Please read current events from a variety of sources.
Democrats fear treatment of Israel is voting liability
September 28, 2011
The Obama administration told the Palestinian Authority it cannot significantly help advance a Palestinian state until after the 2012 presidential elections, a top PA official told WND.
The official, however, said the U.S. will press for a Palestinian state quickly if President Obama is re-elected.
"The main message we received from the U.S. is that nothing will happen in a serious
The PA official said Obama "will not accept the Palestinian request of a state at the (U.N.) Security Council and cannot help on the ground for now."
"We were told to wait for Obama's reelection, and that before then nothing serious will happen for a state," the official continued. "But after the reelection, the U.S. said the schedule will be short to reach a Palestinian state."
Obama's policies toward Israel have been highlighted in local and national campaigns, with many Democrats fearing voters will oppose them due to the perception the president is anti-Israel.
Obama's treatment of Israel was a significant issue in the recent election of Republican Bob Turner to former Rep. Anthony Weiner's seat in a district that had not elected a GOP candidate since 1923.
Also, presidential contenders such as Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., have been strongly criticizing Obama on Israel.
Ending Pro-Abortion Judicial Tyranny
from the National Prolife Alliance
There is no question that the largest obstacle in the fight to enact pro-life legislation to protect the unborn is the federal court system. Since the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, the courts have repeatedly thwarted efforts to enact even the most modest pro-life reforms.
With such a hostile court system resigned to blocking all meaningful progress, pro-lifers are now turning to the Constitution to end this pro-abortion judicial tyranny.
National Pro-Life Alliance members are not waiting around for a pro-life majority on the Supreme Court to demand an end to abortion-on-demand.
In addition to leading the fight to protect the Constitutional right to life of unborn babies from conception by passing a Life at Conception Act, National Pro-Life Alliance members are mobilizing grass-roots support for an additional measure to remove jurisdiction over abortion from the federal courts.
Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to limit jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts.
And this new legislation in Congress would do just that.
By removing all authority from the courts to rule on cases involving abortion, the Sanctity of Life Act of 2011 [H.R. 1096] would restore the authority of popularly elected officials to pass laws to limit or ban abortion without interference from unelected, activist pro-abortion judges.
Sadly, this judicial tyranny has caused many pro-life organizations to limit themselves to pressing for limited laws to slightly control abortion in the more outrageous cases, hoping not to offend the courts.
But by passing the Sanctity of Life Act, Congress can finally put an end to this judicial tyranny once and for all.
U.S. Constitution Explicitly Grants Congress the Authority to Strip Courts of Jurisdiction
Specifically, Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states:
"The Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make."
By creating such an exception for the issue of abortion, Congress can finally end judicial tyranny and abortion-on-demand. And simply by building grass-roots support to limit judicial overreaching, the Sanctity of Life Act will pressure activist judges to watch their step.
Pro-lifers are urged to call their Congressman cosponsor Representative Ron Paul's Sanctity of Life Act of 2011 [H.R. 1096] today.Click here to read update to this bill
Posted: September 01, 2011
The pastor of a Wichita, Kan., church who has spoken on public streets against homosexuality, the influence of abortion interests in his state and other biblical issues says he has been convicted on charges related to his decision to hand out Bibles at a Muslim mosque – in a courtroom staffed and filled with Christians.
The counts against Pastor Mark Holick of Spirit One Christian Center, known as the church "without walls," technically were two counts of loitering and one count of disrupting a business.
Click here to read more:
He was convicted by a six-member jury in Wichita District Court and today was sentenced to a $300 fine, a year of probation and ordered not to be within 1,000 feet of the Islamic center where last fall he handed out pamphlets containing portions of the Bible.
What is startling, he told the judge and courtroom during a 15-minute statement in court, is that the conviction came about through Christians.
He told the court and judge:
are confused, I am not your enemy, Islam is.
Today, he told WND that he was handing out a book containing English and Arabic versions of the biblical books of John and Romans, as well as a DVD containing testimony from former Muslims.
He said he was able to make the accusation against the court and jurors because of information he's gotten from those who know the arresting officer and the judge and the prosecutor's statement about attending church. Holick said he has dealt with the city attorney in previous cases, and during jury selection four of the six jurors affirmed that they attend a regular Christian service.
He said his attorney talked with jurors after the conviction and found out they were swayed by the police statements that Holick didn't move, or didn't move fast enough, when police instructed him.
Holick had been handing out the Bible portions on a sidewalk adjacent to the Wichita mosque. He also went into the driveway where it crossed the sidewalk to do the same. It apparently was that action that the police cited for their counts of loitering and obstructing a business. Holick noted, however, there was no testimony that he had obstructed anyone.
According to the report in the Wichita Eagle, Sedgwick County District Judge Phil Journey handed down the sentence to Holick.
"The only reason you were the one arrested is because you were the only one who disobeyed the police orders," the newspaper reported the judge said.
The report also said Journey discussed how the First Amendment assured Holick's right to express his religious beliefs but also allowed laws that would regulate how he practices his faith.
A WND message requesting comment from the court left after hours was not returned.
Holick told WND he was a little surprised that the judge let him make a 15-minute statement but noted that the judge later stated his disagreement with the pastor's testimony.
He had said, "This is about an idolatrous government that has rejected the Lord God Jesus. This is about a government that has turned from the Lord God to the many gods of pluralism.
"Listen to the 911 call by the mosque. Not one reference to any traffic problems, no[t] one indication of cars being blocked. No, it is clear that the reason they called was because – we were there peacefully offering free Bibles," he said. "To which the police, city attorney, and courts were all too willing to act with expediency and malice to silence the Gospel of our Lord Jesus."
He continued, "Rest assured, your actions will have a great chilling effect on the Gospel of our Lord, but I suspect you know that and are glad. Rest assured that this conviction is already running through the Wichita Islamic social network like an August Texas grass fire. Because I use the public sidewalk to offer Bibles to those driving out, I stand here before this magistrate today."
He cited a consent decree reached with the city earlier when he previously was arrested for speaking of Christianity in a "traditional public forum."
The city paid $11,700 in damages and promised "to permit Mark Holick to engage in his First Amendment rights in the future on the same terms and conditions as all other citizens."
"Honorable men keep their word," Holick said.
In that earlier case Holick was arrested by police sharing his religious beliefs on a public sidewalk outside a homosexual festival in the city. He was arrested but, the charges eventually were dropped, and he later brought a civil case.
It was settled, and U.S. District Judge Thomas Martin described the arrest:
Plaintiff was preparing to share his religious beliefs with others on the public sidewalk near the entrance of Heritage Park in Wichita, Kansas, where a Gay Pride event was about to take place … within 5 minutes of arriving at that location, plaintiff was threatened with arrest if he did not leave, and then immediately arrested when he refused to leave, handcuffed, placed in a squad car in front of members from his church, including adults, youth, and children, processed at the police station by having his mug shot taken, fingers printed, and placed in a cell with others.
The judge noted that all charges against Holick later were dismissed, and the civil rights complaint was filed for the wrongful arrest.
"The defendants do not contest that they violated plaintiff's constitutional rights," the judge wrote.
“Christians shouldn't be penalized for expressing their
Joel Oster, a senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which
represented Holick, at the time of the settlement. "We are pleased city
officials will now ensure that Pastor Holick is free to exercise his
Amendment rights in public without fear of arrest."
Thanks to constitutional challenge
September 01, 2011
Officials in Winchester, Va., will alter their noise ordinance and adjust its enforcement following a First Amendment lawsuit against city procedures that censored speech that might annoy some people, according to a legal team fighting the battle.
The city agreed to revise the challenged provisions, halt enforcement until the changes are made and pay undisclosed monetary damages and attorney's fees, according to today's announcement from the Rutherford Institute.
"We're pleased that the city of Winchester has finally agreed to recognize that the right to speak freely cannot to be conditioned upon how others feel about the message," said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute. "As former Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black recognized, 'The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the government commands.'"
The issue arose over a city crackdown on a street preacher's activities. The speaker contended the policy should be abandoned because it's not constitutional to base an individual's First Amendment speech rights on someone else's "comfort." Police had shut down the preacher when a passerby allegedly complained he was "uncomfortable."
"The city of Winchester's noise ordinance goes far beyond the scope of permissible regulation for a traditional public forum," said a brief in support of a request for summary judgment in the case between Winchester, Va., and Michael Marcavage of the Repent America Christian ministry.
Marcavage regularly preaches the message of the Bible at street festivals and other occasions across the country.
Last year, he was at the Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester. After checking with the police department ahead of time, he used a public address system to carry his message to listeners.
However, he was ordered to shut it down, resulting in a legal challenge to the ordinance.
"The ordinance constitutes an outright prohibition of certain verbal expression without any reference to objective characteristics of that expression, such as volume, and it does so through the use of vague terms and unascertainable standards," said the Rutherford Institute brief, compiled by Rita M. Dunaway.
Specifically, it pointed out the conversation in which Lt. John Danielson of the Winchester Police Department ordered Marcavage to stop using his equipment, which he earlier had been told was permitted.
"This complaint [from a passerby], according to the officer, rendered Marcavage's expression a violation of the city's noise ordinance, which prohibits sounds that 'annoy' or 'disturb' others. Marcavage immediately phoned the Winchester police chief, who had informed him prior to the Festival that street preaching with a handheld microphone would not violate any local laws. However, upon receiving Marcavage's call on the day of the Festival, the police chief insisted that the officers would enforce the ordinance against the preachers if any citizens complained about the noise," the institute reported.
"It was later revealed that law enforcement officials were ordered to go undercover for the purpose of monitoring the street preachers. According to one police officer's statement, he used a recording device to film the preachers as they expressed their sincerely-held religious beliefs during the 2010 Apple Blossom Festival," the group said.Article may be read in its entirety at:
By THOM SHANKER and ERIC SCHMITT
Published: August 29, 2011
WASHINGTON — The White House has issued detailed guidelines to government officials on how to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, with instructions to honor the memory of those who died on American soil but also to recall that Al Qaeda and other extremist groups have since carried out attacks elsewhere in the world, from Mumbai to Manila.
The White House in recent days has quietly disseminated two sets of documents. One is framed for overseas allies and their citizens and was sent to American embassies and consulates around the globe. The other includes themes for Americans here and underscores the importance of national service and what the government has done to prevent another major attack in the United States. That single-page document was issued to all federal agencies, officials said.
After weeks of internal debate, White House officials adopted the communications documents to shape public events and official statements, and they sought to strike a delicate balance between messages designed for these two very important but very different audiences on a day when the world’s attention will be focused on President Obama, his leadership team and his nation.
The guidelines list what themes to underscore — and, just as important, what tone to set. Officials are instructed to memorialize those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and thank those in the military, law enforcement, intelligence or homeland security for their contributions since.
“A chief goal of our communications is to present a positive, forward-looking narrative,” the foreign guidelines state.
Copies of the internal documents were provided to The New York Times by officials in several agencies involved in planning the anniversary commemorations. “The important theme is to show the world how much we realize that 9/11 — the attacks themselves and violent extremism writ large — is not ‘just about us,’ ” said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal White House planning.
Some senior Obama administration leaders had advocated a lengthy program of speeches and events to mark the anniversary, but the final decision was for lower-key appearances by Mr. Obama and other senior leaders only on the days leading up to the anniversary and on Sept. 11 itself.
Mr. Obama in his weekly address on Saturday said that this year’s anniversary will be one of “service and remembrance.”
“We need to make sure we’re speaking to a very broad set of audiences who will be affected by the anniversary,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, said in a telephone interview on Friday.
That may be, but some American counterterrorism and intelligence officials are complaining that the White House missed out on tying together the 10th anniversary with recently announced strategies to combat terrorism and violent extremism into a more coherent, longer-term plan. “They don’t do that kind of long-term planning,” said a senior counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid disciplinary measures from the White House. Mr. Rhodes rejected that criticism, saying these themes have threaded through many of Mr. Obama’s speeches in recent months.
As the White House sharpens its messages for the commemorations, officials say they have also stepped up efforts to spot signs of foreign or domestic terrorist plots timed around the anniversary. So far, they said, they had not detected any specific plots or an increase in threats.
Officials interviewed at several federal departments said they would consult the White House guidelines, but had been given broad leeway to hold commemorative events at their agencies.
One significant new theme is in both sets of documents: Government officials are to warn that Americans must be prepared for another attack — and must, in response, be resilient in recovering from the loss.
“Resilience takes many forms, including the dedication and courage to move forward,” according to the guidelines for foreign audiences. “While we must never forget those who we lost, we must do more than simply remember them —we must sustain our resilience and remain united to prevent new attacks and new victims.”
At the same time, Obama administration officials caution that public commemorations here should not cast the United States as the sole victim of terrorism, an argument underscored by killings and maimings from extremist attacks overseas.
Some senior administration officials involved in the discussions noted that the tone set on this Sept. 11 should be shaped by a recognition that the outpouring of worldwide support for the United States in the weeks after the attacks turned to anger at some American policies adopted in the name of fighting terror — on detention, on interrogation, and the decision to invade Iraq.
So the guidelines aimed at foreign audiences also call on American officials to praise overseas partners and their citizens, who have joined the worldwide effort to combat violent extremism.
“As we commemorate the citizens of over 90 countries who perished in the 9/11 attacks, we honor all victims of terrorism, in every nation around the world,” the overseas guidelines state. “We honor and celebrate the resilience of individuals, families, and communities on every continent, whether in New York or Nairobi, Bali or Belfast, Mumbai or Manila, or Lahore or London.”
The death of Osama bin Laden was viewed as reason for officials to “minimize references to Al Qaeda.” While terrorists affiliated with Bin Laden’s network “still have the ability to inflict harm,” the guidelines say, officials are to make the point that “Al Qaeda and its adherents have become increasingly irrelevant.”
The guidelines say the absence of Al Qaeda playing any significant role in the “Arab Spring” uprisings against longtime autocrats in the Middle East and North Africa should be cited as evidence that Bin Laden’s organization “represents the past,” while peaceful street protesters in Egypt and Tunisia “represent the future.” Left unsaid was that many of the deposed leaders were close American allies and partners in counterterrorism operations.
Resilience is a repeated theme of the communications. “We celebrate the resilience of communities across the globe,” the foreign guidelines state.
Or, as Mr. Rhodes put it in the interview: “It’s a statement of strength that the United States can outlast our adversaries. We’re stronger than the terrorists’ ability to frighten us.”
The domestic guidelines, entitled “9/11 Anniversary Planning,” are shorter and less prescriptive than the talking points created for overseas audiences. For example, they note that the ceremonies will honor Americans killed in the Sept. 11 attacks but also “all victims of terrorism, including those who had been targeted by Al Qaeda and other groups around the globe.”
But these guidelines also acknowledge that Americans will expect government leaders to explain what steps have been taken to prevent another 9/11-style attack and to encourage Americans to volunteer in their communities this Sept. 11.
The domestic guidelines also ask something of Americans that has been lacking in Washington: “We will also draw on the spirit of unity that prevailed in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.”This article was found at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/30/us/politics/30terror.html
Could the newcomer’s shake-up be shook-up?
From The Iowa Independent
By Staff report August 29, 2011
If there has been a single thread that has connected the previous 11 editions of The Iowa Independent’s Power Rankings, it has been an overall feeling of discontent among Republicans as activists in the state search for someone who represents their views and that they believe also stands a good chance of unseating Democratic incumbent Barack Obama.
With the Ames Straw Poll a memory and, thanks in part to a timed entry by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, showing very little bounce for the top two finishers, our panelists seem more intent on the political end game and which candidate has the mixture of organization, charisma and “that special something” to take the race all the way to the finish line.
If the caucuses were held tonight, here’s how our panel believes they would end:
1. Rick Perry — Despite the fact that the governor of Texas hasn’t yet proven himself from an organizational standpoint in the Hawkeye State — and won’t likely have to in advance of the caucuses due to his later entry — our panelists cannot deny that Perry has brought something to the race that has been missing.
“Many activists have said to me, ‘I’ve been holding out for a winner!’ Republican activists may agree with the agenda of a [Michele] Bachmann or a [Rick] Santorum, but they aren’t convinced those candidates can beat Obama. There’s a buzz around Perry that says he can,” notes one of our panelists.
Others on our panel, however, are curious if Perry’s lead is more of a honeymoon period — something that will wane as the newness of his candidacy wears off.
“His current buzz does make him the flavor of the month — just like [Mike] Huckabee and [Donald] Trump before him — but there is more to him than just that,” notes another panelist. “He appeals to all segments of the party, [at least] to varying degrees. That huge undecided number that keeps showing up in Iowa polls may have found their hairstyle of choice.”
Candidates may rise on appeal, but they must have substance to win the first-in-the-nation caucuses. What the panel wants to see from Perry going forward are signals that his campaign is organizing at the grassroots level in Iowa, working the ground and drawing increased support.
“If the caucuses were held today Perry would instantly coalesce a group of former Tim Pawlenty supporters and soft supporters of others to finish very strong, but at this point in time he doesn’t have the organization on the ground to marshal enough of them to pull it out.
“Still, there is little denying the initial roll-out of his candidacy has been impressive and, if things keep trending the way they currently are, he’s the one to beat.”
Perry’s performance in upcoming debates and his interactions on the campaign trail in Iowa and other early states could still sway his candidacy further up or down. And, while it is unlikely that more fiscally-minded Republicans would be swayed by the entry of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in the race, it is likely that some more socially-minded Iowa conservatives could. That could spell trouble for Perry’s honeymoon, at least in Iowa.
“While it is true that there are some who simply won’t support a woman, there are some who will — even if that woman is Palin, who comes with history. She still appeals to a segment of the GOP that feels America hasn’t been promoted in that Ronald Reagan style it should be, and there is no one, perhaps other than Reagan himself, who makes Republicans feel better about themselves than Palin. That’s her advantage over other conservatives already in the race including Bachmann, although Bachmann has been pulling such references into her own speeches. Such ‘lifting up’ by Palin will be hard for Iowans to resist.”
2. Michele Bachmann — For the first time since late June, the Minnesota Congresswoman doesn’t lead our Hawkeye State Power Rankings and, perhaps more importantly, she came dangerously close to being knocked out of the top two.
Since late March, when Bachmann began to seriously hint that she would pursue a White House bid, she has remained a favorite of our panelists. They viewed her as someone who could appeal to the state’s influential social conservative base as well as a candidate that could count on support from the tea party movement — both being influential for the upcoming caucuses. The straw poll should have been a proving grounds for her Iowa organizational skills (and to a certain extent it was) but, under the shadow of a Perry announcement, it simply didn’t provide a large boost.
“Winning the straw poll still has its privileges. One of those privileges is a vastly superior organization compared to a guy who’s been in the race for only two weeks, and has just made a handful of stops in Iowa while facing no real scrutiny from voters or his fellow competitors yet. That said, Bachmann is not trending in the right direction at the moment, and she needs to recapture the momentum she had heading into Ames. Perhaps letting voters see the woman of depth I have seen privately, and not the woman of talking points I often see publicly, is a good place to start.”
Another panelist notes that “Bachmann still has two big things going for her in Iowa: She’s from a neighboring state, which can only benefit her when it comes to ground organization, and she’s a known quantity.
“Let’s face the fact that despite some of rifts here in our state, many of which have been promulgated by supporters of other candidates, Bachmann is someone that activists here know and know well. There is very little shock value left when says things that maybe don’t completely add up, or when she ruffles feathers in local circles. It’s expected, and just like all other expectations in Iowa, when she exceeds them — when says things that really resonate and does well with retail politics — she really, really shines. If she comes into the state and works even the smallest bit to dispel some of the more negative press, it will do her campaign a world of good and she will win on caucus night.”
Criticisms leveled by Pawlenty that Bachmann was prone to misstatements may not have ultimately benefited his campaign, but our panelists believe they likely injured Bachmann’s, at least to some extent.
“One can dismiss occasional things like mixing up whether John Wayne was born in Winterset or Waterloo and maybe even whether August 16 was Elvis’s birthday or the day he died, but at some point one will start to wonder whether it’s just an occasional flub or a pattern that is worrisome. Recently Bachmann claimed that if she becomes president gas prices would go down to $2 a gallon. That’s not a factual mistake, but it certainly caused a lot of people, including a lot on the right, to roll their eyes. Bachmann fought hard to make herself be perceived as a serious, top-tier candidate. She needs to stop the mistakes if she expects to maintain that standing.”
3. Ron Paul — The biggest news to come out of Texas congressman’s presidential bid in the wake of the straw poll were news reports that he was being ignored in the wake of his strong second-place finish. Our panelists took note of the strong finish, and they continue to believe that overall Paul’s fiscal message is resonating better with state activists than it did in 2007. But when it comes to the game of expectations, they feel Paul just managed to meet them in Ames and, thus, didn’t do anything overly extraordinary to warrant higher placement.
“Paul’s supporters certainly don’t want to hear it, but he probably peaked at the straw poll,” notes one panelist. “There were plenty of stories during the last two weeks about how the media were ignoring Paul’s very close second place finish straw poll. I suspect that it was less a matter of purposefully ignoring Paul as opposed to choosing to focus their resources on candidates who were perceived as more likely to be able to capture the nomination.
“Paul received over three times as many votes at the Straw Poll as he did in 2007. That speaks to both an improved organization and more focus on his economic message. Even so, when Paul starts to speak on other issues his libertarian roots show themselves. Many Republicans are not happy with the wars we are fighting, but they usually don’t think that we should just pull back to our borders. Some Republicans are in favor of legalizing marijuana, but that position isn’t one widely held. In other words, despite his obvious success at the Straw Poll, Paul will have a difficult time appealing to a broader Republican base.”
Another panelist has already moved on to wonder where the libertarians and similar factions of the party will go when “they finally figure out that their guy is not moving forward in this process.”
“Look, there’s a lot to be said for loyalty, and there is no doubt that Ron Paul’s supporters are loyal — but I have to wonder if they’ve ever heard the phrase about being ‘loyal to a fault.’ At this point, I don’t think they are doing their candidate any favors by ramping up his expectations to levels that he doesn’t actually have the base support to meet.”
Another panelist believes Paul could have won the straw poll — and beat expectations — if it wasn’t for his debate performance two nights before.
“His organization flexed its muscle at the straw poll, and that strong second place finish came after his brutal debate performance just 48 hours prior. That tells me two things: Paul’s support isn’t going anywhere, and Paul can’t grow beyond that base of support. I believe Paul would’ve won the Straw Poll if not for his queasy answer on Iran and nuclear weapons. That moment in that debate illustrated the dynamic Paul finds himself in. The current economic climate in the country has made his base coalition more loyal than ever because he’s been proven right all these years. On the other hand, his foreign policy positions are still too far out there to grow that coalition to a winning coalition.”
4. Mitt Romney — There are more questions than answers surrounding the former governor of Massachusett’s campaign. That is, his Iowa strategy or, more aptly, his lack of an Iowa strategy seemed pretty well mapped out in advance of Perry’s entry. Our panelists now wonder if ignoring the Hawkeye State, or keeping Iowa activists at arms length, is going to be enough to put him in the state’s top three — something he critically needs to do, even if he is banking on a New Hampshire victory.
As one panelist notes, “Mitt still has the 23 percent he’s had since he started his presidential campaign (back in junior high school).”
But there’s more than just low poll numbers at stake. Romney was hoping residual 2008 supporters and here-and-there visits to Iowa would be enough to keep him “playable” in the first-in-the-nation caucuses. He had, for all practical purposes, conceded the state to a more social conservative candidate of the same ilk as a Huckabee — someone that the other early states wouldn’t find as appealing as his more moderate, if not sometimes conflicted, stances. But if Iowa and another of the leading four states go to the same candidate, Romney’s weak performances could be enough to shut him down before the contest moves on to states that are decided more by ad buys than retail politics (where he doesn’t necessarily excel).
“If a four candidate field emerges from the starting four states, that bodes well for Romney, who is extremely well financed and can move into a Super Tuesday situation with multiple ad buys and other voter outreach. But if Perry is able to land claim to both Iowa and South Carolina, Romney will need to provide more than just a New Hampshire victory. He will need to take Nevada, which might be possible because there is strong Mormon representation there. So far, however, I’ve not seen Romney doing retail in anywhere other than New Hampshire, and not a actively there as he did in Iowa in 2007.
“Either Romney will need to start paying more attention to Iowa, which isn’t likely given the past history, or he is going to have to start concentrating more heavily on South Carolina, which also isn’t likely given that state also has a social conservative bent, or in Nevada. He simply cannot allow any one candidate to pull more of a boost than he does from these early contests.”
5. Rick Santorum — Most of our panelists agree that Santorum has a loyal following in Iowa based predominantly on his rigid social conservative stances. Most also agree that his base support has not yet grown to a point of making him a real contender in the upcoming caucuses, and that they aren’t sure where he will be able to garner more supporters in this current field of candidates.
“If this was 2007, Santorum would probably be faring better than he is now,” a panelist laments. “The fact of the matter is that you can’t build a campaign on issues — fiscal or conservatives — that are also held by your opponents. He doesn’t have anything, at least not yet, that makes him stand apart from the field. He doesn’t have executive experience. He lost his last election. He doesn’t have a compelling story to tell and, as a result, he seems to be a candidate that many activists like personally but are not supporting for the nomination.”
While a handful of our panelists still envision a scenario where Santorum could play spoiler (a la Huckabee 2008), even most of those believe his fortunes, good or bad, may actually rest with the undecided candidacy of Palin.
“Obviously, if Palin enters the race, there will be automatic buzz within social conservative circles — the same circles where Santorum has made the most headway. That could spell trouble for his campaign both from a standpoint of an established base, and from the standpoint of her much greater name recognition — which might be more appealing for any undecideds on caucus night.
“On the other side of that coin, if Palin decides not to run, there could be some social conservatives that have been holding their support that will move toward Santorum, giving him a greater edge on caucus night when Iowans speak on behalf of their chosen candidates before the GOP balloting. Such conservatives can give very impassioned speeches that can really help their chosen candidate.”
Unlike Democratic caucuses where second choices can play a distinct and defining role, GOP caucuses are a single secret ballot affair devoid of realignment and viability thresholds. So, just because Santorum appears to be a second-choice candidate for many, the situation doesn’t serve him as well as it would on the other side of the political aisle.
“There is a solid base of former Huckabee supporters I know that just will never buy into Bachmann’s presidential candidacy until they have to because they’re either uncomfortable with a woman for president, and/or she has not proven to them she’s ready for the job. On the other hand, Huckabee himself has done little to hide his skepticism of Perry, who chose to endorse Rudy Giuliani over Huckabee four years ago. So who’s the alternative? Clearly not Ron Paul, who some Huckabee supporters are as leery of as they are Mitt Romney — albeit for different reasons. That leaves Santorum, who more and more has been speaking their language the past few weeks.”Click here to read this article in its entirety at the Iowa Independent
6,500 Bibles Confiscated in
8/14/2011 Iran (Mohabat News) – According to the Iranian Christian News Agency “Mohabat News” Doctor Majid Abhari, advisor to the social issues committee of the parliament in Iran, has announced the seizure of six thousand five hundred copies of the holy bible in the way between the city of Zanjan and abhar in north-west of Iran.
He also said that “these missionaries with reliance on huge money and propaganda are trying to deviate our youth.” In an interview with a government news agency *(Mehr) he added: “with regard to the activities of these Christian missionaries to deceive people specially youngsters, they have begun a huge campaign by spending huge sums and false propaganda for deviating the public.
He did not present any more details about the seizure of 6500 gospels and said, “these books were made with the best paper in the world in pocket size. He added, “The important point in this issue that should be considered by intelligence, judicial and religious agencies is that all religions are strengthening their power to confront Islam, otherwise what does this huge number of bibles mean?
Prior to this, in November of 2010, police officers and revolutionary guards seized 300 bibles from a bus after its inspection and in a shameful action burned them all in the village of “darishk”.
Insulting the Christian bible is
continuation of an organized campaign by agencies that view
propaganda on the top of their agenda. There have
about conversions to Christianity among people. This
after three decades of expensive Islamic propaganda and a generation
been grown up in Islamic teaching and is facing this change in thought.
Terrorist proclaimed himself 'Darwinian,' not 'Christian'
His manifesto shows Breivik not religious
WASHINGTON – A review of Anders Behring Breivik's 1,500-page manifesto shows the media's quick characterization of the Norwegian terrorist as a "Christian" may be as incorrect as it was to call Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh one.
Breivik was arrested over the weekend, charged with a pair of brutal attacks in and near Oslo, Norway, including a bombing in the capital city that killed 7 and a shooting spree at a youth political retreat on the island of Utoya that killed more than 80 victims.
Piecing together Breivik's various posts on the Internet, many media reports have characterized the terrorist – who says he was upset over the multiculturalist policies stemming from Norway's Labour Party – as a "right-wing, Christian fundamentalist."
Yet, while McVeigh rejected God altogether, Breivik writes in his manifesto that he is not religious, has doubts about God's existence, does not pray, but does assert the primacy of Europe's "Christian culture" as well as his own pagan Nordic culture.
Breivik instead hails Charles Darwin, whose evolutionary theories stand in contrast to the claims of the Bible, and affirms: "As for the Church and science, it is essential that science takes an undisputed precedence over biblical teachings. Europe has always been the cradle of science, and it must always continue to be that way. Regarding my personal relationship with God, I guess I'm not an excessively religious man. I am first and foremost a man of logic. However, I am a supporter of a monocultural Christian Europe."
The terrorist also candidly admits he finds no support within either the Catholic or Protestant churches for his violent ideas.
"I trust that the future leadership of a European cultural conservative hegemony in Europe will ensure that the current Church leadership are replaced and the systems somewhat reformed," he writes. "We must have a Church leadership who supports a future Crusade with the intention of liberating the Balkans, Anatolia and creating three Christian states in the Middle East. Efforts should be made to facilitate the de-construction of the Protestant Church whose members should convert back to Catholicism. The Protestant Church had an important role once, but its original goals have been accomplished and have contributed to reform the Catholic Church as well. Europe should have a united Church lead [sic] by a just and non-suicidal pope who is willing to fight for the security of his subjects, especially in regards to Islamic atrocities."
While Breivik says he considers himself "100-percent Christian," he also expresses pride in his genealogical roots.
"I am very proud of my Viking heritage," he writes. "My name, Breivik, is a location name from northern Norway, and can be dated back to even before the Viking era. Behring is a pre-Christian Germanic name, which is derived from Behr, the Germanic word for Bear (or 'those who are protected by the bear')."
And while characterizing himself as "Christian" and "Protestant," Breivik says he supports "a reformation of Protestantism leading to it being absorbed by Catholisism." [sic]
Likewise, media reports frequently characterized McVeigh as a "Christian," though he adamantly denied any religious beliefs or convictions – placing his faith in science.
Breivik adds, "I went from moderately agnostic to moderately religious."
Religious worship and study is never noted in the manifesto as part of Breivik's routine in preparing for his mission of mass murder.
Breivik also points out that his association with Christian cultural values is one of political expedience rather than religious commitment or faith
"My choice has nothing to do with the fact that I am not proud of my own traditions and heritage," he explains. "My choice was based purely pragmatism. All Europeans are in this boat together, so we must choose a more moderate platform that can appeal to a great number of Europeans – preferably up to 50 percent (realistically up to 35 percent)."
Breivik also claims membership in the Freemasons, which many Christians consider to be a cultic organization. More specifically, he calls himself a Justiciar Knight.
Over and over again, Breivik goes out of his way to make clear to readers of his manifesto that he is not motivated by Christian faith.
"I'm not going to pretend I'm a very religious person, as that would be a lie," he says. … Religion is a crutch for many weak people, and many embrace religion for self-serving reasons as a source for drawing mental strength (to feed their weak emotional state [for] example during illness, death, poverty etc.). Since I am not a hypocrite, I'll say directly that this is my agenda as well. However, I have not yet felt the need to ask God for strength, yet."
Alleges 'corrupt legislative
A pro-family lobbying organization in New York is challenging the state's new law legalizing same-sex marriage, claiming improper procedure and back-room payoffs should render the law "null and void."
In a lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, officers of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms argue that the state's Marriage Equality Act was passed only with the help of suspended voting rules, shady campaign contributions and a violation of the New York State Open Meeting Laws.
"In what many are heralding as a big step forward for gay rights," the lawsuit charges, "others are questioning whether the corrupt legislative process by which the Act passed renders the entire Act a nullity."
Josh Vlasto, a spokesman for Governor Andrew Cuomo, blasted the suit as "without merit," but Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, disagrees.
"Back room tactics were rampant in the passage of this law," Staver wrote in a statement announcing Liberty Counsel's assistance in the filing of the suit. "New York law requires that the government be open and transparent to keep political officials responsible. When government operates in secret and freezes out the very people it is supposed to represent, the entire system fails. … The law should be set aside and the process should begin again to allow the people a voice in the process."
Specifically, the lawsuit alleges the Act became law through:
The New York Daily News reported that Bloomberg, indeed, contributed over $10,000 apiece to the campaigns of four Republican senators who voted in favor of same-sex marriage.
Βloomberg aide Micah Leaher told the paper, "The mayor said he would support Senate Republicans who stood up – and he did."
"It is unfortunate that state senators chose to protect their personal interests, rather than the people they were elected to represent," said Rev. Jason J. McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, in a statement. "Some of the players may have changed, but it looks like same old Albany game. It is time the curtain be pulled back and the disinfecting light of good government shine upon the Cuomo administration and our state Legislature."
By Walter Williams
There's little that's intelligent or informed about Time magazine editor Richard Stengel's article "One Document, Under Siege" (June 23, 2011). It contains many grossly ignorant statements about our Constitution. If I believed in conspiracies, I'd say Stengel's article is part of a leftist agenda to undermine respect for the founding values of our nation.
Stengel says: "The framers were not gods and were not infallible. Yes, they gave us, and the world, a blueprint for the protection of democratic freedoms — freedom of speech, assembly, religion — but they also gave us the idea that a black person was three-fifths of a human being, that women were not allowed to vote and that South Dakota should have the same number of Senators as California, which is kind of crazy. And I'm not even going to mention the Electoral College."
My column last week addressed the compromise whereby each slave was counted as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of determining representation in the House of Representatives and Electoral College. Had slaves been counted as whole people, slaveholding states would have had much greater political power. I agree the framers were not gods and were not infallible, but they had far greater wisdom and principle than today's politicians.
The framers held democracy and majority rule in deep contempt. As a matter of fact, the term democracy appears in none of our founding documents. John Adams said: "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." Stengel's majoritarian vision sees it as anti-democratic that South Dakota and California both have two senators, but the framers wanted to reduce the chances that highly populated states would run roughshod over thinly populated states. They established the Electoral College to serve the same purpose in determining the presidency.
The framers recognized that most human abuses were the result of government. As Thomas Paine said, "government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil." Because of their distrust, the framers sought to keep the federal government limited in its power. Their distrust of Congress is seen in the language used throughout our Constitution. The Bill of Rights says Congress shall not abridge, shall not infringe, shall not deny and other shall-nots, such as disparage, violate and deny. If the founders did not believe Congress would abuse our God-given, or natural, rights, they would not have provided those protections
Other founder distrust for government is found in the Constitution's separation of powers, checks and balances, and several anti-majoritarian provisions, such as the Electoral College, two-thirds vote to override a veto and the requirement that three-quarters of state legislatures ratify changes to the Constitution.
Stengel says, "If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn't say so." That statement is beyond ignorance. The 10th Amendment reads: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people
Stengel's article is five pages online, and I've only commented on the first. There's also little in the remaining pages that reflects understanding and respect for our nation's most important document.
Walter Williams is a wise and thoughtful economist and editorialist who has had a lot to say about America and the Constitution over the years. This article can be found in its entirety at
or visit the archives of Walter Williams at
'Why elections if the executive branch rules by decree?'
An organization that represents the 75 percent of American citizens who want more control over illegal immigration is calling for the impeachment of Barack Obama over his involvement in the transfer of weapons to Mexican drug lords and his efforts to provide amnesty to illegal aliens.
"President Obama is no longer the legitimate president of the United States," said William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, in calling for the action today.
"By arming drug and human smugglers with assault weapons that have been used to kill American and Mexican citizens and police forces, and by ordering amnesty for illegal aliens which has been rejected by both the Congress and the American public more than eight times, Obama has committed a form of treason against the United States and must be removed from office by Congress," he said.
His call joins a chorus of other voices who already have expressed the idea. Those comments have come from a number of columnists and commentators, one member of Congress, a former member of Congress and retired military leaders. Even Vice President Joe Biden, then a senator, at one point said he would support impeachment of a president who misuses the executive power to take the nation into a war.
Gheen cited the developing "Operation Gunrunner" scandal in which federal agents had gun shops sell weapons to customers suspected of links to Mexican drug gangs. He also pointed ot Obama's "recent edict instructing federal employees to establish a form of amnesty for illegal aliens in defiance of the Congress, existing federal laws, and the U.S. Constitution."
Gheen noted Obama's ICE director, John Morton, issued a memo June 17 to all ICE field office directors, special agents-in-charge and chief counsel, authorizing them to decline to remove illegal aliens who meet the qualifications for amnesty under the DREAM Act amnesty – which has failed repeatedly in Congress.
He also said congressional investigations have "determined that Obama's ATF and Justice Department have been supplying assault weapons to the drug cartels that import most of America's cocaine, methamphetamine, and illegal immigrants."
Americans for Legal Immigration PAC is a national organization with more than 40,000 supporters who represent the majority of Americans who want America's existing immigration laws enforced, Gheen said.
He said the issue is that the president "made it clear to the American public that he does not care what they think, what the current federal laws are, what the U.S. Constitution says, or what Congress has ratified."
"Congress must take immediate action to stop Obama or the American Republic will fall. What use are elections, candidates, or the Congress, if the executive branch rules by decree?" he said.
"Never before in the history of the United States has an occupant of the White House displayed less concern for the Constitution and the rule of law than Barack Obama. It's about time somebody said it: It's time to impeach Obama," Farah wrote.
Attorney Larry Klayman, a former Justice Department prosecutor, founder of Judicial Watch and now of Freedom Watch, agreed.
Klayman cited Obama's decision to refuse to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act, his pursuit of Arizona in court over its decision to defend its citizens from illegal aliens invading the state, his "visceral hatred and subversion of the state of Israel" and others.
The first statement from a member of Congress on the issue came from U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who responded to this question from Think Progress: "I know Newt Gingrich has came out (sic) and said if they don't reverse course [regarding trials for terror suspects] here, we ought to be talking about possibly impeaching either Attorney General [Eric] Holder or even President Obama to try to get them to reverse course. Do you think that is something you would support?"
Franks replied: "If it could gain the collective support, absolutely. I called for Eric Holder to repudiate the policy to try terrorists within our civil courts, or resign. So it just seems like that they have an uncanny ability to get it wrong on almost all fronts."
WND also reported that former congressman and GOP presidential candidate Tom Tancredo said for current members of the House and Senate to uphold their oath to defend the United States against enemies "foreign and domestic," they need to file impeachment charges against Obama.
Tancredo wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Times that Obama's "refusal to live up to his own oath of office – which includes the duty to defend the United States against foreign invasion – requires senators and representatives to live up to their oaths. Members of Congress must defend our nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Today, that means bringing impeachment charges against Mr. Obama."
Above are just several examples of a long string of voices decrying executive neglect of upholding the oath to defend, and as well as abuses of power that point to the impeachment remedy. To read this article in its entirety visit World Net Daily at:
Congressman asks IRS to probe 'Muslim Mafia'
Cites letter indicating CAIR sought funding from Libya's Gadhafi
© 2011 WND World Net Daily
Responding to the IRS removal of tax-exempt status for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Virginia congressman has asked the federal agency to investigate whether the D.C.-based Muslim lobby group has "illegally received or solicited funds from foreign governments or agents."
Republican Rep. Frank Wolf said in a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman that he wants to resolve the question of whether foreign and potentially hostile governments have funded CAIR, which was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history.
Wolf brought to the IRS's attention a copy of a recently disclosed letter from CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad to Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi in which Awad appears to solicit money for a CAIR project.
"I am concerned that Awad and CAIR may be soliciting – and receiving – funds from other unsavory foreign governments and organizations, including some that may be sponsors of terror," Wolf wrote.
The lawmaker also cited reports that indicate Awad and other CAIR representatives may have traveled to Sudan to solicit funds from Sudanese President Omar Hassan Bashir, whose hard-line Islamic regime has been held responsible for more than 2 million deaths in a jihad against Christians and animists in the country's south.
IRS earlier this month purged CAIR from its list of tax-exempt organizations. Donations to the group are no longer tax-deductible, even though CAIR continues to claim on its website that contributions are deductible.
The gross delinquency raises new suspicions that CAIR – identified in a recent terror-finance case as a front group for Hamas – is concealing from the American public details about its already shadowy financial activities.
CAIR is a regular staple of the cable news programs where it claims to be a "Muslim-American civil rights group."
The Washington-based group receives millions of dollars in donations, pledges and other support from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other terror-tied Arab states, as revealed in the bestseller "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America."
As WND has reported, CAIR has filed a lawsuit against "Muslim Mafia" co-author P. David Gaubatz and his son, Chris, who collected thousands of pages of CAIR documents destined for a shredder while working as an intern.
CAIR's complaint asks a federal judge to expunge all copies of "Muslim Mafia". A lawyer defending the Gaubatzes says CAIR is attempting to eliminate evidence that could lead to criminal prosecution.
"Muslim Mafia" presents evidence that CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper has misled Washington reporters about the source of most of CAIR's financial support.
Although Hooper has repeatedly denied that CAIR receives foreign support, smoking-gun video footage obtained during the Gaubatzes' six-month covert investigation of CAIR indicates otherwise.
A State Department cable citing Hooper by name, moreover, directly contradicts Hooper's denials about foreign support, according to "Muslim Mafia," which exposes the secret inner workings of CAIR, among other radical Muslim Brotherhood front groups in America.
CAIR in January 2007 prepared a secret "strategy" memo launching what the "Muslim Mafia" authors call a hostile influence operation against Congress to undermine homeland security and anti-terror efforts.
The memo states that CAIR would try to "influence" the intelligence committees, along with committees dealing with homeland security and justice, while placing interns in "congressional offices."
CAIR has been successful in both endeavors, using Mideast funds free of taxation in the process.
Read article in its entirety at World Net Daily at
The solicitor for Pittsburgh Public Schools says a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a former eastern Pennsylvania police chief couldn't claim free speech in a private employment matter was a sound one.
"I think it represents a common-sense distinction between getting up at a public meeting and saying, 'I'm an employee, I live here, and taxes are too high,' which are matters of general concern, and work-related speech," Ira Weiss said of the decision Monday.
But Pittsburgh labor attorney Joshua Bloom said the ruling is another example of citizens' rights in the courts being chipped away.
"The courts have ruled that people can petition and file grievances, but now they're saying it's OK (for governments) to destroy their lives if they do it. It makes no sense," Bloom said, adding, "The Supreme Court seems to be endorsing a culture of tyranny, secrecy and coercion in the public workplace."
The case originates in the Luzerne County borough of Duryea, which fired police Chief Charles Guarnieri in 2003. He filed a union grievance, and after an arbitrator returned him to the job, council drew up 11 directives for his return, including that he had to have council permission for overtime. The directives were thrown out after Guarnieri filed a second union grievance, and then he sued in civil court, saying the directives were in retaliation for the first grievance.
Guarnieri said the retaliation violated the petition clause of the First Amendment, which allows citizens to petition the government for redress of grievances.
In an 8-1 ruling, U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled that the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals erred and that Guarnieri should have had to show he spoke as a citizen on an issue of public concern, which is what the First Amendment's speech clause requires.
"The right of a public employee under the Petition Clause is a right to participate as a citizen, through petitioning activity, in the democratic process," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote. "It is not a right to transform everyday employment disputes into matters for Constitutional litigation in the federal courts."
He added, "It is precisely to avoid this intrusion into internal governmental affairs that this Court has held that, while the First Amendment invests public employees with certain rights, it does not empower them to 'Constitutionalize' the employee grievance."
Guarnieri's case has been sent back to the lower court for reconsideration.
The ruling hurts not only public employees, Bloom said, but also private citizens who depend on government workers to keep an eye on government.
"Public employees are in the best position to speak out about corruption, illegalities, incompetence, oppression and waste," he said.
"The Supreme Court recognizes that just because someone is a public employee, it doesn't give them the right to sue for matters that are purely employment-related for First Amendment issues," Weiss said. "If it's a complaint about their employment status, it's not a whistleblower case."
This article can be found in its entirety at
WORLDNET DAILY EXCLUSIVE COMMENTARY
What's worse than asking ninth-graders intrusive and
questions on a school survey, even if they do live in a liberal
It's discovering misbehavior, coming to exactly the wrong conclusion about the causes and recommending more harm be done.
A new report published by the Centers for Disease Control shows that teenagers in public schools who believe themselves to be homosexual or bisexual are taking more risks all across the board. While this should not come as a big surprise to the average American with common sense, it is a stunning revelation to our psychobabbly federal public health professionals. After all, they can't even bring themselves to say "Stop it!" to men who have anal sex with other men.
But now that we have this information, it gives an important snapshot, if we evaluate it appropriately.
However, the CDC researchers jumped to predictable conclusions. Among the solutions was the need for "supportive" school environments – meaning, approval of homosexuality – including more "gay straight alliance" clubs and pro-homosexual teacher diversity training. Also, health-care settings and workers need training to be more "open and nonjudgmental."
The researchers believe these kids just suffer from low self-esteem – which may be true – but they assume it's the fault of others, including the general social stigmatization of homosexuality. Then, of course, with no supporting evidence, they apparently adopt the "gay" lobby's position that views against homosexuality are unwarranted and inevitably provoke bullying and self-harm. Homosexuality is either innate, or benign, or both, according to the unsupported, accepted narrative.
Yet let's look at some details of the CDC findings that don't jibe with these conclusions. For instance, are we actually supposed to believe that low self-respect or social rejection because of one's homosexual identity causes teens to refuse to wear seat belts? That was one of the risk behaviors higher among "sexual minority" youth. How about driving after having consumed alcohol? What about being abused by a date or being forced to have sex? Wouldn't that be "gay-on-gay" violence? This would put at least some "gay" kids in the category of "bullier/abuser." Whoops! There goes another talking point.
Seriously, the percentages reporting dating violence are distinctly higher among the "sexual minority" youth. Why aren't we seeing a proliferation of anti-violence programs aimed specifically at these kids?
Or how about having already, at their tender ages, had sex with at least four people? Is promiscuity a common reaction to real or perceived discrimination? Or failing to use a condom if they are having sex?
The problem here, of course, is the solutions themselves are biased and discriminatory. Nor would they be applied in comparable situations. For instance, there's considerable evidence that overweight students experience bullying and social rejection more than others. And, these kids more often attempt suicide and engage in other risky conduct. So, where are the obesity-affirmation school programs? Why not recommend those?
As usual, political correctness has swallowed common sense. This data reveal troubled kids with issues that often pre-date puberty, heading down a road of self-harm. Others along the way may contribute, but the core dysfunction doesn't go away by joining a "gay straight alliance."
Ironically, all this is being reported along with another alarming and related indicator. From another section of the CDC comes the latest HIV surveillance report with these findings about young males:
MSM [males who have sex with males] aged 13–24 had the greatest percentage increase (53 percent) in diagnoses of HIV infection from 2006 through 2009.
Yet public schools must keep on "affirming" this behavior? This is educational and medical malpractice. Truly caring adults would be looking at the big picture, not exploiting already troubled kids for a harmful political agenda. No matter what causes these kids to engage in dangerous behaviors, encouraging them to embrace one more – homosexuality – is only going to bring more heartbreak and harm into their already complicated lives.
This article has been abbreviated. It may be read in it’s entirety at
FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS
by Christine Armario
Just 13 percent of high school seniors who took the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, called the Nation's Report Card, showed a solid grasp of American history. Results released Tuesday showed the two other grades didn't perform much better, with just 22 percent of fourth-grade students and 18 percent of eighth-graders demonstrating proficiency.
The test quizzed students on topics including colonization, the American Revolution and the Civil War, and the contemporary United States. For example, one question asked fourth-graders to name an important result of the U.S. building canals in the 1800s. Only 44 percent knew that it was increased trade among states.
"The history scores released today show that student performance is still too low," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. "These results tell us that, as a country, we are failing to provide children with a high-quality, well-rounded education."
Education experts say a heavy focus on reading and math under the federal No Child Left Behind law in the last decade has led to lagging performance in other subjects such as history and science.
"We need to make sure other subjects like history, science and the arts are not forgotten in our pursuit of the basic skills," said Diane Ravitch, a research professor at New York University and former U.S. assistant education secretary.
Of the seven subjects on the national test, students performed the worst in U.S. history. Officials with the National Assessment Governing board, which oversees the tests, say the results aren't comparable to the other tests because different students take each exam in different years.
The scores on the history test did not vary remarkably from years past; in 1994, for example, 19 percent of fourth-grade students scored proficient or better in U.S. history.
More than 7,000 fourth-grade students, 11,000 eighth graders and 12,000 high school seniors from a nationally representative sample took the test last year.
To be considered proficient, they had to get certain scores out of 500. For fourth-graders, the score was 243. Eighth-graders needed 294, and 12th graders had to get a 325.
Judy Brodigan, who was head of the elementary social studies curriculum for the Lewisville, Texas, school district for a decade, said history and social studies classes aren't as much of a priority for school districts as math and reading. She noted that many states only test history and social studies starting in middle school, which means elementary school students don't get the background they need in the subject.
"When the foundation isn't built in elementary school, these students are coming to middle school lacking crucial skills," Brodigan said. "What it means is that in what is becoming a more and more global society, American students are more and more at a disadvantage."
Educators said history is critical to students learning how to become better citizens and understanding how the country's political and cultural systems work. Students need to not only recognize leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, but also understand why they were important to the development of the country.
"Overall the quality and success of our lives can only be enhanced by a study of our roots," said Steven Paine, former state schools superintendent for West Virginia. "If you don't know your past, you will not have a future."
FROM WASHINGTON TIMES
See lack of precedent for individual mandateJune 8, 2011
by Stephen Dinan
President Obama’s health care law received a chilly reception Wednesday from a federal appeals court that seemed wary of approving a major expansion of government coercion over the economic activity of millions of Americans.
Acknowledging they are breaking new ground in considering this case, the three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sitting in Atlanta questioned whether there is any precedent in more than two centuries in which the Supreme Court has upheld a law that forces individuals to buy a private good or service - in this instance, the individual mandate that every American obtain health insurance.
“If we uphold the individual mandate in this case, are there any limits on Congress‘ power left?” said Chief Judge Joel Dubina, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, who seemed most hostile to the Obama administration’s defense.
The other two judges, both appointed by President Clinton, peppered each side with questions, but signaled their own concerns about the lack of specific precedent for upholding this type of mandate.
“I want to know, going back to the first principles, is there anything out there that actually suggests that Congress can compel a private party to buy a private product on the open market if they’re not disposed to do so,” Judge Stanley Marcus said.
Wednesday’s nearly 2 1/2-hour hearing is the third time an appeals court has heard a case on the issue, which all sides believe will eventually end up in front of the Supreme Court.
Hold Florida lawmakers accountable for fair state districtsJune 8, 2011
Now is the time for Florida voters to hold the Legislature accountable to obey the state Constitution on the critical issue of redistricting.
Enshrined in the document since the 2010 elections are two Fair Districts amendments that require lawmakers, using 2010 Census data, to redraw legislative and U.S. congressional districts in a nonpartisan way before the 2012 elections.
And end a long, sordid record of politicians drawing maps to favor whatever party holds the reins of power, protect incumbents against competition and give voters little choice at the ballot box.
Democrats wrongly did it in the 1990s, when they controlled Tallahassee, and Republicans wrongly do it now.
Just take a look at Florida House District 29 for evidence of the bizarrely shaped districts that have resulted from the gerrymandering. It trails south in a thin strip from North Brevard to rural Indian River County to maximize the number of Republican votes.
The seat was won by Rep. Tom Goodson in the GOP primary in August last year. Predictably, the Cocoa Republican faced no Democratic opposition.
Other districts in the state snake across as many as eight counties, linking far-flung cities or illogically divide communities.
Outrage at the practice led Florida voters to pass the Fair Districts amendments by 63 percent last year, a margin mirrored in Brevard County. That showed broad support across party lines for a less partisan approach to redistricting.
In a victory for democracy last week, the U.S. Department of Justice — which must review election law changes because of previous racial discrimination in voting in some Florida counties — reaffirmed the wisdom of Fair Districts, giving the amendments the go-ahead.
The ruling counters false claims by lawmakers, trying to preserve their hold on power, that Fair Districts would hinder minorities’ voting rights.
It also sends a loud message that tactics to obstruct the reforms must end, including from Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon.
The Winter Park Republican joined the House to a misguided lawsuit to kill the congressional Fair Districts rules coming from U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami. The suit should be dropped immediately.
That lawsuit is only the latest recent attempt by lawmakers to preserve their power and block the voters’ will. Here is the shabby history:
-- In 2010, then Senate President-designate Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, and other mostly GOP state lawmakers tried to sabotage the effect of Fair Districts, voting to put on fall ballots a tricky counter amendment that would have nullified the reform mandate.
In September, the state Supreme Court rightly yanked the proposed amendment as misleading.
-- Three days after taking office this year, Gov. Rick Scott secretly halted the routine clearance process for the redistricting amendments, refusing to send them promptly for review by the Justice Department, as required by law.
The Justice Department’s approval of the Fair Districts standards is big step forward, but no time for advocates to rest on their laurels.
Legislative committees are charged with coming up with new district boundaries by June 2012.
You can bet there’ll be more attempts to undermine the wholly sensible requirements that districts be contiguous, compact geographically, and not drawn to favor or disfavor any party or incumbent.
Citizen pressure is needed You can get more informed
FROM MIDDLE EAST QUARTERLY
How great is the danger of extremist violence in the name of Islam in the United States? Recent congressional hearings into this question by Rep. Peter King (Republican of New York), chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, have generated a firestorm of controversy among his colleagues, the press, and the general public. Though similar hearings have taken place at least fourteen times since 2001, King was labeled a latter-day Joe McCarthy and the hearings called an assault on civil liberties and a contemporary witch-hunt. Yet the larger dilemmas outlined by both the congressman and some of his witnesses remain: To what extent are American Muslims, native-born as well as naturalized, being radicalized by Islamists? And what steps can those who are sworn to the protection of American citizenry take that will uncover and disrupt the plots of those willing to take up arms against others for the sake of jihad?
Root Causes and Enabling Mechanisms
While scholarly inquiry into the root causes and factors supportive of terrorism has accelerated since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, there are few empirical studies that attempt to measure the relationship between specific variables and support for terrorism. To date, almost all of the professional and academic work in this field has been anecdotal surveys or case studies tracing backward through the personal profiles of terrorists and the socioeconomic and political environments from which they came.
An item that may help to understand the growth of modern jihadism appears in Marc Sageman's 2004 study, which found that 97 percent of jihadists studied had become increasingly devoted to forms of Salafist Islam highly adherent to Shari'a (Islamic law) while on their path to radicalization, despite many coming from less rigorous devotional levels during their youths. This increase in devotion to Salafist Islam was measured by outwardly observable behaviors such as wearing traditional Arabic, Pakistani, or Afghan clothing or growing a beard.
When viewed together, a picture emerges that may give researchers, as well as law enforcement officials, a way to monitor or potentially to predict where violent jihad may take root. Potential recruits who are swept up in this movement may find their inspiration and encouragement in a place with ready access to classic and modern literature that is positive toward jihad and violence, where highly Shari'a-adherent behavior is practiced, and where a society exists that in some form promotes a culture of martyrdom or at least engages in activities that are supportive of violent jihad. The mosque can be such a place.
That the mosque is a societal apparatus that might serve as a support mechanism for violent jihad may seem self-evident, but for it to be a useful means for measuring radicalization requires empirical evidence. A 2007 study by the New York city police department noted that, in the context of the mosque, high levels of Shari'a adherence, termed "Salafi ideology" by the authors of the report, may relate to support for violent jihad. Specifically, it found that highly Shari'a-adherent mosques have played a prominent role in radicalization..
There is a need for the study and corroboration of a relationship between high levels of Shari'a adherence as a form of religious devotion and coalitional commitment, Islamic literature that shows violence in a positive light, and institutional support for violent jihad. By way of filling this lacuna, the authors of this article undertook a survey specifically designed to determine empirically whether a correlation exists between observable measures of religious devotion linked to Shari'a adherence in American mosques and the presence of violence-positive materials at those mosques. The survey also sought to ascertain whether a correlation exists between the presence of violence-positive materials at a mosque and the promotion of jihadism by the mosque's leadership through recommending the study of these materials or other manifest behaviors.
Identifying Shari'a-Adherent Behaviors
Shari'a is the Islamic system of law based primarily on two sources held by Muslims to be respectively direct revelation from God and divinely inspired: the Qur'an and the Sunna (sayings, actions, and traditions of Muhammad). There are other jurisprudential sources for Shari'a derived from the legal rulings of Islamic scholars. These scholars, in turn, may be adherents of differing schools of Islamic jurisprudence. Notwithstanding those differences, the divergence at the level of actual law is, given the fullness of the corpus juris, confined to relatively few marginal issues. Thus, there is general unity and agreement across the Sunni-Shiite divide and across the various Sunni madh'habs (jurisprudential schools) on core normative behaviors.
Surveyors were asked to observe and record selected behaviors deemed to be Shari'a-adherent. These behaviors were selected precisely because they constitute observable and measurable practices of an orthodox form of Islam as opposed to internalized, non-observable articles of faith. Such visible modes of conduct are considered by traditionalists to have been either exhibited or commanded by Muhammad as recorded in the Sunna and later discussed and preserved in canonical Shari'a literature. The selected behaviors are among the most broadly accepted by legal practitioners of Islam and are not those practiced only by a rigid subgroup within Islam—Salafists, for example.
Among the behaviors observed at the mosques and scored as Shari'a-adherent were: (a) women wearing the hijab (head covering) or niqab (full-length shift covering the entire female form except for the eyes); (b) gender segregation during mosque prayers; and (c) enforcement of straight prayer lines. Behaviors that were not scored as Shari'a-adherent included: (a) women wearing just a modern hijab, a scarf-like covering that does not cover all of the hair, or no covering; (b) men and women praying together in the same room; and (c) no enforcement by the imam, lay leader, or worshipers of straight prayer lines.
The mosques surveyed contained a variety of texts, ranging from contemporary printed pamphlets and handouts to classic texts of the Islamic canon. From the perspective of promoting violent jihad, the literature types were ranked in the survey from severe to moderate to nonexistent. The texts selected were all written to serve as normative and instructive tracts and are not scriptural. This is important because a believer is free to understand scripture literally, figuratively, or merely poetically when it does not have a normative or legal gloss provided by Islamic jurisprudence.
The moderate-rated literature was authored by respected Shari'a religious and/or legal authorities; while expressing positive attitudes toward violence, it was predominantly concerned with the more mundane aspects of religious worship and ritual. The severe material, by contrast, largely consists of relatively recent texts written by ideologues, rather than Shari'a scholars, such as Abul Ala Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb. These, as well as materials published and disseminated by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, are primarily, if not exclusively, aimed at using Islam to advance a violent political agenda.
Mawdudi (1903-79), for one, believed that it was legitimate to wage violent jihad against "infidel colonizers" in order to gain independence and spread Islam. His Jihad in Islam, found in many of the mosques surveyed, instructed followers to employ force in pursuit of a Shari'a-based order:
Similarly, Qutb's Milestones serves as the political and ideological backbone of the current global jihad movement. Qutb, for example, sanctions violence against those who stand in the way of Islam's expansion:
These materials differ from other severe- and moderate-rated materials because they are not Islamic legal texts per se but rather are polemical works seeking to advance a politicized Islam through violence, if necessary. Nor are these authors recognized Shari'a scholars.
The same cannot be said for some classical works that are also supportive of violence in the name of Islam. Works by several respected jurists and scholars from the four major Sunni schools of jurisprudence, dating from the eighth to fourteenth centuries, are all in agreement that violent jihad against non-Muslims is a religious obligation.
The caliph … makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians … provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax.
The Fiqh as-Sunna and Tafsir Ibn Kathir are examples of works that were rated "moderate" for purposes of this survey. The former, which focuses primarily on the internal Muslim community, the family, and the individual believer and not on violent jihad, was especially moderate in its endorsement of violence. Relatively speaking, the Fiqh as-Sunna expresses a more restrained view of violent jihad, in that it does not explicitly call for a holy war against the West even though it understands the Western influence on Islamic governments as a force that is destructive to Islam itself.
Nonetheless, such texts do express positive views toward the use of violence against "the other," as expressed in the following:
Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "The ties of Islam and the principles of the religion are three, and whoever leaves one of them becomes an unbeliever, and his blood becomes lawful: testifying that there is no god except God, the obligatory prayers, and the fast of Ramadan." … Another narration states, "If anyone leaves one of [the three principles], by God he becomes an unbeliever, and no voluntary deeds or recompense will be accepted from him, and his blood and wealth become lawful." This is a clear indication that such a person is to be killed.
Similarly in Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
The survey's findings, explored in depth below, were that 51 percent of mosques had texts that either advocated the use of violence in the pursuit of a Shari'a-based political order or advocated violent jihad as a duty that should be of paramount importance to a Muslim; 30 percent had only texts that were moderately supportive of violence like the Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Fiqh as-Sunna; 19 percent had no violent texts at all.
This article has been abbreviated, it includes specific writings and survey results that you will find of interest. The article in its entirety can be found at:
Middle East Quarterly
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Israel National News
May 24, 2011
Israel is the only country that has guaranteed freedom of all faiths in Jerusalem, which must remain undivided, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Congress Tuesday. In unusually strong language, he told members of Congress that Judea and Samaria are part of the ancient Jewish homeland that our forefathers walked in and that the 650,000 Jews living there "are not ‘occupying’ the region.” He strongly criticized the changed versions of history that are being promoted by others.
Interrupted dozens of times by standing ovations, after minutes-long applause as he entered the chamber, Netanyahu also said that there are 300 million Arabs in the Middle East, but the only ones who are free are Israeli citizens.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu noted in his opening remarks that the "ground is still shifting” in the Middle East and that the uprisings in the Muslim countries represent people’s demands for liberty.
He thanked the United States for helping Israel reach its defense capabilities despite the “tough” economy. He jokingly said that the United States doesn't have to help build Israel--it is already built. More seriously, he said that the United States doesn't have to send soldiers to defend Israel, because Israel defends itself.
The Prime Minister did not change any of his policies, and put paid to rumors that he was going to announce new concessions. He expressed his policies in down-to-earth and homey language that clearly enthused the legislators. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was on the podium to receive him. U.S. President Barack Obama was on his way back to the United States from a visit to Ireland.
He jokingly noted that Israel is larger than the Delaware, Biden’s home state, and larger than Rhode Island, “but that’s about it.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu remarked that the entire length of the Washington Beltway is larger than the width of the Israel that the Palestinian Authority demands, which would be 9 km. wide, hardly "strategic depth"..
He made it clear that he is willing to agree to borders for a Palestinian Authority country that would place some Jews outside of Israel’s borders, but did not mention that this would be only in settlement blocs and gave the impression of giving up less, rather than more.
Netanyahu also stressed that the borders must be negotiated because Israel “will not return to the indefensible borders of 1967.” He relied on his interpretation of U.S. President Barack Obama’s statement that any future borders of Israel will not be identical with the 1949 Armistice Lines that existed until the Six-Day War in 1967. He repeated his insistence that the Jordan River have an Israeli Army presence, remarking that in the MIddle East, peace depends on the ability to defend oneself.
The president has called for “land swaps,” a concept that Prime Minister Netanyahu did not mention and one which has little chance of getting off the ground because Israeli Arabs have little interest in giving up their freedom and economic security as Israeli citizens.
The vast majority of Jews living beyond the 1949-1967 borders live in greater Jerusalem and greater Tel Aviv,” the Prime Minister said in his address. “These areas and other places of historic, strategic and national importance will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel," he asserted.
Prime Minister Netanyahu also buried the issue of “refugees,” meaning the Arabs who either fled Israel in the wars in 1948 and 1967, or their descendants.
"Jews around the world have a right to immigrant to the only Jewish state, and Arabs around the world should have the right to immigrate to a Palestinian state.” he told Congress.
In case anyone doubted his intentions, he added, “This means that the refugee problem will be solved outside the borders of Israel".
Repeating that the obstacle to peace is not the creation of a Palestinian State to which six successive Israeli Prime Ministers agreed, but the Palestinian acceptance of the existence of a Jewish State, Netanyahu called to Abbas to tell Palestinians clearly that Israel has a right to exist. Meanwhile, he said, incitement continues in PA school curricula, squares are named after terrorists and the only reward Israel got for leaving Lebanon and Gaza was 12,000 rockets fired at its children.
"Imagine a siren sounding and giving you 60 seconds to find shelter before a missile strikes. You couldn't live with that. No one can live with that,” he said emphatically, adding, "Israel is not what is wrong in the Middle East. Israel is the only thing that is right in the Middle East."
'Strip Congress of legislative role in favor of unaccountable experts?'
April 25, 2011
Most of the legal challenges to Obamacare, the president's signature legislation that allows the federal government to take over health-care decision-making, focus on the "unconstitutional individual mandate" that defines sitting in one's living room as "interstate commerce" and demands the purchase of government-approved health insurance.
However, there's a new round of alarms developing over what critics have described as the ultimate "death panel," concerns that have been raised because Barack Obama himself suggested giving an already-unaccountable board more authority.
It's the idea of Obama's Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is one of 150 board and commissions established by Obamacare but is the most notorious because it would be made up of 15 Obama-appointed individuals and would dictate Medicare policy affecting millions of seniors and disabled Americans with essentially no congressional or judicial oversight.
It was during Obama's recent speech in which he condemned a plan to cut the deficit by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., he referenced Obamacare and its critics.
"What they'll say is, well, you know what, that will never work because it's government imposed and it's bureaucracy and it's government takeover and there are death panels," the president said. "I still don't entirely understand the whole 'death panel' concept. But I guess what they're saying is somehow some remote bureaucrat will be deciding your health care for you."
Obama then specifically said his panel's authority should kick in at an earlier time than it already is scheduled to become the law.
U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, who has authored "Doctor in the House" on the issue of the nationalization of health care, said the IPAB was a bad idea when ex-Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., proposed it before voters removed him from office, and it hasn't gotten better.
"Now for the first time ever the primary party for health care for seniors, Medicare, is going to be able to tell you what kind of care you can get, where and when you can get it and worst of all, when you've had enough," he told WND today.
"If all you're looking to do is be able to figure how to take care of old people cheaply, this is the way to go," he said. "If what you want to provide is meaningful medical care, why would you set up or embellish a system that leads to waiting lists and rationing?"
He cited Obama's recent comments, and said the board will become "the central command and control system" and the "primary tool" to limit, ration, reduce or restrict treatments.
Among other reactions was Stanley Kurtz at National Review Online, who followed Obama's vague references with an explanation.
"They're back. Rationing, death panels, socialism, all those nasty old words that helped bring Republicans victory in 2010 … They're back because of IPAB. Remember that acronym. It stands for The Independent Payment Advisory Board. IPAB is the real death panel, the true seat of rationing, and the royal road to health-care socialism.
"Policy wonks and political junkies may know a bit about this health-care rationing panel, but most Americans have barely heard of it. That has got to change," he wrote.
Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate, initially referred to "death panels" in Obamacare referencing the end-of-life instructions that originally were included.
"But IPAB is the real death panel (as Palin herself later noted), a body of unelected bureaucrats with the power to cut off care through arbitrary rules based on one-size-fits-all cost calculations," Kurtz wrote.
It was in Obama's speech decrying Ryan's money-saving plan that he suggested expanding the authority of the individuals he would expect to pick.
"We will change the way we pay for health care – not by the procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve results. And we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services that seniors need," he said.
There were a multitude of similar alarms being raised after that speech, but those actually taking action on the issue are those at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix.
Its attorneys have filed a lawsuit over the provision, arguing that nowhere in the Constitution is the concept of an all-powerful and non-reviewable panel.
"No possible reading of the Constitution supports the idea of an unelected, stand-alone federal board that's untouchable by both Congress and the courts," said Clint Bolick, litigation director for Goldwater.
The organization describes the authority Obama endorses for IPAB: It wouldn't have to follow the basic steps for adopting and enforcing administrative rules. Its payment schedules and policies couldn't be examined by courts and automatically would become law unless amended by Congress through a difficult and complex procedure. And even if Congress would repeal the board in 2017, Obama's strategy automatically delays the effectiveness of that repeal until 2020.
The Institute's lawsuit in federal court opposes IPAB as simply unconstitutional – and it apparently is the only lawsuit challenging Obamacare on this crucial argument.
'Protecting any new federal agency from being repealed by Congress appears to be unprecedented in the history of the United States," said Diane Cohen, the Goldwater Institute's lead attorney in this case.
The Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation represents a number of clients in this lawsuit including U.S. Reps Jeff Flake, Trent Franks and John Shadegg of Arizona. The congressmen have supported repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
Other reactions to Obama's plans include:
Meanwhile, Obama officials have granted 1,040 waivers to the new law already, because many groups, especially unions who supported Obama, and companies, contend they simply cannot meet its requirements, so shouldn't have to.
The total prompted a video commentary on Obama administration actions:
The site is sponsored by Let Freedom Ring, Americans for Tax Reform, CWA, 60 Plus, Independent Women's Voice and the College Republican National Committee. It allows visitors to e-mail the Obama administration asking for their own waivers. Visitors can select whether they want to ask for exemptions from the law's $500 billion in tax increases, taxpayer funding of abortion or the individual health insurance mandate, among others.
In the federal courts, Obamacare already has been
by at least two federal judges and it appears en route to a decision by
U.S. Supreme Court. Also, numerous state legislatures are considering
legislation that simply would exempt their state's citizens from its
requirements. One state had a proposal to make it a crime to try to
Officials in Jerusalem warning 'planned attack is already in motion'
JERUSALEM – The new Egyptian government has refused to share important intelligence information with Israel, including details of a terrorist plot against Israelis thought to be imminent, WND has learned.
Last week, officials in Jerusalem warned of the possibility of Hezbollah terrorist attacks against Israeli targets overseas, saying "a planned attack is already in motion," Israel's Channel 2 reported.
Security officials here believe Hezbollah is not planning an attack so large that it would lead to another war with Israel, but they said the Iranian-backed group would attempt a hard hit on overseas Israeli targets in the immediate future.
In light of the immediate threat, Israel requested an exchange of information on Hezbollah with Egypt's intelligence apparatus, but Cairo refused to cooperate, according to security officials here who spoke to WND.
The officials said such information sharing was routine under the previous regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
The officials said Egypt is thought to have an important bank of information on Hezbollah cells, particularly in the Sinai desert following the arrests and interrogations several months ago of a major Hezbollah cell accused of plotting against Mubarak.
WND reported the vast majority of that cell escaped from Egyptian prison in February amid the chaos then engulfing Mubarak's regime.
Members of the cell were arrested in June 2009. At the time, Egypt's public prosecutor, Abdel-Magid Mohammed, announced the country had arrested 13 alleged Hezbollah agents on suspicion of planning attacks inside Egypt.
In 2009, WND was first to report Iranian soldiers aiding the Hezbollah members were nabbed in Egypt.
A senior Egyptian security official, speaking from Cairo, told WND in 2009 his country had information Hezbollah cells – working with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard – had been coordinating terrorist activities inside Egypt with al-Qaida elements known to be present in the Sinai.
The accusation that Iranian-backed agents were working with al-Qaida could not be verified by Israeli security officials. If accurate, it would mark a major turning point for Hezbollah, which has openly clashed with al-Qaida over ideology. Hezbollah espouses a strict Shiite Islamic belief system, while al-Qaida adheres to fundamentalist Sunni Muslim beliefs.
Al-Qaida has been blamed for a string of major, deadly suicide bombings inside Egypt the past few years mostly targeting hotels and other tourist sites. The Egyptian government previously has admitted it was likely al-Qaida was still operating in the Sinai.
The Egyptian security official speaking to WND said the Hezbollah-Iranian agents in Egypt were working with al-Qaida to plot attacks against tourist sites, particularly those known to be popular with Israelis.
According to separate informed security officials with direct knowledge of the situation, Hezbollah, working directly with Iran, began setting up cells inside Egypt at least two years ago. The cells consisted of well over 80 agents, said the sources.
The goals of the cells operating in the country include plotting to destabilize the Egyptian regime to advance Iranian interests, planning attacks against Israelis at tourist sites, aiding Hamas in Gaza and establishing a base of Iranian operations along the strategic Suez Canal.
The pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat reported Egypt arrested the chief of the Hezbollah cell, identified as Sami Shehab. The newspaper claimed Shehab confessed his cell monitored tourist sites in the Egyptian resort cities of Taba, Dahab and Sharm el-Sheikh, and tracked Israeli ships passing through the Suez Canal.
Latest signs of Egyptian militancy
The purported refusal of Egypt to share intelligence information with Israel comes amid fears in the country of the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood seeks to restore the Islamic caliphate, a political empire that once ruled the Middle East. Both Hamas and al-Qaida are Brotherhood offshoots.
Earlier this month, former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who had previously announced his intentions to run for the presidency of Egypt, said "if Israel attacked Gaza we would declare war against the Zionist regime."
The same day, Egypt's foreign minister said Cairo was ready to re-establish diplomatic ties with Tehran after a break of more than 30 years, signaling a clear shift in Iran policy since the fall of Mubarak.
"The Egyptian and Iranian people deserve to have mutual relations reflecting their history and civilization," said Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby after meeting with Iranian official Mugtabi Amani.
Days after Mubarak stepped aside, Egypt allowed the passage of two Iranian warships through the strategic Suez Canal for the first time since 1979.
Also WND reported
the Egyptian military command met with Hamas to discuss ways to build a
relationship with the Islamist organization.
Warns Israel can take unilateral actions of its own if U.N. declares Palestinian state
If the United Nations unilaterally declares a Palestinian state, Israel should respond by immediately annexing the Jewish communities in the strategic West Bank, declared a Knesset member from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party.
Danny Danon, the deputy speaker of Israel's parliament, pointed out the 1993 Oslo Accords restrict both Israel and the Palestinian Authority from taking unilateral action outside of negotiations.
However, he contended that if the PA follows through with seeking a U.N. declaration of a Palestinian state, and the international body approved the motion, the Jewish state should take unilateral measures of its own.
"We should (then) announce that we are annexing the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, immediately. The same way (Prime Minister) Menachem Begin did it with the Golan Heights and we did it in Jerusalem, we should do the same with the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria."
Danon was speaking in a radio interview with Aaron Klein, WND's Jerusalem bureau chief who hosts an investigative program on New York's WABC 770 AM Radio.
The Likud Knesset member was referring to the Israeli annexation of the eastern sections of Jerusalem, which contain the Temple Mount, after it recaptured the territory in the 1967 Six Day War.
Also, Israel in 1981 annexed the Golan Heights, which looks down on Israeli population centers, after neighboring Syria twice used the plateau to mount ground invasions into the Jewish state.
Danon told Klein that any U.N.-created Palestinian state would be "like a state on Facebook."
"They will get a lot of 'likes,'" he said. "People will support them. Countries will support them. But on the ground we will have to make sure that we control the borders. We control the security issues."
He warned a Palestinian country would be a "state of terrorism" that would be controlled by Iran.
Judea and Samaria, commonly referrer to as the West Bank, contains large Palestinian cities as well as Israeli communities, some in biblical cities, such as Beit El and Hebron.
The Palestinians seek a state in the pre-1967 borders, meaning the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem.
The PA been saying for at least two years they may seek a vote at the United Nations Security Council for the declaration of a Palestinian state.
Previously, PA officials stated the Obama administration would not veto a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a Palestinian state.
In 2009, Ahmed Qurei, former PA prime minister and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee, told WND in an interview that the PA "reached an understanding with important elements within the administration" to possibly bring to the U.N. Security Council a resolution to unilaterally create a Palestinian state.
Asked to which "elements" he was referring, Qurei would only say they were from the Obama administration.
In a clear attempt to pave the way for a U.N. vote on the matter, the international body announced last week the PA possesses the capacity to function as a state.
"In six areas where the U.N. is most engaged, government functions are now sufficient for a functioning government of a state," stated a U.N. report released last Tuesday.
The six areas were "governance, rule of law and human rights; livelihoods; education and culture; health; social protection; and infrastructure and water."
Still, the report cautioned, "The key constraints to the existence and successful functioning of the institutions of a potential state of Palestine arise primarily from the persistence of occupation and the unresolved issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
The reference to "occupation" is controversial, since the territories were never part of any previous Palestinian state, and Israel is historically tied to the West Bank.For more information on this topic, click here
U.S. government has no strategy to deal with Muslim Brotherhood
Mrs. Myrick was particularly concerned about the role the Muslim Brotherhood plays in the United States.
The federal government has no strategy to counter the Muslim Brotherhood at home or abroad, according to the chairwoman of the House panel that oversees counterintelligence and terrorism.
“The federal government does not have a comprehensive or consistent strategy for dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated groups in America,” Rep. Sue Wilkins Myrick said during a hearing Wednesday. “Nor does it have a strategy for dealing with the Brotherhood in Egypt or the greater Middle East.”
The North Carolina Republican is chairwoman of the House Intelligence subcommittee on terrorism, human intelligence, analysis and counterintelligence. Mrs. Myrick said at the hearing that she planned on scheduling closed classified hearings on the Muslim Brotherhood this session with government officials.
Established in 1928 in Cairo, the Muslim Brotherhood is widely considered the first organization to push for political Islam or Islamism, a movement that seeks to replace civil law with Islamic or Shariah law.
Islamists were repressed for decades by the governments in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia. But with the wave of uprisings that have toppled those governments, political parties and social movements inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood may be poised to try to assume political power in those countries for the first time.
At the hearing, during which nongovernment experts gave testimony, opinions on this point differed.
To read more of this article, visit:
WHISTLEBLOWER MAGAZINE STATES OF REBELLION
While millions of outraged Americans protest what they see as a lawless and power-mad Obama administration, many wonder how much clout individuals can really have in reining in a wildly out-of-control government.
But suppose, in addition to citizens with little power beyond their vote, those standing up to the federal government were named Virginia, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Montana, Maine, South Dakota – and many more?
Incredibly, though under-reported by the establishment press, that's exactly what is happening right now, as the April issue of Whistleblower documents in-depth, in "STATES OF REBELLION: How legislators and governors nationwide are openly challenging a rogue president."
A wide-ranging rebellion is indeed under way – by a large majority of states – against what they claim are intolerable and blatantly unconstitutional encroachments by the federal government. And they are seriously intent on declaring such unconstitutional laws null and void in their state.
Here's how Thomas E. Woods Jr., author of the bestselling book, "Nullification: How to resist federal tyranny in the 21st century," succinctly lays out the issue in the April Whistleblower:
Nullification begins with the axiomatic point that a federal law that violates the Constitution is no law at all. It is void and of no effect. Nullification simply pushes this uncontroversial point a step further: If a law is unconstitutional and therefore void and of no effect, it is up to the states, the parties to the federal compact, to declare it so and thus refuse to enforce it. It would be foolish and vain to wait for the federal government or a branch thereof to condemn its own law. Nullification provides a shield between the people of a state and an unconstitutional law from the federal government.
Take Obamacare: Most people know the GOP-led House of Representatives repealed it (though the Democrat-controlled Senate almost certainly will not, nor will Obama ever sign it). And many also know 27 states are challenging Obamacare in court. But what few understand is that at least 11 states are attempting to legislatively nullify Obamacare within their borders. So far, an act to nullify the entire federal health-care law has become state law in Montana and Idaho, has been approved by one house in North Dakota, and introduced in eight other states – New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas, Wyoming, South Dakota and Oklahoma.
What about the federal government's labyrinthine gun laws? Eight states have already passed laws – signed by their governors – telling Washington its firearms regulations are not valid in those states for weapons manufactured and purchased in-state. Many other states are on the same legislative track.
There's much more: Utah last month became the first state to make gold and silver legal tender in that state. Twenty-four states are defying Obama by copying Arizona's immigration law – the one the Obama Justice Department sued Arizona over. Lawmakers in 40 states are working to halt the epidemic of "anchor babies" establishing "birthright citizenship." And 13 states are considering laws that would require every presidential candidate – including Barack Obama – to prove he is a natural-born citizen before his name can be placed on that state's ballot in presidential elections.
Posted: April 21, 2011
The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to bring a decision from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver into alignment with its precedents in a dispute over cross memorials to fallen Utah state highway patrol troopers.
Officials with the Alliance Defense Fund today said they have filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court that asks the court to affirm the constitutionality of roadside memorial crosses honoring the fallen officers.
The high court last year concluded in another case that a cross erected by a private group on public property in honor of fallen members of the military was constitutional.
ADF argues that the precedent also should apply to the Utah dispute.
"One atheist group's agenda shouldn't diminish the sacrifice made by Utah highway patrol officers and their families. We are asking the Supreme Court to allow the families of the fallen to honor their loved ones through these constitutionally permissible memorials," said ADF Senior Counsel Byron Babione.
"The Supreme Court recently signaled that individualized memorial crosses honoring fallen troopers simply do not amount to a government establishment of religion. That guidance applies directly to this case," he said.
A district court judge affirmed the constitutionality of the memorials, but when the dispute was elevated to the Denver court, the judges condemned the crosses on the narrowest of margins, 5-4.
The four judges who dissented raised strong objections to the censorship that the decision appeared to impose.
"The goal of avoiding governmental endorsement does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm," the Supreme Court wrote in its 2010 decision regarding a cross memorial in the Mojave Desert. "A cross by the side of a public highway marking, for instance, the place where a state trooper perished need not be taken as a statement of governmental support for sectarian beliefs. The Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion's role in society."
Argued the ADF brief, "The 10th Circuit's decision conflicts with this court's Establishment Clause precedent. The 10th Circuit invalidated the challenged roadside memorials by (1) fixating on their cross shape, (2) ignoring most of their features, history, and context, and (3) opining that the Establishment Clause forbids such displays unless the overall setting nullifies any religious significance."
However, "This court … has denounced each of these analytical missteps. In short, the 10th Circuit's approach, if allowed to stand, will prohibit the government from accommodating public displays of religious symbols, forbid a widely embraced means of commemorating fallen heroes on public property, and manifest an unconstitutional hostility toward religion."
ADF warned that if the Utah crosses are disallowed, the result "could jeopardize similar memorials honoring other fallen heroes across the nation, including 14 crosses on Colorado's Storm King Mountain where firefighters lost their lives in a 1994 wildfire."
The case originated with complaints from American Atheists who sued the Utah Highway Patrol and the Utah Transportation Department, alleging the memorials are a government establishment of religion.
That claim was pursued even though the memorials are funded and maintained by a private group, the Utah Highway Patrol Association, which supports patrol officers and their families.
WND columnist David Limbaugh, when the earlier ruling banishing the crosses was released, blasted the judiciary for its "allergy" to Christianity.
"Our politically correct-intoxicated culture is so allergic to expressions and symbols of Christianity that our courts leap to absurd conclusions to cordon off the chief allergen: Christianity," he wrote at the time.
"The egregious constitutional infraction here is not that the government put up the signs, which it didn't, but that the memorials were placed along public roads. Thus, 'reasonable' passing motorists – as opposed, I guess, to those afflicted with anti-Christian road rage – might well assume that the government is endorsing the Christian religion. Horror of horrors. My gosh, what would the largely Christian founders think?"
He continued. "I don't think it's a reasonable inference at all that the government is making a religious statement by permitting the placement of these memorials along the public highway. On the other hand, I think the government would be (and is) making a statement against Christianity by denying this group access because of its paranoia about going into Christian-spawned anaphylactic shock."
The memorials have remained in place during the court
future depends entirely on the high court accepting the case and
lower court's decision.
VOICE OF AMERICA
Police in China
detained hundreds of Christian worshippers as they gathered for
outdoor service in Beijing.
The detentions are the latest in a crackdown on individuals and groups
by the government to pose a threat to social stability.
BRAVE NEW SCHOOLS
District taking money, but censoring Christians?
Lawsuit challenges decision to edit messages on project bricks
Posted: January 25, 2011
By Bob Unruh
A lawsuit has been filed accusing Palm Desert High School in Palm Desert, Calif., of taking money from Christians who bought paving stones as part of a fund-raiser, but then refusing to include them in the final project because of the Christian "verbiage" the stones contained.
A spokeswoman for the school in the Desert Sands Unified School District told WND that it was an outside organization, the parent teacher organization, that was running the fundraiser and the school did not have a responsibility.
"We were surprised because the ADF had brought the issue forward to us [and we] were reviewing it to see what we could do. We're very sensititve to the First Amendments rights to speech and religion," said Cindy McDanielBut the accusations were spelled out in a complaint filed just days ago in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Eastern Division-Riverside by the the Alliance Defense Fund.
It explains that small
stones were sold for $100 and large ones for $250 in the school
fund-raiser, and purchasers were allowed to include messages such as:
But two Christians who bought stones, one was the purchase of five small stones for $500 and the other was the purchase of one large stone for $250, were refused permission to have their stones displayed along with the others.
"The government cannot single out Christians because their religious viewpoint does not coincide with campus orthodoxy," said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. "Christians have the same First Amendment-protected rights as everyone else does on public school campuses, and their messages are no less worthy of exposure than other individuals'."
The project was launched in February 2010 by the Palm Desert parent teacher organization. It was approved by the principal, board and superintendent.
"No limitations were given as to the content of the messages on the pavers – other than the length – and the fundraiser policy stated that the messages could be used to pay tribute, create a legacy, commemorate a special event, or give recognition to various entities," the ADF explained.
Hart and Sheryl Caronno shortly later made their purchases, "for which they later paid."
Then in August the bricks were made, but the two purchasers "were notified that their pavers' inclusion on the walkway was denied because they quoted Bible verses," ADF said.
District officials cited their perception of the "separation of church and state" as a reason, presuming "erroneously" that the Bible verses would establish an unconstitutional establishment of religion, the ADF said.
The ADF said the district did, however, accept other religious messages, such as a Hindu quote from Mahatma Gandhi and even a Bible quote, "Yes, it is possible," in Spanish.
It was a memo from Karen Rohrbaugh of the parent teacher organization that raised concerns about the "religious verbiage."
The principal, Patrick Walsh, agreed. "We need to respectfully decline the donation of bricks quoting scripture from the bible," he wrote. "I'm sure most parents will understand the constitutional protections regarding the separation of church and state."
The paving stones then
handed over to the purchasers, the case explains.
Ground Zero imam: 'True' Muslims implement Shariah
Tells faithful they must pay 'ultimate price' to see paradise
by Aaron Klein
"True" Muslims who enter the highest levels of Muslim paradise are those who pay the ultimate price of sacrifice for the goal of implementing Shariah Islamic law, declared the imam who has become the new face of the proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in New York City.
In a recent mosque sermon obtained by WND, Imam Abdallah Adhami opens with an Islamic prayer declaring the supremacy of Allah over the universe.
Adhami stated the message of the Quranic figure Muhammad "is the continuity and the culmination of all the messages of all the prophets before him, from Adam to Noah to Abraham and Moses and Jesus and everyone in between."
"And that message is the supremacy and the total dominion of the lord [Allah] of the world," he stated.In his sermon, Adhami discussed Islamic oral tradition regarding "true" Muslims worthy of entering "Jannah," or the Islamic paradise.
Stated Adhami: "You have to pass all your tests, and the only time that you know you are truthful in implementing the change that Shariah sought for you to implement is when you have paid the ultimate price of sacrifice."Later in the lecture, Adhami states Muslims have more of a right than do Jews to the biblical prophet Moses.
"We love Moses more than them. We are more worthy of loyalty to Moses, more than they are. We love him more than they do," he stated.This seems to be a theme for Adhami.
Two week ago, WND broke the story that Adhami declared in a separate lecture that Muslims have "more of a right" than Jews to the biblical prophet Moses.
In the same lecture, Adhami urged Muslims to "compete" with other religions.
Meanwhile, others have been scrutinizing Adhami's background.
Writing at the NewsReal blog writer Joseph Klein revealed Adhami was a guest speaker at the annual convention of the Islamic Association for Palestine in 200o. T he theme of the convention was "All Palestine is Sacred!"
Adhami was reportedly joined at the speakers' rostrum by Dr. Sami Al-Arian, who pled guilty in 2006 to conspiracy to contribute services to or for the benefit of the Palestine Islamic Jihad.
IAP went defunct in 2005. It was established in 1981 by Hamas political operative Mousa Abu Marzook.
Like the ISNA, the IAP was named in a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document — titled "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America" – as one of the Brotherhood's 29 likeminded "organizations of our friends."
Also, the Atlas Shrugs website, run by blogger and activist Pamela Geller, found Adhami has expressed appreciation for Islamic cleric Siraj Wahhaj, who was named as a possible co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Adhami has called Wahhaj "Our Beloved Imam" and the "voice of the spirit of Islam in America and its pride."
Also, Adhami's website, Sakeenah, hailed Wahhaj for his "devoted leadership to the community" and his role "as a pioneer in the American Muslim experience."
"Since the 1970s, Imam Siraj has tirelessly laid the foundations for many scholars and leaders that would follow him," the website stated. "From activism to challenges, to the Nation of Islam to revolutions, follow Imam Siraj as he retraces the footsteps of his life."World Net Daily
Courts have ‘special animosity’ for Christians
of 'infecting' children
March 16th, 2011