Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Read Reid's Lips - More Taxes! IAF Attacks!

I saw her standing there and I told her she had three beautiful children.
She didn't have to get all pissed off and threaten me.
It was an honest mistake.
Now that Obama is free of running we are beginning to see more and more of what his intentions are.

It is becoming increasingly obvious Obama is displeased with aspects of America's inequality and is hell bent to change them regardless of their eventual effect.  His desire to allow women in combat is not based on whether it will improve the effectiveness of the fighting unit or assure the prospect of victory.

He simply wants equalization at whatever the cost. With him everything  eventually becomes a  political wedge issue.

And so it goes. (See 1, 1a, 1b and 1c  below.)
Sowell challenges a mis-named welfare program for Native American children.

More government run amok! (See 2 below.)
Decoupling or Americas's retreat. Is one a code for the other?  You decide.  (See 3 below.)
IAF attacks Syrian transfer of alleged chemical weapons to Hezballah in Lebanon. (See 4 below.)
As Gabriel pointed out and as was in her own case when it comes to Christians in the Middle East, Christians elsewhere and the world  seemingly could care less.  (See 5 below.)
Read Harry Reid's lips - more taxes!  (See 6 below.)


Sunstein: Obama Wants ‘Second Bill of Rights’

 Mere hours after Breitbart News published an excerpt from an interview with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in which he speculated that President Barack Obama would "prefer a different kind of constitution," one with a Bill of Rights based on the South African model, former Obama administration regulatory czar Cass Sunstein published an op-ed making a similar argument: that the president wants a "second Bill of Rights" alongside the existing one.

Sunstein located the source of Obama's inspiration in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1944State of the Union address, rather than the South African constitution--though the American academics whose writings inspired South Africa's ambitious Bill of Rights could well have taken Roosevelt's proposals as their foundation. 
Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights--not a list of constitutional amendments, but policy goals--was as follows:
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
Sunstein points out Roosevelt was not a socialist--and yet many of the "rights" he proposed were inspired by socialist policies. The Soviet constitution of 1936, too, included the right to work, among other guarantees.
In addition, Sunstein argues that Obama has made progress on least one of these rights: the right to health care, through the highly controversial Obamacare--whose costs will begin to be felt this year in earnest.
The analogy is not perfect: one "right" on which Roosevelt would not have agreed with Obama, for example, is the "right" of public sector workers to bargain collectively and to strike, which Roosevelt opposed.
Regardless, both conservatives and liberals may agree: Obama is aiming at achieving a new set of socioeconomic rights, whether through law or through policy. It is the dream of progressives and liberals for the better part of a century--a dream that has resisted the reality that these "rights" are not justiciable; that they degrade the value of other, fundamental, rights; and they create more policy problems than they solve.

1a)Obama Is Not King

Watching President Obama's inaugural, I was confused. It looked like a new king was being crowned. Thousands cheered, like subjects worshipping nobility. At a time when America faces unsustainable debt and terrible economic troubles, why such pomp?
Maybe it's because so many people tell themselves presidents can solve any problem, like fairy-tale kings -- or gods.
Before America's first inauguration, John Adams suggested George Washington be called "His Most Benign Highness." Fortunately, Congress insisted on the more modest title, "President."
At his inaugural, President Obama himself said, "The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few."
But then Obama went on to say that his privileged few should force the rest of us to do a zillion things.
He said, "We must do these things, together." But what "together" means to big-government folks is that they have a vision -- and all of us, together, must go deeper into debt to pay for their vision, even if we disagree.
We can afford this, as the president apparently told John Boehner, because America does not have a spending problem.
But, of course, we do have a spending problem, and a debt problem, and the president knows this.
Just a few years ago, when George W. Bush was president, the Congressional Record shows that Senator Obama said this: "I rise, today, to talk about America's debt problem. The fact that we are here to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure and our government's reckless fiscal policies."
Sen. Obama went on: "Over the past five years, our federal debt has increased from $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion -- and yes, I said trillion with a 'T'!"
Again, he was right to worry about the debt and right to call it "a hidden domestic enemy ... robbing our families and our children and seniors of the retirement and health security they've counted on. ... It took 42 presidents 224 years to run up only $1 trillion of foreign-held debt. This administration did more than that in just five years."
It's hard to believe that Obama chose those words just seven years ago, because now his administration has racked up another $6 trillion in debt.
It's also a shock that Barack Obama believed this: "America has a debt problem. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."
Yet this year, he demanded Congress raise the debt limit without conditions.
I want the old Barack Obama back. He made sense. The new guy, he scares the heck out of me. Like a king, he assumes that the realm will be better if he can spend as he pleases.
He also issues executive orders when Congress doesn't immediately do what he wants. To be fair, he isn't the first president to do that. Or the worst.
That was Teddy Roosevelt. He issued 1,000 executive orders, including one that demanded phonetic spelling. On all government documents, "kissed" should be K-I-S-T and "enough" E-N-U-F. At least Congress mustered the two-thirds vote needed to override that one.
I might not mind presidents behaving like kings -- if they at least made the tough decisions that the government needs to make, like balancing the budget. But no president has tried to use an executive order to eliminate whole programs or cut spending. They almost always act only to increase their own power.
Yet they pretend they make bold choices -- even when refusing to make choices. Obama said, "We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the elderly and investing in the next generation."
That's Washington-speak for, "We will spend government money on young and old alike and refuse to think about when this will bankrupt America."
But it sounds exciting when he says it. He's not just a king -- he's Santa Claus, too. Except that Santa spends his own money. The president spends yours.
Kings don't like to be constrained. But all government should be.

1b)Official Lies

Let's expose presidential prevarication. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama warned that Social Security checks will be delayed if Congress fails to increase the government's borrowing authority by raising the debt ceiling. However, there's an issue with this warning. According to the 2012 Social Security trustees report, assets in Social Security's trust funds totaled $2.7 trillion, and Social Security expenditures totaled $773 billion. Therefore, regardless of what Congress does about the debt limit, Social Security recipients are guaranteed their checks. Just take the money from the $2.7 trillion assets held in trust.
Which is the lie, Social Security checks must be delayed if the debt ceiling is not raised or there's $2.7 trillion in the Social Security trust funds? The fact of the matter is that they are both lies. The Social Security trust funds contain nothing more than IOUs, bonds that have absolutely no market value. In other words, they are worthless bookkeeping entries. Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, meaning that the taxes paid by today's workers are immediately sent out as payment to today's retirees. Social Security is just another federal program funded out of general revenues.
If the congressional Republicans had one ounce of brains, they could easily thwart the president and his leftist allies' attempt to frighten older Americans about not receiving their Social Security checks and thwart their attempt to frighten other Americans by saying "we are not a deadbeat nation" and suggesting the possibility of default if the debt ceiling is not raised. In 2012, monthly federal tax revenue was about $200 billion. Monthly Social Security expenditures were about $65 billion per month, and the monthly interest payment on our $16 trillion national debt was about $30 billion. The House could simply enact a bill prioritizing how federal tax revenues will be spent. It could mandate that Social Security recipients and interest payments on the national debt be the first priorities and then send the measure to the Senate and the president for concurrence. It might not be a matter of brains as to why the Republican House wouldn't enact such a measure; it likes spending just as the Democrats.
I believe our nation is rapidly approaching our last chance to do something about runaway government before we face the type of economic turmoil seen in Greece and other European nations. Tax revenue has remained constant for the past 50 years, averaging about 18 percent of gross domestic product. During that interval, federal spending has risen from less than 20 percent to more than 25 percent of GDP. What accounts for this growth in federal spending? The liberals like to blame national defense, but in 1962, national defense expenditures were 50 percent of the federal budget; today they are 19 percent. What accounts for most federal spending is the set of programs euphemistically called entitlements. In 1962, entitlement spending was 31 percent of the federal budget; today it is 62 percent. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security alone take up 44 percent of the federal budget, and worse than that, it's those expenditures that are the most rapidly growing spending areas.
Our federal debt and deficits are unsustainable and are driven by programs under which Congress takes the earnings of one American to give to another, or entitlements. How long can Congress take in $200 billion in revenue per month and spend $360 billion per month? That means roughly 40 cents of every federal dollar spent has to be borrowed. The undeniable fact of business is that a greater number of people are living off government welfare programs than are paying taxes. That's what's driving Europe's economic problems, and it's what's driving ours. The true tragedy is that just to acknowledge that fact is political suicide, as presidential contender Mitt Romney found out. We can't blame politicians. It's the American people who will crucify a politician who even talks about cutting their favorite handout.

1c)The President's Wars and Women in Combat
By Shoshana Bryen

It is unsurprising that a president who sees war primarily as "whack-a-mole" with drones directed from afar dropping bombs on adversaries, and who believes that removing American troops from war zones ends wars, would believe that women belong in all phases of combat. 
War for President Obama consists of Libya, where we "led from behind," with no "boots on the ground"; Syria, where Secretary of Defense Panetta declares at least weekly that there will be no U.S. "boots on the ground" even if the Syrians cross the president's red line on CW; and Mali, where "there is no consideration of putting any American boots on the ground at this time," according to Panetta -- just logistical support for the French, who pulled us into Libya and now want us to stand behind them in their latest adventure in the colonies.  The president "ended the war" in Iraq "responsibly" by leaving the country to its indigenous warring factions plus whatever outside influences have more sticking power than we do -- that is to say, al-Qaeda and Iran.  He is "ending the war" in Afghanistan "responsibly" by withdrawing all but a number of troops he won't divulge (Twenty-five hundred?  Zero?  Sixty thousand?), leaving the turf to indigenous warring factions and whatever outside influences have more sticking power than we do -- Iran, the Pakistani Taliban, and al-Qaeda, among others.
If your standard is removing all the boots from all the ground and ending U.S. participation in all the wars, women in combat infantry units might seem like a fairly safe bet.  If combat units won't be deployed, well, then, who cares if women are in them? 
There are two reasons to care.  First, non-deployment is not a military strategy.  At best, it is a post-conflict standard (much like being a "post-racial" president) that assumes that either a) future battlefields will look like the last one or b) there will be no future battlefields.  The first is a mistake; the second is wishful thinking.  Post-Gaddafi Libya is strong evidence that eliminating governments with bombs doesn't provide stability or workable governance.  If the U.S. is ever required to provide either, the boots will be required as well.
After Vietnam, military planners assumed that large-scale ground operations including tanks were passé -- until we fought in the deserts of the Middle East.  Counterterrorism and urban warfare skills won't help if our next war is in the Pacific -- the focus of the president's announced "pivot."  Nothing suggests that future battlefields won't require the "boots" that President Obama appears to eschew.  Limiting ourselves to the targeting of individuals, along with support to allies who elect to put their limited boots on the ground in countries where they have old colonial interests, would be an abdication of American power where that power may be needed.  Outgoing Secretary of State Clinton made precisely that case in her testimony last week as she described the "spreading jihadist threat" and specifically linked those threats to vital American interests.
The second reason to be skeptical of women in combat units is the societal compact.
Many people use Israel, a modern, democratic state, as a positive point of comparison when they want to talk about guns, the universal draft, and women in service.  Israel (which has strict gun laws, by the way, and does not ignore homosexuality in the ranks) does not have women in the combat infantry.  Even today, when missile technology to some extent erases the line between the "battle front" and the "home front," women serve in units at the front, as do American women -- my stepdaughter is a psychologist in the U.S. Army, and during her two tours in Iraq, she visited "forward operating bases" (FOBs); believe me, she was at the front -- but they are not combat infantry.  (Slate ran a snarky piece about people's objections to "women in combat" -- and used as its photograph a soldier from the Marines "Female Engagement Team" sitting with a group of Afghan children, missing its own point entirely.)
The IDF's own website mentions "combat options" for women, but if you read carefully, women are assigned to "command posts over advanced operational and attack systems, management and calculation of artillery fire, operation of communication devices, and conducting meteorologist case studies to improve artillery fire accuracy."  Women are also dog handlers and intelligence officers, and they constitute the bulk of instructors in tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft, combat engineering, and field intelligence.  There is no interest in putting Israeli women in direct combat with presumed Arab adversaries.
It is a deliberate decision made long ago.  During the 1948/49 War of Independence, Israeli women were in combat because combat was everywhere in the country.  Israeli women were captured and killed by Syrian forces.  The result, said an IDF officer who was briefing an American military delegation in which I participated, "was that we didn't want that to happen to any Israeli woman ever again. We made a decision about what kind of country we are." 
If our next adversary is part of the global jihad, don't look to the Geneva Convention for protection of female soldiers.  In case the point isn't sharp enough, read Lauren Wolf at CNN.
But it isn't only about the potential for capture; it is about the society the army defends.  Read Robert Kaplan's Surrender or Starve to understand what happened to Eritrean society when everyone was a soldier and the line between the military and civil society, between men and women, was erased.  Eritrea is an extreme example, but it is a mistake to think that erasing the distinction between protector and protected, society and its army, its men and its women wouldn't have repercussions for American society as well as for the American military.
In a weekend interview, President Obama said that if he had a son, he would think "long and hard" about letting him play football.  Fair enough, given what we know.  The President has two daughters.
Shoshana Bryen is senior director of The Jewish Policy Center.
2)Whose Welfare?
By Thomas Sowell

If there is ever a contest for the law with the most grossly misleading title, the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 should be a prime candidate, because the last thing this Act protects is the welfare of Indian children.
The theory behind the Indian Child Welfare Act is that an American Indian child should be raised in an American Indian culture.
Based on that theory, a newborn baby of American Indian ancestry, who was adopted immediately after birth by a white couple, was at 27 months of age taken away from the only parents she has ever known and given to her father.
Apparently the tribe has rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act. If this child were of any other race, a court would be free to decide the case on the basis of whatever was in the best interests of the child. Instead, the child is treated almost as property, contrary to the 13th Amendment that outlawed slavery.
Fortunately, the legal issues growing out of this case are now before the Supreme Court of the United States. We can only hope that the justices will use their wisdom, instead of their cleverness, to decide this case.
Solomon’s wisdom provided a good example many centuries ago, in a case where two women each claimed to be the mother of a child and each demanded custody. Since he did not know who was the real mother, King Solomon said that he would cut the child in half and give each mother her half.
When one of the women dropped her claim, in order to spare the child's life, he knew that she was the real mother. Anyone who would ruin a helpless child's life, in order to assert their own legal prerogatives, or to protect the tribe's turf, raises very serious questions about what kind of parent they are.
The question is not which home is better, but whether the child will ever feel secure in any home again, after the shock of being forcibly taken away.
The welfare of a flesh-and-blood human being should trump theories about cultures -- especially in the case of a two-year-old child, who has been torn away from the only parents she has ever known, and treated as a pawn in a legalistic game.
This little girl is just the latest in a long line of Indian children who have been ripped out of the only family they have ever known and given to someone who is a stranger to them, often living on an Indian reservation that is foreign to them. This has happened even to children who have spent a decade or more with a family to which they have become attached and is attached to them.
There have already been too many scenes of weeping and frightened children, crying out in vain for the only mother and father they have known, as they are forcibly dragged away.
Whatever the merits or demerits of various theories about culture, they are still just theories. But too many people put their pet theories ahead of flesh-and-blood human beings.
One of the rationales for the Indian Child Welfare Act is that, in the past, Indian children were wantonly wrested from their Indian parents and sent off to be raised by non-Indians. But nothing we can do today can undo the wrongs of the past -- especially not by creating the same wrongs again, in reverse.
While those who are most victimized by the so-called Indian Child Welfare Act are the children ripped out of their homes to satisfy some theory, they are not the only victims.
Indian children without biological parents to take care of them can be needlessly left in institutional care, when there are not enough Indian foster parents or adoptive parents to take them into their homes.
The Alice in Wonderland legal situation can hardly encourage non-Indian families to take care of these children, when that can so easily lead to heartbreak for both the children themselves and the surrogate parents who have become attached to them.
The New York Times reports that fewer than 2 percent of the children in Minnesota are Indian, but 15 percent of the children in that state's foster care system are Indian. In Montana, 9 percent of the children are Indian, but Indian children make up 37 percent of the children in foster care.
What a price to pay for a theory!
3)Popping Obama's Balloon
By James G. Wiles

A harbinger, of course, is a sign of things certain to come. A trial balloon, on the other hand, only comes to pass if it's not shot out of the sky once launched.
Such is politics. And so, we note with interest two obvious trial balloons floated in recent days by Washington-based columnists announcing -- sort of -- that the Obama Administration intends to de-couple the United States from Israel and adopt a more independent attitude towards the Middle East generally and the Jewish State in particular. Thus, Mr. Obama and his proposed foreign policy team intend to undo more than a half century of American foreign policy.
And you thought only Ronald Reagan did "roll-back!"  President Eisenhower, of course, talked about it. But only Reagan did it.
Nevertheless -- ironically -- we heard this week of something called "the Eisenhower Doctrine."  President Dwight D. Eisenhower (who left office in 1961) was cited by David Ignatius of the Washington Post as precedent for an impending move by the Obama AdministrationWhat's the impending move?
Well, it was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, you see, who in the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis forced Israel to withdraw from Arab lands. Indeed, Eisenhower, it seems, viewed Israel (and its allies, France and the United Kingdom) as the cause of the whole 1956 conflict.
It turns out, according to David Ignatius, that President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, rather sees Israel that way today. As does his boss.
Ignatius' piece is especially significant given the author's elite credentials, connections and his impact on bien pensant opinion. Among other things, Ignatius co-hosts an on-line discussion of international issues at the Washington Post with CNN's Fareed Zakaria.  Zakaria, of course, in 2008 authored The Post-American World. Besides journalism and writing novels, Ignatius has moderated panels at Davos -- sometimes generating controversy -- and received France's Legion d'Honneur.
The Middle East conflict has been much on Ignatius' mind. After an incident in which he was caught between Turkey's Prime Minister and the President of Israel in 2009, Ignatius wrote that he found himself "in the middle of a fight where there was no longer a middle."  He added: "American leaders must give up the notion that they can transform the Middle East and its culture through military force."  In May, 2011, Ignatius called for the prosecution of former Arab dictators, including Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a former U.S. ally.
Ignatius' column appears in English-language newspapers around the world, including the influential Beirut Daily Star. He also appears regularly on Charlie Rose and Morning Joe.
Now then: the Eisenhower Doctrine.
It was President Eisenhower who, on the eve of the 1956 elections, forced Israel, Great Britain and France to withdrawn from the Sinai Peninsula and the Suez Canal, which they had seized from a newly-independent Egypt led by a secular army colonel named Gamal Abdel Nasser. In a message to Congress on January 4, 1957, Eisenhower pointed out the danger of Soviet penetration of the Middle East and said that the United States needed to offer emerging nations throughout the region a choice other than adopting Communism. To do that, Eisenhower said, American foreign policy needed to be not dependent on any one nation.
What does this have to do with the contemporary issues of the Arab Spring, Israel, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestinians? Not to mention the rise of Islamism and the War with Jihad?
Well, it doesn't -- or at least it didn't when I studied the Eisenhower Doctrine at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, where Hagel now teaches. The world of secular Arab nationalism and Soviet expansionism and an isolated (and hostile) Red China expired no later than 1992. And, in his last paragraph, David Ignatius says as much.
 "How," he writes, "does this story apply to modern-day Israel and America -- especially for an Obama Administration that, while committed to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, devoutly  hopes to avoid military action? The parallels are impossible to draw precisely, but it matters that the cautious and fiercely independent Eisenhower is a role model for the prospective future defense secretary."
Maybe it's just me, but I think that's code. And Ignatius writes spy novels.
Next comes the esteemed Bob Woodward, also in the Washington Post. His January 27 piece answered the question: "why Obama picked Hagel."
As you'd expect, Woodward's  article contains much original reporting. Like Ignatius' piece it should be read in full. But here's Woodward's  money-quote, explaining where the prospective Secretary of Defense and our just-re-elected President agree:
"[Their] worldview is part hawk and part dove. It amounts, in part, to a challenge to the wars of President George W. Bush. It holds that the Afghanistan war has been mismanaged and the Iraq war unnecessary. War is an option, although a very last resort.
"So, this thinking goes, the U.S.  role in the world must be carefully scaled back -- this is not a matter of choice, but of facing reality; the military needs to be treated with great skepticism; lots of military and foreign policy thinking is out of date; and quagmires like Afghanistan should be avoided.
"The bottom line: the U.S. must get out of these massive land wars -- Afghanistan and Iraq -- and, if possible, avoid future large-scale war."
Thus, Woodward.
Now, what's really going on here? Cover. Intellectual cover for American retreat -- a decision which the American people were not asked to vote on back on November 6th..  
The invocation of the Eisenhower Doctrine is simply a ruse: it provides an intellectual fig-leaf for the Obama Administration's continuing American military exit from Central Asia, downsizing of the U.S. military and a turn away from Israel. 
Messers Woodward and Ignatius, like Messers Obama and Hagel, decided not to say that in public.
So I just did.
4 )Western sources: Israeli aircraft target Hizballah missiles in Zabadani. S. Syria
Israel warplanes carried out overnight sorties up until Wednesday, Jan. 30 against missile and arms convoys standing ready in southern Syria for transfer to Hizballah in Lebanon, according to Western sources..Military sources report  the consignments were destroyed. The Lebanese army reported the heavy presence of an approximate 12 Israeli jets over its territory during the night up until 0200 hours Wednesday. Our sources report that it was suspected in Israel that Syria and Hizballah would take advantage of the rainy and overcast weather conditions in the last 24 hours to push advance weapons systems across the border from Syria into Lebanon.
The operation aimed at giving teeth to Israel’s longstanding threat ever since 2011 to hit military targets in Syria if necessary to prevent the handover of those sophisticated missiles to Hizballah. 

It was also a warning that Israel would again send its bombers to destroy chemical weapons or nerve gas to prevent them reaching the hands of Hizballah or any other terrorist groups
5)Yemen's Forgotten Christians
by Raymond Ibrahim
Gatestone Institute

When one thinks of Yemen—the impoverished Arab country that begat Osama bin Laden and is cushioned between Saudi Arabia and Somalia, two of the absolute most radical Muslim nations—one seldom thinks of Christians, primarily because they are practically nonexistent in such an inhospitable environment. In fact, most tallies suggest that Yemen's entire non-Muslim population is less than one percent.

However, a new Arabic report discusses the existence of Christians in Yemen, and their plight—a plight that should be familiar by now, wherever Christian minorities live under Muslim majorities.

Unofficial statistics suggest that there are some 2,500 indigenous Christians in the nation, practicing their faith underground, even as hostile tribes surround them. According to human rights activist, Abdul Razzaq al-Azazi, "Christians in Yemen cannot practice their religion nor can they go to church freely. Society would work on having them enter Islam."

He added that, as in most Muslim countries, "the government does not permit the establishment of buildings or worship places without prior permission," pointing out that Roman Catholic officials, for example, are currently awaiting a decision from the government on whether they will be allowed to construct a building and be officially recognized by the government in Sana.

A convert to Christianity—an apostate from Islam whose life is forfeit and who naturally prefers to remain anonymous, going by the pseudonym, "Ibn Yemen" (Son of Yemen)—expressed his fear of increased pressure on Christians, especially since the "Islamists now represent the dominant political faction, following the Arab Spring and the protests that brought the fall of President Ali Abdullah Saleh." He added that even though the old regime "was not Islamist, Christians were still subjected to persecution and scrutiny by the police apparatus under that regime. Authorities did not allow us to practice our religion openly or allow us to build a private church, all because of Islam's apostasy law. What do you think it will be like now that the Islamists are in power?"

Accordingly, and as another Christian interviewed in Yemen indicated, Christians pray underground in the members' houses on a rotational basis—not unlike the days of Roman persecution of Christians, when the latter worshipped in underground catacombs. Along with Yemen's indigenous Christians, there are also some 15,000-25,000 non-native Christians living in Yemen, mostly refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, where the persecution of Christians is often even worse than in Yemen, especially Somalia, where Al-Shabaab ("the Youth") behead Muslim apostates to Christianity on a regular basis. Such Christian refugees from Africa often change their names to Muslim names to avoid harassment in Yemeni society.

Some Christian organizations and institutions do exist, mostly foreign ones, including the American Baptist Mission, which runs Jibla Hospital and the Church which provides services to the poor, orphans, and imprisoned women. These work primarily to serve the community, not facilitate Christian worship. Likewise, another study confirmed the previous existence of five churches in the southern city of Aden, three of which were Roman Catholic, one Anglican, and the fifth of unidentified affiliation: three of those five churches which were built during the British occupation of southern Yemen, were neglected and left to crumble; the fourth became the property of the government; and the fifth was turned into a health facility.

The story of Yemen's Christians is a microcosm of the story of Islam's Christians, as it wholly conforms to the current pattern of oppression for Christians under Islam: things were better for Christians—for religious freedom in general—in earlier eras under Western influence; as the Muslim world, which for a while was Western-looking, continues returning to Islam, the things of Islam, its "way," or "Sharia"—in this case, hostility to non-Muslim worship and apostates—returns; and, as the "Arab Spring" has done elsewhere, Islamists now dominate Yemeni politics, bringing to mind the apostate Ibn Yemen's apt question: "What do you think it will be like now [for Christians] that the Islamists are in power?"
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Related Topics:  Anti-ChristianismPersia-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6)Harry Reid: Replace Sequester With Alternative Spending Cuts And Tax HikesBY ANDREW TAYLOR
The top Democrat in the Senate said Tuesday that lawmakers should redouble their efforts to replace looming across-the-board cuts to the Pentagon and domestic programs with alternative spending cuts and tax hikes.
The comments by Majority Leader Harry Reid came amid increasing resignation among both Democrats and Republicans that the across-the-board cuts will soon take effect. The cuts were an element of the so-called fiscal cliff that was partially averted this month with the extension of Bush-era tax cuts.
But the reprieve from spending cuts of 7 percent to the Pentagon and 5 percent to domestic programs was only temporary and will expire March 1. The cuts are known as sequestration in Washington-speak.
Republican controlling the House had led the battle to avert sequestration last year by passing replacement cuts, while Democrats put their faith in high-level budget talks involving President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, -- which failed -- and in later, successful negotiations between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
But House Republicans now say that the across-the-board cuts provide incentive to Democrats to agree to a broader budget pact and they appear willing to let them take effect -- despite having issued dire warnings just last year of their impact on the Pentagon.
Reid said the cuts should be replaced "in short increments" with spending cuts and revenues like repealing oil and gas subsidies that were discussed in earlier negotiations.
"There are many low-hanging pieces of fruit out there that Republicans have said they agreed on previously," Reid said. There's a lot of things we can do out there, and we're going to make an effort to make sure that there is -- sequestration is -- involves revenue."
Republicans tend to represent states that have more at stake if the cuts take effects. Many GOP-dominated southern states, for instance, have major defense installations. And defense hawks warn that the cuts could cripple the military as problems fester around the world in places like Afghanistan, Iran and Syria.
"If you believe the Defense Department, (and Defense Secretary Leon) Panetta, we're destroying the finest military in the world at a time when we need it most," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. "I can't explain it. It is beyond my ability to explain it to people.

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