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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Machpelah House and rule of law.

Machpelah House and rule of law.(IMRA).Statement by DM Barak(Communicated by Josh Hantman, MOD International Media Adviser (Wednesday), 4.4.12, the Israel Police evacuated the settlers who had inhabited the "Patriarch House" in Hebron. The evacuation was carried out on the orders of Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Defense Minister Barak said afterwards: "I will continue to act in order to maintain the rule of law and democracy while guaranteeing the authority of the State over its citizens."
Defense Minister Barak added that "Any request to acquire the relevant buying permit or any other transactions will be dealt with professionally and impartially, as is the practice. However, we cannot allow a situation where unlawful actions are taken to determine or dictate ad-hoc facts to the authorities."
Before going into the specifics of the “Machpelah House”, which was evacuated today at the instruction of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a few words about Ehud Barak and the rule of law.
The laws in Israel strictly restrict work permits to foreign workers such that there is absolutely no way to get a work permit to employ a foreign worker as a housekeeper for a household of able bodied persons.And yet, despite this, Ehud Barak saw Virginia, an illegal Filipina worker, in his home for close to a year, and we are supposed to believe that it never dawned on “Mr. Rule of Law” that there might be a problem.By the way, Virginia told reporters that she took the place of another illegal foreign worker at the Barak home.
Pop Quiz: Why wasn’t “Mr. Rule of Law” Ehud Barak’s Cabinet Secretary Isaac Herzog indicted for illegally diverting funds from a Canadian non-profit organization to the campaign coffers of Ehud Barak? A move that could have jeopardized the non-profit status of the fund?
Answer: Lack of evidence.
Bonus question: Why “lack of evidence”?
Answer: Isaac Herzog invoked his right to remain silent to avoid incriminating himself.
A critical and fundamental principle in a democratic society is the equal application of the law.
Some examples:
The huge shopping malls built in place of corn fields on kibbutzim weren’t torn down because the land hadn’t yet been rezoned from agricultural use. It took many years to clear up the paperwork, but the absence of building permits didn’t stop the cash registers from jingling.Pretty much every building in the Herzliya Airport compound operated for many years without proper permits.
There are major communities inside the Green Line in Israel that failed to complete an approved Urban Building Scheme (UBS) for decades. The absence of the UBS did not halt development. While technically literally every structure built in the absence of the UBS was an illegal structure none were either evacuated or demolished.
Back in October 2002 while the very same cabinet meeting that featured a shouting match over the evacuation of outposts – also for “rule of law” - approved a plan proposed by Transportation Minister Ephraim Sneh (Labor Party) to grant operating licenses for "sherut" (jitney) lines to those companies that illegally operated on the lines for at least three years without a proper license.
Again. A critical and fundamental principle in a democratic society is the equal application of the law.

Turning to the “Machpelah House”:

#1. It is an incontrovertible fact that the house was purchased. The seller’s brother complains that it wasn’t fair for Jews to use an Arab middle man to buy the property. But he admits that the sale took place.

#2. There is no need to speculate as to the impact of a Jewish presence in the house – located within the small area in Hebron where Jews are allowed - on public order. The same IDF officers and others now suggesting the move could cause a disruption already predicted a firestorm reaction by the Arab public to the move on Land Day. Yet the “Machpelah House” received next to no attention from the Arab public in the protests that day.

#3. Mr. Barak claims that "Any request to acquire the relevant buying permit or any other transactions will be dealt with professionally and impartially, as is the practice.” The practice of Mr. Barak has been to consistently refuse to approve transactions. The logic behind his refusal to approve has consistently been based on ideological/political considerations rather than the application of some kind of “impartial” standard.

#4. Mr. Barak asserts that “we cannot allow a situation where unlawful actions are taken to determine or dictate ad-hoc facts to the authorities." The transaction of the purchasing of the house was itself not an unlawful action. And the decision that the area within which the house is located should be an area where Jews can live was a “fact” that the previous Netanyahu Government reiterated in the Hebron Agreement. If anything, the only actor “dictating” today is DM Barak.

#5. If Mr. Rule of Law Barak only wanted to make the point that the house could not be occupied until he signed the papers then he can sign them tonight so that the Jews can move back in.

#6. If DM Barak declines to respect the mandate of the coalition Government it remains up to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to restore the balance.

Again. A critical and fundamental principle in a democratic society is the equal application of the law.
And even an Israeli public with an attention span of a two year old can reach the conclusion that the “Machpelah House” along with other problems on the plate from Judea and Samaria, are suffering dearly from a very unequal application of the law.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review and Analysis).
Read the full story here.

Overnight Music Video - I Believe - Frankie Laine

Iran's Press TV now also banned on German and French airwaves.

Iran's Press TV now also banned on German and French airwaves.
Press TV – In an email sent to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) officials, Vice President of the SES Platforms Services, Stephane Goebel, noted that the BLM has asked Press TV be immediately removed from the platform. The authority has claimed that Iran’s English-speaking channel does not have a license for broadcast in Europe.
BLM has…sent us an official request to immediately seize the service of the above-mentioned channel [Press TV],” Goebel noted.
Regretting the decision, Goebel added that his company “will be no longer able to keep the Press TV signal on air and will need to shut down the service without further notice.” The move is clearly part of a plot orchestrated by the West to silence the voice of the Iranian English-language channel.
Press TV channel is also no longer available in France as from today.“We regret that Press TV for legal reasons may not be broadcasted on Astra from now on. The broadcaster works on a quick solution. We ask for your patience” It has to be said that during the Mohamed Merah events, about the possibility that Al Jazeera may has broadcasted the movies of the murders by the Toulouse shooters, the French CSA: ‘Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuelle’: the governing Authority of the French Broadcasting Television assured that it had the power to control or interrupt the broadcasting signal of any channel emitting via Satellite over the French Territory. This last move about shutting down Press TV in France can only be the signal that President Sarkozy gave the instructions unilaterally to cut the Astra satellite signal.Source here and here.

Palestinian Authority detains, questions two journalists for critical reporting.

Palestinian Authority detains, questions two journalists for critical reporting.(IMRA).New York, April 3, 2012-The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Palestinian Authority's recent anti-press actions in which one journalist was detained for a week for reporting on alleged corruption and spying and a second was questioned over a critical article and his posts on social media. These actions occurred despite the Authority's recent announcement of a press freedom award that it claimed would reward "quality and daring material." 
"It is ironic that Palestinian leaders, who for years have benefited from independent media coverage, should now try to stifle their own critical journalists," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "The Palestinian Authority should stop muzzling journalists and scouring social media posts looking for critics to punish." Yousef al-Shayeb, a correspondent for the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad, was detained by the Palestinian Authority for 48 hours on March 26 in Ramallah and questioned over his sources for a January 30 article he wrote alleging corruption and spying by the Palestinian diplomatic mission in France, according to news reports. The interrogation followed a defamation complaint filed by the Authority's foreign minister and the head of the mission that sought $US6 million in damages under Article 189 of the Jordanian Penal Code, which is enforced in the West Bank, according to human rights groups. The law permits damages for libel in print media.
Al-Shayeb is also accused of defaming government officials, a charge that can carry up to two years in prison under Article 191 of the code, according to rights groups. Shortly after the complaint was filed, al-Shayeb was fired from Al-Ghad, news reports said. On March 28, Ramallah's first instance court ordered the journalist's detention to be extended for another 15 days, news reports said. The same day, al-Shayeb began waging a hunger strike, and the Palestinian Journalist's Syndicate held a sit-in protest, news reports said. On April 2, Ramallah's Magistrate Court ordered the journalist's release on bail of 10,000 Jordanian dinars (US$14,000), according to local and international rights groups. He has not been charged yet. Al-Shayeb's article accused Palestinian Authority deputy ambassador Safwat Ibraghit in Paris of recruiting Arab students to spy on Islamic groups in France and abroad, and sharing that information with both Palestinian and foreign intelligence agencies. The journalist also accused Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, Palestinian National Fund Director Ramzi Khouri Abu Nabil, and Palestinian Authority Ambassador in Paris Hael al-Fahoum of complicity and nepotism in promoting Ibraghit to his post despite his ties to foreign intelligence agencies and the complaints leveled against him, CPJ's review of the article found. On Thursday, al-Maliki told reporters that al-Shayeb's arrest was justified and that the journalist filed his story knowing it "contained falsehoods," and suggested that he and the government were the victims, news reports said.
In a separate incident, the Palestinian Authority interrogated Tariq Khamis, a reporter for the news website Zaman Press, for three hours over his Facebook posts about Ismat Abdel-Khalek, a university professor who was detained on Wednesday after posting allegedly defamatory comments about President Mahmoud Abbas and calling him a traitor," news reports said. The journalist told the online news website Electronic Intifada on Monday that he was also interrogated about an article he had recently published in Zaman Press about Palestinian youth groups who were critical of the Authority and were calling for negotiations with Israel to end. These anti-press incidents follow the Palestinian Authority's March 27 announcement of a press freedom prize recognizing exemplary journalism. The annual prize is intended to "support local media and encourage journalists to compete and produce quality and daring material that addresses citizens' concerns," the prime minister in Ramallah, Salam Fayyad, said, according to news reports. Fayyad asked journalists to submit their work during the first half of April, so the winner could be announced in May, the reports said. CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.Read the full story here.

Video - Worse than SOPA? CISPA to censor Web in name of cybersecurity.

Worse than SOPA? CISPA to censor Web in name of cybersecurity.(RT).
H.R. 3523, a piece of legislation dubbed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (or CISPA for short), has been created under the guise of being a necessary implement in America’s war against cyberattacks. But the vague verbiage contained within the pages of the paper could allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online privacy laws and essentially monitor, censor and stop any online communication that it considers disruptive to the government or private parties.
Critics have already come after CISPA for the capabilities that it will give to seemingly any federal entity that claims it is threatened by online interactions, but unlike the Stop Online Privacy Act and the Protect IP Acts that were discarded on the Capitol Building floor after incredibly successful online campaigns to crush them, widespread recognition of what the latest would-be law will do has yet to surface to the same degree. Kendall Burman of the Center for Democracy and Technology tells RT that Congress is currently considering a number of cybersecurity bills that could eventually be voted into law, but for the group that largely advocates an open Internet, she warns that provisions within CISPA are reason to worry over what the realities could be if it ends up on the desk of President Barack Obama.
So far CISPA has been introduced, referred and reported by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and expects to go before a vote in the first half of Congress within the coming weeks. “We have a number of concerns with something like this bill that creates sort of a vast hole in the privacy law to allow government to receive these kinds of information,” explains Burman, who acknowledges that the bill, as written, allows the US government to involve itself into any online correspondence, current exemptions notwithstanding, if it believes there is reason to suspect cyber crime.
As with other authoritarian attempts at censorship that have come through Congress in recent times, of course, the wording within the CISPA allows for the government to interpret the law in such a number of degrees that any online communication or interaction could be suspect and thus unknowingly monitored. In a press release penned last month by the CDT, the group warned then that CISPA allows Internet Service Providers to “funnel private communications and related information back to the government without adequate privacy protections and controls. The bill does not specify which agencies ISPs could disclose customer data to, but the structure and incentives in the bill raise a very real possibility that the National Security Agency or the DOD’s Cybercommand would be the primary recipient,” reads the warning. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, another online advocacy group, has also sharply condemned CISPA for what it means for the future of the Internet. “It effectively creates a ‘cybersecurity'’ exemption to all existing laws,” explains the EFF, who add in a statement of their own that “There are almost no restrictions on what can be collected and how it can be used, provided a company can claim it was motivated by ‘cybersecurity purposes.’” 
What does that mean? Both the EFF and CDT say an awfully lot. Some of the biggest corporations in the country, including service providers such as Google, Facebook, Twitter or AT&T, could copy confidential information and send them off to the Pentagon if pressured, as long as the government believes they have reason to suspect wrongdoing. In a summation of their own, the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, explains that “efforts to degrade, disrupt or destroy” either “a system or network of a government or private entity” is reason enough for Washington to reach in and read any online communiqué of their choice. The authors of CISPA say the bill has been made “To provide for the sharing of certain cyber threat intelligence and cyber threat information between the intelligence community and cybersecurity entities,” but not before noting that the legislation could be used “and for other purposes,” as well — which, of course, are not defined. “Cyber security, when done right and done narrowly, could benefit everyone,” Burman tells RT. “But it needs to be done in an incremental way with an arrow approach, and the heavy hand that lawmakers are taking with these current bills . . . it brings real serious concerns.”Read the full story here.

NYT Jerusalem Bureau Chief Compares Treatment of Journalists In Israel To Iran

NYT Jerusalem Bureau Chief Compares Treatment of Journalists In Israel To Iran.(FreeBeacon).By: Adam Kredo.The New York Times’ recently installed Jerusalem bureau chief is once again drawing fire on Twitter for likening Israel to Iran. When approached by the Free Beacon, she defended the comparison.
What do Israel and Iran have in common? Jailing journalists, according to [the Columbia Journalism Review],” Rudoren tweeted yesterday.
The comment—which immediately elicited a flurry of angry reactions from various pro-Israel forces across Twitter—included a link to a CJR report noting that Israel and Iran respectively place second and third on the list of countries currently incarcerating journalists.
The report itself drew widespread criticism for employing statistical sleight of hand in order to paint a portrait of Israel that does not comport with the facts.
Justin Martin, the report’s author, “avails himself of obviously bad numbers. He relies on an artificial, self-serving, and meaningless definition of ‘per capita,’” wrote Omri Ceren in Commentary. “And he equates twilight totalitarian roundups with open Israeli jurisprudence. For a scholar to publish something like this in an academic outlet is disgraceful, and any CJR editor who touched the post is complicit in nakedly politicizing their journal.”
Rudoren initially defended her tweet, maintaining that the report was noteworthy.
“Just sharing a link that caught my eye,” she tweeted in response to one of her critics.
“Was trying to make a lite point off a tidbit. It’s Twitter, not a dissertation. Others’ analyses also intrstng,” she later added.She then apologized.
“Folks, I tweeted the CJR link w/o reading it carefully (and w/o reading any of the analyses),” the tweet stated. “Apologies.”She maintained that it is perfectly acceptable to make note of the report, even if it was flawed.
To suggest that noting the existence of a CJR study, even if flawed, is anti-Semitic
seems entirely out of proportion. Anti-Semitism is about intent, right? So the suggestion is that I put the tweet out to hurt/destroy Jews? Seriously? A tweet? It’s a platform for conversation, for sharing information—and, sure, for debunking or critiquing that information,”
Rudoren wrote.Read the full story here.

Egypt Al-Azhar seat of Sunni Islam says no return to Constituent Assembly.

Egypt Al-Azhar seat of Sunni Islam says no return to Constituent Assembly.(BM).CAIRO: The Islamic Research Academy, Al Azhar, and seat of Sunni Islam, decided on Tuesday at its emergency meeting held under the chairmanship of the Sheikh Al-Azhar, Grand Imam Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, to hold on to its previous decision not to participate in the Constituent Assembly drafting Egypt`s new constitution, and insisting on its withdrawal despite negotiations and attempts by the Muslim Brotherhood to convince Al Azhar to return. This comes after the Coptic Orthodox and Catholic Churches representatives, along with the representatives of the Supreme Constitutional Court, chairman of the Lawyers Syndicate, members of Leftist and Liberal parties and prominent Public figures withdrew and boycotted the session of the Constituent Assembly in protest of the monopoly of the Muslim Brotherhood`s Political Wing the Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist Nour Party, over the selection criteria of the Assembly`s Membership. The adviser to the Sheikh of Al Azhar , Sheikh Mahmoud Azab, said after the end of the session of the Islamic Research Academy, which was held at Al-Azhar, that Al Azhar is dissatsified with the representation in the constituent Assembly, as it does not represent all spectrums of the nation, he said. Azab said that The Research Academy discussed all the proposals made by the leader of the FJP Party Mohammed Morsy to make some concessions, but it found that these proposals are inadequate, adding, “If the selection criteria is changed and pleases all the spectra of the society, Al Azhar would definitely return to the Assembly. For his part, Mahmoud al-Muhanna, a member of the Islamic Research Academy, said that Al-Azhar represents the whole nation, pointing out that if Al-Azhar is marginalized, it means that the whole nation is marginalized and excluded from the Assembly. Muhanna explained that the members of the Islamic Research Academy decided after studying the proposals not to return and be bound by this decision, until all the spectra of the society are represented equally and fairly in the Assembly, indicating that the former Mufti of the Republic, Dr. Nasr Farid Wasel, the sole representative of Al-Azhar in the Assembly decided with the Academy members not to participate.Hmmm......The Egyptian people have objections to the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist, apparently Obama has not.Read the full story here.

Obama Administration becomes the biggest ammunition hog in the United States peacetime history.

Obama Administration becomes the biggest ammunition hog in the United States peacetime history.(AP).By James Smith.There are two stories that have come to light recently, the first is the awarding of a contract to a munitions manufacturer for 450,000,000 hollow point rounds for the .40 caliber.The second story which I wrote is how the Department of Homeland Security had already ordered 200,000,000 rounds of .40 caliber, but also ordered 15,000 gun cleaning kits for the .40 caliber weapons, and has put a request out for a virtual shooting gallery for the .40 caliber handguns.
650,000,000 round of ammunition is quite a bit of lead and brass. It will sure to drive the price of copper and brass way up. But Homeland Security is not alone in their requests.
The other departments -- the ones that handle mundane things like meat quality -- believe they need to be armed to the teeth as well. It’s enough to make a non-paranoid person, well, paranoid.
The US Department of Agriculture put in a bid for a wide variety of ammunition. I guess raiding farms and raw milk dairies can be very dangerous work. The required rounds are listed, and include shotgun slugs.
Frangible rounds – for those who don’t know, are rounds that are designed to break apart when they hit walls or other hard surfaces to prevent ricochets during close-quarters combat.And of course the FBI needs about 100,000,000 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition for law enforcement needs. It posted the request November 15, 2011 and the order will be awarded this week. Oddly, it states a fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity type contract; however the pricing requirements go up to 100,000,000 rounds.
So with that large order, we now can move the total “excess” number of .40 caliber rounds that is needed by this administration to 750,000,000 rounds.
Because we live in a free society they feel they must be armed against Amish folk who want to sell people raw milk, like most humans on this planet drink. Maybe the USDA needs the ammunition to fight the evil cadre of “Lemonade Stands” that will soon be terrorizing people walking down sidewalks in Suburbia America.
How can a government justify 2.2 rounds per American citizen? Granted, ammunition does have a great shelf life, but this is utterly ridiculous!The best way to avoid a civil war is not to start one. If “they” are planning to start one, then it would make sense to arm yourself and take away the guns of the citizenry. If this is just for “work”, ie, to stop bad guys, then the numbers just don’t make sense.
As Sherlock Holmes would say, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”. We are running out of the impossibles and the improbables.The leftovers are unconscionable and frightening. The game is afoot my friends. Evil in the guise of a benevolent government is still evil.
Will the characters be unmasked in time for our free country to remain free, or will we be another stiff on the slab of history.Hmmmm........ “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”.Read the full story here.

Police state Comes to the Internet: Introducing CISPA.

Police state Comes to the Internet: Introducing CISPA.(AP).After nearly unprecedented pushback against bills SOPA and PIPA, their apparent defeat cannot yet be claimed. Most skeptics presumed that the defeat of the aforementioned would only serve to offer a compromised "SOPA light" at some point to circumvent criticism over government censorship. Well, it didn't take long. In addition to OPEN and ACTA to combat supposed piracy issues in the U.S. and Europe respectively, we now have been presented with a full-on fascist template for Internet control where government and private corporations will work hand in hand under the very broad definition of cybersecurity.

The CISPA acronym is probably the most honest of those proposed thus far, and certainly is self-explanatory: the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. Cybersecurity initiatives themselves are framed in such a way as to declare the free and open Internet to be subsumed into national security infrastructure, thus giving it over to the Pentagon, NSA, and other agents for use in surveillance and even offensive war. However, CISPA goes one step further to suggest that all information transmitted on this national security infrastructure is fair game for the prying eyes of the State. Most likely the private sector must bow to any and all demands made, or face being labeled as supporters of terrorism.

Both House and Senate are due to address CISPA (H.R. 3523) in the last weeks of April -- we had better make noise ten times louder than what was made against previous attempts to hijack the Internet. Once the Internet is co-opted openly by the military-industrial-surveillance complex, there will be very little chance for regaining what will be lost.Hmmm.............How conveiniant : The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say).Read the full story here.

Barak reveals Israel's 'red line' conditions for Iran-West talks.

Barak reveals Israel's 'red line' conditions for Iran-West talks.(JPost).Israel is demanding that its allies set Iran's complete surrender of its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent as one of the goals for the nuclear talks set to begin with the Islamic Republic in mid April. Citing 2012 as the “year to stop Iran,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that he has held discussions with American and European officials in recent weeks with the goal of convincing them to set clear goals for the scheduled talks with Iran.The talks are scheduled to begin on April 13 between Iran and representatives of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany. Disagreements still exist regarding the venue although Istanbul currently appears to be acceptable to all sides.
Barak revealed what Israel's conditions are for the talks:
1) transfer of all uranium enriched to 20 percent - approximately 120 kilograms – out of Iran to a third party country;
2) the transfer of the majority of the 5 tons of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent out of Iran, leaving just enough needed for energy purposes;
3) the closure of the Fordow enrichment facility, buried under a mountain near the city of Qom;
4) the transfer of fuel rods from a third party country to Iran for the purpose of activating the Tehran Research Reactor.
As reported Wednesday in The Jerusalem Post, assessments in the defense establishment are that a confrontation with Iran may be postponed until sometime in 2013. This is the result of the sanctions which have been imposed on Iran and are believed to be effective. Barak said Wednesday that there was still time before a strike would be required. “It is not needed within weeks but it is also not something that can wait a number of years,” he said in rare comments to military reporters. "The Iranians are fortifying their facilities and moving deeper underground with every month that passes," he added. As a result, Barak said, it was unlikely that Iran would agree to suspend all of its enrichment activities and forfeit its uranium due to the current sanctions, no matter how effective they are. "I do however look forward to being surprised if the talks with Iran succeed," he said. In general, Israel and the US share almost all of their intelligence assessments regarding Iran and for example share the opinion that Iran has yet to make the decision to begin enriching uranium to higher military-grade levels and begin building a bomb. Barak admitted however that there were differences between Israel and the US over his claim that Iran was moving into an “immunity zone” and that if Israel waits too long its military option might not be viable passed the end of the year. “This is part of the difference between us and the Americans,” the defense minister said.Hmmmmm..............Netanyahu says that Iran sanctions are not working: "The sanctions are painful, hard… but will this bring about a halt or a retreat in the Iranian nuclear program? Until now, it has not happened...The regime strengthened its grip in the recent elections, despite the sanctions... "It has strengthened its political grip, it is struggling financially and it still hasn't turned back by even one millimeter from its nuclear program. "...We are leading an unprecedented international campaign against Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. I do not know of an easy way to solve the Iranian problem. "We will attack those who threaten to attack us.".Read the full story here.

A pastor who attended the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House today was wearing a hoodie sweater.

HT:WhiteHouseDossier.A pastor who attended the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House today was wearing a hoodie sweater, apparently in support of Trayvon Martin, the black youth who was killed by George Zimmerman. The pastor, among many clergy in attendance at the annual East Room gathering, is not named in the press pool report from the event. Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was shot, and the apparel has become a symbol worn by those showing sympathy for him and outrage against Zimmerman. Also on hand is the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been leading protests demanding the arrest of Zimmerman, who has not be charged with a crime. Zimmerman, who is half Hispanic and half white, says he shot Martin in self-defense. Obama last month expressed sympathy for Martin’s family, saying if he had a son he would look like Martin. Vice President Joe Biden made a surprise appearance at the prayer breakfast and offered his own thoughts on what is considered the most holy day on the Christian calendar. "I think Easter's about forgiveness, in my view," he told clergy. "I'm not a theologian, but when Jesus said 'forgive them for they know not what they do,' I think that was a generic statement as well as a statement specifically [for] what was happening on that day for Jesus. "I think without forgiveness, there's very little hope." Among the guests at the prayer breakfast were Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl – whom Biden repeatedly recognized; Passion City Church Pastor Louie Giglio – who gave the closing prayer; Pastor Joel C. Hunter of Northland, A Church Distributed – who delivered the closing reflection; National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson; the Rev. Al Sharpton; and Russell D. Moore, dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.Read the full story here.

Canadian Gasoline prices spike before Easter weekend, here's WHY!

Canadian Gasoline prices spike before Easter weekend, here's WHY!(Yahoo).Canadians woke up to spiking gasoline costs this morning, with prices reaching 140.1 cents a litre in Toronto and 147.9 in Montreal. That's about eight per cent higher than a year ago, even though crude oil prices are lower. Crude for May delivery fell $1.05 to $102.95 US a barrel Wednesday morning on the New York Mercantile Exchange. A year ago, crude was trading at $104 a barrel. Gas price watcher Dan McTeague says the oil industry usually tries to explain the increase by saying it's to cover the cost of converting from winter to summer fuel. But McTeague, a former Liberal member of Parliament and a harsh critic of the oil industry who runs the website Tomorrow's Gas Price Today, calls that a "lame and well-worn excuse." He says fuel specifications in Canada — unlike the U.S. — don't change with the seasons. David Detomasi, an assistant professor of international business at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., calls the latest increases "pretty shocking." For the most part, he says, there's no reasonable explanation. While prices across the country vary widely due to various provincial and territorial tax regimes, prices in southern Ontario could hit record highs between 143 and 147 cents a litre by the end of this month, analyst Roger McKnight of Oshawa-based En-Pro International Inc. said Tuesday. "It's going to hit and stick," McKnight said. "Prices increased nine of the last 10 years in March and April, but this year they started in January and they are continuing to roll." Gas prices usually rise in the spring as refineries shut down to convert from producing diesel to gasoline as the summer driving and vacation months approach. This year, however, shutdowns of four refineries in Pennsylvania and five in Europe have severely cut North American supplies, McKnight said.Hmmmmm................."he says, there's no reasonable explanation." well try this one for an 'explanation'!How many of you are aware Sunoco, Conoco Phillips and The HESS Corp are all closing US oil refineries? Not many, as the media refuses to give this HUGE story coverage. My guess is that if Americans understood the complete truth to how we are being sold out, and enslaved there just might be the much needed revolution to turn this country around. Last September, both Sunoco and Conoco Phillips announced plant closing, effecting thousands of workers. Sunoco announced they are completely getting out of the oil industry. Closing up shop. They are done with the US oil industry. Sunoco is closing it's 2 oil refineries in July 2012 in Philadelphia and Marcus Hook, Pa. Those 2 facilities alone process over 500,000 barrels a day. Also announced last year, ConocoPhillips announced 2 plant closing for sure in Trainer, PA and Bayway, NJ., the other 3 plants are undecided as of today.
Conoco also announced they were closing their Alaskan refining facility: Just a week ago, the US 3rd largest oil refinery owned and operated by The HESS Corp just announced it's permanent closure. Costing over 2,000 jobs, and effecting 950 contractors.
Refineries on the East Coast of the US supply 40% of the gasoline sales and 60% of the diesel and other fuel oils. Of that, HALF that comes from the Sunoco and Conoco Phillips plant closures. When Conoco Phillips announced that it was closing the Trainer refinery, Willie Chiang, then ConocoPhillips' Senior Vice President of Refining, Marketing, Transportation and Commercial, noted that their decision to sell, like Sunoco's, was based on unfavorable economics caused by a competitive and difficult market environment characterized by "...product imports, weakness in motor fuel demand, and costly regulatory requirements." They are ALL closing up shop due to government regulations, union demands and excessive operating costs brought on by the Government regulations. Then you have the unions, led by Barry's buddy Leo Gerard saying they will close ALL US oil refineries starting from the east coast to west coast today.  Think gas and energy costs are high right now.......wait 6 months. You haven't seen anything yet. How can anyone expect any company to do business with an anti-American, hostile government out of control? You can't. That is why we are seeing a mass exodus, across the board in every industry in the US LEAVING.Hmmmm.......You will obey and buy electric cars.

Arizona Legislature Passes Sweeping Electronic Speech Censorship Bill.

Arizona Legislature Passes Sweeping Electronic Speech Censorship Bill.( Charles Brownstein.Yesterday, the Arizona legislature passed Arizona House Bill 2549, which would update the state’s telephone harassment law to apply to the Internet and other electronic communications. The bill is sweepingly broad, and would make it a crime to communicate via electronic means speech that is intended to “annoy,” “offend,” “harass” or “terrify,” as well as certain sexual speech. Because the bill is not limited to one-to-one communications, H.B. 2549 would apply to the Internet as a whole, thus criminalizing all manner of writing, cartoons, and other protected material the state finds offensive or annoying. The Bill is currently on Governor Jan Brewer’s desk awaiting her decision on whether to veto or sign the bill.

Media Coalition
, a trade association protecting the First Amendment rights of content industries, whose membership includes CBLDF, has been active in opposing the bill. On March 14, Media Coalition sent a memo to the Senate Rules Committee regarding constitutional infirmities in H.B. 2549. Yesterday they sent a letter to Governor Brewer urging her to veto the bill.
That letter outlines the constitutional deficiencies in the bill:
H.B. 2549 would make it a crime to use any electronic or digital device to communicate using obscene, lewd or profane language or to suggest a lewd or lascivious act if done with intent to “annoy,” “offend,” “harass” or “terrify.” The legislation offers no definitions for “annoy,” “offend,” “harass” or “terrify.” “Electronic or digital device” is defined only as any wired or wireless communication device and multimedia storage device. “Lewd” and “profane” are not defined in the statute or by reference. “Lewd” is generally understood to mean lusty or sexual in nature and “profane” is generally defined as disrespectful or irreverent about religion or religious practices.
Government may criminalize speech that rises to the level of harassment and many states have laws that do so, but this legislation takes a law meant to address irritating phone calls and applies it to communication on web sites, blogs, listserves and other Internet communication. H.B. 2549 is not limited to a one to one conversation between two specific people. The communication does not need to be repetitive or even unwanted. There is no requirement that the recipient or subject of the speech actually feel offended, annoyed or scared. Nor does the legislation make clear that the communication must be intended to offend or annoy the reader, the subject or even any specific person.
Speech protected by the First Amendment is often intended to offend, annoy or scare but could be prosecuted under this law. A Danish newspaper posted pictures of Muhammad that were intended to be offensive to make a point about religious tolerance. If a Muslim in Arizona considers the images profane and is offended, the paper could be prosecuted. Some Arizona residents may consider Rush Limbaugh’s recent comments about a Georgetown law student lewd. He could be prosecuted if he intended his comments to be offensive. Similarly, much general content available in the media uses racy or profane language and is intended to offend, annoy or even terrify. Bill Maher’s stand up routines and Jon Stewart’s nightly comedy program, Ann Coulter’s books criticizing liberals and Christopher Hitchens’ expressing his disdain for religion, Stephen King’s novels or the Halloween films all could be subject to this legislation. Even common taunting about sports between rival fans done online is frequently meant to offend or annoy and is often done using salty and profane language.
While protecting people from harassment is a worthy goal, legislators cannot do so by criminalizing speech protected by the Constitution. All speech is presumptively protected by the First Amendment against content-based regulation, subject only to specific historic exceptions.
If passed, the law could create vulnerabilities for cartoonists and publishers who publish material online intended to shock, satirize, and criticize. Beyond the example of the Mohammad cartoons listed in the Media Coalition letter, the taboo-pushing work of cartoonists like R. Crumb, Johnny Ryan, and Ivan Brunetti would potentially be vulnerable to prosecution, as could incendiary works such as Frank Miller’s Holy Terror and Dave Sim’s Cerebus. Similarly, the culture of message boards, within and beyond comics, would be imperiled. With more titles released digitally each week, and an extremely active online ecosystem of professional and fan exchange, laws like this one are extremely worrisome for the creators, publishers, and readers of comics.Read the full story here.

Shoebat video shows Egyptian Presidential candidate practicing Muruna.

 His name is Abol Futuh and he very well may become the next president of Egypt. Though he was allegedly expelled from the Muslim Brotherhood for running for president in Egypt, this video shows he is also a practitioner of Muruna, which would permit him to leave the Brotherhood with nothing more than a wink and a nod. Interestingly, Muruna would theoretically allow Futuh to be jettisoned from the Brotherhood for a higher calling, namely, running for president.HT: Shoebat.

Gen. T. Franks Doubts Constitution Will Survive WMD Attack.

Gen. Franks Doubts Constitution Will Survive WMD Attack.(DocsTalk).Gen. Tommy Franks says that if the United States is hit with a weapon of mass destruction that inflicts large casualties, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government.Franks, who successfully led the U.S. military operation to liberate Iraq, expressed his worries in an extensive interview he gave to the men’s lifestyle magazine Cigar Aficionado. In the magazine’s December edition, the former commander of the military’s Central Command warned that if terrorists succeeded in using a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) against the U.S. or one of our allies, it would likely have catastrophic consequences for our cherished republican form of government. Discussing the hypothetical dangers posed to the U.S. in the wake of Sept. 11, Franks said that “the worst thing that could happen” is if terrorists acquire and then use a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon that inflicts heavy casualties. If that happens, Franks said, “... the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy.”
Franks then offered “in a practical sense” what he thinks would happen in the aftermath of such an attack. “It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important.”
Franks didn’t speculate about how soon such an event might take place. Already, critics of the U.S. Patriot Act, rushed through Congress in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, have argued that the law aims to curtail civil liberties and sets a dangerous precedent. But Franks’ scenario goes much further. He is the first high-ranking official to openly speculate that the Constitution could be scrapped in favor of a military form of government. Franks offered his assessment on a number of topics to Cigar Aficionado, including: President Bush: “As I look at President Bush, I think he will ultimately be judged as a man of extremely high character. A very thoughtful man, not having been appraised properly by those who would say he’s not very smart. I find the contrary. I think he’s very, very bright. And I suspect that he’ll be judged as a man who led this country through a crease in history effectively. Probably we’ll think of him in years to come as an American hero.”Franks ended his interview with a less-than-optimistic note. “It’s not in the history of civilization for peace ever to reign. Never has in the history of man. ... I doubt that we’ll ever have a time when the world will actually be at peace.”Read the full story here.

Video - if Obama wins a second (and final) term, it’s on, since he wouldn’t have to worry about re-election.

If Obama wins a second (and final) term, it’s on, since he wouldn’t have to worry about re-election.(fireandreamitchell). If you’ve ever heard of Tatyana Ali, its probably from her character Hillary Banks in the 1990′s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The show ran for six years and was popular back when BJ Bill Clinton was president. Apparently Tatyana Ali is now into making propaganda videos for Obama. In a video that has since been scrubbed from the official Obama website (but captured by the Daily Caller), Tatyana Ali gleefully declares that if Obama wins a second (and final) term, it’s on, since he wouldn’t have to worry about re-election. The video was in the African-American section of Obama’s campaign website before it was scrubbed. What does Ali mean by “it’s on?” Does this have anything to do with Obama’s bold hot-mic proclamation to Communist Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that if he gets reelected, he will have “more flexibility. So why did the Obama regime scrub the following video of Tatyana Ali declaring “it’s on” in Obama’s second term? Do they have something to hide?Hmmmm.........Read the full story here.

Video - Hedges, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Sues Obama Administration Over the NDAA.

 Hedges, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Sues Obama Administration Over the NDAA.“It is a piece of legislation that was essentially supported by both political parties. Indeed the sponsors of the Bill are Carl Levin, a Democrat and John McCain, a Republican. There was no outcry within the systems of power itself, and that of course meant there was no outcry within the media, which allows those systems of power to set the parameters of debate.” Hedges added. The controversial legislation, signed into law by Obama on New Years Eve, allows American citizens to be abducted and held in a detention camp anywhere in the world without trial under section 1031. Although Obama indicated in a signing statement attached to the bill that he would not use it to indefinitely detain American citizens, it was the Obama administration itself that requested the provision be worded so it would apply to US citizens. I’ll sign this into law, but I promise I won’t use it. That’s how stupid your President thinks you are.HT: Dvorak.

Unilateral Israeli strike on Iran in no one's interest: Clinton.

Unilateral Israeli strike on Iran in no one's interest: Clinton.(PressTV).US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program would "not be in anyone's interest." "It's our very strong belief, as President Obama conveyed to the Israelis, that it is not in anyone's interest for them to take unilateral action," Clinton told the ABC News on Tuesday Clinton also noted the Obama administration favors a diplomatic solution to the impasse over Iran’s nuclear issue. The United States, the Israeli regime, and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program. Washington and Tel Aviv have at times threatened Tehran with the "option" of a military strike against its nuclear facilities. On March 15, Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said despite Tel Aviv’s escalating war rhetoric against Iran, the Israeli regime is too small to survive even one week of real war. Salehi added that Iran does not consider Israeli claims or threats as real threats.Read the full story here.

Iran wants to hold nuclear talks in Iraq, not Turkey

Iran wants to hold nuclear talks in Iraq, not Turkey.(AlArabiya).Iran has proposed holding the next round of talks with six world powers over its disputed nuclear program next week in Iraq instead of Turkey, Iraq’s foreign ministry said, as U.S. warned that a conflict over Iran’s nuclear program would destabilize the region. The ministry said an Iranian delegation visited Baghdad on Tuesday, and “expressed Tehran’s wish for Baghdad to host the meeting of the five permanent members in the United Nations plus Germany about Iran’s nuclear program on April 14.” Iraq would make the necessary contacts concerned about the proposal, the ministry said, according to Reuters.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, meanwhile, told Reuters the proposal for talks in Baghdad came from an Iranian delegation visiting on Tuesday and he would meet with ambassadors from the five Western powers plus Germany on Tehran's plan. “The proposal came from them. We received a delegation from Iran... Today we are inviting G5 plus one ambassadors to hand over a letter about the proposal,’ Zebari said.Iraq’s Shiite-led government is closely aligned with Iran in a region where Sunni Arab Gulf powers are jockeying for influence with Shiite power Tehran. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said on Saturday that the Apr. 13-14 negotiations with Iran would be held in Istanbul, the first such meeting since January 2011 when the two sides failed even to agree on an agenda. A senior Iranian figure recently spoke out against Turkey hosting the talks as once warm Iranian-Turkish relations have cooled in the past year over the Turkish position against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s close Arab ally. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Iran has not moved “even one millimeter” from its nuclear program despite its financial struggles. “The sanctions are painful, hard,” Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem. “But will this bring about a halt or a retreat in the Iranian nuclear program? Until now, it has not happened.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Monday that the sanctions “may have caused us small problems but we will continue our path.” Iranian officials, however, say its nuclear work is for peaceful purposes. The latest U.S. intelligence assessments have not concluded that the regime has given the go-ahead to develop a nuclear bomb. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in February that possession of a nuclear bomb “constitutes a major sin” for Iran, reiterating a fatwa -- or religious edict -- that he made in 2005. Clinton revealed that she has been studying Khamenei’s fatwa, saying that she has discussed it with religious scholars, other experts and with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “If it is indeed a statement of principle, of values, then it is a starting point for being operationalized,” Clinton said in Norfolk.Hmmmmm.......Correct me if i'm wrong but isn't Nuclear armed Pakistan a Muslim country?Someone should tell them about the 'Fatwa'.Read the full story here.

Malaysia Islamic body calls Jews “main enemy,”.

Malaysia Islamic body calls Jews “main enemy,”.(BM).KUALA LUMPUR: At this young cafe, most of the Malaysians give little credence to statements being made by the government’s official Islamic body. They argue it has little to do with reality and is an attempt to get support from the Islamic world as a whole. “We know what they want to be,” said Marin, a 22-year-old university student in the capital. “And they want to be seen and heard, that’s all.” But on March 30, the government’s official national sermon that was aired at mosques across the country called Jews the “main enemy.” For Marin’s girlfriend, an Arab-Malaysian Yousra, told, “we all don’t like the Israelis and what they do to Palestinians, but most Malaysians understand the difference and we don’t think all Jews are the enemy.” The sermon, prepared and distributed by the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department and delivered on March 30, said that “Muslims must understand Jews are the main enemy to Muslims as proven by their egotistical behavior and murders performed by them.” It also called on community leaders to increase the awareness and understanding of the importance of Jerusalem, referring to it by its Arabic name, al-Quds. “The honor of al-Quds and the al-Aksa mosque must be defended by all Muslims, as it is holy land that must be blessed,” the sermon said. The sermon “makes a mockery of Malaysia’s Constitution, which promises that religions other than Islam may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement published by most Jewish news agencies. “Further, it puts to the lie the repeated calls in international bodies by Malaysia’s prime minister, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib, for religions to forsake intimidation and violence. It threatens the few Jews in Malaysia and millions beyond its borders.” The following day, an officially sanctioned state seminar, “Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?” was convened by the Johor Education Department and the Johor Mufti Department, which required 55 schools to send two religious teachers each to deal with the “threat” of Christians to Malaysian Muslims. For Marin and Yousra, the reality is that across the Muslim world tension is high. And they say it is understandable.Read the full story here.

Hindu doctors killings by Muslims in Pakistan highlight sectarian tension.

Hindu doctors killings by Muslims in Pakistan highlight sectarian tension.(BM).KARACHI: The murder of four Hindu doctors in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province has again put the issue of religious tension at the forefront of politics and discussion in the country. Sheikh Omar Kemvani in Karachi, who runs a large mosque on the city’s outskirts, is one of the few who acknowledge there is a problem in Pakistan. “We always try to hide the problems, saying this is just one incident or whatnot, but how many one time incidences does it take to make it a real problem facing our country?” he told The doctors were gunned down on Monday at their clinic in Chak town. Ramesh Kumar, a former member of provincial assembly and chief patron of Pakistan Hindu Council confirmed that doctors Ashok, Naresh, Ajeet and Satia Paul were killed by armed assailants while working in their clinic. “This is not the first time such an incident has taken place where members of our community have been targeted. What is of concern is that the law enforcement agencies tend to support the criminals involved in such acts,” Dr Kumar told PTI. “There is a strong population of around 50,000 Hindus in Chak. Government must take notice of it and provide protection to the minorities.” Police said they had arrested two of the people involved in the killings and were searching for the other culprits. A police official confirmed that the killings could have been the result of a dispute between some Hindus and the local Bhaya Baradari that took place two weeks back over a Hindu girl. But for many, including Pakistani Hindu Rajeev, it matters not. “Let us not look for simple answers. The reality is that many Hindus hate Muslims and many Muslims hate Hindus,” he began. “If we cannot have some sort of dialogue between the two communities nothing will get better.” The killings also come on the heals of the government issuing a report saying that hundreds of Pakistani Hindu girls had been forced to convert to Islam in recent months, again sparking fears that the religious tension could spill over into increase street battles and violence.Read the full story here.

Democrats’ New Jewish Outreach Liaison Jokes About Money Obsessed “Jewbags,”

Democrats’ New Jewish Outreach Liaison Jokes About Money Obsessed “Jewbags,”.(FreeBeacon).The Democratic Party’s newly appointed Jewish outreach liaison is pictured on Facebook in a series of provocative photos with her friends holding dollar bills and referring to themselves as “Jewbags” and the “Jew cash money team.” Dani Gilbert, who has been a staffer in the office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), was recently appointed as the Democratic National Committee’s Jewish outreach liaison, according to her Twitter feed. Photos publicly available on her Facebook page depict her engaged in the kind of youthful displays that social media like Facebook and Twitter have made increasingly common and problematic for young Washington staffers.In one photo, Gilbert is seen kissing paper currency of undetermined denomination. The caption at the bottom of the photo reads “JEWBAGS.” A comment left on the posting refers to Gilbert and a coterie of female companions as the “Jew cash money team.” Other photos depict Gilbert as a bit of a party girl, including one featuring an assortment of condoms.Read the full story here.

7 Reasons Why Israel Should Unilaterally Bomb Iran.

7 Reasons Why Israel Should Unilaterally Bomb Iran.(INN).By Dr. Joe Tuzara.Here are the seven reasons why Israel should preemptively attack Iran this year:

  1. Iran as a de facto nuclear state First, and foremost, a nuclear-armed capable Iran would drastically change the geopolitical landscape in the volatile Middle East immensely complicating the risks to Israel and the threat to U.S. national security. Why? For better or worse, there is no doubt that the prospect of escalating tensions is heightened significantly in the cascade of nuclear proliferation to Iran's proxies, Hamas, Hizbullah, Venezuela and Arab Gulf states wanting to go nuclear. In addition to its suspected nuclear-weapons program Iran owns vast stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, according to Iran Watch. Israel and America are both far more concerned about Iran's stepped-up enrichment of high grade uranium in an underground bunker in Qom and Natanz, than the failure of the UN nuclear watchdog, in a setback likely to increase the risk of confrontation with the West. 
  2. "Israel must be wiped off the map" Unless the consequences of inaction truly are existential, given the potentially disastrous outcome of the controversial remark by the Iranian president - a unilateral preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear program in Israel's self-defense would be fully justified.
  3. Longstanding economic sanctions - that doesn't bite Despite an increasingly stringent U.S. and European Union's economic sanctions, Israel faces a dilemma. In the report by the Israeli-based news DEBKAfile, India has reportedly agreed to pay Tehran in gold for the oil it buys, in a move aimed at protecting Delhi from U.S.-sanctions targeting countries who trade with Iran. Adding insult to the injury, the U.S. government recently said Iran has purchased 180,000 tons of U.S. wheat, which reopened grain trade ties between the two countries embroiled in a stand-off over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, according to Reuters. While Israel is confronting the uncertainties of containing and deterring a non-nuclear Iran, no one knows, however, whether sanctions will bite sufficiently to alter the course of Iran's nuclear program. 
  4. Emergence of Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah suicide states According to the Middle East Quarterly publication of "Iran's Suicide Brigades", the Iranian regime continues to embrace suicide terrorism as an important component of its military doctrine. The goal of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah which Obama does not understand remains Jewish extermination. As Israeli and American intelligence agencies have also warned, Iran has a network of agents and supporters surrounding Israel and inside the United States. In Obama's worldview, an Israeli military strike against Iran is a test of his outreach to the Muslim world and a threat to his re-election campaign. 
  5. Pyongyang -style pattern of deceit As the world powers agree on reopening talks with Iran in the coming weeks, the cautiously optimistic Obama administration conveyed its stern warning that this is Iran's last chance for a comprehensive, negotiated and long term resolution of its suspect nuclear program. Much will now depend on the Iranian response to come clean out of its nuclear program, which remains very unlikely. Obviously, Iran is following North Korea's pattern of stalling, evading and negotiating, a diplomatic strategy that has served them well in the past. Henceforth, it would be a dangerous mistake for Israel to wait while its arch-enemy is racing toward acquiring a nuclear weapon. 
  6. "An attack in Iran will increase regional stability in the Middle East" The possibility that in the event of an Israeli military action, Iran would decide to attack U.S. interests further destabilizing the Middle East is a flawed logic. In an article written for the New York Times, Major General Amos Yadlin, the former Head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence and current head of the Institute for National Security Studies, believes that an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities will result in regional stability in the Middle East. Once and for all, a successful military campaign must completely destroy all of Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile infrastructures including the inner sanctum of the mullah-led regime and the headquarters of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. Taking into consideration the unintended consequences, a non-nuclear Iran is more vulnerable today than in the next year. So Israel must get it over with, by itself. 
  7. Trust deficit and loss of U.S. credibility Early in his presidency, Obama sought a diplomatic engagement policy without any preconditions at the expense of Israel and he failed miserably. Last year, Obama's keynote policy speech calling for a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 Israeli borders was detrimental to the elusive peace process. Relying on some peculiar arguments, the lack of trust and the Obama administration's undermining of Israel's confidence in its military capabilities only emboldened Iran. After years of sanctions and complacency, how much more time does Obama need to realize Iran's intention in acquiring a nuclear weapon? To date, Iran's intransigence and lopsided shadow war has served to heighten the sanctions and increase confrontation. From Israel's perspective, time is running out with Iran. The choice is clear - Tehran will get the atomic bomb or a preventive strike against Iran's deeply buried underground nuclear facilities is a better option than no option at all. In retrospect, the trio of contending forces' divergent ambiguities could lead to serious miscalculation and dire consequences. Like it or not, a regime change would not prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon in the foreseeable future. If President Franklin Delano Roosevelt were alive today, 2012 would be the year which "will live in infamy".Read the full story here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Overnight music video - Paganini Violin Concerto No. 1 in E flat major (D major), Op. 6 (MS21)- No. 1, Allegro maestoso

Appeals court picks up the gauntlet after Obama's comments on health care case

Appeals court picks up the gauntlet after Obama's comments on health care case.(CBC). In the escalating battle between the administration and the judiciary, a federal appeals court apparently is calling the president's bluff -- ordering the Justice Department to answer by Thursday whether the Obama Administration believes that the courts have the right to strike down a federal law, according to a lawyer who was in the courtroom. The order, by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, appears to be in direct response to the president's comments yesterday about the Supreme Court's review of the health care law. Mr. Obama all but threw down the gauntlet with the justices, saying he was "confident" the Court would not "take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress." Overturning a law of course would not be unprecedented -- since the Supreme Court since 1803 has asserted the power to strike down laws it interprets as unconstitutional. The three-judge appellate court appears to be asking the administration to admit that basic premise -- despite the president's remarks that implied the contrary. 
The panel ordered the Justice Department to submit a three-page, single-spaced letter by noon Thursday addressing whether the Executive Branch believes courts have such power, the lawyer said. The panel is hearing a separate challenge to the health care law by physician-owned hospitals. The issue arose when a lawyer for the Justice Department began arguing before the judges.
Appeals Court Judge Jerry Smith immediately interrupted, asking if DOJ agreed that the judiciary could strike down an unconstitutional law. The DOJ lawyer, Dana Lydia Kaersvang, answered yes -- and mentioned Marbury v. Madison, the landmark case that firmly established the principle of judicial review more than 200 years ago, according to the lawyer in the courtroom. Smith then became "very stern," the source said, suggesting it wasn't clear whether the president believes such a right exists.
The other two judges on the panel, Emilio Garza and Leslie Southwick--both Republican appointees--remained silent, the source said. Smith, a Reagan appointee, went on to say that comments from the president and others in the Executive Branch indicate they believe judges don't have the power to review laws and strike those that are unconstitutional, specifically referencing Mr. Obama's comments yesterday about judges being an "unelected group of people."
I've reached out to the White House for comment, and will update when we have more information.Audio from the 5th Circuit hearing, with Judge Smith's order to DOJ, is available here.
In the hearing, Judge Smith says the president's comments suggesting courts lack power to set aside federal laws "have troubled a number of people" and that the suggestion "is not a small matter." The bottom line from Smith: A three-page letter with specifics.
He asked DOJ to discuss "judicial review, as it relates to the specific statements of the president, in regard to Obamacare and to the authority of the federal courts to review that legislation." "I would like to have from you by noon on Thursday -- that's about 48 hours from now -- a letter stating what is the position of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice, in regard to the recent statements by the president," Smith said. "What is the authority is of the federal courts in this regard in terms of judicial review?" Smith made his intentions clear minutes after the DOJ attorney began her argument, jumping in to ask: "Does the Department of Justice recognize that federal courts have the authority in appropriate circumstances to strike federal statutes because of one or more constitutional infirmities?" Kaersvang replies yes, and Smith continues: "I'm referring to statements by the president in past few days to the effect, and sure you've heard about them, that it is somehow inappropriate for what he termed 'unelected' judges to strike acts of Congress that have enjoyed -- he was referring to, of course, Obamacare -- to what he termed broad consensus in majorities in both houses of Congress." In asking for the letter, Smith said: "I want to be sure you're telling us that the attorney general and the Department of Justice do recognize the authority of the federal courts, through unelected judges, to strike acts of Congress or portions thereof in appropriate cases."Hmmmm.......It seems like the gauntlet has been picked up and slapped in his face.Read the full story here.

'Iran says it could strike US if it were attacked'

'Iran says it could strike US if it were attacked'.(JPost).DUBAI - The United States would not be safe from retaliation if Iran is attacked by Washington, the Iran newspaper quoted a senior Revolutionary Guards commander on Tuesday as saying. "In the face of any attack, we will have a crushing response. In that case, we will not only act in the boundaries of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, no place in America will be safe from our attacks," Massoud Jazayeri was quoted as saying by the daily. Iran would not strike any country first, he said. Tehran is locked in a dispute with the West over its nuclear program. Israel and the United States have threatened military action against Iran unless it abandons activities which the West suspects are intended to develop nuclear weapons. Further talks between Iran and world powers are expected to take place this month in an attempt to reach a compromise. "America, the Zionists and reactionary Arabs should pay attention that we will seriously confront them wherever the Islamic Republic's interests are threatened," Jazayeri said, according to Iran daily. Iranian officials have warned that the Islamic Republic's response to any military strike would be painful and has said it could close the oil shipping thoroughfare the Strait of Hormuz.Hmmmm..........Read the full story here.

Russia sparks confusion over Iran nuclear talks.

Russia sparks confusion over Iran nuclear talks.(HD).Russia said April 2 that the date and place for talks with Iran on its controversial nuclear program had still not been set, despite a recent U.S. announcement on the first such meeting in more than a year. “The date and the place of the meeting have not been definitively set. The meeting could take place on April 13 or 14 or in the following days,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency, adding that the talks should take place as soon as possible. “The situation is very complicated and could get worse. We can’t wait any more. These negotiations are extremely important.” Ryabkov was reacting to a statement by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on March 31 that talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group (U.N. Security Council members plus Germany) would take place on April 13 and 14 in Istanbul. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, asked whether Clinton had made the announcement prematurely, said that the P5+1 group had agreed on the time and place and that the onus was on Iran to accept the plan. “It’s been interesting to us that we are getting different signals out of Iran as to whether all of this is locked down,” Nuland told reporters in Washington. “But we are ready if they are ready at that date and venue.” EU officials in Brussels said that, despite Clinton’s statement, Istanbul had not yet been fully confirmed as the venue. A senior Iranian political figure has also spoken out against Turkey hosting Iran’s next talks with world powers. Hmmm........Just playing for time, perhaps you'll get your answer when North Korea launches?Read the full story here.

Palestine lays cornerstone for embassy in Cairo

Palestine lays cornerstone for embassy in Cairo.(BM).CAIRO: Head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, spoke on Monday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about a means to offer more support to the Palestinian cause. The meeting stressed the importance of dialogue between Palestinian factions to end the internal strife in preparation for parliamentary elections as well as current Palestinian-Israeli standoff. Following the meeting, Abbas laid the foundation stone for the Palestinian embassy in Cairo in the neighborhood of El-Tagamoa El-Khames, east of Cairo. The Palestinian president thanked Egypt and the foreign ministry for their strenuous efforts to allocate this piece of land to build the Palestinian embassy.Hmmmm......All they need now is a state and money.....oh wait there's still $770 Million that Obama has on the side for 'emerging Arab Spring'.Read the full story here.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is in America: Holding Meeting in Secret Location Tomorrow With US Islamic Organization!

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is in America: Holding Meeting in Secret Location Tomorrow With US Islamic Organization!(docstalk) HT:CriticalAnalist.Yes that’s right! The Muslim Brotherhood, whose goal is Islamic world domination, have actually been allowed into our great country! They are touring Washington DC, and will be holding a conference with the American organization, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). MPAC is similar to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). They both bully and brainwash America to suit Islam. CAIR does a lot of bullying of businesses, and fights anti-Sharia bills in US Courts. MPAC has also fought anti-Sharia bills, and has been known to manipulate our government and media. Both organizations are subversive to America. Now MPAC has taken advantage of our Islam loving government, and will be holding court with the Muslim Brotherhood at an “undisclosed location”.

MPAC to Host Dialogue with Political Wing of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood
RSVP for Tuesday Forum, Seating Limited.

(Washington, DC, – 03/30/12) — The Muslim Public Affairs Council announced today that it will be hosting a conversation on Tuesday, April 3, with a delegation from the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
The delegation from the Freedom and Justice Party is on a tour in Washington, DC, and will be visiting other institutions such as Georgetown University, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Religion, Power and Politics:
A Conversation with Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party
Tuesday, April 3, at 7 p.m.
WHERE:Location information available upon RSVP
Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
Member of Parliament, Freedom and Justice Party – Luxor
Member, Foreign Relations Committee, Freedom and Justice Party
Hussein El-Kazzaz
Adviser, Muslim Brotherhood and Freedom and Justice Party
Sondos Asem
Senior Editor,
Member, Foreign Relations Committee, Freedom and Justice Party
Khaled Al-Qazzaz
Foreign Relations Coordinator, Freedom and Justice Party
Email Hoda Elshishtawy at or 202-547-7701.
Seating is limited, based on RSVPs.
Hmmmm.........Obama “We will hold sacred the beliefs held sacred by others.”Read the full story here.

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