http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NL04Ak01.html The United States is shocked – shocked – to discover that Turkey, a notional American ally, has done more to help Iran skirt sanctions than any other country. Turkey’s precious metals exports, almost all of which went directly or indirectly to Iran, quintupled this year to US$14.3 billion. Iran uses the precious metals to [...]
No Ifs, Thens, or Buts
Obama is giving Republicans an offer they can refuse.
Believe it or not, there was progress in the fiscal cliff negotiations between the White House and congressional Republicans this week. Progress was made, at least in flushing out what both sides really want.
Obama’s “offer,” taken to the Hill by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, was a back-of-the-hand slap at Republicans. Having won the election, Obama chose to make an offer he knew Republicans had to refuse. Starting with $1.6 trillion in increased taxes over the next ten years, Obama asked for more spending — not spending cuts — and a potpourri of increased White House power and government growth. Not only did he want unilateral permanent power to raise the debt ceiling, he wanted another “if-then” deal on Social Security, promising an eleven-month study that would supposedly produce an agreement on entitlement reform.
Real progress was made in the reactions to Obama’s Christmas wish list. As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)told the Wall Street Journal about his meeting with Geithner, “He noticed that I laughed. That pretty well summed up my view of what he was saying.” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh) called the offer “unserious” and said that there was no way the House would give the White House unilateral authority over the debt ceiling. And that was only the beginning.
In a radio interview last week, McConnell told me that the Republicans weren’t going to fall for another “if-then” deal, a point he reiterated to the WSJ. If McConnell and Boehner stick to that resolution, and they must, whatever deal may be made will have to be on legislation that takes effect now, not later, when it comes to entitlement reform and spending cuts. Boehner, onFox News Sunday, explicitly rejected the idea of another commission to study Social Security. He said America has a serious spending problem and “we’re going to fix it.”
So, at this point, where are we? Nowhere. Which is the good news and the bad news.
Biden mistakenly congratulates accused rapist
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Vice President Joe Biden, fresh from a re-election campaign that featured gaffes and goofs galore, sent a congratulatory letter to a Republican state Senate candidate who withdrew from his race in October after being indicted on 113 felony counts related to accusations he raped a boy. Read more…
Read more: http://times247.com/#ixzz2DzVSrJBi
U.S. competes for $10b nuke deal with Czechs
Monday, December 3, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is lobbying the Czech Republic to approve an American bid for a $10 billion expansion of a nuclear power plant, even as a rival Russian offer seems to be the favorite. Read more…
Read more: http://times247.com/#ixzz2DzUjnpv7
Climate treaty priority for Obama in 2nd term
Sunday, December 2, 2012
As leaders in Washington obsess about the fiscal cliff, President Obama is putting in place the building blocks for a climate treaty requiring the first fossil-fuel emissions cuts from both the U.S. and China. Read more…
Read more: http://times247.com/#ixzz2DzUxtdQa
White House opposes Senate-passed Iran sanctions
Sunday, December 2, 2012
The White House announced its opposition to a new round of Iran sanctions that the Senate unanimously approved on Friday, in the latest instance of Congress pushing for more aggressive measures on Iran than the administration deems prudent. Read more…
Read more: http://times247.com/#ixzz2DzVDZ6J4
U.N. meets in Dubai to write Internet rules
Sunday, December 2, 2012
A UN agency is trying to calm fears that the Internet could be damaged by a conference it is hosting. Government regulators from 193 countries are in Dubai to revise a wide-ranging communications treaty. Read more…
Read more: http://times247.com/#ixzz2DzVJnMFZ
How Susan Rice Covered Up the Kenya Embassy Bombings 14 Years Before Benghazigate
Before you read this, keep in mind that all this is just unjustified racism because Susan Rice had nothing to do with any of it. Except for the parts that she had to do with.
In the spring of 1998, Prudence Bushnell, the U.S. ambassador to Kenya, sent an emotional letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright begging for a more secure embassy in the face of mounting terrorist threats and a warning that she was the target of an assassination plot.
The State Department had repeatedly denied her request, citing a lack of money. But that kind of response, she wrote Albright, was “endangering the lives of embassy personnel.”
A matter of months later, on Aug. 7, 1998, the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya were simultaneously attacked with car bombs. In Kenya, 12 American diplomats and more than 200 Africans were killed.
As in Benghazi, requests for more security were denied, warnings were issued, prior incidents were ignored and Susan Rice went on TV to explain it all.
Within 24 hours, Rice, then assistant secretary of state for African affairs, went on PBS as spokesperson for the administration — just as she was regarding Benghazi when she parroted the administration’s false narrative on five Sunday talk shows on Sept. 16, 2012, that Benghazi was caused by a flash mob enraged by an Internet video. Then, as now, she worked for a Clinton.
Also then, as now, she went on TV to claim, falsely, that we “maintain a high degree of security at all of our embassies at all times” and that we “had no telephone warning or call of any sort like that, that might have alerted either embassy just prior to the blast.” There were plenty of warnings and our East African diplomats were begging for help as Ambassador Chris Stevens was in Benghazi.
What, you didn’t think they sent out Susan Rice at random to lie about Benghazigate? It helps to have prior experience lying to the American people and covering up administration malfeasance.
There is a striking pattern of denial in Susan Rice’s press conference from 1998 where the operative phrase was, “I know nothing.”
http://frontpagemag.com/2012/janice-fiamengo/sometimes-a-bang-sometimes-a-whimper/print/ David Goldman calls How Civilizations Die “an apology for conventional thinking,” and it is easy to see why—if one understands “conventional” to mean conservative. A religious Jew and strong supporter of Israel, Goldman is hawkish on U.S. foreign policy and believes in the centrality of religious faith to the health of cultures. In other [...]
http://frontpagemag.com/2012/richard-l-cravatts/northeastern-us-students-for-justice-in-palestine-cheerlead-hamas-call-for-the-murder-of-jews/print/ As an example of what the insightful commentator Melanie Phillips referred to as a “dialogue of the demented” in her book, The World Turned Upside Down, Northeastern University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), paralleling the moral incoherence of anti-Israel activists demonstrating elsewhere in American and European cities, sponsored a November 15th [...]
http://frontpagemag.com/2012/mark-tapson/ron-pauls-middle-east-delusion/print/ In an op-ed at Counterpunch.org last week, former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul addressed what he calls “the tragic-comedy of US foreign policy” and explained “How to End the Gaza Tragedy.” The real tragicomedy is that Paul continues to cling to his dangerously naïve foreign policy perspective. In his article, Paul asserts his usual [...]
It has been already five long days since the beginning of the “Pillar of Defence” Operation. Many thoughts come to mind. Tonight, I have decided to summarise them in ten words. Ten common terms, usually used, but this time my feelings and emotions are going to redefine them in a new way.
·Sirens: I am walking around in Tel Aviv, the cultural and economic centre of Israel. The bubble, the hub, the very place where nothing is supposed to happen. The cacophonous blast of the sirens surprise me as I make my way; it informs me that I have one minute and 45 seconds left (compared to the 15 seconds in the southern city of Sderot) to reach a shelter. The siren is loud and penetrates all.
·Fear: The feeling courses through me and will remain until the end of the alert. It reminds me that I am so vulnerable. It shows me that every single object around me has become a target and that I, too, have become one.
·Shelter: It is the first time that I enter an armoured room to seek refuge. I have entered the first building on my way, and as all the other passers-by have done, I am going towards one of the special rooms, a “strong room”, usually used as guest or storage rooms. This time I contemplate its walls, trying to persuade myself that no rocket will pierce them. But my attention is quickly drawn to the nearby children who have started to cry. The alert’s ten-minute waiting period will be dedicated to calm them down and to convince them that all is OK. In the shelter, dozens of Israelis, previously unknown to one another, are chatting like old friends. I also take part of the conversations. I check the news on my smartphone. A woman, a southerner, says that she has heard the boom of a rocket exploding. She is used to it, she explains; for her, this has been the norm for four years already.
·Comprehension: I would not dare to say that after having experienced only one alert I have understood everything. But it is like a first draft: I am starting to see what Southern inhabitants have been living with since 2005. Constant firing, alerts that go off both day and night, damaged houses and rockets’ fragments lying on the streets. And I am ashamed to say, that until now, I had never realised the terrible reality of their daily lives.
·Mutual aid: People are wonderful and show an exemplary solidarity. Everywhere in the country, doors are opened for Southerners. Friends and family call each other to hear from one another and check in. My Israeli friends make sure that I, the new immigrant, know how to react in case of an alert. “You know, you have never experienced this in Paris, we are used to it already”, they tell me. I wonder: can you ever really get used to it? I adopt the country’s habits and I also call, one by one, my married friends to check if their husbands have been mobilised, and if I can do anything to help.
And this solidarity is not only between Israelis. It also takes the form of messages coming in from all over the world: SMS, emails, phone calls, “likes” on Facebook. Any single person that supports Israel, it does not matter if they are Jewish or not, holds on to let us know that we are not standing alone. And these daily proofs that they care touch us and strengthen us. Thank you. We are grateful for it.
·News: I have never watched the news so many times in the same day. I go from one website to another, checking the “breaking-news”, counting the number of rockets fired since the morning. I woke up checking what is going on and I fall asleep, my phone in my hands. Every time I read an unknown person has been injured, my stomach hurts and I stop everything to say a psalm for his speedy recovery.
·Technologies: Tsahal, or the Israel Defence Forces, had understood that this time, it cannot lose the “social networks war”. The IDF“tweets” when it strikes Hamas terrorist heads or when they target stashed hidden weapons. They put videos on-line and refresh their Facebook page all the time.
Technology also means the “Iron Dome”, the mechanism that intercepts the murderous rockets as they hurtle towards heavily populated areas. Each missile is extremely expensive but in Israel, life has no price.
·Disgust: For all those who explain this operation through conspirationist theories, asserting that Bibi had organised all of this to get more votes in the upcoming elections.
·Confidence: A double meaning. A strong and renewed confidence in the Jewish people’s resilience and its ability to hold it on. And an even stronger confidence in the Source of everything, Hakadosh Baruch Hu, the Holy One Blessed Be He, that at every single moment protects us and saves us.
·Pride: My last word. A enormous sense of pride for this country that is Israel. An undefinable feeling that makes me so happy and gives me so much courage in these hard moments. A noble feeling, fed every day by what I see around me. The majestic feeling, that makes it clear that when I came here, I made the right choice.
“And on the matter of the suffering on both sides, undifferentiated sympathy in this case reflects not moral strength but moral obtuseness and weakness. If you want to end the suffering, on both sides, you should unequivocally root for Hamas’s defeat. Hamas is a virulently anti-Semitic terrorist organization that attacks Israeli civilians on one side of the border as it hides behind Palestinian civilians on the other. Or, as Hamas proudly proclaims, “We love death more than you love life.”
In Isaac Babel’s 1931 short story “Argamak,” a Jewish intellectual “thirsting for peace and happiness” joins a Red cavalry division made up of Jew-hating Cossacks. The division commander understands the Jew’s strange choice—and has contempt for it. So, he takes a prized stallion from one of the Cossacks and gives it to the Jew to ride. The Cossack is furious. The Jew, sensing the Cossack’s hatred, asks the commander, “Why did you give me an enemy?” Not bothering to disguise his contempt, the commander explains, “I understand you completely. . . . Your aim is to live without making enemies. . . . Everything you do is aimed that way—so you won’t have any enemies.”
More than 80 years later, Babel’s Jews still live.
During Israel’s recent mini-war with Hamas, the online Slate magazine published an article by its legal writer, Dahlia Lithwick, titled, “I Didn’t Come Back to Jerusalem to Be in a War.” Lithwick lived in Israel as a child in 1977, the year of Anwar Sadat’s visit to the Israeli Knesset. She recently returned there with her children for another year, in part to enlarge their horizons beyond an American world made up of “equal parts comfort and Lego.” She did not expect the enlargement to include a war with Hamas.
http://frontpagemag.com/2012/dgreenfield/muslim-brotherhood-tyrants-show-their-true-faces/ On February 10, 2011, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper appeared before the House Select Committee on Intelligence to testify on threats to the United States. Mubarak was one day away from resigning, under pressure from Washington, paving the way for a Muslim Brotherhood takeover, and the situation in Egypt was on everyone’s mind. [...]