Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referenced his upcoming address to a joint session of Congress in remarks at today’s cabinet meeting, stating that he has a duty without borders to keep Iran from going nuclear.
“In the coming weeks, the major powers are liable to reach a framework agreement with Iran, an agreement that is liable to leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, which would endanger – first and foremost – the existence of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said at the outset of the meeting. “This is the same Iran that has taken over Lebanon and Syria and is now taking over Yemen and Iraq. This is the same Iran that is preparing an active front against us both on the Golan Heights and in southern Lebanon. This same Iran cannot advance toward nuclear weapons.”
Iran’s Press TV reported Saturday that a Revolutionary Guard commander threatened to open a new front against Israel across the West Bank.
“We will certainly consider a special retaliation for this issue,” IRGC’s second-in-command, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, told al-Alam of the recent strike that killed six Hezbollah members and an Iranian general in the Golan Heights. “This is part of a new reality that will gradually unravel.”
“As Prime Minister of Israel, I am obligated to make every effort in order to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons that would be aimed at the State of Israel,” Netanyahu continued. “This effort is worldwide and I will go anywhere I am invited in order to enunciate the State of Israel’s position and in order to defend its future and its existence.”
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough insisted on CNN this morning that the administration wouldn’t get into the “blame game” over the Netanyahu invitation, extended by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
“This is the most important relationship we have in the world. This is something that ought to be and will continue to be, as far as we’re concerned, above partisan politics,” McDonough said. “This is a relationship, given its importance, that stretches across many different things, from values straight through intelligence cooperation to defense and security assistance.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told CBS the situation highlights “that relations have never been worse between ourselves and the only genuine democracy in the entire Middle East.”
“They believe, they are convinced that these negotiations with Iran will lead to Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon, which will then nuclearize the entire Middle East and that will be a direct threat to the existence of the state of Israel,” McCain said.
“I regret that the relations have deteriorated to this degree. But I do believe that it’s important that Prime Minister Netanyahu speak to the American people. And, by the way, we need congressional ratification of any agreement that is made. This is too big to be left — to not be treated as a treaty.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at Friday’s briefing that the Iran pact is “an agreement” and “not a treaty,” thus doesn’t need congressional approval.
“We want to have a constructive working relationship with Congress, but you know, steps that undermine the talks or steps that put in place additional sanctions in this diplomatic negotiating period while talks are ongoing aren’t constructive and aren’t going to further our efforts to resolve what’s a pretty serious national security priority for the United States of America,” Earnest said.
Members of Congress are calling for a robust investigation into the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman — and for the continuation of his work that had linked the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center to Iran, and the cover-up of Iran’s involvement to the Kirchner government.
Nisman, 51, was scheduled to testify the day after his death before a congressional inquiry into the alleged protection of suspects by the presidential palace. Nisman had long been the target of death threats, and said four days before his death that someone in the Argentine government was leaking information contained in his inquiry to the Iranians.
The bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires killed 87 people and injured more than 100, and Nisman lived and breathed his dogged pursuit of bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Nisman had a security detail of 10 federal officers who have now been suspended; Iranian media is highlighting the theory that “rogue agents” killed Nisman. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner quickly said the prosecutor committed suicide, but now says he was murdered in an effort to frame her government as evidence mounts showing that Nisman did not shoot himself in the forehead at close range.
Initial reports from the crime scene said a key was wedged in the front door lock from the inside, but the locksmith called to the scene said the service door was open and a third secret door to the apartment was found as well.
Jewish journalist Damian Pachter, who first reported Nisman’s death, has fled Argentina because of threats over the past week. He detailed the tale in a column for Haaretz after arriving in Israel. “I then had to consider the best thing to do, because when an Argentine intelligence agent is on your tail, it’s never good news. He didn’t just want to have a coffee with me, that’s for sure,” Pachter wrote. “I have no idea when I’ll be back in Argentina; I don’t even know if I want to. What I do know is that the country where I was born is not the happy place my Jewish grandparents used to tell me stories about.”
“After I left Argentina I found out that the government was still publishing wrong information about me on social media,” the journalist continued. “The Twitter feed of Casa Rosada, the Argentine presidential palace, posted the details of the airline ticket I had bought, and claimed that I intended to return to Argentina by February 2 — in other words, I hadn’t really fled the country. In fact, my return date is in December.”
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said Kirchner’s announcement that Mr. Nisman’s death was not a suicide “raises troubling new questions.”
“His investigation – which promised to shed light on new evidence about Iran’s role in the bombing – must continue and his findings must be made public to ensure that those responsible are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Menendez said. “The increasingly suspicious conditions surrounding Mr. Nisman’s death, just hours before he was scheduled to testify before the Argentine Congress, demand a thorough and transparent investigation. I urge the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires to take all possible steps to support an open and credible investigation.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry stressing that the administration “should press for a thorough and impartial international investigation into his death, and the serious allegations of Argentine collusion with Iran that Nisman was poised to unveil before the Argentine legislature just hours before his body was found.”
“Mr. Nisman’s investigations uncovered a web of corruption, impunity, and the irrefutable hand of the Iranian regime and its proxy Hezbollah in the 1994 bombing. However, neither Iran nor Hezbollah have been held accountable for this horrific act,” Royce wrote. “In fact, Nisman’s latest allegations point to a conspiracy at the highest levels of the Argentine government to cover up Iran’s involvement in the bombing as part of a deal to trade Argentine grain for Iranian oil.”
Royce tied Nisman’s death to the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, telling Kerry “we must not forget Iran’s clear, long-standing commitment to obtaining a nuclear capability at all cost—an effort which once benefited from Argentinean cooperation.”
“We must also not ignore Iran’s continued use of proxies, such as Hezbollah, to perpetrate terror worldwide,” Royce said. “…Assigning an independent, international panel to examine Nisman’s evidence of Iranian involvement in the 1994 terrorist attack and Argentinian collusion in its cover-up would be a major step toward finding his killer and finally bringing the perpetrators of this deadly terrorist attack to justice.”
The administration has said little about Nisman’s death. State Department press secretary Jen Psaki said “we’re not going to speculate in any aspect of his death” when pressed Friday about potential Iran involvement.
Menendez said thoughts also need to be with Argentina’s Jewish community “as it once again suffers the frustrations of not seeing justice served for the victims of the brutal 1994 attack.”
“It has been said that Mr. Nisman is now the 86th victim of the AMIA terror attack and we must ensure that all questions surrounding their deaths are answered and that justice prevails.”
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has moved its Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to the end of the world.
The clock now stands at three minutes to midnight — the closest it’s been to doomsday since 1984.
“Today, unchecked climate change and a nuclear arms race resulting from modernization of huge arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity. And world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe,” said Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, in a news release. “These failures of leadership endanger every person on Earth.”
The Bulletin’s Science and Security Board looks at global issues on a regular basis and decides whether to move the minute hand of the clock, with particular stress on the status of nuclear arms and reaction to climate issues.
In recent years, the clock has moved the wrong direction for humanity. After standing at 17 minutes to midnight in 1991 — the furthest it’s ever been from the end of the world — it’s gotten closer each time it’s been changed since, with the exception of 2010, when it was pushed back by one minute to 11:54 p.m.
The last time the clock was moved was in 2012, when it was moved up one minute to 11:55.
The scientists expressed disappointment at the latest developments.
Noting that nuclear trends are moving backwards, the Science and Security Board’s Sharon Squassoni pointed out that weapons modernization programs and disarmament have “ground to a halt.”
And action on climate change? “Efforts at reducing global emissions of heat-trapping gases have so far been entirely insufficient to prevent unacceptable climate disruption,” said the Bulletin’s Richard Somerville. “We all need to respond now, while there is still time.”
The Doomsday Clock was first put out in 1947. The closest the clock has been to midnight was in 1953, when it was set at 11:58 p.m.
Left unmentioned by the scientists is that the leadership of the United States is in the hands of a weak, bumbling, naive president whose policies over the last six years have led to a more dangerous, more unstable world. That might be worth a minute closer to doomsday alone.
In fact, smart, patient, and consistent leadership is far more important to the safety of the world than superficial agreements to cut nuclear arsenals. Few could argue that Vladimir Putin or any European leaders, much less President Obama, fits that profile of a steady, capable leader.
And climate change? Human civilization could end in an hour if there’s a significant nuclear exchange. But it will be a hundred years before global warming is at its peak, if you accept the modeling. The idea that we have to drastically alter our economy and civilization now in order to save ourselves is a guess and shouldn’t have any bearing on where the hands of the Doomsday Clock are positioned.
But what fun is that — especially when the competition for non-profit dollars is intense. Including global warming in calculations for the Doomsday Clock is political, not scientific.
But then, the scientists have always been political. In 1984, they made this assessment of the relationship between the U.S. and Soviet Union:
In 1984, as the United States began a major defense build-up that included the pursuit of a potentially destabilizing ballistic missile defense system, relations between the United States and the Soviet Union reached an icy nadir. “Every channel of communications has been constricted or shut down; every form of contact has been attenuated or cut off. And arms control negotiations have been reduced to a species of propaganda,” the Bulletin wrote then, in explaining why the hands of the Doomsday Clock had been moved to three minutes to midnight, the closest they had been to catastrophe since the early days of above-ground hydrogen bomb testing.
The U.S. did not “begin” a defense buildup in 1984. By that time, it was well underway, having begun under Jimmy Carter in FY 1978.
And the reason arms-control negotiations were going nowhere was because the Soviet Union walked out of SALT talks because the U.S. would not agree to shelve its plans to deploy Pershing missiles in Europe. All the “propaganda” was coming from the Soviets.
The Doomsday Clock has always been a useful tool for the left to hit Republican administrations with. It shouldn’t surprise us, then, today with the clock sitting at the closest to midnight in 30 years, that there wouldn’t be a whisper of criticism directed at President Obama.
Islamic State has apparently executed one of the Japanese hostages the terror group was holding, according to a video posted online showing the second hostage holding a picture of the other prisoner’s severed head.
ISIS is now demanding an exchange of prisoners for the other hostages life — a Jordanian woman who was convicted of assisting in a terrorist attack against several hotels in 2005.
The static image, shown in a video file posted by a known ISIS supporter, shows surviving Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, alone, in handcuffs and dressed in orange, holding a photo of what appears to be beheaded compatriot Haruna Yukawa.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday that the video is “highly credible.” U.S. authorities said they had no reason to doubt its authenticity.
Abe told Japanese broadcaster NHK that the killing was “abominable” and “unforgivable,” demanding the immediate release of Goto.
NHK also reported comments from Yukawa’s father.
“I still don’t want to believe it,” Shoichi Yukawa said, his face not shown in the report. “If I can see him again, I’d like to hold him in my arms.”
Saturday’s posting, came four days after an ISIS video demanded that the Japanese government pay $200 million within 72 hours for the two hostages’ release.
In the video released Saturday, the voice of a person claiming to be Goto says in English that Abe is to blame for Yukawa’s death.
“You were given a deadline,” he says.
The voice then relays the apparent new demand from ISIS — the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, a woman arrested in Jordan in 2005 on suspicion of trying to take part in an attack in which others killed dozens at Jordanian hotels.
“They no longer want money, so you don’t need to worry about funding terrorists,” the voice says. “They are just demanding the release of their imprisoned sister Sajida al-Rishawi.”
Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Abe talked by phone on Saturday, according Jordanian state news agency Petra.
The news agency did not detail what the two discussed beyond saying they “reviewed the latest developments in the Middle East.”
Will Abdullah help? It appears that ISIS carefully chose the subject for its prisoner swap. Sajida al-Rishaw is a failed suicide bomber who took part in a horrific series of attacks on 3 major hotels in Amman, Jordan in 2005. Her husband was one of the attackers killed when his explosives belt blew up.
Most significantly, according to Jordanian authorities, she is also thought to be a sister of a close aide to the deceased leader of the forerunner to ISIS, Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed during the war but many of his aides survived to create Islamic State.
The 2005 attacks in Amman killed 60 people, so it’s doubtful King Abdullah would let such a dangerous person go. There was no deadline set in this latest message, but if Abdullah, as expected, denies the request of ISIS for the swap, Mr. Goto’s days will be numbered.
The Jerusalem Post reports:
The Fox news segment, on the show “Shepard Smith Reporting,” began with a response to a quote from Martin Indyk from The New York Times on Thursday wherein the former US ambassador to Israel and the former US envoy to the peace process says: “Netanyahu is using the Republican Congress for a photo-op for his election campaign and the Republicans are using Bibi for their campaign against Obama…Unfortunately the US relationship will take the hit. It would be far wiser for us to stay out of their politics and for them to stay out of ours.”
Wallace said he agreed completely with Indyk and that he was “shocked” by the whole affair.
Smith queried whether Netanyahu would back out of the speech because, “Members of his own Mossad have come out and said this is a horrible idea and so have members of his own political party. Of course his political opponents are screaming up and down, the newspapers over there are going wild over this,” he added.
“It just seems that they think we don’t pay any attention and that we are just a bunch of complete morons, the US citizens, like we wouldn’t pick up on what is happening here,” Smith said.
…”For Netanyahu to do something that is going to be seen as a deliberate and a really egregious snub of President Obama, when Obama is going to be in power for the next year and three quarters, seems to me like a pretty risky political strategy for Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Wallace said.
“For Netanyahu to come here and side with Boehner against Obama on Iran seems to me like very dicey politics,” he said.
That’s right, Shep Smith and the Fox News crowd have officially joined the ranks of the anti-Israel mainstream media, purporting that the Mossad and Israeli media somehow think American citizens are “a bunch of complete morons.” Apparently Shep and Chris Wallace have remained blind to the fact that Bibi and Barry have hated each other since the beginning. They’ve also ignored the fact that Obama’s administration, through various unnamed sources, has worked hard to hack away at any relationship the two leaders may have ever claimed.
Looks like Kathy Shaidle is right, we’ve all got to be our own Churchills now.
Mediaite has an account of a segment on Bill Maher’s Real Time where the film American Sniper was discussed. Maher complained of a lack of nuance in the film:
The controversy over American Sniper made its way into tonight’s Real Time, where Bill Maher took issue mainly with the real Chris Kyle being framed as some kind of “psychopath patriot” that everyone can easily get behind. Maher brought up Kyle’s quote about killing “savages” over in Iraq and getting a kick out of it, and Maher couldn’t help but ask why a decent Christian person would speak of anyone in that way.
Maher felt American Sniper painted a very easy black-and-white picture of good versus evil instead of presenting a more complex story. Bret Stephens shot back that Maher missed the point of the film, which was about what soldiers and veterans go through, and that the “savages” line was not about all Iraqis, but about the horrid, murderous ones.
Comedian Bill Burr also told Maher, “You can’t sum up a man by one quote taken out of context.”
Maher still thought the lack of subtlety and the very obvious “we’re good, they’re bad” message was troubling. He did admit, though, there is slightly more ambiguity in the movie than there was in Kyle’s book.
Note that Howard Dean actually believes that the only people seeing the film are Tea Party members. And I felt sorry for Bret Stephens, the Wall Street Journal columnist and author of the book America in Retreat. He kept trying to shed some light on the subtlety of the film, an effort that fell on deaf ears for the most part.
It’s clear that the film has touched something deep within the American psyche and that this scares the hell out of liberals. Tapping into a wellspring of patriotism and American exceptionalism threatens the left like no other cultural or political phenomena has in recent memory. It cancels most of their narrative that belittles America and taints anyone who demonstrates any outward manifestation of patriotism.
Because, of course — you have to be a psychopath to be a patriot.
Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has fueled speculation that she is seriously considering a run for the GOP nomination in 2016.
Palin told the Washington Post, “You can absolutely say that I am seriously interested” in running for president. She also told ABC News earlier in the week, “Yeah, I mean, of course, when you have a servant’s heart, when you know that there is opportunity to do all you can to put yourself forward in the name of offering service, anybody would be interested.”
When asked about the familiar names already popping up in the potential GOP primary, including Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, neither of whom will attend the Iowa Freedom Summit, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee quipped, “I can’t wait for new energy.” She added there had “better be a competition and not a coronation,” making it clear she thinks that’s the only way Republicans can beat Hillary Clinton, if the former first lady and secretary of state emerges as the Democratic nominee.
“Big competition, and that competition in the GOP … will surface that candidate who can take on Hillary, be ready for Hillary and show the nation what it is going to take to get the country back on the right track — because we can’t afford status quo, because status quo lately has been Latin for, ‘We are getting screwed,’ and status quo has got to go,” she said.
As for who she wants to see as that “right candidate,” she described the person as someone who will “turn things around, someone who will, in some respects, I don’t know, maybe be considered a bit avant garde, to the establishment anyway, because this next person has got to realize this is war, this is war for our hunters’ future.
“I want to help find that candidate that realizes that [their standing in the next election is] not what matters, that’s not what is at stake,” Palin said. “What’s at stake is our children and our grandchildren’s future.”
Palin sounds like a candidate to me. And she’s teeing off on Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, implying that their establishmentarianism is no better than the status quo — a potent theme that will resonate with the conservative base.
She also implies that Bush/Romney aren’t strong enough to get in the trenches with Hillary and the Clinton machine to duke it out. She certainly describes herself when she says she thinks the GOP candidate should be “considered a bit avante garde.” In fact, the way she describes the ideal candidate is like she’s looking in a mirror.
There is no GOP candidate with a more enthusiastic, loyal base of supporters. But there is also no GOP candidate whose numbers are more underwater and who carries as much baggage as Sarah Palin.
A recent CBS Poll told the story. Even Chris Christie’s numbers are better.
Only 29 percent say they’d like to see Christie launch a bid, while 44 percent say otherwise. (Only former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s numbers are more underwater: 30 percent of Republicans say they’d like to see her run, but 59 percent disagree.)
Allahpundit recently penned an interesting post at Hot Air regarding the path to the nomination open for Marco Rubio. He suggested the odds favoring Rubio are long and there didn’t appear to be a viable road that the Florida senator could take to win the GOP nomination.
The same might be said of Palin. Enthusiastic as her supporters may be, there simply aren’t enough of them. She has improved her standing within the Republican Party thanks to her high-profile support of several successful candidates, but her numbers are still lousy with independents. And while a wide open field suggests someone with support in the low to high teens may be able to compete for the nomination for a while, once the field is winnowed out, it’s hard to see where Palin would get additional support.
But Palin may have other reasons for running, including denying Romney and Bush a cakewalk to the nomination. Her favorability ratings may be a liability, but her name recognition is far better than any other conservative candidate. Her entrance in the race would be a wild card that could peel off support from both establishment and conservative candidates alike.
If Palin was floating a trial balloon to gauge reaction to her possible candidacy, it was certainly a success with her supporters. However, motivating her base is the easy part. Lining up donors, creating an organization, and fielding a staff is the hard part. And that has yet to come.
I went to college 40 years too early.
If you peruse the syllabi of many college courses today, you could easily load up on classes where you were guaranteed an “A” as long as you showed up fairly often and had the proper “attitude” toward the white, male “patriarchy.”
In other words, if you are even halfway creative at trashing white people — white males in particular — your chances of acing a course are excellent.
If they offered some of these courses when I was in college, I’d have graduated summa cum laude.
Today’s outrageous violation of common sense and high educational standards comes to us via Campus Reform, which discovered a course on the “problem of whiteness” at Arizona State University.
At Arizona State University (ASU), students can now learn about the “problem of whiteness” in America.
The public university is offering an English class to its students this semester called “Studies in American Literature/Culture: U.S. Race Theory & the Problem of Whiteness.”
According to the class description on ASU’s website, students will be reading The Possessive Investment in Whiteness, Critical Race Theory, Everyday Language of White Racism, Playing in the Dark, and The Alchemy of Race and Rights.
At time of publication, 18 students were enrolled in the course offered at ASU’s Tempe campus. Students can receive three credits for successfully completing the course.
The class syllabus is not available online.
“I think it shows the significant double standard of higher education institutions,” James Malone, a junior economics major, told Campus Reform. “They would never allow a class talking about the problem of ‘blackness.’ And if they did, there would be an uproar about it. But you can certainly harass people for their apparent whiteness.”
The course, first reported by the Pundit Press, is taught by Lee Bebout, an assistant professor of English at ASU. According to his faculty page, critical race theory is one of his research interests.
Bebout, who is white, has previously taught classes titled “Transborder Chicano Literature,” “Adv Studies Theory/Criticism,” and “American Ethnic Literature,” among others.
I would recommend, if you were to take this course, not to bring your critical thinking skills into the classroom with you. Your head might explode from all the contradictions.
I will note that Arizona State is not known for its academic achievement or list of scholars. It is, however, known as one of the top ten party schools in America.
So, before you start knocking back those Jagermeister jello shots, just remember to check your whiteness at the door. How can you have a good time unless you realize the “problem” with your whiteness? You might also leave your gonads with someone you trust. Wouldn’t want to accidentally be accused of sexual harassment — or worse — by asking some comely lass where she got that lovely sweater. Not only would you be hauled into court for your insensitivity to members of the female persuasion, but your whiteness would no doubt be thrown in your face as your conduct identifies you as a member of the white patriarchy, for which you should be sentenced to a million hours of community service — and no jello shots.
A reporter from CNSNews asked Rep. Nancy Pelosi to weigh in on whether she thinks an unborn child at 20 weeks gestation is a human being.
The House minority leader’s silence on the issue was deafening.
It’s not as if Pelosi had nothing to say — she unleashed a two-minute diatribe upon the offending reporter — it’s just that she completely avoided answering the question that was actually asked.
“Is an unborn child 20 weeks into pregnancy a human being?” the CNSNews reporter asked Pelosi during a press briefing on Thursday.
“You know what, what we’re talking about on the floor of the House is something that says politicians should determine what effects the health of a woman, her life, her health, and the rest,” Pelosi said. ”I don’t think it’s up to politicians to do that. And that’s why we are very overwhelmingly opposing what is going on on the floor of the House.”
Pelosi made it clear that she opposes the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit aborting babies at 20 weeks gestation and beyond.
Undeterred, the CNSNews reporter tried again to get a straight answer from Pelosi. ”My question is pretty simple,” the reporter asked. “On the abortion issue, I understand your position on the legislation, but even the legislation aside, when it comes to the matter of whether or not an unborn child is a human being at 20 weeks gestation, what is your personal take on it. If it is not a human being, then what do you believe it is?”
It’s not a complicated question. In what category does Pelosi put that kicking, wriggling little “thing” inside a mother’s womb — the little “thing” that science tells us at 20 weeks has hair on the head, eyelashes and eyebrows, fingernails, and functioning kidneys? Is that 10 1/2 ounce “thing” that has its own unique DNA and fingerprints a human, a vegetable, an alien, or something else?
Ms. Pelosi refused to answer the question directly, but she made it clear that it’s only the women of reproductive age (is it because they can vote Democrat?) that she cares about.
“You know it is really interesting that you would come to these meetings to talk about it,” Pelosi scolded the reporter. “The fact is is what we have said: The life and the health of the mother is what is preeminent in when a decision is made about a woman’s reproductive health. It isn’t an ideological fight, it is a personal health issue,” she said.
Anyone who has followed the abortion debate for more than five minutes knows that pro-abortion advocates have fought tooth and nail to make sure the phrase “health of the mother” includes emotional health, which can be broadly interpreted to include just about anything, including the emotional stress of pregnancy.
Pelosi went on to say she has “great standing on the issue” because she’s is a mother of five, as if that gives her some sort of moral authority to impose a death sentence on nearly a million babies in the U.S. every year.
“So, in any event, this is up to women, their conscience, their God, their doctor, their health, their fate, their survival. And that is what the decision should be. Decisions about women’s reproductive health should not be made by politicians in Washington, D.C., but should honor the decisions that have been made by the Supreme Court, a decision made by the Supreme Court, recognizing the right of women to have that choice,” Pelosi said.
But a 20-week gestation female with fallopian tubes and a uterus — a tiny individual created in the image of God, who sucks her thumb and can hear her mommy’s voice — doesn’t get a choice. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t care about her “fate” or her “survival” because, whether she’s willing to admit this ugly truth or not, “politicians in Washington, D.C.” — including Pelosi — have decided that this tiny girl is not human and she has no rights.
Or, there’s an even more ghastly possibility. Pelosi and others who support abortion on demand know full well that what’s in a mother’s womb is human and they’ve simply decided to turn a blind eye to the holocaust the Supreme Court unleashed on the United States with their 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in the name of “reproductive rights.”
They ought to just say which it is and dispense with the doublespeak.
The White House made clear today that it’s accpetable for British Prime Minister David Cameron to lobby Congress against passing Iran sanctions legislation, but it’s not all right for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do so because he doesn’t agree with the administration’s position.
In the fallout of the latest administration fight with Israel, press secretary Josh Earnest today highlighted Cameron’s visit a week ago in which President Obama and his British counterpart tried to discourage congressional action.
“On Iran, we remain absolutely committed to ensuring that Iran cannot develop a nuclear weapon,” Cameron said then. “The best way to achieve that now is to create the space for negotiations to succeed. We should not impose further sanctions now; that would be counterproductive and it could put at risk the valuable international unity that has been so crucial to our approach.”
Cameron told reporters that he was contacting a handful of unnamed senators on his Washington trip. “Not in any way as British prime minister to tell the American Senate what it should or shouldn’t do; that wouldn’t be right — but simply to make the point as a country that stands alongside America in these vital negotiations, that it’s the opinion of the United Kingdom that further sanctions or further threat of sanctions at this point won’t actually help to bring the talks to a successful conclusion and they could fracture the international unity that there’s been, which has been so valuable in presenting a united front to Iran,” he said.
Earnest was asked today about that lobbying versus the White House’s anger at Netanyahu’s forthcoming lobbying before a joint session of Congress.
“What we’d prefer is we’d prefer that the Israeli prime minister share the president’s view about our approach to resolving the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program,” Earnest replied. “He doesn’t share that view. We’ve done our best to try to persuade him that pursuing this diplomatic opening that has been created because of the forceful sanctions regime that’s been put in place is one that’s worth pursuing.”
“But time and time again, Prime Minister Netanyahu has indicated that he does not believe that that diplomatic opening is worth pursuing and we have a fundamental disagreement about that.”
He repeated the administration mantra that Obama will not meet with Netanyahu when he visits March 3 because of the proximity to Israeli elections.
But he also couldn’t name any policy that set a specific amount of buffer time between foreign elections and when the president will meet with an incumbent candidate.
For example, Obama visited Berlin three months before German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2013 re-election — and publicly sang the incumbent’s praises.
“I can’t give you a specific time period. I’m not sure that there’s, you know, a big difference between, you know, 28 days or 45 days or 90 days or whatever it is,” Earnest said.
“I think we could all probably — as reasonable observers of the political process — would conclude that having a meeting about two weeks before a national election might raise questions in some quarters about whether or not that was an attempt to interfere or try to influence the outcome of a democratically held election. That’s precisely what we’re trying to avoid. We want to avoid even the appearance of doing so.”
However, Secretary of State John Kerry is flying to Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday ahead of the Feb. 14 election “to emphasize the importance of ensuring the upcoming elections are peaceful, non-violent, and credible.”
Kerry will meet with candidates President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. He won’t be meeting with the dozen other presidential candidates on the ballot.
“They’re entirely different scenarios in our view,” State Department press secretary Jen Psaki said. “…There’s a difference between hosting a meeting exclusively with one candidate in your own country and visiting a country and making clear to all candidates and all parties about the need to keep — reduce violence, about the need to see the electoral process through.”
On why he’s only picking two out of 14 presidential candidates for meetings? “He’s only going to be there a short period of time,” Psaki said. “But it’s not a situation where we’re hosting one candidate or another in our country, or he’s meeting to support one candidate or another.”
Back at the White House, Earnest also today claimed he misheard an important question.
A reporter asked, “Is it safe to say that he would welcome a change of Israeli prime minister?”
“In fact, we would, and that’s a case that we’ve made to him on many occasions, and that case has been made at a variety of levels,” Earnest replied.
Pressed further, he added, “I’m sorry. I thought you said welcome a new position taken by the Israeli prime minister.”
Rep. Renee Ellmers, the North Carolina Republican who led the charge to pull the House GOP’s 20-week abortion ban bill this week, could have a bruising primary from the conservative wing of her party in 2016.
Jim Duncan, the chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party, is mulling a bid against Ellmers, according to multiple GOP sources in the Tar Heel State.
Duncan could not immediately be reached for comment. But GOP operatives say Duncan was looking at a primary challenge against Ellmers before this week. Operatives say Thursday’s events — in which a group of anti-abortion protesters in Washington, D.C., for the March for Life demonstrated outside her Longworth office — could push Duncan toward entering a primary race.
Ellmers already started the 2016 cycle with a couple cracks in her hold on the seat.
In 2014, local activists were angry over her support for giving undocumented immigrants earned legal work status, and she received a primary challenge. She defeated Frank Roche, a radio host whom Republicans called a weak and underfunded challenger, with 58 percent of the vote.
Republicans say Duncan, a retired businessman who ran a computer disaster recovery company, is a more serious candidate than Roche. Duncan has better ties to the conservative base in the district, both because of his role as chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party and as a co-founder of the Coalition for American Principles, a group that seeks to elect Republicans in the Raleigh-Durham area.
Those in the GOP establishment who eschew the core principles of the conservative base may want to pay attention to what is happening to Congresswoman Ellmers these past few days. Once a Tea Party movement darling because she is a medical professional who was vehemently opposed to Obamacare, a couple of missteps on immigration and abortion have now cast a cloud on her future. Contrary to general establishment thinking, the base isn’t comprised of a bunch of rubes in the hinterlands who are out of touch. When they’re disgruntled, they can get loud in a hurry.
Someone might want to write that on a triplicate memo and post it to Reince Priebus’s door.
Secretary of State John Kerry said at the World Economic Forum in Davos today that branding terrorism as Islamic is an “error” that could lose the U.S. allies in fighting groups such as ISIS.
“Today we are witnessing nothing more than a form of criminal anarchy a nihilism that illegitimately claims an ideological and religious foundation,” he said.
Kerry said that “obviously the biggest error we could make would be to blame Muslims collectively for crimes not committed by Muslims alone … crimes that their faith utterly rejects.”
“Religions don’t require adherents to raze villages and blow up people,” he said. “It’s individuals with a distorted and an even ignorant interpretation of religion who do that.”
Kerry said foes wouldn’t be defeated by “vilifying potential partners.”
Legendary film director Martin Scorsese is a big Bill Clinton fan. In a 2012 statement announcing his intention to film a documentary on the 42nd president, Scorsese gushed that the film would “provide greater insight into this transcendent figure.”
Two years ago, he started to follow Clinton’s globetrotting, filming the ex-president in Africa and elsewhere doing good works, and representing the Clinton Foundation.
But after two years of work, Scorsese has shelved the project because of some outrageous demands by Bill Clinton. It seems that Clinton wanted to be able to approve interview questions in advance as well as have some control over the final cut of the film. This was too much even for a Clinton worshiper like Scorsese, who not only turned Clinton down, but has shut down production for the time being.
The New York Times explains why Clinton wanted so much control:
Clearly, the film carried the risk that an unflattering camera angle, unwelcome question or even an obvious omission by Mr. Scorsese would become a blemish to Mr. Clinton’s legacy or provide fodder for Clinton critics as the 2016 campaign approaches. Apparently to avoid such problems, people close to Mr. Clinton sought to approve questions he would be asked in the film, and went so far as to demand final cut, a privilege generally reserved for directors of Mr. Scorsese’s stature.
Mr. Scorsese’s camp rejected those suggestions and the project was shelved. The film now appears to be years away from completion.
Chelsea Clinton, who left her lucrative NBC News job in August and works closely with her father, was expected to figure in the documentary in some way, and some in the Clinton circle had speculated that she would be credited as a producer. But a spokesman for Ms. Clinton said any notion that she had sought to join the production was “categorically false.”
In recent months, Mr. Clinton’s team has shown increased discipline in keeping the former president on message ahead of his wife’s likely 2016 presidential campaign. Mrs. Clinton is expected to declare her candidacy sometime this spring.
The former president is often a strong asset for his wife, but Mr. Clinton also proved to be a liability during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary when he made comments about then-Senator Barack Obama that many interpreted as racially insensitive.
Other entertainment projects with the Clinton’s as subject matter are also mostly hung up or canceled:
While “Clinton the Musical,” a stage satire focused on Clinton administration scandals, is now set for an Off Broadway run beginning in March, other Clinton-themed entertainment projects have faltered.
In the fall of 2013, CNN scrapped a documentary about Mrs. Clinton in the face of pushback from Clinton aides and the Republican National Committee; NBC dropped a planned mini-series in which Diane Lane would have portrayed her.
Also, “Rodham,” a planned feature film about the romance between a young Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham, has been struggling through Hollywood’s development process since Lionsgate acquired rights to it in 2013.
The Clintons are not shy about exercising power, as the effort to release to video the TV mini-series The Path to 9/11 illustrates. The controversial film is still not available for public viewing either via streaming or on DVD. The Walt Disney Company, parent of ABC, refuses to release the film and has never shown it since its original airing more than eight years ago.
That kind of power is not to be tampered with, as Scorsese no doubt realizes. So rather than compromise his integrity, Scorsese decided to cut his losses and shelve the film.
Even a revered director like Martin Scorsese must kneel and pay homage to the Clinton gang. Adoring them is not enough; you are required to sell your soul for them if asked.
Scorsese passed on the Faustian bargain and is a lot wiser for the effort.
The staff at Rep. Todd Young’s (R-Ind.) office had a little fun and compiled an online quiz to test your knowledge of infamous cases of implausible deniability: did the statements come from the White House during its everyday course of business, or from the New England Patriots during #DeflateGate?
White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the Patriots’ deflated ball controversy at today’s briefing, and said he hadn’t spoken with President Obama about the issue.
“I mean, the one thing I can tell you is that for years, it’s been clear that there is no risk that I was going to take Tom Brady’s job as quarterback of the New England Patriots. But I can tell you that as of today, it’s pretty clear that there’s no risk of him taking my job either,” Earnest quipped.
“The thing that is clear, though, about Mr. Brady’s job is that it does cause him to make snap decisions in very high-pressure situations, and — and he does it very well,” he added. “He also is in a position where those decisions are regularly second-guessed. So I think certainly on that level, he and I can relate to one another.”
Except here in Ireland, where they still have six counties, just for spite. Otherwise, get a load of this:
London (AFP) – The government’s decision on Friday to lower British flags following the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has stirred controversy, with critics pointing to the kingdom’s poor human rights record. Tributes from world leaders have poured in for the late monarch, seen by some as a cautious moderniser in a turbulent region, but criticised by others as not having done enough to reform an absolute monarchy adhering to a severe form of Islam.
Saudi law, which forbids women from driving and punishes apostasy with death, is derived from Wahhabi Islam, an ultraconservative sect whose clergy have provided Saudi rulers with religious legitimacy.
“Your flag flying insults every woman in the United Kingdom, HOW DARE YOU,” tweeted former Conservative lawmaker Louise Mensch. Lawyer and journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted: “UK orders flags flown at half-mast for King Abdullah. Will return to lecturing the world about democracy tomorrow.”
And remember — prime minister to the Haus Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha monarchy, David Cameron, is a “conservative.”
Hat tip: Grabien
So much for Barry’s quip about winning elections. John Boehner finally grew a pair and outwitted the Smug-in-Chief this Wednesday by inviting the White House’s greatest enemy to address Congress. No, not Iranian President Ahmadinejad, but the enemy both he and Obama share: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
After a State of the Union that paid poorly-timed lip service to terrorism the speaker of the House took matters into Republican hands and made a big show of it. Like, Ed Sullivan big. Too big, in fact, for Barry and his cohorts according to the Israeli left-wing paper Ha’aretz:
“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.
Officials in Washington said that the “chickensh*t” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.
It’s the kind of delicious scandal you’d only expect from Downton’s Julian Fellowes. (There’s not enough sex in it for Shonda Rhimes, or is there?) After issuing a warning to his own fellow Democrats not to “bow” to (Jewish) donors, Obama supposedly calls Netanyahu and warns him to “tone down his pro-sanctions rhetoric.” His administration avoids Paris, deciding instead to throw an anti-terrorism conference that will talk about everything but radical Islamic terror, because that’s all been staged to create a “War on Muslims” of which Barry “Cairo” Obama wants no part. Then, the glorious king and savior of HopenChange descends on the Capitol to pay lip-service to the terror that has no name and makes sure to slap anti-Semitism in the face, noting:
“It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims, the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace.”
At least he waited until the Jewish victims of the radical Islamic terror attack on a kosher supermarket were buried before lumping the hatred that murdered them in with Muslim stereotypes. If George W. Bush’s term was known for the War on Terror, dear God, let Barry’s term be known as the one that created, advocated, and fought on defense for the “War on Muslims.”
Oddly enough, as the general of the battle, Obama’s doing a darn good job of defending those radical Islamists he claims to despise, the Iranian regime in particular to the tune of 11.9 billion of your tax dollars. He’s doing an even better job of alienating his troops on the front line and their leader, Bibi. How does one say “forked tongue” in Arabic, or better yet, Persian? I know how Boehner and the Republicans in Congress say it: With the best invitation America’s ever issued to a foreign leader. And about damned time.
While liberal Los Angeles ties itself in knots attempting to hide its general disdain of the troops while still impressing their colleagues with “brave” yet watered-down, even backtracked criticism of American Sniper, the Los Angeles Times Fashion section takes a courageous stand in defending designer Rick Owens’ decision to send his models down the runway looking like the window of a butcher shop:
Rick Owens’ brave male models bare all on runway
Designer Rick Owens — that scamp — drew gasps and stirred up a social media storm on Thursday during his Paris Fashion Week men’s show by sending some of the models out in deconstructed togas strategically cut with holes that gave peek-a-boo views of their family jewels. In other cases, the models reportedly just dispensed with pants altogether. When wire services transmitted the photos to news outlets, they helpfully warned in all caps: NOTE NUDITY. [Refinery 29 (NOTE NUDITY)]
Once Owens had everyone’s attention, he also showed beautiful sweaters, suits and coats.
Everyone has quirky hobbies and interests, but the human race would be hard-pressed to think of a less enjoyable evening for most of humanity than a viewing of balls followed by a viewing of sweaters.
(Pictured: role model)
But they were brave! And so was Lena Dunham when she falsely accused a man of rape and regaled her fans with comic tales of sexually abusing her sister, and so was Wendy Davis when she filibustered a late-term abortion bill. Meanwhile, Chris Kyle is a coward, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali is banned from speaking at Brandeis.
Add “brave” to the liberal lexicon of things that mean the opposite of what the language intended them to mean when lefties say it. Along with “social justice” (the opposite of justice) and “human rights” (things that cannot possibly be rights), ”brave” now means “publicly doing something tangentially related to sex.”
Freshly returned from a trip to the Middle East, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he got a chilling message from governments in the region.
“I went to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel. And they said it’s better to be America’s enemy than her friend, because she seemed to respect your enemies more,” Graham told Fox this morning. “Iran is on the march. There are four Arab capitals under the influence of the Iranians at a time we’re trying to negotiate with this new ‘moderate’ regime.”
“The Houthis in Yemen are Iranian-backed. Assad is completely under the control of Iran. You’ve got a problem in Iraq and Lebanon. President Obama’s standing in the region is terrible. His policies are failing. If this is a success story in Yemen, I’d hate to see failure.”
Graham called Obama “basically incompetent,” “stubborn” and “arrogant” when it comes to foreign policy.
“Because he’s refusing to adjust at a time when the circumstances are screaming out to adjust. They’re selling to us that the Iranians are new and moderate. They told us that al-Qaeda was decimated before the 2012 election. They said that Yemen is a success story. Now they’re trying to sell to the Congress, ‘Butt out. We don’t need your input. Stay away from the Iranian negotiations,’” he said. “The Iranians are destabilizing the Mideast. They want a nuclear weapon. And their missile program is inconsistent with a moderate, peaceful regime.”
Secretary of State John Kerry is “completely out of touch, like the president,” the senator added.
“I met with the Free Syrian Army commander. He says ISIL is stronger today than they’ve ever been. And here’s what they’re doing. They’re selling oil to Assad and wheat. They control vast areas of Syria, they’re economically stronger, and they have an unholy alliance with Assad,” Graham said.
“…This makes Pickett’s Charge look like a sound military strategy. What we’re doing in training the Free Syrian Army without neutralizing Assad’s air power is military unsound and immoral, and it will not work. And what we’re doing in Iraq will not work. It will take years at this pace to liberate Mosul. Iraq and Syria are the perfect platform to hit the United States.”
The Mississippi state senator who unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) last year is launching a PAC that he says will fight for “the survival of our republic.”
Chris McDaniel forced Cochran to a primary runoff last June, which the incumbent won by, in part, rallying Democratic voters to the polls.
McDaniel challenged the results, but that was dismissed in court. Cochran sailed to a seventh term in the general election and became chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.
“Following what happened in the Republican primary runoff for the U.S. Senate on June 24, 2014, conservatives are more ready for mobilization and action than ever,” McDaniel said in a statement. “I have the enviable position of having the best of the best thought-leaders in the state and across the country ready to devote their time, money and effort to do what is needed to be sure the truth of conservatism is never again misrepresented by the politically powerful like it was here.”
Who are those thought leaders? McDaniel said the executive committee members and “more details regarding the organizational structure and objectives of UCF” will be announced in the coming week when he embarks on a five-city tour across Mississippi.
“I said repeatedly over the past year that the campaign was not about me and I meant it. I know that can be a foreign concept for the politically and personally motivated,” McDaniel continued. “My only political ambition today is what it has been all along; to make sure our conservative movement is strong and gaining ground, solving problems and communicating effectively. The working people of this state can and must unite for the survival of our republic. If we fight for one another then we will win together.”
As for running for office in the future, he said he’s considering potential races “carefully with the counsel of my friends and family.”
“Whether I run for higher office or not, it makes little difference unless other conservatives are provided the resources and support to step up where they live,” McDaniel said. “This task does not rest on any one man’s shoulders. Simply stated, if we are divided we will fail. My driving purpose right now is to make sure we are not divided, but united.”
A Blue Dog Democrat said that instead of President Obama’s plan to target the rich with higher taxes, Congress needs to expand the tax base.
“We have to keep in mind is the words from President Lincoln that said you don’t help the poor by tearing down the rich or you don’t help the workers by tearing down businesses and to have a targeted tax increase, I don’t think that’s the right approach. We should find a way to make the taxes more fair and flatter,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Fox, stressing, “I respectfully don’t agree with the president.”
“For example, corporations, if we can lower their taxes for the corporations so we can compete with other ones across the world. There’s a lot of things we can do to flatten the tax rate and expand the base. And I think if we look at maybe what David Camp looked at, what Paul Ryan might look at and see if the Democrats can sit down and work something out,” he said.
“But to try to ram something through, that’s not the way. It will take some sort of consensus. I hope we can do this. Anybody can talk about tax reform. Can we actually roll up our sleeves and make tough decisions?”
Cuellar said that trying to bring anyone to the middle, though, is “exactly” what’s “wrong with Washington.”
“You have the far right. The far left. And trying to get us together and work this out, it sort of takes moderate Democrats, moderate Republicans to actually get things done,” he said.
“…And a lot of issues, we’re not there. But that’s the approach we ought to have. Otherwise, the far right and the far left will control the debates in Washington, D.C. And the practical aspects of getting stuff done are not going to get done because of the far left and the far right.”
The State Department has pulled some of its staff from the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, as calls to evacuate the facility continued.
“While the Embassy remains open and is continuing to operate, we may continue to re-align resources based on the situation on the ground,” a senior State Department official told Reuters. “We will continue to operate as normal, albeit with reduced staff.”
Press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement late Thursday that the U.S. “is troubled by reports of President Hadi and his cabinet’s resignation. At this time, it is critical that all sides avoid violence.”
“The safety and security of U.S. personnel is our top priority in Yemen,” Psaki continued. “We are evaluating the security situation on the ground on an ongoing basis. We call on all parties to abide by their public commitments to ensure the security of the diplomatic community, including our personnel.”
She added that Yemenis “deserve a clear path back to a legitimate, federal, and unitary Yemeni government, consistent with the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative, the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference, UN Security Council resolutions and Yemeni law, with clearly defined timelines to finish writing a new Yemeni constitution, to hold a referendum on this constitution, and to launch national elections.”
“The future of Yemen should be determined by the Yemeni people in accordance with Yemen’s constitution and the National Dialogue Conference outcomes. All Yemenis have both a right and responsibility to peacefully participate in this process. The United States remains firmly committed to supporting all Yemenis in this endeavor.”
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told CNN “prudence dictates perhaps moving these people out at least temporarily.”
“AQAP, the al-Qaeda affiliate, is in the neighborhood. They’re in Sana’a as well. We know what they would like to do if they had a chance. The other complication is although the Houthi leadership apparently is making some reassuring noises to our people about not targeting the embassy, we’re not so sure about the chain of command,” King said.
“You have got an 18-year-old with a heavy-duty machine gun, and it could easily get out of control. I think the prudent thing is to move out. I know I have had a bunch of briefings in the last 24 hours. I know that the administration is monitoring this. I said, is it hour to hour? They said, no, it’s minute to minute.”
The senator, a member of the Intelligence Committee, added that “one of the big considerations is, what are the people on the ground at the embassy compound telling them about whether or not they’re able to do their job?”
“…That’s not an easy decision, because if we move out, the compound could be taken over and we couldn’t get back in. But it’s a tough call. But my inclination is err on the side of safety of those Americans.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday that “it’s been determined that there is not a need to change the posture at the U.S. embassy in Sana’a, but we’ll continue to monitor developments on the ground and if changes in that posture are necessary, we have all of the capabilities that are necessary to make those changes.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he doesn’t “have any options closed” for a 2016 run at the White House.
“What I’m saying is I’m running the great state, seventh largest in the country. We’re growing. We’re doing fantastic, and I have a lot more thing I want to do. I don’t need to go run for president to feel as though I’m accomplishing things,” Kasich told Fox.
“But, look, if there is something that I think can give me a path to being more effective in a bigger way, I’m not closed to that. I’m open to it. I’m not just interested in doing it to go through motions. A lot of people who are going to run for president do it to sell more books, they can get a television show. That’s not my interest.”
Kasich, recently sworn in to his second term as governor, said the “one thing people in my political party don’t always understand” is that “economic growth is not an end unto itself.”
“Economic growth provides the means whereby we can reach out and help those who live in the shadows,” he said.
“I think the problem in America today is that the folks out there don’t think the politicians understand them. And it is my job as governor to solve problems.”
Kasich won 86 out of 88 counties in Ohio on election night. He called the GOP’s messaging “incomplete.”
“How do you allow people to rise? How do you get everyone, like our minority community, how do we get them to share in the prosperity? We are a divided country, rich, poor, black, white, rural, urban. This is not how we’ll succeed as a country,” he said.
“There are about 20 states in America that don’t have a balanced budget. Not only do we have a balanced budget, structurally balanced, from an $8 billion, but we’re running an over $1.5 billion surplus. And I was one of the key guys to balance the federal budget. So when people start talking about my fiscal stuff they don’t know what they’re talking about,” Kasich replied to conservative criticism of some of his policies. “Secondly, the faith community is a big chunk of the conservative movement of the Republican Party. Just read Matthew 25. Did you feed the hungry? Did you clothe the naked? If we’re doing things like that, to me that is conservatism. And you know what, I have a right to define conservatism as much as somebody sitting in the stands down in Washington trying to tell us what we ought to do. And as a governor it is my job to answer the bell.”
“When I expanded Medicaid people said I brought Ohio’s dollars back to Ohio to deal with mentally ill and drug addicted, so I get criticized by some. I don’t really care about it. Guess what. Do you know how many Republican governors are trying to figure out how to do exactly what did it? Look, this is Reagan. This is what he believed. You don’t — Reagan expanded Medicaid.”
From the administration that called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickens**t” comes more gems after he accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) invitation to address a joint session of Congress:
“We thought we’ve seen everything,” [Haaretz] quoted an unnamed senior US official as saying. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us.
“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.
Officials in Washington said that the “chickenshit” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.
…Haaretz reported that Obama had personally demanded that Netanyahu tone down his pro-sanctions rhetoric in a phone call between the two last week. The president has said a sanctions bill would cripple negotiations with Iranian leaders at a critical stage, and has threatened to veto such a bill should it come through.
The Washington Post reported that Netanyahu’s apparent disrespect for US leadership was particularly offensive to Secretary of State John Kerry, who over the past month had made frenzied efforts on Israel’s behalf on the world stage — making dozens of calls to world leaders to convince them to oppose a UN Security Council resolution which would have set a timeframe for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“The secretary’s patience is not infinite,” a source close to Kerry told the Post. “The bilateral relationship is unshakable. But playing politics with that relationship could blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender.”
In other words, the principles of support for Israel that the administration has long contended it holds dear are merely conditional on the White House feeling that it has the position of power in this special relationship.
Several prominent Muslim American figures have offered to take 100 lashes on behalf of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced by Saudi Arabia to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islamic clerics.
In a letter to the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Robert P. George, a Princeton professor and vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, urged the immediate release of Badawi.
Badawai received the first round of his weekly floggings almost two weeks ago. The second round was postponed after doctors reported he had not recovered sufficiently to receive more lashes.
George and Jasser wrote in the letter that if Badawi is not released, they will volunteer to receive 100 lashes each. The letter included five other signatories: Mary Ann Glendon, of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Daniel Mark, assistant professor of Department of Political Science at Villanova University, Hannah Rosenthal, CEO of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Eric Schwartz dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and, Katrina Lantos Swett, president of Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice.
“Compassion, a virtue honored in Islam as well as in Christianity, Judaism, and other faiths, is defined as ‘suffering with another.’ We are persons of different faiths, yet we are united in a sense of obligation to condemn and resist injustice and to suffer with its victims, if need be,” the letter reads. “We therefore make the following request. If your government will not remit the punishment of Raif Badawi, we respectfully ask that you permit each of us to take 100 of the lashes that would be given to him.”
“We would rather share in his victimization than stand by and watch him being cruelly tortured. If your government does not see fit to stop this from happening, we are prepared to present ourselves to receive our share of Mr. Badawi’s unjust punishment,” the group said.
Badawi was arrested in 2012 after his blog writings insulted Islamic Clerics. He was cleared of apostasy, which would have involved a death sentence. Instead he was given 1,000 lashes and a 10 year prison term.
Because he is, you know. In the guise of protecting “negotiations” over Iran’s soon-to-be-fully-functional nuclear program.
The Obama administration on Wednesday paid $490 million in cash assets to Iran and will have released a total of $11.9 billion to the Islamic Republic by the time nuclear talks are scheduled to end in June, according to figures provided by the State Department.
Today’s $490 million release, the third such payment of this amount since Dec. 10, was agreed to by the Obama administration under the parameters of another extension in negotiations over Tehran’s contested nuclear program that was inked in November.
Iran will receive a total of $4.9 billion in unfrozen cash assets via 10 separate payments by the United States through June 22, when talks with Iran are scheduled to end with a final agreement aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear work, according to a State Department official…
Iran will have received a total of $11.9 billion in cash assets by the end of June if current releases continue on pace as scheduled.
That would be the same group of fundamentalist savages who in defiance of international, civilized norms seized our embassy under the feckless Carter administration and have never had to feel the lash since.
Barack Hussein Obama: the best friend our Islamic enemies ever had.
Remember when the U.S. government represented America? Seems like eons ago.
President Obama answered the questions of various YouTube celebrities yesterday. During an interview with Bethany Moto, he was asked: “If you have any free time, what TV shows or movies do you watch?”
To which Obama answered:
“You know, I’m really big on sports. The truth of the matter is, I’m mostly watching SportsCenter,” the president responded. “Whenever I’m working out at the gym if there’s a basketball or football game going on, I’m usually tuned in there.”
He was also asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. “I wanted to be a bunch of different things,” Obama said. “I wanted to be an architect for a long time.”
“I suppose in the back of my mind at some point I thought playing in the NBA would be great, being a basketball player. That ended I think around the age of 13 when I realized I wasn’t talented enough,” Obama also said.
President Obama hailed late Saudi King Abdullah, who died at age 90 after a battle with pneumonia, as leading the kingdom “through its emergence as a critical force within the global economy and a leader among Arab and Islamic nations.”
“He took bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative, an endeavor that will outlive him as an enduring contribution to the search for peace in the region,” Obama said of the Saudi plan that would recognize Israel in exchange for concessions including pulling back to pre-1967 borders. “At home, King Abdullah’s vision was dedicated to the education of his people and to greater engagement with the world.”
“As our countries worked together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship,” the president continued in a statement. “As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions. One of those convictions was his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond. The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah’s legacy.”
“May God grant him peace,” Obama added.
Abdullah was going to be buried after Friday afternoon prayers, according to the Arab News. Vice President Joe Biden will lead the U.S. delegation to Saudi Arabia, though it was unclear exactly when Biden would be in the country.
Biden said in a statement that the king’s death is a “great loss” as he “played an outsized role in building his country.”
Secretary of State John Kerry lamented that it was a “sad day.”
“The United States has lost a friend, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and the world has lost a revered leader,” Kerry said. “King Abdullah was a man of wisdom and vision. I loved my visits with him as a senator and as secretary. Even as he battled age and illness, he held on to his sense of determination. His stories of his father and of his family were remarkable. He was so proud of the Kingdom’s journey, a brave partner in fighting violent extremism who proved just as important as a proponent of peace.”
“The courageous Arab Peace Initiative that he sponsored remains a critical document for the goal we shared of two states, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security. He also made great strides to invest in the Saudi people, and the Kingdom’s infrastructure and economic development. The scholarship program that bears his name represents an enormous, far-sighted contribution to Saudi Arabia’s future prosperity. I know he was very proud of his role as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and as leader of his people.”
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued condolences “on behalf of all the men and women of the Department of Defense.”
“Like his father, who founded modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah was a man of tremendous character and courage – a historic figure dedicated to advancing the lives of his people at home as well as his country’s leadership abroad. He was a committed friend and partner of the United States. And he was a powerful voice for tolerance, moderation, and peace – in the Islamic world and across the globe,” Hagel said.
“I extend my condolences, thoughts, and prayers to King Abdullah’s family, and to all the people of Saudi Arabia. May he rest in peace as we celebrate his rich legacy for many years to come.”
Amnesty International reported that Friday’s scheduled flogging of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was postponed because a doctor determined he “would not be able to withstand” his next round of lashes yet.
Badawi, a 31-year-old married father of three, was sentenced to 10 years behind bars and 1,000 lashes spread out over a 20-week period for “insulting Islam” through articles posted on his website.
King Abdullah ibn Abdilazīz of Saudi Arabia, known in the kingdom as the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, died early Friday morning according to Saudi state TV. No cause of death was immediately given.
Associated Press reports:
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, the powerful U.S. ally who joined Washington’s fight against al-Qaida and sought to modernize the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom with incremental but significant reforms, including nudging open greater opportunities for women, has died, according to Saudi state TV. He was 90.
More than his guarded and hidebound predecessors, Abdullah assertively threw his oil-rich nation’s weight behind trying to shape the Middle East. His priority was to counter the influence of rival, mainly Shiite Iran wherever it tried to make advances. He and fellow Sunni Arab monarchs also staunchly opposed the Middle East’s wave of pro-democracy uprisings, seeing them as a threat to stability and their own rule.
He backed Sunni Muslim factions against Tehran’s allies in several countries, but in Lebanon for example, the policy failed to stop Iranian-backed Hezbollah from gaining the upper hand. And Tehran and Riyadh’s colliding ambitions stoked proxy conflicts around the region that enflamed Sunni-Shiite hatreds — most horrifically in Syria’s civil war, where the two countries backed opposing sides. Those conflicts in turn hiked Sunni militancy that returned to threaten Saudi Arabia.
And while the king maintained the historically close alliance with Washington, there were frictions as he sought to put those relations on Saudi Arabia’s terms. He was constantly frustrated by Washington’s failure to broker a settlement to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. He also pushed the Obama administration to take a tougher stand against Iran and to more strongly back the mainly Sunni rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Abdullah’s successor is 78 year old Crown Prince Salman, who is said to be in poor health himself.
King Salman has been part of the ruling clique of princes for decades and is thought likely to continue the main thrusts of Saudi strategic policy, including maintaining the alliance with the United States and working towards energy market stability.
During his five decades as Riyadh governor he was reputedly adept at managing the delicate balance of clerical, tribal and princely interests that determine Saudi policy, while maintaining good relations with the West.
Very little is known of Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. He gradated from Great Britain’s RAF college with a degree in aeronautics and also went to General Staff school in the US. He served as the Kingdom’s intelligence agency director for 7 years, beginning in 2005.
Abdullah was a strong US ally and a decent ruler. His experience will be missed in the Middle East as the challenges facing the Kingdom continue to grow. Some considered him a “reformer,” but this is surely an overstatement. The radical conservative Wahhabi clerics are a powerful influence in the country, and as long as they wield that influence, any “reforms” will be close to meaningless.
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick strongly denied he had anything to do with deflating game balls used during the AFC Championship contest last Sunday with the Indianapolis Colts.
The Patriots won the game 45-7, and after an investigation by the league following the game, the NFL determined that 11 of 12 game balls used by the Patriots were well under the psi specifications for inflation.
A deflated ball theoretically gives the quarterback and receivers an advantage in the kind of wet, cold weather conditions under which the game was played on Sunday. The ball is easier to both catch and throw.
At a press conference, Belichick said he had no explanation for the deflated balls and said he had never given the rules governing the inflation of balls a thought in 40 years of coaching.
Belichick: I’ll start out by addressing the football issue here. When I came in Monday morning, I was shocked to learn of the news reports about the footballs. I had no knowledge whatsoever of this situation until Monday morning. I would say I’ve learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I knew or have talked about it in the last 40 years that I have coached in this league. I had no knowledge of the various steps involved in the game balls and the process that happened between when they were prepared and went to the officials and went to the game. So, I’ve learned a lot about that. I obviously understand that each team has the opportunity to prepare the balls the way they want, give them to the officials and the game officials either approve or disapprove the balls. That really was the end of it for me until I learned a little bit more about this the last couple days.
Belichick claims that he goes out of his way to make the balls used in practice as difficult to handle as possible:
Let me just say that my personal coaching philosophy, my mentality has always been to make things as difficult as possible for players in practice. So with regard to footballs, I’m sure that any current or past player of mine would tell you that the balls we practice with are as bad as they can be: wet, sticky, cold, slippery. However bad we can make them, I make them. Any time that players complain about the quality of the footballs, I make them worse and that stops the complaining. We never use the condition of the footballs as an excuse. We play with whatever or kick with whatever we have to use and that’s the way it is. That has never been a priority for me and I want the players to deal with a harder situation in practice than they’ll ever have to deal with in the game. Maybe that’s part of our ball security philosophy.
I’m trying to coach the team and that’s what I want to do. I think we all know that quarterbacks, kickers, specialists have certain preferences on footballs. They know a lot more about it than I do. They’re a lot more sensitive to it than I am. I hear them comment on it from time to time, but I can tell you and they will tell you that there is never any sympathy whatsoever from me on that subject. Zero. Tom’s [Brady] personal preferences on his footballs are something he can take about in much better detail and information than I could possibly provide. I could tell you that in my entire coaching career I have never talked to any player, staff member about football air pressure. That is not a subject that I have ever brought up. To me the footballs are approved by the league and game officials pregame and we play with what’s out there. That’s the only way that I have ever thought about that.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also denied any involvement in deflating game balls, saying “I didn’t alter the balls in any way.”
NBC News reported that Brady addressed the issue with his teammates Thursday, saying in a closed-door meeting that he likes footballs “a certain way” and that they should stay focused on the Super Bowl.
In his news conference, Brady said there’s a usual process he goes through in getting used to using game day footballs, explaining it’s like any other piece of equipment for him. However, the quarterback repeatedly professed his innocence in doctoring any of the footballs.
“I feel like I have always played within the rules. I would never break the rules.”
Brady also echoed the earlier sentiment of his coach, Bill Belichick, in saying he was stunned by the news of the illegal footballs.
“I was as surprised as anybody when I heard Monday morning what was happening,” Brady said.
Sources told Fox Sports that the Baltimore Ravens, who played the Patriots the previous week, tipped off the Colts about the deflated ball issue. During the game, a ball was actually taken out of play to be examined by officials. It’s possible that examination led to the investigation by the NFL that began after the game was over.
The NFL is being tightlipped about what they’ve discovered, but says the investigation should be concluded by the weekend. The question then becomes, how to punish the Patriots?
In 2007, the Pats were fined and lost a first round draft choice due to their violation of league rules in videotaping the defensive signals of an opponent during the game. But stealing signals is one thing. Actually breaking the rules to gain a competitive advantage is another.
The ever-image-conscious NFL will probably not hit the Patriots with significant penalties. The league had a tough offseason as several high-profile domestic abuse cases and the arrest for murder of former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez caused the NFL to reexamine policies and procedures governing off-field behavior.
But calls for forcing the Pats to forfeit the game and send Indianapolis to the Super Bowl are absurd, as are calls to limit the Patriots’ ability to sign free agents or make trades.
The most likely outcome would be hefty fines and perhaps the loss of a draft choice. Meanwhile, the reputation of Belichick — already in tatters — took another hit. It is a supreme irony that a man who may go down as the greatest coach in NFL history would be remembered for his hand in cheating scandals as much as his Super Bowl wins.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) invitation to address a joint session of Congress on terrorism and terror-sponsor Iran.
Boehner originally proposed Feb 11, but the date will be bumped to March 3 to coincide with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in D.C.
AIPAC confirmed that Netanyahu will be speaking at the March 1-3 megaconference.
“I am honored by this invitation, which reflects the special friendship shared by Israel and the United States as well as the strong bipartisan support for Israel across America,” Netanyahu said in a statement today.
“Just last week I discussed with President Obama the common challenges we face from Islamist extremism, including resurgent terrorism and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons,” he continued.
“I look forward to being able to share with the joint session Israel’s vision for working together to address these threats and to reiterate Israel’s commitment to the bond that unites our two democracies.”
But President Obama will not be meeting with Netanyahu when he visits.
“As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement today. “Accordingly, the president will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu because of the proximity to the Israeli election, which is just two weeks after his planned address to the U.S. Congress.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be having reconstructive surgery on his face after the workout accident in his home.
Reid skipped Tuesday’s State of the Union address on the advice of his doctors, but returned to the Hill today for a press conference.
“I know there are a lot of rumors as to what happened, but it’s very simple. My wife and I were in our new home. I was doing exercises that I’ve been doing for many years, with those large rubber bands. And one of them broke and spun me around, and I crashed into a — these cabinets and injured my arm,” Reid said.
“It didn’t knock me out, but it sure hurt. And I was taken to the hospital. And came back here after a couple of days. I have some bones broken around my eye. And on Monday, as I understand it, we’re going to fix that. They’re going to reconstruct the bones here. The bone that’s broken is — the bone that’s broken is this one right here. It’s been pushed in against my eye, and they’re going to move that back out.”
Reid explained that because of the injury, “there’s blood in the front and back part of my eye.”
“And they’re going to have to move it — reconstruction of that bone there. They’re going to drain the blood off this part of the eye, the back part of the eye,” he said. “And they’re confident that I’ll be really quite good after that.”
Reid didn’t answer a question about whether he’d consulted with the upper chamber’s eye doctor, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), but said he didn’t expect his medical problems to interfere with his plans to run for re-election in 2016.
“The doctors have been very supportive of my plans. Nothing has changed during the time that I was — the first couple of weeks of recovery,” he said. “…So everything is on line. In Nevada, you know, we have quite an operation in Nevada that hasn’t lost a step. We’re off and running.”
Is he afraid of losing sight in the eye permanently? “Well, I’m looking forward to Monday, that’s for sure,” Reid said.
“I’m, as some of you know, an avid reader. I read lots and lots of books. I read some good ones during the break. So, what I — because I have not been able to read, they have told me that if you have an eye that’s healing and you try to overwork your good eye, it puts too much pressure… So I haven’t been reading.”
When Reid was first injured, his spokesman said the senator suffered a concussion. Today, Reid said, “To my knowledge, I’m not getting treatment for concussion.”
“I mean, although I do have a better understanding of the football players and baseball players who have concussions. No one’s told me I had one, but perhaps I had. I don’t know.”
The White House has complained that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) broke with executive protocol in his invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint sessions of Congress — and now Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is saying Boehner had the “hubris” to break an unwritten congressional protocol as well.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday that “the typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there.”
“That certainly is how President Obama’s trips are planned when we travel overseas,” Earnest said. “So this particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol.”
The Netanyahu address is scheduled for Feb. 11.
“When I was — also when I was minority leader and became one of the four leaders, it was clear always that if we wanted — if we had a suggestion about a head of state to come, that it was something that had to — you passed around the four top leaders,” Pelosi told reporters at a press conference today.
“For example, one of my, as minority leader before being speaker, one of the people that I was excited to invite or hoped to invite was the president of Liberia, woman president of Liberia, [Ellen] Sirleaf Johnson. And I knew that she would be a spectacular guest for the House, but — or for the Congress, a joint session, but I talked to Senator Frist, I talked to — I talked to the leadership about would that be OK. And they agreed that it would,” she continued.
“A concern that people had, going back then, was will members show up, because members are not always enthusiastic about attending these joint sessions.”
Netanyahu’s 2011 address to a joint session of Congress was packed.
“So that was — that was my introduction to it, you talked to all four, the other three leaders. There’s some consensus among four. And I’m not saying that it’s a big challenge. People usually would cooperate. But they’d raise their concerns about attendance, this or that. I know Sirleaf Johnson we would be bursting at the seams, and we were, with member attendance,” Pelosi said, adding more examples: “So, when I was speaker, we had King Abdullah of Jordan, President Sarkozy of France, the taoiseach of Ireland, Taoiseach Ahern, Prime Minister Brown of England, Chancellor Merkel of Germany, and President Calderon of Mexico, some kind of a combination of initiated by the White House or initiated by Congress, but agreed to by all four leaders.”
“So, it’s out of the ordinary that the speaker would decide that he would be inviting people to a joint session without any bipartisan consultation.”
Pelosi added, “Of course, we always — our friendship with Israel is a very strong one. Prime Minister Netanyahu has spoken to the joint session two times already.”
“And there are concerns about the fact that this, as I understand it from this morning, that this presentation will take place within two weeks of the election in Israel. I don’t think that’s appropriate for any country, that the head of state would come here within two weeks of his own election in his own country,” she said. “The more serious part of your question is about the sanctions. Yes, the president was correct in his presentation and the strength with which he presented his appeal to Congress that we not have sanctions at this time.”
Pelosi chided pro-sanctions lawmakers, including many Dems. “Everybody knows that Congress can pass sanctions anytime. So, what is the point? What is the point? What is the — the problem is that it could seriously undermine the delicate diplomacy that is at work… And so, what is the point of — of sanctions? And if that’s the purpose of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit two weeks before his own election, right in the midst of our negotiations, I just don’t think it’s appropriate and helpful.”
She wasn’t done.
Pelosi said Boehner has “awesome power” in his position as speaker, but “that power is not to be squandered.”
“It’s hubris to say, you know, ‘I rule; I’ll decide.’ And without any sensitivity to the fact that an election is taking two weeks — and within two weeks, the invitation I get is for the 3rd of March and the election is the — what? — the 17th, something like that. And also the fact that what is the purpose of it. Is the purpose to come and talk about sanctions? To talk about a policy in opposition to the policy that our president has just put forth in his State of the Union address and that has been in operation for many months?”
Boehner said in a statement Wednesday that Netanyahu “is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people.”
“In this time of challenge, I am asking the Prime Minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life,” Boehner continued. “Americans and Israelis have always stood together in shared cause and common ideals, and now we must rise to the moment again.”
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said this morning that by the time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a joint session of Congress, lawmakers should have their Iran sanctions game plan in place.
Corker went to Israel a few days ago “to sit down with him and also sit down with Mossad, who’s their intelligence agency, in closely monitoring these negotiations,” he told CNN.
“And my guess is by the time that he comes Congress may be in sync as to what it wants to do. So I don’t know that he’ll be necessarily going against the president. There’s a lot that’s occurring,” Corker said.
“But I do know this, he’s incredibly concerned about a bad deal with Iran, very concerned about where these negotiations are going. And what appears to be happening is Iran has sort of been here, we started here, the P-5, and every day that goes by it seems that we move closer and closer to the Iran place. And that’s why Congress, again, wants to be that firm backstop. And I think he supports this, to keep the P-5 from going to a place that’s really bad for our nation.”
The chairman said he was “made aware” of the invitation, though it’s House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) call.
“I think what you’ve seen happening is the president’s been irresponsible in the way that he has dealt with Congress and continued to basically act as if it’s his way or the highway,” Corker said. “I don’t know if that’s what’s driving the leadership in this particular direction.”
Boehner said in a statement Wednesday that Netanyahu “is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people.”
“In this time of challenge, I am asking the Prime Minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life,” Boehner continued. “Americans and Israelis have always stood together in shared cause and common ideals, and now we must rise to the moment again.”
Netanyahu’s address is scheduled for Feb. 11. He previously addressed Congress in 1996 and 2011.
“With respect to the prime minister and his visit here, look, we welcome the prime minister of Israel to come and speak in America anytime,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday. “And obviously, it’s a little unusual to learn of an invitation from the speaker’s office. That said, everybody knows that the subject of Iran is much on people’s minds. We have no difference in our goal with respect to our position.”
“We may have – we do have some difference in tactics of how you achieve that goal,” Kerry added. “But we are determined that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon, and the key to our negotiations is to make certain that whatever is agreed upon will show people with clarity that that is, in fact, the case that the path to a nuclear weapon is not achievable and/or has been given up or both together, and that it can be verified. And that is obviously critical.”
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told CNN that she “will let others be the judge of what’s appropriate or not” in the Netanyahu invitation. “It’s certainly unusual.”
“Obviously, we have a close relationship with Israel. We heard, as you know and have reported on from Speaker Boehner, not from Israel, about plans for the prime minister to come here. He has come before, many times before. Many prime ministers have come before,” Psaki said. “So it was a little — it was a bit of an episode of the bizarre today seeing all of this unfold.”
Psaki was asked if Kerry was “irritated” by Boehner’s move.
“Well, he doesn’t get irritated that easily, as you know. You know him pretty well,” Psaki replied. “I think he’s focused on lots of issues we work with Israel on, whether it’s security or the tensions on the ground. He is keeping his eyes on those balls. He is not particularly worried about the protocol of when someone is told they are coming to speak here. He thought it was a little unusual, too.”
Specific Terror Threat? ISIS Supporter Threatens ‘Caesium 131′ Attacks in ‘Boston, Dallas, Virginia’
Earlier today, MEMRI.org (subscription required, posted with permission) published an article exposing a further example of ISIS exploiting social media to strengthen its global reach. This incident is an example of ISIS using online media both to post threats and to recruit jihadists worldwide.
The ISIS supporter makes specific threats regarding targets in the West, even mentioning the use of “Caesium 131 poison.”
He also reaches out with support and advice to the misleadingly titled “lone wolf” jihadists living in the West. In reality, these jihadists have proven to generally have documented ties to the global jihad movement and to be already known to Western law enforcement. Note that the ISIS supporter actually uses the term “lone wolves,” a term not dreamed up by any jihadist movement, but by Western governments downplaying the reach of global jihad and the extent of the infiltration within their own countries. In the first two paragraphs of his essay, the ISIS supporter specifically challenges the accuracy of the term.
On January 10, 2015, ISIS supporter “Hamel Al-Bushra” (Bearer of Tidings”) posted on his Twitter page[i] an article titled “Lone Wolves,” in which he threatened a wave of lone wolf terror attacks in Western cities.
Attacking the members of the rival organization, Al-Qaeda, he says that they do nothing except write in the magazine Inspire from time to time – whereas ISIS has continued fighting the “internal enemies” within the Arab world, thus compelling the “far enemy” – America and its allies – to intervene and become entangled in a difficult war.
This is an interesting point — ISIS grew from the former al-Qaeda in Iraq, yet is now attempting to poach al-Qaeda members with boasts of being the bloodier organization.
He then notes that two major turning points reawakened the lone wolves to action in their countries: the call by ISIS spokesman Al-’Adnani to commit terror attacks in the Western countries, and the declaration of the Islamic Caliphate. Following these milestones, lone wolves in Western countries began feeling that were no different than the fighters in Falluja or Kobane, and set out to attack the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, Sydney, Belgium, France and many additional places. He notes further that Muslims are subjected to bombings and degradation in their countries, and that lone wolves balance the equation by retaliating against the West.
The writer warns the people of Europe, Russia and the U.S. that the lone wolves will soon strike them in their cities with bombs, knives, car bombs and even by spreading hazardous radioactive caesium 131 in the streets and train stations. He also advises lone wolves on field security, telling them, for example, not to use the telephone before and after an operation, to cover their faces during an operation, to prepare escape routes, etc.
Below is a screen shot of the Twitter account followed by an English translation of the essay posted by the ISIS supporter. Both are from MEMRI:
The following is an English translation of the article that was released by the pro-ISIS media company Al-Khilafa Media Foundation.[ii]
Lone wolves or City lions
The doings of our heroic Mujahedeen in the East and West countries of attacking the Infidels’ heads and those who support them is lone terrorism in the eyes of the west, but in reality those are the wolves of City who repelled against the heads of infidels and their soldiers. In the eyes of Mujahedeen, those are what the holy book of Quran told us: “So fight, [O Muhammad], in the cause of Allah; you are not held responsible except for yourself…” [Surat An-Nisā'- 84]
The lone wolves believe that what they are doing is a great worship that they do to be nearer to Allah; killing the heads of infidels, their soldiers, allies, and those who disbelieve in Allah, whether they are civilians or military workers fro they are the same, they are doing such following the footsteps of their ancestors, and when they remember:
Mohamed bin Maslama and what he did with the enemy of Allah Ka’ab bin Ashraf, they get out to the streets of Madrid, Sydney or Texas, carrying their knives and edged weapons stabbing their stomachs, beheading their heads, and by doing so they are following the footsteps of Mohamed bin Maslama, in which his actions was pleased by the prophet, and the prophet was happy with his action, and actually the prophet himself is the one who sent him to do this operation!
And when they remember Abdullah bin Unais, the city wolf gets out depending on Allah, taking his pistol, and he enters a Police station, or a Government office or a Church and by doing so he avenged for Allah and His prophet peace be upon him. The lone wolf remembers the prophet’s companions and the salaf who followed them like Fairus Aldaylami who cut the head of Al-Aswad Al-`Ansi, he -the city wolf- remembers them and he gets out to New Jersey or New Mexico and takes out the lives of the enemy’s soldiers and commanders on their streets and public squares.
On this way the lone wolves follow their example before: Mohammed Bin Maslama, Abdullah bin Unais & Fairus bin Dulaymi in chopping off the heads, stabbing the stomachs and shattering the skulls of infidels. So to give them the taste of their own medicine, make them feel what life is like, living in Fallujah in Iraq, or Kobane in Syria, what it’s like to experience the day and night bombs dropping from sky, the missiles hitting our mosques, homes, killing our children, killing them in the streets of Norway, Florida, Montreal, Finland, Lisbon, Luxemburg, & Canberra will terrorize them, and it will make them feel our wrath.
Let the equation be balanced, let the words of the Shaheed and the Imam Osama bin Laden be like it be: “I swear to Allah that America will not dream, neither those who live in it to have peace until we have in Palestine, and until crusaders leave and empty the peninsular of our prophet Mohamed peace be upon him”
Quick Review back
The Strategy of the Sheikh was to fight the infidels, and he did it with all he could, 11 September was a good example, before that there was USS COL, followed by the operation of our brother Omar Al-Naijeyri, Sheikh Osama every time explained his actions in every operation with a recorded message.
What Changed After Sheikh Osama
What changed is that, there were no actions, words replaced them, sadly so but this was the reality, accompanied by avoiding fighting against the internal enemy as a “strategy”! So we did not see this or that, except the “Inspire Magazine” which we recommend, Thanks to Sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki –May Allah Accept him- who took part in creating the magazine.
Islamic State -on the other hand- have one strategy that is: fight the nearest, and it forced the far Americans and their followers to enter in a bankrupting fight. The Islamic State succeeded to hurt the near enemy and forced America to enter and fight, also Islamic State has established Dabiq Magazine, and Al-Hayat Media Center, intended to address the west, and it did not add anything to an audio speech by the official spokesman Abu Mohammad Al-Adnani titled:
“Indeed Your Lord Is Ever Watchful”
Urges the Muslims to fight the criminals, the head of Kuffar, and the warlords who begin to fight the Islamic State.
The announcement of the Khilafah was the key to good, and the outlet for those lone wolves after Osama died, and the Qaida of Al-Zawahiri became the head, not the Qaida of Osama Bin Laden.
The head of the snake(United States) was still the enemy, the rest (the tail of the snake) was left roaming around, till new heads were born! And the tail was the one who singled in killing, imprisoning and fleeing Muslims, and when it was hit by the brothers in Iraq -for example “Irbil” they (Al-Dhawahiri’s Qaida) said: no! It was better to hit the head! And by this way, the head and the tail were all left! Al-Qaidah deceived (with false illusions) its followers, supporters, and soldiers in hitting the head of the snake, but no one answered, this was for a number of years, still no one answers!
After the speech of Al-Adnani, we saw the effective result, the Lone Wolves again were at it, they took the responsibility to hurt the Kuffar where it would hurt mostly, they carried out attacks on the streets of New York, hitting police stations, then in Ottawa where the Parliament guard was targeted, the effect of Al-Adnani Speech was felt in several Western countries in France, Belgium, Australia, United Arab Emirates, The Two Holy Mosques Country, France and we for sure still will see again blessed operations. Sheikh Al-Adnani -may Allah keep him firm- said:
Those who observed the reasons of the Lone Wolves operations will realize that the reasons are the oppression of these countries, in their own countries or in Muslim Countries, These Operations were carried out because they banned the veil, they fought every small right that Muslims have to worship, they fought the Mosques, they forced people to follow the democracy in the Muslim countries, which is a great Shirk (polytheism) unknown by many of our Muslim sons, and made it a god besides Allah, and they intervened and fought against the Muslims who intended to apply Sharia and the law of Allah in their Land, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia & the Levant recently are good examples and now we see the coalition of almost 60 Countries against the Khilafah!
So after all these, how come that you want the lone wolves to stop and not act, how do you want our lions in Europe, Australia, America, Canada, Russia, how do you want them to watch their Muslim brothers get killed, how do you want them to stop, How?
“To the People whom their countries participate in the coalition against the Islamic State”
Can you live in Raqqa , or Kobane, or Falujjah, or Jurf Al Sakhr, or Belad, or Mukeishifah, or Ishaqi, Or Tarmiya, Or Ghouta? Your Answer is: No, for sure. Why you can’t live in those cities? No worries, I will answer, because the coalition’s fighter jets, bomb and destroy everything, they carry out this barbarism act with the help of their proxies, the children of Ibn Al-Alqami, the bastards! (Shi’i government)!
So our Lions, Our brothers in Islam, those who did the operations of Charlie Hebdo, the operation of Ottawa Parliament, the Sidney Café, Our Lone Wolves wanted to give you a taste of your own medicine, they wanted you to try and experience somehow what’s happening in Fallujah or Raqqa, a places where you can’t live, but we live in there with the help and the guidance of Allah “Glorified and Exalted be He”.
And you are getting killed because of your Denial and not Believing in Allah First and then because of your fighting against us and your tyranny towards us.
In the Lord’s eye this is justice, this is balance, and he is with us, and he will help us defeat you, Don’t you see, we are small in number, but we are growing day by day, and we are destroying the defense and the forts of your proxies, those you chose to represent you.
Allah said in His Holy Quran: “Whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you” So do you feel the same way we do, O’ the people of Europe, America, Australia, Canada & Russia?
I don’t think so, you descendants of Monkeys & Pigs!
I don’t Think so, you worshipers of the cross!
I don’t think so, you atheists!
I don’t think so, You Majus!
No, No!! So I say to you, wait for more of our Lone wolves, the lions of the city, to make you understand justice, and to make you feel the same way we do, to wake you up from your sleep, and the agonies of your desires!
Yes you will feel the same way as we do, when you hear the bombs going off in the streets of San Francisco & Belgium!
Yes you will feel it, when the silencers will be used to shut you up forever in the streets of Madrid, London & Sydney!
Yes, you will feel it, when you wake up to have your breakfast and you hear the effect of the explosives in the city, and when you go to your work there await you the descendants of Al-Zarqawi to behead you with their knives, when the silencers of Abu Umar Al-Baghdadi await you on the streets and roads. Yes, you will feel it when the Caesium 131 Poison spreads in the streets and the train stations of Russia, Boston, Dallas, Virginia, & Amsterdam.
I promise you all that I said before, it will happen, no matter of what you do to be care full , it will happen, as long as you still occupy our countries and bomb us and kill our children and women! Yes, I promise you, so wake up and watch out, be care full, watch out when you go to work, watch out when you enter your work premise, hire security guards, anyway they won’t matter, because our target is you, not them, we will target you, in Short leave your work and watch out, from now on you are a target to us, wherever you are!
I believe whatever operations that happened and you watched it and heard it, it’s all the beginning, beginning for declaring your countries and cities to be a part of the Islamic State, to be part of the great Islamic Caliphate. And don’t you be surprised by that, I am not exaggerating, Allah Knows. God is with us, and he will support us and help us, and Allah is Owner of the Kingdom. He gives the kingdom (governance) to whom he will.
Allah said in His Holy Koran: “Allah has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession [to authority] upon the earth just as He granted it to those before them and that He will surely establish for them [therein] their religion which He has preferred for them and that He will surely substitute for them, after their fear, security, [for] they worship Me, not associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that – then those are the defiantly disobedient”
Thawban (RA) reported that Allah’s Messenger (SAAW) said: “Allah drew the ends of the world near one another for my sake. And I have seen its eastern and western ends. And the dominion of my Ummah would reach those ends which have been drawn near me …” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab Al-Fitan wa Ashrat As-Sa`ah, Hadith 5144)
And this is advice to the City Wolves:
Take what suits you and benefit you and we hopefully would not be denied the rewards of your good deeds: After you do your operation, stay away from your known locations, your familiar area. Don’t Use phone calls before and after your operation, and don’t depend on official paper works. You must cover your face, and you must not leave any thumb prints as your brothers of operation Charlie Hebdo did. You must have a plan for you withdrawal after the operation is done, a clear and effective plan, so they won’t be able to trace you easily. Hurry up and move to another state immediately after your operation. Make sure you have your belt ready, don’t you ever allow them to catch you alive so they will torture you, become Shaheed and kill couple of them at the same time. Avoid large numbers in your operations, it will make hard for you to withdraw afterwards.
We gladly and happily inform the Islamic Ummah of the martydom of brothers:
May Allah accept them.
“And Allah is predominant over His affair, but most of the people do not know” And accept my words O’ Lions of the City, for you are the one who resides in his heart:
Your lover brother: Hamil al-Bushra (Glad Tidings Carrier)
Your brothers in: The Media Front for the Support of the Islamic State Al-Khilafah Media Foundation
Sheldon Silver is finally getting what’s long been coming to him:
Sheldon Silver, the longtime speaker of the New York state Assembly, was arrested Thursday morning on corruption charges. Silver showed up at 26 Federal Plaza in downtown Manhattan at 8 a.m. where he was arrested by FBI agents. He’s set to make his initial appearance before a federal judge Thursday afternoon. Silver’s spokesman, Michael Whyland, declined comment before the arrest.
US Attorney Preet Bharara scheduled a press conference at 1 p.m. to detial the charges.The powerful Manhattan Democrat Silver has been the target of an on-going federal probe of undocumented payments he received from a law firm, sources said…
Silver, who has served as speaker for more than 20 years, was ensnared in an investigation sparked by Gov. Cuomo’s abrupt shut down of an anti-corruption commission he had created in 2013.
The specific details of the charges were not clear, but sources said that they were related to money Silver received from a small real-estate tax law firm. The firm, Goldberg & Iryami PC, made the payments over about a decade, but Silver failed to list the income on his financial-disclosure forms, sources told The Post.
Silver’s outside income has always been questioned by his critics. Last year, Silver reported income of $750,000 for legal he performed for the trial firm Weitz & Luxenberg.
Here’s how the New York Times is playing it:
The powerful speaker of the New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, was arrested on federal corruption charges on Thursday and accused of using the power of his office to solicit millions in bribes and kickbacks, according to court documents. The arrest of Mr. Silver, a Democrat from the Lower East Side of Manhattan who has served as speaker for more than two decades, sent shock waves through the political establishment and upending the new legislative session.
Mr. Silver surrendered to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents early Thursday morning in Lower Manhattan, law enforcement officials said. Mr. Silver, before entering 26 Federal Plaza, said, “I hope I’ll be vindicated.”
In a five-count criminal complaint outlining the charges, Mr. Silver is accused of “using the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself millions of dollars of bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income.” He is charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion.
The Daily News has this to add:
A stunning five-count indictment accused the Manhattan Democrat, a state political fixture for decades, with pocketing more than $6 million in bribes and kickbacks in return for wielding his massive influence. Silver stands accused of pressuring real estate companies doing business with the state to hire two law firms that were regularly paying him bribes, the 35-page indictment charged.
More than half of the $6 million came after Silver steered $500,000 in state funds to a doctor who in turn referred asbestos cases to Weitz & Luxenberg, a personal injury firm affiliated with Silver for decades.
The state money was provided to the doctor for a research project and unspecified “additional benefits” to the doctor’s family, the indictment charges. Silver collected more than $3.2 million in referral fees from the law firm after directing more than 100 clients to Weitz & Luxenberg for asbestos litigation, the indictment charged.
New York state is essentially an organized crime racket, one that for many years was stable in its distribution of the swag. The upstate-controlled Senate was in the hands of the GOP under Joe Bruno, while the assembly lay under the thumb of the weaselly Silver. But somebody broke the peace back in 2008, when Bruno abruptly resigned his leadership positions and announced he wouldn’t be running again; in January 2009 he was indicted on eight corruption counts, and later convicted of two of them. The convictions were overturned on appeal and Bruno was subsequently found not guilty at a retrial last year. He’s been itching for payback ever since. This is it.
As for Cuomo, whose ham-fisted shutdown of the Moreland Commission opened this particular can of worms, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. After all, it’s not like he wasn’t warned:
In an escalation of the confrontation between the United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over the governor’s cancellation of his own anticorruption commission, Mr. Bharara has threatened to investigate the Cuomo administration for possible obstruction of justice or witness tampering.
The warning, in a sharply worded letter from Mr. Bharara’s office, came after several members of the panel issued public statements defending the governor’s handling of the panel, known as the Moreland Commission, which Mr. Cuomo created last year with promises of cleaning up corruption in state politics but shut down abruptly in March. Mr. Bharara’s office has been investigating the shutdown of the commission, and pursuing its unfinished corruption cases, since April.
And it’s not like the Cuomo family doesn’t have something to hide, either.
UPDATE: And the hits just keep on coming in the one-party city/state of Cuomo and Warren Wilhelm, Jr.:
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and one of her former political consultants are subjects of a city ethics probe, Crain’s has learned. The noncriminal investigation, which is being conducted by the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board, centers around Ms. Mark-Viverito’s acceptance of free assistance during her 2013 race for council speaker, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.
The speaker recently paid $20,000 in campaign cash to a law firm to represent her in the investigation. In November 2014 and again this month, Ms. Mark-Viverito’s campaign fund made $10,000 payments to Ballard Spahr Stillman & Friedman. The Conflicts of Interest Board has been deposing figures in the investigation.
In the midst of the competition to succeed Christine Quinn as speaker, the Daily News reported that Ms. Mark-Viverito’s acceptance of pro bono help from the Advance Group—a prominent Manhattan lobbying and campaign consulting shop—could run afoul of a city ethics regulation. Good-government group Citizens Union called for the Conflicts of Interest Board to investigate.
A “good-government” group in solid-blue New York State? Ha ha ha ha ha!