President to Renew Muslim Outreach

President to Renew Muslim Outreach

By JAY SOLOMON                And CAROL E. LEE

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama is preparing a fresh outreach to the Muslim world in coming days, senior U.S. officials say, one that will ask those in the Middle East and beyond to reject Islamic militancy in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death and embrace a new era of relations with the U.S.

MOHAMMED HUWAIS/Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesProtesters in Yemen Tuesday continue demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

USMIDEASTjp

USMIDEASTjp

Mr. Obama is preparing to deliver that message in a wide-ranging speech, perhaps as early as next week, these officials say. The president intends to argue that bin Laden’s death, paired with popular uprisings sweeping North Africa and the Middle East, signal that the time has come to an end when al Qaeda could claim to speak for Muslim aspirations.

“It’s an interesting coincidence of timing—that he is killed at the same time that you have a model emerging in the region of change that is completely the opposite of bin Laden’s model,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser at the White House, said in an interview.

Since January, popular uprisings have overthrown the longtime dictators of Tunisia and Egypt. They have shaken rulers in Libya, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen and Jordan, marking the greatest wave of political change the world has seen since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

But the push for democracy appears to have stalled in some countries. The street protests against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi have morphed into a civil war, with North Atlantic Treaty Organization backing the rebels. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Bahrain’s ruling Khalifa family have both met demonstrations with violence.

Bin Laden’s death gives Mr. Obama a chance to underscore the belief among many administration officials that the terror leader’s relevance had already begun to diminish during the so-called Arab Spring. Mr. Obama, who has made outreach to the Muslim world a cornerstone of his presidency, plans to describe the Islamic world as at a crossroads, said U.S. officials, making the case that bin Laden represented a failed approach of the past while populist movements brewing in the Middle East and North Africa represent the future.

Mr. Rhodes said timing of the speech remains in flux but Mr. Obama could deliver it before leaving on a five-day trip to Europe on May 23. The White House is already telegraphing the message of the coming speech to the Islamic world by placing American diplomats on Arab television and radio, according to U.S. officials.

The White House is still debating, however, whether Mr. Obama should lay out a concrete plan for revitalizing the stalled Arab-Israeli peace process.

Many Arab governments have been pressing Mr. Obama to publicly outline his own parameters for the creation of an independent Palestinian state as a way to exert more pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visits Washington next week. These diplomats said the Mideast’s democratic surge is raising expectations among their own populations for an end to the decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict.

White House officials said they are still reassessing the monumental changes in the Middle East and whether an aggressive U.S. push to resume peace talks would likely be successful.

Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas forged a unity government with the militant group Hamas, which the U.S. and European Union designate a terrorist group. Israeli officials have already cited Hamas’s role in the Palestinian Authority as the reason why Mr. Netanyahu is unlikely to unveil any major new overtures to the Palestinians during his Washington trip.

“We need to sort through these issues as we consider the next steps on a peace process,” Mr. Rhodes said. The May 20 Obama-Netanyahu meeting “is a chance for the U.S. and Israel to review the full range of issues, from Iran to the regional change to the peace process.”

Arab officials and Mideast peace advocates say there are major risks for the U.S. and Israel in delaying a return to talks.

Mr. Abbas is pressing the United Nations to recognize an independent Palestinian state during the September gathering of the General Assembly. He has specifically cited his frustration with the lack of progress in negotiations with Mr. Netanyahu, as well as the rising expectations among his own people as a result of the Arab Spring.

“There’s clearly a lot going on in the region, and there’s a case to be made and some are making it, that now is not the time,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder of J-Street, a U.S. lobbying group that advocates Washington laying out its own peace plan, something Israel’s government opposes. “But we do believe that the only way to avoid U.N. action on a Palestinian state in a unilateral kind of way is for either the president or prime minister to put forward” a peace plan.

A number of lawmakers have cited Hamas’s new alliance with Mr. Abbas as reason for the White House to move slowly in restarting the peace process. Mr. Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress during his Washington visit as well the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the U.S.’s most powerful pro-Israel lobby.

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, on Tuesday broke with Israel’s policy of keeping quiet on the regional turmoil, saying the international community’s response to repression of demonstrations in Syria, Lybia and Yemen has been “inconsistent” and “confusing.” In remarks delivered before Mr. Netanyahu’s scheduled White House visit, Mr. Lieberman added that the confusion sends a “damaging message to the people of the Middle East, and further erodes the path to peace, security and democracy for our region.”

Mr. Obama is also scheduled to meet Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Washington next week. The Arab monarch has been at the forefront of Mideast leaders calling for the U.S. to impose its own peace plan on the Israelis and Palestinians. Jordan’s population is 60% Palestinian, and the king has faced his own popular protests in recent months.

Securing the Border With Smart-Aleck Semantics

Securing the Border With Smart-Aleck Semantics

May
11th, 2011

The Washington Times

President Obama made a run for the border yesterday to shore up his
credentials on the immigration issue. Speaking from Chamizal National Memorial
in El Paso, Mr. Obama defended his strategy as if it were working. “They’ll
never be satisfied,” he said, lashing out at critics. “The truth is, the
measures we’ve put in place are getting results.”

The Obama administration has cooked up a novel way to calculate what a great
job his Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been doing in stemming
the flow of aliens flooding over the border from Mexico. In March, Ms.
Napolitano stood on a bridge connecting El Paso to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and
proclaimed border security to be “better than ever.” In testimony before the
Senate Homeland Security Committee last week, Ms. Napolitano claimed that the
meaning of “operational control” of the border is “archaic” and that she intends
to devise a “more quantitative and qualitative way to reflect what actually is
occurring at the border.” She said she wants an index that would include a
measure of how many persons have been deterred from even attempting to jump the
border.

By counting these theoretical illegals – as opposed to real ones – Ms.
Napolitano’s border-security mission becomes much easier. While hundreds of
thousands actually cross over annually, compared to, say, Mexico’s entire
population of 112 million, they represent a tiny fraction. Preventing border
crossing in a computer model or a spreadsheet allows Ms. Napolitano to proclaim
“mission accomplished” without having to actually crack down in a way that would
offend left-wing open-border advocacy groups.

Ms. Napolitano’s attempt to redefine what it means to secure the U.S. border
is a brilliant example of double-speak worthy of “Big Sis.” Real numbers are far
less forgiving. In February, the Government Accountability Office reported that
the Border Patrol has only 873 miles of the 2,000-mile southern border subject
to “operational control.” The term means simply that the Border Patrol has the
capacity to deter illegal crossers and pursue them when they’re spotted. The
remaining length is mostly open for free passage. In remote regions of Arizona,
cartels have established observation posts providing intelligence to ensure safe
border transit for drug couriers.

Mr. Obama and his economic advisers do deserve some credit for discouraging
illegals from crossing the southern border.

Read
more
.

“We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

THIS IS REALLY GOOD! SEND TO ALL YOUR
KIDS & GRANDKIDS
In the line at
the store, the young cashier told the older woman that she should
bring her own
reusable grocery bags because
plastic bags weren’t good for
the

environment…….
The woman
apologized and explained,
“We didn’t have the green thing back
in my day.”
The clerk responded,
“That’s what’s caused our problems today.
Your generation wasn’t green and
did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right, that
generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back
then
, they  returned their milk
bottles, soda bottles and beer
bottles to the store.

The store sent them back to
the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled,
so it could use the
same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But they didn’t have the green thing
back in that customer’s day.
In her day, they walked up stairs, because they
didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building.
They walked to the grocery
store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower
machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in
her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because
they didn’t have the throw-away kind.

They dried clothes on a line, not in an
energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the
clothes.

Kids got hand-me-down
clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new
clothing.

But that old lady is right,
they didn’t have
the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the  house – not a TV
in every room.

And the TV had a small screen the size of a
handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana .

In the
kitchen
, blended
and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for
you.

When they packaged a
fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion
it,
not Styrofoam or
plastic bubble wrap.
Back
then
, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline
just to cut the
lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power.

They exercised by working so they
didn’t need to go to a health club
to run on treadmills that operate on
electricity.

But she’s right, they
didn’t have the green thing back then.
They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty
instead of using a cup or a plastic
bottle every time they had a drink of water.

They
refilled

their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the
razor blades in a razor
instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got
dull.
“But they didn’t have the
green thing back then.”
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and
kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a
24-hour taxi service.

They had one electrical outlet in a
room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.
And they didn’t need a computerized gadget
to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out  in space in order to
find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad that the current
generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn’t have the green thing
back then?

Everything Obama Said About the Border Was a Lie

Everything Obama Said About the Border Was a Lie

May
11th, 2011

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, NRO

President Obama’s immigration speech in El Paso today is a poor substitute
for the real border security the country still desperately needs. And it was a
transparent attempt to keep using illegal immigration as a campaign issue, as
President Obama made no attempt to solve this problem during the two years his
party held huge majorities in both houses of Congress. His own administration
has not done its job to finish the border fence that is a critical part of
keeping Americans safe and stopping illegal immigration.

Rather than holding immigration summits at the White House with special
interests and making speeches, President Obama should direct the members of his
administration tasked with homeland security and patrolling the border to enact
measures that have already been made law by Congress.

Five
years ago, legislation was passed to build a 700-mile double-layer border fence
along the southwest border
. This is a promise that has not been kept.

Today, according to staff at the Department of Homeland Security, just 5
percent of the double-layer fencing is complete, only 36.3 miles.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’s investigative arm,
reported in early 2009 that only 32 miles of double-layer fencing had been
built. That means under President Obama, only 4.3 miles of double layer fencing
has been built. This is woefully inadequate.

While the border-fence construction lags, Mexican cartels continue to smuggle
drugs, weapons, and illegal aliens into our country, attracting violent
crime.

The United
States Attorney’s Annual Statistical Report for Fiscal Year 2009
stated that
“violence along the border of the United States and Mexico has increased
dramatically in recent years.” Citing a National Drug Intelligence Center
report, it continued, “Mexican drug trafficking organizations represent the
greatest organized crime threat to the United States and the influence of
Mexican drug trafficking organizations over domestic drug trafficking is
unrivaled.”

Last month, officials
in Brownsville, Texas, found a homemade, improvised explosive device
on
Highway 77 that resembled the bombs used against U.S. troops in the Middle East
and by Mexican drug cartels.

Read
more
.

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