Everybody be safe, have a happy...and...
BEIRUT — Deadly clashes erupted in Syria on Friday as activists estimated that 500,000 protesters filled the streets to demonstrate against the government of President Bashar Assad. Activists said 32 people were shot dead as Arab League officials continued monitoring the situation on the ground.
One Arab League monitor told an angry crowd that his team's job was only to observe, not to help them remove Assad, live video on Al Jazeera showed on Friday.
"Our goal is to observe ... it is not to remove the president, our aim is to return Syria to peace and security," he said, speaking over a loudspeaker from a podium at a mosque filled with protesters in the Damascus suburb of Douma, where Friday also saw troops fire tear gas at protesters who threw rocks at them.
But the observer, who did not give his name, said he promised to convey the protesters' sufferings.
"From what I have heard there is blood being shed," he said. "That is for sure."
A team of around 60 monitors has already arrived from a delegation that should ultimately number 150 and is expected to inspect Syria for about one month. They will check whether Assad's forces are implementing a peace plan that calls for an end to a crackdown on anti-government revolt.
Activists say they believe many monitors are pro-government or that they feel it is too difficult to communicate with the team away from government escorts. Inside the Douma mosque, the restless crowd seemed suspicious of the monitors.A speaker from the mosque tried to calm the audience, pleading with them to let the monitor speak. But a man immediately broke the silence, shouting "My son is a martyr, they killed him," rousing chants of "With blood and soul we will redeem the martyrs."
The monitor, who asked the audience not to film him but who was broadcast on Al Jazeera Live, said: "We as monitors are not supposed to speak but the situation has forced me to say something: We are monitoring the elements of the protocol signed between the Arab League and the government."
The protocol requires that Syrian forces withdraw from cities and release detainees believed to still number in the thousands.
More than 5,000 people have been killed as the government tries to crush the protests. It says it is fighting Islamist militants steered from abroad who have killed 2,000 members of the security forces.
December 28, 2011, 12:10 p.m.
America is not the embodiment of hope, but the abandonment of one kind of hope in return for another. America embodies the spirit of creative destruction, selecting immigrants willing to turn their back on the tragedy of their own failing culture in return for a new start. Its creative success is so enormous that its global influence hastens the decline of other cultures. For those on the destruction side of the trade, America is a monster. Now China has become an agent of creative destruction as well, the consequence of its partial adoption of the American model. China indirectly brought about the so-called Arab Spring, by driving up world grain prices and pricing the Arab poor out of the world market for food. Chinese pigs will eat before Arab peasants; food insecurity (if not actual starvation) undermined the Arab dictatorships.
Iranian resentment is understandable. They recall the Brontosaurus in an old Far Side cartoon, standing at the dais addressing an auditorium full of dinosaurs: “The climate is changing, our food supply is dwindling, and we have a brain the size of a peanut. I’d say we’re in trouble.” Islam is a religion of traditional society, of iron constraints and unquestioned hierarchies. By teaching Iranian girls to read, the late Shah set off a cultural chain-reaction: fertility has fallen from 7 children per female a generation ago to just 1.5 today, a catastrophic decline unparalleled in demographic history. And mosque attendance is down to only 2% by some estimates. Creative destruction has burst in upon Iran and turned its society inside-out. The mullahs still have all the money in Iran’s hydrocarbon monoculture, and almost all the guns, and they will do anything necessary to turn the clock back. Their world is disappearing in front of their eyes. They have nothing to lose.
Of course, the mullahs would have nothing without the global economy; after oil, Iran exports nothing but pistachios and carpets. Without foreign oil companies, the mullahs could not drill, pump, or ship their hydrocarbons. The whole apparatus of Iranian Islam is a theme park, an Shi’ite Disneyland funded by oil revenues, perpetuating a barbaric society that could not feed itself without global demand for the natural resources that, by unlucky accident, happen to be located in Iranian territory.
Mullah Paul voices the same fear and resentment in its milder American form. He has in common with the Iranians a desire to make the world go away, and a fixed idea that an evil conspiracy brought about all the problems. Ron Paul isn’t an Iranian, to be sure; he’s just the closest an American can come to thinking like an Iranian without actually moving there.
Creative destruction felt good in the United States as long as the rest of the world parked its savings in our real estate market — a total of $6 trillion flowed in from overseas between 1998 and 2007, the equivalent of a whole year’s output of the U.S. economy. And as long as America was swimming on foreign savings, and home prices were rising, Americans saw no need to save. Our good fortune, to be sure, did not derive from an economic accident, but rather from the fact that America’s political system and free markets made us the world’s best venue for investments. Now we have competition. We’re no longer the only game in town.Read more »
The Hizbullah terrorist organization is in hot water over a scheme to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in multi-national drug trafficking revenues.
According to a report published by the World News Tribune, the Lebanon-based terrorist organization is using American banks and other financial institutions to process money earned from trafficking in South America.
The complaint filed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Justice, charges Hizbullah with using the money to buy used cars in the U.S. for transport to West Africa, where they are then sold, mostly in Benin.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bhara noted, "It puts into start relief the nexus between narcotics trafficking and terrorism."
According to a British security source, Hizbullah also sets up straw companies in African and Arab countries which then sell vehicles and/or other goods. Hizbullah operatives also steal passports, which are then used to cover terrorists as they travel the world to raise money.
However, some intelligence sources are questioning how much of the funds are actually being used for the day-to-day operations of the terrorist organization, and how much is going to line the pockets of its leader, Hassan Nasrallah.
American intelligence sources quoted by a Saudi newspaper said the group's secretary-general is worth some $250 million -- and the bank accounts of his deputy, Sheikh Naim Qassem, and other top terror officials may total as much as $2 billion.
The money is allegedly laundered through a complex chain of accounts around the globe using pseudonyms. Millions of dollars are periodically funneled from the accounts of Hizbullah leaders or those of their wives, to those of senior members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the sources said.
The money is then transferred back to Hizbullah from the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini, the source said.
Egypt raids foreign organizations’ offices in crackdown
Three U.S. groups are among those raided. Activists say the army is using the ruse of foreign intervention to stoke nationalism and deflect criticism of abuses.
Egypt police raid civil rights groups
Egyptian Raids on U.S. Groups Draw Ire
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that an anti-Muslim Internet hate site that contained a number of threats of violence targeting mosques, including the comment “I want [Muslim] blood on my hands,” has been taken down by its hosting company.Of course, CAIR has never acted to have any Jihadi site (calling for war on Infidels and Jews) taken down, have they?
CAIR said visitors to “Bare Naked Islam,” hosted by WordPress.com, now see the message: “barenakedislam.wordpress.com is no longer available. This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.”
[NOTE: "Bare Naked Islam" was one of the major promoters of the campaign to pressure Lowe's to drops its ads from TLC's "All-American Muslim."]
Last month, CAIR called on the FBI to investigate the threats of violence targeting mosques posted on the blog and urged WordPress.com to remove it for violating the hosting company’s terms of service (TOS), which prohibit blogs that “contain threats or incite violence towards individuals or entities.” Articles and comments posted on “Bare Naked Islam” urged attacks on and desecration of American and European mosques.
Fox reporter Trace Gallagher was discussing the recent “nurse-ins,” where mothers — in response to a fellow mother being asked not to breastfeed at a Target store — descended on stores across the country to breastfeed their babies in public. And after he wrapped up his report, Kelly offered a personal anecdote.
“You know, I got a lot of thoughts on this, Trace,” she explained with a smile on her face. “Let me just put it this way: I used to feel a lot differently before I had babies and you’re breastfeeding; they need to be fed and then sometimes they don’t like the cover. And before you know it, you‘re Megyn Kelly and you’re showing your breasts to a whole plane.”
Gallagher responded by laughing and clapping his hands — which is about all he could do at that point.
You can watch her tell the story below:
Bachmann made the revelation during a radio interview with WHO-AM RADIO on Thursday morning. But that wasn’t the only gun-related news she discussed. She also talked about how she‘s a concealed carry permit holder and how she’s actually set to go on an upcoming bird hunt with Rep. Steve King.
“Hey, I’m a pretty good shot, I got to tell you,” she said, later adding, “I learned how to hunt here in Iowa from my dad. I went through gun safety when I was 12. … And I scored the best in my class of any of the men, too, in that class.”
So why does she like the AR-15 so much? “Because you can be so accurate with it.”
“I love it. I love it, it’s a great gun. I like being accurate, and that is a great gun.”
You can listen to her describe her love for the AR-15, as well as the size of her magazine, below: