Al-Arabiya English’s editor-in-chief Faisal J. Abbas wrote an op-ed today titled “President Obama, listen to Netanyahu on Iran”:
The Israeli PM managed to hit the nail right on the head when he said that Middle Eastern countries are collapsing and that “terror organizations, mostly backed by Iran, are filling in the vacuum” during a recent ceremony held in Tel Aviv to thank outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz for his role during “challenging” times.
In just a few words, Mr. Netanyahu managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel (which obviously is his concern), but to other U.S. allies in the region.
What is absurd, however, is that despite this being perhaps the only thing that brings together Arabs and Israelis (as it threatens them all), the only stakeholder that seems not to realize the danger of the situation is President Obama, who is now infamous for being the latest pen-pal of the Supreme Leader of the World’s biggest terrorist regime: Ayottallah Ali Khamenei. (Although, the latter never seems to write back!)
Just to be clear, nobody disagrees that ridding Iran of its nuclear ambitions is paramount. And if this can be achieved peacefully, then it would be even better. However, any reasonable man CAN’T possibly turn a blind eye to the other realities on the ground.
Indeed, it is Mr. Obama’s controversial take on managing global conflicts that raises serious questions. A case in point is his handling of the Syrian crisis, where according to his own philosophical views, Obama probably takes pride that he managed to rid the Assad regime of its chemical weapons arsenal without firing a single bullet.
Of course, in theory, this could be quite an achievement (which only another war philosopher, such as Sun Tzu, would applaud); but in reality, the problem with what happened is that the REAL issue hasn’t been resolved; as such, the Syrian regime continues – until this day – to slaughter their own people (albeit, using conventional weapons, you know… your everyday bullets, missiles and barrel bombs!)
As such, the real Iranian threat is not JUST the regime’s nuclear ambitions, but its expansionist approach and state-sponsored terrorism activities which are still ongoing. …
Nutella has a marketing campaign in France that allows users to personalize jars of the delicious chocolate-hazelnut goodness and share the image on social media.
Well, for the most part.
The marketers behind Nutella’s “Say It With Nutella” campaign– or “Dites-le Avec Nutella” in French– are facing a backlash after it was discovered that several words have been prohibited from use.
“Here you can create your custom messages and share them with those you love!” the website says.
Russia Today reports on the entire list of banned words:
The list of banned words includes many health –related words such as “cancer,” “obesity,” “fatso,” “diabetes,” and “oil.” Also variations of “poop,” “cannabis” and other references to body functions and drugs are prohibited. “Gay” is allowed while “lesbian” and “homo” have both been deemed offensive. “Christian” is permitted but “Jewish” and “Muslim” are not.
Nutella released the following statement concerning the controversy:
“By giving customers the opportunity to personalize their Nutella jar we want to create a way for them to share enthusiasm for the brand. Negative or insulting terms were directly removed from the options field. Similarly, terms of communities that are often subject to attacks by malicious people were removed from the possibilities.”
On Monday, Twitter officials revealed that ISIS has threatened Twitter employees including co-founder Jack Dorsey because the company has been blocking terror-related accounts. Law enforcement is working with Twitter about the threats.
“Our security team is investigating the veracity of these threats with relevant law enforcement officials,” according to a Twitter statement.
The NYPD is also on the case, saying they will keep a closer eye on the New York Twitter offices.
“We are aware of the current threat,” said John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counter-terrorism. “We have been in touch with Twitter, their security people. Our critical response vehicles have that as a regular location. They know us we know them and we are working on it.”
ISIS wrote on the website JustPasteIt that Twitter cannot dodge the “lions” coming for them. The message reads:
“We told you from the beginning that this was not your war. How, Jack [Dorsey], will you protect your wretched employees when their necks are an official target for the soldiers of the caliphate and its allies who are scattered among your midst? How will you answer their families and their children since you embroiled them in this failed war?,” according to the post.
“Your virtual war against us on the internet will pull you into a real war on the ground. There is no escape: it is only a matter of time, and perhaps one of the bloodthirsty crusading lions has already begun to move in reality.”
The online terrorist supporter continued: “Picture the scene: while one of Twitter’s employees leaves a nearby bar in the neighborhood, reeling and groping about him because of drink and the dark shadows [that have gathered] upon you, and if a lone lion stationed in the shadows should leap upon him and cut his throat, what would be in the way?”
The message also included a picture of Jack Dorsey in crosshairs.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 2, 2015
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 2, 2015
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 2, 2015
Flattering Zionists is an obligation for US gov!Is there any bigger shame than presidential candidates compete on this issue? #ShutDownAIPAC
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 2, 2015
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 2, 2015
Reproduced with permission from MEMRI
In a March 2, 2015 article in the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, columnist Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj supported Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to speak at the U.S. Congress against the upcoming deal with Iran. Al-Faraj said that Obama, “one of the worst American presidents,” is working to sign a deal with Iran at the expense of America’s longtime allies in the Gulf, and therefore Netanyahu’s campaign against the deal is justified and serves the interests of the Gulf states.
The following are the main points of the article:
“In a move unprecedented in U.S. political history, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received an invitation from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Republican John Boehner, to address both houses of Congress… Netanyahu will devote his speech to expressing his firm objection to the signing of an agreement between the Obama administration and Iran on the nuclear issue. He hopes to convince the Congress members that he is right, which could delay the agreement.
“President Obama and his administration are clearly furious. Not because Netanyahu is intervening in an important matter that Obama hopes will bring him personal glory, but because House Speaker [John Boehner] did not consult with Obama before inviting Netanyahu, and Obama considers this a breach of established protocol.
“This unprecedented tension between the Obama administration and Netanyahu is another in a long series of tense and unfriendly episodes between Obama and Netanyahu. But the tension has never before reached this level, as reflected in statements by National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who said that Netanyahu’s conduct was unacceptable and even destructive…
“The Obama administration does not suffice with condemning Netanyahu’s visit. Obama has announced that he will not meet with Netanyahu on the grounds that he does not meet with state leaders a short while before elections take place in their countries, [though] elections in Israel will take place weeks after the visit!! Likewise, American Vice President Joseph Biden, whose presence at Netanyahu’s speech in Congress is expected by virtue of his constitutional role as Senate president, announced that he would be on a trip abroad [on the day of] Netanyahu’s speech!! U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also said he would be in Switzerland meeting with the Iranians on the nuclear dossier and therefore would not be able to attend Netanyahu’s speech!! What angers the Obama administration even more is that Netanyahu refused an official request by several Democratic Congressmen to meet with him during [his] visit!!…
“I will conclude by saying the following: Since Obama is the godfather of the prefabricated revolutions in the Arab world, and since he is the ally of political Islam, [which is] the caring mother of [all] the terrorist organizations, and since he is working to sign an agreement with Iran that will come at the expense of the U.S.’s longtime allies in the Gulf, I am very glad of Netanyahu’s firm stance and [his decision] to speak against the nuclear agreement at the American Congress despite the Obama administration’s anger and fury. I believe that Netanyahu’s conduct will serve our interests, the people of the Gulf, much more than the foolish behavior of one of the worst American presidents. Do you agree with me?”
Anthony Blackburn uploaded a video to Facebook showing an altercation involving two civilians and the LAPD that left one man dead. The incident was recorded on a cell phone camera and has been watched more than 4 million times.
Authorities confirmed the shooting and said the fatality resulted in a struggle over an officer’s weapon.
Cmdr. Andrew Smith said officers assigned to the LAPD’s Central Division and Safer Cities Initiative — a task force focused on skid row — responded to the location about noon Sunday after receiving a 911 call reporting a possible robbery.
Smith said the officers approached the man and made contact with him, at which point he “began fighting and physically resisting the officers.” The officers attempted to take him into custody and at one point, attempted to use a Taser that Smith said was “ineffective.”
The man continued to resist police, Smith said, and the man and some of the officers fell to the ground.
“At some point in there, a struggle over one of the officer’s weapons occurred,” Smith said. “At that point an officer-involved shooting happened.”
The video shows the police wrestling the man to the ground and one of the officers (presumably) says something that sounds like “drop the gun, drop the gun.” Five shots were subsequently fired and police report a Taser was also deployed at the scene.
The L.A. Times reports that no other gun was found at the scene. Witnesses gave varying accounts of the altercation to the Times. One of the witnesses reports that an officer said, “Gun, gun, he’s got my gun!” before police fired multiple shots.
Homeowner Andres Buksh heard a loud crash and glass shattering Thursday evening, but the ruckus wasn’t what he thought it was.
“I thought it was the neighbors throwing the big garbage out for Friday pick-up,” Buksh told CBS Miami.
But Friday morning he found a drone had crashed into his home and broken his bedroom window. “I guess somebody lost control of it,” said Buksh.
No one had claimed the drone so Buksh called the police. “They said this was the first call they had like this, so I told them, ‘This is not going to be the last one, anyway,”‘ he said.
With an increase in drones hovering around the sky, these kinds of crashes will be more prevalent. Buksh said there could be serious injury if a drone were to crash into a person rather than a house. “The windows you can replace, but if somebody is walking in the street and it falls on their head or something, it could cause some serious injury,” said Buksh.
The owner of the drone has still not claimed its remains. Buksh said he opened up the drone and found a video card, but the owner could not be identified.
The FAA has new regulations that require anyone flying a hobby drone can fly it no higher than 400ft in the air and it must remain in the line of sight. Not everyone obeys those regulations, apparently.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told CBS’ John Dickerson on Sunday’s Face the Nation that she will attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, but she will not “jump up and down” like everyone else at the speech.
DICKERSON: “Let me ask you now about Israel and the prime minister’s visit. You’re going to attend the speech?”
FEINSTEIN: “Yes, I am going to attend.”
DICKERSON: “Is that a provisional view, or are you absolutely going to attend?”
FEINSTEIN: |Well, I’m going to go. I’m going to listen quite respectfully. I’m not going to jump up and down, which is likely to be the posture in that room. I am very concerned by that speech. I went to the speech in 2011. I didn’t believe it was helpful then, and I don’t believe it’s going to be helpful now. I hope that the prime minister will address what he believes will happen if there is not an agreement or if there is an agreement between the other nations, including the big powers, Russia, China, U.K., France, Germany, and it’s just United States that is doing this. What happens then to sanctions, if we were to put on additional sanctions, and the rest of the nations would not abide by them?”
Here’s your feel-good story of the day.
The IRS said yesterday that it has fewer resources available to audit your tax returns.
Budget cuts forced the IRS to reduce the number of audits last year to the lowest level in a decade — and it could go down even more this year, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Tuesday.
“The math is pretty simple,” Koskinen said in a speech to the New York State Bar Association. “There are fewer audits because we have fewer auditors. Audits fell in virtually every individual category and across income levels.”
The number of audits last year was only 1.2 million tax returns, which is less than 1% of all returns filed. That is the lowest rate of auditing since 2004.
Koskinen said the IRS is down more than 2,200 revenue agents since 2010.
Last year, a little more than 11,600 revenue agents examined returns, and Koskinen is warning that the number of agents will decline again this year.
Congress has cut the agency’s budget by $1.2 billion since 2010.
The IRS budget for the year ending this September was $10.9B.
A senior State Department official was arrested yesterday for allegedly soliciting sex from a minor, Fox News is reporting.
Fairfax County Police officials say Daniel Rosen was arrested by a county detective about noon at his Washington, D.C. home after he allegedly sought to arrange sex with a minor. The detective, a female officer working in the county’s Child Exploitation Unit, had been posing as the minor in online exchanges with Rosen, police said.
Rosen is the director of counterterrorism programs at the State Department.
He was arrested and charged with one count of Use of a Communications Device to Solicit a Juvenile.
The police notified Rosen’s employer, as is usual in these situations.
Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said late Tuesday, “We are aware that a State Department employee has been arrested and charges have been issued.
“For issues related to Department personnel and for privacy reasons, we are not able to confirm the identity of the individual or specific charges.
“His security clearance will be suspended and he will be put on administrative leave while this proceeds to its end through any judicial process. We are following standard procedure in this case.”
A source told Fox News that the police had obtained a warrant to search Rosen’s phones for additional evidence.
Rosen has been working at the State Department since 2008, according to his LinkedIn profile.
California was the first state in the country to ban the use of plastic shopping bags in retail and grocery stores. But the ban has now been put on hold as state election officials confirmed that a group has gathered enough signatures to challenge the ban and place the issue on the 2016 ballot.
The American Progressive Bag Alliance, which represents bag manufacturers, had about 50,000 more valid signatures than the 505,000 needed to qualify the referendum after a random sample of the signatures was tallied, said Bill Mabie, chief deputy for Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
The group had submitted more than 800,000 signatures at the end of last year.
Governor Jerry Brown signed the bag ban legislation into law last fall, after a hostile battle between environmentalists and bag-makers. The ban was supposed to be phased-in, starting in July of this year.
The plastic bag alliance says the ban will costs jobs.
“California voters will now have the chance to vote down a terrible law that, if implemented, would kill 2,000 local manufacturing jobs and funnel obscene profits to big grocers without any money going to a public purpose or environmental initiative,” the group’s executive director, Lee Califf, said in a news release.
Supporters of the ban complained that opponents spent millions of dollars on the referendum campaign.
“This is a cynical ploy by out-of-state interests desperate to delay a ban already adopted in more than 100 communities across California,” Brown’s spokesman Evan Westrup said.
But supporters of the bill are confident that Californians will uphold the ban at the ballot box.
Mark Murray, a spokesman for Californians vs. Big Plastic, said the coalition of environmental, labor and business groups is confident California voters will uphold the ban. “It’s not surprising that after spending more than $3.2 million, 98 percent of which is from out of state, the plastic bag industry has bought its way onto the California ballot to protect its profits,” Murray said.
Already the environmentalists have successfully pushed for bans in cities around the country, as well in California. Seattle, Chicago and Austin already have bans, as well as Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) appeared on CNN and announced that former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s comments about President Obama were “desperate” and merely “dog whistling.”
“I’ll put it like this: I believe he was dog whistling,” Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, said on CNN’s New Day, in reference to Giuliani’s recent criticisms of Obama.
“He was signaling that he’s not one of us, and that had to do with some factors that the former mayor should not be trying to play off of.”
Ellison said that Giuliani was trying revive questions about Obama’s citizenship and religion raised long ago during his presidential campaign. He said: “Is he an American? Is he a Muslim? Is he a socialist? Is he this? Is he that,” before slamming Giuliani himself.
“(This is) an example of what not to do,” Ellison said. “It seemed like a desperate act of a man who’s desperately trying to stay relevant and is just having a hard time doing so.”
The media has been flipping out over Giuliani’s statements made at dinner for WI Governor Scott Walker last week, where Rudy said he didn’t think Obama loved America.
In a televised speech on Sunday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said the time has come for Arabs to unite and fight ISIS.
“The need for a unified Arab force is growing and becoming more pressing every day,” said Sisi
Both Jordan and the UAE have offered help to Egypt as they ratchet up the battle with ISIS.
“Strategically and politically for the region, this is a big deal, and it’s absolutely the right first step,” CNN military analyst Maj. Gen. James “Spider” Marks said.
President Obama has been encouraging other countries to step up the fight against ISIS. U.S. Central Command says that 80% of the airstrikes are carried out against ISIS are from the U.S. forces.
“The airstrikes aren’t going to get the job done,” CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes told CNN’s “New Day.” “We need the Arab states to be the ones to eventually put the boots on the ground. Whether they actually end up doing it and being dedicated to this, we’ll have to see.”
CNN was skeptical of Sisi’s remarks saying he didn’t “specify exactly what he meant by a ‘united Arab force’ and whether that means troops on the ground.”
According to a state-run media report, Saudi Arabia’s “morality police” detained a group of young men for dancing at a birthday party and referred them to prosecutors.
The news website Ayn al-Youm reported Saturday that the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice raided a private property in the city of Buraydah, arresting the men inside for “loud music and inappropriate dancing.”
Buraydah is home to Saudi Arabia’s most conservative clerics.
An unnamed official told the website that when members of the morality police raided the private property, they found the young men in “a comprising situation in their dance and shameful movements.” The official said there was also a cake and candles to celebrate one of the men’s birthdays.
In addition, the men had hairstyles and dress that were not traditional according to officials who added that parents need to monitor this behavior “because it can lead to immorality and even homosexuality.”
Wahhabi clerics view Western music as sinful and birthday celebrations as un-Islamic. The morality police are empowered to enforce Islamic law as practiced in Saudi Arabia, including enforcing dress codes.
The story went viral on twitter, with many Saudi’s “ridiculing” the raid. Some pointed out that the men were not caught drinking or partying with women, both of which are serious crimes.
On February 20, 2015, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Somali group Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen released a video detailing the September 2013 deadly attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The video, titled “The Westgate Siege – Retributive Justice,” recalls the Kenyan invasion of southern Somalia, and notes the crimes committed by the KDF there. It also details Kenyan authorities’ oppression and targeting of Muslims in Kenya, including young men and religious figures. The video details the Westgate mall attack, while mocking Kenyan government and security forces’ failure to predict it or, once it occurred, to contain it. The video does not reveal the identities, numbers, and background of the attackers, but it hints that they were only a small group. The video warns that attacks against Kenya will continue, and also urges Muslims in the West to attack the unbelievers, and to carry out attacks, for example, against American- and Jewish-owned shopping centers across the world.
The video includes messages from current and former Al-Shabab figures, including Al-Shabab’s slain leader Mukhtar Abu Al-Zubair (who is photographed from behind), Al-Shabab official spokesman ‘Ali Rage, and slain Al-Shabab commander Saleh Al-Nabhani (who was killed in September 2009). The video is narrator by a masked Al-Shabab English speaker whose eyes are digitally blurred. The video also includes previously released messages from a number of Al-Qaeda figures including Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and Anwar Al-’Awlaki.
Mukhtar Abu Al-Zubair
The video, which is 1:17:07 in duration, was released on the Al-Fida’ forum, in both English and Arabic versions.
Following are the video’s main points:
The first part, which takes up the lion’s share of the video, is focused on Kenya, namely the crimes it committed throughout history against Somalis and Kenyan Muslims. In that regard, the video details Kenya’s military offensive against southern Somalia, while noting the crimes committed by KDF soldiers there. The video also notes Kenya’s oppressive policies against Kenyan Muslims, who, it says, were being targeted and killed. It notes, for instance, the case of prominent Kenyan cleric Aboud Rogo, who was gunned down outside a police station in September 2012.
The second part of the video details the Westgate attack, including Al-Shabab’s preceding threats to Kenya, threats which Al-Shabab says fell on deaf ears. Thus, “Westgate was perhaps the only natural response to the blatant Kenyan aggression.”
Moving on to the target itself, the narrator notes the location of the Westgate mall, while noting that it was an Israeli-owned structure that was frequented by foreigners and diplomats from nearby embassies.
The narrator says that the attack took “months of meticulous planning and painstaking preparations.”
The siege of the mall itself, according to the video, lasted six days. This stands in contrast to the Kenyan government’s claims that it regained control of the mall after four days. In that regard, the video makes repeated notes of the utter state of chaos and confusion among Kenyan officials and security forces during the attack, while noting, for example, the conflicting reports they issued regarding the true number of the attackers and their identities.
The attack itself is described along with extensive footage obtained from security cameras inside and outside the mall shown throughout. The footage shows the attackers sweeping through the mall, and in one case, executing a person who attempted to hide from them by shooting him at close range. The video also incorporates interviews with survivors and notes the “vetting process” carried out by the mujahideen inside the mall. In this process, non-Muslims were separated from Muslims “in order to safeguard the invaluable blood of the Muslims.” It also notes that women and children were allowed to flee the scene.
The video also includes audio messages by the attackers that were being streamed live to their superiors at the time. In that regard, the video notes the leading role of Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen’s Twitter account at the time in reporting about the unfolding events. The video also mentions the fake Twitter account that published the names of the alleged attackers, and which Al-Shabab refuted shortly thereafter. The video also refutes another list of names released by Kenyan authorities following the attack.
Extolling Al-Shabab’s Twitter account’s role during the attack
Additionally, the video criticizes the conduct of KDF soldiers, who swept the mall after the siege ended. The soldiers can be seen in security footage carrying large shopping bags, and are accused of looting.
KDF soldiers (right) allegedly engaged in looting
The video concludes with threats of further attacks against Kenya, as well as calls for Muslims living the West to carry out similar attacks. Al-Shabab spokesman ‘Ali Rage addresses Kenya and says that “the war has not really started yet, and [that] between us is a long account yet to be settled. Westgate is just a drop in the ocean compared to what you have inflicted upon our Muslim brothers in Mombasa, Garissa, and Jilib.”
Rage adds: “The attacks and raids will continue and, by the will of Allah, they will not stop until you change your oppressive practices against our brothers and restore their rights in full. And what awaits you is far more grievous and more bitter by the permission of Allah…”
Calls for attacks in the West
Speaking in English, the masked video narrator directs a message to Muslims living the West, calling upon them to target the disbelievers: “We call upon our Muslim brothers, particularly those in the West, to answer the call of Allah and target the disbelievers wherever they are. If just a handful of mujahideen fighters could bring Kenya to a complete standstill for nearly a week, then imagine what a dedicated mujahid in the West could do to the American- or Jewish-owed shopping centers across the world.
“What if such an attack was to occur in the Mall of America in Minnesota, or the West Edmonton Mall in Canada, or in London’s Oxford Street, or any in the hundred or so Jewish-owned Westfield shopping centers… Take the Westfield shopping center in Stratford… for example – what would be the implications of such an attack? One could only imagine. And all it takes is a man with firm determination, of which our Muslim ummah has plenty of.
“So hurry up, hasten towards Heaven, and do not hesitate, for the disbelievers have no right whatsoever to rejoice in the safety of their lands, until safety becomes a reality in Palestine and all the lands of Islam, and until we take vengeance on the Western Crusaders for the deaths of thousands of innocent Muslims and mujahideen leaders killed in American drone strikes…”
The Obama administration announced on Friday that somewhere in the ballpark of 800,ooo healthcare.gov users were sent the wrong tax information for their 2014 tax filings. The government is asking those who got the erroneous information to delay filing their taxes.
It’s not just the feds. “California, which is running its own insurance market, on Thursday announced a similar problem affecting about 100,000 people in that state.”
The mistake will delay the tax refunds of about 1M people and it may also affect the size of the refunds. Some 50,000 people who have already submitted their tax returns will have to resubmit them.
CBS News is reporting, “The errors disclosed Friday are in new forms that HealthCare.gov sent to millions of consumers receiving coverage through the federal insurance market that serves most states. Those forms, called 1095-As, are like a W-2 for health care. They provided a month-by-month accounting of the subsidies consumers received to help pay their premiums. That information is then used to make sure everybody got the right amount, not too much, or too little.”
Apparently the administration is still looking for the “root cause” of the mishap.
Andy Slavitt, a top administration official overseeing federal health insurance programs, said the administration is still investigating the root cause of the problem. Slavitt said it had to do with erroneous calculations of a “benchmark” premium that is used to help determine the amount of subsidies that individuals receive.
Some consumers may have gotten too large of a subsidy and some may have gotten too little.
“We’re not doing any victory laps,” HealthCare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan told reporters.
On Thursday, the top rabbi in France stated that he was personally pained when President Obama described the Islamist terror attack on a kosher market as just “randomly” blowing away Jews.
“It really hurts me to hear the president say that, because a random act would mean that the attackers weren’t going after Jewish people,” Rabbi Haim Korsia said at Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue.
“They could have been going after anyone. But these attacks were focused on Jewish people.’’
The White House clarified the remarks saying that although the attack was “motivated by antisemitism” the victims were not singled out by name.
A total of 179 patients might have been infected with an antibiotic resistant ‘superbug’ at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. So far 7 people were confirmed infected, two of whom died.
They were exposed to Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, during endoscopic procedures between October and January when it was discovered during tests on a patient, said Dale Tate, a University of California, Los Angeles spokeswoman.
The potentially infected patients are being sent free home-testing kits that UCLA will analyze, the university said.
The bacteria may have been a “contributing factor” in the deaths of two patients, a university statement said.
Officials at the hospital believe the bacteria was transmitted through contaminated medical tools, specifically two endoscopes.
“We notified all patients who had this type of procedure, and we were using seven different scopes. Only two of them were found to be infected. In an abundance of caution, we notified everybody,” Tate said.
The two medical devices were contaminated despite being sterilized as the manufacturer specified.
Similar bacterial infections has surfaced around country. The CDC said there are no records of national figures for outbreaks but that 47 states have seen cases.
State Senator Tony Avella of Queens, NY is looking to ban machete possession in New York after recent machete attacks and plans to introduce a bill to do so.
“The fact that anyone can easily purchase this potentially lethal tool is just crazy,” he said.
In NY, smaller knives and switchblades are already banned, but machetes are classified along the lines of butcher knives. Butcher knives are probably next.
Carrying a switchblade or a smaller knife can face jail time or fines. “New Yorkers carrying those knives can be ticketed for a blade longer than 4 inches, an administrative code violation. They face up to 15 days in jail and a $300 fine.”
Under Avella’s proposed legislation, possession of a machete would get you up to one year in jail.
Two recent incidents kicked-off the obsession with get machetes off the streets. Last summer, a man hacked up a teenager to death. He purchased the weapon on Craigslist. Another incident in the Bronx involving a man who pulled a machete out of his umbrella.
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani took a swipe at President Obama while speaking at a private dinner featuring Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
The former New York mayor, speaking in front of the 2016 Republican presidential contender and about 60 right-leaning business executives and conservative media types, directly challenged Obama’s patriotism, discussing what he called weak foreign policy decisions and questionable public remarks when confronting terrorists.
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
Giuliani went on to say “with all our flaws we’re the most exceptional country in the world. I’m looking for a presidential candidate who can express that, do that and carry it out.”
“And if it’s you, Scott, I’ll endorse you,” he added. “And if it’s somebody else, I’ll support somebody else.”
Walker’s aides said all of Giuliani’s remarks were off the record.
One of Krispy Kreme’s UK branches is apologizing for a sign promoting Krispy Kreme Klub (KKK) after people complained.
The Hull branch of the doughnut chain had posted an advertisement for the event on its Facebook page.
KKK Wednesdays was to be part of the doughnut shop’s half-term activities – a series of planned events for children during a week-long break from school.
Krispy Kreme removed their Facebook post yesterday after users pointed out that KKK stands for Ku Klux Klan.
“Krispy Kreme apologises unreservedly for the inappropriate name of a customer promotion at one of our stores,” a spokeswoman for Krispy Kreme told the Guardian.
“This promotion was never intended to cause offence. All material has been withdrawn and an internal investigation is currently underway.”
Fortunately, other activities are planed this week, such as Colouring Tuesday and Face Painting Thursday.
Even the losers are winners at the Oscars.
All of the best actor/actress, best supporting actor/actress and best director contenders at the 87th annual Academy Awards will be receiving gift bags valued at more than $125,000.
Variety reports some of the contents of the Oscar Swag Bag are:
- A luxury train ride through the Canadian rockies ($14,500)
- A package of French Mediterranean sea salts ($1,500)
- Three-night stay at a resort in Tuscany ($1,500)
- “Glamping” trip ($12,500)
- One year of Audi A4 car rentals ($20,000)
- Reset Yourself “lifestyle makeover package” ($14,200)
- Afterglow vibrator ($250) [WHAT??]
- Haze vaporizer ($200)
- Wellness 360 gift pack ($1,200)
- Custom candy and dessert buffet gift certificate ($800)
- Custom silver necklace with latitude and longitude coordinates of Dolby Theater engraved ($150)
The single priciest item in bag is a $20,000 gift certificate to Enigma Life, which involves the company’s founder Olessia Kantor flying out to each star to “discuss their 2015 horoscope, analyze dreams and teach them mind control techniques.”
Last year’s bag was only worth $80K. The bags are not affiliated with the Academy Awards but distributed through a company called Distinctive Assets.
The New York Post is reporting that “perverted ISIS militants are trying to score Viagra to fuel their lust for ‘brutal and abnormal’ sex, according to a shocking report from activists in the terror group’s main Syrian stronghold.”
Although ISIS claims to be pious and “ultraconservative,” the report reveals that ISIS is forcing women in Raqqa to marry them and engage in “savage sex acts” that require hospital treatment.
The jihadists also buy kinky lingerie — described in the report as “strange underwear” — for their reluctant brides, according to the “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” activist group.
“A large section of ISIS members suffer from sexual anomalies and brutal instinctive desire for sex,” the group wrote on its Web site.
One girl even committed suicide, rather than fall into the hands of an ISIS pervert.
ISIS took over Raqqa in 2013 and has since captured at least 3,000 women from areas in Iraq. A report by the Minority Rights Group International and Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights stated some of the women kidnapped were forced to marry the terrorists while some were forced in to sexual slavery.
The report said firsthand accounts from victims who spoke secretly by phone in August revealed that ISIS fighters were raping women on a daily basis, with some victims begging the activists to arrange airstrikes on their locations and end their suffering.
One kidnapped girl who belongs to the minority Yazidi religious group also said she was among 350 girls transported to Syria and offered for sale “as if in a chicken market.”
Police are unable to find any evidence that the murder of three Muslim students was driven by anti-Muslim sentiment.
The Facebook page of Craig Hicks — the man accused of killing three Muslim college students on Feb. 10 — seems to paint a picture of a person who supports an individual’s right to his own beliefs, even as he clearly despises organized religion.
Hicks shot three Muslim students execution-style last week: Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.
The New York Post reports that ”police said they have yet to uncover any evidence” the students were singled out for the their religion.
Hicks was brazen about his disdain for all faiths. But he was just as passionate about personal liberty — championing an individual’s right to worship or not, legal abortion and gay marriage and, perhaps most fervently, the right to own and bear arms. If he has a creed, it’s the Second Amendment.
According to senior administration officials, the summit beginning this week on countering violent extremism will not focus exclusively on violence from the Islamic State. Although the Islamic terrorist group has killed several Americans, other hostages and innocent people, “one of three officials previewing the summit for reporters on Monday said violent extremists ‘come in all shapes and sizes.’”
The three-day conference will highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent extremists and their supporters from radicalizing, recruiting and inspiring others, particularly disaffected young people. The conference is designed to share best practices and emerging strategies to prevent extremists from carrying out violent acts.
Vice President Joe Biden will open the summit by meeting with representatives from three cities: Boston, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. Each of the cities has programs in place to counter this non-specific, unidentified extremism. The White House wants to “push them forward” and hold them out as an example for the rest of the country.
President Obama will also address a group at the White House on Wednesday that will discuss how other cities are dealing with this non-specified extremism.
Obama will also deliver remarks Thursday at the State Department, where representatives of some 60 countries are scheduled to meet. The White House did not release the complete list of participating countries, though representatives from the United Kingdom, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are expected to attend, one of the officials said.
Numerous representatives will attend the summit from the private sector, social media and non governmental organizations.
Government surveyors have revised the height of the Washington Monument and will announce the official height on Monday.
The new measurement puts the obelisk’s height at 554 feet, 7 and 11/32 inches, as measured from the floor of the main entrance to the top. Since the monument’s completion in 1884, however, the official height has been recorded as 555 feet, 5 and 1/8 inches.
The size change comes from measuring from a different base point. Fox News writes “Dru Smith, chief geodesist with the National Geodetic Survey, tells the Associated Press that modern international standards from the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat call for a different base point than what was likely used in the 1880s.”
“The building didn’t change height because of anything; it is just where you start from,” Smith said.
The only physical change in the building was a small amount at the top that had eroded over time, probably from lightening strikes.
“Well, this time around, we took very careful measurements,” Smith said. “We were able to determine about 3/8 of an inch had been melted off from the very top.”
The new survey results will allow the National Geodetic Survey and National Park Service to have a baseline for tracking any future changes of the monument.
FBI Director Jame Comey made a reference to Broadway and a sweeping generalization yesterday while speaking to a crowd at Georgetown University. Comey shared a “hard truth” with his audience.
“Many people in our white-majority culture have unconscious racial biases and react differently to a white face than a black face,” Comey said in a speech at Georgetown University.
“We all — white and black — carry various biases around with us.
“I am reminded of the song ‘Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist’ from the Broadway hit ‘Avenue Q.’”
Comey recited the lines that “No one’s really colorblind” and “everyone makes judgments based on race.”
Comey went on to elaborate:
“Latent biases” play out when officers are on patrol and have to make decisions, the FBI chief said.
“Two young black men on one side of the street look like so many others the officer has locked up. Two young white men on the other side of the street — even in the same clothes — do not. The officer does not make the same association about the two white guys, whether that officer is white or black . . . The officer turns toward one side of the street and not the other.”
The director switched gears slightly, praising law enforcement.
“Law enforcement is not the root cause of problems in our hardest-hit neighborhoods,” he said.
“Police officers — people of enormous courage and integrity, in the main — are in those neighborhoods, risking their lives, to protect folks from offenders who are the product of problems that will not be solved by body cameras.”
Comey also encouraged better data collection of crime statistics. “It’s ridiculous that I can’t tell you how many people were shot by the police last week, last month, last year,” Comey said.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 12, 2015
ISIS’s English-Language Magazine ‘Dabiq’ Celebrates Attacks in France, Features Interview with Leader of Belgian ISIS Cell
Reprinted with permission from MEMRI.
On February 12, 2015, the Islamic State (ISIS) released the seventh issue of its English-language magazine Dabiq. The 83-page issue celebrates the recent attacks in Paris, justifies the burning of the Jordanian pilot, and calls for Muslims in the West to join ISIS, among other topics discussed. It also includes interviews with Hayat Boumeddiene, the wife of Paris kosher supermarket attacker Amedy Coulibaly, and with Belgian ISIS fighter Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the leader of the Verviers cell that planned major attacks in Belgium.
The following is a review of the main items in the issue:
‘Dabiq’: Japan Responsible For Death Of Japanese Hostages
The issue opens with a foreword that addresses the recent killing of the two Japanese hostages. It asserts that the Japanese government and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are responsible for their deaths because they took sides in the war against ISIS instead of staying out of it, and therefore ISIS punished Japan for its intervention.
Burning Of Jordanian Pilot – Retribution
Another article justifies and glorifies the burning of the Jordanian pilot. It states that “the Islamic State resolved to burn him alive as retribution for his crimes against Islam and the Muslims, including his active involvement in crusader airstrikes against Muslim lands.” It adds that, “in burning the crusader pilot alive and burying him under a pile of debris, the Islamic State carried out a just form of retaliation for his involvement in the crusader bombing campaign.” Referring to Jordan’s execution of two jihadis, Sajida Al-Rishawi and Ziad Al-Karbuli, in retaliation for this act, the article explains that ISIS attempted to secure their release but “Allah had decreed that they would return to him as shuhada [martyrs].”
Interview With Leader Of Verviers Cell That Planned Major Attacks In Belgium
The issue also features an interview with Abdelhamid Abaaoud, aka Abu Umar Al-Baljiki, the leader of the ISIS cell which had planned attacks in Belgium and was the target of the Belgian authority’s January 15, 2015 raid in Verviers. In the interview Abaaoud tells how he traveled from Syria to Belgium with the intent of carrying out terrorism there, and how he avoided being caught in the raid and managed to return to Syria despite being wanted by security and intelligence apparatuses, and despite the fact that his name and photo had appeared in the media. He also discusses his co-conspirators, Belgian ISIS members Khalid Ben Larbi (aka Abu Zubair Al-Baljiki) and Sufian Amghar (aka Abu Khalid Al-Baljiki), who traveled with him to Belgium and were killed in the shootout with the security forces.[i]
Praise For Paris Attacks
The issue deals at length with the January 2015 attacks in Paris. As part of this, it features an interview with Hayat Boumeddiene, the wife of kosher supermarket attacker Amedy Coulibaly (aka Abu Basir Al-Ifriqi), who fled to Syria prior to the attack. Boumeddiene, referred to as Umm Basir Al-Muhajirah, discusses her successful escape to the Islamic State and her late husband’s devotion to ISIS’s ideology. Another piece, titled “The Good Example of Abu Basir Al-Ifriqi,” stresses Coulibaly’s piety and devotion to Islam. The piece includes an interview with one of Coulibaly’s associates, who praises his generosity and the good deeds he did during his life, such as preaching Islam and financially assisting the Kouachi brothers, perpetrators of the Charie Hebdo attack.
The issue’s feature article, titled “The Extinction of the Grayzone,” states that the world is now clearly divided into two camps – the camp of Islam, represented by ISIS, and the camp of unbelief – and Muslims in the West must therefore choose whether to join ISIS or side with its enemies. The article, which is accompanied by photos of Muslim leaders in the West, exhorts the West’s Muslims to renounce “apostate” and “traitor” Muslim leaders and institutions, such as clerics who spoke out against the Paris attacks. It also urges them to attack those who mock Islam’s prophet, and even insinuates that moderate Muslims should be killed. While glorifying various attacks carried out in Europe, such as the Madrid and London bombings, it also stresses that, after the establishment of the Islamic State’s caliphate, Muslims in the West no longer have an excuse to stay in the West. Rather, they must leave their countries and come to the territories controlled by ISIS.
The article also denounces rival groups for not recognizing ISIS’s caliphate and joining it. It especially bashes Al-Qaeda and Syrian rebel groups that refuse to recognize ISIS as the only legitimate authority. The article accuses them of being partisans for their group and of being lax in their faith and ideology, and claims that, by maintaining a neutral position between ISIS and the West, they are actually accomplices of the latter.
An article written by British captive John Cantlie rails against the Western media, and in particular the British and French media, for their campaign against ISIS, and also lashes out at British Prime Minister David Cameron and Western governments for their military attack on the organization, while claiming that the airstrikes actually increases ISIS’s appeal to new recruits.
ISIS Claims To Capture “Mossad Spy”
In an item titled “An Interview with a Mossad Spy” presents the alleged confession of a 19-year-old from Jerusalem who, the magazine claims, was recruited by Israeli intelligence to infiltrate the organization. He speaks of his recruitment and training and tells how he was caught.
Operations In Libya
In this issue ISIS also discusses two recent operations in Libya. First, it claims responsibility for the kidnapping of 21 Egyptian Copts in that country in early January 2015, and explains this was revenge for the kidnapping by Copts of Egyptian women Camilia Shehate and Wafa Constantine in 2010. Second, it celebrates its January 27 attack on the Corinthia hotel in Tripoli, in which nine were killed, including five foreigners, one of them an American.[ii]
Another topic discussed is ISIS’s expansion in the Caucasus, where several jihadi groups have pledged their loyalty to the organization, and in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, which ISIS now refers to as ‘the Khurasan province,’ after some groups there also declared their loyalty to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.[iii]
[i] For more on this item, see MEMRI JTTM report, “Dabiq VII Features Interview With Runaway Belgian ISIS Fighter Abdelhamid Abaaoud,” February 12, 2015.
[ii] For more on this attack, see MEMRI JTTM report “ISIS ‘Tripoli Province’ Claims Attack On Corinthia Hotel”,
January 28, 2015; for more on ISIS activity in Libya, see MEMRI JTTM report, “Changing Dynamics In The Global Jihad Movement (3): The Growing Presence Of ISIS In Libya”, January 29, 2015.
[iii] For more on this see MEMRI JTTM report Commanders Of Ten Pakistani And Afghan Jihadist Organizations Swear Fealty To ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Hafiz Saeed Khan Chosen As First ISIS Emir For Khorasan Region, January 16, 2015.
Although Jeb Bush has not officially announced his intentions for 2016, should he throw his hat in the ring he’ll start with a serious problem.
The former Florida governor, who hasn’t held elected office in almost a decade, missed the chance to purchase several domain names related to his name and presidential ambitions, giving their owners free reign to make political mischief on websites that potential Bush supporters might visit.
And unfortunately for Jeb, the new owners of his domain name are not fans.
In 2008, a gay couple living in Austin, Texas, CJ Phillips and Charlie Rainwater, bought the rights to the domain name JebBushforPresident.com in response to perceived anti-gay sentiment in Texas at the time. They had hoped their site would encourage Bush supporters to participate in LGBTQA conversations.
“This was our original intent; you know, let’s educate people,” Phillips told ABC News. “Let’s try to encourage people to talk to each other about these sorts of things.”
Another website was bought by Republicans, but Republicans who do not want Jeb for President. “Another site, JebBushforPresident.net, was created by a self-described ‘loyal Republican in the hope of saving the Republican Party from supporting Jeb Bush for president,’ and features a plethora of anti-Bush sentiments.”
And not all “Jeb Bush” website owners did so to make a political point. “Rick Katz, an attorney from Miami, bought Jebbush.us. But, luckily for Bush, Katz is eager to sell to the highest bidder. The former governor has yet to make the purchase and the site is still up for grabs.”
On the other hand, Michael Bloomberg bought up 400 different domain names related to his name, including Bloombergistooshort.nyc.
A new domain, .vote, can help those who have otherwise been “cyber-squatted.”
The new domain promises domain names “are only used by legitimate political candidates, political parties, referendums, ballot initiative campaigns and other political participants.”
Monolith Registry is promoting a new top-level domain, dotVOTE (.VOTE) and its Spanish/Italian/Portugueseequivalent, dotVOTE (.VOTO), with safeguards to prevent political cybersquatting.
Chuck Warren, Monolith Registry’s management member and a political consultant with Utah ties, said candidates and committees that adopt .VOTE domains will find a safe and respectful environment for voter interaction without having to worry about cybersquatting.
Looks like Jeb Bush ought to make a call to the .vote folks.
Republican Rep. Dave Moore introduced a bill on Tuesday that would have “expanded the definition of indecent exposure to include garments that give the appearance of a person’s buttocks, genitals, pelvis or female nipple.” However, the Montana State House Judiciary “voted unanimously to table House Bill 365,” so Moore’s bill is dead.
The Republican from Missoula said he wouldn’t have a problem with people being arrested for wearing such provocative clothing such as tight-fitting beige garments. Moore also said yoga pants should be illegal.
The AP reports that members “giggled” about the bill before there was a voice vote to table it.
Moore and retired professor Walt Hill drafted HB 365 after last year’s Bare as you Dare bicycle event outraged some residents last summer. Fearing that denying organizers an event permit would breach free speech, city officials allowed participants, many of them completely nude, to ride through downtown Missoula on Aug. 17.
Talk about a slippery slope: we move from “completely naked” to “yoga pants.”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1991 that state prohibitions on public nudity are constitutional given that nudity itself is not an expression. Bare as you Dare organizers call the event a celebration of body image and bicyclists’ right to use public roads.
Should you decide to indecently expose yourself in Montana, you would be looking at up to a $10,000 fine and possible life in prison.
Yesterday, a federal judge ruled in favor of the government in a lawsuit claiming the National Security Agency is conducting an illegal dragnet of internet and telephone records as they search out terrorists.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland said the plaintiffs in the case — AT&T customers — had not shown that all AT&T customers’ Internet communications were currently the subject of a “dragnet seizure and search program, controlled by or at the direction of the Government,” and they therefore did not have standing to file a lawsuit under the Fourth Amendment, which protects against warrantless searches and seizures.
According to the judge, the plaintiffs misunderstood “key parts of the data collection process.” He went to state that even if the plaintiffs had standing to bring suit, a Fourth Amendment claim would have to be dismissed in favor of government secrecy and national security.
“The Court is frustrated by the prospect of deciding the current motions without full public disclosure of the Court’s analysis and reasoning…,” White wrote in his ruling. “The Court is persuaded that its decision is correct both legally and factually and furthermore is required by the interests of national security.”
Nate Cardozo of the Electronic Freedom Foundation who brought the suit was disappointed.
“What we want is a court to rule on the merits of the NSA’s program,” he said. “Is what they are doing legal? Is it constitutional? The court didn’t do that. It didn’t say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”
The EFF plans to continue fighting the case.
Facebook is getting “aggressive” about tagging people in photos posted on the social networking site. Its facial-recognition software, with the creepy name DeepFace, is going through the massive archive of photos and identifying people.
And the software is good at it.
In fact, DeepFace is now “as accurate as a human being at a few constrained facial recognition tasks,” according to Science.
If you don’t want to be tagged in a photo, say an old photo from your carefree college days, Facebook will tag it for you.
“They’re going back to older photos,” said CNET’s Dan Ackerman, and tagging anyone the software recognizes. And it recognizes a lot of people. That’s because the more photos uploaded of the same people, the better the software gets at recognizing faces that pop up over and over again. And users upload some 400 million new photos a day. That’s a lot of learning.
“It knows other people you know, it knows their faces,” Ackerman added. “It has a lot of examples of those faces. That’s how facial recognition works; it needs a bunch of different samples to be able to guess at what it is.”
There is a way to turn it off, but “Facebook doesn’t tend to make that particularly easy.”