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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Turkey tackles violence against women

A recent survey revealed that 42 per cent of women in Turkey suffer physical or sexual violence at the hands of their husband or partner.
The government has introduced a range of new measures to combat the problem but campaigners say the new measures are not being properly enforced and the violence continues.
Is Turkey doing enough to confront the 'traditional' mindset over domestic violence?...Source.

MFS - The Other News

                        Morning Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Philipines 5.3  and 5.1 in China! More info here.

  • Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.

  • London riots Live reporting  Here.

  • Beijing Downgrades US Treasury to A+ Is Anybody Listening?(BlacklistedNews).Source: 321 Gold - Gary Dorsch. Of the big-3 credit rating agencies, only the S and P rating agency had the courage and fortitude to speak the truth, about the severe deterioration of America’s financial status. S and P shocked the political establishment in Washington, by following through with its threat to downgrade US Treasury debt to AA+ on the evening of August 5th. S and P added that the US Treasury debt could be downgraded further, if the crooked and inept politicians in Washington haven’t taken any meaningful moves to cut the size of its mounting debt. Yet the most important voice in the debate about the credit worthiness of America’s debt, is not the twisted opinions of the US-credit rating agencies, but rather, that of China’s credit rating agency - Dagong Global Credit Rating, which downgraded US-Treasury’s debt from A+ to single-A last week. “The US decision to raise the borrowing ceiling will not change the fact that the growth of its debt has outpaced its overall economic growth and fiscal revenue. “It may further erode the country’s debt paying ability in the coming years,”Dagong Global said. It also issued a negative outlook. “The rise of the US-debt ceiling helped temporarily avoid a debt default but has not improved its solvency and the increasing government debt burden will deteriorate the US sovereign debt crisis.”In a commentary published by the China News Agency on the evening of August 7th, the technocrats in the Politburo dropped the equivalent of a nuclear bombshell that ignited a worldwide meltdown in global stock markets and sent gold soaring above $1,700 /oz. “China, the largest creditor of the world’s sole superpower, has every right to demand the US to address its structural debt problems and insure the safety of China’s dollar assets. If no substantial cuts were made to the US’s gigantic military expenditure and bloated social welfare costs, the latest credit downgrade would prove to be only a prelude to more devastating credit rating cuts, which will further roil the global financial markets all along the way,” it said.That report followed by another editorial published by the China News Agency on August 6th. “Dagong Global degraded the US Treasury bonds late last year, yet its move was met then with a sense of arrogance and cynicism from some Western commentators,” the New China News Agency’s Saturday editorial said. “Now S and P has proved what its Chinese counterpart has done is nothing but telling the global investors the ugly truth.” On August 8th, Beijing shocked the markets again, in a stinging commentary carried by the official Xinhua news agency. “China has every right to demand the US address its structural debt problems and safeguard China’s dollar assets. Washington needs to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone. To cure its addiction to debts, the US has to re-establish the commonsense principle that one should live within one’s means,” Xinhua said. It’s only been five weeks since the Fed finished its $600-billion QE-2 scheme, and already, jittery mutual fund managers on Wall Street are crying for help. However, on August 7th, China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, warned US President Obama that the Fed mustn’t be allowed to launch another round of money printing that could crush the value of the US-dollar. “We also hope the United States can adopt measures to insure the safety of assets in the US held by other countries. The economic trend in the US has a significant impact on the global economy. A stable value of the US-dollar, as a major global reserve currency, is very significant to global economic and financial conditions,” he said. Over 60% of China’s foreign currency stash is believed to be in US-dollar assets. Apart from Treasury bonds, China holds hundreds of billions in mortgage-backed securities issued by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and corporate equities and bonds. The dollar assets held by China are now believed to total $2-trillion. It is estimated that in the first four months of 2011, China’s invested three-quarters of its foreign currency surplus in non-US dollar assets. As a result, China is vulnerable to the demise of the US-dollar, but also the European debt crisis that threatens the existence of the Euro as a unified currency.The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) still hasn’t been able to get the country’s inflationary spiral under control. The consumer price index was reported +6.5% higher in July from a year ago, it’s fastest in three years. Beijing is laying the groundwork for another quarter-point rate hike in the weeks ahead, by guiding China’s 1-year T-bill rate to 3.80%. Another round of QE-3 in the US would force Beijing to print vast quantities of yuan in order to prevent a collapse of the US-dollar, which in turn, could fuel even faster inflation in the Chinese economy. In that case, the PBoC would be forced to hike short-term interest rates much more aggressively, - thus risking the chance of toppling the world’s economic locomotive into a “hard landing.” Already, there are signals that China’s vast factory sector is stalling out, and the Shanghai red-chips have tumbled into bear market territory. Read the full story here.

  • Turkey's General Staff sent duty summons to every officer retired from the military in the past five years.(TodaysZaman).In anticipation of what is expected to be a massive influx of Syrian refugees, Turkey has taken extraordinary measures along its borders with Syria, including summoning retired military officers to duty and assigning them to border provinces.Officials on Thursday announced that the number of Syrians taking refuge in Turkey had reached 7,239 , a number reminiscent of the situation during the 1991 Gulf War, when Turkey hosted tens of thousands of refugees from Iraq. In addition to the expected influx, there is concern that NATO forces might intervene in Syria. Experts believe the number of refugees coming to Turkey might soar above all expectations.Also on Thursday, the Syrian army stormed Saraqeb, a Syrian town near Turkey’s border, a mere one a day after Syrian authorities declared the military had pulled out of the region. Hundreds more fled across the border during the attack. Experts say Syrians are currently coming into Turkey through Hatay, but many others might flee across the border through the Turkish towns of Kilis and Mardin in the near future.The international community has been urging the Syrian government to stop the bloody crackdown on activists. On Wednesday, the United States announced new sanctions and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu visited Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus to repeat Turkey’s condemnation of the attacks on protestors.The General Staff sent duty summons to every officer retired from the military in the past five years. More personnel have been deployed in bases and strategically important outposts. A majority of those summoned to serve were positioned in stations near the border. Security measures at the İskenderun Naval Base were doubled.Turkey is also concerned about a possible NATO intervention in Syria. The government believes that such an intervention would hurt Turkey the most and hopes that the situation is resolved without the need for an international intervention. Turkey also fears that a NATO intervention might spark a backlash in the Muslim world.Veysel Ayhan, an associate professor from the Bolu Abant İzzet Baysal University and an expert on the Middle East and Syria, said a NATO intervention in Syria would turn the region into absolute hell. “Turkey is back to its position in the 1990s. It is pursuing a proactive foreign policy. We can confidently say that a wave of refugees much bigger than the one during the Gulf War is in store, as it is unlikely that the situation in Syria will be resolved in the near future. NATO handled the situation in Afghanistan and Libya badly. Western countries can't make any contributions to NATO in similar operations. If this can be solved, it can only be solved through Turkey's efforts. If, in the long run, NATO intervenes, we could be faced with a more dire picture.”Hmmmm.......What will Iran do?Read the full story here.

  • Top Hamas engineer tells all.(Ynet).Nabbed engineer Abu Sisi provides Israel with invaluable information about Hamas' operations, newly released documents reveal; terror group's military academy operated in Gaza mosques, he says.Hamas engineer Dirar Abu Sisi, nabbed by Israeli security forces earlier this year, provided interrogators with priceless information on Hamas' modus operandi, the terror group's readiness for a clash with Israel and attempts to improve its rocket range.According to interrogation excerpts, cleared for publication Thursday by the Beersheba District Court following Ynet's appeal, the Hamas engineer described the terror group as an orderly hierarchical organization that aims to learn from its mistakes and adapt to changing regional realities.The engineer told interrogators that following Operation Cast Lead Gaza, top Hamas terrorist Mohammed Deif and the group's military wing commander Ahmed Jabari found Hamas' operations to be lacking and decided to make Abu Sisi in charge of establishing the organization's new military academy. "An analysis of the war with Israel was undertaken. It found that a large number of Hamas activists ran away from their positions. A failure occurred in decision-making coupled with an inability to use arms during the battle – because of fear," he said. "A program of study had to be created, in order to improve the situation." The new academy was tasked with imparting combat methods and tactics to Hamas terrorists, Abu Sisi said. Hamas men were undertaking their studies at mosques, while passing their final exams in known Gaza universities or in mosques."The books and academic materials did not bear the Hamas name or logo," he said. Instructors include university lecturers, education ministry officials, merchants and others.Abu Sisi is believed to be Hamas' rocket expert. He joined the terror group in 2002, despite working for the Palestinian Electric Company, which forbade its employees from joining any group. "I assisted Hamas in developing their missile capabilities, by identifying and handing over mathematical equations that improve the metal pipe's ability to withstand pressure and heat," he said. "I was present when a missile was test-fired at the sea in Khan Younis." The terror group was lacking materials that could improve their rocket range and later smuggled it in from Egypt through tunnels, he said.Abu Sisi's interrogation revealed that he acquired plenty of information on improving rocket range via the Internet, including the YouTube website. "I know nothing about explosives. I only calculated the pressure and heat…I downloaded the formula from the Internet," he said, adding that he also downloaded software pertaining to the rocket's structure.Hamas would send its activists for further instruction overseas, Abu Sisi said. Selected graduates of the academy reached military academies in foreign countries, he said, including Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Iran.During his interrogation, Abu Sisi expressed his regret for joining Hamas."I greatly regret my affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas Movement, my work to develop the missile range, my part in establishing Hamas' military academy, and all the information I handed over to Hamas that can threaten the security of Israel and its citizens," he said."I know the missiles are lethal and take the lives of others, without distinguishing between Arabs and Jews," he said. Hmmmm......."I greatly regret my affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas Movement"Something the Obama administration obviously doesn't regret.Read the full story here.

  • Contact lost with hypersonic glider after launch.(Source AP)(BlacklistedNews).An unmanned hypersonic glider developed for U.S. defense research into super-fast global strike capability was launched atop a rocket early Thursday but contact was lost after the experimental craft began flying on its own, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said.There was no immediate information on how much of the mission's goals were achieved.It was the second of two planned flights of a Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2. Contact was also lost during the first mission.The small craft is part of a U.S. military initiative to develop technology to respond to threats at 20 times the speed of sound or greater, reaching any part of the globe in an hour.Read the full story here.

  • Union Thugs Attack Communication Lines, Desecrate Funeral Homes.(Rightwingnews).Having the backing of the most aggressively pro-union president since FDR seems to have thrown the thuggery that characterizes these pernicious organizations into overdrive. Striking Verizon workers are now attacking communication lines:  Verizon Communications Inc. reported a dozen cases of sabotaged cable lines and warned of delays in repairs and customer service on the second day of a strike involving about 45,000 employees.The telecommunications company said there have been 12 acts of sabotage to telephone lines and to Internet and television services in Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York since the strike began.Fiber-optic lines were intentionally cut in Tewksbury and several other municipalities on the East Coast, the company said.Stolen equipment in Cedar Grove, N.J., affected service to a police department…In the town whose radical left community launched Obama at the country, not even the dead are safe:
On July 10, three Chicago-area Alderwoods funeral homes were viciously vandalized. All were Dignity Memorial network facilities that had also been targeted for a strike by local Teamsters.As always the union denies responsibility, just don’t be slow to meet our demands in the future, wink wink, nudge nudge.It turns out not everyone low enough to desecrate funerals belongs to the Fred Phelps cult:
Making union protestations of innocence hard to believe were nasty fliers bearing a Teamsters banner, pictures of which have popped up all over the Internet, warning ominously: “Any family that makes arrangements with a Chicago-area Dignity Memorial funeral home during this time may encounter a labor dispute at the location.”This is the mentality of the people running the White House under SEIU BFF Barack Hussein Obama, who became so expert at union-style tactics as a community organizer that he served as an instructor for ACORN.Hmmmm......The Nationalsozialistische  Deutsche Arbeiterpartei a.k.a. NAZI had their 'brownshirts'.When or what will be their 'KristallNacht"?Read the full story here.

  • The Rise of the Mob Has Begun Here Too.(Rightwingnews).Just because England got a head start on the road through liberalism toward oligarchical collectivism, don’t assume the explosion of mob violence there is still distant in our future. It has already begun here, but goes unreported because of the racial component. From American Thinker:
The wave of racist violence committed by black flash mobs is different from any other form of racism today. The neglected social problem of racial mob violence is unique in its organization, the high numbers of people involved, the intensity of the violence, and the stark racial impact of that violence. The violence is also unique in that it has been purposefully obscured by the mainstream media, with the editor of the Chicago Tribune, among others, saying that his paper will not report on the race of the attackers.The hateful murders of Matthew Shephard, who was gay, and James Byrd, Jr., who was black, were memorialized with national legislation. When similar crimes are committed by blacks against whites, they are greeted with ignominious silence. Just ask your friends how many of them are familiar with the murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsome, or David Graham. How many are familiar with Hoang Nguyen, who was killed in a senseless “game” called the knock-out game, in which mostly black attackers attack mostly non-black victims? Now that some news outlets like the Drudge Report have occasionally taken notice of some of this violence, the left is acting out in response. Some on the left — always on the lookout for racism against minorities — are now upset that people are paying attention to black mob violence. The hypocrisy is so extreme that some liberals, like Roy Edroso at The Village Voice, are condemning people who point out the mob violence.A society can’t defend itself from enemies it is too cowardly even to acknowledge.Eventually this phenomenon will reach the point that it cannot be ignored, even by our shamelessly irresponsible and hyperpoliticized liberal media. By then America will resemble a zombie movie.Read and see (Video) the full story here.

  • It can't be true. Can it?(DougRoss).Amidst news of the S&P credit rating downgrade, the loss of 30 Americans in Afghanistan, to include nearly two dozen of our elite Navy Seals, and news predicting that world markets were going to react most negatively, reports are coming in that Obama decided to play golf over the weekend.I know this guy's callous, arrogant, narcissistic... but this can't be true.It simply can't be true.There's just no way.Is there?Though Camp David's golf facilities are limited, it's not hard to imagine POTUS teeing off during a tragic week for the families of America's warfighters. Read the full story here.

  • ‘U.S. Day of Rage’ Being Orchestrated for ‘Worldwide Democracy’ (think pseudoanarchist, neo-Marxist, globalist).(GulagBound).We thought this would be happening, now didn’t we.A movement is suddenly springing up from nowhere (ah-huh) to take on the free enterprise, “capitalist” system. In America, they are especially targeting Wall Street, a place still somewhat constitutionally sovereign to the U.S.A. and not thoroughly controlled yet by authoritarian global collectivism.That is a Wall Street which has already been damaged by the Cloward-Piven orchestrated mortgage meltdown and stemming from that was assailed by the protorevolutionary Obama-Peloisi-Reid government, which brought boa constrictor regulation — by “reform” with loopholes wide enough to fit Brinks trucks for large and coordinated hedge fund manipulators, and which shielded a Securities and Exchange Commission gone dark from the kinds of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) inquiries that uncovered Bernie Madoff. Cloward-Piven government, indeed.A “U.S. Day of Rage” is scheduled to start an “Occupy Wall Street” camp-out on “17/9/2011″ (which would denote orchestration by those who use the British means of writing dates). And as with the “Arab Spring,” much of the organizing is being done through social media, especially super-popular Facebook and Twitter.Immediately upon clicking links, one finds it to be the America-targeting element of a worldwide movement, especially popular by the looks of it, in Old Europe. Again, that is no surprise to those who have looked into the updated mode of Marxist revolution stemming from the Gramsci and Trotsky schools and historically, even the days before Marx and Engels. Revolutionary proponents likes to hide behind the non-American ideal of democracy (as in permanent rule of the proletariat majority, forget about a republic) along with nebulous and mysterious anarchistic labelling.The term “Day(s) of Rage” is the product of Chicago’s Weathermen, led by Obama workmate Bill Ayers and cohabitants.This Day of Rage speaks of non-violence, yet plays up the violent terrorism of the current rioting proceeding in Great Britain.Hmmmm........The left going for no elections needed?Protect dear leader at all costs?Read the full story here.

  • Caught on Tape: Violent Flash Mob of Black Students from Oprah Funded-Obama Praised School Assault Innocent White Bystander.(ironicsurrealism).PHILADELPHIA – Fox 29 has obtained video of an attack on a bystander in Philadelphia’s Old City by teens from a charter school group that received a $1 million donation from Oprah Winfrey.Slideshow: Images From Teen Attack Video. The incident happened on the afternoon of July 29th near 4th and Spruce Streets, and just blocks from the location of the Mastery Charter High School.That was the same day that saw violent attacks near Chestnut Street in Center City that injured two other bystanders. A man is walking down 4th Street near Independence Hall toward Spruce Street as a group of teens starts to walk by. The man is wearing hospital scrubs.As the students walk next to the man, one teen turns around, without warning, and punches the man in the head.Six to eight students then swarm the man as he is pushed into a wall, kicking and punching him.The entire group runs away, and a second camera catches them running away from the attack around a corner at 4th and Walnut Streets.Another bystander runs over to check on the man, who gets back on his feet.Sources tell Fox 29 that man was taken to Jefferson University Hospital with injuries to his head and teeth. [...]Video of the mob assault at link. It is apparent in the video that the attack was reports that the victim suffered a fractured jaw as a result of the attack, and three of the violent teen thugs have turned themselves in.Hmmmm.......Is there some structure behind these attacks?Read the full story here.

  • Palin bus tour to roll into Iowa, Perry also dropping in Iowa.(CNN) (JohnPaulus).- After a more than two-month hiatus, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is planning to crash the presidential party once again with a heartland-themed re-launch of her "One Nation" bus tour this week in Iowa, according to a Palin fundraising email obtained by CNN.Palin is bringing her Constitution-draped bus to the Iowa State Fair, just 30 miles south of where the Republican presidential field will take the stage on Thursday for a presidential debate in Ames.It's not yet clear which day the tour begins, but her surprise arrival in Iowa will happen before the closely watched Ames straw poll. Palin is not on the straw poll ballot.According to a video link included the fundraising solicitation for Palin's political action committee, Sarah PAC, it appears the bus will also take Palin to Missouri and Illinois to visit the respective hometowns of former presidents Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan. "The heartland is perfect territory for more of the One Nation Tour as we put forth efforts to revitalize the fundamental restoration of America by highlighting our nation's heart, history, and founding principles," Palin wrote in the email.Tim Crawford, the treasurer of Sarah PAC, confirmed the authenticity of the email but would not provide more the details about the tour.Texas Governor Rick Perry plans to be in Iowa next Tuesday, when President Obama visits the state, in hopes of establishing a one-to-one contrast between one of the nation’s most successful governors and an incumbent president sliding in the polls.Perry announced this week that he plans to come to Iowa on Sunday, the day after the Ames Republican Straw Poll. Perry’s motive for coming is at least two-fold. One, he obviously wants to include Iowa in his first trip as a semi-official candidate; Perry reportedly plans to “make clear” his intention to run during an appearance in South Carolina on Saturday.What still has not been announced is that Perry intends to stay in Iowa for a while, visiting the State Fair on Monday and then planning an event Tuesday to play off Obama’s visit to Peosta, Iowa as part of the president’s three-day bus tour highlighting economic issues. Obama will host an event that’s being called a “White House Rural Economic Forum” at Northeast Iowa Community College.Perry may have the field much to himself, at least among major Republican candidates. Rep. Michele Bachmann is scheduled to be in South Carolina on Tuesday. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won’t be in Iowa, either. And former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has not yet decided which days he’ll be in Iowa next week. If they’re all away, Perry’s headline-grabbing move on Saturday could be matched by his challenge to Obama on Tuesday.Read the full story here and  here.

  • Obama Marks 9/11 at Ramadan Dinner.(WSJ).By Laura Meckler. President Barack Obama marked the Muslim holy month of Ramadan by looking ahead to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks next month and reminding Americans that Muslims were both victims and heroes that day.The president made no mention of the men who hijacked four planes that day, or their religious beliefs. But his remarks at an Iftar dinner at the White House were meant to push back against any suggestion that because they were Muslims, other Muslims are tainted by their deadly actions.Muslims, Mr. Obama said, were passengers on those planes and were at the Pentagon and working in the twin towers when they were struck. “They were cooks and waiters, but also analysts and executives,” he said. “They were taken from us much too soon.” Muslims, he said, were among the first responders and, later, among those who volunteered for military service—part of what he called the “9/11 generation.”“Make no mistake, Muslim Americans help to keep us safe,” he said.He said the way to honor the nearly 3,000 people who died nearly 10 years ago is to treat one another with respect and to honor, not just tolerate, differences.“This year and every year, we must ask ourselves: How do we honor these patriots — those who died and those who served? In this season of remembrance, the answer is the same as it was 10 Septembers ago. We must be the America they lived for and the America they died for, the America they sacrificed for,” he said. “Here in the United States, there is no them or us; it’s just us.”This was the third Iftar dinner, which marks the end of the daily Ramadan fast, that Mr. Obama has hosted. He spoke at about 8:40 p.m., just after sunset, and promised to be brief as the observant at the dinner had been fasting since sunrise.The White House Iftar tradition was begun by President Bill Clinton and continued by President George W. Bush. Invited guests Wednesday included two Muslim members of Congress, Reps. Andre Carson (D., Ind.) and Keith Ellison (D., Minn.); a large number of ambassadors from the Muslim world and two professional football players.Huma Abedin, the Muslim aide of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, wife of former Representative Anthony Weiner, recently disgraced, was also in attendance.Mr. Obama’s remarks this year were far less controversial that they wound up being a year ago, when he appeared to endorse construction of a community center and mosque on property near Ground Zero in Manhattan. In that speech, he referred to the controversy and said Muslims have the same rights to practice their religion as anyone else.Read the full story here.More here (Video).

  • White House Uses Fallen Heroes For Photo-Op – Against Their Families’ Wishes.(BigPeace).The remains of the 30 Americans killed in the recent crash in AFPak returned to the US today, and that return was the occasion for a cynical photo-op that ignored the wishes of both the Pentagon and the fallen warrior’s loved ones.A White House photographer was allowed to take and widely distribute a photo from the ceremony Tuesday, showing President Obama saluting and other officials in attendance. An official White House photo of the saluting was widely distributed and published by the media. It also was posted on the White House website as the “Photo of the Day.”Doug Wilson, head of public affairs at the Pentagon, said the Department of Defense didn’t even know the White House photographer was present and had no idea a photo of the event was being released until it became public. He said the photographers who normally travel with the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were not allowed to go to the event…for the very good reason that under a Pentagon policy set in 2009, media coverage at the Dover, Delaware base that is the entry point for all US war dead is allowed only when family members approve. And according to the Pentagon, during initial notification of next of kin, 19 of the 30 families said they did not want media coverage.At the time, The Pentagon was still debating whether to release publicly the names of the Americans who died in the Chinook crash because doing so might endanger families of the SEAL Team 6 troops, because of the Team’s involvement in killing Ossma bin-Laden.The Pentagon’s policies, the wishes of the dead heroes’ families – none of it mattered to President Obama or the White House in the least. Not when there’s an election coming up and a photo-op to be had.I admit, I have to censor myself here, out of respect for the presidency even if the man currently occupying the office deserves little of it.This is a despicable and disgraceful action in an already deeply flawed and immoral presidency. And to say it makes me deeply angry is a massive understatement.Read the full story here.

  • Defeating Islamic Terrorism Through Appeasement.(Aina)By DanielGreenfield.The Obama Administration has a new strategy for combating Islamic terrorism. The document that lays out its new strategy avoids using "Terrorism" in its title, instead substituting "Violent Extremism". Jihad is not mentioned anywhere. Even "Muslim" is used as little as possible.Eight pages of mostly redundant text repeat the same idea, that the only way to fight Islamic terrorism is by partnering with and empowering Muslim communities and organizations. That is the "revolutionary" new idea that merited coverage from the New York Times, NPR and CNN. And if the strategy had to be summed up in one word, it would be, "Collaborate!""Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States," sounds almost as catchy as "Man-Caused Disasters", and comes from the same school of thought. The University of Denial, whose motto is that the best way to fight Islamic terrorism, is not to talk about it. And "Not talking about it" is a big part of the new strategy. The document warns repeatedly that associating Islam with terrorism leads to terrorism. WWII had "Loose Lips, Sink Ships", and we have, "Loose Stereotypes Fly Planes into Buildings."Released as an answer to Congressman King's hearings into Islamic radicalization, it completely fails to address the questions raised by those hearings. Instead the strategy compares Islamic terrorism to gangs and pedophiles-- treating it as a persistent social issue, rather than a violent threat. And its only answer is to keep working with Muslim groups to teach their youth not to do drugs, join gangs or blow up bombs.Empowering Local Partners is a transparent defense of CAIR and other Muslim organizations accused of radical activities. But rather than countering the charges raised against them, it pretends those charges have never been made, and urges law enforcement to continue partnering with Muslim groups. A course that leads local and national law enforcement to unwittingly work with the political partners and fundraisers of terrorist organizations.The White House could not have found anyone better to devise its new strategy than Quintan Wiktorowicz. After September 11, Wiktorowicz co-wrote an article for the Saudi funded Middle East Policy Council Journal, which made a point of distinguishing between Al-Qaeda and more mainstream organizations such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.Wiktorowicz also distinguished between violent and non-violent Salafis. The "good" Salafis have PhD's from Saudi universities. The "bad" Salafis are a "small radical fringe" who are mostly self-taught and ignorant. Want to fight Islamic terrorism, then you have to put more Islamic scholars with Saudi PhD's on the job.This is exactly the argument that Wiktorowicz makes, that "very religious Muslims" are "the most resistant to radicalization" while those most likely to be radicalized lack a good grounding in Islam. Fighting Islamic terrorism with Islamism was his approach in the UK and it derives from his fondness for Salafism.In another Middle East Policy Council Journal article, Wiktorowicz warned against "radicalizing the Salafis and creating a legion of new supporters for Bin Laden". This is the fulcrum of appeasement. On the one hand Wiktorowicz and those like him argue that terrorists are a tiny minority of a tiny minority. On the other, if the United States fails to mend its ways, they warn that any number of Muslims can become radicalized and turn into terrorists.Wiktorowicz's defense of Salafism as a primarily non-violent movement and his warnings about alienating them expose him as the apologist for a radical movement whose control over mosques in America has been identified as a key factor in radicalization. Mainstream defenders of Islam try to separate Salafism from what they claim is a more moderate Islam-- but Wiktorowicz even defends Salafis as peaceful.The new strategy could have been written in Saudi Arabia. And for all intents and purposes was."Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States," replaces terrorism with euphemism. With words so generic that they mean nothing at all. And the content is equally generic. Swap out a few words and it could be about any social problem.Even former Hizb-ut-Tahrir member Ed Husain, now at the Council on Foreign Relations, has been critical of the new strategy for not addressing Islamic ideology, and prison and campus radicalization. But that's the essence of the new strategy. Inaction and ignorance.The new strategy is eight pages of inaction. Eight pages of silence. Eight pages of noise. It is not a document that sets out real goals and objectives. Its only objective is to sideline serious critical work and replace it with blank buzzwords. With FBI agents and prosecutors visiting mosques, removing their shoes, pressing the flesh and then going back to doing nothing. Because they have no idea what's out there anymore.Intelligence is the first line of defense against any threat. To know the enemy is the first step toward defending against an attack. But how do you defend against a threat, when you can't even spell its name?The Orwellian blankness of the new strategy is a space of ignorance to mask the truth of terrorism. The enemy is reduced to a social problem, terrorism to violent extremism and the war on terror to programs teaching Muslims about the dangers of violent extremism on the internet. The same dead end European counter-terrorism strategies imported to the United States.The new strategy begins with Obama carefully using the Arabic transcription spelling of Usama and al-Qa'ida, and ends on cautioning that, "Strong religious beliefs should never be confused with violent extremism." Unless you're Christian, of course.Read the full story here.

  • As some call for bold strokes, Obama sticks with vacation plans.(LAtimes).When it comes to curbing unemployment, President Obama "will not rest" until everyone looking for a job can find one, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday.A couple of hours later, the White House put out an announcement that the president will soon begin a nine-day vacation in Martha's Vineyard.No one can credibly make the argument that Obama is loafing. He puts in the hours. But the trip is coming at a queasy moment for the economy and the markets. Stocks recorded another huge drop Wednesday, the third straight day of convulsive swings following Standard and Poor's announcement that it was downgrading America's credit rating. Unemployment remains high and the Federal Reserve on Tuesday presented a bleak picture of the overall economy.So is this a good time for Obama to hole up on a tony Massachusetts island, playing golf with friends?"I think he can shorten his vacation and focus on this issue," said Peter Buttenwieser, a major Democratic donor who counts himself as an admirer of Obama. "If there were a real jobs summit and a jobs push, I would feel much better. We're not paying enough attention to jobs.""I'm always for bold action," said Begala, a former campaign advisor to President Clinton. "The whole focus of the country for the last month has been on these terrible negotiations over the debt ceiling. That hurt everybody. He's got to turn the page. The president can't wave a magic wand, but he has the power to set the agenda. Now's the time."Obama has resisted such steps. And he's not willing to give up his Martha's Vineyard trip, which has become an August ritual for the Obama family.If the past is any guide, Obama will spend his time on the Vineyard golfing, cycling, reading books, playing board games with family and going out to dinner with friends. He will once again stay at a 28-acre estate in Chilmark that in past summers has commanded a rental fee of about $50,000 a week.In making the trip, of course, Obama risks looking out of touch with everyday Americans coping with $3.60-a-gallon gas and flat wages. In Washington-speak, that's called an "optics" problem.Hmmmm......12 th of July :“I'm ready to roll up my sleeves over the next several weeks and next several months.” ....Yeah sure.Read the full story here.

  • Did Israel just stop 'spectacular' terror attack?(WND).Sources say it would have devastated both Jewish state and Gaza population.TEL AVIV – Israel stopped what would have been a spectacular border terrorist attack planned from inside the Gaza Strip, according to Egyptian security officials.The Egyptian officials said there is information the attack Tuesday was aimed at the sole pipeline that supplies Gaza with gas. The pipeline, located at the Israeli town of Nahal Oz, is manned and provided by Israel.Israeli security officials would not comment on the matter.In a rare incident, on Tuesday all electricity, phone and Internet service was suspending for about 18 hours in the Gaza Strip.The blackout was reportedly caused by Israeli military bulldozers operating near the fuel pipeline in the Israeli town of Nahal Oz, which is close to the Gaza Strip. At about the same time the electricity went out in Gaza, the Egyptian officials said Israel passed a message for Egypt to be on high alert for possible attacks from inside the Gaza Strip.The Egyptian officials said they have information that Israel was actually working to stop a cross border attack aimed at the fuel pipeline. The officials said the downing of communications inside Gaza was central to halting the attack.The Egyptian officials said members of Jihadiya Salafiya, an al-Qaida-allied group in Gaza, are suspecting of attempting the major attack along with elements of the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad.Read the full story here.

  • Al-Sadr to American: Leave Or We'll Target You.(Memri).Sadrist movement leader Muqtada al-Sadr has warned the U.S. forces of the consequences of staying in Iraq beyond the end of this year. In the fourth warning in as many days, he called on the U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraq with all their weapons, in keeping with "the logic of freedom and democracy that you have laid down, the right of self determination, the Bill of Human Rights and the logic of humanity."Speaking in English for the first time, he called on the U.S. forces to leave "our holy land and go back to your families who await you impatiently." He continued: "Go and don't listen to the voice of your devils… Go out so that we do not target your trainers."[He was referring to the negotiations between Iraq and the U.S. to retain military trainers after the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq.]Hmmmm.......Obama at Ramadan Iftar:"We are all children of a loving God".Read the full story here.

  • Burka-clad suicide bomber kills a boy and four police officers guarding earlier blast site.(DailyMail).A female suicide bomber wearing a burka has blown up police in Pakistan who were attending the scene of another explosion.Five people were killed in the double attack that happened in the north west of the country.The first blast was a remote-controlled bomb exploded which in Peshawar's Lahori Gate area which exploded as a police truck carrying constables about to start their shift drove by. Four police officers and a boy, who was walking nearby, were killed, while 22 people were wounded.An hour later, two women approached police guarding the area.One of the females, estimated to be aged 16 or 17, threw a grenade and was then able to partially detonate her suicide vest.Himayat Ullah, a police officer who was wounded in the attack, said: 'I thought the girl was pregnant as she was walking slowly with another woman. As I tried to push people away, suddenly a blast took place'.The tactics deployed in the attack - deploying a female bomber to return to the scene of an earlier blast to target officers there - are not unprecedented.In June, militants said they had sent a husband and wife suicide squad to a police station in another northwestern town, killing 10 people.Late last year, a female suicide bomber attacked a World Food Program food distribution center in the region, killing 45.Hmmmm.....The holy month of Ramadan, day 11 so far 44 terror attacks and 106 dead.Read the full story here.

  • Algeria: A Ramadan of rare violence.(FDesouche). Police first count for the first week of Ramadan Algerian version: 2000 riots in which 100 were injured, four dead and fifty car accidents that killed 19 people.Attempted explanations: cultural violence, poverty, crime and drugs.Fasting, abstinence, causes serious problems. Dehydration and heat cause delusions, lack of coffee and tobacco make nervous, lack of cannabis as well, to much more serious stage, withdrawal of psychotropic drugs to addicts chemicals. Algeria is among the largest consumers of the world (29 tonnes against 40 tonnes of cannabis) that fuel a thriving informal market.This is where the violence comes into play: these are addictive neurotoxic molecules very strong, pain, seizures, severe mental illness.Apart from its high consumption of psychotropic drugs, there is a typically Algerian violence.For historical reasons, or ideological. That's it? No, of course, Algeria has hunger for all, and also money. The soaring food prices during Ramadan. It is during this period that the poor are counted, the number food baskets provided by the Ministry of Solidarity. If in 2010, one million baskets were distributed to families (6 million people), 1 million and a half baskets of basic necessities were provided this year, 9 million poor. This explains it a little, misery ahead with the crime, the statistics of the security services account for more than 50% of the criminals that plague the capital are part of the dormant company. In Algiers, the days are difficult, both by fasting, by the presence of idle young offenders, beset by shortages of all kinds.Read the full story here. (GoogleTranslate).

  • More deaths reported as Syrian tanks and troops enter two protest hubs.(Al-Arabiya).Syrian security forces killed at least five civilians Thursday in Qusayr, in the central flashpoint province of Homs, after troops stormed the town to crush anti-regime dissent, an activist said.“The security forces opened fire on residents who tried to flee to the Al Basateen district (of Qusayr), killing at least five people,” said the activist speaking to AFP in Nicosia from the nearby city of Homs, adding that 10 other people were wounded.Earlier, Syria’s army stormed another two towns in pursuit of anti-regime protesters, activists said, in defiance of Western calls for action after a “chilling” UN Security Council briefing.Tanks, troop carriers and buses transporting security force members sped soon after dawn into the town of Saraqeb in the northwestern Idlib province bordering Turkey, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.“Shooting was heard soon afterwards in the town, where protests demanding the fall of the regime have been staged every day after the evening (Muslim) prayers,” the statement said.Later the rights advocacy group reported that security forces were “raiding homes and carrying out arrests, rounding up more than 100 people, including 35 children.”“Army troops are smashing the doors of shops owned by activists in search of them, and they have cut off electricity in the town,” a statement said. The operations came a day after security forces reportedly shot dead 18 people in the Baba Amro neighborhood of the city of Homs, according to the latest toll provided by the Syrian Observatory.“The number of those wounded has risen to over 100, some of them in critical condition, and residents from Baba Amro have begun to flee looking for safer places in the city,” a statement said.It said heavy machine gun fire rattled Baba Amro well into Thursday morning.The latest assault comes after UN Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco on Wednesday briefed the 15-member Security Council about events in Syria in the week since the council called for an “immediate” halt to the violence.Mr. Taranco, who spoke behind closed doors, was quoted as saying there had been no letup in the deaths of protesters while UN officials had met Syrian diplomats to try to get accurate information.Western envoys said the Security Council would have to consider "further action" if events did not improve and pressed for a new report next week.Ignoring the international outrage, President Bashar Al Assad this week pledged a relentless battle against “terrorist groups” Damascus says is fomenting a popular uprising across Syria.Hmmmm......Yeah it sure sounds like Assad stopped 'reforming' oooooh look an unicorn.Read the full story here.More here .

  • "Islamophobia" - A Crime Against Humanity.(BrusselsJournal).You may be interested in an article that appears at the Arab website Asharq Alawsat, by Ibrahim Kalin, senior adviser to Turkish premier Recep Tayyib Erdogan. Kalin warns the West about the dangers of "Islamophobia" and proposes that it be designated a crime against humanity. This was bound to happen. The massacre in Norway has been a boon to Arab and pro-Muslim activists. And the Gayssot Law, in France, that criminalizes holocaust denial, racist speech and discriminatory actions, will soon be invoked again in defense of Muslims. Thus, anyone critical of Islam or of immigration could be guilty of a crime against humanity. He uses perfectly logical reasoning. But logic and truth are two different things.Read the full story here.

  • Pakistan: Red Mosque imam ready for war to ‘talebanise’ Pakistan.(Speroforum).Mullah Abdul Aziz accuses the government of “corrupting the country” and inviting “the wrath of Allah”. .Islamabad – The imam of Islamabad’s famous Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) has accused the government of “corrupting the country”. He has called on the “soldiers of Islam” to fight “to create an Islamic nation” where “Sharia laws can be enforced”. Mullah Abdul Aziz’s threats are raising concerns in a country where minorities are already victimised and the central government is hostage to fundamentalist fringes. In July 2007, the Lal Masjid was the scene of a gun battle between extremist militants and Pakistani soldiers that caused more than a hundred dead. Meanwhile, the Christian community is preparing for Minorities Day, tomorrow, which was established by the late Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic government minister murdered on 2 March.The Red Mosque leader blames the Pakistani government for not imposing “Islamic laws in the country,” of polluting it “with corruption” and inviting “the wrath of Allah by allowing the Americans to continue the drone attacks” that “kill our Muslim brothers”. “It`s time for us, the soldiers of Islam, to take a stand against this government and reclaim the Islamic Pakistan," he said. For that purpose, “I already have over 5,000 students” and “we will use every means possible to make Pakistan an Islamic state” in which Sharia is enforced.The imam’s latest threats have raised concerns among local political experts and religious minority leaders. The Red Mosque is located in the heart of the federal capital, and remains fertile grounds for extremism. In the meantime, Pakistani Christians are set to celebrate Minorities Day tomorrow. On this occasion, they will call for the upholding the right of religious freedom and will demand equal rights and protest against violence, forced conversions and targeted murders.Nayala J. Dayal, president of the Christian Progressive Movement, said that education and economic development are the best insurance policy for minorities in Pakistani society. However, for her 11 August will be a ‘black day’ rather than a day to celebrate minorities as promoted by the government and will be a time for protests against the ongoing anti-Christian violence.Read the full story here.

  • Life magazine unpublished photos of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.Warning contains graphic images.Here.  HT: NuclearHistory.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hizbullah MP, Retired Brig.-Gen. Walid Sakariya: Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Hizbullah Will Wipe Out Israel, Even at the Cost of Hundreds of Thousands of Casualties, following US Withdrawal from Iraq.

If, following the US withdrawal, Iraq becomes a bridge linking Iran to Syria, the Iranian forces could cross Iraq and arrive in Syria, in order to participate in a direct war on the Golan front.

In that case, Israel would not be fighting Hizbullah alone. It would be fighting Hizbullah, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. This is the so-called "Shiite Crescent" that they fear. Since Iran dominates this [axis], the Arab countries refer to it as the "Shiite Crescent."

If Hizbullah has 5,000 missiles and can destroy some targets in Israel, the equation will completely change when Syria and Iran join the war. You will have the strategic superiority and a force large enough to pulverize Israel, even if this war costs you hundreds of thousands of martyrs – not just 1,000 or 2,000. You will enter this war with a population mass exceeding 100 million.

Interviewer: Syria is that important...

Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Walid Sakariya: Of course. But if Syria is victorious as a confrontation country, Israel will come to an end. There are military balances. Hizbullah can defeat Israel, but it cannot abolish it. If Syria enters a war with Israel, it may be able to regain the Golan, but it will not be able to liberate Haifa and Tel Aviv.
However, Hizbullah, Syria, Iraq, and Iran will constitute a force that is militarily superior to Israel and will destroy it. They will wage a war and might even suffer hundreds of thousands of martyrs – because Israel might use the nuclear weapon in order to survive – but nevertheless, this war will put an end to Israel.Source Memri.

MFS - The Other World

                        Morning Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Solomon Islands 5.1  ! More info here.

  • Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.

  • London riots Live reporting  Here.

  • Peter King asks for probe into White House's role in bin Laden movie.(Politico).House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Wednesday demanded an investigation into a report that the White House is cooperating with a film on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.In a letter to the Defense Department and the CIA, King asked for a probe and classified briefing about any cooperation or consultation between the agencies and the film, set to be directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who made “The Hurt Locker” in 2008 which won six Oscars, including best picture and best director.“The Administration’s first duty in declassifying material is to provide full reporting to Congress and the American people, in an effort to build public trust through transparency of government,” King wrote. “In contrast, this alleged collaboration belies a desire of transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history.”White House spokesman Jay Carney called the claims “ridiculous” during his daily press briefing.Carney the White House is offering the same level of cooperation ot the filmmakers as it does with other journalists.“We don’t discuss classified information,” he said.The spokesman also took a shot at King, saying he hoped that his Homeland Security Committee would find more important things to do given that the country is fighting a war on terror.Word of the Obama administration’s cooperation with Bigelow was first reported on Sunday by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who wrote that the White House was hoping the film, set for an Oct. 12, 2012, release date, would boost Obama ahead of next year’s election.Dowd wrote that the “White House is also counting on the Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal big-screen version of the killing of Bin Laden to counter Obama’s growing reputation as ineffectual. The Sony film by the Oscar-winning pair who made ‘The Hurt Locker’ will no doubt reflect the president’s cool, gutsy decision against shaky odds. Just as Obamaland was hoping, the movie is scheduled to open on Oct. 12, 2012 — perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost to a campaign that has grown tougher.”Hmmmm....."I did it my way?"Read the full story here.

  • Gingrich: Suspend U.N. Funding Now!(HumanEvents).By Newt Gingrich.Only at the United Nations is it possible to imagine a Palestinian state announced on a meeting agenda. U.N. corruption was on full display last week when, as the Hudson Institute’s Anne Bayefsky​ noted, the U.N. published its provisional list of speakers for the September opening session. It listed the speaker from “Palestine” as the “Head of State” for the first time ever.This is just a preview of a diplomatic crisis and an existential threat to the state of Israel that is shaping up for September.The Palestinian Authority is promising to ram ahead with its bid in just over a month to be recognized as a state at the United Nations, and the General Assembly will likely approve it over the objections of the United States and Israel. This will define a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, stretching to the 1967 borders and encompassing territory that currently is home to thousands of Israelis.It is a dangerous plan.It would violate every standing agreement the Palestinians have with Israel, including the Oslo Accords, to negotiate a final border agreement.U.N. recognition would take place totally apart from any negotiation with Israel, and without the Palestinians renouncing violence or acknowledging Israel's statehood.The possibility of Western nations voting in favor of the plan at the U.N. would also strengthen terrorists' belief that their commitment to violence and their unwavering rejection of Israel's right to exist has begun to produce their desired goals.A peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem must begin with negotiations. The Palestinian Authority, however, has refused to enter talks until Israel agrees to accept the border lines it demands. President Obama and the State Department must be clear with Western allies. They should reject action that would reward terrorist groups who refuse to abide by the basic principles of human dignity and freedom.The United States has the leverage to prevent this diplomatic disaster if the Obama Administration wants to use it: we are by far the largest donor to the U.N., financing roughly a quarter of its entire budget. We should be willing to say that if the U.N. is going to circumvent negotiations and declare the territory of one of its own members an independent state, we aren’t going to pay for it. We can keep our $7.6 billion a year. We don’t need to fund a corrupt institution to beat up on our allies.That is exactly how President George H. W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker handled a similar drive to force Palestinian statehood in 1989.As Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton has pointed out, the Palestine Liberation Organization attempted at that time to earn recognition by the U.N. as a state, and its effort won significant support. But rather than cave to the Palestinians’ manipulations, Secretary Baker​ warned that the U.S. would cut off contributions to U.N. agencies if they upgraded the P.L.O.’s status. “To emphasize the depth of our concern,” Secretary Baker promised in 1989, “I will recommend to the President that the United States make no further contributions, voluntary or assessed, to any international organization which makes a change in the P.L.O.’s present status an observer organization.”His warning got the message across. The director of one U.N. agency preparing to upgrade the P.L.O., the World Health Organization, told the New York Times of the threat: “We are very concerned. We expect there will be a serious cutoff of funds. You know the American Congress.”The Times later credited the warning with persuading Arab countries not to follow through on the plan.That is the resolve we need to show today. Washington should make clear immediately that it will not accept dangerous stunts that threaten Israel’s survival.When the U.N. is set to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state and Israel is the only country in the world not even permitted to determine its own capital, something is very wrong.The time to stop this disaster is before it happens. The time for Congress and President Obama to set out the cost of a United Nations betrayal of Israel is before the General Assembly meets.Hmmmm......Hear,hear!Read the full story here.

  • Why police were so soft on London looters: They 'were ordered to stand and observe' as capital burned (but in Manchester they were hunting looters within hours).(DailyMail).Police were ordered to 'stand and observe' rioters as they laid waste to London's streets instead of confronting them, it was claimed today. Scotland Yard insiders have revealed teams were frustrated at their inability to wade in and arrest troublemakers while they looted and burnt out shops.They had apparently been told to try and contain any violence but not to haul away offenders who would instead be identified through video footage later, according to The Times. It was only on Monday night, when the riots escalated still further, that tactics changed and armoured vehicles called Jankels were used to disperse the crowds.On Tuesday night, some 16,000 officers also flooded London's streets - almost triple the previous night's deployment - and they were finally given the green light to confront the gangs.Hmmmm......Whom ordered them to stand and 'observe'? Read the full story here.

  • All aboard "Downgrade One "?President Obama to Travel to the Midwest on a Three-Day Economic Bus Tour.(Whitehouse).On August 15-17, President Obama will travel to the Midwest on a three-day economic bus tour, making stops in southern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa and western Illinois. The President will discuss ways to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class and accelerate hiring in communities and towns across the nation and hear directly from Americans, including local families andsmall business owners. The President knows we must do everything we can to promote economic growth, restore confidence in our nation’s future and restore the sense of optimism for future generations.Read the full statement here.

  • Turkey’s Erdogan expects Syria reforms within 15 days,meanwhile on wednesday Syrian tanks and troops swept into two northwestern towns near the Turkish border.(AlArabiya).Syrian tanks and troops swept into two northwestern towns near the Turkish border on Wednesday, killing one person and wounding 13 according to activists, as Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said he expects Syrian reforms within 15 days.In the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, residents reported heavy gunfire as troops deployed across the provincial capital, making arrests and spraying pro-Assad slogans on buildings.Mr. Erdogan, a former close ally of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, said his foreign minister had emphasized when he visited Damascus on Tuesday that the violence must cease.“In Syria, the state is pointing guns at its own people,” he declared. “Turkey’s message to Assad is very clear: stop all kinds of violence and bloodshed.”The Turkish leader said he hoped that Mr. Assad, confronting nearly five months of pro-democracy demonstrations, would take steps within 10 to 15 days towards promised political reforms.Rights groups say 1,600 civilians have been killed since the uprising against Mr. Assad’s 11-year-rule erupted in March, making it one of the bloodiest upheavals in the Arab world this year. Authorities say 500 soldiers and police have died.Syria has barred most independent media since the unrest began, making it hard to verify conflicting reports by activists, residents and officials.Already under Western sanctions, Mr. Assad faces growing international pressure to curb the bloodshed after three regional powers publicly called for change this week, leaving Iran as Syria’s only staunch remaining ally.Sunni heavyweight Saudi Arabia condemned the violence and recalled its ambassador, while Egypt’s new government, which took office after Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow in February, said Syria was nearing “the point of no return.”On Tuesday Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu held more than three hours of talks with Assad. A Turkish official said he called for “an end to bloodshed, withdrawal of the soldiers, the importance of having elections as soon as possible” and dialogue with the opposition.In response, Mr., Assad said Syria “will not relent in pursuing the terrorist groups in order to protect the stability of the country and the security of the citizens ... but is also determined to continue reforms,” Syria’s state news agency said.Washington expressed disappointment at Mr. Assad’s comments and said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expected to talk to Mr. Davutoglu after his meetings in Syria.“It is deeply regrettable that President Assad does not seem to be hearing the increasingly loud voice of the international community,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.France also voiced dissatisfaction. “The time for delaying tactics is up. The Syrian authorities must respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people,” Foreign ministry spokeswoman Christine Fages said. Hama and Deir al-Zor are populated mostly by majority Sunnis and the crackdowns there resonate with their co-religionists who predominate in the Middle East and govern most Arab countries.But as troops were reportedly deploying in Sermin, dozens of military vehicles packed with soldiers streamed out of the flashpoint protest hub Hama, after completing a 10-day operation.“The army units have gone back to their barracks after having accomplished their mission, and residents, happy to be rid of the armed gangs who tried to sow discord among the population, have returned home," a high-ranking army officer said.That was confirmed by Turkey's ambassador to Damascus who visited the city, Prime Minister Erdogan said.“Our ambassador went to Hama and said that the tanks, security forces had started to leave Hama. This is highly important to show that our initiatives had positive results,” Mr. Erdogan said.Hmmmm.......Is Erdogan protecting Assad....Obeying Iran?Read the full story here.

  • Syria expands offensive near Turkey border.(Al-Jazeera).Syrian tanks stormed two northwestern towns near the border with Turkey, expanding its military offensive to crush protests, local residents said, a day after Ankara pressed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to end killings of civilians.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least one woman was killed and 13 people injured on Wednesday when 12 tanks and armoured vehicles, entered the towns of Taftanaz and Sermin, around 30km from the border with Turkey.On Tuesday, Syrian forces killed four villagers in the nearby town of Binnish, rights campaigners said."The three towns are near Idlib (the provincial capital) and are close to each other geographically and in family ties. Daily protests in the region have been unabated since the start of Ramadan," a local resident, who gave his name as Ali, told Reuters news agency by phone, referring to the annual Muslim fasting month that began last week.Syrian troops also seized control of the eastern flashpoint city of Deir ez-Zor on Wednesday following intense shelling and gunfire, an activist said. The city has been under attack by Assad's forces for four days."They are shooting anything that moves," the activist said, speaking to The Associated Press news agency by telephone on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals."The situation is terrible. Bakeries and pharmacies are closed, while food and baby formula are scarce."Meanwhile, dozens of Syrian army vehicles packed with soldiers left the flashpoint protest hub of Hama on Wednesday, 10 days after storming the central city," an AFP news agency correspondent reported.Forty personnel carriers decked with Syrian flags rolled out of Hama with soldiers chanting slogans praising embattled Assad, said the journalist who visited the city on a tour organised by the authorities."With our blood and our soul we sacrifice ourselves for you, Bashar," some chanted as others recited slogans saying their allegiance rests with "God, Syria, Bashar".Rights groups say about 1,700 people have been killed since March, and an aggressive new military campaign that began a week ago has killed several hundred.Attacks on flashpoint cities killed more than 20 people on Tuesday.Hmmmm......Is Erdogan actually covering Assad's actions  after Iran's pressure on Ankara ?Read and see (video)  the full story here.

  • Related - Iranian Majlis Member: Arab Countries Should Mobilize for Syria.(Memri).In a speech in Cairo, Iranian Majlis National Security Council chairman Ala Al-Din Boroujerdi said that the U.S. is working to topple the Syria regime – the linchpin of the resistance axis – after losing the Mubarak regime in Egypt.He called on Arab countries to mobilize for the stability of Syria as "the center of Palestinian resistance."He also called on Turkey to cease its threats toward Syria, and rejected the claims of a "massacre."Boroujerdi said that President Assad is promoting serious reforms.Hmmmm.....I wonder if Erdogan 'got the message'?Read the full story here.

  • Israel: We never agreed to discuss nukes.(Ynet).Israel and Arab nations have tentatively accepted an invitation by the UN nuclear agency to discuss a Middle East free of atomic arms, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau, however, denied the report.Whether the meeting takes place may depend on the participants' willingness to compromise on preconditions. An official from a delegation accredited to the International Atomic Energy agency says IAEA chief Yukiya Amano planned to meet with the Arab group on Sept. 5 to try and bridge differences. But he and members of other delegations describe the chances of success as possibly the best since 2000. That was when IAEA nations asked the agency to convene such talks. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi blamed Israel and the United States for being an obstacle en route to a nuclear weapon-free Middle East.Hmmmm.....Seems i was right saying after Pakistan Israel would be next?Read the full story here.

  • Islamic militants urge rioters to topple British government.(TheSpectator).CAIRO - Militant online forums are abuzz with calls to Muslims in Britain to launch Internet campaigns in support of the British rioters and to urge them to topple the government.Dozens of contributors on Wednesday suggested Muslims in Britain should flood social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, with slogans and writings inciting the British youth to continue rioting.One contributor says the rioters should adopt slogans similar to those used by Arab protesters during the uprisings in the Middle East this year."The people want the killer of Mark Duggan punished" is suggested — a reference to the British man whose death sparked the riots.Another contributor says an Internet media attack is very important and that "chaos is useful to militants in London."Hmmmm........Taliban Statement: Most Islamic Battles, Like the Conquest of Spain, were Fought During "The Holy Month of Ramadan".Read the full story here.

  • Mrs. Obama’s Failure to Show Up at Dover.(Whitehousedossier).By Keith Koffler.This is not something I wanted to be cynical about, though I was a little. And now I am a lot.There is no way to reconcile a sincere devotion to helping military families with her decision to travel to Oregon with her mother to visit her brother this week instead of being by President Obama’s side yesterday as he comforted the 30 grieving families of those who lost their sons, brothers, and fathers in Afghanistan Saturday.Not just any son, brother or father. The best kind you could ever have.This is simply just not acceptable. It’s an ignorance of her duty as first lady – even if she were not one supposedly dedicated to military families. It even suggests a general lack of compassion.Nobody inflicted these roles on her. She chose to be first lady, seems to be enjoying the perks, and is already campaigning and raising heaps of money so that she can stay there.What first gave me pause when she launched the Joining Forces thing was that someone who suggested quite clearly – because it was an accident – that she had never really been proud of her country was of all things suddenly dedicated to helping the military.It sounded like image makeover, both for her and a husband who had never served and who is not held in particularly high esteem by our armed forces.It sounded like something born more out of political calculation more than anything else.Turns out, it was.Read the full story here.

  • Good news: 83% of Obamacare Grants Awarded to Local Health Centers Went to States That Supported Obama in 2008.(DougRoss).Earlier today, the Department of Heath and Human Services announced it was writing $29 million in checks to "expand access to health care". These Obamacare funds would support "community health center programs across the country", though it would appear Blue states did decidedly better than Red States. Of the $29 million HHS awarded, $24 million of it went to 2008's Blue States. But I'm sure that's just coincidental. I'm certain that Kathleen Sebelius and her fine cadre of bureaucrats would never, ever permit political bias to impact their decision-making processes.Except it turns out that more than 83% of the funds went to Blue states. You may recall that it appears that Nancy Pelosi abused the Obamacare waiver system to reward her restaurateur friends in San Francisco. Obamacare has nothing at all to do with health care. It's about control. Punishing enemies and rewarding friends. It's about a Soviet-style form of government that has as its core the destruction of the Constitution and of our individual liberties. Removing the options you have for medical treatment and replacing them with a one-size-fits-all, centralized health care regime is a huge step in the direction of totalitarianism. Hmmmm......Thugocracy in it's natural habitat.Read the full story here.

  • BURTON: The danger of underestimating Obama.Disastrous policies are intentional steps on road to socialism.(WashingtonTimes).It is a cardinal mistake in any competition, be it sports or politics - and politics is a competition of ideas - to underestimate your opponent. All too often, underestimating your opponent leads to disaster. I believe that America, especially America’s political class, is vastly underestimating President Obama; and if we continue to do so, it will be a disaster for America. Specifically, I am worried about the growing political story line that the Obama administration is “failing” because they are just inexperienced and the president is simply “in over his head.”It is true that Mr. Obama never held an executive position in his life prior to being elected to the presidency. It is true that Mr. Obama had only three years (2005-2008) in the U.S. Senate prior to going to the White House, and it is true that Mr. Obama had just seven years of experience (1997-2004) in the Illinois state Senate - where he cast more than 130 “present” votes rather than go on the record on contentious issues. However, we should be under no illusion that the president’s lack of leadership experience means he is “in over his head” or that he does not know what he is doing.Mr. Obama knows precisely what he is doing: He is changing America into his vision of a European-style socialist utopia where the government controls every aspect of our lives. Consider the facts, since taking office, Mr. Obama has taken control of the student loan industry, the health care industry, the banking and financial sectors, and he orchestrated the bankruptcy and reorganization of two-thirds of the American automotive industry, leaving his political allies in the labor movement in effective control of the companies and allowing the administration to dictate the industry’s direction.Although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi could not strong-arm enough Democrats to pass legislation to allow the president to take control of our energy sector, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency is aggressively rewriting and reinterpreting environmental regulations to accomplish the same end result: government control of energy.The pattern is unmistakable: Every solution proposed by the Obama administration to every problem is more government control. That is the textbook definition of socialism: “Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).Putting aside the fact that socialism is absolutely incompatible with the philosophy that made America a world superpower - limited government, light regulations, low taxes and maximum labor-market flexibility - the problem with socialism, as Margaret Thatcher famously said, is “that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” If you don’t believe this statement is true, how do you explain the sovereign debt crisis threatening to destroy the European Union?While America’s debt crisis cannot be laid entirely at the feet of Mr. Obama, the fact is that in pursuit of his socialist agenda, he has accelerated the crisis with his reckless spending. The federal budget deficit in 2008, the last year before Mr. Obama took office, was $458.6 billion. The projected deficit for 2011 is $1.5 trillion - 323 percent higher than the nation’s deficit in the last year before President Obama took office. The president’s budget request for fiscal 2012 would lead us to the highest-ever budget deficit, roughly $1.6 trillion.It is not yet too late to save America from financial ruin nor is it too late to save the American way of life. But to confront these threats, we must confront reality and that means we must stop viewing the president’s policies as the innocent missteps of a man who is “in over his head.” The president is not in over his head; he knows precisely what he is doing: rushing America down the path toward socialism.Hmmmm......Impeachment sounds real nice lately.Read the full story here.

  • Congressional Probe over Net Neutrality.(BigGovernment).On June 2, 2011, Judicial Watch released documents that show the Obama FCC’s collusion with a radical leftist organization to seize control over the Internet. This investigation caught the eye of congressional leaders, and now it appears a congressional probe of the matter is in the offing.
According to The Hill:
The House Energy and Commerce Committee pressed the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday for all documentation of the rulemaking process behind the agency’s net-neutrality regulations.Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.) cited reports that FCC Chief of Staff Edward Lazarus attended White House meetings where net-neutrality rules were debated as evidence the FCC rules passed in December were politically motivated.The representatives also pointed to an investigation from Judicial Watch that unearthed emails from the advocacy group Free Press to aides of FCC Commissioner Michael Copps advocating strongly for net neutrality, which Copps supported. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) termed the emails “collusion” last month.
“These allegations suggest the FCC’s network neutrality proceeding was designed to fulfill a presidential campaign slogan, when it should have been based on an analysis of statutory authority, an economic analysis of the Internet service market, and an examination of the record,” the lawmakers wrote.“If true, it seems the FCC failed to develop an independent conclusion derived from a balanced fact-based record, which is incompatible with proper rule-making.”Importantly, that FCC 3-2 vote seemed to be at with odds an April, 2010, federal appeals court ruling that the FCC had exceeded its authority in seeking to regulate the Internet and enforce “net neutrality” rules. (More evidence the lawless Obama administration has as much respect for court rulings as it does the U.S. Constitution — which is to say, very little.)
Now let me tell you why Congress is so “suspicious.”
The documents we uncovered show that the Obama FCC was deeply involved in discussions with the radical leftist organization Free Press in the run up to the December 2010 FCC vote. How deep? Free Press reached out to the FCC to invite FCC Commissioner Michael Copps to write an op-ed for the Albuquerque Journal in advance of a November 16 hearing on Internet Access. Free Press helped coordinate a speaker’s list for FCC “Internet workshops” — which was a “Who’s Who” of liberal activists.There were also a series of back-and-forth emails to set up meetings between Copps and former Free Press President John Silver just before the net neutrality vote.
Allow me to introduce you to the people who seem to be running the FCC’s Internet policies:
Robert McChesny, former editor of the socialist magazine Monthly Review, is the co-founder and president of Free Press. Kim Gandy, the Chairman of the Free Press Board of Directors, served as the President of the leftist National Organization for Women from 2001-2009. Craig Aaron, Free Press’s President and CEO, formerly worked as managing editor of the socialist tabloid In These Times. Free Press is financially supported by George Soros’ Open Society Institute and other hard-left groups such as the Ford Foundation and Democracy Alliance.Two socialists, a radical feminist, and a left-wing eccentric billionaire who uses his wealth to drive the liberal agenda — that’s quite a team.The “net neutrality” debate is highly technical and somewhat confusing. Proponents of net neutrality count on this confusion to hoodwink people into accepting their agenda. But here’s why many see “net neutrality” as so dangerous.
Proponents of net neutrality, like Free Press, believe Internet access is a civil right. And what happens when you make something a civil right? You put the government in charge of “protecting” those rights. In the case of net neutrality, proponents want taxpayer-funded online access for everyone, most especially communities they deem “underserved.” This, of course, would require government control.
If allowed to move forward, the Left’s version of “net neutrality” could stifle innovation by preventing Internet service providers from managing their information networks with any flexibility. And it could effectively kill the digital economy. As Reason Magazine’s Steven Titch argued, if net neutrality were in play several years ago, there would be no iPhone, to give just one example.So here’s the question you need to ask yourself. Do you want George Soros and Barack Obama to be able to micromanage the Internet? Congress is right (once again) to follow Judicial Watch’s lead in asking this question.Hmmmm......When will the impeachment procedure finally begin?Read the full story here.

  • You got to be kidding?Entire U.S. Stealth Fighter Fleet Grounded.(Wired).In past few decades, the U.S. Air Force has spent untold billions researching and developing a family of stealth fighter jets that are supposed to be generations ahead of any dogfighters in the sky.But after building more than 170 F-22 Raptors and a handful of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, not a single one is available for service. The Air Force currently has zero flyable stealth fighters. None.The vaunted F-22 has been grounded with a possible faulty oxygen system since May. Production of the last few Raptors is even on hold, because the jets can’t fly from the factory.Last week, test flights for the newer F-35 were suspended, too, because of a valve problem in the plane’s integrated power package. It’s the third time this year that JSFs have been grounded. Tests may resume as early as next week. Then again, they may not.Yesterday, the U.S. military committed to spending another $535 million to buy 38 more Joint Strike Fighters — a family of stealth jets that are supposed to become the multipurpose, affordable workhorses of tomorrow’s fleet. Ninety percent of America’s combat aviation power is eventually supposed to come from the jets’ three variants.But the jets have been anything but cheap. The current cost for the JSF program is $382 billion and rising for more than 2,400 aircraft. No wonder just about every major deficit reduction plan scales back the JSF effort in some way.And, at the moment, they’re not producing any combat power, either.Back in 2002, the plan was to have more than 90 JSFs flying by next year. As things currently stand, the Air Force and Navy might not get their variants until 2016. The Marines — who knows?For now, every available penny in the JSF program is tied up in getting the jets back into the air and their programs on track.“The so-called ‘fifth-generation’ fighters have certainly revolutionized U.S. air power,” Ares’ Bill Sweetman noted, “if not quite in the way anyone had in mind.”Hmmmmm......."Leading From behind"?Read the full story here.

  • UK - A new tumblr blog has been set up called "Catch a Looter": Do you recognise these UK rioters?(TechDigest).While technology and social media has been highlighted as a key enabler in the organisation of groups of looters during last night's horrific London riots, here's an opportunity to use tech and the web against those who terrorised the capital last night.A new tumblr blog has been set up called "Catch a Looter".While there are few details on who the site owner is, it's acting as a rogues gallery, letting those who have photos or videos of troublemakers to post them online in the hope that they will be caught.Plenty of clear images of looters and troublemakers on there, mostly young men, and many clear enough to be easily identified if you knew them. This video of an already injured man being mugged is particularly despicable.If you have any information on the identities of criminals involved in last night's chaos, you can anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.Read and see the full story here.

  • Michelle Obama Takes Secret Vacation to Oregon.(Whitehousedossier).By Keith Koffler.First Lady Michelle Obama Slipped out of Washington unnoticed Monday for a secret trip to visit her brother, Oregon State University men’s basketball coach Craig Robinson, at his home on Corvallis, Ore.Mrs. Obama reportedly jetted into the Eugene Airport, landing at about 11 am PDT. She and family members then headed out in a 11 vehicle motorcade for the ride to Corvallis.The White House has so far said little about the trip, which was unannounced. It’s unclear how long the vacation will last.Mrs. Obama and family members flew on a Boeing C-40B, the military version of a 737 that serves as Air Force 2.Mrs. Obama has in the past incurred criticism for her travels, including an early departure for her most recent Hawaiian vacation and a luxurious 2010 trip to Spain. Most of the costs of her travel are borne by taxpayers.The C-40B included a flight crew of eight to 10 people, according to one report. Mrs. Obama is traveling with one of her daughters – it’s unclear which one – and her mother.President Obama remains on his own in Washington, where today he is headed over to Dover Air Force Base to honor the fallen soldiers who died in a Taliban attack on their chopper Saturday.Hmmmm.......Poor Bo left behind again, we feel your pain.....I mean the dog of course.Read the full story here.

  • EPA’s Mission Impossible: A Deadline to Destroy Domestic Energy.(Heritage).Last week, Bloomberg reported that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulatory push against the fossil fuel industry will cost America’s largest utility, the Southern Company, up to $18 billion in compliance costs. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.According to data in a filing by Southern last week, the EPA’s new emissions requirements cannot be met in the three years allowed by the agency. The results: more power plant closures, spikes in electricity prices, job losses, and increased power outages.Southern’s filing demonstrates that, based on company data from actual upgrade projects, the EPA’s compliance timetable in its proposed “Utility MACT” rule is simply impossible to achieve. Southern has undertaken more upgrade and compliance projects than any other power producer.Take scrubbers: Over the past seven years, it has installed 16 of them to capture emissions. The average time to complete each upgrade was 54 months—a full year-and-a-half longer than the EPA is now demanding for the entire industry to comply.The installation of filter systems, another emissions control technology, takes anywhere from 34 to 48 months from start to finish. And Southern’s figures show that, with most of the low-hanging fruit of easy upgrades already completed, the EPA-required installations would come in at the far end of that timeline.“Controlling the entire fleet by 2015 cannot be done at any cost,” the company concludes.As a result, plants that can’t be upgraded in time must be taken off line in 2015. With less power available on the grid, electricity prices are forecast to spike by 11.5 percent nationwide in 2016, causing hundreds of thousands of job losses across the economy, according to National Economic Research Associates.And according to Bernstein Research, the EPA’s rules will slash reserve capacity—i.e., the availability of electricity generating capacity to meet peak demand and plug power interruptions—resulting in increased power outages of longer duration. In a hot summer like this one, that means rolling blackouts, loss of air conditioning, and potentially heat-related deaths.The Obama EPA’s disdain for the most abundant domestic energy sources is well known, but the consequences of its regulatory onslaught are only now gaining public attention. Congress should, at the very least, extend the EPA’s impossible compliance deadline to avert some of the economic damage and job loss that are the inevitable result of the EPA’s war on domestic energy. Even better, Congress should consider whether regulation is called for at all—a question which the EPA has, prior to this Administration, answered in the negative.Hmmmm......"CHANGE" you never wanted or needed.Read the full story here.

  • White House Rules by Fiat Once Again.(Heritage).In the shadow of yesterday’s disastrous Wall Street meltdown and President Barack Obama’s address to the nation, a lesser-noticed piece of news emerged from the Obama Administration: By executive fiat, the White House is once again circumventing Congress in the name of advancing the President’s agenda.It’s a story we’ve heard before. Where President Obama can’t legislate, he will use executive branch action to accomplish his agenda. In the past, he has applied that tactic in the auto bailout, EPA regulations, and Obamacare. Now he’s using this approach to remake No Child Left Behind (NCLB)—the most significant K-12 education law—by granting states conditional waivers from the onerous provisions of NCLB in exchange for adopting a yet-to-be-specified set of executive branch education policy priorities. The news came in an announcement from the Department of Education:  With the new school year fast approaching and still no bill to reform the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, the Obama administration will provide a process for states to seek relief from key provisions of the law, provided that they are willing to embrace education reform.The Department of Education is taking this unilateral action in order to insulate schools from NCLB’s unintended consequences. NCLB requires all students to be proficient in English and math by 2014, a worthwhile but unrealistic goal that is placing federal heat on schools. As a result, states and local school leaders have been focused on compliance with Washington, not the needs of the children they teach. Heritage’s Lindsey Burke explains that “the waiver route is a bad precedent that neither provides long-term relief for states nor solves the underlying problem with accountability, which would be more effective if directed to parents, not bureaucrats.”Though Carney says the White House will “work together to get significant things done,” the Administration’s actions on education this week aren’t reflective of that sentiment. In fact, they fly squarely in the face of proposals in Congress to restore state and local control over education and to begin reducing the federal role in education. Burke explains that the House Education and the Workforce Committee has completed significant work on major proposals to restore state control over education and put power in the hands of those closer to the student. But putting power in the hands of the people is not the Obama Administration’s goal. Instead, it wants to extend Washington’s tentacles into local schools.The federal government has totally failed to improve America’s educational outcomes, and now the Obama Administration has grabbed the wheel of government and is steering us further down a dead-end road. Instead of more Washington red tape, states need more control over their schools. Conditional waivers for NCLB aren’t the answer. Instead, Congress should allow states to completely opt out of NCLB through proposals that are approved by Congress. Meanwhile, the White House might want to take a lesson in constitutional governance.Hmmmm.......Than one day you wake up and realise you're living under a dictatorship.Read the full story here.

  • Obama and Tisha B'Av: An American Calamity.(LevantineTimes). On a hot summer night in Boston, a young state senator from Illinois stepped to the podium to give the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. That night, the relatively unknown upstart would mesmerize his way onto the national political stage. He would later utilize what psychotherapists call "neuro-linguistic programming" to win a Senate seat, and then ultimately the US presidency. The young state senator was Barack Hussein Obama and the date was Tuesday, July 27, 2004. To most watching at home in the US and elsewhere around the world, it was a regular Tuesday night. But to those who observe the holidays and important dates in the Jewish tradition, it was the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, better known as the fast day of Tisha B'Av. Historically speaking, this day tends to be a calamitous one for the Jewish people as well as the State of Israel. Notable events include:
- The destruction of the 1st and 2nd Holy Temple's by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and the Romans in 70 CE respectively, as well as Simon bar Kokhba's failed revolt against the Romans in 132 CE, leading to the destruction of the city of Betar where 100,000 Jews perished.
- The expulsion of Jews from England and Spain, in 1290 and 1492 respectively.
- The beginning of WWI, which led to WWII and eventually the Holocaust.
- In 1941, Hermann Göring ordered SS general Reinhard Heydrich to make all the necessary preparations for the Final Solution. Then one year later, the first transports reached Treblinka and the extermination of the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto began.
- The AMIA Bombing (Asociación Mutua Israelita Argentina) by terrorists in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which killed 86 and wounded more than 120, was on July 18, 1994, the 10th of Av.
- The Disengagement from Gaza began on the 10th of Av in 2005, when residents of Gush Katif were evicted from their homes by the Israeli government, leading to non-stop rocket fire from Hamas.
Then, the penultimate of ominous moments came when Standard and Poor's, one of the leading credit rating agencies in the world, downgraded America's credit rating for the first time in history from its perennially sterling AAA to AA+. This happened on the Shabbat right before Tisha B'Av, better known as Shabbat Chazon or the Shabbat of vision or prophecy. Thus, when one considers Obama's chilly relationship with Israel throughout his presidency, its plain to see that the fate of his presidency and the country will be linked to Tisha B'Av. One recalls a passage from the Torah (Old Testament) which reads: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all people on earth will be blessed through you." Thus, by showing contempt for Israel, Obama has thereby rendered America and any endeavor its government partakes in to be cursed.Read the full story here.

  • Anti-normalization forces gaining strength in Jordan.(JPost).Israel is increasingly concerned about damage to Israeli- Jordanian relations caused by anti-normalization elements in Jordan that have become more and more active since the beginning of the year, sources in Jerusalem said Tuesday.While there have long been vocal elements inside Jordan opposed to the 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, in recent months these voices have increased and are jeopardizing economic ties, the sources said.For instance, last week the Jordanian insurance agency that provided policies for the Israeli embassy’s fleet of cars in Amman informed envoys that because of pressure from anti-normalization forces to cut off ties, it would no longer work with the embassy, a move that has forced it to scramble to find a new insurer.In addition, the sources said that since the beginning of the year there had been a 25-30 percent decrease in agricultural products exported to Jordan because of pressure placed on Jordanian businesses bringing in the products.According to the sources, those opposed to peace between the two countries are looking for the names of Jordanian businesses importing items from Israel, and placing pressure on them to end their contact with Israeli firms.In addition, the sources said that even Jordanian exporters – such as businesses selling olives to Israel – are being pressured to stop. The olive exporters are being told that Israeli firms are taking their olives, making olive oil out of them and exporting it themselves for a profit to Europe.The sources said Israeli diplomatic officials had raised these matters with Jordanian authorities, hoping to hear government statements saying there is peace with Israel and that business is not only permitted but welcome.They were met with “rolling eyes.”The sources said anti-normalization forces in Jordan then see there is no objection from the government, gain confidence from the silence and continue with their efforts.In addition, the sources said the Jordanian press was increasingly becoming more anti-Israel. For instance, an article Monday on the English website of the Ammon news service referred to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as a war criminal, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon as a “despicable bastard,” Israel as a “snake,” and Zionists as a “despicable, obnoxious group of people.”The Jordan Times, meanwhile, ran a story Sunday reporting that 17 years after the signing of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, many Jordanian journalists “still view Israel as an enemy occupying Arab lands and oppressing a brotherly Arab people, which, they say, should be enough to deprive it of the right to get an Arab platform.”The paper quoted the head of Jordan Press Association, Tareq Momani, as saying that when Israel was involved, patriotism “should take precedence over all other considerations.” He said his organization opposed contact between its members and Israelis.“We are totally against any contact with Israelis. The issue here is not just about journalism.Israel for us is still an enemy occupying Arab land and oppressing Arab people.We will not accept giving their views a platform,” Momani was quoted as telling the Times.The sources in Jerusalem attributed the increasingly negative atmosphere toward Israel in Jordan to the Arab Spring, the diplomatic standoff with the Palestinians and the run-up to the Palestinian statehood recognition bid at the UN in September. Read the full story here.

  • Tisha B’Av – Mourning the Loss of the Second Temple, Ignoring the Second Holocaust and Considering the Destruction of the Third.(KaffirKanuck).A must read.

  • Toronto School board sees duelling demonstrations over Muslim prayers.(ParentCentral).About a hundred demonstrators congregated on the steps of the Toronto District School Board on Monday evening toting signs and shouting chants condemning the city’s public schools for allowing Muslim prayer groups.“No Islam in our schools! Never, never, never!” shouted Ron Banerjee, director of the Canadian Hindu Advocacy.The demonstration comes several weeks after a similar one was held at the same location with groups such as the Jewish Defense League and the Christian Heritage Party.The Canadian Egyptian Congress, which represents some Coptic Christians, joined the groups in voicing concern over the conversion of auditoriums and cafeterias into prayer spaces for Muslim students.“I don't mind them having their prayers but they have to take them to their mosques,” said Nazeer Bishay, president of the Canadian Egyptian Congress. “The school should only be for the core subjects: English, French, History, Geography, Math, and Biology.”On the edge of the street were about a dozen young Muslims clad in colourful hijabs, carrying signs supporting the school board.“We'd like to thank the TDSB for respecting our rights,” said Hatice Celik, wearing a bubble gum pink hijab.The 21-year-old graduated from Nelson A. Boylen Collegiate where she regularly attended a weekly Muslim group on Fridays.“Peace, multiculturalism, diversity, that's what we want,” she said.Mohamed Mohamed came out on behalf of his teenage siblings who are attending public high schools in the GTA.“At York University, we already have religious accommodation for all religious groups so why not for the TDSB?” Said the 20-year-old York University student.Police officers monitored from afar and intervened when verbal disputes became heated.The controversy over Muslim prayers in public schools was recently ignited over Valley Park Middle School's decision to bring in an imam to provide Friday prayer service to 300 Muslim students, who were reportedly failing to return to school after leaving early to attend a mosque.Read and see the full story here.

  • Muslims Attack Christian Village in Egypt -- 1 Murdered, Homes Looted and Torched.(Aina).Muslims attacked Christians in the village of Nazlet Faragallah, in the southern Egyptian Minya province, on Sunday evening. The attack continued until the early hours of Monday morning, August 8. One Copt was murdered and homes were looted and torched when Muslims from Nazlet Faragallah together with Muslims from four neighboring villages started their violence at approximately 8 PM, after breaking their Ramadan fast.According to eyewitnesses, thousands of Muslims entered the village from all sides, firing automatic weapons (mostly in the air), looting and throwing Molotov Cocktails at several homes. “They even destroyed our irrigation pumps,” said one witness.The first attack was on the house of Father Youanes, pastor of St. George Church, which lies at the head of the village. He was beaten and his home was looted and torched.Maher Nassif Tobias (50), an employee at the local council, was murdered in his home. He was found by his son. His house was completely looted, including his livestock.Security forces arrived 4 hours after the attack began and there were too few of them. “They only had batons in their hands, and were unable to control the situation,” said a Coptic village resident. “Our village is surrounded by corn fields. The Muslims came into the village to loot and quickly disappeared in the fields, the police could not follow them. They were coming from all directions at the same time.”Nazlet Faragallah has 8000 inhabitants, 80% are Copts and 20% Muslims. In a statement tonight, the security authorities in Minya said the Muslim attack on Nazlet Faragallah was caused by a group of Copts, headed by Haddar Ishaq, firing at Muslims as they came out of the mosque on Sunday afternoon. Copts in the village denied this claim.Three Muslims were arrested yesterday and three Copts today. None of the Copts were involved in any incident, and one of them had broken his leg two weeks before. “Security is doing its balancing act again,” said one of the villagers. “They will use these Copts, who were arrested at random, to bargain for their freedom in exchange for village Copts giving up their rights during the ‘reconciliation’ meeting.”It was reported that Muslim women walked the streets today, warning that after breaking the Ramadan fast the men would come to finish the Christians off, but this did not happen, as security was present in large numbers in the village and preparations were being made for another “reconciliation” meeting to take place on August 9.Hmmmm......The religion of peace.Read the full story here.

  • Pharma Nightmare: Indians sitting ducks as drug trials turn fatal.(BlacklistedNews).Source: Tribune India.For the first time since 2010 when six tribal girls from Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh involved in the clinical trials of anti-cervical cancer HPV vaccine died, the government has admitted that 1,725 persons have lost their lives to drug trials in the last four years.The number of deaths has risen from 132 in 2007 and 288 in 2008 to 637 in 2009 and 668 last year, indicating the complete ineffectiveness of regulatory controls over the $400 million sector. Last year, the government gave compensation in just 22 cases out of the 668 that resulted in deaths due to “serious adverse events” during drug trials, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told Parliament this week.Currently, 1,868 clinical trials are going on as per the Clinical Trial Registry of India maintained by the office of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). Many of the drugs being tested are not even of specific relevance to the country and could have been tested anywhere. Equally shocking is the fact that the rules, under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, entirely trust the trial investigator with the reason attributed for the death of a subject. This is resulting in gross under-reporting of actual deaths during clinical trials.Dr Chandra Gulhati, a leading medical practitioner, who led several clinical trials in the UK, says the number of deaths would be much more than we will ever know. “We have no system of independent auditors to investigate the cause of death of subjects involved in clinical trials. Whatever the investigator says is believed even if he attributes the death to a prior disease. Such investigators are always hired by the firm conducting the trial. How can we expect them to be objective all the time?”, he asks.Under the rules, a company interested in trial is supposed to approach the Drug Controller with a protocol to get approvals. But there has been evidence of weak monitoring of requests. “I just investigated a case where 800 pages of protocol were submitted to the DCGI for approval. The permission was granted in four days whereas even a clinician like me would require at least a month to understand the whole project. Clearly, people in the DCGI office are not vetting the requests properly,” said Gulhati, who is now investigating the cause of 81 deaths due to recent clinical trials in Indore.The rules further mandate the company conducting the trial to get consent forms signed from subjects. The idea is to have safeguards but it’s not working. In the HPV vaccine trial which was suspended after 6 deaths last year, the government inquiry concluded that consent forms had actually been signed by wardens of hostels where the girls resided and not by the girls themselves. In both Gujarat and Andhra, over 22 pc of the vaccinated girls were tribals even though our law bar trials on tribals unless the drug being tested is of specific benefit to them. Dr Amit Sengupta, who helped expose loopholes in the HPV trial conducted by the US NGO PATH, says India must drastically reduce the number of trials happening here. “Why should we allow trials of drugs for medical conditions that prevail elsewhere in the world? Trials for diarrhoea, malaria etc are understandable, but why should foreign firms come to us to test anti-cancer drugs? Cancer is prevalent in their countries also. Let them test there,” he says. The reason is: since the cost of testing in India is 80 per cent less than in the developed world, firms come here. Experts, meanwhile, also want the DCGI to frame rules to specify that trials will be allowed only in cases where the firm in question undertakes to make the drug available to Indians at affordable prices.Promoters of the HPV vaccine trial for instance wanted the vaccine included under India’s Universal Immunisation Programme even though it costs Rs 9000 per eligible girl (age 9 to 15 years). Vaccines for trial came free of cost from pharma giants GSK and MSD. Considering 1.25 crore girls enter the age group 9 to 15 years annually, the promoters could have made Rs 11, 250 crore per year had the government accepted public distribution of the HPV vaccine.Hmmmmm.........To put it plainly "Life is cheaper in India"?Read the full story here.

  • And now for something completely different!High and mighty: Stunning new images of world's tallest tower a.k.a. : "Kingdom Tower".(DailyMail).Incredible new images of what the world's tallest tower will eventually look like have been revealed.The $1.2 billion Kingdom Tower, which will stretch 3,280ft into the Saudi Arabian sky, has so far only been illustrated through concept sketches and a rendering showing the bank-busting building from afar.But these amazing artist impressions detail up-close what the exterior of the sleek, streamlined tower will look like and how the site will fit in with surrounding buildings.Gordon Gill, of arhictects AS+GG, said its outline was inspired by the 'folded fronds of young desert plant growth'.He said: 'The way the fronds sprout upward from the ground as a single form, then start separating from each other at the top, is an analogy of new growth fused with technology. We're thrilled to be working with His Highness to help define this path for the Kingdom.'The tower has a three-petal footprint and tapering wings which produce an aerodynamic shape that will help reduce structural loading due to wind vortex shedding. Each of its three sides features a series of notches that create pockets of shadow to shield areas of the building from the sun and provide outdoor terraces with stunning views of Jeddah and the Red Sea. Read and see the full story here.

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