March 31, 2015

A Military Attack on Iran by the U.S. and Israel 'Would Make a Nuclear-armed Iran Inevitable'

Republican presidential contender Sen. John McCain joked about bombing Iran during a campaign appearance in Murrells Inlet, S.C. McCain was asked by an audience member at the VFW about possible U.S. military action in Iran. "How many times do we have to prove that these people are blowing up people now, never mind if they get a nuclear weapon. When do we send them an airmail message to Tehran?" a man in the crowd asked. In response, McCain said, "That old, eh, that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran" — which elicited laughter from the crowd. McCain then chuckled before briefly singing — to the tune of the chorus of the Beach Boys' classic "Barbara Ann" — "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, anyway, ah ...." The audience responded with more laughter. - April 19, 2007

McCain Joins Bolton, Invites Israel to Bomb Iran

March 31, 2015

Huffington Post - Say what, John McCain?

Senator John McCain took to the Senate floor last week to rail against peace talks with Iran. No surprises there. But McCain went beyond blasting the deal. He suggested a surprising and disturbing method of blowing up the talks.
The Israelis will need to chart their own path of resistance. On the Iranian nuclear deal, they may have to go rogue. Let's hope their warnings have not been mere bluffs. Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.
Go rogue? This saber rattling it is not just a momentary fit of John McCain's signature pique. McCain, and his allies like Senators Lindsey Graham and Robert Menendez, have repeatedly slipped language into bills calling for the U.S. to support Israel if Israel attacks Iran's nuclear facilities. One such bill, Senate Res. 65, nicknamed the "Backdoor to War" bill read in part:
[Congress] urges that, if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.
While that language was later watered down, McCain's war talk is part of an effort to normalize the idea of military attacks on Iran as Plan B if Congress torpedoes diplomacy. Legislation like the soon-to-be debated Corker-Menendez bill could create a Congressional veto of nuclear negotiations with Iran. It is anyone's guess what comes after such a veto. But a good indication of Senate hawks' future plans is always what neoconservative think tanks are saying in the nation's leading papers today.

Lo and behold, Former UN Ambassador John Bolton, just wrote a piece in the New York Times bluntly titled, "To Stop Iran's Bomb, Bomb Iran." Bolton, was one of the main cheerleaders for the war in Iraq and assured the public that:
"We are confident that Saddam Hussein has hidden weapons of mass destruction and production facilities in Iraq."
Now Bolton counsels us to embark on another preventative war:

Germanwings Crash: Investigators Can't Find the Flight Data Recorder But Found a Cell Phone Video Taken by a Passenger Moments Before the Crash

Reports: Video found in wreckage shows Germanwings flight's final seconds (Video)

"Lieutenant Colonel Jean-Marc Menichini, a high ranking official involved in the recovery operation, has categorically denied that any mobile phone footage had been found by investigators at the site." 

March 31, 2015

CNN - Video found in the wreckage on a French mountainside shows the nightmarish final seconds of Germanwings Flight 9525, reports said Tuesday.

Taken on a cell phone, the video "was so chaotic that it was hard to identify people, but the sounds of the screaming passengers made it perfectly clear that they were aware of what was about to happen to them," according to the French magazine Paris Match, which obtained the video along with the German newspaper Bild:
"One can hear cries of 'My God' in several languages. Metallic banging can also be heard more than three times, perhaps of the pilot trying to open the cockpit door with a heavy object. Towards the end, after a heavy shake, stronger than the others, the screaming intensifies. Then nothing," Paris Match reports.
The two publications described the video but did not post the video itself.

Lufthansa, meanwhile, announced that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz told told his Lufthansa flight training school in 2009 that he had a "previous episode of severe depression."

The airline is sharing that information and documents -- including training and medical records -- with public prosecutors.

Assad Says Iran and Russia are 'Seeing Eye to Eye' on Syrian Conflict

Russia, Iran, Syria share same vision: Assad

March 31, 2015

AFP - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he shares the same goals as Iran and Russia when it comes to the brutal war tearing apart his country.

Assad, speaking on PBS television in excerpts of an interview airing Monday, insisted that close allies Russia and Iran "want to have balance in the world."
"It's not only about Syria. I'm (a) small country. It's not about having a huge interest in Syria. They could have it anywhere else," he told the US public television network.

"So, it's about the future of the world. They want to be a great power that has their own say in the future of this world."
In Syria, he said, "they want stability, and a political solution."
"Syria and Iran and Russia see eye to eye regarding this conflict," Assad added.

Palestinians Join ICC with the Aim of Pursuing Israelis for War Crimes

Palestinians join ICC with Israelis in sights

March 31, 2015

AFP - The Palestinians formally gain membership of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday with the aim of pursuing Israelis for war crimes, despite uncertainty over the move's wider ramifications.

The accession is another step in the Palestinian diplomatic and legal international campaign, which gained steam in 2014.

It has uncertain consequences, not only because it is highly unlikely Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israelis will find themselves being tried at the ICC, but also because it constitutes a new deterioration in the strained relationship.

But the Palestinians are beyond caring.

Exasperated after decades of failed negotiations with Israel, with no perspective for the state they have been yearning, they have decided to take their case to the international arena.

March 30, 2015

Pilots’ Union Issues Press Release That States It 'Deplores and Condemns the Leak of Certain Elements of the Cockpit Voice Recorder of Germanwings Flight 4U9525'

Germanwings 4U9525 accident investigation: IFALPA strongly condemns leaking of CVR data

March 26, 2015

Press Release – The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) deplores and condemns yesterday's leaking of certain elements of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of the Germanwings flight 4U9525.

Not only do these leaks contravene the internationally agreed principles of accident investigation confidentiality set out in ICAO Annex 13, they are also a breach of trust to all those involved in the investigation and to the families of the victims. Furthermore, leaks of this nature greatly harm flight safety since they invite ill-informed speculation from the media and the general public and discourage cooperation with investigators in future accidents .

IFALPA once again stresses that the sole purpose of a CVR is to aid investigators in determining the factors leading to an accident and not to apportion blame or be used outside of its safety context. CVR details should only be publicly released following a thorough and complete investigation of the events that occurred, and not prematurely during the course of the field portion of the accident investigation, underway for less than 48 hours.

Leaking premature, unanalyzed, and partial CVR recordings, which lack the context of the entire body of factual investigative data, severely interferes with the investigative process, and can only lead to early conclusions on what exactly occurred during the time leading up to the accident. Any other use of CVR data is not only invalid, but is an unacceptable invasion of privacy best described as a search for sensationalism and voyeurism of the worst kind.

It is vital for the investigating body to ensure all information under their control is properly handled until the completion of the investigation.

In this early stage of the investigation, many critical questions remain to be answered, and IFALPA stresses the need for an objective accident investigation process through the collection of all the facts needed to draw an accurate analysis of events. Once again, IFALPA’s resources are at the disposal of the Accident Investigation Agencies to achieve these aims.

Resolution That Was Submitted on March 18th by Germany's Left Party to Recognize a Palestinian State ‘Won’t Pass’

German party’s petition to recognize Palestinian state ‘won’t pass’

March 25, 2015

Jerusalem Post - The Israeli spokeswoman in Berlin told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that a resolution submitted last week by Bundestag deputies from the Left Party – the largest opposition party in the parliament – calling on the Merkel administration to recognize an independent Palestinian state with full membership in the UN, it is assumed, would not pass.
“The motion was initiated by one group of the Left Party, and it is not in line with the official position of the German government toward this subject,” she said.

“This motion is known to us, and we tried to dissuade this initiative, which was submitted the morning of Election Day in Israel,” she added. “This motion should be up for discussion in the Bundestag, but a concrete date hasn’t yet been set. It is assumed that the motion won’t pass.”
The Left Party’s motion was submitted on March 18, and it is unclear if Bundestag deputies plan to vote on the petition.

The petition’s text cites that Sweden’s government recognized an independent Palestinian state as the first EU member in October 2014. The petition also notes that parliamentary votes in Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom resulted in recognition of a Palestinian state.

March 29, 2015

Study Says 1.3 Million Killed in U.S. 'War on Terror'

Doctors' group says 1.3 million killed in U.S. 'War on Terror'

March 25, 2015

Digital Journal - A group of international physicians' organizations has published a study concluding US-led wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have killed more than 1.3 million people.

The Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, along with Physicians for Social Responsibility and Physicians for Global Survival, have released a report titled "Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the 'War on Terror.'"

The study examined direct and indirect deaths caused by more than a decade of US-led war in three countries, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but did not include deaths in other countries attacked by American and allied military forces, including Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria.

The study noted that while the United States closely monitors casualty figures for allied troops—4,804 coalition deaths in Iraq; 3,485 in Afghanistan, the number of civilians and enemy combatants killed by US and allied forces is "officially ignored."

The IPPNW investigation, which scoured the results of individual studies and data published by United Nations organizations, government agencies and non-governmental organizations, concluded the ongoing war "has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan."
"The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware," the study's authors write.

"And this is only a conservative estimate. The total number of deaths in the three countries... could also be in excess of 2 million."
The study also cites other efforts to obtain an accurate casualty count from the US-led wars. Among these:

German Tabloid 'Bild' Claims to Have Transcript of Germanwings Voice Recorder (Flight Data Recorder 'Remains Missing'); French Air Accident Investigation Agency Calls Their Report 'Voyeurism'

"What bothers me here is that this was leaked or presented to the press and public before the investigation is even remotely complete. Granted, this appears to be common practice in the age of instant information demand. How convenient it is to always blame two dead pilots, or in this case, one dead pilot. Can't we wait for the official report to be released from the investigative authorities before the world lynches this poor guy!? Think of what his family must be going through now. In addition, based on what I know of Lufthansa's selection criteria for pilots, which can easily be said to be one of the toughest in the world, I'm just not buying this. Not until all the facts are out." - Reluctant Bus Driver,

What happened to ICAO Annex 13? Without data from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR), how do they know the First Officer started the descent? Many critical questions to be asked. Speculation is not good for the official investigation. The First Officer has been accused, charged, tried and convicted, and we don't yet have the FDR to be sure of the sequence of events or exactly what happened and why! Surely there is a LOT more to this than what the French Prosecutor has decided based on what he "heard."

The French Prosecutor is not following ICAO Annex 13 and, as a result, the IFALPA issued a press release on March 26 (excerpt follows): The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) deplores and condemns yesterday's leaking of certain elements of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of the Germanwings flight 4U9525. Not only do these leaks contravene the internationally agreed principles of accident investigation confidentiality set out in ICAO Annex 13, they are also a breach of trust to all those involved in the investigation and to the families of the victims. Furthermore, leaks of this nature greatly harm flight safety since they invite ill-informed speculation from the media and the general public and discourage cooperation with investigators in future accidents. Leaking premature, unanalyzed, and partial CVR recordings, which lack the context of the entire body of factual investigative data, severely interferes with the investigative process, and can only lead to early conclusions on what exactly occurred during the time leading up to the accident. Any other use of CVR data is not only invalid, but is an unacceptable invasion of privacy best described as a search for sensationalism and voyeurism of the worst kind.

German newspaper releases timeline of Germanwings flight before crash

March 29, 2015

CNN - The sounds recorded on one of the "black boxes" recovered from downed Germanwings Flight 9525 firms up investigators' theory that the co-pilot locked the captain out of the cockpit and then crashed the plane.
"For God's sake, open the door!" Capt. Patrick Sondenheimer screamed as he banged on the cockpit door, pleading with the co-pilot.
Thirteen minutes later, the plane slammed into the French Alps.

The audio from the plane's cockpit voice recorder has not been released, but the German newspaper Bild published Sunday what it claims is a summary of the transcript from the recording.

CNN translated Bild's report -- which the newspaper says is based on the 1.5 hours of audio that was on the cockpit voice recorder -- but cannot independently verify the information.

March 28, 2015

German Pilots Cast Doubt on the Story that Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz Intentionally Crashed the Plane

In a statement (in German), prosecutors said they had seized medical documents from Mr Lubitz's two residences - his Duesseldorf flat and his parents' home north of Frankfurt - which indicated an "existing illness and appropriate medical treatment". The "fact that, among the documents found, there were sick notes - torn-up, current and for the day of the crash - leads to the provisional assessment that the deceased was hiding his illness from his employer", the report states. Germanwings confirmed it had not been given a sick note for the day of the crash. Duesseldorf's University Hospital issued a statement (in German) saying Mr Lubitz had attended the hospital on 10 March and last month. Adding that it had handed his medical records over to prosecutors, it said reports the co-pilot had been treated there for depression were incorrect.
Germany's Rheinischer Post newspaper, which spoke to the hospital, quoted its own unnamed sources as saying Mr Lubitz had been suffering from a physical, rather than a mental, illness. [BBC]

A Duesseldorf hospital says the co-pilot of Germanwings flight 9525 had been a patient there over the past two months. Duesseldorf University Hospital said in a statement Friday that Andreas Lubitz last came to the hospital for "diagnostic evaluation" on March 10. It declined to provide details about his condition but denied German media reports that it had treated the 27-year-old pilot for depression. [Associated Press]

German Pilots Cast Doubt on Blaming of Co-Pilot for Crash

The International Federal of Airline Pilots Associations, or IFALPA, condemned the leaks of the cockpit voice recorder or CVR on Thursday, saying that it violated long-established practices after plane crashes, where details are kept confidential until the investigation is complete.

March 26, 2015

Time - German pilots reacted with anger and confusion on Thursday after French and German statements said the co-pilot on the Germanwings crash earlier this week deliberately slammed the plane into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.

Stunned at the revelations, some pilots believe that the authorities are eager to find a culprit to blame, before the relevant facts are known. 
“It is a very, very incomplete picture,” says James Phillips, international affairs director of the German Pilots Association, speaking on the phone to TIME late Thursday. 
He said his own reaction was “angry.”
I have the feeling that there was a search for a quick answer, rather than a good answer,” he said.

Germanwings Co-Pilot, Andreas Lubitz: Suicide or  'Manchurian Candidate'? (Updated)

One of the Americans who died in the crash, Yvonne Selke, was a Booz Allen Hamilton employee who was working on a $315 million project for the Pentagon, according to a March 2013 press release. "Booz Allen and our employees are mourning the sudden and shocking death of Yvonne Selke, an employee of nearly 23 years, and her daughter, Emily," Betty Thompson, Booz Allen executive vice president, said in a statement. The AP reported that Selke was a “longtime and highly regarded employee.” The AP said that she worked in the Pentagon on the company’s contract with the National Geospaital-Intelligence Agency, which analyzes imagery from spy planes and satellites.

Andreas Lubitz received psychiatric treatment for a "serious depressive episode" in 2009, German tabloid Bild reported. Citing internal documents and Lufthansa sources, Bild said Lubitz spent a total of 18 months in psychiatric treatment. Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr told a news conference that Lubitz had taken a break during his training six years ago, but did not explain why and said he had passed all tests and was “100 percent” fit to fly. "Six years ago there was a lengthy interruption in his training. After he was cleared again, he resumed training. He passed all the subsequent tests and checks with flying colors. His flying abilities were flawless." [Source]

German reporters found Lubitz’s former classmates, who said he took a six-month break from training due to “burnout-syndrome” or “depression.” Bild claims it got access to Lubitz’s profile, indicating the pilot had “psychological problems” and required a “special, exemplary regular medical examination.” Bild also cites sources familiar with the investigation, saying that Lubitz suffered from a “personal life crisis,” following a recent breakup with a girlfriend. [Source]

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had issued Lubitz a third-class medical certificate. In order to obtain such a certificate, a pilot must be cleared of psychological problems including psychosis, bipolar disorder and personality disorders. The certificate also means that he wasn't found to be suffering from another mental health condition that "makes the person unable to safely perform the duties or exercise the privileges" of a pilot's license. [Source]

While incredibly rare for a pilot to kill himself — and everyone else on a plane — there is both national and international precedent for what experts call “aircraft-assisted pilot suicides.” According to Federal Aviation Administration data, 24 American pilots have killed themselves while flying their planes in the last two decades. Twenty-three of those pilots intentionally crashed their craft, and one student pilot jumped out of his plane mid-flight. All of the pilots who killed themselves were male and middle-aged. While none of of the American pilots who killed themselves were flying a big commercial aircraft, it has happened elsewhere.

In November 2013, a Mozambique Airlines E-190 jet carrying 33 passengers went down in Namibia under similar circumstances to the Germanwings' crash. No one survived the crash, which became the subject of great mystery because the plane was only one year old, flown by an experienced pilot, in good weather. The Washington Post reported on the crash of E-190:

March 27, 2015

Obama Releases Top-secret 1987 Report on Israel's Nuclear Program

Obama Release Of Secret Report On Israel Nukes Betrays Ally

March 26, 2015

Investors Business Daily - Quietly, the Obama administration has released details of Israel's nuclear program through the Defense Department. It was no accident, and could have a devastating impact on the balance of power in the region.

The same administration that refused to divulge what's in its soon-to-be-concluded nuclear "deal" with Iran, last month stealthily released a top-secret 1987 report on Israel's nuclear program — information that might be used by Israel's enemies.

The 386-page report "describes in detail the march of Israeli military and technological advancement in the 1970s and '80s," wrote journalist Michael Karpin on the Jewish Daily Forward's blog site.

Karpin, author of the "The Bomb in the Basement — How Israel Went Nuclear and What That Means for the World," says the U.S. report pays "particular attention to the development and progression of Israel's nuclear infrastructure and research labs."

The 27-year-old classified report further hints that Israel was developing a hydrogen bomb, with power a thousand times greater than a regular atomic bomb.

March 26, 2015

Iran and Hezbollah Try to Drive Back Rebel Fighters in Southern Syria, Along the Israeli Border

Iran Comes to the Israeli Border

As the Islamic Republic and Hezbollah try to drive back rebel fighters in southern Syria, they threaten to spur a larger conflict in one of the Middle East's most volatile regions.

March 25, 2015 -  In Jordan, Syria’s war is everywhere. Over 600,000 refugees have fled to the country: Cities like Irbid and Zarqa teem with new Syrian inhabitants, and Zaatari camp, which houses 85,000 exiled Syrian Sunnis, is home to at least four donkeys named Bashar. Above it all, coalition cargo planes and screaming F-16s slice through the spring sky toward northern Syria and Iraq, daily reminders of Jordan’s role in the coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State.

But the most potent force in the battle unfolding just across Jordan’s northern border is still invisible: Iranian power.

Over the past six weeks, soldiers belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah have played a major role in the Syrian regime’s long-awaited offensive on the southern province of Daraa.

'American Sniper' Portrayal of Marc Alan Lee is Inaccurate Says His Widow

'American Sniper' portrayal hides the real Marc Lee

February 20, 2015 - As the film “American Sniper” continues to draw a lot of attention, more Americans may come to recognize the name Marc Lee.

Marc was a teammate of Chris Kyle and the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq -- his death is graphically portrayed in the movie.

Marc was also my husband. 

I feel compelled to write this essay as a tribute to Marc’s legacy, and for the brothers he fought alongside in Charlie Platoon. 

A movie is a powerful way to enlighten and illuminate us on a specific time in history, and Hollywood understandably often takes liberties with the facts to make a film. But it’s the true stories of sacrifice that we must tell. For the stories we tell today, in print or through film, will be the stories told to our children, and our children's children. We all bear the responsibility to get it right.  It is with this mindset, and it is with a heavy heart, that I must share Marc’s truth and beliefs, which were, in fact, deeply sacrificed for the film.

“American Sniper” is rightfully focused on the incredible story of Chris and Taya Kyle. I am truly happy for the movie's success and do not want to take anything away from a very important story. But the character of Marc Lee falls short on everything that the real Marc Lee stood for and what Chris Kyle expresses about his brother and teammate in his book, which inspired the film.

The movie portrays Marc as a reluctant warrior -- one who seems casual in combat -- who questions America's mission in Iraq. Nothing could be further from the truth.

March 25, 2015

The Artificially Inflated Price of Food and Gas Can Be Blamed on the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000

The law was that when you bought futures, you had to take delivery. However, in 1991, Goldman Sachs' commodities subsidiary, J. Aron, asked for a waiver, and they got it. And over the years the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC] handed out 14 other similar exemptions. Then everyone got to do this under the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on December 21, 2000. Because of this act, speculators can buy and sell food and crude oil on paper without having to actually take possession of it, thus artificially inflating the price.

According to a 2009 article about the exemption for Goldman Sachs:

Jeff Costlow Detained at the White House for Photography

Also view videos at Kenny Suitter's youtube channel.

What to Do When You Are Pulled Over

It doesn't always have to be a harrowing experience, even if you know that you were driving well over the speed limit, or that your registration is expired, or heaven forbid, you've had a few too many cocktails and are behind the wheel anyway.

There are a few simple rules to follow to make sure the experience doesn't have to be any more unpleasant than it already is -- considering that it's likely you will come away with a fat ticket.

We sought the advice of a former Virginia State Trooper, now retired and working happily at an intelligence analyst job for a federal agency in Washington, D.C. He asked that we not use his real name, "because I don't want people to think I'm trying to draw attention to myself," he said. He chose a colorful alias, asking that we just refer to him as Trooper Tom. Here are his six tips.

March 24, 2015

Pennsylvania Police Officer Charged with Criminal Homicide After Shooting an Unarmed Motorist in the Back as He Lay Facedown After a Traffic Stop

Officer charged with killing unarmed driver lying facedown

March 24, 2015

AP - A Pennsylvania police officer was charged Tuesday with criminal homicide after investigators concluded she shot an unarmed motorist in the back as he lay facedown after a traffic stop over an expired inspection sticker.

Authorities accused Hummelstown police Officer Lisa J. Mearkle of shooting 59-year-old David Kassick twice on Feb. 2 without legal justification. She was released on $250,000 bail.

Her attorney, Brian Perry, said Mearkle acted in self-defense, and he warned the case could cause police officers to hesitate in high-pressure situations.
"She felt like she had to do what she did," Perry said. "This person was being commanded, begged, 'show me your hands,' and he kept going to his waist."
Authorities said Mearkle had attempted to pull over Kassick for expired inspection and emissions stickers before he sped away. She caught up to Kassick near his sister's home where he had been living for a short time.

He got out and ran before Mearkle incapacitated him with a stun gun, held in her left hand. He was on the ground when she shot him twice in the back with the gun in her right hand, police said.

Mearkle, 36, told investigators she fired because he would not show her his hands and she thought he was reaching into his jacket for a gun. Perry said she did not know Kassick before the shooting.

The offense of criminal homicide encompasses a range of charges, from misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter to felony first-degree murder. Prosecutors often narrow the charge later in the process, about the time when defendants are formally arraigned.

The stun gun contained a camera that recorded audio and video from portions of the encounter, and District Attorney Ed Marsico called it the strongest evidence in the case.

He said it appeared Kassick had been trying to remove the stun-gun probe from his back.
"At the time Officer Mearkle fires both rounds from her pistol, the video clearly depicts Kassick lying on the snow covered lawn with his face toward the ground," according to the arrest affidavit. "Furthermore, at the time the rounds are fired nothing can be seen in either of Kassick's hands, nor does he point or direct anything toward Officer Mearkle."

Netanyahu Was Never Serious About a Two-state Solution for Palestinians; the White House Could Change Course and Support a U.N. Resolution for Palestinian Statehood

In 1997, at the beginning of his first term as prime minister, Netanyahu declared he was opposed to a separate Palestinian state: “This is the land of our forefathers, and we claim it to the same degree that the other side claims it.” Today, in the West Bank, 2.5 million Palestinians live under an Israeli military occupation that has lasted for nearly 50 years.

What does Netanyahu think the Palestinians will do now that he has revealed his duplicity? What choice did he leave them with but to resort to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), demanding the recognition of a Palestinian state while seeking retribution against Israel in the International Criminal Court? Obama is left with no choice but to seek a UNSC resolution that calls for a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.

The European Union, who has long viewed the Israeli settlements as illegal, will now be fully convinced that Netanyahu has no intention of ending the occupation. Encouraged by Obama's change of position, they will initiate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli products made in the Palestinian territories.
Furthermore, many European countries will follow Sweden and recognize the Palestinian state, labeling Israel as an occupying power of a sovereign nation and subjecting it to increasing political pressure and, potentially, economic sanctions.

The Arab states, especially Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia -- who find themselves thrust into regional upheaval in the wake of the civil war in Syria, the rise of ISIS and the Iranian threat -- view an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement as central to regional stability. They have been working behind the scenes to restrain the Palestinians from rising violently against Israel. They now feel at a loss, unable to control the potential eruption of a third Intifada, as the Palestinians are now more determined than ever to rid themselves of the bondage of occupation. [Source]

Palestinians to Obama: We Told You So About Netanyahu

March 24, 2015

ABC News - Now that President Obama is calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an unwilling partner in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Palestinian representatives in the United States have a simple message for him: We told you so.
“Ever since [Netanyahu] came to power in 2009, he did not have any intention whatsoever to deal with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” said Maen Areikat, the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s representative to the United States. 

“I think he is telling the world, 'Here I am. I want to show you my true skin,'” he added.

Iran is Tightening Its Grip from Iraq to Lebanon, and Syria to Yemen in an All-out Sectarian War Between Sunnis and Shi'ites

Iran expands regional 'empire' ahead of nuclear deal

March 23, 2015

Reuters - With Iran moving closer to a deal with world powers to constrain its nuclear program in return for an end to sanctions, Arab analysts and leaders are focused more on how Tehran is working unconstrained to tighten its grip on Arab states, from Iraq to Lebanon, and Syria to Yemen.

The man behind what some see as an attempt to create a new Persian and Shi'ite "empire" on Arab land is Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the al-Quds brigade of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Since he emerged from the shadows last autumn, Soleimani seems to be omnipresent on the battlefields of the Middle East.
Photos of Soleimani, 60, almost an invisible man until the Sunni jihadis of Islamic State (IS) overran cities in northern and central Iraq last year, are now everywhere.

He is seen directing operations in the battle to recapture from IS the Sunni city of Tikrit, birthplace of Saddam Hussein. He is snapped in Syria offering condolences on the killing of a relative of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president he has helped cling to power during four years of war.

In Beirut he is photographed praying at the grave of Jihad Mughniyeh, son of the late commander of the IRGC-backed Hezbollah paramilitary group. Jihad was killed in Syria in January.
Meanwhile, the heterodox Shi'ite Houthi movement in Yemen has seized power in the capital, Sanaa, to Iranian acclaim and the alarm of Sunni Arab states such as neighboring Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional rival.

March 23, 2015

Israel 'Boycotts' UN Rights Council Session on Jewish Settlements in Palestinian Territory

Israel 'boycotts' UN rights council session on Gaza war

March 22, 2015

AFP - Israel's representative was conspicuously missing when the UN Human Rights Council started a special session Monday on the situation in the Palestinian territories and the 2014 Gaza conflict.
"I note the representative of Israel is not present," said council president Joachim Ruecher.
Israel provided no immediate explanation for not being present at the session dedicated overwhelmingly to discussion of its policies and alleged abuses, but a source close to the council said its absence clearly amounted to a boycott.
"We won't comment on that," a spokeswoman with the Israeli mission in Geneva told AFP.
The United States was also absent from Monday's discussions.

Asked to explain why the United States was not taking part, a spokesman said only that the US ambassador to the council Keith Harper was in Washington.

New Jersey Proposes Sweeping Reforms to Public Pensions and Benefits: Without It, Pensions and Retirees' Healthcare Will Cost $8 Billion in 2016 (23 Percent of the State Budget)

Defusing New Jersey’s pension time bomb

March 22, 2015

New York Post - New Jersey is beset by one of the worst government pension problems in the nation, thanks to decades of bad management, deceptive accounting and the continual awarding of higher benefits to workers without adequate funding by Jersey governors and legislatures.

For years, some observers have argued that the New Jersey pension system is so deeply in debt, to the tune of at least $60 billion, that it is beyond saving at a reasonable cost. Now, an expert commission consisting of Democrats, Republicans and independents who were asked by Gov. Christie to examine the issue has agreed.

In a recent report, the New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission warned that, “There are no plausible solutions for closing the pension funding gap” in the state without serious new reforms. Trying simply to pay its way out of the current funding mess would require the state to increase its income tax by 29 percent or raise the sales tax to 10 percent, in a state that is already one of the nation’s highest taxed.

Instead, the commission has proposed sweeping changes to ensure workers that a pension system that otherwise could be depleted by the middle of the next decade would have funds for their retirement. The plan would also cut expenditures so that Jersey government, which faces the prospect of devoting virtually all growth in tax revenues to rising benefit costs, could channel some of that money into other budget areas.

March 22, 2015

Obama Warns Netanyahu About the 'Chaotic Situation' His Pledge to Oppose a Palestinian State Could Cause in the Region

Obama rips Netanyahu over Arab voter comments

The president's comments cap a geopolitical backlash sparked by Netanyahu's statement on Monday that a Palestinian state would not be established on his watch. The Israeli prime minister has since insisted that he remains open to a two-state solution under very specific, restrictive conditions. But the damage appears to have been done, with the White House offering only the most perfunctory of diplo-speak to obscure its frustrations.

March 21, 2015

AFP - US President Barack Obama criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his warning that Arab Israeli voters would vote "in droves."

In his first public comments about Tuesday's elections that saw Netanyahu score a surprise third term, Obama told The Huffington Post he had "indicated that that kind of rhetoric was contrary to what is the best of Israel's traditions."

The White House said earlier this week that Obama had warned Netanyahu on Thursday that his last-minute campaign pledge to oppose the creation of a Palestinian state and his comments about Israeli Arab voters would force a rethink in Washington.
"Although Israel was founded based on the historic Jewish homeland and the need to have a Jewish homeland, Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly," Obama said.

"And I think that that is what's best about Israeli democracy. If that is lost, then I think that not only does it give ammunition to folks who don't believe in a Jewish state, but it also I think starts to erode the meaning of democracy in the country."
The interview, which took place Friday, was published in full Saturday.

Obama also criticized the Israeli leader's tough stance on the Palestinians after his election win, saying the United States is "evaluating" options for peace in the region.

Scannable Digital Driver's Licenses Using Biometrics Such as Fingerprints and Facial Recognition by 2016

The driver's license of the future is coming to your smartphone (Video)

A few states have begun the journey toward offering a digital version of your driver's license that would reside on your phone. But the going could be stop and go for a while.

CNET - The road ahead may soon lead to a digital driver's license on your mobile phone.

The printed plastic driver's license has been a standard for decades, acting not just as proof that you can drive but as an ID to verify your age and identity. Getting issued a license is a rite of passage for many a teenager. The license has a status that transcends mere motoring.

Your driver's license may one day be a mobile app. MorphoTrust
Now, just as concert tickets, airline boarding passes, Starbucks loyalty cards and even your wallet are migrating onto your smartphone, your driver's license seems headed down the same route.
"The world is changing, and a lot of transactions and activities that people do are now done in digital formats," said Mike Williams, chief of communications for the Department of Motor Vehicles in Delaware. "You can do so much with your smartphone. You can pay at the gas pump. You can go to the grocery store. You don't even need a debit card sometimes anymore. So this is just a movement in that direction."
Delaware is among several US states -- including the bellwether of California -- considering digital driver's licenses, and prototypes will go into pilot tests in some places this year. If those tests go well, the first smattering of virtual licenses could be offered to the public as early as 2016.

The digital version would resemble your printed license, with the same information, including your name, address and date of birth, along with a photo. And just as your printed license contains a scannable barcode so machines can read the information, so too would the digital version.

Your digital driver's license would also be more than just a static image of your regular driver's license. Instead, it would be a full-fledged mobile app with security protection and potentially real-time data downloaded directly from your state's Department of Motor Vehicles.

But for all the convenience that would offer, hazard lights are flashing for some critics. Do you want to hand your smartphone to a police officer if you get pulled over? If the officer can look at your license, what else would be accessible, and what would be off-limits?
"We have a number of serious, unresolved concerns about how the use of the smartphone as a driver's license may implicate privacy rights," said Rita Bettis, legal director for the ACLU of Iowa. "These include the rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures of one's phone and its contents during traffic stops."

March 21, 2015

Major General Smedley Butler: War is a Racket

The wars are for PROFIT. And our corrupt politicians and the media are used by war profiteers to stoke the fires of war so that weapons can be sold, and people can get rich[er]. Read the book, War is a Racket, by Smedley Butler, the most highly-decorated U.S. Marine of his time, and maybe up to today. He ran many campaigns. He was a patriot. But he woke up to the fact that he was being used as a "highly paid hitman for Wall Street," or some such words. Do not talk about "them" and "us." Because, see, the bad guys are the profiteers. Go to Russia, and the people are JUST LIKE US. They just want to live, in peace, with their families. - Ronald Chism

War Is A Racket

By Major General Smedley Butler
Published in 1935

War Is A Racket

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. Cover

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.

Report Says Iranian Military Documents Describe Nuclear EMP Attack Against the United States

Report: Iran Prepared for Nuclear EMP Attack on US

March 19, 2015

NewsMax - The issue of an Iranian nuclear strike that could do immense damage to the United States was raised in Israel this week in an opinion piece by U.S. analyst Peter Vincent Pry warning of the possibility of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack targeting the United States.

In the article, published on the Israeli website Arutz Sheva, Pry warned that "Iranian military documents describe such a scenario — including a recently translated Iranian military textbook that endorses nuclear EMP attack against the United States."

A source said that the textbook discusses an EMP attack on America in 20 different places, the Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard reported Thursday.

Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks, who is leading an effort to protect the U.S. electric grid from an EMP attack, has reportedly made similar claims based on the document translated by military authorities. A threat once dismissed by critics, Bedard notes, "recent moves by Iran and North Korea have given credibility to the potential EMP threat from an atmospheric nuclear explosion over the U.S."

Pry has suggested ways for Iran to deliver a nuclear attack including a ship launched off the East Coast, via a satellite or utilizing a missile.

"One nuclear warhead detonated at high altitude over the United States would black out the national electrical grid and other life sustaining critical infrastructures for months or years" by means of an EMP attack, Pry wrote.

He added that "a nationwide blackout lasting one year "could cause chaos and starvation that leaves 90 percent of Americans dead."

March 20, 2015

Snapchat Android App’s Code Queries a User’s Full Name, Birthdate, and Social Security Number

Snapcash Could Bring Real Identity And Ad Targeting Data To Snapchat

TechCrunch - Snapchat doesn’t ask for your real name, but its on the debit card you use for its new peer-to-peer payments feature Snapcash. That could prove very lucrative for the ephemeral messaging service.

Snapchat has just overhauled its privacy policy to allow it to collect additional identity information about users of Snapcash. We’ve also discovered code showing the feature can run an identity verification on a user’s real name, birthdate, and social security number through Snapcash partner Square.

Snapchat’s new privacy policy also details how the company deletes messages, provides ways to remove some data you provide it, and that it may out users for being under 18 years old if friends try to interact with them through features only for people 18 and up.

March 17, 2015

Netanyahu Promises No Palestinian State; Declares Victory in Israel's Election 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won re-election in Israel on March 17, 2015. "Against all odds: a great victory for Likud, a great victory for the national camp led by Likud, a great victory for the people of Israel," Netanyahu wrote on his official Twitter account.

Netanyahu promises no Palestinian state if he is re-elected

AP - In a frenzied last day of campaigning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday ruled out the establishment of a Palestinian state and vowed to keep building east Jerusalem settlements as he appealed to hard-line voters on the eve of Israel's closely contested general election.

As Netanyahu's poll numbers have dropped in recent days, he has appeared increasingly desperate, stepping up his nationalistic rhetoric in a series of interviews to local media to appeal to his core base. Netanyahu has also complained of an international conspiracy to oust him, funded by wealthy foreigners who dislike him, and on Sunday night, he addressed an outdoor rally before tens of thousands of hard-line supporters in Tel Aviv.

The strategy is aimed at siphoning off voters from nationalistic rivals, but risks alienating centrist voters who are expected to determine the outcome of the race.

Speaking to the nrg news website, Netanyahu said that turning over captured territory to the Palestinians would clear the way for Islamic extremists to take control and attack Israel.
"Whoever ignores that is burying his head in the sand. The left is doing that, burying its head in the sand time after time," he said in the video interview.
When asked if that means a Palestinian state will not be established if he is elected, Netanyahu replied, "Indeed."

It was the latest — and clearest — attempt by Netanyahu to disavow his earlier support for Palestinian independence, which he first laid out in a landmark 2009 speech.
"If we get this guarantee for demilitarization and necessary security arrangements for Israel, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, we will be willing in a real peace agreement to reach a solution of a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the [militarized] Jewish state," he said at the time.
Despite that pledge, two rounds of peace talks have failed and Netanyahu has continued to expand Jewish settlements.

March 16, 2015

Know Your Rights and What to Do If You Are Detained by the Police

Also view videos at Kenny Suitter's youtube channel.

'Search and Seizure' and the Fourth Amendment

Don't look directly at a police officer while you're driving because they consider that a sign of guilt or act of aggression. Keep in mind that when you are stopped or detained or interrogated that it is legal for a cop to lie to you, which means lying by cops is sanctioned by the justice system and, therefore, all cops are liars.

FindLaw - The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects personal privacy and every citizen's right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion into their persons, homes, businesses and property -- whether through police stops of citizens on the street, arrests or searches of homes and businesses.

97 Percent of Crimea Votes to Join Russia

Crimea celebrates choice to join Russia

March 15, 2015

AFP - Crimea kicked off celebrations that will see fireworks and concerts on Monday to mark a year since a controversial vote to join Russia that the West blasted as an illegal takeover.

The annexation of Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula however won President Vladimir Putin huge acclaim at home and Moscow is pulling out all the stops to mark the first anniversary of the hastily-arranged referendum in which nearly 97 percent of Crimeans voted to leave Ukraine and become part of Russia.

The red, white and blue Russian flag fluttered throughout the peninsula, and in the port city of Sevastopol a column of cars roared its way through central squares and memorial sites as Crimeans celebrated last year's vote, which was followed two days later by Putin signing the official treaty incorporating Crimea into Russia.

The referendum took place after Putin sent thousands of Russian troops to the peninsula, prompting the West to call it an illegal occupation and slap Moscow with sanctions, plunging ties with Moscow to lows unseen since the Cold War.

Russia Says Iran May Be Admitted into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

The Eurasian Triple Alliance: The Strategic Importance of Iran for Russia and China:
China, the Russian Federation, and Iran are widely considered to be allies and partners. Together the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, and the Islamic Republic of Iran form a strategic barrier directed against U.S. expansionism. The three countries form a “triple alliance,” which constitutes the core of a Eurasian coalition directed against U.S. encroachment into Eurasia and its quest for global hegemony.

While China confronts U.S. encroachment in East Asia and the Pacific, Iran and Russia respectively confront the U.S. led coalition in Southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. All three countries are threatened in Central Asia and are wary of the U.S. and NATO military presence in Afghanistan.

Iran can be characterized as a geo-strategic pivot. The geo-political equation in Eurasia very much hinges on the structure of Iran’s political alliances. Were Iran to become an ally of the United States, this would seriously hamper or even destabilize Russia and China. This also pertains to Iran’s ethno-cultural, linguistic, economic, religious, and geo-political links to the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Both Russia and China want a strategic alliance with Iran as a means of screening them from the geo-political encroachment of the United States. “Fortress Eurasia” would be left exposed without Iran. This is why neither Russia nor China could ever accept a war against Iran. [Source] 
Every day, the evidence mounts that China will be tightly leagued with Russia and many of the Islamic nations in a powerful anti-Israel political and military alliance from which will ultimately come the 200-million-man army described in the book of Revelation (Rev. 9:16). - The Sixth Trumpet War of Revelation 9

Russia: With Progress On Nuclear Program, Iran Could Join SCO

February 28, 2015 - Iran may be admitted into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization this summer if it makes progress in resolving disputes over its nuclear program, Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, has said.

It already seems clear that India and Pakistan, who have both long sought SCO membership, will be admitted at the organization's summit this July in Ufa, Russia. Iran -- which also has been trying for years to enter the SCO -- has been hampered by the fact that it is under international sanctions related to its nuclear program.

March 15, 2015

Netanyahu, the Arab-Palestinian Demographic Time-bomb, and the Existence of the Zionist State

With the Saudi-Israeli-directed protesters continuing to pour into the streets and insult Iran, Hezbollah, slander Ayatollah Sayyed Ruhollah Khomeini and despicably burn photographs of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah (70), former Mossad chief Meir Dagan declaring that it is in Israel’s best interest to overthrow Bashar al-Assad and install a ‘Sunni’ regime to weaken Hezbollah (71) and the Zionist-occupied United States government routinely contacting the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (72), the whole picture should be illuminated now: the Syrian Revolution is 100% manufactured by the Zionist entity and the House of Saud. - Jonathan Azaziah, July 6, 2011, Kiss Of ‘Democratic’ Death: Israel’s Plot To Take Down Syria I

Why I hope Israel’s elections will give Netanyahu a fourth term as prime minister

Alan Hart, Veterans Today - If I had to express my hope in one sentence it would be this. A fourth term as prime minister for Netanyahu would see Israel becoming more and more isolated and could improve the chances of Western governments being moved to use the leverage they have to cause the Zionist (not Jewish) state to end its defiance of international law and denial of the Palestinian claim for justice.
Another way to put it would be to say Netanyahu is a disaster for Zionism so let’s have more of him.

A vision of the disaster Netanyahu’s leadership has been bringing on was put into words by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan when he addressed the anti-Netanyahu “Israel Wants Change” rally in Rabin Square on 7 March. He said:
Israel is surrounded by enemies. Enemies do not scare me; I worry about our leadership. I am afraid of our leadership… Netanyahu is dragging us down to a bi-national state and to the end of the Zionist dream.
It would not surprise me if Netanyahu’s unspoken and unspeakable response was something like, “That will not happen because we’ll resort to a final round of ethnic cleansing before it could happen.”

In my imagination Netanyahu shared his thoughts on how to defuse the demographic time-bomb of occupation with a group of deluded, neo-fascist Jewish settlers. One of them said, “Yes, and while we’re completing our ethnic cleansing programme, we’ll blow up the Dome of the Rock.” Another said, “And we’ll chop off some Palestinian heads as Lieberman suggested.”

Dr. Phil Speaks with the Parents and Sister of Eddie Ray Routh

Dr. Phil: Inside the Mind of the Man Who Shot the "American Sniper" | March 16, 2015

Dr. Phil speaks with the parents of Eddie Ray Routh

March 10, 2015

– In a national television exclusive, Dr. Phil speaks with Jodi and Raymond Routh, Sr., the parents of former Marine Eddie Ray Routh, who just last week was convicted of killing Navy Seal sharpshooter Chris Kyle. Kyle’s autobiography was the subject of the critically acclaimed movie “American Sniper,” and he, along with friend Chad Littlefield, was shot point blank by Routh at a Texas shooting range in 2013. This is the first time they have spoken publicly about their son since the trial. Dr. Phil also talks with Eddie’s sister Laura about her brother and the events of that tragic day in 2013.

During the trial, Eddie Ray Routh’s attorneys argued he was not guilty by reason of insanity citing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder psychosis and schizophrenia. On February 25th, a jury convicted him of capital murder. The judge then sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

March 14, 2015

Only Government, Government Contractors, Wall Street, International Mega Corporations, Military Industrial Complex, Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex, and Virtual Business Monopolies Like Google, Microsoft and Amazon Can Pay Workers Wages Unrelated to the Value of Their Work

Restaurants in Seattle Going Dark as $15 an Hour Minimum Wage Looms

Inferior food at higher prices delivered by over-worked servers during restricted hours: recipe for failure. 

March 14, 2015

PJ Media - I like this simple, elegant explanation from Reason’s Ronald Bailey about the value of labor and the minimum wage:
If all other factors remain equal, the higher the price of a good, the less people will demand it. That’s the law of demand, a fundamental idea in economics. And yet there is no shortage of politicians, pundits, policy wonks, and members of the public who insist that raising the price of labor will not have the effect of lessening the demand for workers. In his 2014 State of the Union Address, for example, President Barack Obama called on Congress to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. He argued that increasing the minimum wage would “grow the economy for everyone” by giving “businesses customers with more spending money.”
A January 2015 working paper by two economists, Robert Pollin and Jeanette Wicks-Lim at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, claims that raising the minimum wage of fast food workers to $15 per hour over a four-year transition period would not necessarily result in “shedding jobs.” The two acknowledge that the “raising the price of anything will reduce demand for that thing, all else equal.” But they believe they’ve found a way to “relax” the all-else-being-equal part, at least as far as the wages of fast food workers go. Pollin and Wicks-Lim argue that “the fast-food industry could fully absorb these wage bill increases through a combination of turnover reductions; trend increases in sales growth; and modest annual price increases over the four-year period.” They further claim that a $15/hour minimum wage would not result in lower profits or the reallocation of funds away from other operations, such as marketing. Amazing.
Seattle is going to put that theory to a real world test. Starting April 1, businesses in the city will be forced to raise the minimum wage to $11 an hour, reaching $15 an hour by 2017 for large businesses and 2019 for smaller companies. There are allowances if a business offers health insurance benefits, but all businesses will be paying employees $15 an hour in salary, tips, or benefits by 2021.

Washington Post Publishes Op-Ed Advocating War with Iran

War with Iran is probably our best option

Joshua Muravchik is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

 March 13, 2015

Joshua Muravchik, Washington Post - The logical flaw in the indictment of a looming “very bad” nuclear deal with Iran that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered before Congress this month was his claim that we could secure a “good deal” by calling Iran’s bluff and imposing tougher sanctions. The Iranian regime that Netanyahu described so vividly — violent, rapacious, devious and redolent with hatred for Israel and the United States — is bound to continue its quest for nuclear weapons by refusing any “good deal” or by cheating.

This gives force to the Obama administration’s taunting rejoinder: What is Netanyahu’s alternative? War? But the administration’s position also contains a glaring contradiction. National security adviser Susan Rice declared at an American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference before Netanyahu’s speech that “a bad deal is worse than no deal.”

So if Iran will accept only a “bad deal,” what is President Obama’s alternative? War?

Obama’s stance implies that we have no choice but to accept Iran’s best offer — whatever is, to use Rice’s term, “achievable” — because the alternative is unthinkable. But should it be?

What if force is the only way to block Iran from gaining nuclear weapons? That, in fact, is probably the reality. 

March 12, 2015

Iran Responds to Open Letter from 47 U.S. Senators About Nuclear Deal

Iran will not be duped in nuclear deal: Khamenei

March 12, 2013

AFP - The Iranian negotiating team will not allow Tehran to be duped in any nuclear deal with world powers, the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday.

After the fallout from an open letter sent to Iran by Republican senators, Khamenei appeared before the Assembly of Experts, Iran's highest clerical body, to praise Iran’s "trustworthy" team negotiating with the "deceitful" world powers.

President Hassan Rouhani "has selected a nuclear (negotiating) team who are truly good, trustworthy and hardworking," he said, quoted by ISNA news agency, whereas "the other party is deceitful and stabs in the back".

Iranian officials "know what they are doing and they also know how to act in case of an agreement so that Americans cannot break it later", said Khamenei, who has the final say on any deal.

Sheldon Adelson, Benjamin Netanyahu and America’s Dark Money Conspiracy

Netanyahu Speaks, Money Talks: “We are hostage to his fortune”

The gambling tycoon is funneling loads of cash into GOP PACs. He's also controlling Israel's propaganda machine

March 7, 2015 - Everything you need to know about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress Tuesday was the presence in the visitor’s gallery of one man – Sheldon Adelson.

The gambling tycoon is the Godfather of the Republican Right. The party’s presidential hopefuls line up to kiss his assets, scraping and bowing for his blessing, which when granted is bestowed with his signed checks. Data from both the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics and the Center for Public Integrity show that in the 2012 election cycle, Adelson and his wife Miriam (whose purse achieved metaphoric glory Tuesday when it fell from the gallery and hit a Democratic congressman) contributed $150 million to the GOP and its friends, including $93 million to such plutocracy-friendly super PACs as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, the Congressional Leadership Fund, the Republican Jewish Coalition Victory Fund, Winning Our Future (the pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC) and Restore Our Future (the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC).

Yet there’s no knowing for sure about all of the “dark money” contributed by the Adelsons – so called because it doesn’t have to be reported. Like those high-rise, multi-million dollar apartments in New York City purchased by oligarchs whose identity is hidden within perfectly legal shell organizations, dark money lets our politicians conveniently erase fingerprints left by their ink-stained (from signing all those checks) billionaire benefactors.

But Sheldon Adelson was not only sitting in the House gallery on Tuesday because of the strings he pulls here in the United States. He is also the Daddy Warbucks of Israel, and Benjamin Netanyahu is yet another of his beneficiaries – not to mention an ideological soulmate. Although campaign finance reform laws are much more strict in Israel than here in the United States, Adelson’s wealth has bought him what the historian and journalist Gershom Gorenberg calls “uniquely pernicious” influence.

March 10, 2015

'Digital ID' for Mobile Purchases Using Apple Pay, Google Wallet, CurrentC

Banks Changing Apple Pay Procedures After Fraud, Consultants Say

March 6, 2015

NewsMax - Some banks have begun to make changes in how they activate customers’ credit-card accounts to use Apple Inc.’s new mobile-payment system after reports of fraudulent transactions, according to industry consultants.

The effort is an attempt to thwart criminals who have been typing stolen credit-card numbers into Apple Pay and trying to make purchases with their iPhones.

The breaches follow Apple’s October introduction of the service, which lets owners of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus load their credit and bank cards on their smartphones and use them to make purchases at cash registers equipped with a proper wireless connections.

March 9, 2015

GOP Tries to Undercut Nuclear Deal with Warning to Iran

GOP tries to undercut nuclear deal with warning to Iran

March 9, 2015

AP - Republican lawmakers warned the leaders of Iran on Monday that any nuclear deal they cut with President Barack Obama could expire the day he leaves office. The White House denounced the GOP's latest effort to undercut the international negotiations as a "rush to war."

Monday's open letter from 47 GOP senators marked an unusually public and aggressive attempt to undermine Obama and five world powers as negotiators try to strike an initial deal by the end of March to limit Iran's nuclear programs.

Republicans say a deal would be insufficient and unenforceable, and they have made a series of proposals to undercut or block it — from requiring Senate say-so on any agreement to ordering new penalty sanctions against Iran or even making a pre-emptive declaration of war.

Obama, noting that some in Iran also want no part of any deal, said: "I think it's somewhat ironic that some members of Congress want to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran. It's an unusual coalition."

March 8, 2015

Netanyahu Says Israel Will Not Cede Any Territory to Palestinians, Appearing to Rule Out the Establishment of a Palestinian State

Netanyahu says Israel will not cede land to Palestinians

March 8, 2015

AP - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel will not cede any territory due to the current climate in the Middle East, appearing to rule out the establishment of a Palestinian state.

 Netanyahu's comments, which came as he sought to appeal to hard-liners ahead of national elections next week, rejected a key goal of the international community and bode poorly for reviving peace efforts if he is re-elected.
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that any evacuated territory would fall into the hands of Islamic extremism and terror organizations supported by Iran. Therefore, there will be no concessions and no withdrawals. It is simply irrelevant," read a statement released by his Likud party.
Netanyahu's office said the statement reflected the prime minister's long-held position.

The international community has long pushed for the creation of a Palestinian state on lands captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. In 1993, Israel and the Palestinians signed an interim agreement that was to lead to the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Numerous rounds of peace negotiations have been held since then, with the most recent talks breaking down last year.

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said Netanyahu was using regional strife as an excuse.
"Today Netanyahu revealed his true face," Erekat said. "Since 1993, he worked hard for the destruction of the option of peace and the option of a two-state solution."
Ahead of national elections, centrist and leftist political parties in Israel have said they support the resumption of peace efforts with the Palestinians.

There was no immediate U.S. reaction.