Sunday, September 30, 2012

Kenya: Muslims kill a child in church grenade attack, shoot dead 2 policemen near Somalia border

GARISSA, Kenya (Reuters) - Two police officers were shot dead in Kenya on Sunday in the northern town of Garissa close to the border with Somalia, police said, hours after a child was killed in a grenade attack on a church in Nairobi.

Kenya has been hit by a series of grenade and gun attacks since it sent troops into Somalia last October in pursuit of Islamist al Shabaab militants whom it blamed for kidnapping its security personnel and Western tourists.

The killing of the police officers and the attack on the church came days after Kenyan troops launched a surprise offensive on the southern Somali port of Kismayu, al Shabaab's last stronghold, forcing the rebels to flee.


Hugo Chavez: “If I were American, I’d vote for Obama”

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has weighed in on the U.S. presidential race, saying he prefers President Barack Obama.

“If I were American, I’d vote for Obama,” Chavez said in a televised interview that aired Sunday.

The Venezuelan leader called Obama “a good guy” and said if the U.S. president were a Venezuelan, “I think ... he’d vote for Chavez.”

I bet he would.

Azerbaijan eyes aiding Israel against Iran

BAKU (Reuters) - Israel's "go-it-alone" option to attack Iran's nuclear sites has set the Middle East on edge and unsettled its main ally at the height of a U.S. presidential election campaign.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exudes impatience, saying Tehran is barely a year from a "red line" for atomic capacity. Many fellow Israelis, however, fear a unilateral strike, lacking U.S. forces, would fail against such a large and distant enemy.

But what if, even without Washington, Israel were not alone?

Azerbaijan, the oil-rich ex-Soviet republic on Iran's far northern border, has, say local sources with knowledge of its military policy, explored with Israel how Azeri air bases and spy drones might help Israeli jets pull off a long-range attack.

That is a far cry from the massive firepower and diplomatic cover that Netanyahu wants from Washington. But, by addressing key weaknesses in any Israeli war plan - notably on refueling, reconnaissance and rescuing crews - such an alliance might tilt Israeli thinking on the feasibility of acting without U.S. help.

It could also have violent side-effects more widely and many doubt Azeri President Ilham Aliyev would risk harming the energy industry on which his wealth depends, or provoking Islamists who dream of toppling his dynasty, in pursuit of favor from Israel.

Yet despite official denials by Azerbaijan and Israel, two Azeri former military officers with links to serving personnel and two Russian intelligence sources all told Reuters that Azerbaijan and Israel have been looking at how Azeri bases and intelligence could serve in a possible strike on Iran.

"Where planes would fly from - from here, from there, to where? - that's what's being planned now," a security consultant with contacts at Azeri defense headquarters in Baku said. "The Israelis ... would like to gain access to bases in Azerbaijan."


Canada says it took Guantanamo detainee early after Obama administration's pressure

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada, which allowed Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr to be transferred to a prison in his homeland months earlier than expected, did so after pressure from the United States, Foreign Minister John Baird said on Sunday.

Baird declined to comment on reports an angry Washington had insisted on Khadr's quick return after someone in Canada leaked a secret U.S. report on him.

Khadr, 26, the youngest prisoner and last Westerner held in the Guantanamo military base, was sent back to Canada on Saturday to finish his sentence. He was 15 years old when captured in Afghanistan and later confessed to killing a U.S. soldier and conspiring with al Qaeda.

Khadr's arrival in Canada was a major surprise since Public Safety Minister Vic Toews indicated as recently as September 14 that Khadr was unlikely to return before January.

Asked whether the United States had put pressure on Canada to accept Khadr now, Baird told CTV: "Yes ... obviously the Americans are closing down the prison and wanted to send him back and under law, Canadian law, we're pretty obliged to take him."

Khadr, who pleaded guilty in 2010 to murdering a U.S. army medic with a grenade in a Afghan firefight in 2002, applied for a transfer to Canada in April.


Israel-hating Syria to use Israeli made water purification tablets

Suddenly no boycotting? What gives?
(Ynet) Israel Chemicals (ICL) was given a special authorization Sunday to have one of its European subsidiaries sell water purification tablets to UNICEF with the knowledge that they will be used in the agency's relief mission in Syria.

UNICEF is overseeing a project meant to rehabilitate Syria's water sources, which have suffered significant damage during the 18-months revolt against President Bashar Assad.

The deal will be carried out by ICL's Ireland-based subsidiary, Medentech. The company needed government approval for the deal since it involved the delivery of Israeli products to an enemy state.

According to details obtained by Ynet, UNICEF expressed interest in the company's "AquaTabs" water purification product following the growing shortage of drinking water in war-torn Syria.


Muslims torch Buddhist temples, homes in Bangladesh over a Facebook photo

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh (AFP) — Thousands of rioters torched Buddhist temples and homes in southeastern Bangladesh on Sunday over a photo posted on Facebook deemed offensive to Islam, in a rare attack against the community.

Officials said the mob comprising some 25,000 people set fire to at least five Buddhist temples and dozens of homes in Ramu town and its adjoining villages, some 350 kilometres (216 miles) from the capital Dhaka.

The rioters claimed the photo allegedly defaming the Koran was uploaded on Facebook by a young Buddhist man from the area, district administrator Joinul Bari said.

"They became unruly and attacked Buddhist houses, torching and damaging their temples from midnight to Sunday morning," he told AFP.

"At least 100 houses were damaged. We called in army and border guards to quell the violence," he said, adding that authorities had temporarily banned public gatherings in the area to prevent further clashes.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Member of 'Obama Boyz' gang charged in St. Louis shootings

ST. LOUIS • A St. Louis teen who authorities say is a member of a gang called the "Obama Boyz" has been charged with two shootings on Saturday.

Anthony Jamal Lee, 18, fired at a group of people from the window of a Grand Prix at 2:17 p.m., according to charges. A 13-year-old boy was struck in the side of his body and had to be hospitalized; a 17-year-old boy was grazed by bullets on his face and arm.

Lee, according to authorities, then fired from his car at two passengers in another Grand Prix, grazing one of them in the back.

One shooting occurred at the 3200 block of Oriole Avenue, and the other nearby at Harney and Beacon avenues.

Lee, who was charged Friday in St. Louis Circuit Court, faces a mix of 10 felony counts of first-degree assault, armed criminal action and firing shots from a vehicle. Judge Theresa Burke set $100,000 cash bail.

Authorities said Lee is a documented member of the "Obama Boyz" gang, but did not elaborate.
I wonder if the Obama Boyz use Obama phones?

Sweden: Jewish community center bombed in Malmö, city run by anti-Semitic mayor

(WJD) The danger of antisemitic and anti-Zionist politics was brought brutally home on Friday, with a terrorist attack on a Jewish community center in a Swedish city run by an antisemitic mayor.

Malmo, Sweden has been the site of numerous antisemitic incidents and attacks on the 700 Jews who live in the city, which also has a large Muslim immigrant population. In 2009, a soccer game erupted into a full-scale pogrom.

In response, the city's antisemitic mayor has blamed Israel and its Jewish supporters for the violence. He has demanded that his city's Jews give up their support for Zionism.

Recently, protests have been held by Jewish groups in Malmo, who have grown tired of being targeted by racists while being ignored by a racist municipal government. Friday's bombing likely represents a response to this defiance.

There were no reported injuries in the explosion, though the building was damaged. Two suspects were reportedly arrested at the scene.

Biden Blames Bush for Obama-Created Deficit

FORT MYERS, Fla. (ABC) - Vice President Joe Biden placed the blame for the ballooning deficit on the Bush administration today, arguing that the previous administration saddled the country with the burden of trillions of dollars in debt.

"Let's get serious here! How did we get this debt? Ladies and gentlemen, they put two wars on a credit card. Not paying a penny, not paying a penny, even though I introduced legislation to pay for that war. They voted against it," Biden said at the Wa-Ke Hatchee Park Recreation Center. "Two, they voted for a new entitlement program without paying one penny for it, and that was clear. Number 3, they added another trillion dollars in the tax cut for the very wealthy, so what's the result? These are the facts, folks, these are the facts.


Ancient Syrian souk, a UNESCO world heritage site, burns as fighting rages in Aleppo

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hundreds of shops were burning in the ancient covered market in Aleppo on Saturday as fighting between rebels and state forces in Syria's largest city threatened to destroy a UNESCO world heritage site.

The uprising-turned-civil war that is now raging across Syria has killed more than 30,000 people, according to activist groups such as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [...]

Aleppo's Old City is one of several locations in Syria declared world heritage sites by UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency, that are now at risk from the fighting.

UNESCO believes five of Syria's six heritage sites - which also include the ancient desert city of Palmyra, the Crac des Chevaliers crusader fortress and parts of old Damascus - have been affected.

The British-based Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of activists across Syria, said Assad's forces and rebels blamed each other for the blaze.


Ralph Nader Calls Obama a 'War Criminal'

(UPI) President Obama is a "war criminal" while rival Mitt Romney is "a corporation running for president," says Ralph Nader, a former candidate for U.S. president.

Nader, who ran for president as the Green Party candidate in 2000 and as an independent in 2004, told Politico that Obama was worse than George W. Bush.

Obama is "more aggressive, more illegal worldwide" than Bush, the six-time presidential candidate said. The president is a "war criminal," he said, who "thinks the world is his plate, that national sovereignties mean nothing, drones can go anywhere."

Obama's success has been "below average," Nader said, "because he raised expectation levels. What expectation level did George W. Bush raise?"


Friday, September 28, 2012

Mexican Zetas Leader 'El Taliban' Arrested

(AP) In a major blow to one of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels, authorities say they arrested a high-level Zetas cartel boss known as “El Taliban.”

Ivan Velazquez Caballero, one of the country’s most-wanted drug traffickers, was paraded before the media during a press conference Thursday morning.

Velazquez Caballero allegedly has been fighting a bloody internal battle with top Zetas' leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, and officials have said the split was behind a recent surge in massacres and shootouts, particularly in northern Mexico.


Hamas boycotts Barcelona over Schalit tickets

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas is launching a media boycott of Barcelona after reports the Spanish league leader gave a complimentary ticket for an upcoming match to an Israeli soldier formerly held captive by militants in the Gaza Strip.

A Barcelona spokesman confirmed the team had given the ticket to Gilad Schalit, who was captured by Gaza militants in June 2006 and returned home last October under an Israel-Palestinian deal on prisoner exchange.

The team spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity in line with club policy. He says Barcelona often gives complimentary tickets.

Since his release, Schalit writes a newspaper sports column.

Hamas official Attallah Abu Al Subah says that, as of Thursday, no TV station in Gaza will broadcast Barcelona matches and no papers in the coastal strip will write about the club.

Syria: Fighting intensifies in Aleppo

BEIRUT (AP) — Fighting over Syria's largest city intensified Friday, with the most widespread battles reported there in two months as rebel forces launched a new offensive to rout President Bashar Assad's forces from Aleppo, activists said.

Some of the heaviest fighting erupted in the predominantly Kurdish neighborhood of Sheikh Maksoud, which was drawn into the conflict for the first time. Kurds make up Syria's largest minority and have been split in their loyalties. [...]

"The city is witnessing one of the most violent days. All fronts are on fire," Aleppo-based activist Baraa al-Halabi said.


Kenyan troops fight on beaches in assault on Somali rebel city

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Kenyan troops launched a pre-dawn attack on the Somali port city of Kismayu on Friday in an assault to drive the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militant group from its last major stronghold.

Fighting and shelling was taking place on the city's beaches after a land and amphibious assault, city residents and rebels said.

The loss of the southern port would deal a huge blow to al Shabaab as it is a lucrative source of revenue and a centre for operations over areas it has controlled in south-central Somalia since 2007.

The group, which formally merged with al Qaeda in February, has been steadily losing its footholds under sustained pressure from African peacekeeping forces (AMISOM) and Somali government troops for the past year.


Dozens of al Qaeda convicts escape in Iraqi jailbreak

TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - Dozens of prisoners, including convicted al Qaeda members, escaped an Iraqi jail after militants dressed in police uniform attacked the prison and released them, security sources said on Friday.

The jail, which housed some 300 inmates, was assaulted by gunmen driving police vehicles after a car bomb exploded outside the main gate late on Thursday, security sources said. Twelve prison guards and seven gunmen were killed in clashes.

Security forces managed to regain control of the jail, in the city of Tikrit, early on Friday, but an official said more than 50 prisoners were still on the run, among them leading members of al Qaeda who had been sentenced to death on more than ten counts.

"There was clear negligence and laxness by those who are in charge of this prison. The operation was pre-planned, well prepared," Hakim Al-Zamili, a member of parliament's security and defense committee, told Reuters.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Video: Benjamin Netanyahu's full speech at the UN 2012

Mona Eltahawy to Be Sued by Protestor in New York Anti-Jihad Incident (VIDEO)

(Algemeiner) Following an incident on Tuesday in the Times Square subway station where an Egyptian born American activist spray painted an anti-Jihad poster designed to garner support for Israel, the woman who attempted to stop the vandalism is suing for damage to her property.

When Mona Eltahawy took out a can of pink spray paint and began to deface an advertisement that reads “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad,” a woman named Pam Hall stepped in front of Eltahawy and began questioning her right to spray paint the sign.

“Mona, do you think you have the right to do this?” Hall asked in an incident that was caught on video and can be viewed at the bottom of this article. “What right do you have to violate free speech?”

Eventually, two New York City policemen arrived and arrested Eltahawy. She responded by telling on-lookers, “This is non-violent protest, see this America. I’m an Egyptian-American and I refuse hate.”

Now, Hall tells the Daily News in Britain that she plans to sue Eltahawy for damage to her property.

“Not my camera itself….that’s why I held it above my head. It was the support…the mono pod, camera bag,’ she told MailOnline. ‘I was moving around to avoid the spray.”

The advertisement, which has been placed in multiple New York City subway stations, was originally rejected by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, however a court decision forced the MTA to run the ads.

They ads were bought by the controversial American Freedom Defense Initiative.
I remember feeling bad for Mona Eltahawy when she was arrested, beaten and sexually assaulted by Egyptian police while covering events in Tahrir Square in November of 2011. I won't be having such feelings for this jihad lover again.

Obama's ‘record’ deportation numbers don’t add up

(WT) Obama administration officials at the Department of Homeland Security claim they are on track to deport a record number of illegal immigrants this year. But on closer examination, the administration’s numbers simply don’t add up.

Internal Homeland Security documents obtained by the House Judiciary Committee reveal that President Obama's administration has inflated the figures to achieve its so-called historic deportation numbers. These documents show that administration officials have fabricated their statistics by adding more than 140,000 removals to their deportation figures for the past two years.

Since 2011, the Obama administration has included in its year-end deportation statistics more than 100,000 removals from a Border Patrol program that returns illegal immigrants to Mexico right after they cross the border. It’s dishonest to count illegal immigrants apprehended by the Border Patrol along the border as removals. These are actually returns, where the illegal immigrant is simply turned around and escorted across the border to another location. The illegal immigrant is not subject to any statutory civil or criminal penalties or bars for returning to the United States. This means a single illegal immigrant can show up at the border, be removed numerous times in a single year and be counted each time as a removal.

When the numbers from this Border Patrol program are removed from this year’s deportation data, they show that removals are down nearly 20 percent from 2009. The administration should not cheat to improve its record.

Another 40,000 removals also are included in the final deportation count, but it is unclear where these removals came from. Just like any math problem, it’s important to show your work to get full credit. But the Obama administration is missing several steps in its deportation math, and the total doesn’t add up.

Subtract the artificial inflation, and the facts show that the Obama administration is neglecting to enforce immigration laws. The administration has all but abandoned worksite enforcement actions. Over the past three years, worksite enforcement has plummeted by 70 percent. Under this administration, there have been fewer illegal workers arrested, fewer criminal arrests, fewer indictments and fewer convictions. This means illegal workers continue to take jobs away from unemployed Americans.


"France will expel any foreigner who threatens security at home or abroad in the name of Islam"

That remains to be seen.
(WT) France will expel any foreigner who threatens security at home or abroad in the name of Islam or does not respect the country's secular traditions, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday.

France will be "intransigent ... and I will not hesitate to expel those who claim to follow Islam and represent a serious threat to public order and as foreigners in our country do not respect our laws and values," he said at a ceremony to inaugurate a grand mosque in the eastern city of Strasbourg.

"The preachers of hatred, those espousing obscurantism and fundamentalists ... do not have a place in France," he said. "Racism, fundamentalism is not part of Islam."

The pass-the-buck president — Obama did nothing to fix debt crisis or reform entitlements

(WT) Harry S. Truman famously placed a wood sign on the Oval Office desk that read, “The buck stops here.” The tradition of the president taking full responsibility for what happens on his watch apparently hasn’t been adopted by Barack Obama. President Obama prefers to pass the buck.

CBS correspondent Steve Kroft asked Mr. Obama on Sunday about the national debt going up 60 percent during his first term. The president blamed the previous administration’s policies for “90 percent of it.” By his account, four straight years of trillion-dollar budget deficits were caused by tax cuts put in place 10 years earlier, the cost of wars and a prescription drug plan.

The remaining 10 percent of responsibility involved powers outside of his control. “I think that I’ve learned some lessons over the last four years,” the president said during a town hall hosted by the Spanish-language Univision network last week. “The most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside.”

GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan took issue with that point of view during a joint event with Mitt Romney in Ohio on Tuesday. “Why do we send presidents to Washington in the first place?” asked the Wisconsin Republican. “Don’t we send them to fix the mess in Washington? Look, if he can’t change Washington, then we need to change presidents.”

Mr. Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, gave a lengthy explanation of the role entitlement programs play in the $16 trillion debt at an event later that morning in Cincinnati. He said by 2025, the three mandatory programs — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — plus interest will consume 100 percent of federal revenue. That means every single tax dollar will go to pay just for these three programs, and any other government program would have to be funded with borrowed money.

A Romney-Ryan administration would reform these programs in a way that would not affect anyone over 55 years old, but would lower the costs through methods such as means testing, a gradual rise in eligibility age and premium-support options.

Mr. Obama has offered no alternative that would fix these programs before they bankrupt the country. MSNBC on Monday asked Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod for the president’s specific proposal to reform Social Security. “This is not the time to — we’re not going to have that discussion right now,” Mr. Axelrod stammered. “The reality of Social Security is this is a much less imminent problem than Medicare.” The only thing the president has done about Medicare is raid $716 billion from it to pay for Obamacare.

In his January 1953 farewell address, President Truman explained the concept behind the sign on his desk. “The president — whoever he is — has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.” The American people deserve a man in the Oval Office who understands the concept of responsibility.

Netanyahu to set "clear red line" for Iran in UN speech

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will set out, in his speech at the United Nations on Thursday, an ultimatum for Iran to halt its disputed nuclear drive or risk coming under military attack, an Israeli official said.

Netanyahu faces the world body after U.S. President Barack Obama disappointed some Israelis, in his own address to the annual assembly, by not calling for a deadline to be imposed on Tehran - though he did say time for diplomacy "is not unlimited".

Israel sees a mortal threat in a nuclear-armed Iran and has long threatened to strike its arch-foe pre-emptively, agitating war-wary world powers as they pursue sanctions and negotiations.

Complicating Netanyahu's strategy have been his testy relations with Obama as a U.S. election looms, and the reluctance of many Israelis to trigger a conflict with Iran, which denies that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and has pledged wide-ranging retaliation if attacked.

"The prime minister will set a clear red line in his speech that will not contradict Obama's remarks. Obama said Iran won't have nuclear weapons. The prime minister will clarify the way in which Iran won't have nuclear arms," a senior Israeli official said en route to New York, without elaborating.

Though he has not previously detailed when Israel might be willing to go to war, Netanyahu has said Iran could have enough low-enriched uranium by early 2013 to refine to a high level of fissile purity for a first nuclear device.


Report: More than 300 killed in single day in Syria

Anybody wants to send a UN special rapporteur on a fact-finding mission? No? OK.
BEIRUT (Reuters) - More than 300 people were killed in Syria on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, in one of the bloodiest days in the 18-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

World leaders meeting at the United Nations have expressed concern at the continuing violence in Syria but are deadlocked over their response to the conflict, which the Observatory says has claimed 30,000 lives since March 2011.

The British-based organization, which monitors violence in Syria through a network of activists, said in a report released on Thursday that 55 people were killed in rural areas around Damascus. They included at least 40 who appeared to have been shot in cold blood in the town of al-Dhiyabia, southeast of the capital.

Other activists have put the death toll in al-Dhiyabia as high as 107, blaming Assad's security forces for what they said was a massacre. Video published by activists showed rows of bloodied corpses wrapped in blankets. The victims shown on camera appeared to be male, from 20-year-olds to elderly men.

The Observatory also said 14 people were killed in a rebel bomb attack on a military command centre in Damascus and in an ensuing prolonged gunbattle between rebels and security forces.


Spanish magazine publishes Mohammed cartoon

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish political satire magazine El Jueves has published a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad on its cover, soon after violent protests rocked the Muslim world over a U.S. film and French caricatures deemed insulting to Islam.

El Jueves' latest edition, which hit Spanish newsstands on Wednesday, shows several Muslims in a police lineup under the title "But...does anyone know what Mohammad looks like?"

Any depiction of the prophet is considered blasphemous by Muslims but the issue has also caused a debate in the West about censorship and freedom of speech.

The magazine declined to comment to Reuters on Thursday on the motives for the publication.

But in comments to the Huffington Post, editor Mayte Quilez said it was a decision to take a humorous position on a contentious issue.

"If you can't depict Mohammad, how do you know it is him in the cartoons?" she asked.

Last week, French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad soon after protests against a film made in the United States provoked a torrent of anti-American unrest in Egypt, Libya and other countries.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in one of the first protests, on September 11, and 15 people were killed in protests in Pakistan last Friday.

The Spanish Embassy on Wednesday sent a message to its citizens in Egypt asking for caution in the event of any backlash from the El Jueves cartoon but has not said whether it will step up security in other Arab countries.

"We're still analysing what steps to take," a foreign ministry source said.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Syrian rebels bomb army headquarters in Damascus, 4 killed, 14 wounded

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Syrian rebel bomb attack reduced the army headquarters in Damascus to a smouldering wreck on Wednesday as world leaders, unable to break the diplomatic deadlock in the conflict, met at the United Nations.

The rebels said the assault on President Bashar al-Assad's power base in the center of the capital killed dozens of people.

The army said four guards were killed and 14 wounded in what it said were suicide attacks. No senior officers were hurt in the blasts, which shook the whole city just before the start of the working day, it said.

It was the biggest attack in Damascus since July 18 when a bombing killed several senior security officials, including Assad's brother-in-law, the defense minister and a general.


Obamanomics in action: Household incomes fall in August, off 8.2% under Obama; Low-wage work force grows 30% as the number of jobs shrinks

(IBD) In another sign that the economic recovery under President Obama is not producing gains for average Americans, median household incomes fell 1.1% in August to $50,678, according to a report released Tuesday by Sentier Research.

Since the economic recovery started in June 2009, household incomes are down 5.7%, the Sentier data show, and they are down more than 8% since Obama took office.

(CST) Low-wage workers in Chicago are better educated, older and rely more on that income these days to meet basic needs than 10 years ago.

And there are substantially more of them. [...]

The report is “compelling evidence that as the number of jobs shrinks, people are forced to chase lower and lower paying jobs,” Doussard said. “I think this is a wake up call, and I think we need to acknowledge that low-wage jobs used to be the exception to the rule of an economy that produced a lot of mid- and higher-wage job opportunities. Increasingly low-wage jobs are the rule. This is not something that happens on the margin of the economy.”


UN General Assembly Applauds Ahmadinejad's Speech

(WFB) Genocidal maniacs seem to always get ovations at the UN General Assembly.
Delegates at the United Nations General Assembly applauded the speech given by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Wednesday.

The U.S. delegation announced Wednesday morning it would not attend the speech. In a statement to CNN, the delegation said, “Over the past couple of days, we’ve seen Mr. Ahmadinejad once again use his trip to the U.N. not to address the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people but to instead spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel.”

Syria: 6 Palestinians tortured, killed execution style, 18 killed last week

And for some reason, Arabs don't protest and don't call for an emergency UN Security Council session. Weird.
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Six Palestinians were killed in Syria on Wednesday, a local group said, with some of the bodies showing signs of torture.

The coordinating committee of Yarmouk refugee camp told Ma'an that four Palestinians were killed at a security checkpoint near the city of Aleppo.

Their bodies were found on the street and showed indications of an execution style killing, according to the group. Two other Palestinians were shot dead in their Damascus homes, it said. [...]

Last week, at least 18 Palestinians were killed and their bodies displayed publicly in Damascus, PLO officials in Yarmouk said.

The PLO office said the Syrian regime "committed a massacre" against Palestinians in the camp. Bodies were found mutilated and charred, it said.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spain: Riot police fires rubber bullets at and beats up austerity protesters

MADRID (Reuters) - Protesters clashed with police in Spain's capital on Tuesday as the government prepared a new round of unpopular austerity measures for the 2013 budget to be announced on Thursday.

Thousands gathered in Neptune plaza, a few meters from El Prado museum in central Madrid, where they formed a human chain around parliament, surrounded by barricades, police trucks and more than 1,500 police in riot gear.

Police fired rubber bullets and beat protesters with truncheons, first as protesters were trying to tear down barriers and later to clear the square. The police said at least 22 people had been arrested and at least 32 injured, including four policemen.


Hungry kids rebel against food Nazi Michelle Obama

Muslim hate preacher Abu Hamza to be booted out of Britain within days after final appeal against extradition fails

(Daily Mail) Britain is only days away from getting rid of Abu Hamza after the hook-handed cleric lost his final appeal against extradition.

The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights brings an end to a legal saga which has lasted eight years and cost the taxpayer more than £1million.

Delighted Home Secretary Theresa May wants Hamza – viewed as one of the world’s most dangerous preachers of hate – to now be put on a plane to America ‘as soon as possible’.

In previous cases, suspects have been booted out within two weeks of losing their last appeal.

Hamza, who earned global notoriety for his fanatical sermons outside the Finsbury Park mosque in North London, is wanted by the US authorities for plotting to set up a jihadi training camp in the state of Oregon.

He and four other alleged terrorists had complained that jail terms of up to 50 years in the US without parole breached their right to be protected from ‘inhuman or degrading treatment’.

In April, the European Court of Human Rights – after two years of hugely expensive deliberation – rejected this argument. But the men were allowed to make a final plea for the grand chamber of the Strasbourg court to re-open the case. Last night, judges also threw this out. There are now no more legal steps they can take in Europe to halt extradition.

They can expect to be placed in immediate custody as soon as they set foot on American soil.

The verdict is a relief to the Government, which had feared that the judges would block extradition altogether, forcing it to release Hamza back on to the streets.

Hamza is also accused by the US of conspiring to take Western hostages in the Yemen and funding terrorism.

Also facing extradition are Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, who are accused of conspiracy to commit terrorist atrocities overseas and supporting terrorist groups, and Khalid al-Fawwaz, who is considered one of the US’s most wanted terrorists suspects.

Al-Fawwaz, allegedly a close associate of Osama bin Laden, was arrested in connection with bomb attacks on two US embassies in east Africa which killed more than 260 people in 1998.

The fifth man who can be removed, Adel Abdul Bary, is also wanted in connection with the embassy bombings and has been in prison for 13 years.

The total bill for extraditing the men is estimated to be more than £4million.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Suicide car bomb kills 4 schoolchildren in Iraq

And we keep hearing that Islam is a beautiful religion.
BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide car bomb went off near a school in Iraq’s western Anbar province on Monday, killing four children, officials said.

The car exploded in the center of the town of Hit, 140 kilometers (85 miles) west of Baghdad, shortly after a police patrol passed by, said Mohammed Fathi, a provincial spokesman. He said six children were also wounded in the blast.

The bombing came a day after the start of the new school year in Iraq.


Ahmadinejad in New York says Israel will be "eliminated"

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be "eliminated," ignoring a U.N. warning to avoid incendiary rhetoric ahead of the annual General Assembly session.

Ahmadinejad also said he did not take seriously the threat that Israel could launch a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, denied sending arms to Syria, and alluded to Iran's threats to the life of British author Salman Rushdie.

The United States quickly dismissed the Iranian president's comments as "disgusting, offensive and outrageous."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted Israel could strike Iran's nuclear sites and criticized U.S. President Barack Obama's position that sanctions and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. [...]

Attending what will likely be his last U.N. General Assembly as he nears the end of his second term next year, Ahmadinejad also spoke at a high-level U.N. session on the rule of law, prompting a walkout by Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor.

"Ahmadinejad showed again that he not only threatens the future of the Jewish people, he seeks to erase our past," Prosor said in a statement. "Three thousand years of Jewish history illustrate the clear danger of ignoring fanatics like Iran's president, especially as he inches closer to acquiring nuclear weapons."


Irony: Washington Post suggests Rasmussen Reports is partisan

CNN video: Obama loses head on impact

Howard Stern Exposes Obama Supporters 2012

Pics of the day: You just gotta appreciate this

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Egyptian 'Expert' Says Assad a Jew, Descended From Iranian Jewish Stock

(Times of Israel) An “expert” on Egypt’s Al Nas TV station has claimed that Bashar Assad — the Syrian dictator who has maintained his father’s decades-old hostility to Israel and who has blamed Jews for killing Jesus and trying to kill the Prophet Muhammad — is Jewish himself, a descendant of a Jewish dynasty that originated in Isfahan, Iran.

The Syrian president, who has slaughtered thousands of his own people in a vicious civil war in the past 18 months, is “the descendant of a dynasty of a man named Suliman al-Wahash who arrived in Syria in 1860 or 1870 from Isfahan in Iran,” an Egyptian sociologist interviewed by the station claimed. Records show “this to have been a Jewish family,” the interviewee said, in a clip broadcoast by Israel’s Channel 10 news on Thursday.

In fact, the Assad family, members of the minority Alwaite sect, hails from Qardaha in northwest Syria. It is said to descend from one Ali Suleyman, who changed the family name to Assad — lion — in the 1920s.

Critics of Bashar Assad over the years, the Israeli TV report noted, have also claimed he had a Jewish lover and that one of his daughters was married to a Jew.

Assad’s father and presidential precedessor Hafez Assad went to war against Israel several times and resisted US-backed peace efforts. For his part, Bashar told the visiting Pope John Paul II in 2001 that Jews “tried to kill the principles of all religions with the same mentality in which they betrayed Jesus Christ and the same way they tried to betray and kill the Prophet Muhammad.” He subsequently asserted that the comments were not anti-Semitic.

Al Nas TV was reportedly the first Arabic TV station to broadcast a clip of the anti-Islam movie “Innocence of Muslims” — an extended clip, dubbed in Arabic — thus apparently playing a key role in triggering the ongoing protests against the film.

The Egyptian station is said to be financed by the Saudi government and affiliated to the conservative Salafi Muslim movement.

Obama brushes off Israeli pressure over Iran as just "noise he tries to ignore"

WASHINGTON (AFP) — President Barack Obama likened Israeli pressure on him to draw a line in the sand over Iran's nuclear ambitions as noise he tries to ignore, according to remarks aired Sunday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently urged the United States to establish what he called a "red line" regarding Tehran's nuclear program beyond which the United States would be compelled to act.


2016: Obama's America (full movie)

Death, destruction in Pakistan amid protests tied to anti-Islam film

Pakistani Muslim demonstrators topple a freight container that was placed by police to block a street during a protest on Friday.
(CNN) -- Demonstrations in parts of Pakistan ostensibly about an anti-Islam film spiraled into chaos Friday, as mobs ransacked banks, cinemas and government offices and engaged in clashes with authorities that left at least 15 dead.

The protests were not confined to Pakistan, as Muslims also hit the streets of Lebanon, Malaysia and Bangladesh.

Unlike the rest of the world, these idiots are devolving. At the accelerating rate, I should add.

Pakistan: US drone strike takes out 4 jihadists

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani intelligence officials say a U.S. drone has fired two missiles at a vehicle in northwest Pakistan, killing four suspected militants.

The officials say the attack took place Saturday in Mohammed Khel village in the North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

They say the identities and nationalities of the slain men was not immediately known and their agents are trying to get more details.


Nigeria: Suicide bomber attacks Catholic church, killing 2 and wounding 45

BAUCHI, Nigeria (AP) — A suicide car bomber attacked a Catholic church conducting Mass in northern Nigeria on Sunday, killing two people and wounding another 45 in a region under assault by a radical Islamist sect, officials said.

An Associated Press journalist heard the explosion after 9 a.m. Sunday in the city of Bauchi, which has seen a number of bombings and shootings blamed on the sect known as Boko Haram. The blast appeared to hit a parking lot alongside the St. John's Catholic Church in the city.

Police and military surrounded the church and did not allow journalists inside the cordon. Later at a nearby hospital, Bauchi deputy police commissioner T. Stevens told journalists told that the bomber had been stopped at the church's gate, where he detonated the explosives packed inside his car.

Doctors cautioned more could die from their injuries.


Muslims riot violently in Greece, chant "we are all with Osama"

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek riot police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse Muslim protesters who clashed with officers Sunday during a rally against a film produced in the U.S. that denigrates Islam's Prophet Muhammad. No injuries were reported.

A general strike in Bangladesh shut down schools, transportation and businesses, while a few hundred people peacefully marched in Pakistan. Iranian students burned flags in Tehran to protest the recent publication of lewd caricatures of the Muhammad by a French satirical weekly.

In Athens, six people were detained during the demonstration at a central square, police said. About 600 people attended the rally, which featured heated speeches, but was mostly peaceful.

Some in the crowd then wanted to march to the U.S. Embassy, which is about three kilometers (two miles) away from Omonia Square. They tried to break through police lines several times, but riot officers pushed them back.

The violence occurred at the end of the rally, when small groups of protesters threw objects at police. Three cars were damaged and three storefronts smashed.

Banners were displayed in English, denouncing the film and called on the U.S. to hang the filmmaker. One told President Barack Obama "we are all with Osama," referring to Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader who was killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan in May 2011.


Indonesian police arrest 10 Islamic terrorists with homemade bombs

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An elite Indonesian anti-terror squad has arrested 10 Islamic militants and seized a dozen homemade bombs from a group suspected of planning suicide attacks against security forces and the government, police said Sunday.

Eight suspects were arrested Saturday in Central Java's Solo town and a ninth in West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo, national police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said. He said a 10th suspect, Joko Parkit, was arrested Sunday in Solo.

Parkit's brother, Eko Joko Supriyanto, was shot to death by police in 2009 during raids seeking Southeast Asia's most wanted Islamist militant, Noordin M. Top. Noordin was killed by police a year later.

Amar said two of those arrested, Badri Hartono and Rudi Kurnia Putra, worked to recruit young men and taught at least one member of the group how to make bombs.

"They were the central figures of the group who had planned several terror attacks," Amar said. "They recruited, invited young men to be trained in a military-style jihadi camp and bought bomb-making materials."

He said the group planned to bomb the country's Parliament, shoot police and attack members of the anti-terrorism squad as part of a plan to establish Islamic Sharia law in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Police seized 12 homemade bombs along with other partially assembled bombs, three rifles, four swords and several jihadist books.


Fighting intensifies near Syrian/Turkey border, Turkey deploys armored vehicles

(Reuters) Turkish military have deployed armoured vehicles along the border with Syria as fighting intensifies between government forces and rebels.

Stray bullets and shelling from Syria that made their way into Turkey earlier in the week have left residents frightened and panicked.

Thousands have fled Syria into neighbouring Turkey to escape the fighting.

Saturday, at least 12 people were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

The United Nations says fighting between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad has disrupted the lives of more than two million Syrians.

Russia: Regional governor to deploy Cossack patrols to tackle Muslim criminal invasion

(RT) The governor of one of Russia’s southern regions has been accused of discrimination and nationalism for a proposal to deploy patrols to tackle immigration issues in the Caucasus region. Human rights activists blasted the governor for his statements.

­Governor Aleksandr Tkachev of the Krasnodar region came under fire after a meeting with regional police chiefs on Thursday, where he announced the establishment of a 1,000-member Cossack-staffed volunteer security force. With an annual budget of more than $20 million, the organization would assist police in upholding public order, beginning in September.

The force would consist of Kuban Cossacks, a multi-ethnic group descended from farmers, who historically acted as border guards for the Russian Empire. They enjoyed a great degree of political autonomy, both as gratitude for their service and in acknowledgement of their self-sufficiency and militant ethos.

Tkachev waded into the hot-button issue of ethnic tension, calling on police officers to embrace their future Cossack partners. The Krasnodar region is predominantly Russian, although roughly one-fifth of its population is of non-Russian ethnicity and have been residing there for decades.

Krasnodar borders Russia’s North Caucasus, a conflict-ridden region plagued by high unemployment, forcing its non-Russian Muslim population to head elsewhere to make a living. The influx of migrants has resulted in conflict ranging from cultural disagreements to organized crime and violence.


Spy device disguised as rock blows up near Iran nuclear site

(Al Arabiya) A spy device camouflaged as a rock exploded when it came into contact with Iranian troops near an underground nuclear enrichment plant, The Sunday Times reported this week.

Last month, Revolutionary Guards at the Fordo nuclear facility, near the northern city of Qom, came across the rock and attempted to move it, according to sources who spoke to the newspaper.

The guards, who had been on patrol to check terminals connecting data and telephone links to the site, reportedly witnessed the disguised spy device exploding when they came into contact with it.

Experts who surveyed the scene of the explosion, according to the newspaper, analyzed remnants of the device and found it had been able to intercept data from computers at the nuclear plant, where uranium is enriched.

News of the explosion was reportedly first kept secret by the Iranians. But last week, Fereydoun Abbasi the Iranian vice-president and the head of the nuclear energy agency, revealed that the power lines between Qom and the Fordo facility were blown-up in August.

The finding has sparked speculation over whether the spy device could have been a significant source of intelligence for Western countries, which has now been lost.


"Mosque - go!" Moscow residents rally against Muslim center project; project cancelled

(RT) Up to 2,000 people rallied in a Moscow neighborhood after local authorities announced the building of a Muslim cultural center and mosque in the area. The protest ended with officials being forced to cancel the planned construction.

­The impromptu demonstration on Wednesday evening was gathered through social networks. Residents of the Mitino district came to voice their fears over the plans to build a Muslim cultural center and mosque in the neighborhood, which would be able to accommodate up to 60,000 believers during a service.

The would-be Muslim prayer house is subject to much speculation, even though construction project is far from being finalized. The rumor mill describes it as “a 13-story mega mosque,” which would broadcast calls to a morning prayer all over the neighborhood.

The protesters living in the residential area were concerned that its infrastructure would not be able to deal with increased traffic after the mosque is finished. This would result in terrible traffic jams during Friday prayers and large Muslim holidays, they said.

There are also fears that the inflow of worshipers, many of whom would be guest workers from Central Asia seeking their fortune in Moscow, would drive up crime rates. Disaffection towards Muslims was evidenced in some online comments on the event.

“I am firmly against it! We are flooded with those aliens, and now they want to have this insult standing virtually under my window… Let them build it outside of Moscow. There is plenty space there, so they all shove off there,” one of the comments read.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Prominent Salafi-Jihadi Cleric Issues Fatwa Sanctioning Killing Of US Ambassadors, Including Chris Stevens

Following the September 11, 2012 killing of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, a number of queries were sent in to the Salafi-jihadi website Minbar Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad (MTJ) regarding the legitimacy of this action. Answering on behalf of the website's shari'a committee, Sheikh Abu Mundhir Al-Shinqiti issued a fatwa in which he approved of the killing of the U.S. ambassador and other U.S. diplomats, and refuted religious arguments raised by some Islamic scholars against such actions.

Video: Obama - The post-American president

Ezra Levant asks why there is growing anti-American sentiment and violence across the globe but Obama doesn't seem to mind.

Chart: Obama's Campaign Is Built On A Foundation Of Lies

Arizona: Outraged illegals protest immigration law enforcement

(AP) A day after the most contentious provision of Arizona's immigration law took effect, rallies were held around Phoenix to protest the mandate that civil rights activists say will lead to systematic racial profiling.

More than three dozen activists stood outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building along a busy thoroughfare Wednesday evening. They chanted: "No papers, no fear."

Carlos Garcia, an organizer with the immigrant rights group the Puente Movement, said the strategy is to urge people not to cooperate with immigration enforcement efforts _ whether they're in the country legally or not.

Tempe resident Beatrice Jernigan said friends who are in the country illegally are scared.

"They don't know what's going to happen. They're more cautious," she said. "Some parents who are illegal immigrants are not allowing their kids to participate in afterschool sports."


'From Muslims with love' tweet

Iran accuses Siemens of nuclear sabotage

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran is accusing the German technology company Siemens of implanting tiny explosives in equipment the Islamic Republic purchased for its nuclear program.

A prominent Iranian lawmaker says the booby-trapped equipment was meant to derail Iran's uranium enrichment efforts, but security experts discovered the explosives and removed them.

Siemens denies the charge and says its nuclear division has had no business with Iran since the 1979 revolution.

Any sale of nuclear equipment to Iran is banned under U.N. sanctions, raising the possibility that if it indeed has some, it may have been acquired through third parties.

Iran claims it has been the target of a concerted campaign by Israel, the U.S. and their allies to undermine its nuclear efforts through covert operations.

Five nuclear scientists and researchers have been killed in Iran since 2010. Tehran blames the deaths on Israel's Mossad spy agency as well as the CIA and Britain's MI-6. Washington and London have denied any roles. Israel has not commented.

Tens of thousands protests Mohammed film in Nigeria, burn US and Israeli flags, images of Obama, call for war

(Ahram Online) Tens of thousands of people on Saturday protested in Nigeria's second city of Kano, burning images of Barack Obama and stomping on the American flag to denounce an anti-Islam film made in the US.

A crowd that included men, children and veiled women stretched for several kilometres (miles) through the city, the largest in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north, condemning the film that has stirred outrage across the Muslim world.

They shouted "death to America, death to Israel and death to the enemies of Islam," in a rally that ended with no reported incidents of violence but caused gridlock in the city of roughly 4.5 million people.

The demonstration was organised by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, a pro-Iranian group that adheres to the Shiite branch of Islam. The group has operated in Africa's most populous country since the late 1970s.

"We are out today to express our rage and disapproval over this blasphemous film," said Muhammed Turi, a protest leader and member of the Islamic Movement which organised a similar rally earlier this week in the northern city of Zaria.

Some pictures of US President Barack Obama were set alight, while others were dragged through the dirt and stomped on by protesters shouting "enemy of Islam."

American and Israeli flags were also defaced and Iranian flags were waved in the air as the group marched towards a palace owned by the Emir of Kano, the top religious figure in the region.

Protester Husseini Ibrahim claimed that the "blasphemy" in the film regarding the Prophet Mohammed is "like an invitation to war."


Pakistani government minister offers a $100,000 reward for the death of the maker of an anti-Islam film

(BBC) Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour told reporters that he would pay the reward for the "sacred duty" out of his own pocket.

He suggested the Taliban and al-Qaeda would be eligible for the reward.

His comments came a day after at least 20 people died in clashes between anti-film protesters and police.

"I announce today that this blasphemer who has abused the holy prophet, if somebody will kill him, I will give that person a prize of $100,000," the minister said.

Friday's violence occurred in cities throughout the country, with Karachi and Peshawar among the worst hit.


Ultimate hypocrisy: Obama accuses Congress of ducking elected duties, amid criticism he's doing likewise at the UN

(Fox News) President Obama on Saturday accused Capitol Hill lawmakers of leaving behind both Washington and unfinished legislative business until after November because they are more concerned about their re-election campaigns, amid criticism he is side-stepping key United Nations meetings next week to hit the campaign trail.

The Senate closed the Capitol early Saturday after passing a spending bill that will make sure the government won't shut down Oct. 1, the start of the new budget year. The so-called continuing resolution passed by a 62-30 vote.

The Republican-controlled House left Friday after passing the Stop the War on Coal Act –- a bill to held the coal industry’s fight against administration energy and environmental policies and hurt Obama's political prospects in coal states such as Ohio and Virginia.

Obama accuses lawmakers of being "more worried about their jobs and their paychecks" than their constituents, in his weekend radio and Internet address.

Meanwhile the world's leaders are arriving in New York for next week's United Nations General Assembly meeting, but the president has no plans to meet privately with any of them.

However, he and first lady Michelle Obama will make an appearance on "The View," a freewheeling TV talk show more likely to reach voters than the president would with the diplomacy he is skipping at the United Nations.

Unlike presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did during their respective 1996 and 2004 re-election seasons, Obama is skipping the face-to-face meetings with counterparts where much of the U.N. works gets done, leaving Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to pick up more of those sessions.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said last week that Obama not planning to meet in with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is "confusing and troubling."


Egyptian presidential aide says he’s finalizing proposal to amend peace treaty with Israel

Adviser to Morsi says military restrictions in 1979 accord limit Cairo’s capacity to defend the Sinai.
(Times of Israel) An Egyptian presidential adviser announced on Saturday that he will submit a proposal for amending the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in the coming days.

Mohammed Esmat Seif al-Dawla said the proposal will include major changes to the peace treaty’s fourth article, which governs the establishment of “limited force zones in Egyptian and Israeli territory” along the shared border with the Sinai Peninsula. According to the Camp David Accords signed the year before, Egypt may station “no more than one division (mechanized or infantry) of Egyptian armed forces” more than 30 miles from the Suez Canal.


Netanyahu ‘determined to attack Iran’ before US elections, claims Israel’s Channel 10

TV reporter adds: ‘I doubt Obama could say anything that would convince PM to delay a possible attack’.
(Times of Israel) Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is determined to attack Iran before the US elections,” Israel’s Channel 10 News claimed on Monday night, and Israel is now “closer than ever” to a strike designed to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive.

The TV station’s military reporter Alon Ben-David, who earlier this year was given extensive access to the Israel Air Force as it trained for a possible attack, reported that, since upgraded sanctions against Iran have failed to force a suspension of the Iranian nuclear program in the past two months, “from the prime minister’s point of view, the time for action is getting ever closer.”

Asked by the news anchor in the Hebrew-language TV report how close Israel now was to “a decision and perhaps an attack,” Ben-David said: “It appears that we are closer than ever.”

He said it seemed that Netanyahu was not waiting for a much-discussed possible meeting with US President Barack Obama, after the UN General Assembly gathering in New York late next month — indeed, “it’s not clear that there’ll be a meeting.” In any case, said Ben-David, “I doubt Obama could say anything that would convince Netanyahu to delay a possible attack.”

The report added that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak believe Obama would have no choice but to give backing for an Israeli attack before the US presidential elections in November.

There is considerable opposition to an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the report noted — with President Shimon Peres, the army’s chief of the General Staff and top generals, the intelligence community, opposition leader Shaul Mofaz, “and of course the Americans” all lined up against Israeli action at this stage.

But, noted Ben-David, it is the Israeli government that would have to take the decision, and there Netanyahu is “almost guaranteed” a majority.


Syria fires into Jordan, sparking fierce clashes

Syria moves its Golan Heights brigade to the Jordanian border.
(Times of Israel) The armed forces of Syria and Jordan clashed Saturday after Syria fired into Jordanian territory, where thousands of refugees have fled from an 18-month-long civil war between the Bashar Assad regime and opposition fighters.

According to a report by Al Jazeera, the Syrian army has moved its Unit 61 brigade — whose main function is to block any possible attack from Israel — from the Golan Heights to the Jordanian border.

In recent months, attacks by the Syrian military on the border region with Jordan have intensified, as part of an effort to stem the flow of refugees into the neighboring kingdom.

Syrian activists said rebels and government troops fought a fierce battle in the area, that lasted for several hours, overnight Friday.

The activists said the fighting in and around the Syrian border town of Nasib continued until dawn Saturday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that there were casualties on both sides, without giving figures.

Mohammed Abu Houran, an activist in the area, says the rebels first attacked an air defense base near Nasib, and as they were withdrawing they clashed with Syrian border guards.

Nasib is in the southern province of Daraa, where the uprising against Assad’s regime began in March last year.

Syrian rebel forces on Friday night attacked a Lebanese Army base near the Syrian border, Israel Radio reported. The Lebanese Army stated that there were no casualties in the incident near Arsal. The army mobilized forces to the area and pursued the assailants who fled into Lebanon.


Why the U.S. has a culture of dependency

(CNN) -- For most of American history, the average farmer, shop owner or entrepreneur could live an entire life without getting anything from the federal government except mail service. But those days have gone the way of the Pony Express.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that 49% of the population lives in a household where at least one person gets some type of government benefit. The Heritage Foundation's annual Index of Dependence on Government tracks government spending and creates a weighted score adjusted for inflation of federal programs that contribute to dependency. It reports that in 2010, 67.3 million Americans received either Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Social Security, support for higher education or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions -- an 8% increase from the year before.

These people aren't necessarily dependent on government; many could live (even live well) without their Social Security check, Pell grant or crop subsidy. That's not the point. The problem is that Washington is building a culture of dependency, with ever-more people relying on an ever-growing federal government to give them cash or benefits.

This is a growing and dangerous trend. The United States thrives because of a culture of opportunity that encourages work and disdains relying on handouts. The growth of the welfare state, a confusing alphabet soup of programs that are supposed to help low-income Americans make ends meet and do not include entitlements such as Social Security or Medicare, is turning us into a land where many expect, and see no stigma attached to, drawing regular financial support from the federal government. [...]

The national debt is at $16 trillion, more than the entire GDP of the United States last year. High as it is, that debt is about to soar. More than 78 million baby boomers are retiring onto Social Security and Medicare in the next 15 years or so. Under Obamacare, Medicaid is set to explode as well. Within just one generation, total federal spending could reach nearly 36% of GDP, and the Congressional Budget Office says debt held by the public could reach nearly 200% of GDP.

That will crowd out virtually all other government spending, including national defense. Future Congresses could impose deep cuts in social welfare programs across the board or raise massive taxes to support these exploding programs. The results would be chaotic and unpredictable.


Friday, September 21, 2012

What do old Nazis do before they die in Egypt? Convert to Islam, naturally.

(Spiegel) For decades, investigators searched in vain for Aribert Heim, a notorious Nazi war criminal known as "Dr. Death." On Friday, a court in Baden-Baden officially declared Heim dead. He is believed to have lived for years undetected in Egypt, where he converted to Islam.


XM25 'Punisher' Finds Home in Infantry Squads

FORT BENNING, Ga. ( -- The Army’s shoulder-fired 25mm airburst weapon that many soldiers call “the Punisher” is slowly winning the approval of the infantry after a decade of scrutiny.

The boxy, futuristic-looking XM25 Counter-Defilade Target Engagement System recently completed a 14-month battlefield assessment and is on its way to earning a permanent position in the infantry squad beginning in 2014, Army weapons officials said. [...]

The XM25 grew out of its predecessor, the XM29 -- an over-and-under system with a 5.56mm carbine on the bottom and the 20mm airburst weapon on top. It stalled in the face of technical challenges that made the 18-pound weapon too heavy and bulky. The program ended up costing about $100 million.

The current XM25 recently wrapped a 14-month battlefield assessment in Afghanistan. Weapons officials used soldier feedback from the assessment to incorporate “more than 100 improvements” to the ergonomics and reliability of the weapon, said Col. Scott Armstrong, who runs Project Manager Soldier Weapons.

Weapons officials have accelerated the production of 36 of these newer XM25s for a second battlefield assessment scheduled to begin in January, Armstrong said.

The goal is to have senior leaders approve “a production decision next fall and, a year later, begin fielding the system in the fall of 2014,” Armstrong said.

This new addition to infantry squad could cost close to $25,000 each, but weapons officials argue that XM25 is worth it.

“This brings an entirely new capability to the soldier for the counter-defilade fight; to be able to get the enemy soldiers that are behind walls, behind trees or in buildings,” Armstrong said.

Israel takes issue of Jewish refugees to UN

NEW YORK (JPost) -- Israel on Friday called on the international community in a special gathering at the United Nations to recognize the suffering of Jewish refugees from Arab countries and their material claims the same way it acknowledges the plight of displaced Palestinians.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, Israel's Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor and World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder presented the case of the recently launched diplomatic campaign in front of an audience of Israeli officials, foreign diplomats, activists and journalists at the headquarters of the international organization.

"Today's event is about the past but more importantly about the future," said Prosor. "Our purpose is clear and simple: To give justice for one million Jews whose stories have been hidden and left untold."

He added: "For 64 years the history has been distorted and white washed in the UN. Arab countries have never taken responsibility for creating more than 800,000 refugees. Yet not a single syllable --and listen to this-- can be heard in any of the 1888 of the UN resolution on the Mideast."