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The Iranian Threat

Iran Humiliating US with No Consequences

January 14th 2016

Strait of Hormuz

Iran’s capture and release of 10 US sailors demonstrated that “moderates” such as President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have no real weight, while the real power continues to be wielded by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his hardline allies, such as the Revolutionary Guard, several commentators said Wednesday. Propaganda videos of the soldiers blindfolded and kneeling released by Iranian media humiliated the world’s superpower and shows that Iran can continue its aggressive behavior with no consequences.
 
The Obama administration will not allow anything to get in the way of the nuclear deal’s implementation and the lifting of sanctions on Iran, they said.
Read more ..

The Edge of Justice

Civil Asset Forfeiture Run Amok

January 8th 2016

FBI dudes

 The Justice Department is shutting down the "equitable sharing program" of asset forfeiture. There are two types of asset forfeiture: criminal and civil.  In criminal asset forfeiture, the government may seize money and assets it'™s shown to be the spoils of criminal activity after there'™s been a conviction. Civil asset forfeiture is the Wild West.  It'™s used before someone'˜s been convicted, charged or even accused of a crime.
Federal rules for asset forfeiture are lax.  Under the equitable sharing arrangement, the D.O.J. allowed state and local governments to use these lax, federal rules.  Too often, state and local police forces confiscated money and assets without charging anyone with a crime.  Or even questioning them. Agencies then auction the assets.  They're usually free to spend all the money they'™ve accumulated with few or no restrictions.  This is why critics call it "œpolicing for profit." It's been reported Washington, D.C. police make stops and seize whatever cash they find in people's pockets -- even as little as twenty dollars -- claiming it could be drug proceeds. Read more ..

Financing the Flames

New Israel Fund and Other Jewish Groups Must Stop Funding Enemies of the IDF

December 25th 2015

Exhausted Israeli Soldier

The adage about two Jews and three opinions is one which is likely to remain a perpetual reality for our people. There is room for views on the Left and the Right, whether we agree or not, as long as those ideals are rooted in loyalty and fairness. There are certain opinions, however, that we cannot accept: those rooted in deception, intended to cause harm, yet presented under the guise of legitimate concern. Views that lead to actions which undermine the safety and security of Israel and the Jewish people cannot be welcomed, nor given credence, much less financial support, by those who believe in Israel as a Jewish nation.

Actions that seek to undermine the men and women who serve in the IDF; ones that would have Israeli citizens arrested in foreign countries and charged with war crimes; ones that would see Israel brought before the International Court of Justice at The Hague, are unacceptable. Additionally, those who would encourage and support a boycott of Israel, painting the country and its people as an apartheid nation and people, cannot be seen as beneficial in any way, as they only help to make Israel appear illegitimate to world bodies and the court of public opinion. Read more ..


Media on Edge

CNN, New York Times Slammed for Slanted Reporting on Terror Attack

December 24th 2015

New York Times Bldg

American news network CNN and The New York Times were both met with criticism for their slanted reporting of the terror attack at the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Instead of reporting on two victims and two terrorists who were killed, a newscaster at CNN simply reported: "In Jerusalem, four people are dead in the wake of a stabbing attack in a very popular tourist area. It happened at the Jaffa Gate to the Old City." CNN has yet to comment on the matter. The New York Times, meanwhile, reported on the attack with the headline "2 Palestinian Attackers Killed, 2 Israelis Die in Jerusalem."

An organization called SSI (Students Supporting Israel) posted the headline on its Facebook page, adding "Terrorists are killed, but innocent Israelis DIE?"

Read more ..

Jewry on Edge

American Jews Betrayed by Their Leaders -- Again

December 15th 2015

Syrian Refugees

On December 2, a letter signed by one thousand rabbis was delivered to Congress calling on "our elected officials to uphold the great legacy of a country that welcomes refugees." The leadership of virtually all of the Jewish defense organizations, from the Anti­Defamation League (ADL) to the American Jewish Committee (AJC), have echoed these demands to admit thousands of Syrian refugees.

These Jewish leaders have betrayed the Jews of America. They prefer burnishing their liberal credentials and parroting the views of a Democratic president to their duty to sound the alarm about the harm to American Jews from bringing to the US Syrian Muslims, who have been raised in a culture of virulent anti­Semitism. Seeing the destruction of Jewish life in Europe with the influx of Muslim immigrants from Arab countries, it would not take much imagination for these so­called Jewish leaders to see what mass immigration of Arab Muslims will mean for the safety of Americans and for American Jews in particular.

Read more ..

Turkey and Russia

Why Erdogan Decided to Shoot Down a Russian Plane

December 12th 2015

Turkish Air Force

The editors of Aydınlık, a Turkish newspaper, asked me a number of questions about the shoot-down of the Russian plane on Nov. 24. I replied to the questions and sent in my replies on Nov. 27 but did not hear back. So, over two weeks later, I am providing them here, as I wrote them, in English.

As relations between the Turkish and American governments have worsened in recent years, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought improved relationsgwith Russia and (to a lesser extent) China. With the shoot-down of the Russian SU-24 warplane, Erdogan has seemingly thrown away this option. Why?

Read more ..

Vote 2016

Trust of the People Eroding over Hilary Email Server

September 24th 2015

Hillary Clinton

Despite her assertions to the contrary, the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s email address is not just an issue for the reporters she wishes would stop peppering her with questions on the topic.  It is an issue that gets right to the heart of a vital question—shouldn’t the American people trust the person they elect to sit in the Oval Office as president? 

 Abraham Lincoln once said, “The people when rightly and fully trusted will return the trust.” If only the inverse were true.  However, the track record of obfuscations and lack of forthrightness by Mrs. Clinton make it increasingly hard for her to be trusted.

 That certainly seems to be the opinion of the people.  But don’t just take my word for it, look at the numbers in recent surveys.  

 A national Quinnipiac University poll released last month indicated that “trustworthy” and “honest” are not words that a majority of Americans would use to describe her. In fact, nearly six in 10 of those who participated in the study said that she did not possess those traits.  The respondents included people from all across the political spectrum. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Some Pro Iran Deal Senators Took Iran Lobby Money

August 30th 2015

Ali Rouhani of Iran

Senator Markey has announced his support for the Iran deal that will let the terrorist regime inspect its own Parchin nuclear weapons research site, conduct uranium enrichment, build advanced centrifuges, buy ballistic missiles, fund terrorism and have a near zero breakout time to a nuclear bomb. There was no surprise there.
 
Markey had topped the list of candidates supported by the Iran Lobby. And the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) had maxed out its contributions to his campaign.

After more fake suspense, Al Franken, another IAPAC backed politician who also benefited from Iran Lobby money, came out for the nuke sellout.
Read more ..

The Nuclear Edge

Debating the Morality of Hiroshima

August 11th 2015

Rising Sun Shinto Island

Each year at this time — the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima — the world pauses. The pause is less to mourn the dead than to debate a moral question: whether the bombing was justified and, by extension, whether the United States unnecessarily slaughtered tens of thousands of people on Aug. 6, 1945. The debate rarely focuses on a careful analysis of war and morality and is more frequently framed by existing views of the United States. The debate is rarely about Hiroshima or about World War II. It is a debate about the moral character of the United States. This is not an illegitimate subject, and Hiroshima might be a useful point with which to begin the debate. But that isn't possible until after we consider the origins of Hiroshima, which can be found in the evolution of modern warfare.

Warfare became industrial for a simple reason. The introduction of firearms brought to the battlefield a weapon with tremendous strength and an overwhelming weakness. The strength was the ability to kill or disable an enemy at distances far beyond the range of previous weapons. The weakness was that without extraordinary training and talent on the part of the soldier, firearms are quite inaccurate. For a soldier under the pressure of combat, loading and effectively aiming his weapon — particularly with muzzle-loaded firearms — was not an easy task. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

The Democratic Party, on the Edge of the Abyss

July 29th 2015

Hillary Clinton

Two of the most powerful members of the Democratic Party, former and current senators from New York, now hold the fate of the putative deal with Iran in their hands. Because they alone can overturn it, this means that presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and presumptive Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer carry a heavy burden that will deeply affect their personal reputations and, most probably, the trustworthiness of the Democrats in foreign policy for at least a generation.

Their former senatorial colleagues Barack Obama, Joe Biden and John Kerry already own their decision, though their logic still remains unclear to both the most diligent and the most casual observer. The president asserts that his piece of paper will prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, presuming both the honesty of a regime that has displayed mendacity and hostility for 35 years as well as the existence of a wide-ranging verification capability that his own agreement has fatally compromised. And then, of course, there is the sunset provision that enables Iran to acquire nuclear weapons anyway. As they congratulate themselves on the hard work that produced this bizarre document—Bloomberg News related that “[a]ll present were in a kind of awe”—have these former Solons stopped to wonder why Iran negotiated in the first place when their leaders still insist on claiming they don’t want nuclear weapons? The entire process is built on lies. If the Iranians didn’t want nukes, then why would they want a time limit? Read more ..


The Digital Edge

The U.S. Global Positioning System Needs Protection

July 28th 2015

Random Radio Telescope Array

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is the most important technology and capability ever developed and fielded by the military forces of the United States. Originally, conceived as an aid to weapon delivery and navigation for the military, the system is no longer considered only a military system. Its uses and importance have exceeded the wildest dreams of its developers. While it is still maintained and operated by the U.S. Air Force, it has become a critical instrument for supporting and enhancing the lives of all Americans. Indeed, it also performs this function for many societies throughout the entire world.

GPS navigation systems appear in many automobiles, and most are familiar with their use in driving from place to place. GPS is also the primary enabler of aircraft instrument approaches during bad weather. But less known is that GPS position measurements now determine property boundaries and its receiver has replaced the standard surveying tools, such as transit and measuring tape. Read more ..


The Media on Edge

Washington Post and David Cole Try to Bury History

July 23rd 2015

File Folders

The Washington Post published a brief letter to the editor from me Friday, addressing some false and misleading statements Georgetown University law professor David Cole made in a recent book review. See my letter here.

The Post limits such letters to 350 words, far too few to fully respond to the mischaracterizations Cole made in reviewing David K. Shipler's book, Freedom of Speech. In one chapter, Shipler devotes considerable effort to trying to debunk a key document outlining the Muslim Brotherhood's long-range ambitions in America.

The Brotherhood should engage in "a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within," the 1991 memorandum said.

In his review, Cole accuses me and others of using documents like this to make "a business of issuing impassioned, McCarthy-like warnings about Islamist conspiracies to take over the United States" and minimizes the memo as "nothing more than a thought piece drafted by a single individual in the early 1990s." Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Utter Disbelief at Obama Capitulation to Lunatic Iranian Leaders on Nuke

July 14th 2015

Trent Franks

For years we have watched in utter disbelief at the great lengths to which this Administration has gone in order to secure a deal at any price with Iran on their nuclear weapons program. As predicted, Barack Obama has capitulated to the lunatic leaders of Iran in a “peace in our time” deal with that will strengthen Iran’s ability to foment terrorism throughout the world as it has for the last 40 years. 

Mr. Obama has now successfully negotiated away every nonnegotiable and struck a faulty deal that legitimizes Iran on the world stage. Most dangerous of all, Iran will now have a protected protocol to enrich uranium and produce plutonium on its own soil. This is an issue impossible to overstate. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, whose leadership envisions "a world without America," has threatened to "wipe out Israel in a sea of fire." It is to this nation that this administration has now bowed at the negotiating table. Today the Prime Minister of Israel, our most trusted ally in the region said "obviously we are going to have to continue to prepare to defend ourselves by ourselves." It is an absolute disgrace that this President has sacrificed the security and stability of this important ally and our greatest friend in the world, along with the entire human family on the altar of perceived international civility. This is a betrayal that history will never forget. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Iran Nuke Deal Realizes the Deepest of Fears

July 14th 2015

Iranian Qiam missile launch

Today's announcement of this nuclear agreement with Iran is a realization of the deepest fears and the most dire predictions of skeptics who have, for two years, been warning against exactly this outcome -- a bad deal that both enriches this tyrannical regime and fails to strip Iran of nuclear weapons capability. The deal will give Iran billions in cash and sanctions relief to fuel its terror and war machines, shred the hard-won sanctions regime beyond repair, and enable the Iranians to get away with hiding the full extent of their nuclear work, infrastructure, and know-how. It will not have an enforceable inspections regime or a workable way to re-impose pressure on Iran when it cheats. And then, after just over a decade, most of this deal will expire, and Iran will be allowed to have a full-blown nuclear program-- a screw's turn away from a nuclear weapon.

It is important to ask: if a 3-month nuclear breakout by Iran is a problem today, why are we giving the Mullah’s in Tehran hundreds of billions of dollars, all so Iran will have a zero break out time, according to President Obama himself, in just over a decade? Read more ..


Broken Healthcare

Costs Imposed By 'Medical Industrial Complex' Defy Reason

June 9th 2015

Medical bag

One of the reasons Americans tolerate paying so much more for health care than citizens of any other country — and getting less to show for it — is our gullibility. We’ve been far too willing to believe the self-serving propaganda we’ve been fed for decades by health insurers and pharmaceutical companies and every other part of the medical-industrial complex, a term New England Journal of Medicine editor Arnold Relman coined 35 years ago to describe the uniquely American health care system.

One of the other reasons we tolerate unreasonably high health care costs is gullibility’s close and symbiotic relative: blind adherence to ideology.  By this I mean the belief that the free market — the invisible hand Adam Smith wrote about more than two centuries ago and that many Americans hold as a nonnegotiable tenet of faith — can work as well in health care as it can in other sectors of the economy.

Read more ..

The World on Edge

A Net Assessment of the World

May 19th 2015

Police and inverted US Flag

A pretentious title requires a modest beginning. The world has increasingly destabilized and it is necessary to try to state, as clearly as possible, what has happened and why. This is not because the world is uniquely disorderly; it is that disorder takes a different form each time, though it is always complex.

To put it simply, a vast swath of the Eurasian landmass (understood to be Europe and Asia together) is in political, military and economic disarray. Europe and China are struggling with the consequences of the 2008 crisis, which left not only economic but institutional challenges. Russia is undergoing a geopolitical crisis in Ukraine and an economic problem at home. The Arab world, from the Levant to Iran, from the Turkish border through the Arabian Peninsula, is embroiled in politically destabilizing warfare. The Western Hemisphere is relatively stable, as is the Asian Archipelago. But Eurasia is destabilizing in multiple dimensions. Read more ..


America on Edge

Falling Short of Greatness

May 14th 2015

Armstrong_Williams

When African-Americans marched on Washington to hear the historic ‘I have a dream’ speech by Martin Luther King, they were pressing for a society that looked very much like that in which they already lived – a society built on freedom; a society that protected life, liberty and the pursuits of happiness among its citizens.  Many of those freedoms and protections had not been extended to African Americans of course.  And so they came to Washington to ‘cash a check’ (to paraphrase King) that would cover the remainder of their birthright as American citizens.

What blacks got when they cashed that check was not their birthright. Of course the right to vote was formally recognized and began to be slowly enforced.  But Washington’s main thrust was to try and paper over the decades of pain and oppression suffered by blacks with a shiny new toy – the Great Society program.  The program offered to cure all the ills of black America with government entitlements – Food Aid, housing assistance, Medicare, a variety of educational enrichment programs, and the like – it promised a glorious path for Americans (black Americans especially) out of poverty and into the middle class.  Those were the glory days of America.  With a large industrial base and a growing economy, it seemed as if authorizing major new spending programs designed to deal with intractable social problems just might be the key to maintaining racial harmony and achieving the goals of social justice set forth by King and others. Read more ..


Vote 2016

Ben Carson and Baltimore

May 6th 2015

Ben Carson-scrubs

Regardless of how Dr. Ben Carson chooses to try to convince Republican voters that he should be their candidate for president, Carson's personal story is particularly worthy of the attention of all Americans during these troubled times.

His story defies much of the conventional wisdom we get from both the left and the right to "explain" the grave social problems in our poor minority communities and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles to success facing poor black children.

From the left, we hear that black life in America would have no hope but for government programs to ease the burdens of an unfair hand dealt by the past and an unwelcoming and racist present.

But Carson is a poster child for the American dream. Born poor in a black ghetto in Detroit and raised by a divorced, uneducated mother, he rose to the pinnacle of the medical profession, becoming director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The fuel for his success was not government programs, but a stern and caring mother who refused to accept excuses for failure, Christian values of right and wrong and personal responsibility, and an ethic for work, learning and achievement.

From the right, we hear that the rampant problems with young black men today stem from the collapse of the black family and the absence of fathers.

But Carson was raised without a father at home.

So what can we learn from Carson's experience that could point to what is wrong in America today?

One thing wrong is that it has become politically incorrect to talk about the importance of religion.

It is impossible to explain Carson's remarkable life and achievements without the Christian faith and values that guided his mother and have served him throughout his life. Read more ..


Islam on Edge

The Koran and Eternal War

May 3rd 2015

Koran and prayer beads

Last year, Russia decalred it would ban key Islamic scriptures—including Sahih Bukhari—on the charge that they promote "exclusivity [supremacism] of one of the world's religions," namely Islam; or, in the words of a senior assistant to the prosecutor of Tatarstan Ruslan Galliev, "a militant Islam" which "arouses ethnic, religious enmity."

If Sahih Bukhari, a nine-volume hadith collection compiled in the 9th century and seen by Sunni Muslims as second in importance only to the Koran itself is being banned for inciting hostility, where does that leave the Koran?

After all, if Sahih Bukhari contains pro-terrorism statements attributed to the prophet of Islam and calls to kill Muslims who leave Islam, the Koran, Islam's number one holy book itself is full of intolerance and calls for violence against non-believers. A tiny sampling of proclamations from Allah follows: Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

American Jews Must Stand and be Counted in Iranian Crisis

April 15th 2015

Ali Rouhani of Iran

The announcement of the Lausanne joint statement concerning the framework of the U.S. deal with Iran highlighted the extent of President Barack Obama’s subterfuge and deception. We also witnessed the blatant contempt of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who rejected key components of the “agreements” and referred to America’s “devilish” objectives while his audience chanted “Death to America.” Yet Obama continued insisting that a genuine framework for a deal had been achieved and dismissed Khamenei’s remarks as merely for “domestic consumption.” He reiterated that Iran would not become a nuclear power “under his watch.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now no longer a voice in the wilderness. There has been a surge of condemnations from wide sections of the media, including many liberal and even Obama stalwarts who, ironically, effectively vindicated Netanyahu’s congressional critique of the deal — which they had previously mocked. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Obama's Dangerous Wordplay About Iran's Bomb

April 13th 2015

Obama and bright lights

As if the Islamic Republic of Iran's determined pursuit of nuclear weapons, track record of bloody terrorism, aggressive geopolitical power grabs, abhorrent human rights violations and history of lies were not enough – President Obama’s recent interview should prove to everyone just how dangerous the framework agreement announced in Lausanne really is.

In an interview with Tom Friedman, President Obama said, "I’ve been very clear that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon on my watch."

That last bit bears repeating: "Iran will not get a nuclear weapon on my watch." This confirms what many of us have suspected all along: the framework agreement will enable Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon; the mullahs in Tehran will just have to wait a little while. Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

Dining with the Enemy

April 12th 2015

Iran-US Hatred

Pastor Saeed Abedini, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, and former Marine Corps Sgt. Amir Hekmati represent the essence of what makes America American — yet today all three are unjustly imprisoned in Iran.

That these individuals languish in jail while their captors repeatedly dine with America's secretary of state is of course repugnant. But such commentary would be rejected as short­sighted by the defenders of the Obama administration's negotiations with Tehran. They would no doubt tell us to look at the bigger picture and approach international diplomacy with the detached realism that necessitates sacrificing a few for the many.

But given the values they represent, might the unjust incarceration of these three American citizens — a pastor, a journalist and a Marine — inform our larger understanding of striking a deal with the Islamic Republic? Read more ..


Broken Science

Widespread Fraud in Peer Reviewed Scientific Papers

April 10th 2015

Test Tubes

You can find papers on just about every side of a topic.  Think tanks, advocacy groups, and activists churn out reports arguing their side of a contested issue. Some are authoritative.  Others should be read with skepticism. Case in point.  A British medical association recently published this report  that claimed to have reviewed fracking “through a comprehensive public health lens.”  The report prompted several prominent British doctors to publicly oppose fracking on health grounds.

Then it was reported several of the paper’s claims were not accurate.  Some of the report was written by an anti-fracking activist who had no medical training, whatsoever. Some papers are indeed sketchy. On the other hand, much credibility is given to peer-reviewed studies. There are considered near-pure science. Read more ..


Broken Government

Accountability at the VA

April 8th 2015

Money Stack

In 2013, an internal audit found irregularities totaling $200,000 in the expense reports of Polycom CEO Andrew Miller.  He immediately resigned from the company.
Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Miller with fraud.  And Polycom agreed to pay a $750,000 fine.
This is an example of accountability.  Accountability to the company, to the shareholders, and compliance with government regulations.

Here’s a contrast.

My computer map program says it’s about 150 miles between the Veterans Administration headquarters in Washington, DC and the V.A. regional office in Philadelphia. About a three-hour drive. A whistleblower reported the Veterans Administration doled out nearly $300,000 to V.A. executive Diana Rubens to cover her transfer expenses from the DC office to Philadelphia. Two-hundred and eighty-eight thousand and change to be more precise. Read more ..


Obama and Israel

American Jews Rethink Loyalty to Democratic Party Over Iran Deal

April 7th 2015

Voting Booth

Jewish leaders in the United States are starting to rethink the instinctive ties the community has had with the Democratic Party from time immemorial.

The change of heart comes in the wake of the deal signed last week with Tehran allowing it to pursue nuclear technology development and research.

Last week, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough met with a group of Jewish Democratic Congress members to discuss the issue. According to a source who was present at the meeting, McDonough was told that to help “sell a very unpopular deal to our constituents…” President Barack Obama would have to “increase his popularity with our constituents,” Fox News reported.

He was also advised to suggest the president tone down his war with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – or at least avoid “getting into a daily argument” with him, as one person at the meeting reportedly put it. Read more ..


Christianity on Edge

Apple and the War on Christianity

April 4th 2015

Star Parker right crop

Columnist George Will points out that Apple’s openly gay CEO, Tim Cook, “...thinks Indiana is a terrible place. (But) He opened marketing and retail operations in Saudi Arabia two months before a man was sentenced to 450 lashes for being gay.”

Will was commenting on Cook’s recent Washington Post op-ed protesting Indiana’s new, now amended, Religious Freedom Restoration Act and similar initiatives around the country.

World Magazine reports that Cook has recently been in the United Arab Emirates negotiating on behalf of Apple, where homosexuality is against the law and the penalty is death.

Cook’s duplicity is not just in deeds, but also in words.

The Indiana law was passed to protect religious freedom, mirroring existing federal law and law in 31 states around the nation. Our Declaration of Independence notes our inalienable rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." But for Cook, who purports in his op-ed to care about freedom, protection of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" for a Christian is an act of aggression against gays. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Oil is Still Fueling Iran's Atomic Ambitions

April 3rd 2015

Edwin Black

At the moment, the world remains profoundly unsure about the deal now emerging from recent negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. Iran's R-265 spheroidal three-stage warheads are almost ready to load into Teheran’s Shahab-3 missile nosecones. The Shabab-3 missiles, remonikered from their North Korean origin, are designed to airburst at a height of approximately 650 meters over Tel Aviv replicating the atomic explosion over Hiroshima. To complete the circuit, Iran is only missing the 25 to 27 kg of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) — the so-called "significant quantity" — each bomb needs to detonate into a mushroom cloud. That “significant quantity” is, at this moment, being distilled from uranium, gram by gram, in Iran’s long rows of ever-whirring centrifuges. The incremental process relies on intermediate levels of 5 percent and 20 percent, which respectively achieves some 75 percent and 90 percent of the target enrichment, according to nuclear experts.

While the world’s diplomats are focused on the two key fuels, uranium and plutonium, one ancient fuel drives this entire process. That ancient fuel is oil.

Petrodollars have been financing Iran’s nuclear program for almost two decades. So, while the International Atomic Energy Agency is struggling to embed its monitors deep inside Iran’s infrastructure, the average person can help slow the centrifuges simply by reducing their household’s demand for oil.

Even though Iranian oil has been proscribed by international sanctions, all oil is fungible. When oil consumption is measurably reduced in America and elsewhere, it very quickly lowers the value of the global supply. That cheapens the value of Iran’s oil, the financial furnace of its nuclear program. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Boston Marathon Bomber's Mosque Examined

March 31st 2015

Boston Marathon Massacre

The Boston Marathon bombers’ mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), employs an intensive radicalizing program aimed at Boston’s historically moderate Muslim community, especially at its youth. It’s called “Tarbiya,” which is Arabic for “growth and refinement.” It is not something that is practiced as part of classical mainstream Islam.

APT has obtained several curriculum documents created by ISB-affiliated groups, which describe exactly what is taught and when, with assignments detailed down to book and page number. We are making the most detailed and traceable of these documents available here and here. We will focus in this article on a particular Tarbiya program called “Young Muslims,” which was explicitly endorsed by Suhaib Webb, the Imam of the ISB’s mega-mosque in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. It lists books that all participants must read, and even includes page numbers for specific assignments (the document was formerly available at the program’s website, and can still be accessed through an archived version of the site). Read more ..


The 2016 Vote

Hillary Clinton is Another Step Closer to Starting Presidential Campaign

March 22nd 2015

Click to select Image

As Hillary Clinton readies her campaign, Ready for Hillary is getting ready to step aside.

Founded to convince the former secretary of State to run for office, the organization is planning to dissolve as soon as possible after Clinton formally announces.

Their parting gift to her: A list of more than 3.6 million supporters they’ll push to sign on with Clinton's official campaign, leaving her with a huge pool of potential donors and volunteers as she enters the race.

"When she announces a decision, our work will be complete," Ready for Hillary Executive Director Adam Parkhomenko told The Hill. “My number one goal is to identify as many supporters as possible and if she announces she's running to transition as many of them over to the campaign.” Read more ..


Obama and Israel

Extreme Israel Basher Appointed by Obama to Key Mideast Post

March 11th 2015

Bibi Netanyahu with Glasses

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly criticized President Barack Obama for appointing veteran anti-Israel diplomat, Robert Malley, as White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region. Malley is an Israel-basher, an advocate of U.S. recognition of major, unreconstructed terrorist groups Hamas and Hizballah, and a proponent of the containment of Iran (i.e., not preventing them from attaining nuclear weapons).

Robert Malley's record includes the following:

Served as a Special Assistant dealing with Middle Eastern and South Asian issues under President Bill Clinton during 1998-2001 and was one of President Obama's closest advisers for Middle East issues until his affinity for negotiating with Hamas became public in 2008. Read more ..


The World on Edge

Historians Cannot Help in Sorting Out the Vast Transformation of the World

February 10th 2015

Click to select Image

Historians cheat. Mostly, they reconstruct the story of our past as a straightforward narrative with a beginning, middle, and sometimes even an end.

What they don't usually tell us is that a great deal more was going on than that single narrative of events--and, sometimes they have to flip back and pick up another strand instead to straighten it out.

That's why, at the moment, there is little that the historians can do to help us sort out the enormous chain of events that is deciding the future of the world and of the U.S. For the world is in the throes of vast developments, as perhaps it always is, which will profoundly affect the future of all of us.

About all we can do is to be as clearheaded as possible about the various candidate strands for our attention.

So here goes: Read more ..


Afghanistan on Edge

In Afghanistan, the New Year Begins with an Ignominious End

February 7th 2015

Afgan Women in Burka

Not since America's humiliating defeat in Vietnam has that country faced such a comprehensive failure of objectives as in Afghanistan, where some weeks ago the NATO flag was lowered to mark the end of a 13-year war.

While the ignominious April 30, 1975 American retreat from Saigon was a public debacle, best captured by the scene of the last U.S. helicopter lifting off from its embassy in the South Vietnamese capital, the withdrawal from Kabul was a quieter but sorry ceremony.

The event marking the end of America's longest war was held in a basketball gym inside NATO headquarters in Kabul. As a brass band played and a colour guard marched, the U.S. commander, Gen. John F. Campbell, uttered words that sounded hollow to many. "Our commitment to Afghanistan endures ... We are not walking away," he said. Read more ..


Turkey on Edge

Mr. Davutoglu vs. Prime Minister Davutoglu

February 5th 2015

Turk flags

No doubt, Ahmet Davutoglu  the human being is an honest, hard-working and modest man of academia. There are increasing signs that his struggle as head of the Turkish executive will not be against, as he mysteriously puts it, "those [enemies] who envy Turkey's success story in the last 12 years." In reality, Mr. Davutoglu's inner struggle is probably against Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Last Oct. 17, Davutoglu the fair-minded human being said the system of paid exemption from military service would be halted because it was unfair. "[We cannot allow a system] where the poor boy is drafted and the son of the rich man is exempted because he can pay for it," Davutoglu the human being said. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

State of Delusion

January 29th 2015

Armstrong_Williams

Most of the discussion following President Obama’s recent State of the Union Address pointed to his decision to announce various programs and goals that have no chance of being actually being passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate.  But the most cynical, and probably the most dangerous, collision between reality and rhetoric was when the President spoke about Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program.
 
Members of Congress who are concerned by the ongoing nuclear progress of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism are interested in pursuing a bill that would provide a backstop should the talks between Iran and the P5+1 ultimately break down due to Tehran’s unwillingness to dismantle its nuclear arms program.  
 
The bipartisan legislation authored by Sens. Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez would not impose new sanctions on Iran; instead the measure is essentially a diplomatic insurance policy that improves the likelihood that Iran may decide to actually cut a deal rather than face stringent economic consequences. 
 
The Obama Administration has in recent days undertaken a full-fledged assault on the idea, wielding false assertions that seem to reflect desperation by the President and his staff to cut a deal with Iran at all costs—even if that means agreeing to a bad deal.  The administration has even gone so far as to solicit an oped from our European allies urging Congress not to put in place the necessary measures to use financial pressure if, and only if, the negotiations fail.  These are dangerous games and they send exactly the wrong signal to Iran.
Read more ..

Islam on Edge

Mind the Gap

January 29th 2015

Paratroopers at Eiffel

The Charlie Hebdo attack and its aftermath in the streets and in the press tempt one to dust off Samuel Huntington's 1996 book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Despite the criticisms he provoked with that book and his earlier 1993 article in Foreign Affairs, recent events would seem to be proving him prescient.

Or was he?

While I am not about to deny the importance of religion and culture as drivers of geopolitical dynamics, I will argue that, more important than the clashes among the great civilizations, there is a clash within each of the great civilizations. This is the clash between those who have "made it" (in a sense yet to be defined) and those who have been "left behind" — a phrase that is rich with ironic resonance.

Before I make my argument, I warn that the point I'm trying to make is fairly subtle. So, in the interest of clarity, let me lay out what I'm not saying before I make that point. I am not saying that Islam as a whole is somehow retrograde. I am not agreeing with author Sam Harris' October 2014 remark on "Real Time with Bill Maher" that "Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas." Nor am I saying that all religions are somehow equal, or that culture is unimportant. The essays in the book Culture Matters, which Huntington helped edit, argue that different cultures have different comparative advantages when it comes to economic competitiveness. These essays build on the foundation laid down by Max Weber's 1905 work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. It is only the "sulfuric odor of race," as Harvard historian David Landes writes on the first page of the first essay in Culture Matters, that has kept scholars from exploring the under-researched linkages between culture and economic performance.

Read more ..

The Way We Are

The Terrifying Utilitarian Calculus of Guantanamo Bay Detentions

January 29th 2015

After a six-year legal battle, a detainee has given his side of the story of his arrest, rendition and interrogation. It's horrific.

There are many incredible things about the diary recently published by Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi. It contains over 2,500 redactions, and was only published after a six-year legal battle. Its author was cleared for release in 2010 but still languishes in Guantanamo, and is unlikely to be released this year.

Among other outrages, the diary documents how Slahi, after suffering the indignity and abuse that arose from genuine renditions, was subject to a “fake rendition process” designed to make him feel he was “being transferred to some far, faraway secret prison.”

As part of this fake rendition, he was subjected to a beating so severe he was unable to stand, then taken out to sea on a boat for three hours and forced to drink salt water as he feared he would be killed if he refused. Read more ..


The Edge of Tolerance

Turkey's Celebration of Gallipoli Centenary Mars Armenian Genocide Commemoration

January 28th 2015

Period photo of victim of Armenian genocide

Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan has invited numerous heads of state to the April 24 commemoration, including Armenian President Serzh Sarkysian. In recent days, the Armenian press published Sarkysian’s reply to Erdogan in which he rejects the invitation. The letter also accused Turkey of seeking to perpetuate its longstanding denial that the mass killing of 1.5 million people by the Ottomans amounted to a genocide.

Turkey has maintained that the genocide is to be blamed on Ottoman authorities who ruled the Anatolian peninsula, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. Sarkysian accused the Turkish government of seeking to distract the world’s attention away from the memory of the genocide.

A bilingual Armenian weekly published in Istanbul, Agos, called the invitation "a dishonest step" on the part of the Turkish leader. Christians living in Turkey say that the commemoration of the battle on the same day on which Armenians will remember the hundreds of thousands of Christian Armenians, Greeks, and others by Ottoman authorities in 1915 is an unnecessary provocation. Read more ..


Broken Government

Government Housing -- Bad idea

January 27th 2015

Panic in Detroit

This past week, following the nation's celebration of the birthday of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the U.S. Supreme Court heard an important case related to landmark law enacted during the civil rights era – the Fair Housing Law of 1968.

This case highlights how some policies that followed civil rights era legislation – in this case government low-income housing projects – actually have hurt the very communities they were supposed to help.

The Court heard arguments in the case Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v The Inclusive Communities Project, a non-profit defining itself as for “thriving racially and economically inclusive communities.” No one questions the illegality of refusing to sell or rent to someone because of his or her race. But what about policies not intended to be discriminatory, but that may produce results that might be deemed as such? Read more ..


The War on Terror

Here's Why the United States is Losing the Fight Against Islamist Terror

January 19th 2015

Click to select Image

The United States has been at war with radical Islamist terrorism for at least 35 years, starting with the November 1979 Iranian seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and taking of 52 American hostages. President Jimmy Carter , in his State of the Union address two months later, declared the American captives “innocent victims of terrorism.”

For the next two decades, radical Islamist terrorism grew more powerful and more sophisticated. On Sept. 11, 2001, a remarkably sophisticated effort by Islamist terrorists killed nearly 3,000 Americans in New York City, Washington, D.C., and western Pennsylvania.

In response to the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor, President George W. Bush told a joint session of Congress: “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.” Read more ..


Islam's War Against Hinduism

Hindu Nursing Lecturer Hacked to Death for Not Wearing Hijab

January 15th 2015

Bengali Islamists

On January 11, 2015, Anjali Devi, 57, was brutally murdered by a group of young men associated with Jamayat-e-Islami.

She was a Hindu, living in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, an honored teacher of nursing at a medical college, a nurse who was concerned with proper hygiene for nurses.

But the Islamist group Jamayat-e-Islami had issued a fatwa demanding that nurses wear hijab. By definition, doing so increases the risk of a nurse carrying a disease from one patient to another and violates operating room procedures. Bangladeshi daily newspaper The Independent reports that police are refusing to officially tie the attack to the group—“We are not pretty sure who the real assassin is, and the motive behind it (murder) is not clear yet.”—but witnesses noted Devi’s opposition to the hijab as the most likely reason for the murder. Read more ..



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