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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Overnight music video - Four Tops - If I Were A Carpenter

Eat, Drink and be Merry - Happy Purim

Eat, Drink and be Merry - Happy Purim.From Giyus.Purim is probably one of the favorite holidays in the Jewish year - costumes, feasts and the flow of wine make it a merry holiday indeed.

Queen Esther is the heroine of this holiday and one of the most popular costumes for little girls in Israel. She was the beautiful Jewish woman selected by the King of Persia to be his wife. After she became queen, she begged the king to save her people from Haman's wicked plan to destroy them. He did, and thus the Jews were saved.But there's more to this story then meets the eye, read the rest of this post here, and this great version of the Purim story.

Purim provides the Jewish comics' classic example of a Jewish Holiday:

"They tried to kill us. We survived. Let's eat!"

The Jews of Palestine used to celebrate heartily at the Purim Adloyada ["until they don't know"] festival and parade held in Tel Aviv in the 1920s and 30's.
Some commentators make a crude comparison to Marde Gras partying, but the merriment is based on an ancient rabbinic tradition of Jews imbibing on Purim to the point where they do not know the difference between sobriety and drunkenness, between Mordechai and Haman -- but without losing their wits.
The Purim tale did not take place in Eretz Yisrael, but in Persia. A villain named Haman arose and tried to destroy the Jewish people. Through guile and disguise, Mordechai and Esther were able to thwart Haman's genocidal plans and save the Jewish people. To this day there is a custom to dress up in disguises.More here at "Picture a Day".

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

  Morning Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Indonesia 5.3 ; India 5.6 !More info here.

  • Exclusive Obama Ally Won't Release Alinsky Tape.(Breitbart).By Ben Shapiro.Sources inform today that Pam Dickler, director of the 1998 production of The Love Song of Saul Alinsky in Chicago that included a panel discussion featuring then-State Sen. Barack Obama, has a video tape of the play. And she won’t release it.Read the full story here.

  • Ten Questions Obama Should Be Asked at Tuesday’s Press Conference.(Heritage).President Obama will hold his first official press conference since October on Tuesday. Plenty has happened since then: the president has illegally appointed four officials to federal posts, Energy Secretary Steven Chu has again demonstrated his lack of concern for rising gas prices, Iran has continued its march towards nuclear weapons, and the Department of Health and Human Services has usurped Americans’ rights to free practice of their religion.In light of these and other happenings over the last few months, here are ten questions that we feel should be asked of the president when he takes the podium on Tuesday.
  1. Your Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, has now been on record three times stating it is not the policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that this is not the job of the Energy Department?
  2. Your administration has touted the declining unemployment rate. Do you plan any policy proposals to deal with the steady – and ongoing – decline in labor force participation?
  3. According to The Heritage Foundation, there are over $2 trillion in tax hikes in your latest budget proposal, when you yourself stated that raising taxes is anathema to economic recovery. How will tax hikes spur job growth, or is that secondary to some other policy goal?
  4. Your Justice Department insisted the Senate was in recess over the holidays for the purposes of recess appointments. But the Senate passed the payroll tax cut extension during that period. Do you think Presidents should dictate when Congress is in session, were these appointments legitimate, and will you go around Congress on future travel weekends?
  5. What provision of the Constitution grants the federal government the authority to require religiously-affiliated groups to pay for contraception in violation of their own moral teachings?
  6. Does China’s decision to boost its defense budget by more than 11% give you any pause about repeatedly slashing our own military capabilities?
  7. Do you regret your administration’s hands-off approach to the Iranian Green Revolution given the country’s increasing belligerence and its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons?
  8. Your administration has no plan to reform unsustainable entitlement programs, according to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Why haven’t you proposed any real solutions?
  9. You continue to tout an “all of the above” approach to energy policy, but your budget proposal singles out the oil industry for punitive tax hikes, while preserving preferential tax treatment for wind energy, despite the fact that wind energy companies get roughly 100 times the amount in subsidies that oil companies do per kilowatt-hour. Do you believe the playing field should be leveled by eliminating all energy subsidies, or should government continue trying to pick winners and losers?
  10. Have you instructed Attorney General Holder to comply with the congressional subpoena related to the more than 60,000 documents that the Department of Justice has not turned over to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee?Read the full story here.

  • In Syria, al Jazeera’s Credibility Implodes.(ICH).The guy who runs al Jazeera’s Syrian coverage is the brother of a opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) bigwig.The main event, or what should be the main event, for Western observers of Syria is the messy implosion of Al Jazeera’s credibility. Somebody disgruntled with the diktat of channel management that the Syrian revolution (at least the SNC version of it) “must be televised” leaked some raw footage of Homs coverage and interviews staged for maximum anti-regime effect.As’ad AbuKhalil, proprietor of the Angry Arab newsblog, hails from the atheist/Marxist/feminist quadrant and is no friend of the Bashar regime. He had this to say about recent trends in programming on Syrian state TV:“It seems that Syrian regime had agents among the rebels; or it seems that the Syrian regime obtained a trove of video footage from Baba Amru. They have been airing them non-stop. They are quite damning. They show the correspondent or witness (for CNN or from Aljazeera) before he is on the air: and the demeanor is drastically different from the demeanor on the air and they even show contrived sounds of explosions timed for broadcast time…“PS This is really scandalous. It shows the footage prior to Aljazeera reports: they show fake bandages applied on a child and then a person is ordered to carry a camera in his hand to make it look like a mobile footage. It shows a child being fed what to say on Aljazeera.”Later in the day:“This is rather explosive. You know how low Aljazeera has sunk when Syrian regime TV stations have a field day with the shoddy journalism and fabrication procedures of Aljazeera. It seems that people inside Aljazeera have leaked raw footage and pre-air reports to someone in Syrian regime TV. I am not surprised of the leak at all: I am in contact from people inside Aljazeera who are disgusted by the propaganda work of the network in the last few months. … I know how those things work and they know that I know. The footage that are being shown show staging of events of calling a civilian an “officer” in the Syrian army, of faking injuries and feeding statements to people before airtime, etc. Aljazeera seems to be writing its own professional obituary. I don’t know how it can really resurrect itself again. It is mortally wounded. I know that there are people in the network who are pained about what is happening but royal orders are royal orders in the network and no one dare to disobey. I am told that orders came down to the effect that no half-position would be tolerated and that categorical adoption of the Qatari foreign policy on Syria is a job requirement.” Actually, information about Al Jazeera’s Syria biases had already reached the English language media on February 24 (and Syria watchers when Josh Landis posted it on his Syria Comment blog), when an article in al Akhbar reported on some e-mails hacked off al Jazeera’s servers by the Syrian regime’s “electronic army”:“The major find to be made public was an email exchange between anchorwoman Rula Ibrahim and Beirut-based reporter Ali Hashem. The emails seemed to indicate widespread disaffection within the channel, especially over its coverage of the crisis in Syria.“Ibrahim … protested that she had ‘been utterly humiliated. They wiped the floor with me because I embarrassed Zuheir Salem, spokesperson for Syria’s Muslim Brothers. As a result, I was prevented from doing any Syrian interviews, and threatened with [a] transfer to the night shift on the pretext that I was making the channel imbalanced.’“Ibrahim also spoke of how Syrian activists invited onto Al Jazeera use terms of sectarian incitement on air, ‘which Syrians understand very well.’“They also confirmed an allegation Ibrahim had reportedly made in one of her emails: That Ahmad Ibrahim, who is in charge of the channel’s Syria coverage, is the brother of Anas al-Abdeh, a leading member of the opposition Syrian National Council. He allegedly stopped using his family name to avoid drawing attention to the connection.”Yes, emphasis added. The guy who runs al Jazeera’s Syrian coverage is the brother of a SNC bigwig.The requisite ironic coda (and what should be the obituary for al Jazeera as a serious news outfit, at least as far as its current Syrian coverage is concerned) is contained in this observation:“However, the scoop did not attract the attention that had been hoped for. Like other official Syrian media, the channel is not widely watched and has suffered a loss of viewer confidence.“Thus the report was barely noticed, and Al Jazeera itself completely disregarded it.”Yes, news you can report just by walking into your newsroom; that’s too far for al Jazeera (and, probably CNN).Read the full story here.

    Video - In case you missed Netanyahu at AIPAC last night.

    HT: CriticalAnalist.

    'Better To Be a Dictator than Gay' Germany Slams Lukashenko Over Slur.

    'Better To Be a Dictator than Gay' Germany Slams Lukashenko Over Slur.(Spiegel).German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Monday dismissed a comment about his homosexuality by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who had said: "Better to be a dictator than gay."
    Westerwelle, who last week described Lukashenko as "Europe's last dictator," said on Monday: "This statement condemns itself. I won't budge one millimeter from my commítment to human rights and democracy in Belarus after these comments."
    Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Lukaschenko's comment "shows very clearly the position that the Belarus president takes in relation to basic rights. It's interesting to find out this way that Mr. Lukashenko too now classes himself as a dictator.""That by the way is a view that the federal government reached some time ago and on which the Belarus president delivers proof almost daily," he added.
    Relations between European Union governments and Minsk have worsened since Lukashenko's violent crackdownon the opposition following a disputed December 2010 election in which he won almost 80 percent of the vote. The European Union and Belarus made tit-for-tat withdrawals of ambassadors last Tuesday in a row over sanctions imposed by the EU's last week to punish Minsk's human rights record. The EU widened its sanctions to include entry prohibitions on 21 judges and senior police officers.
    Belarus told the ambassador of the European Union and of Poland to leave the country, and recalled its own envoys from Brussels and Warsaw. In response, EU states withdrew their ambassadors in Minsk.Lukashenko is worried that the EU will impose economic sanctions next, which would hit its key oil industry. Belarus is one of the biggest suppliers of oil products to Germany and Poland, and has recently been able to increase its exports to the EU significantly.
    If Europe were to carry out its threat to introduce economic sanctions, its economy would be hit hard. Experts say Belarus would no longer be able to keep up its payments after just three months.
    Lukashenko had managed to stabilize his economy by devaluing the currency by two thirds to cope with the financial crisis.
    Plans by the EU to target more people involved in financing Lukashenko's government fell through last week after objections from Slovenia and Latvia, which have firms building two luxury hotels in Minsk. Members of the European Parliament described their behavior as "shameful."Hmmmmmm......."Lord of the Belarussians"?Read the full story here.

    Syria bombs key refugee bridge used last week to transport wounded French reporter Edith Bouvier out of Homs.

    Syria bombs key refugee bridge used last week to transport wounded French reporter Edith Bouvier out of Homs.(HD).Syrian forces on Tuesday bombed a bridge used as a main escape route to evacuate the wounded and refugees from the central flashpoint province of Homs to Lebanon, a monitoring group said."Regime forces on Tuesday bombarded a bridge near Qusayr, in Homs province, which is used by refugees and the wounded fleeing to Lebanon," Rami Abdel Rahman, of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP."They are trying to cut off all access routes between Lebanon and Syria, especially in the region of Qusayr and Tall Kalakh," he added.
    Both towns are in Homs province, east of the Lebanese border.Abdel Rahman said the bridge bombed was located some three kilometers (nearly two miles) from the border and straddles the Orontes River.
    Hadi Abdallah, a Syrian activist in Homs, said the bridge was the main route used to evacuate the wounded from the battered city, which has suffered a relentless onslaught by regime forces.
    "The bridge was hit by artillery shells," said Abdallah, reached by telephone from Beirut. "It can no longer be used."It was the main route used to transport the wounded," he added.
    The UN refugee agency said Tuesday that some 2,000 Syrians have crossed over into neighbouring Lebanon since the weekend after fleeing the violence in Homs.Dana Sleiman, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Beirut, told AFP that 170 families had sought refuge in the village of El Fakha, located in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa region, and 50 others were in the nearby town of Aarsal."We are trying to verify whether there are additional people in other areas and how many have returned to Syria," Sleiman said.Hadi Abdallah, a Syrian activist in Homs, said the bridge was used last week to transport wounded French reporter Edith Bouvier out of Homs, which has been the target of a fierce assault by regime forces.Read the full story here, more here.

    Former CIA Officials Say Iran’s Clerics Want to Goad Israel Into an Attack.

    Former CIA Officials Say Iran’s Clerics Want to Goad Israel Into an Attack.(Stratrisk).Source: Daily Beast.Benjamin Netanyahu, in Washington today, is laying more political groundwork for a possible preemptive Israeli airstrike against Iran’s nuclear sites.
    But as Netanyahu rallies his American supporters and discourages diplomatic engagement with Tehran, some intelligence officials and Iran experts tell The Daily Beast that an Israeli attack may be exactly what Tehran’s most hard-line leaders have been trying to provoke.Marty Martin, a former senior officer in the CIA, ran the unit that hunted Al Qaeda terrorists from 2002 to 2004. Iran’s most militant leaders “are goading the Israelis,” he tells The Daily Beast, “because a bombing will help them put their internal problems aside.”
    Martin, who spent most of his 25-year career at the CIA in the Middle East, argues that some clerics and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders, confronted with a discontented and restless population, are looking for ways to solidify public support. “The way they see it, if Israel bombs them it relieves the internal pressure,” says Martin. “Amid this turmoil, its always good to have an outside enemy.”
    Iran’s internal troubles include a 12 percent unemployment rate, a shattered economy (due in part to international sanctions), resentment over the oppressive regime, and widespread disgust over corruption.Martin, who retired from the agency in 2007, now works as an independent consultant. He was prominent inside the agency not just for his leadership against Al Qaeda but also for his expertise on the Middle East: his Louisiana drawl disguises the fact that he speaks fluent Arabic.
    “If you are an Iranian,” he says, “there is actually a benefit to an Israel strike—an Israel strike which won’t be successful completely militarily, but will be successful for saying ‘game on’!”
    Paul Pillar, the former national intelligence officer for the Middle East, agrees, though he emphasizes that only part of the Iranian leadership is likely plotting this way. “It’s quite rational,” he said, “from the perspective of the specific elements in the regime that believe it would work to their political advantage.” Pillar, who spent 28 years at the CIA, is now a professor at Georgetown University. “I strongly believe that the net political effect of an attack would be to help the hardliners,” he says.
    “The White House is mindful of the fact that there are radical elements in Tehran who might like to provoke an attack for their own domestic expediency.”“The White House,” Sadjadpour says, “is mindful of the fact that there are radical elements in Tehran who might like to provoke an attack for their own domestic expediency.”(The National Security Council spokesperson, asked to comment, said no one was available to address the issue this weekend.)
    I do think that a military conflagration could be one of the few things that could potentially rehabilitate the regime,” said Sadjadpour. “It could resuscitate revolutionary ideology and repair the deep fractures both amongst the political elite and among the population and the regime.”Pillar says the theory has some historical evidence on its side. “The big data point in support of this concept is the Iran-Iraq war: Saddam Hussein’s Iraq attacking Iran,” he says. “Iraq was the aggressor, and the attack [had] a big rally-around-the-flag effect and it had a positive effect in bolstering support for the [Iranian] regime. That’s the most applicable way to look at.”
    Iran, in this view, could intentionally cross so-called “red lines” laid out by the Americans or Israelis, to invite an attack that it believes would be largely ineffective against its nuclear sites, and that would not bring large numbers of casualties.Another veteran of the CIA’s clandestine services, who spent years working with Iranian agents, says he finds the explanation “entirely logical.” (He asked that his name not be used because much of his work was classified.)“The guys you are talking about, they are not going to die,” he says. “They are not the ones who are going to get bombed. They can always find another lab technician, or another scientist. Those are the ones who are going to die.”Hmmmmmm.........Read the full story here.

    Pakistan test-fires short-range missile with nuclear capabilities

    Pakistan test-fires short-range missile with nuclear capabilities.(Stratrisks).The Pakistani military on Monday said it has successfully test fired a short-range ballistic missile which is capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It follows the test of another short-range missile in October 2011.
    In a brief statement, a military spokesperson said the short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile, the Hatf II (Abdali), has a range of approximately 180 kilometers (112 miles) and is capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads with high accuracy.“It provides an operational level capability to Pakistan’s Strategic Forces, additional to the strategic and tactical level capability, which Pakistan already possesses,” the spokesperson said in a statement. It said the test was witnessed by senior military officials as well as scientists and engineers of strategic organizations.
    Following the test, Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani congratulated the scientists and technicians who worked on the missile.
    In October 2011, the Pakistani military said it successfully test-fired the Hatf – VII (Babur) missile which has a range of 700 kilometers (434 miles). “Babur Cruise Missile is a low flying, terrain hugging missile with high maneuverability, pin point accuracy and radar avoidance features,” a military spokesperson said at the time. “It can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads and has stealth capabilities.”Read the full story here.

    Israel - Holocaust survivors rally against Lithuanian FM.

                            Lithuania, German soldier (First Class) in conversation with Jewish men.

    Israel - Holocaust survivors rally against Lithuanian FM.(YNet).Some 15 people, including Holocaust survivors, protested Monday evening against the Lithuanian foreign minister, who is visiting Israel to attend a commercial business conference at Tel Aviv's Dan Panorama hotel.
    The protesters, who held signs in Hebrew and English reading "where is your conscience? Where is your solidarity with the Holocaust survivors?", claimed Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis had made anti-Semitic comments in the past, and that the Lithuanian government has made attempts to "belittle the memory of the Holocaust."
    Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Dr. Efraim Zuroff said that Azubalis is "a guest of honor for Israeli groups doing business here. However, this is a man who has made anti-Semitic remarks and opposed a bill that would have helped Lithuanian Jews get their stolen property returned." According to Zuroff, "Lithuania's government has been fighting a battle to turn the Holocaust into another tragedy among many. Their aim is to place Nazis and Communists on an equal footing. That is to say they are comparing between those who build the Auschwitz and those who liberated it. This angers us and that's why we're protesting," he exclaimed.
    Attorney Yossef Melamed, an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor who attended the protest told Ynet: "I was 17 during the Holocaust. After the war, me and a few of my friends compiled a list of 3,000 Lithuanians who we believe cooperated with the Nazis."Melamed said he later discovered that "some names on the list are considered to be national heroes in Lithuania," adding that he was accused of making false allegations and even interrogated by police officers who came to his house and told him that he might be sued.
    "The list we wrote is proven, and I don't mind going to trial, as long as it is here in Israel and I don't have to go back to Lithuania," he noted. Read the full story here.

    "Unidentified " Boy treads in Holocaust victim's ashes on visit to Majdanek death camp.

                                     Majdanek extermination camp mausoleum (Mountain of Ashes)

    "Unidentified " Boy treads in Holocaust victim's ashes on visit to Majdanek death camp.(YNet).An embarrassing incident occurred some 10 days ago during a High School trip to the Majdanek extermination camp mausoleum (Mountain of Ashes) in Poland. The mountain contains the ashes of tens of thousands of Jews who were exterminated in the camp during the Holocaust.
    Ynet has learned that as the group stood near the mountain receiving a briefing on the death camp and its horrors, one of the students walked into the site and treaded on the ashes in spite of the fact that to do so is clearly prohibited. The guides and members of the educational team that were on site grabbed him and removed him from the site.
    The group's leaders then held an initial inquiry into the incident and made the severity of the incident clear to the entire group.
    Moreover, the event was immediately reported to the Education Ministry who demanded comprehensive clarification of the incident.
    The Majdanek extermination camp is adjacent to the city of Lublin and it is estimated that over 80,000 Jews were murdered within its walls. The Mountain of Ashes which sits at the southern corner of the camp contains seven tons of human ashes which were collected into one giant mound.
    A source within the Education Ministry who often visits the site with school groups said: "There is no doubt that this is improper and prohibited behavior but it should be noted that tens of thousands of students visit the site annually and behave in an exemplary fashion. This is an isolated case of one single student who acted wrongly."
    The Education Ministry said in response: "A breach of discipline which was immediately handled by the staff occurred during a class trip to the Majdanek extermination camp in Poland. Furthermore, upon the group's return to the hotel, the group's staff held a comprehensive inquiry with all the relevant factors. "The case was brought to the notice of the entire group and educational talks were conducted with the entire group. An additional inquiry into the incident is currently being held in order to draw conclusions and prevent a recurrence of incidents of this kind."Hmmmm.........Read the full story here.

    Iran says it will allow IAEA into military complex.

    Iran says it will allow IAEA into military complex..........after IAEA eight year patience.(JPost).Iran said it will give the UN nuclear watchdog access to its Parchin military complex, news agency ISNA reported on Tuesday.
    An IAEA report last year said that Iran had built a large containment chamber at Parchin, southeast of Tehran, in which to conduct high-explosives tests that the IAEA says are "strong indicators" of possible weapons development.
    During visits by IAEA inspectors to Tehran in January and February, Iranian officials stonewalled requests for access to Parchin, seen as central to its investigation."The fact that Parchin is a military site and accessing it has a time consuming process, therefore the visit cannot be allowed frequently ... Once again we will allow the IAEA to visit it one more time," Iran's representative office in Vienna said in a statement Tuesday, according to ISNA.
    IAEA chief Yukiya Amano on Monday told a news conference after a meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog in Vienna there were indications of unspecified "activities" at the Parchin facility.
    His remarks confirmed comments made by IAEA diplomats to Reuters last week when one said: "we have heard about possible sanitation" of the Parchin site that he called "very concerning," suggesting Iran may be delaying access while it removed evidence of suspect activities.
    "We have some indication that activities are ongoing at the Parchin site. It makes us believe that going there sooner is better than later," Amano told reporters, giving no details.Hmmmmm......Read the full story here.

    Lord Weidenfeld: Europe Threatened by the 'Flames of a Unrelenting Religion'.

    Lord Weidenfeld: Europe Threatened by the 'Flames of a Unrelenting Religion'.(IF).Lord Weidenfeld published an interesting article in the German tabloid Bild recently.The English Lord George Weidenfeld is a publisher and member of the upper house in the British parliament. As a Jew, he had to flee to England after the Nazi annexation of Austria.He worked for the BBC for a while as a political commentator.
    The forces that confront us and threaten our democratic, political institutions, are inspired by a fanaticism that stirs up the flames of a merciless religion and an anti-western ideology against those very ideals that hold we Europeans together.The extreme Islamists are serious when they talk about future Jihad, the reconquest of a lost empire.
    The terror offensive, as it played out on 11 September 2001 in New York, must be considered a turning point and a grim warning. The Arab Spring was an uprising of the powerless, but it quickly turned into another period of political uncertainty, threatening the reign of terror of radical elements. Three-quarters of Egypt's voters sought salvation in radical parties inclined towards religious fanaticism.Hmmmm...........“The powers that stand against us and threaten our democratic, political institutions are inspired by a fanaticism that feeds the flames... Read the full story here.(Googletranslate).

    Britain's Channel 4 exposes Patients tortured in Syrian hospitals (with video).

    Warning - contains VERY graphic images.

    Britain's Channel 4 exposes Patients tortured in Syrian hospitals (with video). HT: IsraelMatzav.What a humane country. What a shining example of 'human rights.' I'd like to show you what's going on in Syria, a country that until recently was nearly a member in good standing of the United Nations 'Human Rights Council' with a spotless record in that council's proceedings - the subject was barely even raised. And on Britain's Channel 4 last night, video was shown of pictures of Syrians being tortured in a hospital in Homs.Hmmmm............Hillary's 'Reformer' the 'butcher' Assad.Read the full story here.

    Commander of the Iranian Basij: Only burning White House will compensate for burning Quran

    Commander of the Iranian Basij: Only burning White House will compensate for burning Quran.(AA).In a move likely to irk tension between Iran and United States, a top Iranian military commander said on Saturday that nothing short of burning the White House and hanging American military commanders can compensate for the burning of Qurans at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan last week.“The U.S. has committed such an ugly act and burnt Qurans because of the heavy slap it has been given by Islam,” commander of Iran’s Basij force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi told the semi-official Fars news agency.
    U.S. President Barack Obama wrote a letter of apology to his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on Thursday, in an effort to quell furor among Afghans who have been protesting for five days after charred remains of the Muslim holy book was found at the Bagram air base outside of Kabul.
    However in response to Obama’s apology, Nagdi said “nothing but burning the White House can relieve the wound on us, the Muslims, caused by burning the Quran.”“Their apology can be accepted only by hanging their commanders; hanging their commanders means an apology,” he added.According to Fars, Nagdi stressed that Muslims can no longer give consent to U.S. apologies, since the Americans have made numerous mistakes in Afghanistan and continue to so only to then offer an apology and “this is simply not acceptable.”
    Nagdi’s comments came after two U.S. military advisers took the death toll from raging anti-U.S. protests in Afghanistan to around 30.On Friday, the prayer leader in Tehran said the burning of the Quran was intentional and proves American aggression towards Islam.“Based on reports by reporters, this was an intentional move prompted by the hatred of American statement for Islam,” Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said. “I announced with a loud voice, the world should know that the U.S. administration is hostile to Islam; Americans’ insult was not a mistake, rather deliberately because Washington rulers are hostile to Islam.”Read the full story here.

    Video - The oilsands effect, why Americans should love Canadian oil, particularly for its impact on gas prices

    Holder: Law gives 'clear authority' to kill US citizens overseas.

    Holder: Law gives 'clear authority' to kill US citizens overseas.(Fox).CHICAGO -- US Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday gave the Obama administration's most high-profile account to date of its legal rationale for targeting US citizen terrorists abroad.
    The administration had barely acknowledged its so-called targeted killing program, which allowed the US to kill Anwar al Awlaki, a New Mexican-born radical Muslim cleric, in a drone strike in Yemen last year.Civil liberties advocates applauded the push toward greater transparency in the controversial policy, but remained skeptical about its bounds and urged the government to release more details about the program for public debate.
    In a lengthy speech at Northwestern University Law School in Chicago, Holder said, "It may not always be feasible to capture a United States citizen terrorist who presents an imminent threat of violent attack.""In that case, our government has the clear authority to defend the United States with lethal force," he added.
    Though the administration did not make public any formal charges against Awlaki, US intelligence officials believe he was linked to a US army major charged with shooting dead 13 people in Fort Hood, Texas, and to a Nigerian student accused of trying to blow up a US airliner on Dec. 25, 2009.
    Holder said Monday he was not permitted to discuss "any particular program or operation" and never mentioned Awlaki by name. He simply stated, "I believe it is important to explain these legal principles publicly."His speech did little to allay the concerns of civil liberty advocates, however, who are urging the administration to make public its legal framework for justifying such killings."Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security," says Holder. "The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process."
    Before the attorney general's speech, snippets of information on the targeted killing program usually entered the public sphere through media reports, usually citing anonymous or low-level officials.
    In a rare move, Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, defended the targeted killings as a legitimate weapon of war in front of audience of law students last month at Yale University.
    The complete rationale is apparently contained in a classified Department of Justice memo. Peter Scheer, of the First Amendment Coalition, is demanding in a lawsuit that the DOJ make public a redacted version of the justification.Scheer told NewsCore that Holder's speech was a "good start in what I hope is a continuing public debate about this murky area of the law," but felt it ultimately left many questions unanswered.Hmmmm......Hi i'm from the U.S. Gov, I'm your accuser, your judge, your jury and your executioner, all in one - what more due process do you want? "Read the full story here.

    PM: I'll never let Israel live under shadow of annihilation

    PM: I'll never let Israel live under shadow of annihilation.(JPost).Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned against allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons in his speech to the AIPAC Convention in Washington Monday night local time, vowing to never let Israel live under the shadow of annihilation or gamble with its security.
    Addressing concerns about the cost a military strike aimed at stopping its nuclear program, Netanyahu said: "It's about time we start talking about the cost of not stopping Iran."
    A nuclear-armed Iran, he warned, would provide a nuclear umbrella for terrorists and thereby increase global terrorism, could choke off the world's oil supply, and could threaten the world with nuclear terrorism.Iran, the prime minister asserted, must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.
    Israel, he explained, has been waiting for years to see if diplomacy and sanctions against Iran's nuclear program would work, but said they have not been successful. He warned that Israel cannot wait much longer.As the prime minister of Israel, "I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation." "In every generation, there are those who wish to destroy the Jewish people. In this generation, we are blessed to live in a time when there is a Jewish state capable of defending the Jewish people," he concluded, thanking AIPAC and the United States for supporting Israel and its right to self-defense.The speech followed a meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House earlier Monday, after which he said Israel's position on Iran was "accepted with understanding" by the American administration.Read the full story here.

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    Overnight music video - Aretha Franklin - I say a little prayer

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

      Morning Posting.

    • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Argentina 6.1 ; Indonesia 5.7 - 5.5 ; India 5.3 -  5.2  !More info here.

    • Obama Hearts Israel . . . Oh, Really?(Heritage).At the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) meeting in Washington today, President Barack Obama delivered a speech on US-Israeli relations under his presidency, but with the bad parts left out.“I have kept my commitments to the state of Israel,” Obama declared, “At every crucial juncture – at every fork in the road – we have been there for Israel. Every single time.”What’s not love? A lot.President Obama failed to mention the years he spent trying to “engage” with the Syrian and Iranian regimes — time wasted that would have been better served pursuing a strategy to responding to those countries’ support for terrorism, weapons proliferation, horrible human rights records, and enmity towards Israel.Left undiscussed was the Administration’s missed opportunity to embrace the Green Revolution against Tehran.No word, either, on the years wasted pressing for Israel to negotiate with a Palestinian authority that tolerates Hamas — a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.Not much either on the president’s questionable strategy for Iraq, where the White House was more concerned about getting combat troops out than that the country stays on a path that embraces freedom and security.Our president also skipped over the dramatic rift between Turkey and Israel and all the Administration has not done to close it.Finally, President Obama didn’t touch on massive cuts to U.S. conventional forces and the U.S. nuclear deterrent — cuts that will make America a less valuable and dependable ally to Israel.The President finished his speech by declaring nothing is “off the table” when it comes to dealing with the Iranian nuclear. It would, however, had been far better if he could have given a speech how he had worked to diminish that threat rather delivering an address acknowledging that when his policies fail America might well have to send in the Marines . . . and a lot more.Israel shouldn’t be reassured — or feeling the love.Read the full story here.

    • President Responds to the Inaudible Cries for Higher Gasoline Prices.(Heritage).It appears the President studied economics with his textbook upside down.He proposes to raise taxes on oil companies in order to combat high gasoline prices. Or not. Maybe his textbook was right side up and he thinks gasoline prices are too low. That would be consistent with statements by his Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu.On Thursday, the President reiterated his call for higher taxes on oil companies. The President pretends increasing taxes is just removing oil industry subsidies. They are tax increases.For instance, the unfair tax break that makes up nearly half of what Obama calls “subsidies” is the manufacturing tax credit. All manufacturers except the oil and gas industry get to deduct 9 percent of their revenues before calculating their tax bills. (It’s worth noting that “manufacturing” is so broadly defined that it includes newspapers and software companies in addition to producers of wind turbines and solar panels.) Though oil and gas producers get the deduction, they are singled out for a lower 6 percent deduction.Let’s review that. The oil and gas industry gets a deduction that is only two-thirds as generous as for all other manufacturers (wind turbine and solar panel manufacturers and even The New York Times, for example), yet the deduction is called a subsidy to oil and gas. The President’s proposal does not eliminate the deduction for any other industry. So back to the tax-increase story…When the tax increases on oil and gas companies were proposed last year, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) was asked to analyze the impact. Here is their conclusion (emphasis added): On the one hand, the tax changes…would increase tax collections from the oil and natural gas industries and may have the effect of decreasing exploration, development, and production, while increasing prices and increasing the nation’s foreign oil dependence. These same proposals, from an alternate point of view, might be considered to be the elimination of tax preferences that have favored the oil and natural gas industries over other energy sources and made oil and gas products artificially inexpensive, with consumer costs held below the true cost of consumption, when the external costs associated with environmental costs and energy dependence, among other effects, are included.The CRS says there are two ways of looking at the impact of the tax increases:
    1. They will increase gasoline prices and dependence on foreign oil; or
    2. They will and should increase gasoline prices, because gasoline is “artificially inexpensive.”
    Everybody get that? There is no question about which direction gasoline prices will go if oil industry taxes are raised. They will go up—now and in the future. The real question is whether we want them to go up or not. The Obama Administration has made clear that it wants them to go up. A lot of Americans disagree.Read the full story here.

    • Likud politicians mock Obama AIPAC speech.(JPost).Israeli reactions to US President Barack Obama’s speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington on Sunday were divided along party lines.Deputy Negev and Galilee Development Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) criticized Obama for saying that too much bluster played into Iranian hands and suggesting that it led to higher gas prices.“There is a saying that it’s easier to watch a fire from far away,” Kara said. “We are facing an existential threat, not the US. If Israel doesn’t bluster, the US will also be in danger, because Iran’s missiles will reach them too. Israel is doing everything possible to keep the world safe, and it’s unfortunate that the White House doesn’t see things the way we see them here.”MK Danny Danon (Likud) mocked Obama’s promises to protect Israel’s security.He said history had proven that Israel can rely only on itself.“Looking back at the way the United States criticized Israel for destroying the nuclear reactor in Iraq, Israel must make its decisions based on its own good judgment,” Danon said.Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich called Obama’s speech unquestionably pro-Israel.In a speech in Herzliya, she wished Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu well in his meeting with the president.Opposition leader Tzipi Livni blamed tension between Netanyahu and Obama on the prime minister. She predicted that there would be a large gap between Obama’s praise for Israel in his speech and what he would say to Netanyahu behind closed doors.“Relations between Israel and the US have become political during Netanyahu’s term,” she said. “Netanyahu made Israel an issue in the American election and it’s a mistake. Netanyahu must understand that relations with the US are an essential need.Our deterrence depends on it. He will be tested on whether he is able to draft the US into our interests or whether he will continue just manipulating internal American politics.”Read the full story here.

    • Cardinal Dolan To All U.S. Bishops On Obama Mandate: “We Did Not Ask for This Fight, But We Will Not Run From It”.(CNSNews) — Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter on Friday to all the Catholic bishops of the United States reasserting the conviction of the Catholic Church that it will not yield to the Obama administration’s command — issued in the form of a Health and Human Services regulation implementing the president’s health-care plan — that Catholics and Catholic institutions must violate the teachings of their faith by purchasing and providing health insurance plans that pay for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients.“We have made it clear in no uncertain terms to the government that we are not at peace with its invasive attempt to curtail the religious freedom we cherish as Catholics and Americans,” Cardinal Dolan wrote his brother bishops.“We did not ask for this fight, but we will not run from it,” he said.“Since January 20, when the final, restrictive HHS Rule was first announced,” Cardinal Dolan wrote, “we have become certain of two things: religious freedom is under attack, and we will not cease our struggle to protect it.”Read the full story here.

    • Wikileaks: Obama secretly took Russian money for his campaign.(NR).By: Andrea Shea King.The Democratic Party engaged in an effort to throw the 2008 election.And Russian money went to the campaign of Barack Obama much as Chinese money went to the campaign of Bill Clinton during the 1990s.From a piece that ran in The Examiner on February 27th about Wikileaks‘ latest document dump in a series of cables that it calls ‘The Global Intelligence Files.’From: Fred Burton [Sent: Friday, November 07, 2008 7:41 AM.To: secure@stratfor.comSubject: Insight – The Dems and Dirty Tricks ** Internal Use Only – Pls Do Not Forward **** Internal Use Only – Pls Do Not Forward **
    1) The black Dems were caught stuffing the ballot boxes in Philly and Ohio as reported the night of the election and Sen. McCain chose not to fight. The matter is not dead inside the party. It now becomes a matter of sequence now as to how and when to “out”.
    2) It appears the Dems “made a donation” to Rev. Jesse (no, they would never do that!) to keep his yap shut after his diatribe about the Jews and Israel. A little bird told me it was a “nice six-figure donation”. This also becomes a matter of how and when to out.
    3) The hunt is on for the sleezy Russian money into O-mans coffers. A smoking gun has already been found. Will get more on this when the time is right. My source was too giddy to continue. Can you say Clinton and ChiCom funny money? This also becomes a matter of how and when to out.Several key pieces of information are contained in this stunning admission by an operative of one of the most respected intelligence gathering corporations in the world.
    1. First, the Democratic Party engaged in election tampering, a felony, by stuffing ballot boxes in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
    2. Second, the Democratic Party paid Jessie Jackson six figures to keep his mouth shut about political issues during the 2008 campaign. It was widely known at the time that Jackson had no use for Obama.
    3. And third, Russian money went to the campaign of Barack Obama much as Chinese money went to the campaign of Bill Clinton during the 1990s.
    These are serious issues that throw into question the integrity of the U.S. elections process and the lengths to which the political parties will go to secure a win, in this case, the Democratic Party and Barack Obama.Ohio and Pennsylvania are merely the two areas where Democratic operatives were caught stuffing ballot boxes. How many other areas around the country were subjected to voter fraud without anyone getting caught?Read the full story here.

    • David Axelrod’s Red Roots: Obama Adviser’s Communist Ties Exposed.(TOM).The cover story of the March print edition of The American Spectator is not yet online and, if you are not yet a subscriber to the magazine, I urge you to rush out to the nearest Barnes & Noble or wherever else you can buy a copy, because it’s definitely worth the $5.95 newstand price.Presidential historian Paul Kengor has dug up some fascinating facts about the background of David Axelrod, showing President Obama’s top political strategist to have deep ties to the American Communist Party (CPUSA) and other leftist individuals and organizations. For example, Axelrod’s mother, Myril Bennett Axelrod, worked for the left-wing New York newspaper, PM. Although it lasted less than a decade (1940-48), PM became notorious because of its penetration by Stalinists and others who promoted the Communist Party line on issues both foreign and domestic. Kengor points out that PM‘s famed Washington correspondent, I.F. Stone, was subsequently identified as a Soviet agent both in the so-called “Venona” documents and also by a former top KGB official, Oleg Kalugin.It is unclear where Axelrod’s mother fit in the orbit of Communists, Soviet sympathizers and other “progressives” who worked at PM, Kengor says, because despite “scouring reel upon reel of microfiche” copies of the newspaper, he was “unable to find a single article with Myril’s byline.” Nevertheless, her association with the paper locates her politics on the far-left fringe of the American politic spectrum in the 1940s, which would seem important to understanding her son’s later activities.While a student at the University of Chicago in the early 1970s, David Axelrod began working as a political reporter for the Hyde Park Herald, which Kengor says brought Axelrod to the attention of Don Rose and David Canter. Both of these men were associated with the Communist Party and other far-left organizations.Read the full story here.

    • Now THAT Is Cold - 19 Signs That America Is Becoming A Very Heartless Place.(BLN).By Michael Snyder.The economy is not the only thing that is wrong with America. In order for a society to function smoothly, people need to be able to trust one another and be able to expect that most of their fellow citizens will behave in a somewhat civilized manner. Unfortunately, we are starting to see the very fabric of our society slowly unravel all over the nation. The truth is that America is becoming a very heartless place. People simply do not care about one another the way that they used to in this country. Of course there are many exceptions, but the reality is that millions of hearts are going cold from coast to coast. In America today, we are more self-absorbed than ever, more self-centered than ever, and we are more isolated from others than ever. Just think about the number of people that you personally interact with on a regular basis. Unless you are involved with a very large organization such as a school or a church, it is probably a very limited number. Our addiction to entertainment gives us the illusion of being connected to society, but the truth is that Americans spend less time personally interacting with one another than ever before. Meanwhile, Americans are seemingly becoming more arrogant, more prideful, more angry, more brutal, more greedy and more addicted to pleasure than ever before. When you combine millions of very cold hearts with an economy that is rapidly crumbling, that adds up to a whole lot of trouble in the years ahead.Even government authorities are becoming heartless. TSA agents and police officers are actually trained to "act tough" and to bark orders at us. In the old days, you could reason with a police officer, but these days if you try to talk common sense with some of these thugs you will get tasered before you even realize what is happening.The American people can see the deep corruption in Washington D.C. and throughout most of our other major institutions and they wonder why they should keep trying to do "the right thing".If our leaders are selfish and heartless, then it is only natural that millions of average Americans will follow their examples.In America today, we are taught to hate one another. Democrats are taught to hate Republicans and Republicans are taught to hate Democrats. We are a deeply divided nation and our hearts are getting colder with each passing year.Parents are becoming more cruel, thieves are becoming more bold and thugs are becoming more brutal. Hate, anger and frustration are fueling some really twisted behavior all over the country. America is changing, and not for the better.The following are 19 signs that America is becoming a very heartless place....Read the full story here.

    • 'Kill potentially harmful kids before they can walk,' Turkish principal says.(HD).A Turkish school principal has suggested that all newborns should be genetically scanned and that those who could prove harmful to the country should be “eliminated.” "Children should be analyzed immediately after birth. If they are to become harmful to this country, to this nation, then they should be eliminated before they can walk," Dumlupınar Elementary School Principal Mustafa Aydın said yesterday during a meeting organized by the police department in the eastern province of Erzurum. The meeting's topic was violence among children and ways to prevent it. Aydın was among the audience and asked to express his opinion after a speaker completed her speech.Aydın proposed the collection of blood samples from criminals at police stations and the use of their genetic codes as templates to compare with those belonging to newborns.  Aydın said children could become only as good as their families. "Most children in my neighborhood are thieves," he said. "I walked in the streets around my home, children are sitting around in condemned buildings ... keeping stray dogs as pets. I asked authorities to demolish those buildings but they did not."Aydın also said authorities in Argentina and Brazil were discussing what kind of violence to exact on children. "An organization was founded in Brazil to eliminate street children years ago. I am not making this up," Aydın said, adding that 90 percent of children with violent backgrounds came from families living under social care. The principal's views drew a swift reaction from other speakers at the conference.The Education Ministry removed Aydın from duty today and launched an investigation into the incident.Read the full story here.

    • Egypt 17-year-old girl killed for missing curfew.(BM).CAIRO: A 17 year-old Egyptian girl was killed by her family for failing to meet her curfew in Giza. The young girl, Iman, was threatened by her mother that she “will break her neck” if she was late coming home again.The high school student did not read much into the threats, not knowing they were about to become true. The next time she was late, her mother called her brothers, Iman’s two uncles, to come to their house and discipline the girl.Usama, a 31 year-old driver, and Mohie, 27, a plumber, arrived at the house, planning how they would “punish” the girl.According to a report by the New Women Foundation, a women’s rights organization in Egypt, the two men took her in a room in the back of the flat, closed the door and started their disciplinary session.They sat her on a chair, tied her hands and feet, and started beating her with great might. Iman died on the chair, with a bruised and bleeding body. While the beating fest was on going, Iman’s younger sister was present watching.When the two brothers suspected that the young girl died under their heavy hand, they asked the mother for help. They then put her on the lower floor of the building, right under the stairs, and said she fell to her death.They cleaned up the house and called the police. When Iman’s body was examined at the Giza criminal coroner, the doctor found beating marks and informed General Ahmed al-Naghy, the interior minister’s assistance at the Giza security.One of the officers also remarked that the younger sister was frightened, and went back to question her again. She finally confessed that her uncles and mother killed her sister.The two men were shortly after arrested and later confronted with the younger sister’s story. They soon confessed to their crime, saying they were only trying to help the mother modify Iman’s behavior.Read the full story here.

      IAEA 'can't be sure Iran's nuclear program not military'.

      IAEA 'can't be sure Iran's nuclear program not military'.(JPost).VIENNA - The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Monday his organization could not be sure that Iran's nuclear program did not have military aims."The agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities," Yukiya Amano said, according to a copy of his speech to a closed-door meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation governing board.
      Amano said that since late last year, Iran had tripled monthly output of higher-grade enriched uranium.
      The IAEA chief's comments came as the US continued to rally international support to further isolate the Islamic Republic in attempts to force Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.
      Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba told Reuters on Monday that Japan and the United States are close to an agreement on cuts in Japanese imports of Iranian oil that will allow Tokyo to avoid US sanctions, and may conclude a deal this month.But Gemba said the two sides might not make public the size of the cuts because of the possible impact on markets.
      "We are in the final stage, but are still making final adjustments (to an agreement)," Gemba said in an interview. "Certainly, we will reduce (the imports), but because the concrete figures would influence the market, I am thinking at this point that it would be better not to announce them."
      The pressure to cut Iranian imports comes as Japan is boosting overall fossil fuel imports in the wake of the nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (Tepco) Fukushima atomic plant last March. All but two of the country's 54 nuclear reactors are off-line, mostly for checks and maintenance.
      About 85 percent of Japan's oil imports and 20 percent of its LNG imports travel through the Strait of Hormuz, Gemba noted, but said that if Iran blockaded the crucial shipping lane, Japan could keep the economic impact on the country to a minimum because it has ample reserves.Read the full story here.

      Video - Israel Military Industries presents ' MPR-500 'bunker buster' .

      Video - Israel Military Industries presents ' MPR-500 'bunker buster'.(YNet).The Israel Military Industries has been able to greatly improve the efficiency of its MPR-500 guided missiles, Ynet learned Monday.
      According to the IMI, the projectile is now a "bunker buster" capable of penetrating double-reinforced concrete walls and floors 200mm thick.
      The MPR-500 missile weighs 250Kg and can be carried by IAF jets. Unlike other projectile, it does not break apart upon impact.
      Recent testing has proven that the shell can easily penetrate bunkers and deeply hidden underground weapon caches.Read the full story here.

      Turkey "Ali Baba's Cave" for Iranian-funded foreign companies?

      Turkey "Ali Baba's Cave" for  Iranian-funded foreign companies?(TZ).Turkey uneasy with mushrooming Iranian firms, fears clash with allies.
      The rapid increase of Iranian-funded foreign companies in Turkey at an unprecedented rate has raised alarm bells for Turkish authorities, who suspect some of these may be front companies set up to circumvent UN-sponsored sanctions.
      Turkey is also concerned that some of the activities of Iranian companies may risk an unwanted confrontation between Ankara and its Western allies because of what is considered a violation of the US and EU-imposed unilateral sanctions, albeit not running afoul of UN Security Council resolutions.
      We are carefully watching the operations of these [Iranian-funded] foreign companies to see if they are in breach of Turkish law as well as international laws to which Turkey is a party,” one government official told Sunday’s Zaman.
      The official spoke under the customary condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue on the bilateral relations between the two countries. “We won’t allow any of these companies to jeopardize our national interests,” he added.
      According to the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), foreign companies financed by Iran in 2011 totaled 590, an increase of 41 percent compared to the previous year. That puts Iran on the top of the chart of new foreign companies established in 2011 not only in nominal numbers but percentage-wise as well. As of Dec. 31, 2011, the number of companies funded by Iran totaled 2,140, with a quarter having launched operation in the last year alone.
      TOBB also reported for January 2012 that Iran topped the list for a month with 63 new companies, all limited company types with the exception of one. This is not commensurate with the level of current trade volume Iran maintains with Turkey. As of last year, the trade volume recorded $16 billion, mostly from Iranian natural gas and oil proceeds. Turkey imports some 30 percent of its oil needs from Iran, or 200,000 barrels per day, which represents over 7 percent of Iranian oil exports. Iran also meets one-third of Turkey’s natural gas demand as well. In contrast, Germany, Turkey’s largest commercial partner with $37 billion in non-energy trade, had only 36 companies established in January 2012.
      It is obvious that some of these companies were established to procure goods and merchandise for the Iranian economy in clear violation of the sanctions.They use smugglers to get the merchandise across the border with Iran,” a former senior executive of a Turkish company that has a multi-million dollar investment in Iran said. The executive spoke to Sunday’s Zaman on the condition that his name be withheld, lest it harm the business interests of his Turkish company. “Many of our contacts in Iran used to tell us that they can get anything across for the right price without any screening by customs inspectors,” he noted, adding that in some cases sensitive equipment goes to Iraq first to eventually find its way to a destination in Iran.
      They also warned that Iranians use Turkish partners when setting up front companies to further complicate matters for Turkish authorities. The worry is that some of these serve as a conduit to finance rallies, for example, against the government’s decision to host a US radar installation as part of a NATO missile shield system. Others use schemes like charity events and fundraising drives -- using mostly the Palestinian cause laced with anti-Semitic rhetoric -- to mobilize people in Turkey. In recent months, Syria has also been thrown into the mix under the classic imperial appetite of the West to interfere in the Middle East.
      The executive said Turkey, if unchecked, is on the way to replace the United Arab Emirates as a major hub to re-export goods to and from Iran.
      Dubai, home to a sizable Iranian community, continues to be a leading destination for Iran to acquire goods and merchandise. The crackdown on Iranian-affiliated businesses in the UAE has apparently forced Tehran to find alternative markets to meet its domestic demand.
      On many occasions, the US has already warned privately that some of the business deals between Iran and Turkey have violated US laws prohibiting the sale or transfer of American technology to Iran. Turkey played along for fear that it might have violated the terms of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act as well as the 1996-dated Wassenaar Arrangement, an export control regime for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies. Some of these violations require the administration to report to the US Congress, which may lead to possible sanctions on entities and individuals involved. Ankara is afraid that it may eventually be shunned in the matter of acquiring or leasing high-tech US military hardware.
      The Turkish government’s increased contacts with Iran in various fields have given ample opportunities for Iranians to penetrate into Turkey.
      For example, Recep Akdağ, the health minister, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the Field of Health during his visit to Iran on June 23-27, 2010. The agreement is currently on the agenda in Parliament. When the parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee reviewed the agreement on Jan. 25, 2012, before approving it, members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) objected to two clauses in the MoU, which said in Article 2 and 3 that both countries may cooperate “in areas deemed necessary” in addition to health. CHP members Oktay Ekşi and Aytuğ Atıcı argued that the statement is very vague and gives a blank check to the government to commit Turkey on issues that might bring irreparable damage to the country.
      This was simply the tip of the iceberg,” Atıcı told Sunday’s Zaman, blaming the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) for blatantly disregarding parliamentary oversight of international treaties. “What we asked was a legitimate question posed to the government. What is the aim of this vague sentence in the MoU? We were not given any satisfactory response from either AK Party deputies or the bureaucrats from the Foreign Ministry who were present at the commission’s deliberations,” he explained. “The sad part is that unlike other laws you cannot take international treaties to the Constitutional Court. Once it is adopted on the floor, it becomes binding on Turkey,” he added.
      Take this MoU with Turkish Habertürk daily’s report last month that Iran was planning to send nurses trained in espionage to spy on Turkey, based on information sent to the Interior Ministry by an unidentified source, who claimed to be an Azeri Iranian.
      Though the Iranian Embassy in Ankara officially denied the story, the Turkish Interior Ministry has since begun investigating Iranians who have applied to work in Turkey. It has also asked the Foreign Ministry to aid in the investigation. It is no secret that Iran has trained secret networks of agents across the Gulf States and the Middle East to attack Western interests, including Turkey’s, and incite civil unrest in the event of a military strike against its nuclear program.Hmmmmm.......................Obama shares a “friendship and bond of trust.”with Erdogan.Read the full story here.

      Obama’s budget reveals By 2018, the US would spend more on debt interest than protecting the country.

      Obama’s budget reveals By 2018, the US would spend more on debt interest than protecting the country.(Heritage).
      President Obama’s budget proposes a sharp increase in entitlement spending and more outlays for domestic programs and interest on the national debt. Defense spending, meanwhile, takes a backseat to Obama’s other priorities.

      The long-term outlook: Obama would make defense the lowest budget priority among the major categories of spending in the federal budget.

      “The combination of the budget request and the Budget Control Act of 2011 would reduce the military’s personnel levels and force structure to the point that they could no longer protect U.S. vital interests and keep U.S. security commitments around the world,” Heritage’s Baker Spring wrote last week.
      Heritage’s analysis of Obama’s budget reveals that by 2018, the United States would spend more on debt interest than protecting the country.
      Obama has blamed defense spending for the federal deficit. But according to Spring’s research, that’s an incorrect assessment. Spring notes that defense spending is a relatively small share of the overall federal budget. And each year since 1992, it has actually represented a lower share of overall federal spending.Hmmmm............Meanwhile: "China new defense budget would amount to 670 billion RMB (approximately $106 billion), which equates to a 11.2 percent increase".Read the full story here.

      Video - Mightier Pen 2012: The Growing Censorship of Free Speech.

      The Vetting, Part I: Barack's Love Song To Alinsky.

      The Vetting, Part I: Barack's Love Song To Alinsky.(Breitbart).By Andrew Breitbart.Prior to his passing, Andrew Breitbart said that the mission of the Breitbart empire was to exemplify the free and fearless press that our Constitution protects--but which, increasingly, the mainstream media denies us.
      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” – “Who guards the guardians?” Andrew saw himself in that role—as a guardian protecting Americans from the left’s “objective” loyal scribes. Andrew wanted to do what the mainstream media would not. First and foremost: Andrew pledged to vet President Barack H. Obama.
      Andrew did not want to re-litigate the 2008 election. Nor did he want to let Republicans off the hook. Instead, he wanted to show that the media had failed in its most basic duty: to uncover the truth, and hold those in power accountable, regardless of party.From today through Election Day, November 6, 2012, we will vet this president--and his rivals. We begin with a column Andrew wrote last week in preparation for today’s Big relaunch--a story that should swing the first hammer against the glass wall the mainstream media has built around Barack Obama.
      In The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama claims that he worried after 9/11 that his name, so similar to that of Osama bin Laden, might harm his political career.
      But Obama was not always so worried about misspellings and radical resemblances. He may even have cultivated them as he cast himself as Chicago’s radical champion.
      In 1998, a small Chicago theater company staged a play titled The Love Song of Saul Alinsky, dedicated to the life and politics of the radical community organizer whose methods Obama had practiced and taught on Chicago’s South Side.
      Obama was not only in the audience, but also took the stage after one performance, participating in a panel discussion that was advertised in the poster for the play.
      The play finishes with Alinsky announcing he’d rather go to Hell than Heaven. Why? “More comfortable there. You see, all my life I’ve been with the Have-Nots: here you’re a Have-Not if you’re short of money, there you’re a Have-Not if you’re short of virtue. I’d be asking more questions, organizing them. They’re my kind of people – Hell would be Heaven for me.”
      That’s The Love Song of Saul Alinsky. It’s radical leftist stuff, and it revels in its radical leftism.
      And that’s Barack Obama, our president, on the poster.
      This is who Barack Obama was. This was before Barack Obama ran for Congress in 2000—challenging former Black Panther Bobby L. Rush from the left in a daring but unsuccessful bid.
      This was also the period just before Barack Obama served with Bill Ayers, from 1999 through 2002 on the board of the Woods Foundation. They gave capital to support the Midwest Academy, a leftist training institute steeped in the doctrines of -- you guessed it! -- Saul Alinsky, and whose alumni now dominate the Obama administration and its top political allies inside and out of Congress.Read and see the full story here.
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