Thursday, September 29, 2016

Secret Report: Terrorists Running Wild Within U.S. Borders - Matthew Vadum




by Matthew Vadum

Leaked document reveals the staggering breadth of domestic terrorist activity -- and the administration's cover-up.

The Obama administration has been concealing the staggering breadth of terrorist activity in the United States – quantified as close to 8,000 terrorist encounters in a recent year -- a leaked government report suggests.

There are disturbing parallels between the Obama administration’s ongoing cover-up of the true extent of terrorist operations in the U.S. and its election season cover-up four years ago of the real causes of the Benghazi, Libya terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012.

Remember that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly lied four years ago, saying the Benghazi attack was carried out by an angry mob of Muslims that had been inflamed by an obscure anti-Islam video on YouTube. It has since been established that Clinton advised her daughter Chelsea by email on the very night of the assault that cost four American lives that Muslim terrorists from an al-Qaeda-like group were the actual perpetrators. 

The Obama administration participated in the ruse because Election Day 2012 was only weeks away at the time and the White House didn’t want information getting out that countered the official narrative that al-Qaeda was on the run and that Obama’s policies were decimating the nation’s terrorist enemies.

The lie got Obama past the finish line in 2012, so it’s not hard to conclude that he is following the same playbook right now to make it seem like the homeland is safe and secure on his watch. If the public knew that terrorists were running wild all across the fruited plain it might be difficult for Obama to carry Clinton, his preferred would-be successor and a fellow radical left-wing Alinskyite, into the winner’s circle this Nov. 8.

This is because word of fresh Obama administration misconduct or incompetence imperiling national security and putting innocent Americans at risk could hurt Clinton, a former member of his cabinet and therefore the candidate of the status quo, at the polls.

The government report itself is chilling. 

“Known or Suspected Terrorist (KST) Encounters,” a Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) document obtained by Brandon Darby, editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas, states that there were an astounding 7,712 encounters between terrorists and law enforcement officials from July 20, 2015 through July 20, 2016. The report is labeled, “UNCLASSIFIED/LAW ENFORCEMENT SENSITIVE.”

The TSC maintains the U.S. government’s consolidated Terrorist Watchlist, which is a single database of identifying information about, in the words of the Justice Department, those “known or reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorist activity.” The multi-agency organization is administered by the FBI and provides operational support for federal, state, local, and foreign governments.

The report breaks down encounters by category but only for the state of Arizona. The sixth page of the TSC report contains a pie chart showing that the majority of encounters in Arizona were with known or suspected Islamic terrorists, both Sunni and Shi’a. There were 89 encounters with Sunni Muslims and 56 with Shi’a Muslims. Seventy were categorized as “Other International Terrorist Groups or Affiliates,” and 52 as “Domestic Terrorism.”

Many of those terrorist encounters took place near the nation’s southern border. Others happened at ports-of-entry, or in-between, suggesting that suspected terrorists used stealth to enter U.S. territory. The most affected states were the border states of California, Michigan, New York, and Texas, along with Florida, Illinois, and the District of Columbia.

The news comes as communities in Minnesota, New York, and Washington State are reeling from recent Islamic terrorist attacks.

There have been 92 Muslim terrorist plots in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001. The overwhelming majority of those plots took place during Barack Obama’s presidency.

Here is where the figure of 92 comes from: the Heritage Foundation hasn’t updated its list of all the post-9/11 Muslim terrorist plots in the U.S. since a July 2 terrorist event, but as of that date the figure was 89. Of those 89, only 27 took place during George W. Bush’s presidency.

Number 90 since Sept. 11, 2001 would be the Sept. 17 bombing in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood allegedly carried out by Ahmad Khan Rahami. Number 91 took place the same day at Crossroads Mall, in St. Cloud, Minnesota when Dahir Adan stabbed nine people. Number 92 was the Sept. 23 Cascade Mall shooting spree in Burlington, Washington allegedly carried out by Arcan Cetin.

News of the TSC report also came as FBI Director James Comey testified the U.S. will become a victim of its own counter-terrorism success in coming years as Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) loses control of its territory in Syria and Iraq. He told the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday that the anticipated exodus of fighters will be larger than that which flowed out of post-war Afghanistan in the 1980s.

"The so-called caliphate will be crushed. The challenge will be: through the fingers of that crush are going to come hundreds of very, very dangerous people," Comey said, repeating a similar warning he offered in July.

Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who is locked in a tough reelection battle with former Sen. Russ Feingold (D), took Comey’s testimony with a grain of salt.

He acknowledged that the territory held by Islamic State has shrunk, but said efforts against it have been so slow that the terrorist group that claims to be an Islamic caliphate is reconstituting elsewhere.

"We haven’t reduced their capability. The diaspora has already begun," Johnson said. "We're poking the hive. We've done some damage to it but the killer bees are leaving the hive. They’re setting up new hives."

Comey said Islamic State fighters “will not all die on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq. There will be a terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years like we've never seen before."

"We must prepare ourselves and our allies particularly in western Europe to confront that threat because when ISIL is reduced to an insurgency and those killers flow out they will try to come to western Europe and try to come here to kill innocent people," he said.

Of course Comey is assuming America’s war against Islamic terrorism – as modest as it may be – will continue in coming years.

That is not a reasonable assumption.


Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/264335/secret-report-terrorists-running-wild-within-us-matthew-vadum

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Who says there’s no detail behind Trumponomics? - Bill Weckesser




by Bill Weckesser

Wilbur Ross said: "When evaluated as a single integrated whole, the Trump plan is revenue neutral and fiscally conservative. It grows the economy much faster than Hillary Clinton's plan to raise taxes, increase regulation, stifle our energy sector, and perpetuate chronic trade deficits."

Legendary investor Wilbur Ross and University of California-Irvine Professor Peter Navarro have released a must-read scoring and analysis of Trump’s economic plan.

One of the most shocking takeaways is the assault on the idea that high union wages alone have killed American manufacturing. In what would be music to a union workers ears, Ross and Navarro unravel some of the knot of global taxation. They cite the World Trade Organization, which began overseeing trade in 1995 -- circa NAFTA -- in which all 164 nations have but one vote. Guess who they gang up on? Layer on their explanation of the hidden tariffs at the core of Value Added Taxes (VAT) and it’s no wonder we’ve had lost decades.

Under WTO rules, any foreign company that manufactures domestically and exports goods to America (or elsewhere) receives a rebate on the VAT it has paid. This turns the VAT into an implicit export subsidy. At the same time, the VAT is imposed on all goods that are imported and consumed domestically so that a product exported by the U.S. to a VAT country is subject to the VAT. This turns the VAT into an implicit tariff on American exporters over and above the corporate income taxes they must pay. Thus, under the WTO system, American corporations suffer a “triple whammy”: foreign exports into the U.S. market get VAT relief, US exports into foreign markets must pay the VAT, and U.S. exporters get no relief on any income taxes paid. The practical effect of the WTO’s unequal treatment of America’s income tax system is to give our major trading partners a 15% to 25% unfair tax advantage in international transactions. (While in principle, exchange rates should adjust over time to offset border adjustment, in the near term, exchange rate manipulation leads to major effects on trade flows.)

Fascinating that the Clintons find themselves at the epicenter of these global deals. Next, add in the effects of unnecessary rules and regulations that are often designed more by bureaucrats than legislators. Ross and Navarro see big savings here from common sense reform.

We assume the Trump plan seeks to reduce the current regulatory burden by a minimum of 10% or $200 billion annually. It proposes a temporary pause on new regulations not compelled by Congress or public safety and a review of previous regulations to see which need to be scrapped. Each Federal agency will prepare a list of all of the regulations they impose on American business, and the least critical regulations to health and safety will receive priority consideration for repeal.

As for busting the budget, not so, says Wilbur Ross. 

Wilbur Ross said: "When evaluated as a single integrated whole, the Trump plan is revenue neutral and fiscally conservative. It grows the economy much faster than Hillary Clinton's plan to raise taxes, increase regulation, stifle our energy sector, and perpetuate chronic trade deficits." 

The full text is anathema to globalists. And thus the widespread, top-to-bottom, across the media, big money, elitist, opposition to Trump.


Bill Weckesser

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/09/who_says_theres_no_detail_behind_trumponomics.html

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Israel Inks Historic Gas Deal with Jordan At Perilous Time - Ari Lieberman




by Ari Lieberman


How the Israeli Navy is preparing for war with Hezbollah.

Israel this week signed a historic agreement with Jordan to supply the energy-starved kingdom with natural gas from its Leviathan gas field. The deal is worth a reported $10 billion and has instantly transformed the Jewish state into an energy exporter. In addition to the obvious pecuniary benefits to the Israeli economy, the agreement promotes regional stability by creating an energy and economic interdependence.

Israel is now looking to sign energy deals with two other regional players of import, Greece and Cyprus. Israel’s energy minister plans on traveling to Athens on Wednesday to cement agreements. The Israeli plan centers on laying a network of pipes so that natural gas can be shipped to these nations as well as other European countries. Currently, much of Europe relies on Russian gas and an alternative source would be welcome. Even Turkey, which recently exchanged ambassadors with Israel after a long hiatus, has expressed interest in cooperating with Israel in the energy sector.

Israel currently operates and lays claim to four gas fields off its coast. Two small ones are located off the shores of Ashkelon while the two larger ones – called Tamar and Leviathan – are located in the north, approximately 90 miles west of Haifa. 

Leviathan should be fully operational within a few years while the other fields are already supplying Israel with natural gas. Israel derives approximately 60 percent of its electricity needs through natural gas. Energy officials estimate that since the gas began flowing just over a decade ago, Israel has saved approximately 35.5 billion shekels which translates to $9.6 billion.

The welcome news however, comes with cost. Lebanon, which is controlled by Hezbollah, which in turn receives its marching orders from Iran, has laid claim to Israel’s energy finds. Lebanon’s maritime and territorial claims are wholly without merit and it is a virtual certainty that they were made at the behest of either Hezbollah or Iran or both.

While Lebanon’s navy is negligible and poses no threat to Israel and its off-shore gas platforms, Hezbollah does pose a more significant threat. Hezbollah possesses a number of Chinese C-802 radar guided anti-ship missiles. A missile of this type damaged an Israeli corvette, the INS Hanit, during the 2006 Lebanon War (the ship was repaired and returned to service 3 weeks later) and sunk a civilian Egyptian ship cruising some 37 miles from shore. 

The C-802 can be defeated through electronic counter measures (ECM) and point defense systems like the Barak-8 anti-missile, anti-aircraft system and the Phalanx. In the case of the Hanit, its captain had turned off the ship’s ECM systems because he did not believe that Hezbollah had such missiles. Of greater concern is the Russian Yakhont missile which is considered more accurate and less susceptible to ECM than the C-802.

Israel considers these missiles game-changers because they significantly enhance Hezbollah’s anti-ship capabilities. They also quite naturally pose a threat to Israel’s offshore gas platforms and related infrastructure. In the past few years, Israel has launched several successful attacks on Syria aimed at interdicting the flow of sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah but it is believed that notwithstanding these efforts, Hezbollah has taken possession of a limited number of Yakhont missiles.

In addition to the missile threat, Israel must also prepare for other contingencies such as suicide speed boats and remotely piloted drones packed with explosives. Israel can also not discount the possibility that Hezbollah may attempt to seize an offshore platform with shock troops.


While Hezbollah is fully engaged in Syria and the threat level remains relatively low for the moment, Israel is not resting on its laurels. It is significantly enhancing the Navy’s tactical and strategic capabilities.

The Israeli Navy had once been considered the orphan child of the armed forces. Priority went to the ground and air forces with the Navy getting the leftover hand-me-downs. That perception changed during the Yom Kippur War of 1973 when the Navy was the only branch of the armed forces not taken by surprise during the initial Arab onslaught. Its fleet of Israeli and French designed missile boats decimated the entire Syrian navy and severely mauled the Egyptian navy while keeping the shipping lanes free for maritime traffic. The Navy’s role in securing Israel’s defense has come to prominence ever since.

In the next war with Hezbollah, the Navy will be tasked with neutralizing the Hezbollah menace and securing the eastern Mediterranean. Israel’s naval capabilities are indeed formidable. Its large fleet of Sa’ar 4.5 missile boats and Sa’ar 5 corvettes pack powerful punches and are equipped with Harpoon and Gabriel anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, an array of cannon, point defense missile systems and state-of-the-art ECM. 

The Sa’ar 5 is also equipped with a helipad and hangar to accommodate the Atalef helicopter. 
Complementing the corvettes and missile boats are some 45 patrol and fast attack craft, some of which are equipped with missiles and the highly regarded Typhoon stabilized cannon system. Rounding out the surface fleet will be a pair of F124 Sachsen-class frigates from Germany and the Sa’ar 72, an 800 ton vessel currently under construction by Israel Shipyards.

The Navy has also taken possession of its fifth submarine, the INS Rahav. The craft can deliver Israeli designed nuclear tipped missiles called the Popeye Turbo and can remain submerged for significantly longer periods than conventional submarines. It will be tasked with carrying out covert operations and remains a powerful deterrent against those who seek to harm Israel. 

Israel’s naval commandos are continuously training for scenarios in which they’re called upon to retake gas rigs seized by terrorists. The complex operation would be made more difficult by the fact that the terrorists could conceivably seize hostages and a firefight on the rig could set off an explosion or fire due to the presence of highly flammable materials. 

The challenges involved in protecting Israel’s gas rigs and related infrastructure are daunting but it appears that Israel is more than ready for the task and the Navy will serve as the nation’s tip of the spear.


Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/264336/israel-inks-historic-gas-deal-jordan-perilous-time-ari-lieberman

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Free Trade vs. Balanced Trade - Raymond Richman, Howard Richman and Jesse Richman




by Raymond Richman, Howard Richman and Jesse Richman

The slow U.S. economic growth rate of the last 17 years is unprecedented.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, trade has become a major economic and voting issue. For decades both political parties, in general, and Hillary Clinton in particular, have supported expansion of free trade through trade agreements that reduce tariff rates. In contrast, Donald Trump has upended that politics, seizing the Republican nomination with the promise to renegotiate trade agreements so that they balance trade.

As a result, the two alternatives in this year’s election are free trade vs. balanced trade. These are not necessary mutually exclusive. Indeed, there have been periods of world history in which trade has grown more free without getting out of balance. Especially notable were the 1840-1870 and the 1950-1997 periods. Those were the two golden ages of globalization in which tariff reductions around the world greatly benefited and integrated the world economy.

But the 1840-1870 period was followed by a period, much like the present, in which world trade became more and more unbalanced. The European countries were experiencing worsening trade deficits and eventually had to choose between free trade and balanced trade. Those that chose to balance their trade through tariffs resumed their economic growth, while those that stuck with free trade continued to stagnate. The United States faces a similar choice today.

The U.S. economic growth rate has followed the U.S. trade balance downward, as shown in the following graph:


The slow U.S. economic growth rate of the last 17 years is unprecedented. From 1999 through 2015, the average U.S. growth rate was just 2.1% per year, as compared with over 3% for almost every ten-year period during the previous five decades. And the first two quarters of 2016 (not shown on the chart) have been even lower -- just 0.8% and 1.1% growth. There are six primary reasons why trade deficits slow economic growth:
  1. They subtract from demand for American products. The negative trade balances since 1976, shown in blue in the graph above, have directly subtracted from each year’s GDP.
  2. Loss of manufacturing jobs. When imports exceed exports, there is a net loss of manufacturing jobs.
  3. Less investment in new factories. When foreign central banks manipulate exchange rates to keep the dollar’s exchange rate high and their exchange rates low, they reduce incentives to invest in American factories. 
  4. Less technological development. R&D is often related to current production and therefore needs to be near to factories. Also, “learning by doing” occurs in factories.
  5. Loss of economies of scale. As we lose factories, we lose economies of scale.
  6. Slower recoveries. Any stimulus leaks abroad as larger trade deficits.
The burden of the slower economic growth has fallen disproportionately upon America’s blue-collar middle class. They have lost highly-productive manufacturing jobs and have been forced to take less lucrative jobs in the service sector. This is a major reason why median U.S. family income, after subtracting for inflation, is lower today than it was in 1999.

The Problem of Mercantilism

Most of the problems of international trade are related to the fact that a number of countries have been running chronic trade surpluses which cause chronic trade deficits among their trading partners. They are following the mercantilist prescription of running trade surpluses in order to grow their economies more rapidly.

Almost all economists have decried mercantilism. For example, Adam Smith, the founder of modern economics called it a policy of “beggaring all their neighbors,” because mercantilists intend to grow at their trading partners’ expense.

The problem is that mercantilism works if trading partners tolerate it, as John Maynard Keynes, the founder of modern macro-economics pointed out in the chapter about mercantilism in his 1936 magnum opus The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money:
[A] favorable [trade] balance, provided it is not too large, will prove extremely stimulating; whilst an unfavorable balance may soon produce a state of persistent depression. (p. 338)
China and several other Asian countries have successfully grown their economies at U.S. expense by following the classic recipe for mercantilism as laid out by University of Chicago economist Jacob Viner in 1948 and Chinese economist Heng-fu Zou in 1997.

Mercantilism gives faster economic growth and increased political power to the trade surplus countries, but gives trade deficits, slower economic growth, and reduced political power to their trade-deficit victims. The correlation between trade balances and changes in political power are striking, as we demonstrated statistically in a recent conference paper.
Unfortunately, the majority of the American economic profession has completely ignored the growing research about the destructive nature of chronic trade deficits and about ways to combat them. For example, in their popular international economics textbooks, now in their tenth and eleventh editions, Paul Krugman (with his co-authors) and Dominick Salvatore never consider the causes of chronic trade deficits, and never offer remedies to those trade deficits.

The Business Economists

Fortunately, there are a growing number of respected economists who have been addressing the problem. Most are business economists, and thus in close touch with business managers and the problems that they are facing.

One is Prof. Ralph Gomory, Research Professor at the Stern School of Business of New York University and former Director of Research at IBM. He now supports a system of import certificates to balance trade.

Another is Prof. Peter Morici at the Robert H. Smith School of Business of the University of Maryland and former director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He now supports a dollar-yuan conversion tax that would be applied to Chinese imports into the United States at a rate that would be adjusted to the rate of Chinese currency market interventions.

Yet another is Donald Trump’s chief economic advisor, Prof. Peter Navarro at the Paul Merage School of Business of the University of California-Irvine. In his 2015 book Crouching Tiger he opposed Chinese currency manipulation and advocated countervailing duties against Chinese products.

In Navarro’s 2011 book Death by China, co-authored with Chinese dissident Greg Autry, he noted that China is singly responsible for about half of the total U.S. trade deficit and a half percent reduction in the U.S. growth rate. His estimate is in line with our own estimate, based upon the above graph, that current U.S. trade deficits are cutting the annual U.S. growth rate by about 1%. Specifically, he wrote:
As for the actual impact our Chinese import dependence has had on America’s growth and unemployment rates, this, too, is mind-boggling. Over the past decade, our trade deficit with China has typically shaved off close to a half a point of GDP growth a year. While that might not seem like a large sum, it translates into a cumulative impact of millions of jobs that the American economy failed to create. (p. 69)
The U.S. trade deficits have become an important political issue. The choice this election is between free trade and balanced trade. Trump, a businessman, and his chief economic advisor, a respected business economist, have put together a plan to balance trade.

If they succeed, they will significantly increase the U.S. annual economic growth rate, restore the blue-collar middle class, and begin the process of restoring U.S. economic and political power. If Hillary Clinton wins, the American economic decline, shown in red in the above graph, will likely continue.


Professor Emeritus Raymond Richman’s economics doctorate is from the University of Chicago.
The Richmans co-authored the 2014 book Balanced Trade published by Lexington Books, and the 2008 book Trading Away Our Future published by Ideal Taxes Association.

 
Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/09/free_trade_vs_balanced_trade.html

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Vote fraud and the future of the republic - Thomas Lifson




by Thomas Lifson

There is every reason to fear massive vote fraud targeted at ensuring that a faltering Hillary Clinton takes the election.

The left is making a bet that its vote fraud efforts can be disguised from the public long enough to win this election, and then open the floodgates to ensure that the left permanently rules America (and completes the fundamental transformation Obama promised).  There is every reason to fear massive vote fraud targeted at ensuring that a faltering Hillary Clinton takes the election.

The key is to import millions of Democrat voters from groups that reliably offer 90%+ support to the left and its promises of free stuff.  With Hillary in Oval Office and controlling the bureaucracy, citizenship can be accelerated.  But as shocking studies show, noncitizens are already voting in large numbers and affecting elections.  Fred Lucas reports at the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal:
The Obama administration opposes states verifying citizenship status of registered voters. Inquiries into voter fraud are typically met with derision from both government and the media—and in at least one instance with prosecution. Prosecutors don’t prioritize voter fraud, while convictions only garner light sentences.
These are among the voter fraud problems facing the United States, experts noted this week, even as prominent voices on the left say such fraud is a myth.
The left’s opposition to voter integrity laws or even inquiry can be simply explained, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.
“Why on earth would you not want to make sure that only citizens are registered and voting?” Fitton, author of “Clean House: Exposing Our Government’s Secrets and Lies,” said at a forum at The Heritage Foundation Tuesday. “That to me shows that the Obama administration and the left generally, which is behind this, wants to be able to steal elections if necessary. To me, that’s a crisis.”
A 2014 study by Old Dominion University found that 6.4 percent of all noncitizens voted in the 2008 election and 2.2 percent voted in the 2010 midterm elections. The study concludes this likely put Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat, over the top in the race in his 312-vote statewide victory over Republican Norm Coleman in 2008.
[If Franken had lost, Obamacare would not have been passed – ed.]
Fitton said this is approaching 15 percent of all noncitizens voting.
In the past, opponents have argued that ID requirements hurt minority participation. Meanwhile, studies have found minority voting has increased after voter ID was implemented.
So we are being sold two frauds: that fraud is a tiny problem, and that only citizens can vote. 
This week a New York Times editorial called voter fraud a “myth” and “fake”:
As study after study has shown, there is virtually no voter fraud anywhere in the country. The most comprehensive investigation to date found that out of one billion votes cast in all American elections between 2000 and 2014, there were 31 possible cases of impersonation fraud. Other violations—like absentee ballot fraud, multiple voting and registration fraud—are also exceedingly rare. So why do so many people continue to believe this falsehood?
Credit for this mass deception goes to Republican lawmakers, who have for years pushed a fake story about voter fraud, and thus the necessity of voter ID laws, in an effort to reduce voting among specific groups of Democratic-leaning voters.
Democrats know that the best defense is a good offense.  That’s why, in an effort to distract:
Rep. John Lewis, a pioneer in the civil rights movement, wants the Obama administration to appoint observers for the November election in certain states.
"We should ask for federal protection," the Georgia Democrat said Wednesday, warning "the election can be stolen on election day at polling places."
With (now discredited by her private jet secret meeting with Bill Clinton) Loretta Lynch in charge of the DOJ, the feds cannot be counted upon to bust the fraud.  This is classic misdirection.


Thomas Lifson

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/09/vote_fraud_and_the_future_of_the_republic.html

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US threatens to end negotiations with Russia on Syria - AFP




by AFP

US Secretary of State John Kerry called his Russian counterpart on Wednesday and warned him that Washington will end talks

Secretary of State John Kerry (Reuters)
Secretary of State John Kerry (Reuters)
"He informed the foreign minister that the United States is making preparations to suspend US-Russia bilateral engagement on Syria... unless Russia takes immediate steps to end the assault on Aleppo and restore the cessation of hostilities," the State Department said.


AFP

Source: http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/244837/World/Region/US-threatens-to-end-negotiations-with-Russia-on-Sy.aspx

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First Temple-era discovery at Tel Lachish - Arutz Sheva Staff




by Arutz Sheva Staff

Dig reveals ruins of a biblical city from the reign of King Hezkiyahu.



Gate revealed by the excavation in Tel Lachish
Gate revealed by the excavation in Tel Lachish
Guy Pitossi, Israel Antiques Authority
 
This site "Temple Gate" was revealed in a historic archaeological dig, giving a window into life during the First Second Temple Period. The site is described in the second book of Kings and confirms testimonies regarding King Hezkiyahu, credited for forbidding idol worship.

The dig was conducted between January and March by Israel Antiques Authority, an initiative of the Jerusalem Heritage Center and in corporation with the Jerusalem Parks society. The southern part of was discovered tens of years ago by a British delegation and then, later, by a delegation from the University of Tel Aviv. The current excavation uncovered the entire city. This excavation reveals the largest gate known in Israel from the First Temple Period.

Saar Ganor, director of the dig from Israel’s heritage society explained that “the size matches the historical knowledge and the archaeological knowledge, according to which Lachish was a central city- the second most important after Jerusalem. According to descriptions, Lachish was where everything happened. The elders of the city, the judges, governors, kings, and bureaucrats – all of them sat on the benches of this city. The benches were found in our dig.”

Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev explained that this discovery joins the long line of discoveries that give us a glimpse into our rich past.

Ze’ev Elkin, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Minister of Environmental Protection, explained that this excavation is an example of how stories from the Tanach, over and over again, become historical and archaeological stories as well.


Arutz Sheva Staff

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/218442

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Netanyahu: Peres a 'visionary' who championed defense of Israel - Arutz Sheva Staff




by Arutz Sheva Staff

Prime Minister eulogizes former rival and 1996 election opponent as 'visionary' who 'strengthened Israel's defense.'



Peres and Netanyahu
Peres and Netanyahu
Flash 90
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hailed former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres as a "visionary" and a "champion of Israel's defense" after the 93-year-old elder statesman's death earlier Wednesday morning.

"Shimon dedicated his life to the rebirth of our people," Netanyahu, who was a political rival of Peres, said in a statement.

"As a visionary he looked to the future. As a champion of Israel's defense, he strengthened its capacities in many ways, some of them still unacknowledged to this day," he added, referring to Peres's role in the development of Israel's undeclared nuclear program.

AFP contributed to this report


Arutz Sheva Staff

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/218436

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Why Israeli Jews lean to the right and American Jews to the left - David Rosenberg




by David Rosenberg

Study reveals wide gaps between Israeli and American Jews on religiosity, politics, Palestinian statehood, and the US-Israel relationship.

A report published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center reveals a growing gulf between American Jews and Israelis on everything from religious observance and affiliation, to political ideology, and views on hot-button issues like Palestinian statehood and US aid to Israel.

Close Relationship

The world’s two largest Jewish populations, each numbering some six million, have strongly positive feelings towards each other, Pew’s Neha Sahgal said.

“When we compared the attitudes of American Jews to Israel and Israeli Jews to the United States, it became really clear that they share an affinity for each other.”

Sahgal added that roughly 40% of American Jews have visited Israel – roughly the same proportion of Israeli Jews who have traveled to the United States.

“That’s a pretty high number, 40%,” said Sahgal.

‘Red State Israel’ versus ‘Blue State Americans’

But while the relationship between American and Israeli Jews remains strong, the two differ sharply on politics, and contrast strongly in religious observance and identity.

While American Jews lean strongly to the left, Israeli Jews tend to identify with the political center or right-wing.

To some extent, this has created cultural tensions between some progressive American Jews – particularly among younger Jews – and the Jewish state.

“They also have a strong liberal-to-conservative dispute,” Hebrew Union College’s Steven M. Cohen said, comparing the internal Jewish cultural divide to the rift between Republican-leaning “red” states and Democratic-leaning “blue” states in the US.

“In many respects, Israel is a ‘red state’, and American Jews are a ‘blue country’.”

According to Pew, 49% of American Jews identify as left-wing or liberal, compared to just 8% of Israeli Jews. While only 19% of American Jews consider themselves conservatives politically, Israeli Jews were nearly twice as likely to identify as conservative/right-wing, with 37% describing themselves as such. Twenty-nine percent of American Jews say they consider themselves centrist or moderate, compared to 55% of Israeli Jews.

Palestinian Statehood, Judea and Samaria, and US Support for Israel

Given the differences in political ideology, it is unsurprising that American Jews and Israelis differ strongly on issues like Palestinian statehood and US support for Israel.

A strong majority (61%) of American Jews believe that a Palestinian state can exist peacefully alongside Israel, while just 43% of Israeli Jews agreed. Israeli Jews were significantly more likely to argue that the US has not been supportive enough of Israel in recent years (52%), than American Jews (31%). And while nearly half (43%) of Israeli Jews believe Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria contribute to Israel’s security, only 17% of American Jews agreed.

Israeli and American Jews also differed sharply on their perceptions of the major problems confronting the Jewish state.

American Jews focused overwhelmingly on security threats and terrorism, with 66% saying security was Israel’s greatest problem. Only 1% said economic challenges were Israel’s greatest problem.

Israeli Jews, however, were roughly evenly divided between the two, with 38% saying security threats were the biggest problem, and 39% saying economic issues were. Israeli and American Jews were roughly equally likely (14% and 18% respectively) to see social and religious problems as the primary issue facing Israel.

Religious Differences

Just as the two populations differ sharply in political ideology, they also exhibit strongly different patterns of religious affiliation and levels of observance of Jewish tradition.

Among American Jews, the Conservative and Reform movements are dominant, representing 18% and 35% of the Jewish population respectively. Only 10% of American Jews consider themselves Orthodox.

In Israel, however, the Reform and Conservative movements are virtually non-existent, with just 3% of Israeli Jews saying they identified as Reform and 2% identifying as Conservative – far fewer than the more than 22% who are Orthodox.

Religious observance is also more prevalent in Israel – even among non-Orthodox Israelis.

While a whopping 57% of American Jews say they eat pork, only 16% of Israeli Jews do. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Israeli Jews keep kosher at home, compared to 22% of American Jews. Fifty-six percent of Israeli Jews light Shabbat candles every week, compared to 23% of American Jews, and 60% of Israeli Jews completed the Yom Kippur fast last year, while only 40% of American Jews did so.

Jews as a community, Jews as a nation

To a large extent, the religious and political differences between American and Israeli Jews can be chalked up to two class and ethnicity, journalist and Shalom Hartman Institute Fellow Yossi Klein Halevi says.

While American Jews are primarily Ashkenazi, Halevi points out, a majority of Israeli Jews are Mizrachi or Sephardi – immigrants [or their descendants] from the Middle East or Mediterranean.

"Factor in the wide ethnic Jewish diversity of Israel. American Jews are mostly Ashkenazi. Israeli Jews are a majority Mizrachi, or more and more a combination of Ashkenazi and Mizrachi, thanks to the growing rate of what we call 'intermarriage'."

The other salient difference, class, is rooted largely in the nature of the two populations, says Halevi.

"American Jews are a community and function as a community, and Israelis are a people. When you are a community, you tend to be more homogeneous. That isn't to say they're aren't major differences among American Jews. But socioeconomically, American Jews are overwhelmingly middle class, upper-middle class, university educated. Israeli Jews are a people. We've got a working class - a very big working clas - we've got a struggling lower-middle class, we have a middle-middle class, there's small upper class."


David Rosenberg

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/218439

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Meet the Western Charlatans Justifying Jihad - Giulio Meotti




by Giulio Meotti

Famous representatives of European culture also embraced Adolf Hitler's dream. Their heirs now justify jihad as the ultimate punishment for Western freedoms and democracy.

  • Why has the philosopher, Michel Onfray, become so popular among the French jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq? Journalist David Thomson, a specialist in jihadi movements, explained that "Onfray is translated into Arabic and shared on all pro-ISIS sites."
  • Onfray recognizes that we are at war. But this war, to him, was started by George W. Bush. He "forgets" that 3,000 Americans were killed on September 11, 2001. If you remind him that "ISIS kills innocent people", Onfray will reply: "We have also killed innocent people." It is the perfect moral equivalence between ISIS and the West. Barbarians against barbarians! With his moral relativism, Onfray opens the door to Islamist cutthroats.
  • The French intellectual Thomas Piketty, after the massacres in Paris, pointed at "inequality" as the root of ISIS's success. Another well-known German philosopher, Peter Sloterdijk, claimed that the September 11 attacks were attacks were just "small incidents".

After September 11, 2001, the cream of European intellectuals immediately started to find justifications for jihad. They evidently were fascinated by the Kalashnikov assault rifle, "the weapon of the poor". For them, what we had seen in New York was a chimera, an illusion. The mass killings were supposedly the suicide of the capitalist democracy, and terrorism was the wrath of the unemployed, the desperate weapon of a lumpenproletariat offended by the arrogance of Western globalization.

These intellectuals have sown seeds of despair in a large Western echo-chamber. From 9/11 to the recent massacres on European soil, the murdered Westerners are portrayed as just collateral victims in a war between "the system" and the damned of the earth, who are only claiming a place at the table.

One of these intellectuals is Michel Onfray. It has been a while since we heard the expression: "Useful idiot." The cynical expression is often attributed to Lenin, and was used to designate Western sympathizers who justified the horrors of Communism. The French magazine L'Express used it for Onfray: "the useful idiot of Islamism".

When his "Atheist Manifesto" was published in 2005, Onfray could never have imagined that ten years later, he would become the darling of the jihadist group, Islamic State (ISIS). Yet, on November 21, 2015, a week after the massacres in Paris, Onfray appeared in a propaganda video of the Islamic State. A few days later, Onfray, this idol of the reflexive European middle class, said that a "truce could be signed between ISIS and France".

Onfray just gave another interview to the magazine Famille Chrétienne, where he explained that there is no moral difference between "killing innocent lives of women, children and elderly" and "state terrorism" -- between ISIS and the Western war on terror.

Onfray is the most widely read French philosopher in the world and has dethroned Michel Serres, Michel Foucault and Jean-Paul Sartre. This philosopher, drunk with the Enlightenment, has written 80 books, translated into nearly 30 languages. He is not a Marxist, but a libertarian hedonist. According to Onfray, the entire Judeo-Christian heritage prevents free, loving enjoyment. Hence his insistence, ultimately, that the Western civilization is "dead."

How did this great hedonist, the theorist of materialism and atheism, become the darling of Islamist cutthroats? Prime Minister Manuel Valls accused him of having "lost his bearings."

When Onfray calls for a truce with the Islamic State, it is because he believes that France is responsible for what happened to itself. In his recent book Penser l'islam ("Thinking Islam"), Onfray wrote: "If we look at the historical facts and not at the emotions, the West attacked first." France is supposedly reaping what it has sown. Of course Islamists kill and massacre, but it is not their fault, as the West, in his view, previously attacked them.

Onfray also gave the impression of finding more excuses for ISIS by speaking a French "Islamophobia." Why has Onfray has become so popular among the French jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq? Journalist David Thomson, a specialist in jihadi movements, explained that "Onfray is translated into Arabic and shared on all pro-ISIS sites." Talking to Jean-Jacques Bourdin in 2013, Onfray even defended the right of Islamists to apply Islamic sharia law in Mali.

The German philosopher Martin Heidegger (left) was one of many European intellectuals and artists who embraced Adolf Hitler's dream. Today, French philosopher Michel Onfray (right) has become the darling of the jihadist group, Islamic State, with his view that, while Islamists kill and massacre, it is not their fault; he blames the victims, because "the West attacked first."

Onfray recognizes that we are at war. But this war, to him, was started by George W. Bush. He "forgets" that 3,000 Americans were killed on September 11, 2001. If you remind him that "ISIS kills innocent people", Onfray will reply: "We have also killed innocent people." It is the perfect moral equivalence between ISIS and the West. Barbarians against barbarians! The 130 French people killed on November 13, 2015 are just puppets of the West. With his moral relativism, Onfray opens the door to Islamist cutthroats.

Onfray belongs to a long list of charlatans who abound among Europe's intellectuals. Writing for Le Monde, the most famous living German philosopher, Jürgen Habermas, claimed that "jihadism is a modern form of reaction to the living conditions characterized by uprooting." Someone should have explained to him that all the terrorists were well integrated into the French and Belgian democracies, and living with welfare subsidies.

Another celebrity-philosopher, the Slovenian neo-Marxist guru Slavoj Zizek, argued that Islamism may seem reactionary, but "in a curious inversion religion is one of the possible places from which one can deploy critical doubts about today's society. It has become one of the sites of resistance." Zizek also claimed that "Islamo-Fascists" and "European anti-immigrant racists" are "the two sides of the same coin."
The French intellectual Thomas Piketty, after the massacres in Paris, pointed at "inequality" as the root of ISIS's success. Another well-known German philosopher, Peter Sloterdijk, claimed that the September 11 attacks were attacks were just "small incidents".

José Saramago, a Nobel laureate for literature, claimed that flying two planes into the Twin Towers was "revenge against the humiliation".

There were also those, like the French thinker Jean Baudrillard, who said that the attacks on the Twin Towers were actually desired by the United States. In short, Islamic terrorists did it, but we had really wanted it. Or to quote from the famous German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, the attack on the World Trade Center was "the greatest work of art that is possible in the whole cosmos."

The peak of cynicism was reached by Dario Fo, the winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for literature, who said after 9/11:
"The great speculators wallow in an economy that every year kills tens of millions of people with poverty — so what is 20,000 dead in New York? Regardless of who carried out the massacre [of 9-11], this violence is the legitimate daughter of the culture of violence, hunger and inhumane exploitation".
It has happened before. Philosophers such as Martin Heidegger and Carl Schmitt, writers such as Knut Hamsun and Louis Ferdinand Céline, musicians such as Wilhelm Furtwangler and Ernst von Karajan, are just some of the most famous representatives of European culture who embraced Adolf Hitler's dream. Their heirs now justify jihad as the ultimate punishment for the Western freedoms and democracy.
 
 
Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/8741/western-intellectuals-jihad

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