enabling National Voting Rights Act (NVRA), also known as the Motor-Voter law. The Department has come under fire for refusing to enforce Section 8, which requires states to remove the names of ineligible felons, the dead, and non-residents from voter rolls, while zealously enforcing Section 7, which requires states to register voters at welfare offices.President Obama long ago endorsed the strategy of using welfare recipients to expand the size and scope of government. "All our people must know that politics and voting affects their lives directly," he said in 1992. "If we're registering people in public housing, for an example, we talk about aid cuts and who's responsible."According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act, former ACORN attorney Estelle H. Rogers, who is now director of advocacy at ACORN-affiliated Project Vote, wrote T. Christian Herren, Chief of the Voting Section in the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, recommending three prospective new DOJ employees.Rogers has been working with the Obama administration before it took office on Jan. 20, 2009. She filed what Project Vote called a "voting rights agenda" submission with the Obama-Biden presidential transition team in 2008.It is now becoming clear what that agenda consists of. Project Vote and allied groups have filed a rash of lawsuits recently in several states in an attempt to pressure state officials into backing off investigations into voter fraud allegations, Kevin Mooney reported last week."The lawsuits are coming out of nowhere in multiple states and they are coming fast," said Anita MonCrief, a former Project Vote employee who has testified in court against Project Vote and ACORN. "This is part of a coordinated effort," said MonCrief. "These groups are very well-funded, and they have lawyers doing pro bono work."Meanwhile, in addition to collaborating with DOJ officials, Rogers also visited the White House on March 2, 2011, according to the White House visitors database. During that visit she met with Shasti Conrad, a senior aide to Obama uber-adviser Valerie Jarrett, and Jon Carson, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Carson was previously chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) serving under Van Jones, the self-described communist who was known as Obama's green jobs czar.Rogers appeared to foreshadow the litigation offensive in a July 13, 2010 email to DOJ's Herren and DOJ political appointee Julie Fernandes. Rogers wrote that she would be bringing Project Vote election counsel Niyati Shah to a meeting at DOJ. Shah "will be working on a lot of the litigation we'll be telling you about." Rogers indicated Nicole Kovite Zeitler, director of Project Vote's public agency registration project, would also attend the meeting. Zeitler "manages Project Vote's efforts to advocate for enforcement of Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 through technical assistance and litigation across the country," according to her bio on Project Vote's website.According to former DOJ lawyer J. Christian Adams, author of Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department, Fernandes told lawyers in the DOJ's Voting Section that the Department would not enforce Section 8 of Motor-Voter because it "doesn't have anything to do with increasing minority turnout."Separately, a group of seven individuals visited the White House on March 22, 2011, meeting with White House policy assistant David Pope. They are Brian Kettenring, Darlene D. Battle, Steven Fletcher, Leigh Dingerson, Charese Jordan Moore, Aaron Brown, and Darren Browning.White House visitor Moore, who is director of Communities for Excellent Public Schools, does not appear to be affiliated with ACORN. She was, however, deputy director at Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), a network of Saul Alinsky-inspired activist groups. When IWJ was created in 1996, Roman Catholic Monsignor John J. "Jack" Egan was on the founding board of directors. The socialist priest, who died in 2001, worked closely with Rules for Radicals author Alinsky, who died in 1972. IWJ founder Kim Bobo was a trainer for the Midwest Academy, a school for training radical community organizers. IWF has close ties to the AFL-CIO. Arlene Holt-Baker, executive vice president of AFL-CIO, is on the IWF board.It is unclear what the seven visitors discussed with Pope, but it seems a safe bet that the Motor-Voter law came up.Hmmmm........I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes. ~ Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.Read the full story here.
- Holy Land Foundation - Muslim charity leaders lose appeal in Hamas case.(AlArabiya).By Terry Baynes.A U.S. federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld the convictions of five leaders of an Islamic charity on charges of funneling money and supplies to Hamas, which the United States designates as a “terrorist” group.The organizers of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation argued they were denied a fair trial in 2008 when the government used secret Israeli witnesses to testify against them. The organizers also raised a host of constitutional challenges to the evidence presented against them at trial.The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected those challenges, concluding that “while no trial is perfect,” Holy Land and its leaders were fairly convicted. The court pointed to “voluminous evidence” that the foundation, which was started in the late 1980s, had long-running financial ties to Hamas.Once the largest Muslim charity in the United States, Holy Land was closed by the administration of former President George W. Bush soon after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.Holy Land argued that the millions of dollars it raised went to charities in the West Bank and Gaza known as zakat committees. Although those committees performed legitimate charitable functions, they were also Hamas social institutions, the court found.Federal law makes it a crime to provide material aid and support to a designated terrorist organization like Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and does not recognize Israel’s existence.“By supporting such entities, the defendants facilitated Hamas’ activity by furthering its popularity among Palestinians and by providing a funding resource. This, in turn, allowed Hamas to concentrate its efforts on violent activity,” Judge Carolyn King wrote on behalf of the unanimous three-judge panel.Federal prosecutors indicted the foundation and its leaders in 2004 for providing material support to a designated terrorist group.While the first trial in 2007 ended in a mistrial, a federal jury convicted the five individuals in 2008 on charges that included money laundering, tax fraud and conspiracy. The charity organizers received prison sentences ranging from 15 to 65 years.On appeal, the leaders argued the trial judge should not have allowed two Israeli witnesses to testify without revealing their real names. Pseudonyms prevented their lawyers from examining the witnesses' credentials and backgrounds, they contended.“The Confrontation Clause of the U.S. Constitution basically didn’t apply to these experts,” said Gregory Westfall, a lawyer for defendant Abdulrahman Odeh. He said his client would likely appeal and predicted the case would eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.Hmmmm....."By their fruits you will know them".Read the full story here.
- DOJ Targets Voter ID Laws Like One Upheld By SCOTUS.(JW).It appears that the Obama Administration is once again utilizing the Department of Justice (DOJ) as a political tool, this time to challenge voter identification laws—like one already upheld by the Supreme Court—that Democrats claim discriminate against minorities.As the presidential election nears and Obama’s poll numbers plummet, who can blame party loyals for taking measures to get their boss reelected? After all, under this far-fetched discrimination theory a chunk of citizens that would normally vote Democrat couldn’t cast ballots because they can’t prove their identity.That’s because they are either too poor or too ignorant to get a valid identification—provided free in many of the states that have passed voter ID laws—that proves they are who they say they are. This unbelievable theory has gained momentum in the last few months, with the powerful chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz) calling ID laws a “full-scale assault” on minority voters designed to “rig” elections for Republicans.Eight states have strict laws that require a voter to provide picture identification in order to cast a ballot. All but two of the states—Georgia and Indiana—passed their measures this year and the DOJ’s bloated civil rights division has vowed to ensure that they don’t have a racially discriminatory purpose or effect. Targets of the DOJ’s discrimination probe are Kansas, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Mississippi.Reiterating the administration’s “commitment to robust civil rights enforcement,” Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez confirmed last week that DOJ lawyers are reviewing some of the recently-enacted state laws to ensure that they are not racially discriminatory. “We have received numerous inquiries about recently enacted state laws relating to voter identification requirements, voter registration requirements and changes to early voting procedures,” Perez said, adding that “we are carefully reviewing these laws.” In 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, ruling that the state’s interest in protecting the integrity of the voting process outweighed the insufficiently proven burdens the law may impose on voters. “There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters,” the nation's highest court said in its decision.The ruling makes the DOJ’s aggressive intervention all the more questionable, like some of its other politically-motivated actions. Earlier this year Judicial Watch obtained internal government records that show political appointees at the DOJ ordered a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party dismissed. Clad in military attire and armed with weapons, members of the radical group intimidated white voters with racial insults and profanity during the 2008 presidential election and were scheduled to be prosecuted.Read the full story here.
- Obama DOJ Sends Letter To Every Law Enforcement Agency In Alabama Warning Them Not To Enforce Immigration Law Or Lose Federal Funding.(LA Times) — The Department of Justice is sending every law enforcement agency in Alabama a reminder letter. The missives, mailed out Friday, are intended to warn local sheriffs and police chiefs to tread carefully when enforcing a key provision of that state’s controversial immigration law. About 156 agencies in Alabama receive federal funding that could be put in jeopardy if they are found to violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964.Under the new state law, police are required to arrest anyone they believe to be in the United States illegally. The law means police are essentially checking the immigration status of anyone pulled over during a routine traffic stop.So far, that provision appears to be causing some serious headaches for local and state officials. Last month, a Japanese employee on a temporary assignment at a Honda plant was cited when he was stopped by police at a routine roadblock even though the employee provided officers with a valid international driver’s license and his Japanese passport. And a German executive with Mercedes-Benz was arrested after a traffic stop. The man provided police with his German identification. The man was later released after he was able to provide authorities a copy of his passport and a driver’s license.Read the full story here.
- Eric Holder, Fast and Furious and Demand Letter 3.(OFB).Is the Obama administration rife with incompetence or is it just hellbent on dismantling America, one embarrassing incident at a time?Today, we have evidence of the latter: Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation "Fast and Furious" to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.ATF officials didn't intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called "Demand Letter 3". That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or "long guns." Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.
On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF's Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious: "Bill - can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks." On Jan. 4, 2011, as ATF prepared a press conference to announce arrests in Fast and Furious, Newell saw it as "(A)nother time to address Multiple Sale on Long Guns issue." And a day after the press conference, Chait emailed Newell: "Bill--well done yesterday... (I)n light of our request for Demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case."This revelation angers gun rights advocates. Larry Keane, a spokesman for National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry trade group, calls the discussion of Fast and Furious to argue for Demand Letter 3 "disappointing and ironic." Keane says it's "deeply troubling" if sales made by gun dealers "voluntarily cooperating with ATF's flawed 'Operation Fast & Furious' were going to be used by some individuals within ATF to justify imposing a multiple sales reporting requirement for rifles."Read the full story here.
- Obama Pushes NCLR Official With Ties To Spy As U.S. Ambassador.(JW).President Obama is determined to push through a foreign ambassadorship for a controversial figure whose close ties to a spy from a terrorist-sponsoring nation derailed a similar post for the same aspiring diplomat in the Clinton Administration.The tale actually dates back to the late 1990s when Bill Clinton nominated Puerto Rican activist Mari Carmen Aponte, a former board member of the leftist National Council of la Raza (NCLR) and Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF), as ambassador to the Dominican Republic.Aponte had worked as a volunteer in the White House personnel office and helped raise campaign money for Clinton. But she had a rather large skeleton in her closet, a decade-long romantic relationship with a reported Cuban intelligence spy named Roberto Tamayo. Aponte and Tamayo lived together and the couple met frequently with Cuban intelligence agents, according to various news reports.Since 1982 Cuba has appeared on the State Department’s list of countries that have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. That means restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales and other financial restrictions. Iran, Sudan and Syria also appear on the list alongside the communist island. Aponte’s relationship with the Cuban spy came out when the FBI vetted her for the Dominican ambassadorship years ago and has resurfaced because Obama is set on making her the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador. To avoid discussing her relationship with Tamayo at Senate confirmation hearings, Aponte withdrew Clinton’s nomination to be ambassador to the Dominican Republic.Evidently, Obama thought enough time had passed to make it all disappear. The president originally nominated Aponte in December 2009 and made her a recess appointee about a year later in order to bypass Republican opposition. As her temporary, one-year tenure expires, Senate confirmation can no longer be avoided so the issue has again resurfaced. Members of the vocal Congressional Hispanic Caucus are making it a race issue, accusing Republicans of denying a Hispanic woman a rare shot at a prestigious diplomatic post, according to a national news story. An Illinois congressman (Luis Gutierrez) took it a step further, comparing Aponte’s opposition to scrutiny Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor got during her confirmation hearings."Between Mari Carmen Aponte and Sonia Sotomayor, there seems to be something amiss over in the Senate with Republicans refusing to confirm strong, smart Puerto Rican women for important positions for which they are eminently qualified," Gutierrez said.Read the full story here.
- Israeli Bill aims to silence mosques.(Ynet).A bill proposing to restrict the noise made by mosques will be up for discussion at the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs on Sunday. The proposal aims to prohibit mosques from sounding the nighttime and early morning calls of the Muezzin – who uses a public address system to beckon worshipers to pray – in order to avoid disrupting nearby residents. As per the initiative, the interior minister will be able to determine which mosques could sound the call and when.The bill bases its premise on a study conducted by the Knesset Information and Research Center, which surveyed the clash between the freedom of religion and resident's rights. The study observed a rise in the number of complaints filed by residents of Jaffa, Haifa, Ramle and other cities over the disruptive noise and the lack of volume regulation."The freedom of religion shouldn't compromise quality of life," Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu) and a group of her fellow MKs wrote in the proposal.According to the Knesset report, there are some 400 mosques in Israel, half of which are manned by state-employed clerics, and whose public address systems are under state regulation. The rest are not under government supervision.Moreover, the study surveyed other countries' policies on the issue, and found that the Muezzin calls in Egypt are synchronized, and their volume is monitored. In Saudi Arabia, public address system use has been restricted as well. In Austria, the Muezzin sounds his voice only Vienna's Islamic Center, and only on Fridays.Officials in the Arab sector lamented that the initiative is a direct affront to Islam."Those who come live in Jaffa are aware of the mosques and churches here," Sheikh Saliman Setel said. He noted that a few minutes of the Muezzin call does not compare to the noise that comes from traffic, police cars and ambulances.Tel Aviv Councilman Ahmad Mashharawi equated the bill to a rash of legislation that has been promoted by the Right-wing Knesset members in recent weeks, and accused the lawmakers of being so "drunk on power they are willing to compromise the foundations on which the state was based.""Islam was here before Anastassia Michaeli came to this country, and it will stay long after she's gone," he said.Hmmm.....Pardon?Islam was here before Anastassia Michaeli came to this country, and it will stay long after she's gone"Read the full story here.
- Jerusalem: Violence feared over Mughrabi Bridge closing.(Ynet).Jerusalem municipal officials said they will shut down a walkway to a contested shrine at the heart of the capital city, a move liable to touch off a new round of violence between Muslims and Jews. The municipality said the Mughrabi Bridge – a wooden walkway that connects the Western Wall and Temple Mount – is a fire hazard and structurally unsound and must be replaced.Any work in the area around the Old City compound of Temple Mount draws fierce condemnation and sometimes violence from Palestinians, many of whom suspect Israel wants to harm Muslim shrines*. An official with the Muslim clerical body that runs the complex warned that protests were liable to break out this time, too.In a letter released Thursday, Jerusalem city engineer Shlomo Eshkol informed authorities of his plan to block access to the walkway to all but security forces. The shutdown could take place immediately after a one-week public comment period.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu halted a plan to demolish the walkway last month, fearing a regional backlash at a time when pre-election violence was roiling Egypt. A spokesman for Netanyahu was not immediately available Thursday for comment on the Jerusalem municipality's latest move. The walkway is not the only access to the contested complex, which Israel captured from Jordan along with the rest of east Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day War. But the compound's centrality to both Islam and Judaism makes it one of the most combustible sites in the world. Clashes there in the past have ignited broader violence.Hundreds of people make use of the passage everyday, including tourists, worshipers and security forces. Shutting it down would cut off Jewish access to Temple Mount. The bridge was built as a temporary structure after a centuries-old ramp was damaged in a 2004 snowstorm. A Muslim clerical trust known as the Waqf runs the compound under Israel's overall security control. Yusuf Natsheh, director of the Waqf administration, said the Waqf was not consulted about the plan to shut down the walkway, which he called a "disastrous" policy liable to touch off protests. "This is a very sensitive issue," he said. "It is so close to the mosque, and Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims ... all over the world will be unhappy."Hmmmm......*It's a known fact that Muslims 'respect' Israeli holy places, like 'Joseph tomb'.Read the full story here.
- Sheriff Joe Arpaio gets death threats over Obama investigation.Warned he 'will be filled with thousand bullet holes'.(BR).Maverick Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio says his "Cold Case Posse" investigating Barack Obama's presidential eligibility will release a preliminary report in February of its findings, which he expects to be "controversial.""This is a serious law enforcement investigation, and our findings are going to be controversial but based in facts," the Maricopa County sheriff told WND. Arpaio said a comprehensive report will be issued shortly after the February preliminary report."The investigators on the Cold Case Posse are doing a great job," Arpaio told WND. "They are all law enforcement professionals, and they are all volunteers putting in a lot of hours at no taxpayer expense."Arpaio confirmed that the Obama investigation has broadened beyond an examination of whether or not the birth certificate made public by the White House on April 27 is an authentic document. The probe, he said, is examining Obama's history in regard to his eligibility to be president under Article 2, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution."We are not taking the Obama investigation lightly," Arpaio said. "The Cold Case Posse is actively tracking down all leads received, because the people deserve to know the truth."Arpaio's investigative team has amassed hundreds of pages of documentation and taken testimony from dozens of experts in preparation for a final phase of field investigationOn Tuesday, Arpaio posted on his Facebook page a reference to a Globe Magazine report citing inside sources in the White House who say President Obama and the First Lady are in "a panic" over the Maricopa County investigation.The reaction to Arpaio's posting indicates public interest in the probe is high, despite relatively little coverage by establishment media.Since Tuesday, Arpaio's Facebook posting has received more than 7,900 "like this" clicks from readers, 780 shares and over 1,700 comments.Arpaio also continues to receive messages of a different sort, with numerous death threats arriving at his office for his decision to investigate Obama's eligibility."I plan to kill Joe Arpaio first," read one particularly ominous death threat. "He will be filled with a thousand bullet holes before the year is out. I promise you this – Arpaio won't **** with Obama."Read the full story here.
- UBS' Advice On What To Buy In Case Of Eurozone Breakup: "Precious Metals, Tinned Goods And Small Calibre Weapons".(ZeroHedge).Three months ago, Zero Hedge presented the first of many narratives that started the thread of explaining the "unmitigated disaster" that would ensue should the Euro break up, which in the words of authors Stephane Deo and Larry Hatheway, would leads to such mutually assured destruction outcomes as complete bank failure and/or civil war or far worse. Because if there is one thing the banks have learned in the aftermath of Hank Paulson, is that scaremongering when bonuses are at stake is the only to get taxpayer money to fund exorbitant lifestyles. Unfortunately since the first UBS report, despite the best intentions of the status quo, the Eurozone's plight has only gotten far, far worse, reaching a Lehman-like crescendo when the house of cards threatened to collapse if not for a last minute Fed rescue. However, as Deutsche Bank and every other bank knows well, that measure was merely a short-term fix.Today, Larry Hataway has released yet another sequel to the original piece, focusing on this so very critical week for Europe, which as Olli Rehn said, must find a solution by Friday or see the EU "disintegrate", in which the vivid imagery, loud warnings and level of destruction are even greater than before. In other words, Europe has 4 more days, something which S&P tried it best to remind Europe of, as the alternative is "or else." And here comes UBS to remind everyone that anything but a "fix" to a system that was broken from the very beginning, would be a catastrophe, captured probably the best in Hatheway's recommendations of assets to be bought as a hedge to a Euro collapse: "I suppose there might be some assets worthy of consideration--precious metals, for example. But other metals would make wise investments, too. Among them tinned goods and small calibre weapons." But even that is nothing compared to the kicker: "Break-up runs the risk of becoming one wretched scenario. Sadly, however, it can't be ruled out, just as it would have been improper to rule out the horrors of the first half of the 20th century before they happened." And there you have it: a reversion by Europe to the perfectly stable system from a decade ago, is now somehow supposed to result in World War. And with that the global banking cartel has official jumped the shark, just like the FT's latest rumor earlier today did the same by indicating that the well of European "bailout" ideas has officially run dry.Read the full story here.
- Shirts adorned with 'cross' seized in Saudi Arabia.(Emirates24/7).Saudi authorities seized a large quantity of imported shirts and other clothes adorned with the cross, a newspaper reported on Thursday.The ministry of commerce and industry said it had confiscated all the stuff seized at garment shops in the southwestern town of Raniya.“We confiscated all the stuff after a Saudi customer informed us about the presence of such items at shops,” said Mohammed Dafer Al Subai, director of the government trade office in Raniya.In its report, the Arabic language daily Sabq newspaper said the items were bought from a dealer in the western Red Sea port of Jeddah but did not mention where they were imported from.Hmmmm......"Islamophobia" anyone?Read the full story here.
- Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani who controls Iraq steps out of the shadows as a leading hard-liner.(StratRisks).Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of the covert action wing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, is stepping out of the shadows as a leading hard-liner, and as tension with the United States heats up, that’s a really bad sign.There is a school of thought among Iran-watchers that Tehran believes the United States and Israel, backed by Britain, are gearing up for a showdown with the Islamic Republic.The Iranians, several seasoned analysts say, are getting ready for trouble as hard-line conservatives in the ruling elite demonstrated when they stormed and sacked the British Embassy in Tehran Nov. 29.Some of the so-called students who swarmed over the embassy walls carried portraits of Suleimani, underlining his growing iconic status among the radicals, and more importantly in the Revolutionary Guard, one of the regime’s most powerful institutions.That indicated the “students” were probably members of the Quds Force and the paramilitary Basij organization, the regime’s strong-arm force, which it controls.Until recently, Suleimani was known as “the invisible general” because he worked from the shadows, conducting clandestine operations, including assassinations, against Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan.His forces are also operating in Syria and Lebanon and fomenting trouble in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. administration says the al-Quds Force was behind the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.Now he’s taking a higher profile.“Suleimani clearly has big ambitions,” wrote international affairs specialist Julian Borger in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.“Suleimani and the Quds Force … are clearly seeking to expand their influence on events from the regional to the global stage and have none of the caution of their seniors in the Iranian theocracy.”“President Obama has said as recently as last week, we are not taking any options off the table in pursuit of our basic objectives.”Bhadrakumar observed that “in the Iranian estimation, Obama is simply not interested in hearing Iran’s narrative. His obsessive concern is his 2012 re-election bid.”The analyst, noting the “amazing degree of belligerence” in Donilon’s speech, said Tehran believes the showdown “may take place within Obama’s first term as president — because it may well ensure the success of his bid for a second term.”“The problem for Western governments and their attempts to influence events in Tehran is that the rise of Suleimani and the Quds Force, and the radical and reckless approach they represent, could be a symptom of Iran’s isolation and desperation, as well as a cause,” Borger noted.“Deepening Iran’s predicament may only make them stronger.”Hmmmm....You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.~ Churchill.Read the full story here.
- Is Erdogan's Turkey Funding Hamas Directly?(TIP).Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to provide $300 million to Hamas, in a confidential letter sent to the terrorist group's leader, according to news site International Middle East Media Center [IMEMC]. If the report proves accurate, the Turkish government would be sanctioned internationally for providing support to a globally designated terrorist organization.The news report first appeared on the IMEMC's website, which is affiliated with the independent Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement, a project of the International Solidarity Movement.The report alleges that the Turkey's Prime Minister sent Hamas' Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh a confidential letter agreeing to invite him to Ankara and to provide $300 million in funding to the terrorist group. The report claims Hamas' Political Bureau Chief, Khaled Meshaal, responded by telling Erdogan that he wanted to improve relations with Turkey. It also mentions that the donation would cover only some of Hamas' budget deficit of $540 million.Shortly after the emergence of the report, Hamas denied to members of the Arabic press the invitation to Turkey and claims about funding. Arabic newspapers linked the story back to a Kuwaiti paper called al-Seyaasah.Turkey has improved its relationship with Hamas in recent years. In May, Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan said it was "disrespect" to the Palestinian people to call Hamas a terrorist organization. Turkey has also conducted a diplomatic war on Israel, trying to isolate it internationally and force it to end its embargo of Gaza..Hmmm.......Obama's 'partner' in the fight against terrorism.....Yeah whatevah.Read the full story here.
- Belgian Muslims Threaten Canadian Author Irshad Manji On Book Tour.(Forbes).A group of over 20 Muslims stormed a debate featuring Muslim writer Irshad Manji in Amsterdam last night, threatening to break Manji’s neck as they issued cries of “Allahu Akbar,” (“God is great”) according to witnesses and Manji’s own Twitter feed. Though they reportedly claimed to be part of the group Sharia4Holland, witnesses stated that they spoke with a Flemish (Belgian) accent, and were likely members of Sharia4Belgium, one of a number of groups of Muslim extremists seeking to install sharia law in Europe. Irshad Manji is a practicing Muslim who promotes modernization and reform within the faith. She is the author of several books, includingThe Trouble With Islam Today.The events took place only two days after Dutch-Moroccan Muslim youth threw stones at a Santa Claus in the Slotervaart section of Amsterdam. In recent years, the festivities surrounding the arrival of “Sint” to the Netherlands have been cancelled in several cities as a result of threats and violence perpetrated by radicalized Muslim youth in the Netherlands.Hmmmm...."Interfaith dialog in it's natural habitat"?Read the full story here.
- Egypt: Military rulers will govern over constitutional committee.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Egypt’s military rulers announced on Wednesday that elections results indicate that parliament will not be representative enough to draft the nation’s new constitution. The military council will appoint their own council set to draft the constitution, and will govern over the process.“We are in the early stages of democracy,” General Mukhtar Mulla of the interim ruling military council stated in a meeting with foreign press on Wednesday. “The parliament is not representing all sectors of society.”The announcement comes in light of the first phase of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, in which Islamic parties performed exceedingly well, taking about 60 percent of the vote.According to the position of the military rulers, if a 100-person committee assembled by the new parliament drafts the constitution, as was initially determined, its legislation could alienate Egypt’s liberal and Coptic Christian needs or even implement Islamic Sharia Law.Instead, the military council will coordinate with the parliament and the cabinet to ensure that all constituencies are represented, they say.Egypt’s military rulers previously announced that they would name 80 of the 100 members of the committee responsible for drafting the constitution, causing a backlash from both Egypt’s liberal and Islamic parties.Leaders from the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), who will hold the majority of seats in the nation’s next parliament, have come out to reject the military leader’s proposed oversight of the constitutional process.During the press conference on Wednesday, the military council reaffirmed that it will maintain executive authority over the new parliament and government, and that its own budget will remain independent of any parliamentary oversight.A battle over the constitution could further drive a rift between Egypt’s military rulers, Egypt’s Islamist parties and Egypt’s liberal parties, as the nation attempts to establish its fledgling democracy.Egypt’s parliamentary elections were the most free and fair in Egypt’s recent history, and Egypt’s Islamist parties are set to maintain their majority in the second and third phases of voting.Read the full story here.
- EU Fiscal Union = EU Debt Serfdom.(Of Two Minds).By Charles Hugh Smith.“Fiscal union” is a code-phrase for a highly profitable debt-serfdom: the banks profit, the EU bureaucracy flourishes and the people of the EU are imprisoned in a modern serfdom.The stock and bond markets are gearing up to celebrate the EU’s approval this Friday of “fiscal union,” the necessary surrender of sovereignty that’s needed to seal the bondage of the EU’s hapless citizenry to the banks and the lapdog bureaucrats slavishly devoted to their dominance.“Fiscal union” is the code-phrase for the EU nation agreeing to automatic sanctions (penalties) should their borrowing exceed what is deemed prudent. In this sense, it’s little different from the 3% deficit limit that the member states agreed to via the initial treaty but conveniently ignored.The “teeth” of automatic sanctions is supposed to force nations to “tighten up” their fiscal and tax policies (including collection)–”austerity” at the fundamental economic and governmental levels.In other words, “Oops, we borrowed too much, default looms, let’s paper over the insolvency by really really really promising to borrow less from now on.”The mechanisms of the overborrowing–overleveraged, politically dominant banks and the euro–are left untouched. Why? For the “obvious” reasons the mechanisms of EU governance has been captured by the banks and their apparatchiks, and as a result of the quasi-religious devotion of the Eurocrats to the single currency, a catastrophically wrong-headed fantasy that they cannot give up without losing face.I described the systemic problem with “austerity and higher taxes” as a “solution” to crushing debts in It’s Your Choice, Europe: Rebel Against the Banks or Accept Debt-Serfdom (December 5, 2011): it sets up a positive (mutually-reinforcing) feedback loop where diverting more of the national surplus to pay interest on old debt leaves less for productive investment, a cycle of indenturement to debt that ratchets the risk of default ever higher, which drives interest rates up which then increases the cost of servicing all that crushing debt which then diverts more of the national surplus (via austerity and higher taxes) to paying the higher interest.Every euro shipped off to the banks and bondholders is a euro that isn’t going to be spent in the national economy, which means the economy contracts from a dearth of investment, income and spending. “Growing our way out of debt” is impossible in this indentured-to-debt positive feedback loop.In a functioning democracy, then those who reaped the gain (the banks) would actually be exposed to the risk that accompanied their gain. But sadly, the EU is not a democracy except as a simulacrum propped up for PR purposes. The risk and the gain have been neatly separated by the Eurocrats and the toady figurehead leadership (Merkozy et al.).As a result the gain remains safely private with the banks while the risk and losses are shifted to the taxpayers and citizens of the EU, who must now make good on those stupendous losses while remaining exposed to the risk of future default.The same is of course also true in the U.S., another facsimile democracy in which the government and its proxies guarantee banks’ profits and leverage while transferring the risk and losses to the voiceless taxpayers. (Go try to cast a vote over Fed policy. Serf, meet your Overlord, Ben Bernanke).The banks and their lackeys in government prefer to use unaccountable proxy agencies to do the heavy lifting–the European Central Bank (ECB), the Federal Reserve, and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which is soon to be joined with other alphabet-soup agencies of oppression and predation, all in the name of “rescue.”Rescuing who and what? The banks and bondholders, of course. This requires avoiding not just democracy but also capitalism, which would require the clearing of bad debt via the discovery of price of both debt and risk, and also socialism, which would require wiping out the wealth of the banks and bondholders via nationalization, a process that would at least return surviving assets and control to an elected government.It’s not democracy, capitalism or socialism–it’s all opacity and artifice to mask the imposition of a new, improved debt-serfdom on Europe, all in the name of “fiscal unity.”The eurocrats and the toady leadership would be more honest were they to simply declare: “We had to destroy democracy to save the banks. You are now serfs in our financial fiefdoms.”Read the full story here.
- Fateful Day for Europe.Four Ideas to Save the Common Currency.(Spiegel).By Charles Hawley.European Union leaders will be gathering in Brussels on Thursday and Friday for one of the most anticipated EU summits ever. Some say that the very survival of the common currency is at stake. But even as Germany's Angela Merkel will be focused on stricter budget rules, several other proposals are also on the table. SPIEGEL ONLINE provides an overview.Read the full story here.