Friday, July 29, 2011

Bigger Loaf Better Than Half or None! Pray For Cancer's Cure

Yesterday was World Cancer Day:Friday is world cancer day - A small request.. Just one line.

Dear God, I pray for a cure for cancer. Amen
Does new NASA Data blow a hole in the Global Warming argument which, in many solid minds, has always been based on specious science and was simply a way for Gore to make millions and keep his name in the news?

Perhaps Tipper also concluded Gore was a nut case and left before she got overheated living with that pompous ass. (See 1 below.)
A bright Atlanta attorney offers his thinking on presidential re-nominations. (See 2 below)
I agree ,U.S. debt will likely lose its top rating even if there is a debt ceiling agreement. In fact, raising the debt ceiling is a signal that our deficits will continue to grow. What conservatives are trying to do is add some lead to Obama's balloon

However, I do not believe U.S. Treasury short term paper is toxic because the world has no alternative to the dollar remaining the world reserve currency - at least for now. In time, if we continue re-electing spending presidents and Congress cannot come together with respect to arresting their appetite for bankrupting The Republic, a basket of other currencies will supplant the dollar. It is inevitable.(See 3 below.)

Advice from Porter Stansberry on how to protect yourself against America's coming debt downgrade. (See 3a below.)
Now that intransigent Tea Partyers helped force Boehner to pull away from a deal with Obama, which would have been tantamount to giving away the store once again, Kim Strassel points out why Republicans, through Boehner's renewed efforts, have every reason to vote for his new plan.

As Kim knows, I adore her as a person, I respect her for her brightness but I would suggest, in this article, she should give more credit to those who held Boehner's feet to the fire thereby, assisting in his being able to craft a "bigger loaf" deal.

That said, 'a bigger loaf is better than even a half loaf and no loaf at all.

If Reid and Obama would rather continue eating cake then they will eventually have it all over their face. (See 4 below.)
Ironic that our State Department is located in that D.C area called 'Foggy Bottom' because that department seldom has a foggy notion about what is happening to them.

Hillary is probably the foggiest of all. (See 5 below.)
The story of Libya's Jewish population.

It is the story, in varying degrees, of all Jews living in Arab nations, is the current story of Christians living in Arab nations and it will only worsen.

Arabs, because of their tribal culture, tend to hate each other and Muslims, because of their religion, seem to hate everyone.

That may be overreach but about sums it up to my ignorant mind.(See 6 below.)

And this about sums it up as well and sort of reinforces my previous point. (See 6a below.)
1)New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism
By James Taylor

NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA's Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA's Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.

"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."

In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.

The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.

Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is "not much"). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds. Alarmist computer models assume human carbon dioxide emissions indirectly cause substantial increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds (each of which are very effective at trapping heat), but real-world data have long shown that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing as much atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds as the alarmist computer models have predicted.

The new NASA Terra satellite data are consistent with long-term NOAA and NASA data indicating atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds are not increasing in the manner predicted by alarmist computer models. The Terra satellite data also support data collected by NASA's ERBS satellite showing far more longwave radiation (and thus, heat) escaped into space between 1985 and 1999 than alarmist computer models had predicted. Together, the NASA ERBS and Terra satellite data show that for 25 years and counting, carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.

In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth's atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth's atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.

When objective NASA satellite data, reported in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, show a "huge discrepancy" between alarmist climate models and real-world facts, climate scientists, the media and our elected officials would be wise to take notice. Whether or not they do so will tell us a great deal about how honest the purveyors of global warming alarmism truly are.

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
2)Fwd: Randy Evans Column No. 1079
The 2012 Democratic Nominee - Maybe
J. Randolph Evans

No one knows just how the current federal debt crisis is going to play
out. Anyone who says they do, probably knows the least.

The polling numbers for everyone involved are horrible. Sixty-seven
percent of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong
direction. Forty-eight percent of Americans disapprove of President
Barack Obama's performance as President. Seventy-three percent
disapprove of the job Congress is doing. And, all of those numbers are
before another fifteen months of high unemployment.

Meanwhile, most 2012 GOP Presidential hopefuls are left watching
helplessly from the political sidelines. The GOP field struggles to be
relevant as the test of wills plays out between House Speaker John
Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and President Barack Obama.

Of those in the fray, President Obama clearly has the most to lose.
More often than not, it is the President who pays the political costs of
failure - especially when the economy flounders.

Yet, most incumbent Presidents sail toward re-nomination by their
political party even when things are not going so well. President Jimmy
Carter was re-nominated in 1980, only to lose to President Ronald
Reagan. And, President George Bush was re-nominated in 1992, only to
lose to President Bill Clinton. But it is only most incumbent
Presidents who get re-nominated, not every incumbent President.

Admittedly, most insiders expect that with $1 billion to spend, the
Obama re-nomination machine will be on cruise control until the
Republicans figure out who their nominee will be.

Maybe - maybe not.

So here is a little history. During the 1800s, it was actually common
for political parties to dump a sitting President as their party's
nominee. The first was President John Tyler in 1844. Yes, he had not
been elected as President (moving up when President William Henry
Harrison died). But, he was the incumbent. That did not help him.
When his reelection rolled around, the Whigs dumped him and nominated
Henry Clay. The Democrats nominated President James Knox Polk (who won)
and President Tyler was out of a job.

It became a trend. The Whigs again dumped their incumbent President in
1852. When President Zachary Taylor died, President Millard Fillmore
moved up. When his reelection came along, the Whigs denied him the
party's nomination and opted for Winfield Scott. He promptly lost to
President Franklin Pierce.

In 1856, Democrats refused to re-nominate incumbent President Pierce and
in 1860, Democrats did not even really consider incumbent President
James Buchanan.

Notably, political parties often had good reason to dump their nominees.
Presidents Pierce and Buchanan are consistently listed as two of the
worst Presidents in U. S. history. Indeed, as the Democratic nominee in
1852, President Pierce had no credible credentials to serve as
President. But he was bold. At his inauguration, President Franklin
Pierce (the youngest President at the time at age 48) chose to 'affirm'
his oath of office (rather than swear to it) on a law book (rather than
the Bible). It was all downhill from there.

Sometimes, Presidents are dumped because they simply cannot get anything
done (through no fault of their own). As a result of a midterm election
in 1858, President Buchanan faced partisan gridlock. House Republicans
blocked President Buchanan at almost every turn. By the time the
Democratic convention rolled around, President Buchanan was not even a
factor (and as a result not re-nominated.)

But, what about the 20th century? Twice, incumbent Democratic Presidents
decided to abandon their bid for the Democratic nomination after the
handwriting became clear on the wall. In 1952, Democratic President
Harry Truman sought reelection. After losing the Democratic Primary in
New Hampshire, he abandoned his bid for the Democratic nomination.
Adlai Stevenson got the Democratic nomination and Republican President
Dwight Eisenhower won.

In 1968, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson ran for reelection. Once
again, New Hampshire proved to be pivotal. Initially, no Democrats in
1968 wanted to challenge President Johnson who was a sitting Democratic

Only Senator Eugene McCarthy ran against President Johnson in 1968.
But, in the New Hampshire Democratic Primary, Senator McCarthy won 42%
of New Hampshire Democrats (against President Johnson's 49%). It was
over. President Johnson shocked the world when he added this sentence
to the end of a speech shortly afterward: "I shall not seek, and I will
not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your

It actually was not his choice. His support collapsed and he would not
have won re-nomination as the Democratic nominee even if he had stayed
in the contest. The rest is history. President Richard Nixon won the

Both Truman and Johnson confirm that when things start to falter for a
sitting President, things do move fast. So what does all this have to do
with 2012? Maybe nothing - maybe everything. Anyone seen Hillary
Clinton lately?
3)Wiedemer: US Treasurys Now a ‘Toxic Asset,’ Debt Deal Won’t Fix It
By Forrest Jones and Ashley Martella

The United States may lose its AAA rating by defaulting on its debt and it will be very hard to get that rating back, says Robert Wiedemer, financial commentator and best-selling author of "Aftershock."

Lawmakers are at an impasse on agreeing on terms to lift the government's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and avoid an Aug. 2 default.

Republicans and Democrats want to lift the ceiling but disagree on how to reduce the deficit in exchange for lifting the White House's borrowing limit.

They will probably strike a deal and lift the ceiling, Wiedemer says, but they may not do it in time, and credit ratings agencies may strip the country of its AAA ratings.

You don't get those back that easily, says Wiedemer, managing director of Absolute Investment Manager.

"I don't think we are going to work our way back to AAA," Wiedemer tells Newsmax.TV.

"Any downgrade I think is ultimately going to be based more on fundamental issues. We have a huge debt now almost eight times our tax revenues. That's massive. It's fundamentally a toxic asset."

A downgrade won't mean the end of the world for the financial system, says Wiedemer, who recently released an updated edition of his best-selling book, "Aftershock."

Economists at the ratings agencies themselves have said that much.

But Americans will feel the pinch when investors demand higher interest rates in U.S. debt auctions, which will trickle down to loans like mortgages and student loans.

"Any kind of nick does do long-term harm to our credibility, but is the immediate impact catastrophic? No, of course not. But is the long-term blow to our reputation a problem especially if our economy sees more inflation and other problems? It just piles on," Wiedemer says.

"If it was the only problem, I wouldn't worry about it. But it's indicative of a much larger problem."

After default, the United States enjoys the unique position in that the Federal Reserve can print money and buy U.S. Treasurys to keep them as affordable for the government as possible.

The problem with such a move is that it would threaten to pump up inflation rates even if it does prevent ratings from falling too far below AAA.

"If we have any real trouble selling our bonds, Ben [Bernanke] will just step in and buy them with printed money. And there's really no limit to that other than when he does that, that's going to create inflation."

"But in the short term, that limits the amount of downgrades you can get. The longer-term problem is more insidious, and that's inflation."

China to Take a Hit

Political parties may suffer fresh beatings in popularity polls after the debt-ceiling impasse, and those that elected them will suffer as well in the form of a sluggish economy threatened by high debt levels and rising inflation rates.

The Chinese, meanwhile, may also take it across the chin if default occurs.

China has invested heavily in U.S. debt but has also manipulated its currency in such a way that it has gained an edge in global trade.

A weak Chinese yuan makes its exports more competitive.

But a disruption in global markets stemming from a U.S. default could mess up Beijing's plans.

"Anybody who invests in something that defaults, they get hit and they take a big loss. I think the Chinese could be in for a really big hit by betting so heavily on manipulating the dollar. It's not a smart bet, fundamentally, to manipulate foreign exchange," Wiedemer says.

"That's why few countries do it. Certainly our largest trading partner Canada doesn't do it. I think it's a dumb bet, and I think they are going to lose heavily on it."

Standard and Poor's, meanwhile, says it would like to see the country shave $4 trillion off of its deficits over the long term. "$4 trillion would be a good down payment," says John Chambers, chairman of the company’s sovereign rating committee, according to Bloomberg.

"A grand bargain of that nature would signal the seriousness of policy makers to address the fiscal situation in the U.S."

About Robert Wiedemer
Robert Wiedemer is a managing director of Absolute Investment Management, an investment-advisory firm for individuals with more than $120 million under management. He is a regular contributor to Financial Intelligence Report, the flagship investment newsletter of Newsmax Media. Click Here to read more of his articles. Discover more about his latest book, "Aftershock."

© Moneynews. All rights reserved

3a) The crisis arrives – finally… Why a downgrade is inevitable… What it all means… Glad we shorted financial stocks… Doc's Retirement Trader… The best ways to profit from volatility…

Yes, it's for real. We've been wondering when the markets would wake up to the reality of the sovereign debt crisis. Today is the day…

The action in the fixed-income markets this morning verged on collapse. Yields on the world's benchmark sovereign debt – the U.S. 10-year Treasury bond – plummeted. Investors panicked and moved into the market, which is the world's most liquid market. Meanwhile, just about everything else in fixed income got killed. Mortgage REITs were briefly "no bid," for example. Annaly – the blue-chip mortgage REIT – was down more than 15% at the open. (I'll explain why in a moment.)

It was as if the world's fixed-income investors finally woke up and realized the world's economy has serious problems… which our politicians seem unable to address, let alone repair.

As longtime subscribers know… on Fridays, I take on the thankless task of trying to teach our clients something about finance, investing, or economics. It's a fool's errand because most of our clients have no interest in learning. They cancel in droves on Mondays.

Nevertheless, I'm stubborn. I feel an obligation to give you the information I would want if our roles were reversed. Given the crisis at hand, today's Digest will focus on the mechanics of what a U.S. sovereign downgrade would mean to the world's markets – both on paper and in reality. This is a critically important topic – one that most people know nothing about…

The credit-ratings agency Standard & Poor's says there's a 50% chance it will downgrade America's credit rating from triple-A within the next 90 days. That's the same credit rating ol' Timmy Geithner said the U.S. would "never" lose just a few months ago. Most people believe these downgrades and the resulting problems (which we'll discuss in detail below) are being caused by the debt ceiling issue. They're not.

The downgrades, as S&P explains, are due to the funding needs of the U.S. government, combined with the growing size of our annual deficits relative to the growth of our economy, which remains moribund. I've written about these issues extensively in my newsletter, most recently in the May issue called, "The Day the Dollar Dies"…

… 61% of all the marketable Treasury debt held by the public will mature within four years . Thus, over the next four years, the U.S. Treasury must either repay or refinance more than $1 trillion in existing debt each year – not to mention additional deficit spending of at least $1.5 trillion. For us to avoid a default, the U.S. Treasury may have to borrow or refinance as much as $10 trillion in the next four years. That would double the amount of U.S. Treasury bonds currently trading in the world's markets.

Looking just at these numbers and considering America's total debt load (public and private debts total nearly 400% of GDP), there's no question our sovereign debt rating should be cut… I'm not sure the U.S. is even an investment-grade credit.

That analysis includes a huge "but"… because thanks to the dollar's standing as the world's reserve currency, it is actually impossible for the U.S. to default unless it chooses to do so, through debt ceiling limits, etc. The real question, in my mind, isn't the sovereign rating. (And yes, I believe we will be downgraded whether or not the debt limit is increased.) The real question is, how long will our creditors and our trading partners continue to allow the dollar to dominate the world's banking system and commodity markets?

My answer is, not for long. Not if the U.S. government continues to print money to pay for its own profligate spending. But how else will it finance a doubling of outstanding Treasury bonds in the next decade?

Over the next few months, I expect to see a repeat of the crisis of 2008 – but on a much bigger scale. This time, the credit problems coming to the surface aren't in the banks and the brokers. They're in the sovereigns – both in the U.S. and Europe. The only palatable political solution to this problem is to print more money – colossal amounts of it. For now, investors remain willing to pile into U.S. Treasurys. But this crisis will only get worse until that trend reverses. The only way the U.S. government can avoid an actual default is to destroy the dollar. So that's what's going to happen. A downgrade is only the first step. But let me show you what that first step will mean…

Here's the critical thing to understand. All around the world, the U.S. 10-year Treasury bond establishes the "risk-free" rate. That is, in just about any kind of fixed-income vehicle, market rates of interest are established by the current price and yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond. Yes, matching duration bonds are normally used. If you're pricing a five-year mortgage, you'll use the five-year U.S. Treasury. But the fact is, the market is pricing the five-year Treasury bond by using the 10-year Treasury bond as the reference. The entire financial system uses the U.S. Treasury bond market as its foundation.

That's why whenever trouble arises and panic spreads, everyone buys Treasurys. If these bonds are no longer rated triple-A, the pricing of all other forms of financial instruments will suffer. Credit, in general, should become harder to get and more expensive because the entire system just got riskier. Think about it this way, if the safest part of the world's financial system is no longer safe, how much riskier did a bond that's three rungs down the ladder just become? We don't know, precisely. We only know "more risky" is the only logical answer.

We saw what this means for leveraged financial holding companies this morning when mortgage REITs got killed. Bloomberg's index of 32 mortgage REITs fell about 8.5% at the open because their cost of funding rose as investors abandoned the "repo" market and bought U.S. Treasurys. Investors are demanding higher prices to finance these mortgage books because many of the mortgages these companies hold are insured against principal loss by the U.S. Treasury. If those guarantees aren't triple-A anymore, funding those investments is going to cost more. (By the way, these risks are exactly why I urged my subscribers to sell Annaly at $17.82 for a 77% gain in May, and why we've added short positions in four major global financial firms – all of which are showing a profit.)

When you apply the same kind of thinking across the financial system, you begin to get an idea of why the world's economy is probably heading for trouble. The cost of financing is going up – for corporations, homebuyers, and governments. Sooner or later, this will spark renewed efforts at the Federal Reserve to monetize our debts. But when it turns on the presses this time, we expect our creditors and trading partners to revolt. Gold and silver will soar. Financial stocks will plummet. You've been warned…

As you probably know, I've been warning about a collapse in sovereign debts since at least December 2008. I call these problems "the End of America," because I believe the inevitable outcome will be the loss of the U.S. dollar's status as the world's reserve currency. (That clearly hasn't happened yet – investors are still flocking to the Treasury market in this crisis.)

The stage for this crisis was set during the financial crisis of 2008. And I don't believe it will be over until these debts are either written off or monetized away by the Fed through inflation. Until that happens, we'll be dealing with a world of far greater financial uncertainty. Your primary goal as an investor right now should be to simply retain your purchasing power. How can you do that?

The basic ways to defend yourself from the government's efforts to monetize our debt are pretty simple: Hold 10%-20% of your assets in the form of gold and/or silver. That's your best protection against the government. Holding your liquid (cash) savings in better currencies – like the Swiss franc, the Canadian dollar, etc. – is a good idea, too. (Everbank can help you do this, by the way.)

Investing in hard commodities is also a good bet. But you have to buy these stocks during periods when the market becomes temporarily convinced the Fed won't print any more money. We might reach a good point for these purchases in three or four months, as the U.S. economy will continue to slow, stoking fears of deflation.
4)Boehner's Moment of Truth The speaker has positioned his party to take credit for a bill that averts a crisis.
By KIMBERLEY A. Strassel

It isn't easy to turn Washington around on a dime. If nothing else, give Republican House Speaker John Boehner marks for trying.

It wasn't a week ago that Mr. Boehner was plodding through White House deliberations, grasping for GOP support, facing the growing likelihood his party would be saddled with either a flawed debt bargain or blame for causing a default. By last night, Mr. Boehner was on the precipice of passing the only workable debt plan in town and shifting responsibility for further debt fallout across the aisle. Whatever the final result, Mr. Boehner's week-long struggle to pull his party behind him is worthy of some study.

That struggle began with the Ohio Republican's willingness to pack in a losing strategy. He'd invested valuable time and capital in his White House talks, and the pressure from the president, the press and the bipartisan crowd to grab a "big deal" was enormous. He looked very near to succumbing to the seductive pull of a grand Washington "compromise."

Instead, he realized that this White House had no intention of agreeing to serious debt reduction and that it cared primarily about tax hikes. His decision to call off the talks earned him some catcalls, but it reset the political dynamic.

For weeks, House Republicans had feared their only choice would be between a problematic Boehner-Obama deal or their principles. Many had chosen to risk default in the name of the latter. By outing the White House and pushing a legitimate Republican alternative, Mr. Boehner gave his members a new choice: They could rally behind their leader for a deal that was good (if not perfect), or they could hand victory to President Obama.

President Obama took it from there. His week of lashing out at the GOP—in a press conference, in a national address, in a veto threat—only clarified the stakes for members and began earning Mr. Boehner standing ovations. The desperate quality of the Democratic attacks confirmed for House Republicans that the speaker was on to something. His blunt warnings about the political fallout of default helped further focus minds, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's support for the Boehner plan reassured House members that he'd back them in the Senate.

Also helping was the House leadership's deft handling of the bill itself. Instead of legislation to thrill hard-liners, Mr. Boehner stuck to a framework already agreed upon by most Democrats—thereby robbing them of an easy excuse for rejecting it.

He simultaneously inserted enough provisions—such as a promise for a future vote on a balanced budget amendment—to allow some cut-cap-balance members to feel confident they were holding to their own promises. His willingness this week to retool the bill, so that Congressional Budget Office analysts would confirm it lived up to its goal of $900 billion in savings, began reassuring conservative members that they were voting for something real.

He got a final boost from the unrealistic wing of the conservative movement, which overplayed its hand. Conservative bloggers and Washington pressure groups love to complain about the GOP "establishment," never acknowledging that they've become an establishment all their own. Without asking voter permission, they've fashioned themselves the heavies of the tea party movement, issuing diktats and punishing deviations—according to their whims. Witness this week's leaked emails from a staffer for the conservative Republican Study Committee encouraging activists to tell freshmen Republicans to vote against the Boehner bill, and to "target" any who did not.

Those Republican freshmen—many sporting sterling conservative credentials—are getting a bit hacked off that the Club for Growth or House staffers are dictating the positions they must take. Many rightly saw Mr. Boehner's plan as a credible first step toward deficit reduction—one that denies Democrats the ability to hang default on the GOP, and that also positions Republicans for the 2012 election and real reform. They began to wonder who made Heritage Action the arbiter of all things conservative, and some broke for Mr. Boehner.

By Thursday evening, Mr. Boehner had moved a significant portion of his conference, though he proved unable to net the final few votes. Some remained wedded to their vow to never vote for a debt-ceiling hike. Some, like presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, continued to insist, ludicrously, that a failed deal wouldn't be a problem. It is an open question if Mr. Boehner could have ever won these votes, no matter how big, deep and dramatic a budget-cutting deal he presented.

What he did do this week is position his party to take credit for a bill that averts a crisis, cuts more spending than any Democrat ever thought possible, and exposes the White House's insincerity on the deficit and economic prosperity. The Republicans who yesterday undermined bill now bear sole responsibility for whatever political fallout comes next.
5) Al Qaeda in Iran
The U.S. finally acknowledges the terror connection.

That there have long been links between al Qaeda and the government of Iran isn't exactly news.

In 2003, the Washington Post reported on a "decade-old relationship" between al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri and Ahmad Vahidi, now Iran's minister of defense. In 2004, the 9/11 Commission wrote that "there is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers." Throughout the war in Iraq, there was extensive intelligence that Iran was supporting the Mesopotamian branch of al Qaeda, never mind that they were terrorizing the country's Shiite population.

Yet it was only yesterday that the U.S. government formally acknowledged the connection between the world's most dangerous terrorist group and the leading state sponsor of terrorism. In a move by the Treasury Department, six members of a terrorist network based in Iran were sanctioned for serving as "the core pipeline through which al Qaeda moves money, facilitators and operatives from across the Middle East to South Asia," principally meaning Pakistan and Afghanistan. The leader of the group, Ezedin Abdul Aziz Khalil, is a Syrian who has been operating from Iran under an agreement signed in 2005.

The sanctions will likely have little effect on the terror network, at least so long as its members remain in the Islamic Republic. But at least it ought to put to rest the idea that doctrinal differences all but forbid radical Sunnis to make common cause with radical Shiites. As in politics, terrorism can make strange bedfellows, especially when there's a shared hatred of the United States.

The Obama Administration has come a long way since the days when it thought it could strike a "grand bargain" with Iran's mullahs, and yesterday's move is another good step. Above all, it's a reminder of why a regime that has no qualms serving as al Qaeda's facilitator can on no account be permitted to build a nuclear bomb.
6)Message body


What was once the most beautiful synagogue in Libya’s capital city can now be entered only by sneaking through a hole smashed in a back wall, climbing over dusty trash and crossing a stairwell strewn with abandoned shoes to a space occupied by cooing pigeons.

The synagogue, Dar al-Bishi, was once the center of a prosperous Jewish community, one whose last remnants were expelled decades ago in the early days of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Inside Libya, little trace of them remains. Abroad, however, surviving members and descendants of the community are very much alive, watching with fascination from afar as Gaddafi’s forces and a NATO-backed rebel insurgency battle for control of a country some of them still see as home.

“I have somewhat mixed feelings. I am sympathetic to people who want him out,” said Libya-born Gina Bublil-Waldman, referring to the embattled dictator.
But Bublil-Waldman, who heads an organization of Jews from Arab countries in San Francisco, said she was still angry and hurt by the memory of her family’s expulsion from Libya. Those feelings remained strong, she said, and at this point she “would be afraid to go.

Navit Barel, a 34-year-old Israeli of Libyan descent, said the upheaval made her want to visit the country where her parents were born. Her mother and father, now deceased, both grew up near the Dar al-Bishi synagogue.

“I feel like it brought back my yearning to talk to my father,” she said.
Libyan Jews seem proud of their heritage and even nostalgic for their ancestral home. But they are also bitter at the mistreatment they suffered at the hands of Libyan Muslims and at the eventual elimination of an ancient native community in a wave of anti-Jewish violence linked to the rise of the Zionist movement and the creation of Israel.

Today, most of the community’s few crumbling remains lie in Hara Kabira, a sandy slum that was once Tripoli’s Jewish quarter.

Inside the Dar al-Bishi synagogue, faded Hebrew above an empty ark where Torah scrolls were once kept reads “Shema Israel”—“Hear, O Israel”—the beginning of a Jewish prayer. The floor is strewn with decades of garbage.

What was once a ritual bath next to the synagogue now houses impoverished Libyan families. In a nearby alley, three arched doorways in a yellow facade are decorated with Jewish stars of David. The building was once the Ben Yehuda Jewish youth club, said Maurice Roumani, a Libyan-born Israeli and Libyan Jewry expert. Barel’s father, Eliyahu, taught Hebrew there.

The government now owns it.

Jews first arrived in what is now Libya some 2,300 years ago. They settled mostly in coastal towns like Tripoli and Benghazi and lived under a shifting string of rulers, including Romans, Ottoman Turks, Italians and ultimately the independent Arab state that has now descended into civil war.

Some prospered as merchants, physicians and jewelers. Under Muslim rule, they saw periods of relative tolerance and bursts of hostility. Italy took over in 1911, and eventually the fascist government of Benito Mussolini issued discriminatory laws against Jews, dismissing some from government jobs and ordering them to work on Saturdays, the Jewish day of rest.

In the 1940s, thousands were sent to concentration camps in North Africa where hundreds died. Some were deported to concentration camps in Germany and Austria.
Their troubles didn’t end with the war. Across the Arab world, anger about the Zionist project in Palestine turned Jewish neighbors into perceived enemies. In November 1945, mobs throughout Libya went on a three-day rampage, burning down Jewish shops and homes and killing at least 130 Jews, among them three dozen children.

After Israel was founded in 1948, it became a refuge for Jews of ancient Middle Eastern communities, including those of Libya. Barel’s father fled in 1949, and her mother soon after. Most were gone by the time Gaddafi seized power in 1969. The new dictator expelled the rest, who were ordered to leave with one suitcase and a small amount of cash.

Jewish properties were confiscated. There was no way to determine how many. Debts to Jews were officially erased. Jewish cemeteries were turned into dumping grounds or built over, and most of the dozens of synagogues around the country were either demolished or put to different use. Some became mosques. A community that numbered about 37,000 at its peak vanished.

Inside Libya, the memory of Jews is fading. Elderly Muslim residents who remember their neighbors stay silent, worried they’ll be accused of being Jewish sympathizers.
“There were Jews here once, but they left,” said one Muslim resident of Tripoli’s old Jewish quarter. He nervously shrugged when asked of their fate.
Still, the Libyan Jewish community left small legacies behind.

Their famous fish stew, known as hraimeh, is widely eaten in Libya today. Recently, a government official accompanying international reporters to a seafood restaurant in Tripoli called it “Jewish food” as he hungrily scooped it up. Muslims who defy their faith’s ban on alcohol imbibe homemade bocha, a fig-based spirit once made by local Jews.

Today, Libyan Jews and their descendants number around 110,000. Most live in Israel, with others in Italy and elsewhere. None, if any, have any desire to return as residents, but Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for the embattled Gaddafi government, said they would be allowed back—if they first disavowed their Israeli citizenship. “They cannot have both,” Ibrahim said.

The Benghazi-based rebel government would not comment on whether it had any intention of mending relations with the country’s old Jewish community. Spokesman Jalal al-Gallal would say only that there would be “freedom of religion” in a future Libya.

Roumani, the Libyan Jewry expert, said he has a yearning to return, but knows that the places he knew are long gone.

Roumani described a memory of himself as a child in Benghazi: He is walking to synagogue with his father, listening to a chanted recitation of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, coming from a radio in a nearby cafe.
The synagogue is now a Coptic Christian church. His father’s grave was lost when Gaddafi’s regime built over the cemetery.

6a)Hamas leader: Palestinian UN bid a 'scam'

'We are not going to recognize Israel. That is very simple. And we are not going to accept Israel as the owner of one square centimeter,' says Mahmoud al-Zahar.By DPA Tags: Hamas Gaza Middle East peace (process) Palestinian state

Hamas has the Gaza Strip firmly under its control. Although Israel's blockade of the salient is aimed at weakening it, money laundering and revenue from the smuggling tunnels under the border with Egypt has kept the radical Islamist movement afloat.
The movement's charter calls for an Islamic state to be established in all of historical Palestine (including Israel).

Hamas leaders have firm views on the attempt by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to get the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders, before Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan.

"Just nonsense," says Mahmoud al-Zahar, a prominent Hamas member in Gaza. "A Palestinian state means land, people and authority. And now, what is the border of Israel? Israel has had many borders in the last 30, 40 years. What border are we going to speak about?'"

The approach to the UN, he says, is a 'political scam.' He is equally unequivocal on the so-called two-state solution, which aims at an Israeli state and a Palestinian state existing side by side.

"We are not going to recognize Israel. That is very simple. And we are not going to accept Israel as the owner of one square centimeter because it is a fabricated state."

"On what moral basis was Israel established? On the right of return (of the Jews) after 4,000 years? It's just imagination."
He says accepting Israel's right to exist would "cost 10 million Palestinians their right to Palestine. Who can pay that price? Who will go to the refugee camps and tell the people you have no right on Palestine?"
Al-Zahar and Hamas are also uncompromising regarding Palestinian unity with Abbas' Fatah party.

After years of bitter, and at times violent conflict, which erupted after Hamas chased security personnel loyal to Abbas and the Palestinian Authority out of the Gaza Strip, the two movements signed a reconciliation agreement in May.
But talks over the formation of a unity government, a clause in the deal, have floundered, as the two groups fail to agree on who should be the new Palestinian prime minister.

Abbas wants Salam Fayyad, the current prime minister of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, to continue in the post. Hamas rejects this outright.
"This man is not acceptable to us," al-Zahar states flatly.
He says the pro-Western Fayyad, an internationally respected economist, "is not a nationalist, he is a collaborator."

Al-Zahar differs from other Hamas leaders regarding the efforts of a German official trying to mediate a deal which would see Hamas release an Israeli soldier it has been holding since 2006, in return for Palestinian prisoners freed from Israeli jails.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described the mediator, an official of the German Intelligence Service BND, as being "not a fair negotiator" and rejected all future cooperation.

But al-Zahar says the mediator "is not on the side of Israel. He is neutral."
"The problem is not the German mediator," he says, blaming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the impasse in the swap deal and accusing him of "public relations."

And what of the so-called Arab spring, the revolutions sweeping Middle East countries, which have overthrown the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and threaten two more, in Libya, and in Syria, where the political headquarters of Hamas is located?
Hamas spokesman Abu Zuhri dismisses speculation - at least publicly - that the movement would have to up and leave Damascus if its patron, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is overthrown.

"We are guests in Syria and Lebanon as refugees. And also very important: We are not part of what is going on in Syria. We have no intention of leaving Damascus. We see no reason to leave Syria," he says.

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