March 10th, 2010
March 9th, 2010
By BOB HERBERT, NYT
It’s all about Jobs
The Obama administration and Democrats in general are in trouble because they are not urgently and effectively addressing the issue that most Americans want them to: the frightening economic insecurity that has put a chokehold on millions of American families.
The economy shed 36,000 jobs last month, and that was trumpeted in the press as good news. Well, after your house has burned down I suppose it’s good news that the flames may finally be flickering out. But once you realize that it will take 11 million or more new jobs to get us back to where we were when the recession began, you begin to understand that we’re not really making any headway at all.
It’s also widely known by now that the official employment statistics drastically understate the problem. Once we take off the statistical rose-colored glasses, we’re left with the awful reality of millions upon millions of Americans who have lost — or are losing — their jobs, their homes, their small businesses, and their hopes for a brighter future.
Instead of focusing with unwavering intensity on this increasingly tragic situation, making it their top domestic priority, President Obama and the Democrats on Capitol Hill have spent astonishing amounts of time and energy, and most of their political capital, on an obsessive quest to pass a health care bill.
Health care reform is important. But what the public has wanted and still badly needs above all else from Mr. Obama and the Democrats are bold efforts to put people back to work. A major employment rebound is the only real way to alleviate the deep economic anxiety that has gripped so many Americans. Unaddressed, that anxiety inevitably evolves into dread and then anger.
But while the nation is desperate for jobs, jobs, jobs, the Democrats have spent most of the Obama era chanting health care, health care, health care.
March 10th, 2010
By Stephen Dinan, Washington Times
Immigration Activists want payback from Obama
Immigrant rights groups on Monday demanded that President Obama impose a full moratorium on deportations of illegal immigrants, arguing that his policies have been worse for their cause than those of his Republican predecessor.
Saying they’ve been “betrayed” by and lost patience with Mr. Obama, the advocates suggested that the president could regain their support by leading a fight on Capitol Hill for a bill to legalize illegal immigrants. Mr. Obama took the first step toward legalization during a meeting Monday at the White House with two lawmakers working on a bill.
But a bill could take months to pass. In the meantime, the immigrant rights groups say, Mr. Obama must end deportations altogether.
“We demand an immediate stop to all deportations, because each one of these deportations, each one of these numbers, equals a life destroyed and a family devastated,” Angelica Sala, executive director of the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said at a news conference in Washington.
By Ted Belman
President Obama intends to impose a solution to Middle East disputes on Israel. Obama has surrounded himself with a host of vehemently ant-Israel advisers including Lee Hamilton, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, and Gen Jones, many of whom advocate imposing a solution on Israel.
So it was no surprise when he started his term of office by attacking Israel, America’s best and most steadfast ally, and demanding a complete settlement freeze east of the Green Line, including Jerusalem. He went so far as to repudiate the U.S. commitment set out in the Bush ’04 letter to Sharon, saying that there was no agreement at all. Elliot Abrams and others involved in the negotiations which led to the letter testified otherwise.
In January ’09, before Obama had gotten his act together, Haaretz reported that
Mitchell told Israeli officials that the new administration was committed to Israel’s security, to the road map, and to the 2004 letter by president George W. Bush stating Palestinian refugees would not return to Israel and the border between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would take into consideration facts on the ground, meaning large settlement blocs would remain in Israeli hands [emphasis added].
Within a few months, that commitment was history.
P.M. Netanyahu, who had campaigned on the rejection of the two-state solution and on continued settlement growth, attempted to deflect or resist the pressure. One can only imagine the Tools of Persuasion that Netanyahu was subjected to. Finally, on June 12, 2009, Netanyahu made a major speech at the Begin Centre in which he shocked Israelis by agreeing to a two-state solution.
We do not want to rule over them, we do not want to govern their lives, we do not want to impose either our flag or our culture on them. In my vision of peace, in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect. Each will have its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government. Neither will threaten the security or survival of the other.
Never mind that Netanyahu had only limited sovereignty in mind.
He went on to demand as a precondition that “Palestinians must clearly and unambiguously recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people” and that a Palestinian state be demilitarized, “with ironclad security provisions for Israel.”
With respect to the contentious issue of settlement construction, Netanyahu affirmed that there would be no “building new settlements or of expropriating additional land for existing settlements.” But he reserved the right to “natural growth” within existing settlements:.
As for Jerusalem and refugees, he declared: “Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel with continued religious freedom for all faiths.” And he totally rejected the return of refugees to Israel.
At the time, the concessions were warmly received or hotly debated. Many complained that Netanyahu had caved to the pressure without anything in return. After all, this was not the platform that Netanyahu had campaigned on.
A month later, Obama met with Jewish leaders to reassure them, and by all accounts, the meeting went well. But shortly thereafter, some Jewish leaders demanded that Obama also make demands on Arab countries. Obama publicly took up the challenge during the summer, thereby admitting that Israel should get something in return. He was soundly rebuffed.
Undaunted, Obama then focused on getting Abbas to accept what Netanyahu had offered in his BESA speech when they met in September at the United Nations. Abbas refused to go along. Obama crapped out.
So it then came as a surprise that Netanyahu, on Nov. 26, 2009, announced a unilateral ten-month freeze of settlement construction except for the 3,500 units already announced and natural growth. But he emphasized that the freeze did not include Jerusalem. In fact, a few days earlier, a new project of 800 units was announced for the Jerusalem suburb of Gilo. Although Obama complained about it, he probably agreed to it to help Netanyahu win over his right wing.
The right in Israel was incensed — first by the acknowledgment of the two-state solution and now by the freeze, all with nothing in return.
On the heels of Netanyahu’s speech, Sec Clinton made the following statement,
Today’s announcement by the Government of Israel helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.
This is little different from Bush’s wording:
In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.
Clinton referred to these realities as “subsequent developments.”
Thus the borders probably will be moved to the east of these blocks, thereby limiting the number of Jews that have to be uprooted to about 50,000, give or take 20,000 depending on negotiations.
So why did Obama repudiate the Bush letter which his man, Sen. Mitchell, had two months earlier endorsed in his name?
There are two, and possibly three, major departures from the Bush letter. Bush had written that “Israel must have secure and recognized borders… in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338,” leaving open the possibility that Res. 242 did not require retreat from all territories. Clinton made no mention of 242 and said the borders must be “based on the 1967 lines.” This suggests that all the land is to be ceded, facilitated by mutually agreed swaps.
Whereas Bush wrote, “and the settling of Palestinian refugees there [Palestine], rather than in Israel,” Clinton was silent. Is this also a departure? I think so. Obama is clearly trying to stay as close to the Saudi Plan as he can. It requires the settlement of the refugee issue pursuant to UNGA Res. 194.
In the scheme of things, these differences are of little importance. Why take the heat for so little profit, especially when Bush had said that doing otherwise was “unrealistic”?
Perhaps there was another reason.
Bush had committed in said letter that “the United States will do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan.” By challenging the whole letter in the first instance and endorsing most of it subsequently, save for this commitment, Obama has succeeded in ridding himself of the commitment. Is Obama thereby reserving the right to impose a plan, as many in his administration recommend he do?
In case you haven’t noticed, neither Obama nor his administration refers to the Roadmap. That is because the Roadmap precludes an imposed solution.
It would appear that the Obama administration has no confidence that a negotiated solution will be achieved. Most pundits and politicians believe likewise, and that includes Netanyahu.
The issues are too intractable, in part because the Arabs, and more specifically the “Palestinians,” are dedicated to the destruction of Israel. They haven’t compromised in ninety years. Why start now?
Abbas continues to reject negotiations. He prefers an imposed solution, too.
This standoff may lead to the disintegration of the P.A., which would invite unilateral moves by Israel, the U.S., or Hamas.
Will Obama push for a bi-national state or allow Israel to annex Judea and Samaria? Will he attempt to impose a solution? The New York Times, in a lead editorial this week, favored Obama: “Advancing his own final-status plan for a two-state solution is one high-risk way forward that we think is worth the gamble.”
Meanwhile, Obama has less than six months to decide to what extent he will cooperate with Israel in bombing Iran.
Ted Belman edits Israpundit.
By Jane Jamison
“The CIA briefed me only once on enhanced interrogation techniques in September 2002 in my capacity as ranking member of the Intelligence Committee. I was informed then that the Department of Justice opinions had concluded that the use of enhanced interrogation techniques were legal. The only mention of waterboarding at that briefing was that it was not being employed,” Pelosi said today, reading from a prepared statement.Terror suspect Abu Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding 83 times in August 2002, the month prior to when Pelosi was briefed about enhanced interrogation techniques.
The following are excerpts from the Memorandum, dated July 14, 2004:Summary of testimony by DOD Official, Lt. Gen. William Boykin: “At this point, General Boykin read a prepared statement to the Committee in which he asserted that interrogation is a critically valuable tool, and, citing observations made by service personnel at Ft. Bragg, said that the most [imp]ortant factor in the capture of Saddam Hussein was interrogation.”Summary of testimony by member of the CTC (Counterterrorism Center), name redacted: “…Even today long term detainees like Khalid Shayk Muhammed and Zubaydah are providing good information because their histories go back a long way and often a tidbit they provide, while not initially operationally significant, ends up being the piece that completes the puzzle; DC/CTC closed by noting that he was personally persuaded that detainee reporting has saved lives.”Rep. Jane Harman: “What do you think of the value of enhanced techniques?” John Pistole, Witness for the FBI: “In my view the benefits are huge and the costs are insignificant. Very few detainees don’t provide us with good information….”Rep. Ruppersberger: “Are there procedures that we have stopped that should be resumed?” Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the Army G-2, [now Director of the National Security Agency (NSA)]: “Yes. Diet and sleep management. Those, plus segregation which is still employed, are key…”General Alexander also testified that field commanders wanted more “97E’s” (interrogators), “even to the point of trading off some of their combat troops.”Saddam Hussein was not subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques, but “friendly discussions with an eye to future public prosecution.”
“We are now beginning to get a very clear picture of what members of Congress knew about so-called enhanced interrogation techniques and when they knew it,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Intelligence officials repeatedly informed members of Congress that enhanced interrogation techniques are effective and save lives. It is little wonder why the Obama administration would try to keep these documents hidden, given the administration’s ideological hostility to these effective interrogation techniques.”
Tuesday , March 09, 2010
A Pennsylvania woman known to authorities as “JihadJane” has been charged in federal court with using the Internet to recruit jihadist fighters to carry out murders and violent attacks overseas.
The woman, Colleen R. LaRose, was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements to a government official and attempted identity theft, according to the indictment, unsealed Monday.
Sources tell Fox News the “Swedish citizen” who “JihadJane” was allegedly looking to kill is Lars Vilks, who drew one of the controversial Prophet Muhammad cartoons. There was a series of arrests in Ireland earlier Tuesday that are reportedly connected to LaRose’s case.
In September of 2007 Al Qaeda offered a bounty for the murder of Viks.
LaRose and five unindicted co-conspirators are accused of recruiting men to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe and of recruiting women who had passports and the ability to travel to and around Europe for similar missions.
The accused co-conspirators are located in South Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the United States.
“Today’s indictment … underscores the evolving nature of the threat we face,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.
In June 2008, LaRose posted a comment on YouTube under the username “JihadJane,” stating that she is “desperate to do something somehow to help” the suffering Muslim people, according to the indictment.
She was also know to authorities as “Fatima LaRose.” The indictment describes LaRose as in her 40s.
Court documents show LaRose was first arrested by federal authorities on Oct. 16, 2009, for allegedly trying to “transfer” a stolen passport.
The indictment accuses the American-born LaRose and her unindicted co-conspirators of using the Internet to establish relationships with one another and to communicate their plans, which included martyring themselves, soliciting funds for terrorists, soliciting passports and avoiding travel restrictions, through the collection of passports and through marriage, according to a government release.
LaRose, who lives in Montgomery County, Pa., received a direct order to kill someone in Sweden, and to do so in a way that would frighten “the whole Kufar [non-believer] world,” according to the indictment.
It states that LaRose agreed to carry out her murder assignment, and that she and her co-conspirators discussed that her appearance and American citizenship would help her blend.
According to the indictment, LaRose traveled to Europe and tracked her intended target online, but it isn’t clear whether she carried out the mission.
“This case shows the use terrorists can and do make of the Internet,” U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy said. “Colleen LaRose and five other individuals scattered across the globe are alleged to have used the Internet to form a conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism, culminating in a direct order to LaRose to commit murder overseas.”
LaRose is one of the first American females to be charged with a terrorism offense in the U.S.
The only other one a Department of Justice official could recall was Lynne Stewart, a New York attorney and American citizen who was convicted of terrorism violations in 2005 for passing prison messages from the “Blind Sheikh” to his followers on the outside urging violent attacks.
Last month, Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who lived in Boston for some time but was not a U.S. citizen, was convicted in federal court in New York in connection with her attempt to kill U.S. military and law enforcement personnel in Afghanistan.
Fox News’ Mike Levine contributed to this report.