Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Overnight music video - Special request for "GunWalker" - Nancy Sinatra - These Boots Are Made for Walkin'

The Federal Reserve’s Explicit Goal: Devalue The Dollar 33%


The Federal Reserve’s Explicit Goal: Devalue The Dollar 33%.(BI).The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) has made it official: After its latest two day meeting, it announced its goal to devalue the dollar by 33% over the next 20 years. The debauch of the dollar will be even greater if the Fed exceeds its goal of a 2 percent per year increase in the price level.
An increase in the price level of 2% in any one year is barely noticeable. Under a gold standard, such an increase was uncommon, but not unknown. The difference is that when the dollar was as good as gold, the years of modest inflation would be followed, in time, by declining prices. As a consequence, over longer periods of time, the price level was unchanged. A dollar 20 years hence was still worth a dollar.
But, an increase of 2% a year over a period of 20 years will lead to a 50% increase in the price level. It will take 150 (2032) dollars to purchase the same basket of goods 100 (2012) dollars can buy today. What will be called the “dollar” in 2032 will be worth one-third less (100/150) than what we call a dollar today.
The Fed’s zero interest rate policy accentuates the negative consequences of this steady erosion in the dollar’s buying power by imposing a negative return on short-term bonds and bank deposits. In effect, the Fed has announced a course of action that will steal — there is no better word for it — nearly 10 percent of the value of Americans’ hard earned savings over the next 4 years.
Why target an annual 2 percent decline in the dollar’s value instead of price stability? Here is the Fed’s answer:
“The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) judges that inflation at the rate of 2 percent (as measured by the annual change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures, or PCE) is most consistent over the longer run with the Federal Reserve’s mandate for price stability and maximum employment. Over time, a higher inflation rate would reduce the public’s ability to make accurate longer-term economic and financial decisions. On the other hand, a lower inflation rate would be associated with an elevated probability of falling into deflation, which means prices and perhaps wages, on average, are falling — a phenomenon associated with very weak economic conditions. Having at least a small level of inflation makes it less likely that the economy will experience harmful deflation if economic conditions weaken. The FOMC implements monetary policy to help maintain an inflation rate of 2 percent over the medium term.”In other words, a gradual destruction of the dollar’s value is the best the FOMC can do.Here’s why: First, the Fed believes that manipulation of interest rates and the value of the dollar can reduce unemployment rates.The results of the past 40 years say the opposite.
The Fed’s finger prints in the form of monetary manipulation are all over the dozen financial crises and spikes in unemployment we have experienced since abandoning the gold standard in 1971. The financial crisis of 2008, caused in no small part by the Fed’s efforts to stimulate the economy by keeping interest rates too low for, as it turned out, way too long is but the latest example of the Fed failing to fulfill its mandate to achieve either price stability or full employment.
The Fed’s most recent experience with Quantitative Easing also belies the entire notion that monetary manipulation can spur the economy. Between November 2010 and June 2011, the Fed tried to spur economic growth by purchasing $600 billion in Treasury securities, flooding the banking system with reserves and keeping interest rates low. In response the economy, which had been growing at a 3.4% annual rate, slowed to a 1% annual rate in the first half of 2011. Once the Fed stopped supplying all of that liquidity, economic growth in the second half of the year accelerated to a 2.3% annual rate.
Second, the Fed does not use real time indicators of the price level. Instead, it views inflation through the rear view mirror of the trailing increases in the PCE. And, even when it had evidence of rising inflation — as it did in the first quarter of last year — it chose to temporize, betting that the spike in inflation would prove temporary.This spike in inflation did prove temporary, as Fed Chairman Bernanke predicted at the time, but not for the reasons — a slack economy — that he cited. Instead, the growing debt crisis in Europe led to a massive shift in deposits out of the euro and into the dollar — an event totally out of the Fed’s control. Yet, this increase in the demand for dollars was far more important than any action taken by the Fed because it increased the value of the dollar and produced a slowdown in the inflation rate.
What we are left with is a trial and error monetary system that depends on the best judgment of 19 men and women who meet every six weeks around a big table at the Federal Reserve in Washington. At the end of a day and a half of discussions, 11 of them vote on what to do next. The error the members of the FOMC fear most when they vote is deflation. So, they have built in a 2% margin of error.
Given the crudeness of the tools the FOMC uses to set monetary policy, allowing for such a margin of error is no doubt prudent. For example, when the economy slowed in the first half of last year, inflation picked up, accelerating to a 6.1% annual rate during the second quarter. And, when the economic growth accelerated in the second half, inflation slowed. These results are the precise opposite of what the Fed’s playbook says are supposed to happen.
The best the Fed can do — an average debauch in the dollar’s value of 2% a year while producing recurring financial crises and a more cyclical economy — is demonstrably inferior to the results produced by the classical gold standard. Here’s just one example. The largest gold discovery of modern times set off the 1849 California gold rush and increased the supply of gold in the world faster than the increase in the output of goods and services. The price level in the US did increase by12.4 percent over the next 8 years. That translates into an average of just 1.5% a year. The gold standard at its worst was better than the best the Fed now promises to do with the paper dollar.
The Fed’s best is hardly good enough. The time has arrived for the American people to demand something far better — a dollar as good as gold.
Regards,
Charles Kadlec,
for The Daily Reckoning.



MFS -The Other News - What the main papers don't say.



  Morning Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation North America: Oregon 6.0 - 5.9 ; Brazil 5.4 ; Fiji 5.3 - 5.1!More info here.


  • Fifty Members of Congress Hold Press Event on Obama Mandate.(LN).The new mandate pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place forcing religious employers to pay for insurance coverage including birth control and abortion-inducing drugs is so offensive more than 50 members of Congress will speak out against it today.Congressman Jeff Fortenberry will hold a press conference today with supporters of the bipartisan, bicameral Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. His legislation would protect the religious liberty and conscience rights of every American who objects to being forced by the strong-arm of government to pay for drugs and procedures recently mandated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).The Fortenberry bill currently has the support of approximately 220 Members of Congress and Senators, the most strongly-supported legislative remedy to the controversial HHS mandate. This measure would repeal the controversial mandate, amending the 2010 health care law to preserve conscience rights for religious institutions, health care providers, and small businesses who pay for health care coverage.“The President still doesn’t understand that religious institutions will still be unacceptably entangled–financially and provisionally– with drugs, procedures, and services to which they may have religious and moral objections, in violation of their long-held rights of conscience,” he told LifeNews in a statement. “Moreover, this announcement still does not get to the very core of American distress: religious freedom and conscience rights are natural rights as enshrined in the Constitution. The government does not confer them and must not force persons to violate them by paying for things to which they have reasoned religious or moral objections.”“Congress should protect the religious liberty and conscience rights of every American who objects to being forced by the strongarm of government to pay for services to which she or he has deeply-held objections. We must do so for the benefit of the millions of Americans who are calling for swift bipartisan action,” he added.“This is a genuine assault on First Amendment freedoms,” Blunt said in an exclusive interview with Heritage following a speech there Monday. Blunt dismissed Obama’s “accommodation” announcement last week as an “accounting gimmick.” He said it’s not an issue of money as Obama portrayed it Friday.“This is not about cost. It’s about the Constitution,” Blunt told Heritage. “And if you can decide this no longer offends me because I don’t have to pay for it, I guess you’re concern is financial all the time and not faith-based.”Read the full story here.


  • A Warning Sign For The World.(BLN).Any financial system that is based on debt is doomed to fail. Today, we are living in the greatest debt bubble that the world has ever seen, and if all of a sudden people could not use credit to buy things our economy would immediately ground to a halt. Unfortunately, no debt bubble can last forever. When this current debt bubble finally bursts, faith in the financial system is going to disappear, credit is going to freeze up and there is going to be a massive wave of bank failures. Right now, Greece is a warning sign for the world. Nobody wants to lend money to Greece, the Greek banking system is dying, one out of every four businesses has already shut down, unemployment is soaring and the Greek economy has now been in recession for five years in a row. Sadly, the economic implosion in Greece is rapidly accelerating. The Greek economy shrunk at a 7 percent annual rate during the 4th quarter of 2011. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Things were supposed to be getting better in Greece by now. But instead the Greek depression is getting even worse, and very soon the rest of the world is going to be going through what Greece is currently experiencing.Unfortunately, most in the mainstream media are treating what is happening in Greece as an “isolated incident” rather than as a very serious warning sign for the world.Thankfully, there are at least a few reporters out there that are realizing the gravity of the situation. The following is how one reporter from the New York Times recently described what life is like in Greece now….Greece is most definitely a warning sign for the world. If you keep recklessly piling up debt, eventually a day of reckoning comes. It is inevitable.But Barack Obama does not seem to understand this. He continues to pile another 150 million dollars on to our national debt every single hour. He knows that cutting spending significantly right now would hurt the economy and that would significantly hurt his chances for another term.Needless to say, Barack Obama is not likely to do anything that is going to significantly hurt his chances for another four years in the White House.So we continue to roll on toward disaster.The U.S. financial system is like a car with no brakes that is heading straight toward a 5,000 foot drop at 100 miles an hour.It is all going to seem like fun and games to some people until we hit the canyon floor.Once that happens, nobody will be laughing.Hmmmm....In one year time the fed reserve has increased its holdings from zero to 1,5 trillion dollar, what are they preparing for?Read the full story here.



  • Fast and Furious: Rep. Issa to Holder, We Want Documents Now, Contempt Charges Still On The Table.(BG).On February 14th I received an email from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) office, containing a copy of a letter the Congressman just sent to Attorney General Eric Holder. In it, Issa points out Holder’s “lack of good faith,” in not complying with document requests heretofore, and to the fact that the DOJ as a whole appears “more concerned with protecting its image through spin control than actually cooperating with Congress.”Wrote Issa:  The Justice Department’s request for additional time has, unfortunately, not been followed by efforts to bridge the significant differences between its legal obligation to Congress and the reality of its stonewalling. The [House Oversight and Government Reform Committee] is determined to know what happened in Operation Fast and Furious and how the Justice Department responded when it was publicly confronted with evidence of reckless conduct after Agent Terry’s death. If the Justice Department cannot commit to providing, at a minimum, a detailed description of documents it is withholding, and the legal basis for doing so, then the committee has no other option than to move forward with the contempt process against Attorney General Holder.In addition, the letter sets forth central questions that have to be answers, among which are:
  1. Exactly how and when did senior Department officials learn the truth of what happened?
  2. Did Department officials retaliate against whistleblowers?
  3. Why did Department officials decide to move forward with prosecuting old cases involving highly objectionable tactics when line prosecutors had refused to do so?
  4. Why did senior Department officials fail to see the clear connection between Fast and Furious and prior flawed operations they have admitted they knew about?
  5. When did the Department first learn about Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer’s February 2011 suggestion of gunwalking, and why did the Department wait so long before telling Congress about it?
  6. A year later, will the responsible senior Department officials be held accountable?The letter also contains a specific line of questions about Patrick Cunningham, Chief of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona, who pled the 5th when subpoenaed by Issa. Apparently, Cunningham did his own “comprehensive review” of Fast and Furious in April 2011, and Issa wants to know what he found out.Wrote Issa: “What information did Cunningham uncover To whom did he report this information? What was done with this information?”Issa ended his letter thus: [And] this is not an “election year political ‘gotcha’ game,” but rather a bipartisan sentiment. As Ranking Member [Elijah] Cummings (D-MD) promised the family of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry,we will not rest until every single person responsible for all of this, no matter where they are, are brought to justice.” I applaud his revolve, and I want to make it clear that Congress will not give up until this accountability has been achieved.Hmmmm.....'Gunwalker' These boots will keep on walking, one of these days these boots.........Read the full story here.


  • Obama tells China's vice president he welcomes China's rise.(SD).US President Barack Obama said yesterday that the United States welcomes China's rise, saying that strong cooperation between the two powers is good for the rest of the world.Obama offered a warm welcome to Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping at the White House."We welcome China's peaceful rise," Obama said as the two men sat in the Oval Office. "We believe a strong and prosperous China is one that can help to bring stability and prosperity to the region and to the world."Obama said he was looking forward to future cooperation.A smiling Xi told Obama he wants to build on the relationship between Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao. He wants to engage the American people to strengthen cooperation and "deepen the friendship" between the people of the two countries.Obama sought to balance his desire to make a good start with Xi with the political need to look firm with Beijing in an election year."We have tried to emphasize that because of China's ... extraordinary development over the last two decades, that with expanding power and prosperity also comes increased responsibilities," Obama said."We want to work with China to make sure that everybody is working by the same rules of the road when it comes to the world economic system, and that includes ensuring that there is a balanced trade flow between not only the United States and China, but around the world," he said.Xi said he looked forward to building a "cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interests." He added: "I hope to engage with a broad cross-section of American society during my current visit."The two leaders smiled and nodded as the other spoke and shook hands during an appearance in front of reporters.Read the full story here.

  • Israel ambassador says Thai bombs similar to ones from India, Georgia attacks.(Yahoo).BANGKOK - The bombs discovered in a Bangkok house after a series of blasts in the Thai capital were similar to those used in attacks on Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia, the Israeli ambassador said Wednesday.While the targets of the bombs was not clear, "we can assume from the other experiences that we were the target," Ambassador Itzhak Shoham told The Associated Press.

  • Israel ambassador says Thai bombs similar to ones from India, Georgia attacks.(Yahoo).Thai police found and defused two magnetic bombs that could be stuck on vehicles after Tuesday' blasts."They are similar to the ones used in Delhi and in Tblisi," Shoham said. "From that we can assume that there is the same network of terror."He said the arrest of two Iranians in the blasts "again leaves not too much room to assume who was behind it."A bombing of an Israeli diplomatic car in New Delhi on Monday injured four people, including a diplomat's wife. A similar bomb found under a car in Georgia on Monday was defused.Four Thai civilians were wounded in Bangkok in a series of blasts that began Tuesday when a cache of explosives ignited at a house, apparently by mistake. One explosion blew off the leg of an Iranian who had fled, carrying what looked like grenades.Read the full story here.


  • Thailand plays down terrorist link to Bangkok blasts.(BM).Bangkok (dpa) – Thai officials on Wednesday said it was too early to link three blasts in Bangkok to international terrorist groups.“At the moment, there is no evidence linking this incident to terrorism,” Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said.On Tuesday, an explosion in a rented house in Bangkok prompted the four foreign residents to flee, police said. One man, after failing to hail a cab, threw a grenade at a taxi, injuring the driver and three pedestrians. He later threw another at a police car, but it bounced back and blew up in front of him, severing both legs.The suspect was initially identified as Iranian national Saeib Morabi. Police arrested another Iranian, Mohammad Hazai, 42, at Suvarnabhumi International Airport late Tuesday as he was about to board a plane to Kuala Lumpur.He had been identified by surveillance cameras as one three Iranians staying at the house where the bomb was detonated, police said.The two other suspects, including one woman, were still at large. Police said they found C-4 plastic explosives in the house that they rented in Bangkok.“We are checking with the Iranian embassy whether the two men under custody are Iranians,” Surapong said. “They could be holding fake documents,” he noted. Bangkok is a regional hub for purchasing fake identification documents.Iran on Wednesday denied any involvement and condemned the attacks by accusing Israel.“The Zionist regime is trying to tarnish the historic ties between Iran and Thailand by such acts,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told state television network IRIB.The incident prompted 10 embassies to issue travel warnings to their citizens visiting Bangkok.Last month, the US and 10 other embassies issued travel warnings after being informed of planned terrorist attacks on US and Israeli citizens in the Thai capital.On January 16, police found 400 boxes of bomb-making materials in a shophouse believed to be linked to that plot.Police said they were alerted to the cache by Attis Hussein, a Swedish-Lebanese man arrested days after the US embassy travel alert on suspicion of being a member of the Hezbollah militant group.Maintaining security and the country’s appeal as a tourist destination is a key task for authorities in Thailand, which drew 19 million visitors last year.Although Iranians, unlike many Middle Eastern nationals, cannot get a visa on arrival, “there has been a significant increase in Iranian tourists visiting Thailand last year,” said a Thai diplomat who asked to remain anonymous.Hmmmm......Foreign Minister Genius:" At the moment, there is no evidence linking this incident to terrorism".Read the full story here.


  • Israel - Rachel’s Tomb, Cave of the Patriarchs cut from national heritage program.(IH).The Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb, both holy sites in Judea and Samaria, will be omitted from Israel’s list of national heritage sites, contrary to a promise made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu two years ago, Army Radio reported Tuesday. The list of national heritage sites was expected to be approved by the government on Tuesday. Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office insist that the two sites were left off the list for purely logistical reasons, but other government officials suggested that the decision was motivated by fear of worldwide condemnation. In 2010, Netanyahu announced a list of sites, including the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb, which were slated for rehabilitation and renovation as part of Israel’s National Heritage Program. However, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed concern that inclusion of the two sensitive sites would escalate tensions in the region, and U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry said the sites were “of historical and religious significance not only to Judaism but also to Islam and to Christianity as well.” Now, with the final list submitted to the ministers for approval, it has emerged that the two sites have been omitted by a prioritization committee. Science and Technology Minister Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkowitz (National Religious Party) submitted a letter to Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser, Army Radio reported, demanding to restore Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs to the list. “Omitting Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs is like denying our elementary heritage,” Army Radio quoted him as writing in the letter. “They are the burial place of our three fathers and four mothers. The state of Israel extracts its entire heritage from these sites.” Read the full story here.

  • Ask not what Egypt can do for you; ask what Egypt will Blackmail you to do for them!(WShoebat).Seriously, what more evidence does one need? The Obama administration helped to facilitate the fall of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. It was all about Democracy! Freedom! If that were true, the Muslim Brotherhood, which filled the vacuum, should be thanking America, asking us how we can be re-paid, right?Uh, not so much.One day after it was learned that the proposed Obama budget included $800 Million in aid to “Arab Spring” countries (Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya), with continued military aid to Egypt, the United States is now being met with threats from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Oh, and the Brotherhood also appears to be holding Americans hostage.Folks, this is nothing new.The Barbary Wars of the early 1800′s, which led to the formation of the US Navy and its Marines did the same types of things from the very same regions of North Africa (from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli). They pirated ships and held Americans hostage for ransom.Why? Terrorizing infidels was how they earned a living.Things didn’t change until Thomas Jefferson’s patience finally ran out.They’re Baaaaaaaccccck.Read the full story here.


  • Gaza's power station ceased to operate.(AM).Gaza's power station ceased to operate. Ismail Haniyeh called Egypt to intervene in the energy shortage and show its support for the Palestinians and provide them with everything needed to operate the station - " to prevent a real humanitarian crisis". UN Officer for Humanitarian Affairs says - that the quantity of fuel transferred to Gaza through tunnels in the last two weeks was only half the amount of fuel that came from Egypt in the previous week, probably because of restrictions imposed by Egyptian police on the movement of fuel shipments to Rafah. The power plant provides about a third of the electricity in Gaza, and because of the many disruptions in power supply, the Health Ministry's spokesman in Gaza warned that:- "power cuts endanger the lives of some Hospitalized patients in the hospital." Hallo! El-Qaeda Sinaistan! Blow the Gas pipe line from Egypt to Ashkelon!... And F**k the "other two thirds" as well !...Read the full story here.



    Gender separation Turkish teenagers’ biggest hindrance to love.


    Gender separation Turkish teenagers’ biggest hindrance to love.(HD).A new study focusing on teenagers’ attitudes and behaviors toward the opposite sex as part of larger research into Turkey and Turkish cultural phenomena has revealed that young Turks’ love lives are hampered by an inability to meet the opposite sex.
    The BBDO 2012 survey was based on interviews with two groups of Turkish teens aged between 15 and 17 years old that were drawn from both sexes and different social circles.
    The study revealed that separation based on gender is inherent in Turkish society and that this early male-female separation increased the inability for relationships to form over time.
    The phenomenon also revealed that female teens spent the majority of their time with older female family members while male teens spent time with male peers. This physical dissociation also caused separate language patterns to form, giving way to future communication difficulties.
    Unable to communicate fully via media sites such as Facebook or the Blackberry Messenger system, the study found that eating at the shopping mall was the only activity where teens could mingle. The study concluded that advertisers aiming to attract teens to their brand can gain a lot from creating unisex activities to help them meet one another. In Turkey, however, there has been no gender cleansing of the curriculum, textbooks or teacher-training materials. Textbooks still contain elements that attribute an active role to men and a passive role to women -- so, while men are encouraged to take part in the public sphere, women are being limited by their husbands and children and responsibility for domestic work1.
    It is possible to conclude that schools in Turkey actually contribute significantly to the reproduction of traditional gender roles. Teaching of stereotypical gender roles also occurs within the scope of literacy courses for grown-ups2. Course materials often perpetuate and reinforce the traditional roles that prevail amongst learners.
    Despite urgent need, policies and mechanisms on “the inspection of education materials with a gender sensitive approach … training of persons to conduct this inspection” and the “production of new texts following the removal of sexist elements” are yet to be formulated.
    Another important factor in education processes regarding girls’ education is the gender ratio of staff in schools. Only 3% of school principals in primary schools are women. Women constitute 44% of primary school teachers and 39% of secondary school teachers. In universities, the gender gap is still greater. The prevalence of males in the upper echelons of education, teaching more ‘important’ subjects such as mathematics and physics enforces the message that higher levels of knowledge are the ‘domain of men’ while female teachers, more frequent in lower grades, are occupied in teaching subjects such as reading or writing. Read the full story here, more here from Unicef Turkey.

    Is it possible for anyone to support the claim that nothing abnormal is happening in Turkey nowadays?


    Is it possible for anyone to support the claim that nothing abnormal is happening in Turkey nowadays?(HurriyetDaily).By Yusuf Kanli.Is it possible for anyone to support the claim that nothing abnormal is happening in Turkey nowadays? A constitutional amendment was made on Sept. 12, 2010. The aim was to remove the residue of the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, to put an end to undemocratic tutelage of the justice system and thus elevate Turkey to an “advanced democracy.”

    The end result? Turkey has become a country where the judicial system is held hostage by an overwhelming parliamentary majority that has replaced pluralistic democracy with majoritarian rule. Not only did the minister and his undersecretary remain on the Judges and Prosecutors High Board (HSYK), and thus political influence continued intact after the amendment, the board’s new post-amendment structure provided the government, or a certain political-Islamist ideology, to dominate it. Thus, whatever the previous tutelage on the justice system was, it was replaced with the tutelage of a conservative and Islamist ideology.
    The changes at the Constitutional Court have also helped the government do away with the need to conform to constitutional principles, such as equality before the law or the prohibition that no “special” law serving only certain individuals can be legislated.The AKP government was rather happy with the highly politicized “courts with special powers” system.
    Why shouldn’t it? It was with the investigations ordered or judicial cases opened by those special courts that most of the opponents were silenced; either banished to the Silivri concentration camp or scared so much that they became imprisoned in their own heads. On the other hand, the same special courts helped the Islamist brotherhood supportive of the government get away with the Lighthouse Islamist charity fraud case, described by a German court as the greatest charity scam they have ever seen.
    Since 2008 Turkey has been living extraordinary times. Professors, journalists, businessmen, active and retired officers, even a former chief of general staff are being placed behind bars. Worse, these people have all been accused of being members of a “terrorist gang.” Several of the people detained on grounds they were a “terrorist gang” have died in prison, some have been at the Silivri concentration camp for more than four years without being sentenced.
    As the prime minister once said: Those who insist on not taking sides (with the government) are being pushed aside one way or another.Hmmmmm......Obama has a 'special trust relation' with Erdogan,.... a man is known by the compagny he keeps.Read the full story here.

    Muslim Brotherhood’s Dr Kamal El-Helbawy defines who is a Jew, and who isn’t.

    Muslim Brotherhood’s Dr Kamal El-Helbawy defines who is a Jew, and who isn’t.(DocsTalk).By richardmillett.When I went to SOAS on Sunday for the Respect Party's public meeting Where now for Egypt and the Middle East?, chaired by The Guardian's Seumas Milne, I didn't expect a sermon on who is, and who is not, a Jew.
    Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, Chair of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and former speaker for the Muslim Brotherhood in the West, was updating us on the political situation in Egypt as he saw it. He welcomed the fact that 75% of the new Egyptian parliament was now Islamic, but said that he hoped for increased Coptic Christian participation and the promotion of women.
    The Muslim Brotherhood isn't especially keen on Jews. For example, Hamas, the Brotherhood's subsidiary in Gaza, remembers us in their Charter by calling for us to be killed.However, Dr Kamal El-Helbawy seemed to be concentrating on Egypt's pressing internal issues.
    Could this be a new Egypt; a Light Unto the Arab nations, I thought? Fifteen minutes into his speech and Dr Kamal El-Helbawy still hadn't mentioned Israel and the Palestinians.
    Finally, Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, a self-proclaimed scholar of comparative religion, introduced the subject as follows:
    "I have Jewish friends who are really Jewish. They stay with me, they eat with me, they sleep with us at home. Who are real friends. Like Neturei Karta people. Like Dovid Weiss and hundreds of others, who are real Jews. And we respect them and we love them. We are brothers in humanity if not in religion. But unfortunately the ones we have in Israel, the Zionists, are not Jews. I am happy with what usually my dear brother George Galloway says 'atheist Jews'. Even I say they are Zionists. They have nothing, nothing at all related to Jewish religion. Moses did not order people to kill each other and the Christ did not ask people to kill each other or colonise each other or destroy each other or stop, for example, Iran doing good research in atomic energy."
    During the Q and A I said I thought it disrespectful of him to tell us who is, and who isn't, Jewish and that just because one might disagree with someone's political view shouldn't make anyone less of a Muslim, Jew or Christian for it. To applause he responded:
    "I have 100% right to define. I am a scholar of comparative religion as well. And I understand, and I have many friends who are Jews, and I don't believe that the Nobel Laureate Peres is a Jew at all, is a Jew. Who is a Jew is the one who follows Moses, peace be upon Him. Who's a Christian is the one who follows Jesus Christ, peace upon Him. Who is a Muslim is the one who follows Muhammad the Prophet, peace be upon Him. So it is not difficult to define who is a Jew and can measure who is a Jew, who is not. If you kill you are not a Jew, because Moses did not ask you to kill people. If you ousted them from their lands and houses and destroy them you are not a Jew."Hmmm......Moses did not order people to kill each other and the Christ did not ask people to kill each other".......now which religion would ask people to kill others?Read the full story here.

    U.K. - The rise of the 'militant secularists': Muslim minister calls on Christians to stand up for their faith.


     
    U.K. - The rise of the 'militant secularists': Muslim minister calls on Christians to stand up for their faith.(DailyMail).Christianity is in grave danger of being marginalised, Britain's only Muslim cabinet minister will tell the Vatican today.
    Baroness Warsi will call for Europeans to take more pride in their religious roots and for Christianity to play a greater role in public life.
    She will attack the 'basic misconception' that Christianity needs to be 'erased' for minorities to feel welcome in society.
    She also spoke of her fears for British society which she believes is being taken hold of by 'militant secularists' in an article for the Daily Telegraph.
    Social cohesion will improve if individuals feel more confident in their religious beliefs, she will tell the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, a college which trains priests for diplomatic and secretariat duties.
    Baroness Warsi is leading a UK delegation to be received by the Pope at the Vatican today. With seven ministers, it is the largest ever UK mission to the Holy See.
    The peer, who is co-chairman of the Conservative Party, said she feared that religion was being increasingly downgraded or dismissed as an eccentricity.
    Baroness Warsi will call for faith to be given proper space in public life. 'People need to feel stronger in their religious identities, more confident in their beliefs,' she will say.
    'In practice this means individuals not diluting their faiths ... and nations not denying their religious heritages. If you take this thought to its conclusion then the idea you're left with is this: Europe needs to become more confident in its Christianity.
    'Too often there is a suspicion of faith in our continent. It all hinges on a basic misconception: That to create equality and space for minorities we need to erase our religious heritage.'
    Her comments come just days after a landmark legal ruling banning the saying of prayers at council meetings.
    Christians and politicians reacted with dismay after a judge overturned centuries of custom by stopping a town hall in Devon putting prayers on the formal agenda.
    Before Christmas, David Cameron declared Britain to be a Christian country and urged people to 'stand up and defend' the values of the Bible.
    Lady Warsi will say that centuries of Christianity have shaped British culture and civilisation and will praise faith for 'inspiring, driving and motivating' good works.
    'You cannot and should not extract these Christian foundations from the evolution of our nations any more than you can or should erase the spires from our landscapes,' she will say.
    However, the Cabinet minister will warn: 'I see a great danger to this confident affirmation of religion today. It is what the Holy Father called the increasing marginalisation of religion during his speech in Westminster Hall.'I see it in the UK and I see it in Europe. Spirituality, suppressed. Divinity, downgraded.
    'Where, in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, faith is looked down on as the hobby of oddities, foreigners and minorities. Where religion is dismissed as an eccentricity because it's infused with tradition.'Hmmmm...... "It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains." ~ Patrick Henry.Read the full story here.

    European Commission’s proposal to create a sweeping new privacy right: "The Right to Be Forgotten".


    European Commission’s proposal to create a sweeping new privacy right: "The Right to Be Forgotten".(SLR).At the end of January, the European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights, and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, announced the European Commission’s proposal to create a sweeping new privacy right—the “right to be forgotten.” The right, which has been hotly debated in Europe for the past few years, has finally been codified as part of a broad new proposed data protection regulation. Although Reding depicted the new right as a modest expansion of existing data privacy rights, in fact it represents the biggest threat to free speech on the Internet in the coming decade. The right to be forgotten could make Facebook and Google, for example, liable for up to two percent of their global income if they fail to remove photos that people post about themselves and later regret, even if the photos have been widely distributed already. Unless the right is defined more precisely when it is promulgated over the next year or so, it could precipitate a dramatic clash between European and American conceptions of the proper balance between privacy and free speech, leading to a far less open Internet.
    In theory, the right to be forgotten addresses an urgent problem in the digital age: it is very hard to escape your past on the Internet now that every photo, status update, and tweet lives forever in the cloud. But Europeans and Americans have diametrically opposed approaches to the problem. In Europe, the intellectual roots of the right to be forgotten can be found in French law, which recognizes le droit à l’oubli—or the “right of oblivion”—a right that allows a convicted criminal who has served his time and been rehabilitated to object to the publication of the facts of his conviction and incarceration. In America, by contrast, publication of someone’s criminal history is protected by the First Amendment, leading Wikipedia to resist the efforts by two Germans convicted of murdering a famous actor to remove their criminal history from the actor’s Wikipedia page.Read the full story here.

    Ahmadinejad to attend loading of own nuclear fuel rods in Tehran reactor.



    Ahmadinejad to attend loading of own nuclear fuel rods in Tehran reactor.(JPost).Iran will load locally made nuclear fuel rods into its Tehran Research Reactor on Wednesday for the first time, a senior official told the Students News Agency ISNA."The first home-made nuclear fuel roads will be loaded in the Tehran Nuclear Research Reactor in the presence of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," said Ali Baqeri, deputy secretary general of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, ISNA reported. The reactor is currently running out of nuclear fuel originally provided by Argentina in the 1990s."We will also send a reply to the EU's Foreign Policy Chief (on nuclear talks) today," he said.
    The move appeared designed to show that increased sanctions are failing to halt Iran's technical progress and to strengthen its hand in any renewed negotiations with the major powers.
    Diplomats believe Iran has in the past overstated its nuclear achievements to gain leverage in its standoff with Western powers, which suspect Iran is seeking to develop the means to make atom bombs, a charge the country denies."Fuel elements, for the first time created by Iranian scientists, will in the presence of the president ... be loaded into the Tehran research reactor," Bagheri, deputy secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, was quoted as saying.
    Mark Hibbs, a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said he did not believe the Iranian announcement signaled any mass production of nuclear fuel.
    "We are talking about laboratory-scale production of a single element for the reactor," he said.Read the full story here.

    Is Greece a Sacrifice or the Shape of Things to Come?


    Is Greece a Sacrifice or the Shape of Things to Come?(BLN).Source: Daily Bell

    Germany’s Carthaginian terms for Greece … The last time Germany needed a bail-out from world creditors, it secured better terms than shattered Greece last week … The austerity policy being forced on Greece by Germany and the eurozone cannot command democratic consent over time. – UK Telegraph/Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
     . Dominant Social Theme: Greece has got to pay.
    Free-Market Analysis: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard makes good points in this article on Germany’s attack on Greece, but to us it’s a kind of elite dominant social theme. The idea is to blame Germany’s leaders for intolerable austerity, and Chancelor Angela Merkel in particular. However, from our point of view, Merkel is merely working for larger powers-that-be.
    It is the Anglosphere power elite that seeks to build up the EU as part of its focus on creating worldwide governance. And it is this same elite that is causing economic chaos in order to further its plans. Out of chaos … order.
    For one reason or another, the powerful families that apparently control central banks around the world (and the trillions they throw off) have decided to turn Greece into a fiery battleground. One can see this policy proceeding deliberately. Evans-Pritchard notes it:
    The US, Canada, Britain, France, Greece, and other signatories at the London Debt Agreement of 1953 granted Chancellor Konrad Adenauer a 50pc haircut on all German debt, worth 70pc in relief with stretched maturities. There was a five-year moratorium on interest payments. The express purpose was to give Germany enough oxygen to rebuild its economy, and to help hold the line against Soviet overreach …
    Greece has less strategic relevance, and must comply with tougher terms … Some 60,000 small firms and family businesses have gone bankrupt since the summer, the chief reason why VAT revenues dropped 18.7pc in January. The violence of the slump is overwhelming the effects of fiscal retrenchment. So much Sisyphean effort for so little gain.
    The policy cannot command democratic consent over time. The once dominant Pasok party has collapsed to 8pc in the polls. Support is splintering to the far Left and far Right, just like Weimar Germany under the Bruning deflation.
    The next Greek parliament will be packed with “anti-Memorandum” fire-breathers, and any attempt by Greek elites to prevent elections taking place must push street protests towards revolution. In a sign of things to come, the Hellenic Police Federation has called for the arrest of Troika officials on Greek soil for attacks on “democracy and national sovereignty”.
    Evans-Pritchard believes that Germany’s pols are driving Greece to ruin for internal political reasons. He even writes that Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble wants to push Greece out of the EU.
    He believes that Greece is being sacrificed on the altar of German public opinion. His perspective seems to be that the sacrifice of Greece will then allow Germany and Brussels to deal more gently with Spain, Portugal and other countries that are in a position similar to Greece’s.
    We think the Internet’s information and organizational characteristics have made it more difficult for the power elites to pursue their world-spanning plans. We notice their discomfort and the efforts they are making to shut down the ‘Net.
    We also believe that the ejection of even one country from the EU will be a significant setback to the plans of the power elite, just as Britain’s public leave-taking was a setback. The elites need to project a sense of invulnerability in order to pursue their one-world project.Read the full story here.


    Canadian Government ends funding for extremist Palestine House.


    Canadian Government ends funding for extremist Palestine House.(Mississauga).Government ends funding for Palestine House.Mississauga-based Palestine House has had government funding for its newcomer settlement and language instruction services cancelled because of what Ottawa calls the cultural centre's "pattern of support for extremism."
    Palestine House officials say Citizenship and Immigration Canada's recent decision to pull the plug on funding — money that's been coming annually for the past 18 years or so — is part of a campaign by the Conservative government to target organizations that support the human rights of Palestinians.
    The educational and cultural centre, located on Erindale Station Rd., received about $950,000 in funding last year.
    The absence of that money means it will no longer be able to provide settlement services and language programs to newcomers, officials say, adding about 20 people - instructors, settlement and childcare workers, and administrative staff - will lose their jobs as well.
    Palestine House officials say they received a letter in late January from Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney indicating the funding agreement wouldn't be renewed.
    Kenney spokesperson Kasra Nejatian told The News today via e-mail that the minister has expressed concern that Palestine House has aligned itself with extremist causes.
    Nejatian pointed to several events as cause for concern, most recently a gathering hosted by Palestine House that, according to the minister, celebrated the release of hundreds of terrorists. Additionally, a 2008 event at the cultural centre honouring Dr. George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), caught the government's attention.
    The PFLP is the second-largest of the groups forming the Palestine Liberation Organization and, in the 1960s and '70s, was responsible for numerous armed attacks and aircraft hijackings.
    "We repeatedly raised, with Palestine House, our concerns about this pattern of support for extremism," said Nejatian. "But, unfortunately, the organization has continued to promote extreme positions that undermine, rather than advance, social cohesion. We can no longer justify subsidizing such an organization with tax dollars, particularly to provide integration services for newcomers to Canada."Palestine House spokesperson Samir Jabbour said, "It was made clear in correspondence to Minister Kenney that Palestine House categorically denounces all forms of terrorism or extremism.Hmmmm......Blazing Cat Fur has a long list of examples of their 'Denouncements'here are a few examples:

    Examples of Anti-Semitic Advocacy Associated with Palestine House

    1. Rashad Saleh, former President of Palestine House, compared former
    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak to Hitler as he urged on a crowd of protesters chanting “death to Jews” at a 2000 rally. In 2002, Rashed Saleh seemed to dispute the historical validity of the Holocaust. While speaking to CFRB radio he referred to a “so-called” Holocaust. He also compared Israeli government to the Nazi regime by saying “Israelis are engaging in atrocities similar to the one that Hitler has made.”
    http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=131860

    2. Adam Hanieh and Rafeef Ziadah, both former Palestine House board members, are members of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) and CUPE, and were instrumental in advocating in favour of CUPE Ontario's May 2006 anti-Israel boycott resolutions. Ziadah accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and calls for the full return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Israel. See: http://www.thestar.com/article/591429, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mivJjLE7e8, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i3NFNsX11w

    3. Addressing a 2006 Rally in Toronto condemning Israeli self-defense against Hezbollah attacks, former Palestine House President and current board member Elias Hazineh saluted Hezbollah and Hamas, both listed as terrorist entities in Canada.

    4. Following a successful “Land Day” in March 2007, Palestine House published this statement supporting the actions of “martyrs” against “the Israeli Apartheid regime” on their website:
    “As the Israeli Apartheid regime continues to steal the lands, properties and lives of the Palestinian people, and intensifies its aggression against neighboring Arab states, it is increasingly imperative that Palestinian and Arab people all over the world hold remain steadfast in demanding the liberation of the Palestinian people, the return of the Palestinian refugees, and the return of stolen Arab land to its rightful owners. The success of events like this year’s land day celebration shows that these demands are not mere utopian dreams, and that the lives of our martyrs have not been given in vain.”
    [See WayBackMachine of PalestineHouse.com on April 2007]

    4. In June 2007, Palestine House began calling for a boycott/picket campaign against Chapters Indigo “to demand an end to Canadian ties with Israeli apartheid”.

    http://www.boycottisraeliapartheid.org/2007/june-9-2007-national-day-of-action-to-boycott-chaptersindigo/

    5. A Palestine House event in October 2007 titled “Palestine: The Canadian Connection in the Current Crisis”, was promoted on their website with the following statement in support of Hamas, a listed terrorist entity in Canada: “Stephen Harper's Tory government shamefully led the international
    community in imposing a siege on the Palestinian people for exercising their democracy under Israeli occupation, the first time in human history that sanctions have been imposed on a people under occupation. Since then, the US,EU, Canada and Israel have worked to bolster the regime of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as he works to negotiate away the historic rights of the Palestinian people to the delight of the Israeli apartheid regime.”
    http://www.palestinehouse.com/oct4-07.html
    And the list just go's on!

    Read the full story here.And HT: BlazingCatFur.

    Judge Napolitano 'FIRED' by Fox : Final Word on the Last Episode of Freedom Watch: Jefferson Quote on liberty.




    When the People Fear the Government, there is Tyranny But When the Government Fear the People, there is Liberty~ Thomas Jefferson.


    Updated - Judge to Fans: Please Stop Emailing FOX.
    An appeal from Judge Andrew Napolitano:
    Dear Friends–

    Many of you are not happy with the cancellation of FreedomWatch, and you have sent emails to my Fox colleagues expressing that unhappiness. In television, shows are cancelled all the time. Two of my former shows have been cancelled, and after each cancellation, Fox has rewarded me with more and better work. This cancellation–along with others that accompanied it–was the result of a business judgment here, and is completely unrelated to the FreedomWatch message. It would make a world of a difference for all of us, if you would KINDLY STOP SENDING EMAILS TO FOX.

    I am well. Your values are strong. I will continue to articulate those values here at Fox. But the emails many of you are sending are unfairly interfering with my work and that of my colleagues here. The emails even violate our values because they interfere with the use of private property. I have accepted the cancellation decision with good cheer and a sense of gearing up for the future. You should as well.
    Read the full story here.

    Judea Pearl: Anti-Zionism “the worst form of racism.”


    Judea Pearl: Anti-Zionism is Racism.(Forward)HT: IsraelMatzav.Those who came to hear Judea Pearl speak last night at an event sponsored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center‘s Museum of Tolerance might have expected to be offered an array of numbers, shown detailed charts or even be given a sense of whether anti-Semitism was getting better or worse. Instead, he handed them something else entirely.
    Pearl, father of slain reporter Daniel Pearl, used the annual lecture on the “state of anti-Semitism” to upend conventional thinking, and argue that anti-Zionism is a strain of hate that is far more dangerous to Jews than anti-Semitism.
    He called anti-Zionism, which he defined as the denial of Israel’s right to exist in the family of nations, as “the worst form of racism.” Unlike anti-Semitism, he said, it carries a measure of social acceptance, and it “hides itself in the cloak of political debate.”
    Those who think anti-Semitism, especially as it colors debate about Israel in the United States, is the greater danger are mistaken, Pearl told the crowd in his opening address on Monday night. Jews, he said, have become experts at fighting anti-Semitism, likening it to a disease in which “the antibodies are known.”
    “Anti-Zionism is worse. It is harder to fight. It comes in a camouflage that allows it to penetrate vital tissue undetected,” he said. Then he paused briefly and added, “Like at our universities.”
    The elder Pearl said he believes his son “was murdered by anti-Zionists, not anti-Semitists.” While acknowledging he had not watched the videos taken by his son’s captors, Pearl said the photos hanging in the background had been described to him, and all were anti-Israel and anti-American.
    Pearl, who was born in Tel Aviv, speaks with an Israeli accent that sometimes makes it hard to understand his exact words. But there is no mistaking his passionate defense of Israel and his belief in the Jews’ historical connection to the land. Asked about those who criticized Israeli government’s policies, he answered that he thought anti-Zionism often was lurking beneath their words.
    In his speech, Pearl called anti-Zionism “morally appalling and strategically harder to fight.
    Anti-Zionism targets the most vulnerable part of the Jewish people, the 6 million people of Israel. It condemns them to eternal statelessness in a very bad neighborhood,” he said.
    He encouraged the use of the r-word, to call out as “racists” those who deny Israel’s right to exist.
    First, they are stunned. Then the debate shifts … into our core issue,” which is that they are denying the Jewish people that which is granted to other nations.
    In a question handed up from the audience, Pearl was asked what he thought about Jews who say they are anti-Zionists. “That’s easy,” he responded. “It’s a ticket for social acceptance.”Hmmmm......Anti Zionism the ' political waiver' to practice Anti - Semitism.Read the full story here.

    Palestinian Journalist Urges Muslims to Protect Al-Aqsa Mosque in Nazi Propaganda style article


    Palestinian Journalist Urges Muslims to Protect Al-Aqsa Mosque in Nazi Propaganda style article.(Fars).In an editorial in Al-Jazeerah website, Khalid Amayreh called on Muslims to protect Islam's holy places in the Holy Quds (Jerusalem).
    "This week, supremacist millenarian Jews, led by fanatical Likud leader Moshe Feiglin tried to storm the Haram Sharif of Jerusalem. The Talmudic rioters held posters calling for the "purification of Temple Mount from the enemies of Israel."
    Like other Jewish fanatics, Feiglin...advocates the establishment of a Talmudic theocracy covering British mandatory Palestine, extending from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean whereby non-Jews, e.g. Christians and Muslims, are treated as water-carriers and wood-hewers.
    Those refusing enslavement by the "master race" or Chosen people would be expelled. In case they resisted, they would be banished or physically exterminated.
    In the past, Jewish leaders didn't voice their genocidal designs as plainly as they are doing these days...Jewish leaders, especially those believing in the imminent advent of the Jewish Messiah or Redeemer, no longer hide their dream of world domination.
    ...Now, however, the Redeemer is caricatured as an irresistible pugnacious Jewish tyrant, an ardent Zionist and Jewish warrior-hero who wouldn't transcend the conventional mores and bounds of Jewish heroism. Hence, the redeemer's ultimate goal is not really world peace, but rather enabling Jews to enslave, control and rule the world from Jerusalem .
    Even Christian evangelicals, Israel 's most ardent supporters in the West, are not excluded from the Jewish wrath.
    Jesus is called "the Hitler of Bethlehem" and Chesronot Shas, one of the most virulently anti-Christian Talmudic texts, is sold in public libraries in West Jerusalem. If you visit the Steimatzky library, you would find the Mein Kamph-booklet there.
    In other words, Jewish millenarianism...is about but worldly power, a sort of a Jewish Third Reich lasting hundreds of years.
    Hence, Jewish Messianism as taught and practiced by the likes of Moshe Feiglin and other terrorists of Gush Emunim...is effectively comparable to German Nazism.
    Just take the word "German" out and replace it with the word "Jewish," and you will have Jewish Messianism or redeemism, pure and simple.
    This vicious, virulent and genocidal vision lies behind the most recent attempted storming of the Aqsa Mosque of Jerusalem, a shrine of paramount sacredness for hundreds of millions of people... Hmmm.......The Palestinians Obama administration's 'peacepartners', while improving their relations with Hamas.Read the full 'story' here.

    ‘Congress ready to increase Israel defense funding’to more than make up for White House (Obama) cuts to missile defense spending.



    ‘Congress ready to increase Israel defense funding’to more than make up for White House (Obama) cuts to missile defense spending.(JPost).WASHINGTON – Congress is set to significantly increase funding for Israeli missile defense to more than make up for White House cuts to the program, Capitol Hill sources told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday.
    The 2013 budget proposal unveiled by US President Barack Obama Monday trims $6 million in defense spending from the Arrow and David’s Sling programs, which is separate from the record $3.1 billion in Israeli military assistance called for under the State Department budget.
    The cut to the US-Israel cooperative programs has provoked criticism from some quarters.
    For an administration that tried to claim that it’s the best for Israel’s security, cutting critical funds for missile defense at a time when the threat from Iran has never been greater is extremely dangerous, worrisome and reckless,” said Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
    But Democrats on Capitol Hill defended the reduced missile defense funding as part of the Obama administration’s effort to rein in overall spending by the Pentagon, whose budget would be slashed by $487 billion across 10 years under Obama’s plan.
    It has nothing to do with the Israeli missile defense program and everything to do with curbing the defense budget in every way possible,” said one aide to a Democratic member on the House defense appropriations subcommittee.Though the administration’s request for missile defense monies has dropped somewhat in recent years – from $121.7m. in 2011 to $106.1m. in 2012 to 2013’s $99.8m. – during each of those cycles, Congress has consistently increased the final allocation.
    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta came before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday to defend the scope of the cuts, though he didn’t address missile defense directly.
    You cannot take half a trillion dollars out of the defense budget and not incur risks,” he acknowledged. “We believe they are acceptable risks.”
    Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, who testified alongside Panetta at the hearing, urged the Senate to drop consideration of an amendment that would cut off aid to Egypt and break the country’s military ties because of Cairo’s current detention of American NGO workers.
    “My military judgment is that would be a mistake,” said Dempsey, who recently met with Egyptian military officials to convince them to release the American citizens.
    “I spent about a day and a half in conversation with them, encouraging them in the strongest possible terms to resolve this so that our military-to-military relationship could continue,” Dempsey reported. “I am convinced that potentially they were underestimating the impact of this on our relationship. When I left there, there was no doubt that they understood the seriousness of it.”
    Obama’s budget proposal maintains the 2012 funding levels for Egyptian aid, comprised of $1.3m. in military assistance and $250m. in economic assistance. In addition, a new $770m. fund for Arab Spring countries could also possibly include payments to Egypt.
    The budget would also allocate $370m. in economic assistance and $70m. in law enforcement training to the Palestinian Authority, though the Fatah and Hamas just entered into a power-sharing plan. Hamas is a US-designated terrorist organization and American laws bar transferring money to such entities.
    Texas Republican Rep. Kay Granger, chairwoman of the House foreign operations appropriations subcommittee, said Congress would follow the same limits on disbursements as laid out this past year when similar issues arose.
    “In the FY 2012 appropriations bill we laid out common sense, bipartisan conditions that prepared for, and anticipated, the unknown,” she told the Post. “Whether it is the Palestinian Authority or Egypt, this Congress has been clear that there are limitations on how we spend our foreign aid.
    “The President’s budget is a blueprint for what the administration wants out of the Congress. This is not what will be enacted into law.”Hmmmm.......And we all know how law observant Pres Obama is.
    When I said, "change we can believe in," I didn’t say "change we can believe in tomorrow." (Laughter.) Not "change we can believe in next week." We knew this was going to take time, because we’ve got this big, messy, tough democracy.Read the full story here.

    Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton “I wouldn’t wait until the last minute if I were Israel”




    HT: IsraelMatzav.

    Syrian forces ignore international pressure, storm Hama, resume attack on Homs.


    Syrian forces ignore international pressure, storm Hama, resume attack on Homs.(AlArabiya).Syrian government forces launched an offensive on the city of Hama early on Wednesday, firing on residential neighborhoods from armored vehicles and mobile anti-aircraft guns, opposition activists said, after 49 people were killed in crackdown across the country.

    Troops also shelled Sunni Muslim neighborhoods in Homs, the 13th day of their bombardment of a city that has been at the forefront of the uprising against 42 years of rule by President Bashar al-Assad and his late father Hafez.

    France said it had created a one million euro emergency fund for aid agencies looking to help the Syrian people and would propose a similar one at an international level next week at a meeting in Tunisia to discuss the escalating crisis.




    Paris had previously proposed “humanitarian corridors” with Syrian approval or with an international mandate for shipping food and medicine to alleviate civilian suffering.

    Tanks deployed near the citadel of Hama were shelling the neighborhoods of Faraya, Olailat, Bashoura and al-Hamidiya, and troops were advancing from the airport, opposition sources said.

    An activist called Amer, speaking briefly by satellite phone, told Reuters that “landlines and mobile phone networks have been cut in the whole of Hama,” a Sunni city notorious for the massacre of some 10,000 people when the present president's father Hafez sent in troops to crush an uprising there in 1982.

    Activists said no casualty reports were available from Hama, Syria’s fourth largest city, because of communications problems.A resolution passed at the meeting urged Arabs to “provide all kinds of political and material support” to the opposition.

    This included arms transfers, Arab League diplomats told |Reuters.

    “We will back the opposition financially and diplomatically in the beginning but if the killing by the regime continues, civilians must be helped to protect themselves. The resolution gives Arab states all options to protect the Syrian people,” an Arab ambassador said in Cairo.

    The head of Egypt’s influential seat of Sunni Islamic learning, al-Azhar, called on Tuesday for bold Arab action against the Syrian government, raising regional pressure on Assad, a member of the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, that has dominated Syria for five decades.

    The threat of military support was meant to add pressure on the Syrian leader and his Russian and Chinese allies but it also risks leading to a Libya-style conflict or sectarian civil war.U.S. President Barack Obama told Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, at a meeting at the White House, that the United States was disappointed with China's veto, an administration official said.In Homs, a strategic city on the highway between Damascus and the commercial hub Aleppo, the pro-opposition district of Baba Amro was struck by shelling on Wednesday, activists said. At least six people were killed there on Tuesday, taking the city’s estimated toll above 400 since the assault began on Feb.3.

    “Two rockets are falling a minute on average,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, told AFP by telephone, citing activists on the ground.Hadi Abdullah of the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution, an opposition activist group, said the shelling of Baba Amr was extremely heavy.

    “The situation is tragic. There are pregnant women, people with heart problems, diabetics and, foremost, wounded people who we cannot evacuate,” he said on the phone from the beleaguered city.

    “On Monday evening three activists entered the town by car transporting bread, baby milk and medicine,” he said. “Their car was hit by a rocket. They all burned to death.”Read the full story here.

    Feds Argue Using a Fake Name Can Deprive You of Rights


    Feds Argue Using a Fake Name Can Deprive You of Rights.(WSJ).Does using a fake name when you sign up for a cellphone plan mean the government can get information from your phone without a warrant?
    That’s one argument the Department of Justice is making in an Arizona case – that using a false name is fraud and means you don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
    Such a stance might raise questions about the widespread practice of using pseudonyms to sign up for services online. But legal experts said it’s unlikely a court would take the argument that far.
    The case, which the Journal first covered in an article last year, involves the use of a cellphone-tracking device called a stingray to find a mobile broadband card that the government says was being used to file fraudulent tax returns.
    The government conceded in the case that the use of the stingray was intrusive enough qualify as a search under the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. But in a court filing on Jan. 27, the government argues that the defendant, Daniel David Rigmaiden, doesn’t have standing to bring a Fourth Amendment claim because the broadband card, service and computer were purchased under false names and the apartment was rented using the name of a dead person and a fake ID.
    But other cases have found that people still have a reasonable expectation of privacy – and thus can’t have their property searched without a warrant – even if they are using an alias.
    It’s not against the law to use a fake name,” said Adam Candeub, director of the Intellectual Property, Information and Communications Law Program at Michigan State University. The use of a fake ID and signing of a lease might be a different matter, though. “It can be fraudulent if you are entering into a contract under a fake name, but if it is a simple retail transaction the law is not clear,” he said.
    Ms. Freiwald said that although prosecutors have argued repeatedly that using an alias diminishes a person’s Fourth Amendment rights, “it would be too large an encroachment on both privacy rights and the rights of free speech if the mere use of a pseudonym were enough to deprive someone of Fourth Amendment protections.Read the full story here.