February 02, 2009 You have GOT to be Frickin' Kidding Me! - UK Police Adopt Hijab Uniform When I first saw the title of the below news article - I thought that this MUST be a joke - surely not serious. But, to my dismay, the article is true - Police in (the once) Great Britain have dhimmified-up enough so that they now offer a HIJAB UNIFORM for female muslim police.
Sughra Ahmed says ""There may also be women who are already with the force who do not wear the scarf but choose to later. Again, this will be positive for them." --------Oh let's be sure we encourage hijab wearing -- plus you can be sure those muslim women who have chosen to not wear the veil will soon receive "pressure" from the Islamo-Sharia-police to do so. (Despite his prior comment)
For in-depth discussion of Muslim women and the veil - go to HERE
Some quick questions:
1) So if a hijabbed up muslim female policewoman is in pursuit of a criminal or helping another police officer or victim during or immediately after a crime & her veil falls off - does she have to stop ? Has this woman committed a crime against Islam for being seen without her veil. If so - Which court would she have to go to - British court OR the "local" Sharia court?
2) If someone either intentionally or accidentally pulls off the muslim policewoman's hijab - will they be charged with a crime? What crime would that be? And which court will they go to - British court OR the "local" Sharia Court??
3) If I am either the victim, bystander or veil stealing culprit and see the muslim policewoman without her hijab - have I/we committed a crime? And again which court will judge me - British court OR the "local" Sharia court?
4) Can these muslim policewomen even be around men? - what if she touches or is touched by a infidel or muslim man (not her husband) - Something tells me that's a "no-no". Yep - it's a BIG no-no according to HERE - So which court will the offender(s) go - British court OR the "local" Sharia court?
I'm betting Sharia court on both #1 - #2 - #3 & #4.
Of course all of the above begs the question if these are problems - just what do "devout" muslim women DO in the police and why they heck are they there to begin with?? Oops - guess that's just more of the (myth of) Islamophobia.
That is how far the Islamization of Great Britain has gone -the hijab is mainstream.
(One wonders when the full face veil - or niqab - will make it into the official British police uniform line-up - can't be too long now.)
Article in full - just in case it "disappears" (as they so often do) and you all think I'm barking mad. Link in title.
Police adopt uniform hijab
Saturday, January 31, 2009, 09:30 Police have opened the door to female Muslim recruits by incorporating the hijab into the uniform.
The force has become the latest to approve a design for a headscarf suitable for officers on patrol.
Senior officers believe the lack of the option has deterred applications from the considerable number of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab.
The police hijab is plain black and made of a flame-retardant material.
Officers will be able to wear a standard police hat on top of it.
Metropolitan police officers wearing a uniform hijab
A small number of forces nationwide have taken a similar step, including Thames Valley and the Metropolitan police. Superintendent Geoff Feavyour, who leads the Leicestershire Constabulary recruitment team, compared the development to the incorporation of the turban several years ago, which removed a barrier to the recruitment of male Sikhs.
The police's annual report for 2007/08 showed women made up about 23 per cent of the force's officers.
The number of officers from black and Asian communities stood at about six per cent – short of the 15 per cent target.
Mr Feavyour said: "Clearly, we want people from all walks of life to join the force and the fact we have the hijab available now shows our commitment to that. It's an extension to our uniform which will, hopefully, show people they are welcome.
"It is very important to us that the force reflects the community it serves."
The move has also been welcomed by officers, including the Leicestershire branch of the National Association of Muslim Police.
Sgt Yakub Ismail, chairman of the branch, said: "Leicestershire Constabulary is always understanding and supportive of the religious needs of its staff.
"It has always encouraged applicants from all communities and religious denominations.
"I firmly believe neighbourhood policing can only be truly achieved by having officers from within those neighbourhoods being part of the police family."
Sughra Ahmed, a research fellow at the Islamic Foundation, in Markfield, said: "Not every Muslim woman who wants to join the police would want to wear the hijab, but that choice is there now and that is a very important step.
"There may also be women who are already with the force who do not wear the scarf but choose to later. Again, this will be positive for them."
Sabrina Khan, a 19-year-old student from Evington, Leicester, said: "I don't wear the veil, but a lot of my family and friends do.
"I have seen Sikh officers wearing turbans and if I saw a female officer wearing the hijab, I would feel that the police respected the Muslim faith."
Osob Osman, an 18-year-old student from North Evington, said: "The hijab has had a lot of bad press during the past couple of years.
"This will give women more career opportunities and, hopefully, change people's attitudes to Muslim people."
Police spoke to community groups, including the Leicestershire Federation of Muslim Organisations, when they were developing the garment.
Suleman Nagdi, spokesman for the federation, said: "It's a wonderful move and it will help the police encompass a wider range of people in its recruitment."
February 1, 2009 Canadian woman held against her will in Saudi Arabia by her husband -- "under Saudi law, she is his property" I've often noted that Islamic law relegates women to the status of commodities, and have been called "Islamophobic" as a result. But in this story, we're told that "under Saudi law, she is his property because she is the mother of his children." And Saudi law, of course, strictly adheres to the norms of Islamic Sharia. Does that mean that Islamic law is "Islamophobic"?
"Canada intervenes in Saudi marital dispute," from the Canwest News Service, January 30 (thanks to Twostellas):
MONTREAL — A high-level representative of the federal government has met with Nathalie Morin, a 24-year-old Quebec woman who claims she is being held against her will in Saudi Arabia. Deepak Obhrai, parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, met with Morin and her Saudi husband, Abdallah Ramthi Al-Bishi, in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 22 to mediate in the couple’s dispute, a Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Canwest News Service last night.
He could not say what the next step might be. Ottawa has said in the past that Canadians in Saudi Arabia are subject to its laws. Morin met Al-Bishi in Montreal when she was 17 and when he was a Concordia University student....
Morin’s mother has said her daughter is unable to leave because, under Saudi law, she is his property because she is the mother of his children....
Gazans tell Israeli investigators of Hamas abuses By YAAKOV KATZ
Nuaf Atar spoke about the use of Gazan schools to shoot rockets at Israel. Zabhi Atar revealed that Hamas used food coupons to entice Palestinians to join its ranks and Hamad Zalah said Hamas took control of UNRWA food supplies transferred to Gaza and refused to distribute them to people affiliated with Fatah.
More than 100 Palestinians were captured during the three-week operation but most were released and only a few dozen - members of Hamas and other terrorist factions - are still being held by Israel, officials said. Some of them may be used as bargaining chips in negotiations for abducted soldier Gilad Schalit.
Nuaf Atar, 25, lives in Atatra, in the northwest Gaza Strip, and was captured by paratroopers on January 11. In his interrogation by the Shin Bet, Atar said Hamas government officials "took over" humanitarian aid Israel allowed in to the Strip and sold it, when it is supposed to be distributed for free.
Hamas set up rocket launchers and fired rockets into Israel from within school compounds since the operatives knew that the Israel Air Force would not bomb the schools, he said.
Palestinians who opposed Hamas's use of their land and homes as launch pads were shot in the legs, Atar added.
"Atar's testimony is evidence of Hamas's cynical use of public institutions, such as schools, to attack Israel," the Shin Bet said.
Another fascinating account was provided by Raji Abed Rabo, a 22-year-old member of Islamic Jihad and resident of the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza. Abed Rabo told interrogators he was recruited into the organization at the age of 17 and began by distributing anti-Israel propaganda.
In 2006, he joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and underwent military training. In 2007 he returned to Islamic Jihad and was recruited to the Jabalya cell. His job was to conduct reconnaissance and gather intelligence on IDF movements along the Gaza border.
He stored weaponry in his house, including roadside bombs, and was knew of a number of tunnels that were to be used to kidnap and surprise IDF soldiers. He also told the Shin Bet about a large bunker that was built under Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and was used as a hideout for a number of senior Hamas operatives during the recent Israeli offensive.
Hamad Zalah, 29, is also a resident of Jabalya and was captured by the IDF on January 12. During his interrogation, he revealed that together with his brother, he was tortured by Hamas at a headquarters in Jabalya for his affiliation with Fatah and his intention to light a memorial candle for Yasser Arafat.
He said that he was whipped and beaten with electrical cords. In 2007, Hamas operatives shot and killed his brother, who was a security guard at the home of a Palestinian Authority official in Gaza.
Since June 2007, when Hamas took over Gaza, the terror group, Zalah said, also took control of all humanitarian aid sent into the Strip and refused to distribute it to Palestinians affiliated with Fatah.
Amad Hamed, 35, resides in Beit Hanun, and was arrested by the IDF on January 5. In his interrogation he told the Shin Bet that in 2006 he started conducting surveillance for Hamas and training to perpetrate a suicide attack against Israel.
Two of Hamed's brothers were killed by the IDF in Gaza in 2006 and 2007. Hamed told his interrogators about a Hamas training camp in a sports club next to a mosque in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, and another camp opposite the Beit Hanun municipal building.
Three months ago, Hamed gave his approval to place barrels of explosives, rockets and launchers in land that belongs to his family in Beit Hanun.
(IsraelNN.com) During the Cast Lead operation in Gaza, IDF tank fire near a United Nations school in Gaza was blamed for the deaths of dozens of civilians who had taken refuge in the building. The incident became one of the most highly publicized attacks in the war, and led to heavy international criticism.
Recent reports suggest that the incident was not accurately portrayed by senior U.N. officials. John Ging, the director of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, spoke to the Toronto Globe and Mail last week and agreed that no shell had actually struck the school building. Ging said he had never claimed that the school itself was hit, and he blamed Israel for confusion over where the strike took place.
Shortly after the alleged attack, Ging harshly criticized Israel for firing near the school, saying he had given the exact coordinates of the compound to the IDF. He charged that the IDF had failed to avoid hitting the building.
While admitting that Israeli fire had not hit the school compound, Ging insisted it made little difference. “Forty-one innocent people were killed in the street... The State of Israel still has to answer for that,” he said.
While many Israel news outlets reported that the strike had taken place near the school, several international media networks reported that the UN school building itself was hit. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs may have added to the confusion by releasing a report stating that Israeli fire “directly hit two UNRWA schools.”
Almost all reports said that the victims were primarily civilians who had fled to the school for shelter – a version of events cast into suspicion by the Globe and Mail report.
A teacher who was in the school at the time of the shelling reported that several people within the compound were injured, but that none were killed. Those killed were all outside in the street as the shells were fired, he said. Only three of those killed were students at the school, he added.
The teacher did not give his name, explaining that U.N .officials had told staff not to talk to the media.
The IDF responded to criticism over the attack by explaining that soldiers were simply responding to terrorist fire and did not mean to hit a civilian area.
Video footage posted on a website shows police officers running way from chanting demonstrators who took part in a violent protest in London against Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip. The ten-minute amateur film shows 30 officers being chased by a crowd of up to 3,000 people who broke away from an official protest march last month. The video, posted on YouTube, shows protesters chanting 'Allahu Akbar' (God is Greatest) and 'Fatwa', a death threat under Islamic law. Watch the protesters chase the police...
Suddenly Obama has Muslim roots Steven Edwards: Suddenly Obama has Muslim roots
Posted: January 28, 2009, 10:45 AM by Kelly McParland Full Comment, U.S. Politics, Steven Edwards
During the U.S presidential campaign, Barack Obama’s handlers vigourously pointed out his Christian faith whenever the misconception arose he may be Muslim (even though the politically correct response should have been his religion doesn’t matter).
The handlers also roundly denounced any conservative commentator who might mention (mischievously, admittedly) his Arabic middle name, Hussein.
They charged that such usage was "fear mongering."
Once elected, however, he personally insisted on his middle name being spoken at his swearing-in ceremony.
And now – in a gesture to the Muslim world – he has not only granted the first sit-down interview of his presidency to a pan-Arab television network, but uses the occasion to gush about his Muslim ties.
"I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries," Obama tells Hisham Melhem, the Washington bureau chief of Saudi-owned Al Arabiya, which is based in Dubai.
Indeed, Obama’s Kenyan father, Barack Sr., was born into a Muslim family – though he became an atheist before arriving in Hawaii, where Obama Jr. was later born.
Obama also famously spent four years as a boy in Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim country.
All that’s fine, except why was no one allowed to talk much about it before he snagged the Electoral College majority?
Obama’s unprecedented decision to shun American domestic networks over his first sit-down appeared aimed at sending a signal to the Muslim world that his administration marks a distinct break with that of George W. Bush.
Like we didn’t get that message from his pledge to close the detention camps at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba without so much as a plan for where he’ll transfer its terror suspects.
But much of the interview, broadcast Tuesday, offered troubling stuff for anyone who believes the West isn’t to blame for the Islamic world’s wrath.
Obama agreed with Melhem’s inference that Bush’s use of terms like "war on terror" and "Islamic fascism" demonized all Muslims.
"I think you’re making a very important point, and that is the language we use matters …" Obama said.
"We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith’s name."
True. But there was nothing particularly Bushist about the "war on terror" term, and a helpful Wikipedia entry explains how it dates at least to the 19th century.
Obama confirmed he intends to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital during the first 100 days of his presidency, but resisted Melhem’s bid to know which one.
Of course, the smart money is on the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, while you can pretty much rule out Baghdad.
"You're going to see me following through with dealing with a drawdown of troops in Iraq, so that Iraqis can start taking more responsibility," he said.
Obama explained he is going to educate people in both the United States and the Muslim world on how to get along.
"My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives," he said.
"My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy." I thought the presidents sole responsibility was to the american people and protecting american interests??
So that’s the simple formula we’ve been we’ve been missing. Stay tuned to the new president for a couple of deftly worded, and theatrically delivered speeches – and centuries of Western-Islamic division will miraculously disappear.
Citing Iran’s threats towards Israel, and its "pursuit of a nuclear weapon," Obama said the Islamic republic had "acted in ways that [were] not conducive to peace and prosperity."
"But I do think it is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran," he added.
Better hurry. Iran will have enough uranium to make a single nuclear weapon later this year, the prestigious International Institute for Strategic Studies said Tuesday at the launch of its annual global review of military powers.
The fact is there have been plenty of talks, incentive packages and UN Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions.
After the interview was broadcast Tuesday, Iran responded to the "extended hand" Obama said he was offering the Islamic republic.
"We are awaiting concrete changes from new U.S. statesmen," said an Iranian government spokesman. "On several occasions our president has defined Iran’s views and the need for a change in U.S. policies."
Even by Obama’s account, there will be no effective "change in U.S. policies." Washington and the West will still want to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. Hence, don’t expect Tehran to see the offer of "more diplomacy" to be anything more than a gift of the time they still need to perfect the nuclear process.
Key parts of Obama’s interview to the Muslim world were a collective mea culpa.
"We sometimes make mistakes; we have not been perfect," he said as one explanation as to why there is so much hate in the Muslim world for the United States.
In other words, it’s America’s and, by extension, the West’s fault we’ve been under attack these past years. He offered a similar apology when explaining his instruction to George Mitchell, the former Senator he appointed to begin seeking a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
"What I told him is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating …" he said. "So let’s listen."
Oddly, the interviewer Melhem came across as the most honest of the pair when he admitted that, throughout the Muslim world, there was a "demonization of America" that’s become "like a new religion" – complete with "converts and high priests."
That’s the sort of reality Obama needs to get his head around – instead of saying the equivalent of: "We’re wrong, you’re right."
SEMA eNews, Vol. 12, No. 4 - Jan 29, 2009 Politicians Want to Use Tax Dollars to Crush Newer-Model Trucks and SUVs SEMA Warns Lawmakers This Boondoggle Will Cost American Jobs
SEMA is opposing an effort by some Washington lawmakers to include a national car crushing program in the upcoming economic stimulus package. Vehicles targeted for the scrap pile will likely include Chevy Blazers, Silverados, S-10s and Tahoes; Dodge Dakotas and Rams; Ford Explorers and F-Series; Jeep Cherokees and Wranglers; and any other SUV or truck that obtains less than 18 mpg.
Under the plan, the federal government would pay a premium for '99 and newer cars. Click here to oppose the legislation.
The so-called “Accelerated Retirement of Inefficient Vehicles Act” is "Cash for Clunkers" with a twist. Instead of focusing exclusively on old cars as is typical with scrappage programs, this bill will target any vehicle with lower fuel-economy ratings. Participants will receive a cash voucher to purchase a more fuel-efficient new car or used car (model year 2004 or later) or receive credit for the purchase of public transportation tickets.
Under the legislation, “fuel efficient” means at least 25% better mileage than the CAFE standard. It will be illegal to resell the scrapped vehicles. Bill sponsors want to destroy 4 million pickups and SUVs over the next four years.
The program will fail to achieve its goal of improving fuel efficiency and stimulating car sales, but will increase unemployment and the cost of used cars and parts. Here’s why:
Given the minimal $1,500–$4,500 voucher value, the program will lure rarely driven second and third vehicles that have minimal impact on overall fuel economy and air pollution. This is not a wise investment of tax dollars. The program will reduce the number of vehicles available for low-income individuals and drive up the cost of the remaining vehicles and repair parts. This is a basic supply-and-demand reality. The program will remove the opportunity to market specialty products that are designed exclusively for the targeted pickups and SUVs, including equipment that increases engine performance and fuel mileage. Congress will be enacting a program to eliminate jobs and reduce business revenues in the automotive aftermarket. The idea that the trucks and SUVs must be scrapped in order to save energy is irrational. The program’s “carbon footprint” does not factor in the amount of energy and natural resources expended in manufacturing the existing car, spent scrapping it and manufacturing a replacement car. The program fails to acknowledge driver needs, such as the ability to transport a family, tow a trailer or rely upon the performance, safety and utility characteristics associated with the larger vehicles. Instead, these vehicles will be destroyed. There is no evidence that the program will achieve the goal of boosting new-car sales or increasing fuel mileage. Many states have considered scrappage programs in the past as a way to help clean the air or increase mpg, but abandoned the effort because they simply don’t work. The programs are not cost-effective and do not achieve verifiable fuel economy or air-quality benefits. The program will hurt thousands of independent repair shops, auto restorers, customizers and their customers across the country that depend on the used-car market. This industry provides thousands of American jobs and generates millions of dollars in local, state and federal tax revenues. “Our members, like all business entities, are suffering the effects of the stalled economy,” said Steve McDonald, SEMA vice president of government affairs. “In fact, for our members that market product for newer vehicles, we depend on a thriving and vibrant auto industry to create new business opportunities. We support efforts to spur new-car sales. We don’t, however, support public policy efforts that we are convinced don’t work and will waste tax dollars in the process.”
SEMA Urges You to Oppose This Legislation
Two lawmakers—Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA)—need to hear from SEMA members that their vehicle scrappage legislation is a waste of U.S. taxpayer dollars that will cost American jobs in the specialty auto market.
Click here for talking points and complete information to oppose the legislation.
Putin: Financial crisis is 'perfect storm'Story Highlights Russian PM Putin: Global economic crisis a "perfect storm"
Chinese Premier Wen: Developed, developing nations need to cooperate
Political leaders must be "forward-thinking" in addressing crisis, Wen says
Wen predicts 8 percent growth in China in 2009 following 9 percent in 2008
By Simon Hooper CNN
DAVOS, Switzerland (CNN) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called Wednesday for the complete reform of the world's financial systems during keynote speeches at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the financial crisis constituted a "perfect storm."
1 of 2 The global economic meltdown dominated the agenda on the opening day of the annual meeting of powerbrokers and opinion formers, with Putin telling delegates that the crisis constituted a "perfect storm."
While economists and analysts could -- and should -- have predicted the crisis, Putin said, instead it had "come unexpectedly, just as winter comes unexpectedly to Russia every year."
"Just a year ago, American delegates speaking from this rostrum emphasized the U.S. economy's fundamental stability and its cloudless prospects. Today, investment banks, the pride of Wall Street, have virtually ceased to exist," Putin commented.
But he said Russia wished U.S. President Barack Obama's new administration success in tackling the country's economic problems and said Moscow was ready to join international efforts to address the crisis.
"We expect all our partners in Europe, Asia and America, including the new U.S. administration, to show interest in further constructive cooperation in dealing with all these issues," Putin said.
He said it was time to "do away with virtual money" and establish an "economy of real values" grounded in a "just and efficient global economic architecture."
Earlier, Chinese Premier Wen called for greater cooperation between developed and developing nations in tackling the global financial crisis and building a new world economic order.
He also warned that further action was needed internationally to "restore market confidence" and protect world economic growth.
"Political leaders must be forward-looking," Wen told delegates. "They should be responsible to the entire international community as well as to their own countries and people."
Wen admitted that the economic crisis had severely affected China's businesses, notably because of falling demand for Chinese exports. But he said the fundamentals of China's economy remained in "good shape," predicting 8 percent growth in 2009, following 9 percent growth in the previous 12 months.
He called for a raft of measures to be implemented to address the root causes of the crisis and create a "new international financial order."
They included the reform of supra-national financial institutions to grant more power to developing nations and the establishment of a multilateral trading regime.
"In tackling the crisis, practical cooperation is the effective way," Wen said. "The financial crisis is a test of the readiness of the international community to enhance cooperation and a test of our wisdom."
Earlier, several dozen pro-Tibetan demonstrators gathered peacefully in Davos about a kilometer from the conference venue to protest over Wen's presence at the annual meeting of powerbrokers and opinion formers.
Many good points being made. I would add the example of the green houses that Israel left behind in Gaza being destroyed.
I submit Turkey as an example of Islamic culture and democracy co-existing. Indonesia too-- at least for now.
I fear I have not succeeded in conveying my point-- I supported and support the Osirak operation. My concern is that by placing missiles and rockets of ever greater efficacy on Israel's northern and southwestern borders that Iran is creating a situation wherein if Israel goes Osirak on Iran that Iran will be in a position to blow up Israel's reactor and contaminate Israel.
I agree, but turkey has a secular based consitution
This is a really important question, so lets make sure we aren't missing anything.
a) Concerning the seemingly pertinent example that Huss uses of the House of Saud, as Stratfor commented earlier today (or was it yesterday?) on the intel thread, SA has kicked AQ's ass in SA. WHY IS THAT? Once we removed our troops from SA (their presence no longer being necessary to defend it from SH in Iraq) their motivations changed. WHAT IS THAT ABOUT? Its a battle between Shite and Sunni in some cases, also keep in mind that OBL offered his men to the Saudis prior to the first gulf war. The house od Saud rejected his offer and let the infidels help instead. Since that time OBL has been at war with the royals. the royals still support terror, via other outlets.
b) As noted in many posts made by several of us, there has been a lot of one handed clapping in support of Hamas/Gaza. WHY IS THAT? Indeed, many felt that during Lebanon 2 a lot of the Arab world was silently wishing for Israeli success. WHY? Simply lookng at the Arabs treatment of the palistinians shows their hate for them. the palistinians are a rabid dog who has gotten off its leash and is not running around biting everyone. I think the Arabs see them as a tool for getting back at Israel and nothing more. If they really sympathized with the palistinians the US and Israel would not be the two single largest aid donors to the palistinians and Israel would not be the sole source of power and water for Gaza and the West Bank.
c) As noted in the Iraq thread by my friend in Iraq, who originally opposed the decision to go to Iraq, he sees the Iraqis themselves as having rejected the AQ whackos. WHAT DOES THAT TELL US? The Iraqis still chose to base thier constiution on Sharia law. We all know how good shria has worked out for us infidels in the past. When Muslims fight, its always over what method is best to subjegate the infidel. In the hotory of islam, not one single nation has ever worked as a democracy. Turkey is different because they have a secualr constitution that demands a coup every time the sitting govt gets all religious. We should have helped them start up a monarchy, which appears to be the most stable form of govt in the region as seen in the UAE, Qatar.......etc
Capt raises an important question. Certainly HUSS answered well, but let us be careful that we do not answer too quickly.
With all due respect for Golda Meir, it is time to think outside the box.
The way to stop people from reproducing like rabbits is to make them rich. Rich people can't afford more than two or three kids. Poor people, on the other hand, must bred like rabbits to overcome infant mortality. People on the farm can afford lots of children because they are productive as farmhands. City children are a terrible expense.
Foreign aid never made anyone rich but if Israel could somehow kick-start Gazans into becoming profitable business people, like Lebanon was at one time, for example, Gazans would be too busy making money to lob rockets into Israel.
I know it's a pipe dram but continuous war is not an enticing idea. For a long time Sabras have though of Arabs as camel drivers, as an inferior people. Just yesterday I got another email detailing how Jews have 100 thousand Nobel Prizes vs. maybe about 5 for Arabs. This is supposed to make me proud of being Jewish and it is supposed to be proof of Arab inferiority. Maybe. But it certainly is fuel for more war. The same email stated that there are a huge number of Muslims. But there are only 1.5 million Gazans and those are the people we need to make rich. I think it's doable. 100 thousand Nobel Prize winning minds should be able to come up with a solution. No?
Let's shift gears!
I respectfully disagree. Rich or poor muslims will always be looking to expand their empire. If this were not true the ridiculously wealthy saudis would not be sponsoring terror in between trips to europe for episodes of drunken debauchery. they would also not make available hate literature through their embassies to foreign based islamic schools. Like it or not Islam is an imperialistic political system and will be that way until it experiences a massive reformation............. one i fear can never happen as it would require mohammed to be removed from the koran and hadith.
I would also like to point out the millions of dollars in cash, medical supplies and projects Israel and the U.S give to the palistinians. They use them to support terror. When Israel began giving up their settlements they left fully intact infastructure that the palistinians could have utilized for their own betterment. Instead they destroyed the place. The only periods in history where the world lived in peace with islam were after harsh, decisive, humiliating defeats. The crusdaes, the moro uprising, the battle of tours........ the only way we will ever have peace with islam is to drop the hammer on them. Let them know that the next massive attack will result in the leveling of one of their holy sites. Put the onus on the "moderates (not that any exist)" to police their own.
Does a nation exist that is predominantly muslim that does not use their wealth to wage jihad? look at north american muslims, how many muslim groups exist to say that Cair is not a good representation of what muslims stand for? half of cairs founding members and current executives have been or will be indicted on terror charges;
Omar Ahmad (Click Photo)
Co-Founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations
President and CEO of Silicon Expert Technologies. Former Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) Officer.
Omar Ahmad was captured on FBI surveillance tapes at Hamas meetings in the U.S.A. during 1993 explaining that the IAP could not, for political reasons, admit its support for Hamas, and then discussing how the Hamas agenda could be cloaked and advanced. Omar Ahmad's airfare and hotel bills for this meeting were paid for by the Holy Land Foundation
"Those who stay in America should be open to society without melting, keeping Mosques open so anyone can come and learn about Islam. If you choose to live here, you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam ... Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."
"Fighting for freedom, fighting for Islam, that is not suicide," ... "They kill themselves for Islam." (Ahmad Praises Suicide Bombers)
"Registering an organization is easy. I can register 100 organizations in 100 cities in one day ..."I mean, we don't really have available people whom we could dedicate for the work we want to hide ..."
Former Public Relations Director for the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) A Palestinian born in Jordan and now a U.S. citizen. Identified participating at a 1993 Hamas meeting in the United States
"I am in support of the Hamas movement."
"We Should Not Blame The United States Alone For The 11 September 2001 Attacks"
"Our administration has the burden of proving otherwise.” (Awad's response to muslim accusations that federal raids were a War against Islam and Muslims)
"Address people according to their minds. When I speak with the American, I speak with someone who doesn't know anything."
"If you love Israel, you're OK ... If that is the litmus test, no American Muslim and no freedom-loving person is going to pass that test."
Ibrahim Hooper (Click Photo) CAIR Spokesperson Former Employee Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP)
"CAIR does not support these groups publicly." (Hooper comments on CAIR's record of supporting Hamas, Hezbullah and other official terrorist groups)
"I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future...But I'm not going to do anything violent to promote that. I'm going to do it through education."
Mousa Abu Marzook Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) Founder Parent organization of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Officially Designated Terrorist and Fugitive from Justice. (IAP was found Liable for aiding and abetting Hamas in the murder of a 17-year-old American)
"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" - Hamas Charter
Senior Hamas member Marzook conspired with Omar Ahmad, Nihad Awad, and others to establish what the United States government has termed “front organizations” to support and advance the interests of Hamas and radical Islam in the United States. IAP provided the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) with employees, funding, operational expertise, and ideological guidance.
" ... probable cause exists that Abu Marzook knew of Hamas's plan to carry out violent, murderous attacks, that he selected the leadership and supplied the money to enable the attacks to take place, and that such attacks were, therefore, a foreseeable consequence of the conspiracy." (Judge Kevin Duffy on Marzook)
Ahmed Rehab (Click Photo) CAIR National Strategic Communications Director "CAIR is not a front for Hamas, Hezbollah, or any other foreign group, nor has it ever been. CAIR is an independent American institution, established by Americans ..."
"Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad have never been members of or associated with or tied to Hamas"
Corey Saylor (Click Photo) CAIR Director Of Government Affairs "Some people try to hold us responsible for the actions of people that are associated with our organization. That’s absolutely ludicrous … you don’t hold all of Enron responsible for what Ken Lay did."
Ahmed Bedier (Click Photo) (Former) CAIR-Florida Communications Director "We are to the American Muslim community what the NAACP is to blacks in America. If you attack us, you are attacking the Muslim community and the religion of Islam in this country." (Mpls Star-Trib -10/24/06)
"Catholic priests pose more of a terrorism threat by having sex with young altar boys than those who flew planes into the World Trade Center."
Randall "Ismail" Royer (Click Photo) CAIR-National Civil Rights Coordinator & Communications Specialist *CONVICTED* Committed Terrorist Crimes while working for CAIR Pled guilty to using and discharging a firearm during, and in relation to, a crime of violence; and with carrying an explosive during commission of a felony ... admitted helping four people gain entry to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan operated by Lashkar-e-Taiba. [United States Of America V. Randall Todd Royer (pdf)]
Ghassan Elashi (Click Photo) Founder Of CAIR-Texas Chairman of Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development *CONVICTED* Committed Terrorist Crimes while working for CAIR Tried on 21 counts of conspiracy, money laundering and dealing in property of a terrorist. Found guilty on all 21 counts. [United States of America V. HLF (pdf)]
Israel has the stick but it is missing the carrot.
When the muslims love their children more than they hate the jews, then peace will happen. I'm not holding my breath.
"We can forgive you for killing our sons. But we will never forgive you for making us kill yours." Golda Meir Notice the difference between the two cultures? one values life and begrudingly takes it in self defense. To the other its a commodity to be traded for media attention to further the cause of genocide.
Thoughts on the market Lots of things going on today. The Fed confirmed its intention to keep short-term interest rates very low for quite some time. The House is supposed to vote on a mega "stimulus" bill today. Bond yields rose sharply, and the Treasury-TIPS spread widened further as inflation expectations increased. 3-mo. T-bill yields are now up to 0.17%. Volatility fell and swap, agency, and credit spreads fell. Commodity prices and the Baltic Dry Index rose, but gold fell and the dollar strengthened. The S&P 500 index only needs to rise as much tomorrow as it rose today (3.4%) in order to be in positive territory for the month of January. (And if that happens, the technical guys say that will be a very bullish sign for the rest of the year.)
Without trying to read too much into one day's market action, though, I think the message the market is sending us over the past month or two is that the economy is on the mend; that we have likely seen the worst of the economic news.
I don't think the stimulus bill is going to stimulate anything. Indeed, I think if it passes as is, then it will prove to be a drag on the economy because it will waste enormous amounts of economic resources. Plus, it will end up making the economy less efficient because government will control a larger portion of the economy. But since the market has been fearful of a massive expansion of government since before the election, the passage of a faux-stimulus bill won't necessarily be a negative for the market.
In the final analysis, the only way that government policy can make a significant difference to the economy is by changing incentives (e.g., raising or lowering tax rates in order to change the after-tax rewards to work, investment, and risk-taking). The stimulus bill currently under consideration won't do any of that. There's still a chance for some last-minute compromise that might prove significant—a cut in corporate tax rates, for example, would be hugely positive. But barring that, I think it's time to accept that many hundreds of billions of dollars are going to go down a rat-hole and we are going to be burdened by more government in the future. We are also likely to be burdened with higher inflation in the future, because it is likely that the Fed will not be able to reverse its massive monetary accommodation in a timely or proactive manner.
But we need to remember that Fed policy has been terribly erratic and misguided for at least the past decade, so this is nothing very new. The politicians will want the credit for an eventual recovery, but they will forget that bad policies (e.g., Freddie and Fannie, the Community Reinvestment Act, failures to exercise regulatory oversight, bungled takeovers of Wall Street firms and banks) are what got us into this mess in the first place.The stock market has made zero progress since 1997, and it wouldn't be crazy to blame it on a decade of bad fiscal and monetary policy.
If one is to be optimistic about the future, optimism must be based on an improvement in the economic fundamentals. This economy has an incredible ability to grow and overcome adversity. Recall, for example, that the 9/11 tragedy came almost at the very tail-end of the 2001 recession—it hardly registered on the GDP scale.
I've been documenting improvements in the fundamentals for quite some time now, and I think the seeds for a recovery have already been sown. Financial markets have digested the bulk of the subprime losses; massive deleveraging has already taken place; all measures of financial stress have declined significantly; housing prices have erased almost all of their excesses; asset prices in many markets have gone through wrenching adjustments; new signs of life are appearing every day.
So I still think we're on the path to recovery, and I am still optimistic, even though I view the stimulus bill as a massive boondoggle, a massive waste, a fountain of corruption, etc. It just means the future won't be as bright as it otherwise could have been. We are going to pay the price of decades of bad policies, and that price will be slower growth and living standards that don't rise as high as they otherwise might have. It's not a rosy picture, but it's not the end of the world by any stretch.
Relax: There Will Be No Depression Kenneth J. Gerbino Archives Kenneth J. Gerbino & Company Jan 27, 2009
I want everyone to relax. You are being bombarded with numerous facts and figures that look pretty bad, but the facts are being interpreted with emotion and hype and hysteria. The predictive value of mis-emotion is usually chaos. There will be no Great Depression.
First, let's review what happened in the last few years in simple terms:
The Federal Reserve manipulated interest rates below the real market rate for over a decade, creating dislocations in the normal markets. Low interest rates forced retirees and savers to abandon safe investments and buy into all sorts of higher risk investments, including the stock market. (As a grandmother of one of my employees said many years ago, "I can't afford to live on 3% interest when I use to get 6%"... a sad but true story). Easy money created speculation and an artificial business expansion as the good times rolled. The dot.com bubble was the first sign of trouble from the recent easy money regime. The solution: more easy money to bail out Wall Street and avert further panic. Commercial banks are allowed to become investment banks as Glass-Steagall is repealed. Commercial banks can now invest and speculate globally outside of their normal areas of expertise. Real estate booms, as new and creative ways to lend money appeared. Lending became a no brainer as loan packages could be sold away to another institution covered by a new insurance scheme (Credit Default Swaps). Therefore credit worthiness of customers became less important. Lenders became undisciplined. Who cared if the loan defaulted if the loan was "insured?" Other exotic derivatives were concocted by the investment banks and commercial banks to make more fees and profits. Tried and true centuries old banking policies 101 were thrown out the window. The government pressured financial institutions to lend money for homes to millions of borrowers who were not only unqualified but high credit risks. The excessive and low interest rate loans for homes fueled an even more over-heated and extended housing boom and housing price inflation - creating a housing bubble. The over-the-counter derivative market went beyond $300 trillion and no one cared. $400 trillion - no problem. $500 trillion - no big deal. Wall Street and the establishment press and authorities did not pay attention to the hard money newsletter writers who were screaming bloody murder about derivatives: Schultz, Skousen, Dines, Wood, Daughty, Sinclair, Russell, Mauldin, Casey, Katz, Turk, Taylor, Adens, Coffins, Lundin, Morgan, Ruff, Roulston, Grandich, Nadler, Bonner, Day and others. Complacency was everywhere. The Dow was over 14,000. Wall Street and Main Street thought the economy was "fine," paper money was "working" and debt levels were high but no big deal, the Fed was in control. So far so good. The banking industry usually gets hit hard when the economy gets hit hard. But this time the major commercial banks were also speculating along with the investment banks. Huge losses from leveraging and speculating in stock and bond markets as well as derivatives start showing up at the largest commercial and investment banks in the U.S. and abroad. A national nightmare now is confronting Washington. Global stock markets collapse and credit markets seize up everywhere. Many foreign countries are as bad off as the U.S. The financial pyramid was brought on by easy money. We are now faced with global investment losses and economic numbers that are at dangerous levels, and foretell a drastic future.
But the future will be the exact opposite to what Wall Street and Main Street think will happen.
Why There Will be No Depression
The Fed, U.S. Treasury and foreign central banks will print their way out of the problem. A bad solution to a bad problem. The U.S. is in a recession. This is the natural reaction following the huge economic paper money binge that has taken place the last 15 years. The major banks, insurance companies and investment houses are in real trouble. The pain is too much and the government will print the money to bail these institutions out. 3 million people are losing their homes. They should never have bought the homes in the first place. These people will go back to being renters. The homes are still there, they have economic value. Investment bankers that busted Lehman, Bear Stearns and Merrill and lost their jobs will form hedge funds and buy many of these homes for 30 cents on the dollar. Then they will sell them in a few years for 50 cents on the dollar to people and other funds. Some people will move into a home and get a good bargain. Funds that buy these 50 cents on the dollar homes will sell them in 2-3 years for 70 cents on the dollar. Life goes on. Banks and investment houses that lost money on these homes are already being bailed out. The losses are being covered by the printing press or debt from Washington. Unemployment: This is bad. In the U.S. we are at 7.2% and going higher. We are not at 10.8% ('82 recession) or 9% ('74-'75 recession) and may not even get to these levels. Sophisticated investors say, "Unemployment is being low-balled by the government, it's much higher". I agree. But check out Shadow Government Statistics' website run by brilliant economist John Williams (who should be a White House Adviser). This shows that the "shadow or real" unemployment number could actually be 17%. Sounds like a disaster. But back in 1994, the "shadow" unemployment number was 15%. So what happened in 1994? GDP was up 6.2%. The S&P 500 the following year was up 34%. There was no Depression from this horrendous unemployment. Official U.S. unemployment hit an 8-year high in 1992 at 7.8%. The solution to this was a 14% increase in the money supply (M1) and the stock market went up 6%. Do not panic because of unemployment. There are still 144 million people getting paychecks. This means the economy is not dead yet. They will either spend the money or save some of it. When they save it, sooner or later the banks will lend to someone to buy or build or invest in something. The average wage earner in the U.S. makes $47,000 a year. Multiply this by a possible 12% official unemployment rate which would be considered a disaster in this country, and you have the following: 18 million people out of work. Using $47,000 per person, this would equal about $850 billion a year of lost income and GDP. That would be a huge hit to the economy. But wait a minute. Unemployment insurance for a $47,000 worker is about $400 a week. That reduces the $850 billion considerably. Also, the Government will simply print more money to handle this. They could print half the amount of the possible lost GDP - $425 billion. Using Washington logic, this would effectively handle half the consequences of 18 million unemployed people. Then it would be like there were only 6% unemployed. Printing or borrowing $425 billion would not be difficult compared to what they are already doing. The great recessions of 1974-5 and 1981-82 resulted in the following: GDP increasing on average 15% within 36 months, the stock market booming the following year, and unemployment going down dramatically the following two years. Why? Because they increased the money supply and "bailed out" everyone with paper money. The 74-75 recession had an 85% (that is eighty five % and not a typo) decrease in the price of the average NYSE stock from the previous high in 1973 and the Dow was down 41%. In 1982, the Dow Jones dropped 34% from its previous high. Both these market wipe outs were handled by the money supply being increased by 12.6% in 18 months in 74-75 and 14% in the 81-82 period. The money supply increases in 2009 and 2010 could reach 50%! So far, with bailouts, guarantees, the stimulus packages, $2-3 trillion of new money is already a foregone conclusion. This will equal a 25-35% increase in the money supply. The U.S. government will print as much money as is needed. They have panicked and are now going overboard. It is obvious that whatever happened in the past is going to happen again. This means that we are not going to have a Depression but a huge paper money induced boom. It will be artificial and inflationary. It is all in the works right now. Finally, if we were going to have a so-called Depression, why is copper above $1.50? Copper for delivery in December of 2009 and 2010 is above $1.60! You have heard the expression Dr. Copper. It is because as this commodity goes - goes the industrial world. It has always been a great economic indicator. Copper prices would be at 60 cents if a Depression was coming. Copper above $1.50 is saying, despite all the horrendous layoffs and headlines, that there is a lot of life left in the global economic patient. The financial system will be temporarily "saved" by paper money but working people and savers will be eventually crushed by this currency depreciation. Capitalism and free enterprise will get another bad rap when inflation rips through the system. Honest capitalism and classic free enterprise does not include paper money... the cause of all modern day economic problems.
What to Do
Expect Inflation not a Depression. Expect a boom to start sooner than later. Know the past and respect logic, not headlines. Am I telling you all is OK? No. I am telling you things are as bad as you think. But the authorities are using this crisis to bail out the system with paper money and because of that, the economy will once again go into a so-called boom that will be very inflationary. If you think a Depression is coming you will have your assets in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What Happens Next
The economy stagnates for another 9-12 months then turns around. Unemployment goes down with the induced economic upturn. The stock market rallies but never gets above its old highs. Inflation comes back with a vengeance. Commodities resume their bull market and turn the deflationistas into inflation believers. Interest rates will go up with inflation and probably to much higher levels. The stock market will go down when interest rates start going up. Long term bonds will become the worst investment in the world. The dollar will go down but so will other currencies as many world governments print their way out of their economic woes as well. Gold will go to new highs. Housing and real estate will recover but higher interest rates will slow this sector down considerably in the future. The gold and silver mining stocks will become the best performing sector on Wall Street for many years. The price of oil will go up due to inflation and global production declines of 5-8% per year from most of the largest oil fields in the world. The U.S. "recovery" will help the world recover and almost all countries will have another artificial economic expansion from all the paper money they have printed as well. China and India will create more shortages of basic materials and commodities by the sheer size of the populations and their economic and industrial progress. The U.S. will have even more economic dislocations from all the new paper money and debt taken on by Washington. The country gets set up for the next horrible recession some time in about 3-4 years. A Depression is impossible in the old sense of the word. If one describes a depression as the loss of purchasing power of the wage earner (a correct definition), then we have been in one for the past 50 years since wages have not kept up with the cost of living. But since everyone is thinking breadlines and the 1930's, I will stay with that picture for our definition. It is not going to happen.
Also, remember that the $2-3 trillion bail out numbers you are reading about can easily be bumped up to $4-5 trillion. Why not? The reason for the increase is simple... "We are heading into the Greatest Depression in history." As long as this misguided concept gets press and the NY Times, the media and politicians buy into it, then the government has a green light to create as much money as is needed.
Russian stability threatened by anger over economy
The financial crisis is threatening to destabilise Russia amid unprecedented calls for the resignation of Vladimir Putin and his government.
The prime minister, who is accustomed to adulation, is facing one of the sternest challenges of his political career as an economic slow down triggers growing public discontent.
The normally supportive Communist Party has called for country wide protests on Saturday, threatening to harness "a wave of popular rage".
Officials said they expected at least 600,000 people to take part in demonstrations held across dozens of cities. Among calls for improved living standards, the protests will also demand the resignation of Mr Putin and his cabinet.
According to opinion polls, Mr Putin remains popular, enjoying an approval rating of 83 per cent. Even now, with the economy under strain, there is no sign of a challenger, who could usurp his place in the heart of most Russians.
Yet the Kremlin is planning a hardline response with several of the demonstrations being banned outright and the law has been changed to remove the right of protest organisers to trial by jury.
Seeking to show his affection among the people remained undimmed, Mr Putin's ruling party is forcing factory workers in to holding public rallies of loyalty this week that will proclaim the prime minister's wisdom and munificence.
Commentators say the administration's unease is understandable. Mr Putin has built his reputation on rebuilding Russia's economy – shattered in the decade following the collapse of communism – and pursing an aggressive policy that returned the country to international prominence.
Now, however, the economy is starting to stumble – a fact that could undermine the prime minister's ambition to carve a global role for Russia.
Government figures show the Russian economy shrank 0.7 per cent in December, the first year-on-year decline since the 1990s. One million people lost their jobs in the same month as falling oil prices undermined Russia's energy driven economy.
The Kremlin's unease has been deepened by the spectacle of mass protests on Russia's periphery and beyond. Police have broken up violent anti government protests in Latvia and Lithuania, whilst smaller demonstrations have erupted in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Hungary, all of which are struggling to deal with the financial crisis.
Protests in Iceland forced the government to call early elections last week. In Russia itself, a country where most are too afraid to protest even if they wanted to, a small but growing number is willing to take to the streets.
Analysts say they do not expect these weekends' protests to be large enough to threaten the government but warn that they could mark the beginning of a dangerous trend.
"The number of unhappy people is still manageable but is on the rise," said Nikolai Petrov, of the Moscow Carnegie Centre. "There is especial danger in cities and towns where local industry has collapsed."
Last month, the Kremlin was jolted from its complacency when thousands took to the streets of Vladivostok, Russia's third city. They marched to protest Mr Putin's decision to raise tariffs on imported cars by up to 80 per cent, a move that could prove economically devastating in the Russian Far East and is expected to cost 100,000 jobs.
Alarming for the Kremlin, the demonstrations took on a political hue with protesters demanding the entire government's resignation. To deep embarrassment in Moscow, placards urged Japan – where most of Russia's imported cars come from – to colonise Vladivostok. With second hand foreign cars popular among middle class Russians the protests spread.
In St Petersburg, one placard called on Mr Putin to " switch to a trolley" – a reference to the fact that the prime minister is ferried around in an imported Mercedes. Such direct criticism is virtually unheard of.
More disturbingly, the Vladivostok police defied orders to quell the demonstrations. Even ruling party officials in the region publicly stated their support for the protest. Moscow was forced to send Special Forces from the capital to end the peaceful protests violently. Dozens of demonstrators injured and up to 200 arrested.
The rebellion by state officials is unprecedented in the Putin era and raises doubts over how strong loyalty to the prime minister really is in Russia's far slung regions.
That danger has been compounded by the fact that the communist party, normally loyal to the Kremlin, is spear heading this weekend's protest and defying orders banning the marches. Facing growing discontent the Kremlin has resorted to a familiar scapegoat: the West.
Thought i would take a minute to post some pictures of the border shared with Egypt and Gaza. I find it funny that the MSM ignores the Egyptian wall, use of force and closures but insists on highlighting every act of self defense by Israel. I also find it odd that its left to Israel to supply Gaza with Electricity and water even though the palistinians share a border with their fellow arab brothers the egyptians.
First Id like to say Shalom from Israel , new here and hope be here a while I am truly amazed of the depth of thought & the seriousness in this forum and hope to somehow contribute
So, speaking of Holocaust denial - this guy leaves me speechless
Ive always known there were fanatics talking anti semitism & hate , but I never would have guessed that somebody of this position would be so outspoken about it
Guys like this need to begin having "accidents". The world is becoming more evil by the day. Dont be surprised by this, during WW2 the Catholic church was buddy buddy with hitler and refused to speak badly about his behavior. They didn't say a word until the protestant allies had already boot humped hitler and his fascist friends.
Russia offers Obama olive branch on missiles: report
Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009 1:27PM UTC
By Christian Lowe
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has halted plans to deploy missiles near the Polish border, a Russian news agency quoted the military as saying on Wednesday, in the clearest sign yet Moscow is seeking better ties with the new U.S. administration.
Moscow had threatened to deploy the missiles to counter a missile shield proposed by former President George W. Bush for eastern Europe. President Barack Obama has not reversed Bush's decision but has said he would consider it on its merits.
Analysts said if confirmed the Russian move -- which follows a phone conversation this week between Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev -- could open the way for renewed dialogue on other issues that divide their countries.
"The earlier Russian announcement that they were going to deploy missiles ... and point them at NATO allies was unwelcome. If that decision has now been rescinded, it is a good step," said NATO spokesman James Appathurai.
The U.S. envoy to NATO had earlier said that, if confirmed, the Russian move would be a "positive step."
Medvedev said a day after Obama's election victory he was ordering the deployment of Iskander missile systems to Russia's Western outpost of Kaliningrad, which borders European Union members Poland and Lithuania.
"The implementation of these plans has been halted in connection with the fact that the new U.S. administration is not rushing through plans to deploy" elements of its missile defense shield in eastern Europe, Interfax quoted an unnamed official in the Russian military's general staff as saying.
It was not clear though if the report represented a firm shift in policy. There was no confirmation from the Russian military that the Iskander deployment was being suspended and a Kremlin official said he could not offer immediate comment.
The threat of deploying the Iskander missiles was largely symbolic because, military analysts said, Russia does not have enough operational missile systems to station in Kaliningrad.
The missile issue is likely to be on the agenda if, as expected, Medvedev and Obama meet on April 2 on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in London.
"It (the suspension of missile deployment) is a signal to Obama of Moscow's goodwill," Yevgeny Volk, an analyst in Moscow with the Heritage Foundation think tank, told Reuters.
"In response they want a decision not to deploy the missile defense shield in eastern Europe."
Obama also faces a series of other challenges in dealing with Russia, including bridging differences over Iran, NATO expansion and strategic arms control.
Some observers believe the Kremlin may be softening its assertive foreign policy style because the economic slowdown -- which has seen the rouble lose about a quarter of its value since July -- has dented its confidence.
U.S. POLICY SHIFT?
The administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush angered the Kremlin with its push to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic.
It said the system was needed to protect from potential missile strikes by what it called "rogue states" -- specifically Iran and North Korea.
The White House has not announced any change of policy on the missile shield, but a nominee for a top Pentagon post in the Obama administration said this month the plan would be reviewed as part of a regular broad look at policy.
Russia has argued that the proposed system would threaten its own national security and was further evidence -- along with the eastward expansion of the NATO alliance -- of Western military influence encroaching near its borders.
The row over the shield has helped drive diplomatic ties between Moscow and Washington to their lowest level since the end of the Cold War.
But Russian officials have said they are encouraged by early signals from the Obama administration and hopeful of a fresh start in their relations.
(Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom in Brussels; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Ralph Boulton)
I do business with Indians on a daily basis. Most of them would be more then hapy to nuke pakistan into an unpleasent memory. They are always quick to remind me that the brits forced the Indians to give up their land to make a home land for the muslims of that region. Kasmir should be a non issue. Pakistan did not exist prior to the 1940's, just another festering wound created by tampering westerners.
Anyone else find Obamas comments funny on the US now working to international law, mean while he has UAV's shooting up Pakistani villages? Not sure what brain trust advised him to up the rhetoric against Pakistan, unless their goal is to destabilize a nuclear power. The govt their is barely holding power as it is, and the general population already hates the west.
frigging russians. they cost my company several large aerospace contracts in Georgia last summer. I'm looking forward to the day that the muslims turn on them as all rabid, gutless ungrateful animals do.
Something some of you may not know, The Republic of Georgia is the home to one of the largest populations of Jews outside of Israel and has existed in place longer then any other. One of the partners of our families firm is Israeli and set us up there to do business. Wonderful people, i think they felt betrayed by the west when Russia rolled them and the western media falsely reported events there. The russians and muslims instigated that whole mess. The russians and their puppets have been shelling them since the fall, assassinating politicians and intimidating Georgians living on the border. Not one event has made it into the MSM.
Scott Grannis's blog is a north star of clear headed economic and stock market analysis. I'm over there every day the market is open.
I visit his site everyday as well. I think you were the one who put me on to him in the first place. As of late though i have noticed he is becoming less and less optimistic about recovery in the near future.
Russia has accused Georgia of capturing a Russian soldier in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia, Russian news agencies report.
A Russian defence ministry spokesman said soldier Alexander Glukhov had been seized in the Akhalgori region.
Georgia's interior ministry said the soldier had surrendered to its police, requesting Georgian citizenship.
The Akhalgori region was under Tbilisi's control until last August's war between Georgia and Russia.
During the brief war, Georgia's attempts to regain control of South Ossetia were repelled by Russian forces.
Tbilisi has urged Moscow to withdraw forces from Akhalgori after the conflict ended with an EU-brokered ceasefire.
"A preliminary investigation has revealed that Alexander Glukhov was captured by Georgian forces in the Akhalgori region of South Ossetia and taken to Tbilisi," Russian defence ministry spokesman Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky told Russian news agencies.
Col Drobyshevsky said the defence ministry was demanding that Tbilisi hand back the soldier.
The spokesman also described comments by the Georgian defence ministry as "provocation".
Tbilisi said the 21-year-old deserted the Russian army on Monday night.
In a televised interview filmed by the Georgian army, Alexander Glukhov said he decided to seek asylum in Georgia because he was fed up with poor conditions in the Russian army.
He also said that he had to go without food in the Russian army during the cold winter.
Russian military a 'paper tiger' despite symbolic comeback, says IISS
Russia may be flexing its military muscle once again, sending warships into international waters and dispatching long-range bombers on reconnaissance trips, but the former superpower remains a paper tiger, a respected London think-tank has concluded.
The recent warship manoeuvres in the Mediterranean and Latin America were just “symbolic” gestures, carried out by the former maritime giant that was able to deploy only a small number of ships while the rest of the fleet was tied up at home without enough money to keep them in business, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said.
In February last year, a naval force led by the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov completed a two-month deployment, including a period in the Mediterranean – one of the longest of its kind since the Cold War, the IISS said in its annual Military Balance. A second naval deployment took place in October en route to an exercise with the Venezuelan Navy, and a Russian warship has joined the anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden.
Oksana Antonenko, senior fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the institute, however, told a press conference at the launch of the Military Balance: “In military terms it was all very modest. This is not a major military comeback, it was just a symbolic deployment.”
She cast doubt on Russia’s ability to project force, and despite the “victory” of Russian troops in Georgia last August, their performance had highlighted their limited capabilities. She predicted that next year Moscow’s defence budget would suffer from an even greater deficit. “It’s hard to envisage a substantial increase in defence spending,” she said.
The IISS assessment clashes with the high-profile foreign policy approach adopted by Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister. There was not enough money, she said, for Russia to achieve what it wanted in military terms.
There was also “a lack of consensus” between different sections of the Russian Armed Forces, with some elements of the army hierarchy wanting to remain focused on territorial defence, and the nuclear establishment insisting on the Army training for force projection beyond Russia’s security borders.
Radical reform, however, was being introduced, with the aim of converting the “top-heavy divisions” into more flexible brigades, and the Military Balance said that national pride in Russia’s military forces was being restored.
Russia remained “very sensitive”, Ms Antonenko said, to Nato’s enlargement programme, particularly since Georgia and Ukraine had been put on the list of potential new members of the alliance. Dialogue with the Russian military was suspended after the brief war in Georgia and is only now being reinstated.
Ms Antonenko, however, said that there was no clear understanding in Moscow of what Nato was trying to do with its enlargement programme, and she called for a totally different dialogue between Russia and the alliance. Up until now there had only been a “virtual relationship” with Moscow.
She saw signs of a better working arrangement with the announcement that Russia was willing to consider allowing Nato to use a northern corridor through Russian territory for ferrying supplies to alliance troops in Afghanistan.
John Chipman, director-general and chief executive of IISS, said that in the aftermath of the conflict in Georgia, the Russians had announced plans for radical reforms, including turning the Army into a fully professional force. “This restructuring could make Russian armed forces more capable to operate against modern threats and potentially better interoperable with western forces,” he said.
Timothy Geithner, the nominee for US Treasury Secretary, has risked damaging the global economy even before his confirmation by the full Senate. In a written answer to questions from US senators, Geithner said: "President Obama - backed by the conclusions of a broad range of economists - believes that China is manipulating its currency". In the US, the words "currency manipulation" are fighting words. If the US administration were to formally name China as a currency manipulator, a range of trade sanctions could be imposed by the US government. The threat to world trade comes from the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988. The section dealing with the exchange rate, bilateral current account balances and the overall current account balance is a monument to economic illiteracy.
Under the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, "The Secretary of the Treasury shall analyze on an annual basis the exchange rate policies of foreign countries, in consultation with the International Monetary Fund, and consider whether countries manipulate the rate of exchange between their currency and the United States dollar for purposes of preventing effective balance of payments adjustments or gaining unfair competitive advantage in international trade."
"If the Secretary considers that such manipulation is occurring with respect to countries that (1) have material global current account surpluses; and (2) have significant bilateral trade surpluses with the United States, the Secretary of the Treasury shall take action to initiate negotiations with such foreign countries on an expedited basis, in the International Monetary Fund or bilaterally, for the purpose of ensuring that such countries regularly and promptly adjust the rate of exchange between their currencies and the United States dollar to permit effective balance of payments adjustments and to eliminate the unfair advantage." Should the US Treasury officially determine China to be a currency manipulator, the US Administration can unleash a range of remedies, including antidumping measures, countervailing duties, and safeguards. Although the World Trade Organization permits certain retaliatory responses from importing nations which can prove that they suffered material injury due to unfair trade practices, much of what the US Congress and some members of the Obama administration have in mind is likely to be in clear violation of the United States' WTO obligations. It would certainly provoke a response from China. The bilateral trade war that is likely to result could easily spread to the EU, Japan and emerging markets outside China.
Overall and bilateral current account imbalances and nominal and real, bilateral and effective exchange rates
The overall current account deficit of the US is the excess of US domestic investment over US national saving. The overall current account surplus of China is the excess of China's national saving over China's domestic investment. Bilateral trade balances are of no economic interest, unless there are only two countries in the world. Note that the first quote from the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 slides seamlessly from overall current account imbalances to bilateral trade imbalances, ignoring the transfer payments and foreign investment income items that are included in the current account but not in the trade balance. Trade balances and current account balances (bilateral or aggregate) can and do move in opposite directions.
There is no reason in economic theory or empirical fact why there should be any reliable correlation, between nominal exchange rates (bilateral or trade-weighted (effective) ) and the bilateral or aggregage trade balance, let alone a clear causal connection from any nominal exchange rate to the trade balance. Certain kinds of shocks and policy actions may produce an empirical association (not a causal relation) between a depreciation of the effective (trade-weighted) real exchange rate and an increase in the aggregate trade surplus. This is the case, for instance, for most aggregate demand shocks, e.g those produced by contractionary Keynesian fiscal policies. But supply shocks may produce the opposite correlation, that is, a depreciation of the effective real exchange rate and a reduction in the aggregate trade balance surplus.
In any case, as Chart 1 below shows, there has been a steady appreciation of the real effective exchange rate of the Yuan since the beginning of 2005. JP Morgan's broad real effective exchange rate index for the Yuan shows a 27 percent real appreciation since December 2004. The from a macroeconomic perspective uninteresting nominal bilateral US$-Yuan exchange rate appreciated 21 percent over the same period.
The economic stimulus plan is a gigantic boondoggle Read all about it here. Paraphrasing the immortal words of P. J. O'Rourke, someone should take this bill out behind the barn and kill it with an axe. (Obama already killed Nancy Pelosi's embarrassing proposal to stimulate the economy by spending more on contraceptives.) It does very little to stimulate new economic activity, and way too much to create new goverment programs (36 new programs costing over $136 billion). Only 3% of the bill is directed to road and highway spending. The CBO estimates that only 25% of infrastructure dollars can be spent in the first year.
Saudi Arabia: Mother moves to block child marriage
Riyadh, 11 August (AKI) - The Saudi Arabian mother of an eight-year-old girl is trying to stop her marrying a middle-aged man who made a marriage contract with the girl's father in the province of al-Qasim, in the centre of the country.
The father's consent is needed to validate the marriage contract between the man, who is in his fifties and the child. He reportedly agreed to the union in exchange for an undis closed sum of money.
According to the Saudi newspaper, Okaz, the news emerged after the mother of the child reported her husband and took him to court to prevent the marriage from going ahead.
Referring to another case where a man in his seventies was charged for marrying a ten-year-old girl in the area of Asir, south of Mecca, the woman also sought the help of local human rights groups.
The mother of the girl said her husband has two other wives, and considering the age of the child, asked for the contract to be withdrawn to allow her to have a normal childhood.
According to human rights lawyers, there are many cases of this kind before the Saudi courts.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Every single man knows: Walking a dog in the park equals sure babe magnet. Saudi Arabia's Islamic religious police, in their zeal to keep the sexes apart, want to make sure the technique doesn't catch on here.
The solution: Ban selling dogs and cats as pets, as well as walking them in public.
The prohibition went into effect on Wednesday in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and authorities in the city say they will strictly enforce it — unlike previous such bans in the cities of Mecca and Jiddah, which have been ignored and failed to stop sales.
Violators found outside with their pets will have their beloved poodles and other furry companions confiscated by agents of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the official name of the religious police, tasked with enforcing Saudi Arabia's strict Islamic code.
The commission's general manager, Othman al-Othman, said the ban was ordered because of what he called "the rising of phenomenon of men using cats and dogs to make passes at women and pester families" as well as "violating proper behavior in public squares and malls."
"If a man is caught with a pet, the pet will be immediately confiscated and the man will be forced to sign a document pledging not to repeat the act," al-Othman told the Al-Hayat newspaper. "If he does, he will be referred to authorities."
The Saudi-owned Al-Hayat announced the ban in its Wednesday edition, saying it was ordered by the acting governor of Riyadh province, Prince Sattam, based on an edit from the Council of Senior Islamic Scholars and several religious police reports of pet owners harassing women and families.
Commission authorities often do not formally announce to the public new rules that they intend to implement. Officials from the commission and Riyadh city government could not be reached for comment on Thursday, which is a weekend day in Saudi Arabia. The English-language Arab News reported on the ban on Thursday.
So far, the new prohibition did not appear to have any effect in Riyadh. It's extremely rare, anyway, to see anyone walking a dog — much less carrying a cat in public — in the capital, despite the authorities' claims of flirtatious young men luring girls with their pets in malls.
Salesmen at a couple of Riyadh pet stores on Thursday said they did not receive any official orders from the commission banning the sale of pets. Cats and dogs were still on display.
"I didn't hear of the ban," said Yasser al-Abdullah, a 28-year-old Saudi nurse, who was at one pet store with his 3-month-old collie, Joe.
Al-Abdullah, who also owns an 8-month-old Labrador, said a couple of Western friends had been told to get off the streets by the religious police for walking their dogs.
"I won't allow the commission to take my dogs from me," he said.
The religious police prowl streets and malls throughout the kingdom, ensuring unmarried men and women do not mix, confronting women they feel are not properly covered or urging men to go to prayers.
They also often make attempts to plug the few holes in the strict gender segregation that innovations bring. In 2004, they tried to ban cameras on cell phones, fearing that men and women would exchange pictures of each other — though the prohibition was quickly revoked. Every year, religious police warn against marking Valentine's Day, even trying to prevent people from wearing red clothing on the holiday, which they consider a Western creation that encourages vice.
There was no word whether commission authorities intend to expand the dog and cat ban beyond the capital.
The prohibition may be more of an attempt to curb the owning of pets, which conservative Saudis view as a sign of corrupting Western influence, like the fast food, shorts, jeans and pop music that have become more common in the kingdom.
Pet owning has never been common in the Arab world, though it is increasingly becoming fashionable among the upper class in Saudi Arabia and other countries such as Egypt.
In Islamic tradition, dogs are shunned as unclean and dangerous, though they are kept for hunting and guarding. In large cities around the Middle East, stray dogs often wander the streets and are considered pests.
The ban on cats is more puzzling, since there's no similar disdain for them in Islamic tradition. One of the Prophet Muhammad's closest companions was given the name Abu Huraira, Arabic for "the father of the kitten," because he always carried a kitten around with him and took care of it.
A number of hadiths — traditional stories of the prophet — show Muhammad encouraging people to treat cats well. Once, he let a cat drink from the water that he was going to use for his ablutions before prayers. Another time, Muhammad said a woman who kept a cat locked up without feeding it would go to Hell.
Street cats are also plentiful, and people will often feed them or play with them — but it isn't a widespread custom to keep one in the home, and many cannot afford it.
U.S. Intel: Iran Plans Nuclear Strike on U.S. Tuesday, July 29, 2008 9:00 AM
By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
Iran has carried out missile tests for what could be a plan for a nuclear strike on the United States, the head of a national security panel has warned.
In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee and in remarks to a private conference on missile defense over the weekend hosted by the Claremont Institute, Dr. William Graham warned that the U.S. intelligence community “doesn’t have a story” to explain the recent Iranian tests.
One group of tests that troubled Graham, the former White House science adviser under President Ronald Reagan, were successful efforts to launch a Scud missile from a platform in the Caspian Sea.
“They’ve got [test] ranges in Iran which are more than long enough to handle Scud launches and even Shahab-3 launches,” Dr. Graham said. “Why would they be launching from the surface of the Caspian Sea? They obviously have not explained that to us.”
Another troubling group of tests involved Shahab-3 launches where the Iranians "detonated the warhead near apogee, not over the target area where the thing would eventually land, but at altitude,” Graham said. “Why would they do that?”
Graham chairs the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, a blue-ribbon panel established by Congress in 2001.
The commission examined the Iranian tests “and without too much effort connected the dots,” even though the U.S. intelligence community previously had failed to do so, Graham said.
“The only plausible explanation we can find is that the Iranians are figuring out how to launch a missile from a ship and get it up to altitude and then detonate it,” he said. “And that’s exactly what you would do if you had a nuclear weapon on a Scud or a Shahab-3 or other missile, and you wanted to explode it over the United States.”
The commission warned in a report issued in April that the United States was at risk of a sneak nuclear attack by a rogue nation or a terrorist group designed to take out our nation’s critical infrastructure.
"If even a crude nuclear weapon were detonated anywhere between 40 kilometers to 400 kilometers above the earth, in a split-second it would generate an electro-magnetic pulse [EMP] that would cripple military and civilian communications, power, transportation, water, food, and other infrastructure," the report warned.
While not causing immediate civilian casualties, the near-term impact on U.S. society would dwarf the damage of a direct nuclear strike on a U.S. city.
“The first indication [of such an attack] would be that the power would go out, and some, but not all, the telecommunications would go out. We would not physically feel anything in our bodies,” Graham said.
As electric power, water and gas delivery systems failed, there would be “truly massive traffic jams,” Graham added, since modern automobiles and signaling systems all depend on sophisticated electronics that would be disabled by the EMP wave.
“So you would be walking. You wouldn’t be driving at that point,” Graham said. “And it wouldn’t do any good to call the maintenance or repair people because they wouldn’t be able to get there, even if you could get through to them.”
The food distribution system also would grind to a halt as cold-storage warehouses stockpiling perishables went offline. Even warehouses equipped with backup diesel generators would fail, because “we wouldn’t be able to pump the fuel into the trucks and get the trucks to the warehouses,” Graham said.
The United States “would quickly revert to an early 19th century type of country.” except that we would have 10 times as many people with ten times fewer resources, he said.
“Most of the things we depend upon would be gone, and we would literally be depending on our own assets and those we could reach by walking to them,” Graham said.
America would begin to resemble the 2002 TV series, “Jeremiah,” which depicts a world bereft of law, infrastructure, and memory.
In the TV series, an unspecified virus wipes out the entire adult population of the planet. In an EMP attack, the casualties would be caused by our almost total dependence on technology for everything from food and water, to hospital care.
Within a week or two of the attack, people would start dying, Graham says.
“People in hospitals would be dying faster than that, because they depend on power to stay alive. But then it would go to water, food, civil authority, emergency services. And we would end up with a country with many, many people not surviving the event.”
Asked just how many Americans would die if Iran were to launch the EMP attack it appears to be preparing, Graham gave a chilling reply.
“You have to go back into the 1800s to look at the size of population” that could survive in a nation deprived of mechanized agriculture, transportation, power, water, and communication.
“I’d have to say that 70 to 90 percent of the population would not be sustainable after this kind of attack,” he said.
America would be reduced to a core of around 30 million people — about the number that existed in the decades after America’s independence from Great Britain.
The modern electronic economy would shut down, and America would most likely revert to “an earlier economy based on barter,” the EMP commission’s report on Critical National Infrastructure concluded earlier this year.
In his recent congressional testimony, Graham revealed that Iranian military journals, translated by the CIA at his commission’s request, “explicitly discuss a nuclear EMP attack that would gravely harm the United States.”
Furthermore, if Iran launched its attack from a cargo ship plying the commercial sea lanes off the East coast — a scenario that appears to have been tested during the Caspian Sea tests — U.S. investigators might never determine who was behind the attack. Because of the limits of nuclear forensic technology, it could take months. And to disguise their traces, the Iranians could simply decide to sink the ship that had been used to launch it, Graham said.
Several participants in last weekend’s conference in Dearborn, Mich., hosted by the conservative Claremont Institute argued that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was thinking about an EMP attack when he opined that “a world without America is conceivable.”
In May 2007, then Undersecretary of State John Rood told Congress that the U.S. intelligence community estimates that Iran could develop an ICBM capable of hitting the continental United States by 2015.
But Iran could put a Scud missile on board a cargo ship and launch from the commercial sea lanes off America’s coasts well before then.
The only thing Iran is lacking for an effective EMP attack is a nuclear warhead, and no one knows with any certainty when that will occur. The latest U.S. intelligence estimate states that Iran could acquire the fissile material for a nuclear weapon as early as 2009, or as late as 2015, or possibly later.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld first detailed the “Scud-in-a-bucket” threat during a briefing in Huntsville, Ala., on Aug. 18, 2004.
While not explicitly naming Iran, Rumsfeld revealed that “one of the nations in the Middle East had launched a ballistic missile from a cargo vessel. They had taken a short-range, probably Scud missile, put it on a transporter-erector launcher, lowered it in, taken the vessel out into the water, peeled back the top, erected it, fired it, lowered it, and covered it up. And the ship that they used was using a radar and electronic equipment that was no different than 50, 60, 100 other ships operating in the immediate area.”
Iran’s first test of a ship-launched Scud missile occurred in spring 1998, and was mentioned several months later in veiled terms by the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, a blue-ribbon panel also known as the Rumsfeld Commission.
I was the first reporter to mention the Iran sea-launched missile test in an article appearing in the Washington Times in May 1999.
Intelligence reports on the launch were “well known to the White House but have not been disseminated to the appropriate congressional committees,” I wrote. Such a missile “could be used in a devastating stealth attack against the United States or Israel for which the United States has no known or planned defense.”
Few experts believe that Iran can be deterred from launching such an attack by the threat of massive retaliation against Iran. They point to a December 2001 statement by former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who mulled the possibility of Israeli retaliation after an Iranian nuclear strike.
“The use of an atomic bomb against Israel would destroy Israel completely, while [the same] against the Islamic only would cause damages. Such a scenario is not inconceivable,” Rafsanjani said at the time.
Rep. Trent Franks, R, Ariz., plans to introduce legislation next week that would require the Pentagon to lay the groundwork for an eventual military strike against Iran, to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and EMP capability.
“An EMP attack on America would send us back to the horse and buggy era — without the horse and buggy,” he told the Claremont Institute conference on Saturday. “If you’re a terrorist, this is your ultimate goal, your ultimate asymmetric weapon.”
Noting Iran’s recent sea-launched and mid-flight warhead detonation tests, Rep. Franks concluded, “They could do it — either directly or anonymously by putting some freighter out there on the ocean.”
The only possible deterrent against Iran is the prospect of failure, Dr. Graham and other experts agreed. And the only way the United States could credibly threaten an Iranian missile strike would be to deploy effective national missile defenses.
“It’s well known that people don’t go on a diet until they’ve had a heart attack,” said Claremont Institute president Brian T. Kennedy. “And we as a nation are having a heart attack” when it comes to the threat of an EMP attack from Iran.
“As of today, we have no defense against such an attack. We need space-based missile defenses to protect against an EMP attack,” he told Newsmax.
Rep. Franks said he remains surprised at how partisan the subject of space-based missile defenses remain. “Nuclear missiles don’t discriminate on party lines when they land,” he said.
Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, a long-standing champion of missile defense, told the Claremont conference on Friday that Sen. Obama has opposed missile defense tooth and nail and as president would cut funding for these programs dramatically.
“Senator Obama has been quoted as saying, ‘I don’t agree with a missile defense system,’ and that we can cut $10 billion of the research out — never mind, as I say, that the entire budget is $9.6 billion, or $9.3 billion,” Kyl said.
Like Franks, Kyl believes that the only way to eventually deter Iran from launching an EMP attack on the United States is to deploy robust missile defense systems, including space-based interceptors.
The United States “needs a missile defense that is so strong, in all the different phases we need to defend against . . . that countries will decide it’s not worth coming up against us,” Kyl said.
“That’s one of the things that defeated the Soviet Union. That’s one of the ways we can deal with these rogue states . . . and also the way that we can keep countries that are not enemies today, but are potential enemies, from developing capabilities to challenge us. “
OIL'S ENEMIES, UNITE! JOINING TO FIGHT ENERGY IMPORTS Pickens: Oilman pushes alternatives to funding our enemies.
Posted: 3:23 am July 25, 2008
NEWS that a terror-linked imam is behind an in- your-face Islamic subway- ad blitz should spark one thought: oil.
What's the link? Maybe none.
But petro-dollars have bought a lot of extremist Muslim influence here and elsewhere. They've also helped fund our enemies and assorted terror movements.
Fortunately, the "J-ihad train" campaign comes as perfect-storm conditions push Americans, finally, to do something about oil.
No, there's no evidence that black gold is funding the ads, a project of the Islamic Circle of North America in Queens. Nor is there anything nefarious per se about the ads' proselytizing - though terror experts have cited the ICNA's past support for terror groups, and The Post reported Monday that the imam was linked to the '93 World Trade Center bombing and plans for other attacks.
But consider what oil dollars are buying: It's not just huge stakes in US financial concerns and real-estate assets.
Saudi petro-millions have funded madrassas, mosques and Islamic centers here and elsewhere, many with an anti-Western bent - not to mention terrorists in the Mideast. The Saudis have also spent mountains of cash to get places like Harvard and Georgetown to hire faculty friendly to their point of view.
Oil revenues account for 85 percent of the Iranian government's income - much, used to fund anti-US and anti-Israel terror, destabilize Iraq and Afghanistan and pursue military programs, including (no doubt) nukes. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez would be a no-name despot but for his oil.
Indeed, so alarmed is oilman T. Boone Pickens that he's launched a multimillion-dollar campaign to raise red flags. On Tuesday he told Congress of dangers that flow "directly from our overwhelming dependence on foreign oil" - much of which "comes from countries that are not our friends." This puts us, he says, "in the position of paying for the tools these countries use to embrace, export and manifest" an ideology meant "to see us fail."
Nor is national security all that's at stake: Barring price shifts, Pickens says, Americans will send $700 billion abroad this year. In 10 years, this could total $10 trillion - "the greatest transfer of wealth" in history.
Analyst Gal Luft notes that "at current oil prices, it would take OPEC just six days to buy GM and three years to buy a 20 percent voting block in every S&P company. It is hard to see how such buying power amassed by oil producers would not upset the West's economic and political sovereignty."
Meanwhile, global-warming zealots continue to push non-fossil-fuel energy. Last week, Al Gore called for all US electricity to be carbon-free in 10 years.
The most powerful motivator: $4 gas. We like our SUVs - but not spending a week's paycheck to fill them.
Gore rightly notes that disparate constituencies are uniting: hawks, who see foreign oil as a security threat; warming warriors, who fear greenhouse gases - and everybody else, left and right, who fume when they visit the pump.
And the movement is nearing critical mass: Polls show energy concerns soaring. Groups like SetAmericaFree.org are mushrooming. (Check out the funny video at nozzle- rage.com.) Pickens is pushing wind power and natural gas, building turbines that will pump out 4,000 megawatts of juice by 2014. Eco-pols, like Mayor Bloomberg, are weaning governments and constituents.
Recently, President Bush lifted the executive ban on offshore oil exploration, spotlighting congressional roadblocks like Nancy Pelosi. Both presidential candidates have made energy a priority.
And you can bet the private sector is busy with R&D.
For years, some thought OPEC kept supplies up and prices down to keep the world hooked on its oil. Today, with roaring demand from Asia, supplies are lagging - and tectonic economic shifts are afoot.
It's not clear where all this will lead, but surely things are headed in the right direction: i.e., toward less US dependence on foreign oil.
Just fantasize the possibilities: Terror, bankrupt. Iran, shriveled. Chavez, history. Gore shuts up.
Tehran, 29 July (AKI) - Sixteen Iranians who converted from Islam to Christianity were arrested on Tuesday in Malakshahr, on the outskirts of the central Iranian city of Isfahan.
The six women, eight men and two adolescents who were arrested were assisting in a conversion ceremony and baptism of three new members of the church at a private house that had been transformed into an evangelical church.
The owners of the home, an elderly couple, were allegedly beaten up before they were locked up in an unmarked lorry.
In April, 10 Christian converts were arrested in Shiraz.
The official evangelical churches in Isfahan received orders not to allow any Muslims to attend their ceremonies and not to facilitate in any way the conversions.
Iranian law does not stipulate any punishment for those who convert from Islam to other faiths, even if the converts are subject to repression.
A few months ago, the government presented a bill which is currently being discussed in parliament, to include in the penal code the crime of "Ertedad" which is the act of abandoning the Muslim faith.
If the parliament does approve the law, the punishment for abandoning Islam will be the death penalty.
Ignorance about the Enemy's Ideology is the Problem by Jeffrey Imm Special to IPT News July 29, 2008
In fighting Jihad, America's greatest challenge remains understanding and confronting the ideology that provides the basis for Jihadist terrorism. Efforts to clearly define this enemy ideology recently have been undermined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), and the State Department in promoting a "terror lexicon" that recommends federal government employees avoid terms such as "jihad," "jihadist," "Islamist," "mujahideen," and "caliphate" when addressing issues involving terrorism. The argument made by the DHS, NCTC, and others is that the use of such terms will aid in the "recruitment" of Muslims to join terrorist organizations, or will alternatively provide "legitimacy" to religious aspects of terrorist efforts.
However, this tactical approach to create a "terror lexicon" to ban such terms used in federal government terrorism reports and the 9/11 Commission report undermines the strategic efforts to identify, understand, and confront the ideology that is the root challenge in a war of ideas against Jihad. And, as Bill West points out, it can also open the door to some unintended consequences for law enforcement.
Congressmen Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) has been an outspoken critic of such "terror lexicon" efforts, and was the leader of an amendment to the House of Representatives' 2009 Intelligence funding bill to prevent government funding from supporting such activities. On July 16, 2008, the House passed (by voice vote) House Resolution 5959 "Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009," which included Congressman Hoekstra's amendment (Section 507 'Jihadists').
Congressman Hoekstra's amendment states that: "None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act may be used to prohibit or discourage the use of the words or phrases 'jihadist', 'jihad', 'Islamo-fascism', 'caliphate', 'Islamist', or 'Islamic terrorist' by or within the intelligence community or the Federal Government."
In the House debate on this amendment, Congressional advocates of the "terror lexicon" such as Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) reiterated the DHS fears that "we not use language that inflames." She said she was not trying to invoke political correctness or censorship, yet expressed concern that the language might alienate those already hostile toward us:
"there is no prohibition in this to quoting the statements of Osama bin Laden and others who use these hateful words. Why would we want to sensor that? The prohibition is directed at ourselves, words that will inflame the very communities we're trying to convince.
I would just close with the observation that if we had thought a little longer about using the phrase ‘‘axis of evil" we might have, it seems to me, engendered more cooperation on the part of some countries that have, sadly, moved far away from us, and engendered more cooperation on the part of populations which now look at America with disapproval."
But Congressman Hoekstra rebutted such arguments with the question: "How will America understand the nature and the character of our enemy if we can't use the words that they use to describe themselves and we need to come up with a whole new language that is totally out of context with the enemy and the nature of the threat that we face today?" Congressman Hoekstra also urged the House of Representatives "not [to] give the radical jihadists a victory hereby imposing a speech code on America's intelligence community."
This amendment was passed by the margin of 249-180 (with 10 abstentions). While it remains to be seen if this text will be part of a final bill supported by the Senate and signed by President Bush, the Congressional voting record on this amendment (Roll Call 500) provides the American public with insight on their representatives' views on this subject. Among those supporting Hoekstra were Republicans Sue Myrick (NC), Frank Wolf (VA), Peter King (NY) and Democrats Brad Sherman (CA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY). Opponents to the amendment included Democrats Jane Harman (CA), Steny Hoyer (MD) and John Conyers (MI), along with Republican Ron Paul (TX).
Confusion as to the "nature and character" of the enemy is precisely the goal of groups that support Islamist doctrine. Not surprisingly, Islamist groups and their apologists quickly attacked the Hoekstra amendment approval by the House of Representatives.
On July 23, 2008, the Detroit Times' Gregg Krupa reported on the successful Hoekstra amendment. The article criticized the Michigan congressional delegation (including Congressman Hoekstra) for supporting the amendment, defending the "terror lexicon." Krupa's article also states that "Muslims have long considered the words ["jihadist" and "Islamist"] as slurs," and "those who embrace jihad bring themselves closer to God." For that perspective, Krupa turns to his go-to source, Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan. Walid argues that CAIR supports such terror lexicon efforts to "remove the false cloak of religiosity" from Jihadist terrorism.
Neither Krupa nor Walid seem to have a solution about referring to terrorist groups operating under religious names, such as Hizballah (Party of God) or any number of Islamic Jihads in the world.
Parts of the Detroit Times article have also been included in a UPI news report.
Krupa's article fails to mention that CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) terror trial, or that CAIR's executive director is a supporter of the Hamas terrorist organization. Krupa's article also fails to note that CAIR has been identified by the FBI as part of the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee. (The Investigative Project on Terrorism has a 10-part expose on CAIR.)
Krupa regularly reports on Detroit and Dearborn-area Islamic community news and related world events of interest to such readers, and his articles often are reprinted on CAIR's web site and other Islamic web sites. His articles include a report promoting a CAIR "public outreach campaign about Islam and the prophet Muhammad," and a glowing report regarding Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini (Islamic Center of America). The Detroit Times regularly quotes CAIR's Dawud Walid, and on July 8, 2008, it published a Dawud Walid commentary titled "Obama, McCain should condemn Islamophobia."
The Detroit Free Press reports that Walid "speaks regularly at one of Detroit's largest mosques, Masjid Wali Muhammad, where he is an associate imam... was the first Nation of Islam temple in the country ever built, according to Walid," and which has a portrait of the Nation of Islam's former Supreme Minister, Elijah Muhammad. Yet while he speaks at this Nation of Islam-supporting mosque and attends speeches by Louis Farrakhan, CAIR's Walid claims to be against "extremists" in his interview with the Detroit Times' Krupa. Moreover, Walid has repeatedly defended organizations accused of terrorist finance links, and encouraged readers of his blog to continue to financially support the Al Mabarrat foundation after it had been raided for suspicion of links to terrorist funding, as well as to financially support the Life for Relief and Development (LIFE) group raided in September 2006. The Al Mabarrat foundation has been linked to the terrorist group Hizballah. LIFE officer Muthanna Al-Hanooti was arrested in March on charges of spying for Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government.
Joining CAIR in supporting the DHS/NCTC terror lexicon efforts are other Islamist organizations, such as: fellow HLF trial unindicted co-conspirator Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) - whose 2007 conference speakers included individuals who have called for an Islamic caliphate in the United States and other Islamists, the Muslim American Society (MAS) - founded as the United States chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood Organization ("Jihad is our way"), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) - that has lobbied to remove Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hizballah from U.S. terrorist group listings, and whose spokeswoman Edina Lekovic was managing editor for Al-Talib when it defended Osama Bin Laden.
CAIR and other such Islamist organizations have a vested interest in preventing an open and honest discussion regarding the Islamist ideology that provides the basis for Jihadist terrorism. CAIR uses as one of its slogans "ignorance is the enemy." They are close - ignorance about the enemy's ideology is the real problem in fighting a war of ideas with Islamists.
But to address this strategic war of ideas, America needs to be willing to recognize that we should not grant special treatment to those hostile to our values. In facing the challenge of Jihadist terrorism, we need to be able to name and discuss the enemy's ideology.
Both Pakistan and Bangladesh -- carved out of British India to create a homeland for the subcontinent's Muslims -- give shelter and succor to terrorists. But the fact that the most recent attacks were carried out by a made-in-India group shows it's about time that India comes to terms with its own counterterrorism failings.
Do you see the trend here, the Bosnia, Philippines - new muslim home land in outer islands, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jordan, Chechnya............ the list goes on. Anyone catch the trend yet?
The trend is countries that never existed until muslims blew up enough innocent people that they were given a "home land", they have continued to blow stuff up be enough is never enough.
I have only one question after reading this thread. How can anyone defend these people coming into the U.S illegally?
Not all the bleeding heart slogans in the world will change the fact that the U.S is spending more tax dollars then it is taking on, mostly on social programs and initiatives that would not need to be in place if the general population were more self sufficient.
Cities are literally on the verge of bankruptcy, and still more uneducated, non english speaking people pour across the U.S mexican border that these financially unstable cities and states will have to suppport.
Does it not bother you guys that there are hundreds of thousands of good, english speaking, university educated people waiting to legally enter the U.S who will be more then happy to pay taxes and give to society instead of taking?
July 26, 2008 NORWAY - UP IN FLAMES AND MUSLIMS FIGHTING MUSLIMS Here are two posts that aptly describe the "enhancement" to Western European countries, in particular Norway, and their indigenous populations that the so called "diversity", multiculturalism and rampant immigration has brought. Aided and abeted by moronic politicians and law enforcement who fear political correctness over actual violence. One has to wonder if the backlash has begun -- but interesting enough - the fighting that appears to have started is between immigrant groups - particularly muslims.
23 PEOPLE INJURED IN NORWAY REFUGEE CENTER ATTACK:
OSLO, July 25 (Reuters) - Twenty-three people were wounded when a gang of 40-50 men armed with steel bars and machetes attacked residents at a refugee centre in Norway late on Thursday, officials said on Friday.
No one was seriously wounded, but 10 were sent to hospital and 13 treated at a local clinic, hospital officials said.
An official at the centre in Oestfold south of Oslo said the attackers were Chechens and the victims Kurds. Police declined to confirm or deny that and said they had made no arrests so far.
"There was an attack from outside the asylum centre by people who don't live here, Chechens, 40 to 50 men armed with steel bars and other weapons," Ole Morten Lyng, an official at the centre, told NRK public radio news.
"There also seem to have been knives involved," Lyng said. "They went into the rooms and pulled out Kurds and beat them up."
A police officer said some of the attackers had machetes.
Lyng told Norwegian news agency NTB that the conflict stemmed from a minor dispute between Kurds and Chechens at the centre that got blown out of proportion. (Reporting by John Acher; editing by Elizabeth Piper)
Meanwhile, Norway is Sinking into a Sea of Flames by Dymphna
Fjordman sends along some of the dystopian stories emanating from Northern Europe...
First, a link to Bruce Bawer’s site. He’s talking about Dagbladet’s report on the alarming number of tourist buses being set afire in Oslo (from July 18):
Dagbladet reports that in the last two weeks, eighteen tourist buses in Oslo have been set upon by thieves and vandals.
Official reactions to this latest development only serve to underscore where the roots of the problem lie. You can almost see the spokesman for the Agency for Road and Transport shrugging and yawning as he tells Dagbladet that, well, this sort of this happens every summer, and hey, don’t worry, there’s more and more tourist buses coming to Norway. And the cops? They say that they “can’t see any connection among the events of recent weeks.” A police spokesman told Dagbladet that they hadn’t put the case materials together yet - they’ll get around to that on, oh, Monday.
No, Oslo isn’t Rome or Paris. But not long ago, it was at least a safe, clean city. It’s now rapidly declining into a maelstrom of chaos, crime, and filth under politicians who’ve essentially handed it over to armies of Nigerian prostitutes, gypsy beggars, and Muslim gangsters; who ordered street work that should have been wrapped up months ago but that continues to keep much of the downtown area looking like Berlin in 1946; and who blithely hike subsidies to groups like the Islamic Council while letting the police and military go chronically underfunded.
Well, of course. Who wants to pay a decent wage to those nasty men who protect others when the Islamic Council, peace be unto them, needs funding so desperately?
And the cops? They simply suffer from the same virulent indifference as their superiors. It’s a top-down disease.
Mr. Bawer suggests that tourists re-route to Copenhagen instead.
Aftenposten has more details (in English) on this pastime of tourist bus burning. Here’s one Spanish tour driver’s experience:
“My company sends buses all over Europe, but we’ve never experienced anything like this,” bus driver Jorge Muniz Paredes to newspaper Aften. “If I talked about this on Spanish television, people would think I was in Africa.”
Paredes recently found his bus burning near the new Opera House on Oslo’s waterfront. The bus, used to carry Spanish tourists on sightseeing trips in Oslo, was in top condition, he said.
He’s convinced vandals are behind the fire on his bus. Two days earlier, the bus’ windshield had been smashed.
Three Spanish tour bus companies have filed a complaint with Norwegian tourism promoters in Madrid, who in turn have contacted both the Norwegian embassy in Spain and the Spanish embassy in Norway.
Some tour operators are considering dropping Oslo from their tour itineraries. “Oslo’s not a particularly pretty city, like Rome or Paris,” said Paredes. “The only reason we come is because it’s the capital of Norway. The vandalism makes the destination insecure and if this continues, we’ll stop coming.”
Oh, well. Plenty more tourists to take their place, right?
But here is the most interesting story from Fjordman’s selection. It lays bare the core of the problem. Olso burns while government strangles its citizens on procedural policies. The pervasive cynicism is heart-breaking. - - - - - - - - - Read carefully with attention to what the authorities themselves consider important:
An awkward power struggle has broken out among foreign and local beggars in Oslo, ironically over their street sales of a magazine whose very title calls for more equality in the capital.
Norwegian beggars are getting competition from foreign beggars, and conflicts are breaking out.
The conflict is over who should be allowed to peddle the magazine, which sells for NOK 50. Its sellers can keep half of the proceeds.
The magazine, called “=Oslo” (equal Oslo), was started up to help provide an income source to those who otherwise would beg for spare change on the streets of the capital. Many of its original sellers were Norwegian drug addicts.
Now, however, new groups of foreign beggars want to sell the magazine as well, reported newspaper Dagsavisen earlier this week. The magazine won’t let them, saying the sellers should be Norwegian and must be able to speak Norwegian.
That’s led to protests, and state authorities are investigating whether “=Oslo” is violating anti-discrimination laws. “If we find that ‘=Oslo’ has broken the law, they’ll have to find a new solution for the foreigners,” said Ingeborg Grimsmo, Norway’s acting discrimination ombud.
Why would a magazine originate with the intention of having “beggars” sell their product? It’s insane. Remember when Rudy Giuliani began cleaning up New York City by removing the beggars who were washing car windshields in city traffic?
The problem with “beggars” is that keeping civic order is an on-going problem. Mayor Giuliani solved it in his time, but the squeegee men are making a comeback in The Big Apple and their appearance scares people because of what it represents - erosion of public space. These depredations don’t stay “cured”; they demand vigilance and creative thinking. Neither is in great supply in Norway.
Here’s another problem where the authorities cynically leave in a bind those who would help the hungry:
Thorny issues also have broken out within an Oslo organization that serves the poor and offers them free food (Fattighuset). It has refused to give food to the foreign beggars, claiming that the foreigners try to sell the food on the street.
“We can’t have that,” said Johanna Engen, a board member at Fattighuset, arguing that it defies the purpose of the aid and can threaten donations.
The anti-discrimination authority is investigating whether Fattighuset can legally only give food to poor Norwegians and not poor foreigners. “There are important principles at stake,” Grimsmo said, arguing that the foreigners are becoming “more and more” stigmatized in Norway.
People get “stigmatized” when they consistently operate outside the mores of local culture. Perhaps these “foreigners” of unnamed ethnicity come from a place where ripping off charitable organizations is all in a day’s work.
Fattighuset is absolutely right: letting this go on would threaten donations. But the “anti-discrimination authority” is not concerned with outcomes; it lives for procedures. And by its lights, procedures take precedence over virtue.
When a government - be it local, state, or federal - has that much power over charitable endeavors and it uses that dominance with Kafkaesque indifference, then the government is acting with evil. Indifferent evil, but evil nonetheless.
Fjordman called it a maelstrom of chaos. His powers of perception are acute.
Italy Declares State of Emergency over Illegal Immigration Invasion
We can all see that the Western world is being overrun by illegals from the 3rd world. But most of our countries leaders just do not have the guts to do anything about it. Except for one, our friends in Italy. Our countries are being financially drained by illegals, entire neighbourhoods being taken over and many of them are trying to impose an ideology on us that is completely opposite from life as we know it. Now the government of Italy which has bulldozed a Mosque site, closed a major Mosque, and deported dozens of Egyptians, has declared a state of emergency because of illegal immigration. Our countries are like a life raft to some coming from the 3rd world, but even life rafts sink if overcrowded.
Italy Declares State of Emergency over Illegal Immigration Invasion ⋅ July 26, 2008
Britain is not the only country which is being subjected to a Third World immigration invasion - almost every other Western European country is struggling under the same burden. Italy is however, unusual in one respect - it now actually has a government with enough guts to tackle the issue head-on.
Yesterday, the Italian government declared a “national state of emergency” over illegal immigration. A Cabinet statement said that the Government had to confront a “persistent and exceptional influx” of non-EU citizens and it had approved a proposal from Roberto Maroni, the Interior Minister, to declare a state of emergency “throughout the national territory”.
The state of emergency was earlier in effect only for the southern provinces of Sicily, Puglia and Calabria. Italy’s long shoreline and proximity to Africa make it a popular entry point into Europe for thousands of Africans who make hazardous journeys in flimsy boats each year.
Mario Morcone, a senior official at the Interior Ministry, said that the decision had been prompted by the continuing arrival of illegal immigrants in ramshackle boats run by people-smugglers at the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, just off the North African coast. Many such boats capsize and their passengers drown.
Mr Morcone said that 9,342 immigrants had arrived between the start of the year and the end of June - double the figure for the previous year - and there were at present more than 1,000 at the overcrowded refugee camp in Lampedusa. Some are repatriated but many are sent to immigrant camps on the Italian mainland.
Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister, won final parliamentary approval this week for a security package under which illegal immigrants convicted of crimes will face jail sentences a third longer than those for Italians.
Italy has also started a controversial census of Roma which involved the fingerprinting and photographing of all adults and children over 14 years old. Roma - sometimes referred to as gypsies - are often blamed in Italy for the rising crime rate across the country.
Minister Maroni said that fingerprinting Roma gypsy children would ensure that those parents who sent their children out to beg instead of school could be traced and punished.