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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Overnight Music video - Henry Mancini - Moon River

US Commerce Department to label Arab-Americans a 'disadvantaged minority'?

US Commerce Department to label Arab-Americans a 'disadvantaged minority'?(IsraelMatzav).Silly me. I thought the influence of Arab Americans in the US was based upon their middle and upper class status. Apparently not. The US Commerce Department is now considering labeling Arab-Americans a 'disadvantaged minority' (Hat Tip: Joe L).

The Commerce Department is considering naming Arab Americans a socially and economically disadvantaged minority group that is eligible for special business assistance.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) petitioned Commerce earlier this year to ask that Arab Americans be made eligible for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), which helps minority entrepreneurs gain access to capital, contracts and trade opportunities.

The ADC petition cited “discrimination and prejudice in American society[,] resulting in conditions under which Arab-American individuals have been unable to compete in a business world.” The group claimed discrimination against Arab Americans increased after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
You have until June 27 to let the Commerce Department know how you feel about this.

I think it's pretty hard to argue that there is significant anti-Arab discrimination, at least based on the hate crime statistics. The FBI hate crime statistics for 2010 are here. See for yourselves.The ADC wants any “American who traces his or her ethnic roots to one of the countries in the Arab World, including Algeria, Bahrain, Djoubti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen” to be eligible for MBDA services. Palestinians would also be included. .Hmmmm........I thought the black community was disadvantaged considering the unemployment numbers but apparently not for Barack HUSSEIN Obama.Or is it 'payback' for leading in Michigan?Read the full story here.

Israel Security Agency Shin Bet uncovers conspiracy by radical, Hamas-linked terror group 'Holy Warriors Brigades' to kidnap Israelis

                Why wouldn't they be laughing with U.S. Taxpayer Funding guaranteed?

Israel Security Agency Shin Bet uncovers conspiracy by radical, Hamas-linked terror group 'Holy Warriors Brigades' to kidnap Israelis.(Ynet).The Shin Bet has recently thwarted a terror group's attempt to abduct Israeli citizens. According to information released Tuesday, the Israel Security Agency (ISA) foiled an attempt by a terror group calling itself the "Holy Warriors Brigades," whose members planned to kidnap Israelis and use them as a bargaining chip to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners.The group's operatives are from Hebron and the Gaza Strip. The ISA suspects that the operation, which was partially planned from behind prison walls, was meant to mitigate the life sentences being served by some of the terror group's members.

"The Holy Warriors Brigades" is a radical splinter group of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Fatah's military wing. It is headed by Assad Ibrahim abu Shariya, whose brother, Omar, is imprisoned in Israel.

The group reportedly receives substantial funds and weapons form Hamas.According to available information, it was Omar who instructed his brother to form a terror cell to carry out the abduction. The operation was to be funded by a Saudi contact.

The Shin Bet said that "The Holy Warriors Brigades" have been involved in several terror attacks against Israeli targets over the past few years, including RGP fire at IDF troops, planting roadside bombs and explosives near the security fence and firing rockets at Israeli communities.Hmmmm....Will Obama keep funding Palestine with taxpayer money against Congress its wishes when Hamas is in their unity gov?Read the full story here

Video - Judge Napolitano At His Best......Sounds familiar what he says?

Congressional investigators Probe Fast-Track Approval for Obama Connected Green Companies.

Congressional investigators Probe Fast-Track Approval for Obama Connected Green Companies.(Heritage).Congressional investigators are probing potential cronyism in a pair of federal green energy programs, including the Energy Department loan program that guaranteed a $535 million loan to now-bankrupt solar company Solyndra.
In a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar sent on Tuesday, embedded below, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), chairman of the Budget Committee, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, ask for information on federal support for six different companies: Abengoa Solar, BrightSource Energy, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal, NextEra Energy Resources, and SolarReserve.
Sessions initially requested the information last year, but DOI has yet to respond. The letter calls the department’s silence “unacceptable.”
Session and Issa are wondering whether DOI fast-tracked regulatory approval for a spate of green energy projects with notable political connections and ties to the Obama administration.
According to a Republican aide on the Senate Budget Committee, Salazar’s department has created a two-tiered system for energy companies looking to secure federal support.Politically favored, and often connected, renewable energy plans [receive] less rigorous review than traditional energy projects,” the aide asserted.
Each of the companies mentioned in the letter has a significant political footprint. For instance, former BrightSource CEO John Bryson is now Commerce Secretary. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was instrumental in securing federal backing for Nevada Geothermal, even pressuring Interior to fast-track the company’s loan guarantee approval process.
Steve Black, a senior official at DOI, leads the Renewable Energy Policy Group, which also includes NextEra lobbyist Manal Yamout. Black and Yamout are reportedly in a romantic relationship.
The lead lobbyist for First Solar, vice president of government relations Kathleen Weiss, has had numerous meetings at the White House, according to visitor logs. She has met with senior White House official Valerie Jarrett, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Heather Zichal, among others.

While Interior has yet to respond to the request for information on these and other companies, the appearance of political favoritism in DOI’s review of green energy projects fits with a pattern of cronyism in the administration’s “green” initiatives.Here is the full text of the letter to Salazar:
Sessions Issa Letter to Salazar.
Read the full story here.

AG Eric Holder, the IRS, and the liberal lawyers at the ACLU to brief black pastors on what may be said during campaign 2012.

AG Eric Holder, the IRS, and the liberal lawyers at the ACLU to brief black pastors on what may be said during campaign 2012.(WE).Attorney General Eric Holder, the IRS, and the liberal lawyers at the ACLU will brief several hundred pastors in the African American community on how to participate in the presidential election -- which the Congressional Black Caucus chair expects will help President Obama's campaign. "We will have representatives from nine denominations who actually pastor somewhere in the neighborhood of about 10 million people, and we're going to first of all equip them with the information they need to know about what they can say and what they cannot say in the church that would violate their 501c3 status with the IRS," Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., told MSNBC today. "In fact, we're going to have the IRS administrator there, we're going to have the Attorney General Eric Holder there, we're going to have the lawyers' organization from around the country, the ACLU -- all giving ministers guidance about what they can and cannot do," he noted. Cleaver said they would not tell pastors which candidate to support. They will let them know who to regard as the bad guys, though (hint: not Democrats). "We're going to talk about some of the draconian laws that have cropped up around the country as a result of the 17 percent increase in African American votes," Cleaver said, describing voter ID laws as a form of Jim Crow-style "poll tax" on seniors and black voters.The CBC chairman is confident that "President Obama is going to get 95 percent of the [African American] vote," and wants to keep that turnout high. "We want to let them know that there is a theological responsibility to participate in the political process, at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition," he said.Hmmmm.....Obama "Don't think we're not keeping score, brother."Read the full story here.

Chasing the Sun - German and Chinese Solar Firms Battle for Survival, Obama pushes for Solar Energy.

Chasing the Sun - German and Chinese Solar Firms Battle for Survival, Obama pushes for Solar Energy.(Spiegel).Germany was proud of its supposedly future-proof solar industry and subsidized it to the hilt. But then the Chinese got in on the act and started making much cheaper solar cells. Now, following a glut in production, companies in both countries are fighting for survival.
Michael Zhu gazes at the watch he's placed in front of him on the glass table in his office. He'll have to get a move on. He has to walk over to the factory and continue to work on forcing the Germans out of the very market they've created. Zhu is the vice president of Suntech Power, which has an annual output of 10 million solar panels. No company in the world makes more than his, and no country in the world buys more than Germany. "We really have to thank Germany," says Zhu, whose office is in Wuxi, a city on China's eastern coast. He raves about Germany -- about the clean air, about the politicians who decided early on to subsidize the production of green energy, and about the country's eco-conscious customers. Nearly one-third of the modules from his factory are sold to Germany.
Reiner Beutel stands in his solar technology plant 8,500 kilometers (5,300 miles) away, in Bitterfeld-Wolfen, and says he's not prepared to simply admit defeat. "We intend to undercut the Chinese on price," says Beutel, who is CEO of German solar cell maker Sovello. He raps on the aluminum frame and says, in English: "Made in Germany." Beutel wants to save the German solar panel. Though he's fighting an uphill battle, he still believes he has a chance. Nevertheless, he was hit by yet another setback when his company filed for bankruptcy two weeks ago. Now he's hoping to find new investors who, under the more favorable terms of the insolvency proceedings, are prepared to put money into this future-oriented industry. Beutel is engaged in a fight being waged between two continents and two economic systems. In China, the communist government controls the economy, meaning that it steers and supports large, private companies, including manufacturers of solar panels, like Suntech. Its competitors, German manufacturers of solar technology, suspect that companies like Suntech have only grown so powerful thanks to government assistance and that China is providing its solar companies with cheap loans. In a sense, it's a battle of state capitalism versus market capitalism. But there's not a genuine market for solar modules in Germany, either. Instead, there's a market that politicians created in 2000 with the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), which promised tens of thousands of green jobs and now steers half of its €14 billion ($17.6 billion) in annual funding toward the solar industry. People in Germany aren't buying all these solar modules because the sun shines particularly often in their country. They're buying them because they will receive subsidies known as feed-in tariffs for the electricity for 20 years. The state has guaranteed every producer of solar power a price that was initially 50 euro cents per kilowatt hour higher than the market price. Since making solar modules is no longer difficult, more and more companies have entered the sector in recent years, not only in Germany and China, but also in Japan and Korea. However, the subsidies available in Germany have not been limited to electricity produced by German-made solar panels, as politicians did not specify where the modules should come from. In Italy, by contrast, power customers receive a bonus for installing solar panels made in Europe. As a result, the German subsidy program has had an effect across the world, and primarily in Asia. This led to a bubble in the solar-technology market. Manufacturers worldwide were soon making far more modules than customers wanted to purchase, and they started to undercut each other's prices, which fell by 50 percent last year. Since then, one manufacturer after the other has filed for bankruptcy, more than half a dozen in Germany alone since December. 
Many solar-panel production facilities are in eastern Germany, in Brandenburg, Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, where Bitterfeld is located. In April, the town lost Q-Cells, the city's first and best-known solar company. Its production halls are located across from Beutel's factory in Solar Valley.
By contrast, there are 12,000 people working in the production halls underneath Zhu's office in Wuxi. Every morning and every evening, when their long shifts begin, the company picks them up with 55 shuttle buses that circulate through the various districts of this city of over 6 million.Zhu is in charge of product development, which these days mostly means he has to find a way to produce solar panels even more cheaply. Zhu's strategy for combating falling prices -- which, in turn, could lead to yet another deterioration in prices -- is "aggressive cost-cutting." The idea is for the workers to assemble the modules even more quickly. Laminating a solar panel -- that is, gluing the cells between films -- takes 18 and sometimes up to 20 minutes. Perhaps 15 minutes would be enough, Zhu says.
They also have to reduce the amount of materials they use, he says, so they've made the modules' aluminum frames even thinner. Sensing that this could prompt some criticism, he points to a document with a blue and white emblem and the words "top brand." Since just recently, his modules have been allowed to bear this emblem. It's awarded by a company that tests photovoltaic products, and the best thing about it is the fact that the tester is based in the western German city of Bonn. "A German seal of quality," Zhu says, pausing briefly for effect.As the union representative explains, whether men or women, all workers who start out at Suntech should be high school graduates and healthy. The starting wage is 2,500 yuan a month -- a bit more than €300 ($430)  -- without overtime or bonuses and before tax. There are five days of paid vacation per year as well as health insurance.Germany will soon no longer be the most important market for his solar panels, Zhu says. Over the past eight years, Germany's market share of the global photovoltaic industry has dropped from nearly 70 percent to less than 20 percent. But if the Germans decide to continue supporting sales in their country for a while, he'd be happy. Inexpensive modules plus government subsidies add up to excellent deals for his German customers.The Germans have shelled out over €100 billion alone in funding for the solar panels that have been installed to date. This is paid for by all electricity customers, who will soon be shelling out 4 cents per kilowatt hour on their utility bills to support solar power. "Everyone wants to beat the competition -- that's normal," says Zhu in Wuxi. The Chinese-American entrepreneur has learned how capitalism works. When the state intervenes, he says, capitalism is always smart enough to ensure that something other than what the state wanted is ultimately achieved. No, he says, he's not afraid of the Germans anymore. What worries him are the competitors in his own country.Hmmmm.....America better be prepared to pay very high energy bills if Obama is reelected.Read the full story here.

Iran Overhauls Russian-Built Sub Tareq (Kilo SSK) with Russian weapons System?

Iran Overhauls Russian-Built Sub Tareq (Kilo SSK) with Russian weapons System?(OSG).Today, RIA Novosti reported that the Iranian Navy had finished the overhaul of Tareq, one of Iran's four Kilo (SSK) submarines acquired from Russia in the early 1990s. Unfortunately, little is currently known about what type of overhauls and upgrades have occurred since the Kilo went into the dry dock at Bandar-e Abbas. However, it was reported in 2005 that Rosoboronexport had planned to upgrade the submarines for Iran with the potential of receiving the Klub weapon system. Although such an upgrade would substantially enhance Iranian naval capabilities, what's more interesting is that maintenance (and possible upgrades) occurred locally while Iranian engineers have been working simultaneously on constructing Qaaem: Iran's 1,000+ ton submarine reportedly capable of launching subsurface-to-surface cruise missiles. It's very possible Iran may be trying to replicate the Kilo's capabilities in its own submarine construction in addition to the Klub weapon system.
While that's certainly the best case scenario for Iran, little beyond the completion of the overhaul has been actually confirmed. If Iran has been successful at acquiring the Klub, the possibility of an unreported offset agreement may have provided the technology transfer from Russia. In addition, if this type of technology can now be put into newer Iranian submarines, then Iran has certainly moved up the value chain in fabrication capabilities, something OSGEOINT has speculated on for some time.MSI on 29 January 2011 acquired from Geo Eye show Iran's Bandar-e Abbas and the position where Tareq has been under covered storage since at least 2008, possibly earlier. OSGEOINT previously reported on this activity here.
Low resolution MSI on 24 May 2012 acquired from Digital Globe show Iran's Bander-e Abbas dry docks and the absence of the covering where the previous Kilo was being overhauled. Due to low fidelity imagery, it's difficult to confirm if the submarine is still present. However, the absence of the covering may further support Tareq's launching as previously reported.
Possible Iranian upgrades to the Klub weapon system increase Iranian capabilities in the Strait as well as provide a strategic first strike option if Iran is able to acquire nuclear weapons. In addition, certain upgrades may help Iran move up the value chain for future submarine fabrication.Unfortunately, acquiring the Klub, if true, increases Iranian threat perceptions in the West which may lead to a greater risk for conflict.The other two Kilo-class subs are the Nooh (1993) and the Yunes (1997).Read and see the full story here.

'Allah's enemy!'Russian Radio host slash-attacked for anti-Islam rant on air.

'Allah's enemy!'Russian Radio host slash-attacked for anti-Islam rant on air.(RT).A radio host has been hospitalized after being cut 15 times by an unidentified criminal. Two weeks ago the journalist ventured to criticize the founder of Islam, the Prophet Mohammed, on air. ­
Sergey Aslanyan, 46, was brought to Moscow’s hospital with numerous non-penetrating knife wounds to the chest, neck and arm. According to the police report, on late Monday evening an unknown man called to Aslanyan’s flat over the building intercom and called him outside for a talk. When the journalist stepped out of the entranceway he was knocked over the head with a heavy object, after which the assailant brought the knife into play. Aslanyan claimed that the attacker was shouting “you are Allah's enemy!” while slashing at the victim. Police say the abuser was a slim man of about 30, while according to some witnesses there were several attackers.
As of now the journalist is conscious and his condition is stable. His relatives and friends are free to visit him in his flat, which is guarded by police. Investigators say they do not have a primary lead, but hope to identify the perpetrator using porch surveillance camera data. Still, Izvestia newspaper made a guess that the attack could be linked to recent statements made by the journalist in a radio show. While discussing religion in general he made some “from zero to hero” remarks towards the Prophet Mohammed. “The Prophet Mohammed, as we know, was not a religious figure. He was a businessman, but after getting considerable financial support built plans as to how to get to the top,” Aslanyan disclosed.
He also said that the Prophet “rewrote the Bible” so that “now everyone would know the Prophet Mohammed was not a market shopkeeper, but an outstanding political figure.” According to Aslanyan, the idea of Islam was a “business project from the very beginning,” and turned out to be successful due to “handsome financing.”
Besides that, the journalist, who was an external expert at this radio show, speculated that the Prophet had some sort of sexual disorder. Reportedly, the journalist later apologized on air for the harsh statements he had made, but that did not change public opinion much.Despite being disappointed with the journalist’s position, representatives of the Muslim clergy of Tatarstan refused to have anything to do with the assault on the journalist. “Islam does not recognize the resort to force – for this there are authorities and courts,” the spokesperson of the Clerical Administration of the Republic of Tatarstan told Izvestia. The radio host’s colleagues say Sergey Aslanyan was always extremely cautious about what he was saying and, despite being a well-known agitator, had never got into trouble and had even won several cases against him in court – only because of his close attention to the facts he was voicing.Hmmmm......Did you hear of any 'Russian Orthodox' believers slashing up members of the 'Pussy Riot' group?Read the full story here.

Obama’s Memorial Day Photo-Op Blocks Families, Vets From D.C. Vietnam Memorial Wall For 7 Hours

Obama’s Memorial Day Photo-Op Blocks Families, Vets From D.C. Vietnam Memorial Wall For 7 Hours.(5440Fight).Obama’s secret service shut down the memorial for most of the day, as families and veterans who had come to pay their respects to fallen loved ones were forced to stay hundreds of feet away. Why? So that the Narcissist-in-Chief could show up for 15-minute speech and photo-op with his carefully selected fans in the audience.
In his campaign speech remarks, Obama made sure to mention that: “As long as I’m president, we will make sure you and your loved ones will receive the benefits you’ve earned and the respect you deserve,” Obama said. “America will be there for you.
Wow. How did our veterans ever get their benefits before the benevolent Obamessiah came to office? Is that his argument for why they should vote for him? Because their benefits are only available “as long as I’m president?”
Perhaps he’s hoping they’ll forget that he he suspended hazard pay for deployed U.S. troops, terminated 157 Air Force Majors without retirement benefits,, and proposed a budget that would cut healthcare benefits for active duty and retired US military while protecting union benefits.

Kristinn at Free Republic confirms the story:

So this is how Obozo honors those who served….I just had this passed on from a friend who was at the wall this morning:
I normally try to avoid political statements, but this one is a bit different. This was received by Colonel Wayne Morris just a few moments ago, who was refused access to the Vietnam War Memorial, where he has visited his fallen comrades for the last 15 years. Today is Memorial Day and I went to the Vietnam Memorial and something happened there that upset me greatly and I want to pass it on. For over 15 years I had been going with my dear Marine buddy, Larry Cullen. Since he passed away last year and was interned at Arlington Cemetery, I went this year accompanied by my grandson, Cameron. I had my list of Recon Marines, school classmates, and Larry’s fallen buddies to visit but, as we got close to the area of the National Mall where the Wall is located, we saw huge white tents. We also saw barricades all along Constitution Ave and for a couple blocks in each direction from the Wall. They even closed down all of Constitution Av from the Lincoln Memorial all the way to the WW-II Memorial and there was a virtual army of uniformed and plain-clothes security everywhere. The biggest tent was right at the west end of the Wall entrance and there was a covered walkway leading right up to The Wall. It was so close, you couldn’t get to the Wall on that side so, my grandson and I went all the way around to the eastern entrance to the Wall and walked down along the Wall to the first of my names and I began telling my grandson about my buddies and how each one died. In short order, a guy in a dark suit and earpiece in his ear told us we had to leave as it was 0730 and they were closing Memorial until at least 1400 so the President could drop by. I asked if he was serious and he assured me he was. We and all the other veterans and families were forced to leave and it was locked down. The Vietnam Memorial is the most visited site on the entire National Mall. Memorial Day has more visitors to the Vietnam Memorial than almost any other day. Even at the rather early hour Cameron and I were there, there were a lot of veterans and family members down there. In the midst of all that, Obama decides to close it for over seven hours just so he can roll by for 30 minutes in the afternoon for a campaign appearance with Democrats, supporters, and campaign donors? This is an incredulously arrogant, egotistical, and inconsiderate thing to do. What in hell was Obama thinking? Hey President Obama: Since you ran me (and all the other veterans and family members) out of the Memorial before we finished our business there, how about doing me a favor. If you can take a short break from all the grippin’, grinnin’, posin’ and pontificatin’, how about taking a minute or two to stop by and say hello to my fellow Recon Marines and other classmates on the Wall. I suspect you’ll be too busy with photo ops, campaigning, and stroking donors to be troubled with a couple minutes doing what the Memorial was built for but, just in case, here’s a list so you can have your man find them and point them out to you. Hope you have a Meaningful Memorial Day. 
Joseph J. JONES; 53-W-02 
Sherwood David Kreis, 42-W-40 
Dale Kagebein, 34-W-50 
Jerry Bock, 25-W-95 
Larry Daniels, 09-E- 66 
Joe Mack Kemp, 09-E-69 
Rhonda L. Raglan, 09-E-70 
Robert L. Studards, 09-E-71 
Jose D. Flores, 09-E-74 
Arthur Willie Greene, 14-E-56 
Eric Barnes, 17-E-41 
Godfried Blankenship, 17-E-48 
Michael Ray Smith, 19-E-113 
Ervin Lovell, 19-E-120 
William D. Martin, 25-E- 87 
Michael L. Laporte, 26-E-1 
Ronald Frederick Kitzke, 32-E-76 
Charles Harris, 34-E-48 
Robert Tracy, 34-E-72 
Michael G. Murdock, 36-E-57 
Maybe it would have been better for everyone if Obama had just gone golfing like last year. Unfortunately, this is what veterans and their families have to suffer when Obama is in full campaign mode.No wonder a recent Gallup poll showed veterans prefer Mitt Romney to Obama, 58% to 34%.Read the full story here.

Obama: “America will be there for you", Rising number of homeless female US veterans.

Obama: “America will be there for you", Rising number of homeless female US veterans.(WP).By Annie Gowen.Four years ago, Veronica Witherspoon was stationed in Baghdad, enduring roiling sandstorms and nearly daily rocket fire as she worked as a Navy petty officer at Camp Victory.

By January, she had left the military, lost her job as a civilian contractor, split with her husband and ended up virtually homeless, bunking with family members. Deeply ashamed of her predicament and desperate for a way out, she ran across a story on a military Web site about a new program for female veterans called Final Salute.
The shelter for female vets opened its doors in a quiet Fairfax County cul-de-sac in November. The group home, the brainchild of an Army captain who was once homeless, is one of a small but growing number of women-only shelters that have opened up across the country to cater to a rising number of women who have wound up on the street after their military service.
In recent years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has made strides in a campaign to end veteran homelessness by 2015. Although the overall number of homeless veterans declined 12 percent between 2010 and 2011, the number of homeless female veterans is increasing, the VA said in a draft report this month. Women are the fastest-growing segment of the homeless veteran population.Officially, homeless female veterans number 3,328, a figure that doubled from 2006 to 2010, according to an estimate from the Government Accountability Office. The GAO says the data are incomplete and that the number is probably higher. Many of these homeless women are mothers, middle-aged or suffering from a disability.
Last year, the VA served an estimated 14,847 female veterans who were homeless, formerly homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, according to Stacy Vasquez, deputy director of the department’s homeless-veterans initiative.Hmmmm........Obama:"As long as I’m president, we will make sure you and your loved ones will receive the benefits you’ve earned and the respect you deserve,” Obama said. “America will be there for you."Read the full story here.

Michelle Obama sponsors Navy’s first submarine with all-female crew.

Michelle Obama sponsors Navy’s first submarine with all-female crew.(TheHill).The USS Illinois, the first Navy submarine to be staffed by an all-female crew, received the support of the White House on Memorial Day. On Monday, First Lady Michelle Obama officially sponsored the Virginia-class submarine, which will be one of the newest nuclear-powered boats scheduled to enter the fleet by 2015, according to a White House statement. “It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as sponsor of the USS Illinois,” the first lady said, according to the statement. “This submarine is a tribute to the strength, courage, and determination that our Navy families exhibit every day." The Illinois is the second ship the First Lady has sponsored since coming to the White House. She sponsored the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton, based in Alameda, California, earlier this year, according to administration officials. Former First Lady Laura Bush sponsored another Virginia-class attack sub, named the USS Texas, in 2004. In 1994, then First Lady Hillary Clinton sponsored the Los Angeles-class sub USS Columbia. Obama's endorsement of the Illinois, particularly its all-female crew, comes as women in the military are pushing the Pentagon for a larger role in combat operations. The Pentagon announced in February that it was opening up 14,000 new positions, most in the Army, to women after a review of its policies on women in combat. But the Defense Department kept in place a ban on women serving in units below the battalion level with primary combat roles and specialties like infantry or special-operations units.Read the full story here.

video - Barack's Back-Story.

Assad meets Annan on heels of massacre; Russia:Both sides have blood on their hands.

Assad meets Annan on heels of massacre;Russia:Both sides have blood on their hands.(AlArabiya).Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with peace envoy Kofi Annan, the state news agency SANA said on Tuesday, following a massacre which Syria’s government blamed on Islamist militants, while the global body suggested government forces played a role. Annan is attempting to salvage a six-week-old peace plan that has U.N. and Arab League backing, but which has barely slowed the bloodshed in a 14-month-old uprising against Assad that began with mass protests and now has an armed insurgency. As many as 21 people have been killed by the gunfire of Syrian forces on Tuesday, Al Arabiya reported citing activists at the Syrian Revolution Commission.
The Syrian National Council (SNC), meanwhile, urged the United Nations and the Security Council to apply Article 7 regarding the protection of civilians in Syria and to force the Syrian regime to implement the international decisions, Al Arabiya reported on Tuesday. The SNC criticized the Security Council’s statement on al-Houla massacre, noting that it is so weak compared to the grave massacres committed by the regime. The SNC called for providing the Syrians liable tools for self-defense, after the international community failed to protect them. The SNC also criticized the Syrian stand in the U.N. and called on Moscow to frankly support the Syrian people and endorse their right to choose their political regime, according to Al Arabiya. The SNC also called on Annan to announce the failure of his plan, especially after the Houla massacre. In Damascus on Monday, Annan called on the authorities to act to end the killing after what the special envoy called the “appalling crime” late last week at Houla, near Hama, in which at least 108 people, many of them children, were killed. Russia and China, long defenders of Assad against Western lobbying for U.N. sanctions, backed a non-binding Security Council text on Sunday that criticized the use against the town of artillery and tanks -- weaponry Syria’s rebels do not have. But on a day when opposition activists said at least another 41 people had died in shelling of the city of Hama, Moscow and Beijing showed little sign of adopting the Arab and Western view that Assad should go.
Both sides must come together to ensure a peaceful resolution, Russian and Chinese officials said, according to Reuters. Annan called on the Syrian government to “take bold steps to signal that it is serious in its intention to resolve this crisis peacefully” before adding: “This message of peace is not only for the government, but for everyone with a gun.” In an open letter to the Security Council, Syria’s Foreign Ministry flatly denied any army role in the killings at Houla, an atrocity that shook world opinion out of growing indifference to a 14-month-old conflict that has killed over 10,000. Instead, the government blamed knife-wielding Islamist militants. “Not a single tank entered the region and the Syrian army was in a state of self-defense,” it said in the letter published by state media. “Anything other than this is pure lies.” “The terrorist armed groups ... entered with the purpose of killing and the best proof of that is the killing by knives, which is the signature of terrorist groups who massacre according to the Islamist way.” It said three Syrian soldiers were killed and 16 wounded.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon had said U.N. observers who visited the site after the massacre “saw artillery and tank shells and as well as fresh tank tracks,” adding that many buildings were destroyed by heavy weapons. But U.N. monitors could not determine who had shot and stabbed many of the dead. Witnesses and opposition activists said Assad’s forces, including “shabbiha” militiamen from his Alawite minority sect, carried out the massacre of the Sunni Muslim civilians in Houla.
The sectarian dimension to a conflict that began with mainly peaceful demonstrations among the Sunni majority has raised fear of a breakdown of society similar to that seen in Iraq -- fear which has drawn many Syrians, including wealthier Sunnis, into defense of the four decade-rule of the Assad family. However, in a sign of cracks in that solidarity, activists reported a widespread shuttering of shops and market stalls in the capital on Monday in what they described as a protest by the Sunni merchant class over the killings at Houla and elsewhere. One activist, Amer Momen, said security police forced open dozens of shops. But he added: “The merchants are a crucial power center,... the core of the silent majority. If they no longer remain silent, then the revolt has hit a milestone.” China said it was “deeply shocked by the large number of civilian casualties in Houla, and condemns in the strongest terms the cruel killings of ordinary citizens, especially women and children.” Premier Wen Jiabao said support for the Annan truce, and a peaceful resolution, should be stepped up. That deal calls for heavy weapons to be pulled out of towns and cities, followed by an end to fighting, and dialogue. But the attack on Hama was a reminder that the plan, policed by just 300 U.N. monitors, has done little to stem the violence. “We are dealing with a situation in which both sides evidently had a hand in the deaths of innocent people,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.Read the full story here.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Overnight Music Video - Vietnam War-House of the Rising Sun

President Barack Obama honored veterans on Monday by noting “the light of a new day” of having U.S. troops home from Iraq and returning soon from Afghanistan, while promising not to send soldiers back to war without a clear need..

US company announced that it is due to cooperate with Iran in unique partnership to work toward nuclear fusion.

US company announced that it is due to cooperate with Iran in unique partnership to work toward nuclear fusion.(Fars).Tehran - A US company announced that it is due to cooperate with an Iranian university in unique partnership to work toward nuclear fusion.Tehran's Islamic Azad University and New Jersey-based Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Inc will jointly design a fusion machine that "would be affordable to construct in industrializing nations", according to a contract signed last weekend and seen and reported by the Guardian.
The partnership comes amid US allegations about Iran's civilian nuclear technology. Skeptics doubt whether US trade sanctions will permit the collaboration. But LPP claimed in a written statement that the pact qualifies as an official US department of treasury exemption "which authorizes collaborating with academics and research institutions on the … creation and enhancement of written publications."
LPP is scheduled to notify the president's council of advisors on science and technology of its Iranian partnership at 2pm ET on Friday in Washington DC. Many people regard nuclear fusion as the holy grail of energy sources. Unlike today's nuclear fission, it does not generate power by splitting atoms and leaving behind dangerous waste. Rather, in theory, it fuses them together - the way the sun works - typically combining isotopes of hydrogen known as deuterium and tritium. Fusion gave rise to the "too cheap to meter" vision in the 1950s, with the notion that a plentiful supply of deuterium could inexpensively meet energy needs. But some 60 years later, it has remained a dream that many experts believe is still at least 30 years away. The problem is that it currently takes more energy to run fusion than what the process delivers. Two large international government-backed research centers are working on this project. One of those, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in Cadarahce, France, projects costs of around €13bln just over its first phase, funded in part by the UK as part of the EU's 45% contribution, and by Japan, China, India, Russia, South Korea and the US. LPP is one of several small companies that believe they can crack fusion far sooner than can ITER or the National Ignition Facility (NIF), another international behemoth, based in Livermore, California. Two months ago, LPP reported a breakthrough when it confined a gas at 1.8bln degrees C, much higher than the industry record of 1.1bn degrees C that had stood since 1978. Fusion temperatures flash for only nanoseconds and are contained. The company is taking a significantly different approach from ITER and NIF, both of which aim to drive turbines from heat created by neutrons that escape in the fusion process. Azad University and LPP are developing "aneutronic" fusion, which would not rely on neutrons. It would eliminate turbines by providing electricity directly through charged ions. US startup Tri-Alpha Energy, a secretive company based in Irvine, California, is also working on aneutronic fusion and has received at least $140mln in venture capital with backers including Goldman Sachs and reportedly Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Venture capitalists typically seek financial returns within a few years, not the decades typically ascribed to fusion.Hmmmm....... Eric J. Lerner is an American popular science writer, independent plasma researcher, and serves as the president of Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Inc.While at Columbia, Lerner participated in the 1965 Selma March[29] and helped organize the 1968 Columbia Student Strike. In the 1970s, Lerner became involved in the National Caucus of Labor Committees, an offshoot of the Columbia University Students for a Democratic Society. Lerner left the National Caucus in 1978, later stating in a lawsuit that he had resisted pressure from the US Labor Party, an organization led by Lyndon LaRouche, to violate election law by channeling profits of an engineering firm to the organization. More recently, Lerner sought civil rights protection for immigrants as a member and spokesman for the New Jersey Civil Rights Defense Committee. He participated in the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011.Why does the name Obama come to my mind?Read the full story here.

Iranian Rapper Najafi on the death Fatwa on him: 'Fundamentalists Can't Take a Joke'.

Iranian Rapper Najafi on the death Fatwa on him: 'Fundamentalists Can't Take a Joke'.(Spiegel).Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi has been in hiding in Germany since a fatwa was pronounced against him three weeks ago. In an interview with SPIEGEL, he discusses the fear Iranian leaders have of young people and his conviction that change will come to his country sooner or later.So this is what exile in exile looks like. Fleeing the threats of Iranian ayatollahs, Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi, 31, has taken refuge in a garden house near Cologne, surrounded by chirping birds and a fig tree. Although he's under police protection, the four fatwas that have by now been launched against him by leading religious clerics in Iran over the past few weeks seem incredibly far away. Najafi released a song in which he implored the 10th imam, Ali al-Hadi al-Naqi, to return to the Earth to sort out modern-day Iran's problems. Shiites venerate al-Naqi, who died 1,143 years ago and was a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. The song has been downloaded over 500,000 times in Iran alone, and has received over half a million views on YouTube. The musician appeared to be in a good spirits. The interview was conducted in German, although Najafi often switched to Persian and his manager, a German-Iranian, translated for him whenever necessary. German author Günter Wallraff, who is supporting Najafi, was also there. Children's voices could be heard in the distance.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Najafi, you've been hiding for nearly three weeks now. What's your everyday life like?
Najafi: I read, I write, I have my guitar with me. I'm trying not to think about the threat.
SPIEGEL: Does anyone visit you?
Najafi: No, nobody. Only my manager and Mr. Wallraff.
SPIEGEL: You are married here in Germany. How is your family dealing with the situation?
Najafi: It's difficult; I'd rather not say anything more about it.

SPIEGEL: There's something satirical about the lyrics of your songs.

Najafi: Yes, I'm a satirist. The powerful don't like satirists.
SPIEGEL: Salman Rushdie could also be called a satirist.
Najafi: Fundamentalists can't take a joke. Ever. They want us to blindly obey, parrot everything they do, and believe in their dogmas.

SPIEGEL: Can a fatwa be revised?
Najafi: That's never happened before. The grand ayatollahs believe that they are in possession of the absolute truth and thus are infallible.
Najafi: Last night I saw a video on the Internet. Two masked men are threatening me, in Persian with an Afghan accent. They ask: Why do you insult our faith? We will find you, no matter where you hide; you're not safe anywhere. And they also speak German. Perhaps they live in Germany or grew up here. What should I do? Give in? Show regret? I won't do that. I believe in history. We need time. It will take time before something changes. But it will happen.Read the full story here.

Canada - Toronto - Air Canada plane makes emergency landing after reports of falling debris on cars.

Canada - Toronto - Air Canada plane makes emergency landing after reports of falling debris on cars.(Yahoo).An Air Canada plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Toronto's Pearson International Airport after debris reportedly fell from the plane. The Boeing 777 took off from Toronto heading for Narita, Japan, said Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick to CP24. Shortly after takeoff, the engine shut down and the plane headed back to Pearson. Peel police are reporting three to four locations in Mississauga where debris fell. There is no confirmation yet of exactly what fell from the plane, but there were reports of damage to cars. According to the Toronto Star, Peel Regional Police and Emergency Medical Services are on scene at the airport in Mississauga, Ont. Monday afternoon.Read the full story here, more here and here.

Video - American attacked by Turkish people about Iraq war."Time to get Turkey out of NATO?"

 Don't you love Obama's "trusted Ally" Turkey?HT: MilitaryPhotos

Palestine Airlines back to skies with statehood goal.

Palestine Airlines back to skies with statehood goal.(HD).Palestinian Airlines is back in the skies after being grounded for seven years by deepening enmities in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Regional director of the airline said this is part of the independent state. On May 9, Palestinian Airlines, grounded since 2005, resumed operations, starting with biweekly flights between El-Arish and Marka Airbase in the Jordanian capital of Amman. The new route means residents of Gaza no longer have to travel to Cairo, some 350 kilometers away, to board flights. El-Arish is an Egyptian coastal resort in northern Sinai, about 60 kilometers from Gaza. “We have started with flights from Amman to El-Arish and from El-Arish to Amman,” Palestinian Airlines Director-General Zeyad Albad told Agence France-Presse. “We are going to have flights from El-Arish to Jeddah [Saudi Arabia] soon, and we are trying to set up some new routes to Turkey and the [United Arab] Emirates.The airline hopes it will eventually turn a profit, but for now national pride and making life easier for the Gazans are more important, said regional director Azmi Samaan. “We want the Palestinian flag to continue flying,” he said in an interview at Marka Airbase, according to the Associated Press. “This is part of the independent state, to have an airline, no matter what it will cost us.” The carrier is a tiny operation, with just two 48-seat turboprop planes, two weekly flights and a borrowed hub in Egypt. The 15-year-old airline’s fortunes have been closely tied to the quest for a Palestinian state.But the airline was forced to suspend operations from Gaza after Israel imposed restrictions on the airport and then rendered it unusable by tearing up its runways and bombing it in 2001.Hmmmmm....Thanks to US taxpayer money from Obama?Read the full story here.

Outcome of Islam-Christianity conference on Jerusalem to be published.

Outcome of Islam-Christianity conference on Jerusalem to be published.(IBNA).The first Islamic and Evangelical Christianity was held yesterday (May 27, 2012). A book will be published based on the outcome of the conference.
IBNA: The conference was themed at the Joint Duty of Muslims and Christians regarding Beitol Moghadas.("Beitol Moghadas" = Jerusalem (the city of the Great King).
In an interview with IBNA, caretaker of the information department of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO) said that the conference was arranged by the Center of Dialogue between Religions and the ICRO. As Khorshid Goudarzi said, the session was held in the presence of scholars from Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Switzerland, Denmark, Brazil, Pakistan and the UK. Issues about the future cooperation between Muslims and Christians were discussed in the conference.Hmmmm.......Excuse me for asking but how about the Jewish character of Jerusalem?Read the full story here.

Iran detects new kind of Stuxnet virus

Iran detects new kind of Stuxnet virus.(Taz).Iran's National Computer Emergency Response Team has detected an attack of a new computer virus close to Stuxnet and Duqu malwares. CERT announced on Sunday that following the continuous research on the targeted attacks of Stuxnet and Duqu since 2010, it detected a new attack, codenamed "Flamer" and launched by a new malware. The virus features show that there is a close relation to the Stuxnet virus, it said. According to CERT, the research results show that the recent incidents of mass data loss in Iran could be the outcome of the new virus' attack. For the past couple of years, Iran has been targeted by Stuxnet and Duqu viruses. Iran claimed that country's network grid managed to withstand the attacks, however a lot of computers in the country, mainly the industrial ones, were infected or damaged. Recently Iranian oil and education ministries and banking system came under cyber-attacks.Read the full story here.more here @ Wired.

Video - 'Unverified' clip shows Saudi killing another.

Video - 'Unverified' clip shows Saudi killing another.(24/7).Saudi newspapers on Monday published a YouTube film showing an armed man dressed in traditional local dress chasing another in the dark before killing him. “Officials have yet to confirm or verify this film…those who shot the film said police were investigating and were searching for the persons shown in it,” the Arabic language daily Alsaudeh said. This website also has no verification on the authenticity of the video. Like in the famous film “the hard target”, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, the unidentified man was seen running after his victim and turning around a tree before firing at him. The other man was seen falling down while his chaser came on top of him and shot him again. The film was entitled “a real video shot of the murder of a Saudi man” and newspaper said police were looking for the two men shown in the film.Read and see the full story here.

Video - Ezra Levant - How To Stop Canada's Riots & occupiers

“Either you kill a baby in the mother's stomach or you kill a baby after birth. There is no difference,” - PM Erdogan's abortion remark sparks row over ethics.

“Either you kill a baby in the mother's stomach or you kill a baby after birth. There is no difference,” - PM Erdogan's abortion remark sparks row over ethics.(TZ).A statement from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressing his anti-abortion stance and opposition to C-section surgery has sparked the anger of women's rights groups and some female deputies, initiating a debate on the government's right to intervene in people's ethical choices. Addressing a conference in İstanbul on Friday, Erdoğan said no one should have the right to sanction abortion. “Either you kill a baby in the mother's stomach or you kill a baby after birth. There is no difference,” Erdoğan said. He also expressed his opposition to C-section surgery, describing it as unnatural. 
Health Minister Recep Akdağ on Saturday confirmed plans to limit the number of C-section births at Turkish hospitals. “We will impose penalties on private hospitals that have greatly increased the number of unnecessary Cesareans,” he said, speaking at a health symposium in Balıkesir on Saturday. He noted the ministry was working on new legislation to address the issue.
In his speech Erdoğan further remarked that society should be more sensitive to the issue of abortion and that “we have to be together against this,” adding that, “Every abortion is like an Uludere,” a reference to the deaths of 34 civilians in December last year in a Turkish military airstrike near the Iraqi border in the Kurdish-dominated Southeast. An investigation into the killings is ongoing, but it is claimed the civilians were mistaken for Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists by the military.
Sharing her thoughts about Erdoğan’s comments, Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Şahin has suggested that Erdoğan’s statements should be discussed on scientific grounds. “Abortion is, of course, a right of individuals. But what the prime minister said was his personal observation. He pointed out the significance of family planning and taking necessary precautions before thinking of abortion as a solution. ...
The prime minister’s statement that ‘abortion is a murder’ is merely to emphasize that when you terminate a pregnancy, if you did not take precautions beforehand, you are violating that baby’s right to life. To those criticizing the prime minister’s statements on this issue I recommend reading World Health Organization (WHO) reports,” the minister said. Women’s rights groups and advocates reacted angrily to the statement. Habibe Yılmaz, lawyer and head of the Center for Legal Support to Women, said in a statement made to a news agency, “Making a decision regarding one’s own body -- in the realm of medicine -- is a fundamental human right. Depriving women of this right would be tantamount to restricting her right to health and the right to live a fulfilling life. The issue of voluntary miscarriages should be seen in the light of fundamental liberties.”Hmmmm.....Erdogan "The man Obama is asking advise on how to raise his daughters".Read the full story here.

Stealth Backdoor key found in a US military China-made chip.

Stealth Backdoor key found in a US military China-made chip.(TNW).By Jon Russell.A team of researchers from Cambridge University say they have found evidence that a Chinese-manufactured chip used by US armed forces contains a secret access point that could leave it vulnerable to third party tampering.
The researchers tested an unspecified US military chip — used in weapons, nuclear power plants to public transport – and found that a previously unknown ‘backdoor’ access point had been added, making systems and hardware open to attack, the team says.
Cambridge University researcher, Sergei Skorobogatov, explains:
We scanned the silicon chip in an affordable time and found a previously unknown backdoor inserted by the manufacturer. This backdoor has a key, which we were able to extract. If you use this key you can disable the chip or reprogram it at will, even if locked by the user with their own key.
This particular chip is prevalent in many systems from weapons, nuclear power plants to public transport. In other words, this backdoor access could be turned into an advanced Stuxnet weapon to attack potentially millions of systems. The scale and range of possible attacks has huge implications for National Security and public infrastructure.
While the initial research is a concern, a number of question marks remain over the findings before further conclusions can be drawn.
It is unclear if the access point is isolated to the chip that was tested or whether Skorobogatov and his colleagues have stumbled upon a larger trend. Likewise, it remains possible that the modified back door access could have been created by the US armed forces themselves.
The news comes at a time when Chinese cyber-spying threats are a particular concern. Chinese telecom manufacturers ZTE and Huawei are already under investigation from the US government, which is assessing whether the duo’s telecom businesses pose a national security threat.
The Cambridge researchers did not name the company that developed the chip tested, nor did they provide more specific details of its usage. We’ve contacted Skorobogatov for further details and will provide any more information that we’re given.Read the full story here, more here.

Al-Shabab plotting attack in Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States.

Al-Shabab plotting attack in Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States.(RNW).A former commander of the Somali Al Qaeda-linked organisation al-Shabab has said that dormant cells in the Netherlands are secretly preparing terrorist attacks. The commander, who left al-Shabab because of a dispute with its leaders, said the militant Islamist group is actively recruiting and training members of the Somali diaspora in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States to launch attacks in the countries where they have a residence permit. 
Dutch public broadcaster VPRO spoke to a BBC reporter, Mary Harper, on its radio programme Bureau Buitenland. Ms Harper had interviewed Mohamed Farah al Ansari who said Somalia was becoming the new hub of jihadism. Al Ansari joined up with government forces and entered a protection programme with the interim government after he stopped activities with Al Shabab. The Somali commander was questioned by US security officials at the American embassy in Nairobi. Waging jihad Al-Shabab is an offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union, which splintered into several smaller factions after its defeat in 2006 by the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the TFG's Ethiopian military allies. The group describes itself as waging jihad against "enemies of Islam", and is engaged in combat against the TFG and the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM). The outfit controls large swathes of the southern parts of the country where it is said to have imposed its own strict form of Sharia Law. Its strength is estimated at around 14,000 militants. The group also targets foreign aid organisations, leading to a suspension of humanitarian operations and an exodus of relief agents. The UN Security Council voted earlier this year to increase AU peacekeeping forces in Somalia. The fighting has shifted away from the capital Mogadishu and government troops have managed to take a strategic al-Shabab stronghold in south-western Somalia.Read the full story here.

Islam making its move for the management of the entire world community, a.k.a. "Global Caliphate ".

Islam making its move for the management of the entire world community, a.k.a. "Global Caliphate".(IRNA). Tehran – The 21st Congress of the Union of Islamic Societies opened in Istanbul today in a ceremony attended by the Secretary General the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Taskhiri. The event attended by foreign ministers, academics, religious scholars and elites from Sweden, Australia, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Tajikistan will seek to review the recent developments in the world and explore grounds for mutual cooperation as well as solutions for the new conditions prevailing in the world.
Taskhiri presented an article themed ‘new world order and globalization; shoulds and shouldn’ts’ during the ceremony. Commenting on globalization, he explained the adverse impacts of globalization. Topics for discussion during the event includes major shortages of Islamic world for rearranging new world order, change and development in the Islamic world and transition to the new world based on justice and truth.
Problems of unjust current world order, changing prejudgments towards Islam, Islam’s main principles for the management of the entire world community, new order in transition from Imperialism to Islamic civilization are among the topics to be dealt with during the event. The 21st Congress of the Union of Islamic Societies themed ‘Islamic union and a new world’ will end on May 28.Hmmmmm.....Hosted by Turkey.....Obama's "Trusted Buddy"........You think they talked about Israel?Read the full story here.

Total National Security Budget expenses for Fiscal Year 2013 estimated to be 1 Trillion Dollars.

                                             One Trillion Dollars In Cash

Total National Security Budget expenses for Fiscal Year 2013 estimated to be 1 Trillion Dollars.(AsiaTimes).By Chris Hellman and Mattea Kramer Recent months have seen a flurry of headlines about cuts (often called "threats") to the United States defense budget. Last week, lawmakers in the House of Representatives even passed a bill that was meant to spare national security spending from future cuts by reducing school-lunch funding and other social programs.
Here, then, is a simple question that, for some curious reason, no one bothers to ask, no less answer: How much are we spending on national security these days? With major wars winding down, has Washington already cut such spending so close to the bone that further reductions would be perilous to our safety? In fact, with projected cuts added in, the national security budget in fiscal 2013 will be nearly $1 trillion - a staggering enough sum that it's worth taking a walk through the maze of the national security budget to see just where that money's lodged.
If you've heard a number for how much the US spends on the military, it's probably in the neighborhood of $530 billion. That's the Pentagon's base budget for fiscal 2013, and represents a 2.5% cut from 2012. But that $530 billion is merely the beginning of what the US spends on national security. Let's dig a little deeper. The Pentagon's base budget doesn't include war funding, which in recent years has been well over $100 billion. With US troops withdrawn from Iraq and troop levels falling in Afghanistan, you might think that war funding would be plummeting as well. In fact, it will drop to a mere $88 billion in fiscal 2013.
By way of comparison, the federal government will spend around $64 billion on education that same year. Add in war funding, and our national security total jumps to $618 billion. And we're still just getting started. The US military maintains an arsenal of nuclear weapons. You might assume that we've already accounted for nukes in the Pentagon's $530 billion base budget. But you'd be wrong. Funding for nuclear weapons falls under the Department of Energy (DOE), so it's a number you rarely hear. In fiscal 2013, we'll be spending $11.5 billion on weapons and related programs at the DOE. And disposal of nuclear waste is expensive, so add another $6.4 billion for weapons cleanup. Now, we're at $636 billion and counting.Read the full story here.

Amsterdam VVD councillor criticises police who failed to arrest the Sharia4Holland speakers, who made death threats to Geert Wilders.

Amsterdam VVD councillor criticises police who failed to arrest the Sharia4Holland speakers, who made death threats to Geert Wilders.(RNW).Amsterdam VVD councillor, Robert Flos, has criticised the police for the way they dealt with a hate speech on Dam Square on Friday. On local television channel AT5, the councillor says the police failed to arrest the Sharia4Holland speakers, who made death threats aimed at Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders and arrested a passer-by who tried to enter a discussion with the speakers. Mr Flos points out that making death threats is a criminal offence. The passer-by was heavy-handedly removed from the scene.
The councillor told AT5 he was shocked but “a message of intolerance can even be made next to our monument of freedom.” He has asked city Mayor Eberhard van der Laan for an explanation. The Sharia4Holland speaker called Mr Wilders “this dog of the Romans”, who will be dealt with once the Netherlands is an Islamic state. He also warned that lessons should be learnt from “the case of Theo van Gogh''. The Public Prosecution and the police are investigating the comments made by the Sharia4Holland members, who want to impose Sharia law (Islamic law) in the Netherlands. According to experts, the movement in the Netherlands is very small with only around a dozen members and even radical imams want nothing to do with it. Sharia4Holland is an offshoot of Sharia4Belgium.Read the full story here.
Update: Sharia4Holland spokesman arrested over Wilders threat.(DN). Amsterdam police have arrested the 29-year-old spokesman for radical Islamic group Sharia4Holland for making threats against MP Geert Wilders. In an impromptu press conference on Dam square in Amsterdam on Friday, the man likened Wilders to a Roman dog and warned him to learn the lesson of what happened to Theo van Gogh. Van Gog was killed by an Islamic militant. The arrest followed a formal complaint by Wilders and critical comments from politicians. Sharia4Holland, an offshoot of Sharia4Belgium, is said to have handful of members in the Netherlands.Read the full story here.

The Vetting: Obama Decried 'Spread of Militarism,' Lauded Anti-Selective Service Group at Columbia

The Vetting: Obama Decried 'Spread of Militarism,' Lauded Anti-Selective Service Group at Columbia.(Breitbart).In late 2008—long after the election—the media revealed a long-forgotten article written by Barack Obama while at Columbia.
Obama wrote the March 1983 article, “Breaking the War Mentality,” about two campus groups, Arms Race Alternatives (ARA) and Student Against Militarism (SAM). Ben Smith of Politico (now at Buzzfeed) told readers that Obama’s views reflected the “very conventional campus liberalism of the time.” Wrong. Smith and the media failed to investigate what the activists at SAM were actually doing: encouraging students to break the law by not registering for the Selective Service and harassing military recruiters.

* * Obama wrote that SAM “was formed in response to the passage of the registration laws in 1980.” Obama noted that the activists had “fostered awareness and practical action necessary to counter the growing threat of war.” That “awareness” and “practical action” went beyond mere protest, or encouraging students to break the law. SAM also wanted to break the military itself by sapping it of support—as Obama must have known from contemporaneous articles in the Columbia Spectator and from campus politics.

* * SAM’s most serious form of political activism, however, was encouraging students not to register for the Selective Service. Refusing to register for the Selective Service could mean arrest, imprisonment, and—most importantly—denial of federal student aid. SAM counseled Columbia’s estimated 400 non-registrants and tried to form them into a political force on campus. The non-registrant’s “refusal to register seems to reflect more of an abstract repulsion to war and violence than any political opposition to the American political system,” wrote Julius Genachowski for the Spectator on November 29, 1982 (later Obama’s classmate at Harvard Law School, and his appointee to lead the Federal Communications Commission). “But they are nevertheless acutely aware that a peaceful world would require a restructuring of that system—and that such a change could only be furthered by the public declaration of their opposition to draft registration.”
SAM hosted an event encouraging students to do just that. It even formed a support group for law-breakers.On March 11, 1982, the Spectator’s John Jay Tilsen wrote: About twenty demonstrated from the Students Against Militarism stage a protest outside the building to condemn what, they said, is a national shift of job opportunities from human services industries to military industries. The students walked in the snow, carrying placards that said, ‘Marine Corps Not Welcome Here We Want Peace Jobs,” as they distributed leaflets calling for a new type of recruitment program that would list only organizations and companies that had no connections with the military. As few jobs become available in the private sector, job-seekers ‘see few alternatives to the military, which is always hiring,’ Rob Kahn of SAM said, ‘All of this adds up to increased militarization of the campus.’(Hmmm.....Why does the name Kagan come to my mind?).
Matt Meyer, a public non-registrant, from the War Resisters League, spoke to about 30 students in a speech sponsored by SAM about the legitimacy of resisting draft registration, the important of being outspoken in that dissent, and the need for resisters to reinforce each other’s beliefs. (Julius Genachowski, “Draft Law Violators to Resist Together,” Columbia Spectator, December 2, 1982)

* Former Democratic Congressman Bella Abzug joined Sister Anne Montgomery and Father Paul Dinter at the rally, denouncing President Ronald Reagan and the “militaristic and adventuristic [sic] attitudes of the current administration.” When student athletes joined the counter-protest, the left-wing rally fizzled. However, SAM successfully promoted its ideas by distributing flyers calling for the following policy steps:
• Financial Aid for Non-Registrants [those who refused to register for the Selective Service] 
• No to the Solomon Amendment! [which took away federal aid from those who refused to register] 
• No Draft or Registration! 
• No to Militarism in Our Schools and In Our Country! While Obama did register for the draft in Honolulu, Hawaii on September 4, 1980, far out of sight of his fellow student radicals at Occidental or Columbia, he backed SAM’s program.Hmmmm........It should be noted that failure to register for selective service disqualifies you from holding any government position/office.Today, as Barack Obama cuts military spending and advertises to the Russians that he will have more “flexibility” on American defense after the election, it appears that old lessons die hard. Read the full story here.

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