Senate Republicans, in a final protest before the holiday break against what they've called a Democratic "power grab," are staging an around-the-clock speech-spree to stall some of President Obama's nominees.
The House approved a two-year budget plan on Thursday evening, voting 332-94 over the objections of conservatives concerned it would increase spending in the short-term and liberals concerned it would not extend long-term jobless aid.
The House has passed an extension of farm law until the end of January as lawmakers try to finish work on a new five-year farm bill. Both the Senate and the House have passed farm bills this year, but they differ on how much to cut the nation's food stamp program and how to restructure farm subsidies.
Ryan Loskarn answered softly, "Yes, sir," when U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola asked Loskarn whether he understood that he was charged with serious offenses.
Just because it's safe to use cellphones on a plane, it doesn't mean that passengers should call just to say hello.
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The Obama administration fears tough U.S. sanctions against companies doing business in Iran would anger foreign allies.
By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
June 11, 2010
Reporting from Washington
The Obama administration, which labored for months to impose tough new United Nations sanctions against Iran, now is pushing in the opposite direction against Congress as it crafts U.S. sanctions that the White House fears may go too far.
Administration officials have begun negotiations with congressional leaders, who are working on versions of House and Senate bills that would punish companies that sell refined petroleum products to Iran or help the country's oil industry.
Unlike the U.N. measures, congressional action would pertain only to U.S. policies and agencies and would not be binding on other countries. Other countries and groups of nations also are considering adopting measures to augment the U.N. action.
The sanctions are aimed at forcing Iran to giving up its nuclear program, which Western nations fear is geared toward developing nuclear weapons. Iran insists it is only interested in peaceful energy projects.
U.S. sanctions have strong support in Congress, and the administration backs them in principle as a way to strengthen the mild strictures adopted on Wednesday by the U.N. Security Council.
But the administration fears that the legislation also could damage relations with Europe, Russia and China, all of whom cooperated with U.S. efforts on the U.N. sanctions.
To avoid that possibility, the administration wants authority to waive U.S. punishment against companies from countries that have cooperated on Iran.
Many lawmakers are wary. Some say the Obama administration, like its predecessors, has been lax in enforcing existing Iran sanctions out of concern for good relations with other world powers.
"The administration doesn't carry out the laws that are on the books, and they want the new law to be as weak and loophole-ridden as possible," said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), who has been pushing for years for such legislation.
Republicans have been ratcheting up their demands for Congress to hang tough, arguing that the U.N. resolution fell short of what was needed.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the senior Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the U.N. sanctions a "goose egg" and demanded that Congress impose "crippling sanctions against Iran."
Russia already has warned that penalizing Russian companies "could lead to retaliatory measures."
Russia said Thursday that it intends to go ahead with sales to Iran of a highly sophisticated surface-to-air missile that has been a source of U.S. concern.
There are serious issues with Europe, as well. Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, reminded Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a recent letter that U.S. officials agreed in 1998 not to hit European companies with sanctions for doing business with Iran.
The pending legislation presents other difficulties for the administration. Since a petroleum cutoff would strike broadly at the Iranian population, such sanctions would be seen as undermining the Obama administration's argument that it supports only those sanctions that focus narrowly on the Iranian leadership, said Peter Crail of the Arms Control Assn., a Washington-based advocacy group.
Meanwhile, U.S. business groups have been complaining that the legislation could punish them by barring U.S. firms from doing business with any foreign firms that have commercial ties to Iran.
Many oil and trading companies already have halted sales to Iran because of the looming threat of sanctions. But some that still could be penalized are Shell, Total and China Oil, said Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute based in Washington.
BP, which is facing public relations problems because of the gulf oil spill in April, stopped selling gasoline to Iran in 2008, he said.
Times staff writer Sergei L. Loiko in Moscow contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times
June 6, 2PM - Floridians of all races and political persuasions rally to protest Obama's abandonment of Israel!
SUNDAY, JUNE 6 ; 2PM
TORCH OF FRIENDSHIPBISCAYNE BLVD (NEAR THE AA ARENA)
We the good citizens of the great State of Florida, having found disfavor in the abandonment of the State of Israel, and the mistreatment of her prime minister at the hands of our federal administration, do hereby and hereunto declare the following:
Whereas, Israel has proven itself to be the United States’ most steadfast and consistent ally in the world, and thus worthy of our respect, loyalty and admiration; and
Whereas Israel has partnered with the United States in making a myriad of advances in technology, science and medicine benefiting not only both countries, but the world at large; and
Whereas Israel has joined the United States in providing life-saving emergency aid to grief-stricken peoples all over the world; and
Whereas Israel has constantly been and continues to be beset by hostile Arab and Muslim enemies, some of whom deny the Holocaust, and all of whom prepare for another one; and
Whereas Israel has always possessed the technical means to annihilate all its enemies but has never even thought to do so; and
Whereas, Israel stands at the front-line of the radical Muslim onslaught dedicated to the elimination of Western Civilization, should ever it acquire the technical means to do so; and
Whereas Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Israelite race and Jewish State, and Judaea and Samaria the historic bedrock of Jewish civilization; and
Whereas Israel has repeatedly outstretched her hand to her Arab neighbors in peace only to be met with the fist of war:
We the people demand and insist that the Obama administration CEASE AND DESIST from pressuring Israel to give up more land, rights and privileges to its enemies while its enemies, chiefly Iran, plan her destruction.
For all these reasons, and it having been that this great nation of ours was founded on the principles of truth, justice, fairness and reciprocity, We the People STAND UP for the State of Israel and demand that the Obama administration do the same!
A LETTER FROM A PROCTER AND GAMBLE EXECUTIVE TO THE PRESIDENT
Lou Pritchett is one of corporate America 's true living legends- an acclaimed author, dynamic teacher and one of the world's highest rated speakers. Successful corporate executives everywhere recognize him as the foremost leader in change management.. Lou changed the way America does business by creating an audacious concept that came to be known as "partnering." Pritchett rose from soap salesman to Vice-President, Sales and Customer Development for Procter and Gamble and over the course of 36 years, made corporate history.
AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
Dear President Obama:
You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.
You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.
You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.
You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.
You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.
You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.
You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.
You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail..
You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America ' crowd and deliver this message abroad.
You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.
You scare me because you want to replace our health car system with a government controlled one.
You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.
You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.
You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.
You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.
You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.
You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent an omniscient.
You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.
You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaugh's, Hannitys, O'Reillys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.
You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.
Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.
by Daniel Greenfield(Israelnationalnews.com)
If there's one thing that the Carter Administration can be given credit for, it's creating the new wave of Islamist terrorism, both Sunni, operating out of Afghanistan, and Shiite, operating out of Iran. The Carter Administration cracked down on Israel and put its "faith" in Muslim terrorists, who then went on to wage war on America, even while Carter was in office. 28 years after Carter was removed from office, we're in reruns again with the Obama Administration, which is not only following the Carter line, but whose plans greatly exceed it.28 years ago, Wahhabi Sunni and Shiite terrorists were generally an afterthought when compared to the standardIran is to be our new best friend under this arrangement, Israel is to be our new best enemy. USSR backed Marxist terrorist groups, such as the PLO.Today, thanks in part to the Carter Administration, they control several countries and have designs on several more. From Pakistan to Afghanistan, from Gaza to Lebanon, from the Middle East to Southeast Asia, the threat is very real and bigger than ever particularly as the race by both Sunni and Shiite groups to build and deploy nuclear weapons continues.Like Carter before him, Obama has chosen to cut backdoor deals with the Mullahs in Iran, offering them power over Iraq and Afghanistan, in exchange for quieting things down enough to let him hang up a Mission Accomplished banner and pull the troops out. "Peace with honor", preferably before the next election. The rape law for Shiites in Afghanistan, the push for a US funded Hamas/Fatah Unity government in the territories and the rising expansion of the Taliban are all fruits of this arrangement.If Iran is to be our new best friend under this arrangement, Israel is to be our new best enemy.Obama stacked the deck by deploying Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in a position that gave her an important title, but absolutely no power to go with it, while stacking the National Security Council and even the Pentagon with oil appointees in the pockets of the Saudis or his own left wing radical friends.Israel electing a conservative government really put the ball into play, freeing up even more resources for attacking Israel. The strategy runs something like this.The Obama Administration has broken down the Israel problem into two subsections, Israel itself, and American Jews.Obama's people have studied the problem and understand where Carter went wrong. Obama does not want to have the same image problems as Carter in the Jewish community. Should that happen, the Beloved Leader and his lapdog press are fully prepared to unleash a Chavez style hate-on targeting American Jews. But that would be inconvenient and messy. Even with the changing face of America, there are significant differences between the average American and European or Venezuelan, and what kind of ugliness they are willing to tolerate. So Obama's people have split their attention in handling the two factors as two different problems.American Jews - Obama has been clever about putting his Jewish appointees front and center. Like many minorities, some American Jews suffer from self-esteem problems that are soothed when they see a seeming acceptance. Of course what they fail to realize is that exploitation is not acceptance. And that Obama's appointees are creatures of his backers, Nazi collaborators like Soros, who have nothing but contempt for Jews, individually or collectively.While outwardly courting Jews, Obama's people have also been quietly shoving Jewish organizations and their leaders into a corner. Within the Jewish organizational world there has been a silent but deadly takeover of major Jewish groups by left wing radicals. Former alumni of the far left wing and anti-Israel groups like Breira or Coname in the 70's have been elevated to key positions in such organizations as the UJA Federation. Behind the scenes any Jewish leaders who expressed even doubts about Obama during the primariesThe Beloved Leader and his lapdog press are fully prepared to unleash a Chavez style hate-on targeting American Jews. were intimidated and silenced.Much as with conservatives, a list has been drawn up of those figures who can be won over, and those who cannot. The ones who can be won over are described as "moderates", the ones who cannot be won over are described as "extremists".Meanwhile a bevvy of left wing Jewish In Name Only groups have been organized to play their part. Key among them is the Soros funded J Street, a group created as an anti-Israel lobby meant to eventually replace AIPAC. Meanwhile AIPAC itself has been kept on the ropes with such things as the well timed Harman leak. The message once again is fairly clear, cooperate and keep quiet, or we'll destroy you.The multi-layered approach to American Jews can then be summed up as follows;1.) Co-opt existing Jewish organizations and swing them to the left using old school 70's leftists.2.) Create new "progressive" organizations to appeal to a younger generation of ethnically Jewish youth detached from any actual identity. Have these organizations generate attacks on the Israeli government and pro-Israel Jews, while creating phony polls indicating that most American Jews are behind them and Obama.3.) Silence and intimidate remaining Jewish organizations and leaders behind the scenes.The overall idea is to keep a happy face pasted on American Jewry while the knives are out in the dark.Israel - The basic understanding in the Obama Administration is that Israel Must Go. In the worldview of the more moderate Obama appointees, Israel is a destabilizing factor in the Middle East. To the more left wing Obama advisors, Israel is a Western imperialist colonialist state that must be destroyed in the name of revolutionary justice. To the Islamist mindset, Israel is a Kufir state that has no right to exist in the Dar Al Islam.While intractably hostile to Israel, the Obama Administration wants to avoid the kind of public confrontations that marked the Carter and Bush Sr administrations. Instead they would much rather model the way that the Clinton Administration waged a quiet war against Israel, removing one government, and forcing extensive concessions to terrorists, all the while keeping a happy face pasted on the whole affair.On the one hand that means avoiding harsh public attacks on Israel, but keeping the pressure up for Israel to make extensive far reaching one sided concessions, to accept Saudi and Arab League "peace plans", to legitimize Hamas as the new government of the Palestinian Authority, and to insure that Israel does not reply to any rocket or terrorist attacks.There are two forms of quiet leverage that the United States has on Israel, the first is financial and the second is military.On the financial side, the goal will be to bring down the Netanyahu government coalition by destabilizing Israel economically. This is the surest and most direct path to bringing down Israel's conservative government and replacing it with a left of center coalition. The Obama Administration has a wide variety of tactics at its disposal for doing so, from the overt, such as targeting Israeli exports and imports, to the covert, that would involve targeting the Shekel. Additionally fundraising in the US could be investigated and groups such as the Jewish National Fund, prevented from raising money in the US. All of these have been in play before at one time or another.On the military side, Obama's people will make their non-existent efforts to stop Iran's nukes conditional on more concessions to terrorists. Since Israel will never be able to make enough concessions and since Obama is working with Iran, rather than working to stop Iran's nukes, this is a hollow charade.Furthermore while Israel has already been locked out of the military technology pipeline for anything cutting edge, it still remains dependent on US military equipment for parts and supplies. The decades of US foreign aid have also served to create dependency. Unlike many other countries, including even Sweden, Israel does not have its own jet fighter. Israel's Air Force is heavily dependent on US weapons, parts and equipment. Cutting Israel off, would leave the Israeli military dangerously vulnerable in the case of a war. This is an effective chokehold that has been used before to prevent Israel from attacking Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War, as well as preventing Israel from carrying out a preemptive strike against its enemies before the Yom Kippur War.The overall Obama policy will be to push Israel to the brink, using financial and military blackmail against the Netanyahu government, while maintaining control over American Jews to prevent any protests or backtalk....American Jewish groups will support Obama... some because they were created precisely for that purpose, and others because they have been hijacked, cowed or subverted.The more Israel will offer, the more the Obama Administration will tighten the screws. No offer will be good enough, and Israel will be blamed for every breakdown in talks and every bit of violence that takes place. The media will portray Israel and particularly Netanyahu as extremist and intransigent. Hamas will be slowly whitewashed in the media, the same way that Arafat's goons were, (assuming that they prove more willing to cooperate in creating a positive media image of themselves than Ahmadinejad is.)The plan is to destroy Israel, and to do it by pushing Israel to the edge of the cliff and then over the cliff. Israel's enemies will be getting top of the line US military equipment. Israel will not. Israel will be squeezed economically until the Netanyahu government collapses, leaving a weak left wing leader like Livni in charge of Israel, and in charge of acceding to the new Pharaoh's demands.Meanwhile so-called American Jewish groups will support Obama all the way, some because they were created precisely for that purpose, e.g. J-Street, and others because they have been hijacked, cowed or subverted. That is the game plan and some of it's coming. The rest is already here.
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