May 12th, 2013
By Billy Hallowell
Parents of fallen service members spoke at a press conference on Thursday morning, an event during which they accused the U.S. government of complicity in the deaths of their sons. The families highlighted a number of grievances, including the notion that military brass invited a Muslim cleric to their children’s funeral in 2011 — an imam who they claim “disparaged in Arabic the memory of these servicemen.”
Three families of fallen Navy SEAL Team 6 special forces members and one family of an Army National Guardsman held the event at the National Press Club to make this startling allegation, among many others. Their children perished during the fatal Chinook helicopter crash that occurred in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. The presser was an effort, as noted in a press release, to corroborate the notion that the U.S. government is “as much responsible for the deaths of their sons as is the Taliban.”
As for the claim about the Muslim cleric, the families believe that the faith leader attempted to intentionally sully the memory of their sons by “damning them as infidels to Allah.” The group showed video of the prayer to prove their contentions, complete with translation.
Audio from the ceremony, which has been circling for at least a few months, includes a U.S. soldier speaking in English; he begins the ceremony by appealing to the “almighty and awesome God” and goes on to honor the fallen, speaking directly to God and invoking Christian scripture in doing so. After the presiding officer concludes, the imam’s purportedly controversial prayer begins; it is this latter portion that has sparked outrage among the families.
On Wednesday, TheBlaze spoke with attorney Larry Klayman who is representing the grieving parents to learn more about the Arabic comments in question. Noting that he has consulted with a certified translator, he paraphrased the meaning of the imam’s words as follows: “That the as infidels.”
If this translation is valid, the notion that it was spoken over U.S. service members bodies at a funeral is potentially problematic, although it should be noted that the prayer may have been intended only for the Afghan soldiers who perished. Let’s first explore what the Muslims leader said during his sermon. Here’s one translation that has been given of the cleric’s comments (this is the version that Klayman showed at the press conference along with video of the prayer):
“Amen I shelter in Allah from the devil who has been cast with stones. In the name of Allah the merciful giver. The companions of the fire are not equal with the companions of heaven. The companions of heaven are the winners. Had we sent this Koran to a mountain, you would have seen the mountain prostrated in fear of Allah. Such examples are what we present to the people; to the people, so that they would think. Blessings are to your God, the God of glory of what they describe. And peace be upon the messengers and thanks be to Allah the lord of both universes.”
Another translation that was commissioned by Islam expert Stephen Coughlin is somewhat less pointed:
“I announce the evil by all-aha. By the name of the merciful all-aha. People of hell and people of heaven are not equal (even, not the same), people of heaven are the winners, if we [unintelligible word] the Koran on the mountain, you will see, you will see him in submission and humble of alla-aha’s fear. Those (who are in submission) are examples for the people (the public) may these people (the public) remember, praise alla-aha. Alla-aha God of glory, of the people behaviors (he is wondering or questioning the people’s behaviors). And peace to the Prophets, thanks to alla-aha, please (asking alla-aha) to forgive him, comfort him and accept him in paradise. [The prayer ends, however this subject was talking to some audience he was telling them I LOVE TO....then the audio ended].”
Here’s another version of the imam’s comments without subtitles and in Arabic:
May 12th, 2013
The immigration reform measure the Senate began debating yesterday would create a national biometric database of virtually every adult in the U.S., in what privacy groups fear could be the first step to a ubiquitous national identification system.
Buried in the more than 800 pages of the bipartisan legislation (.pdf) is language mandating the creation of the innocuously-named “photo tool,” a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID.
Employers would be obliged to look up every new hire in the database to verify that they match their photo.
This piece of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act is aimed at curbing employment of undocumented immigrants. But privacy advocates fear the inevitable mission creep, ending with the proof of self being required at polling places, to rent a house, buy a gun, open a bank account, acquire credit, board a plane or even attend a sporting event or log on the internet.
Think of it as a government version of Foursquare, with Big Brother cataloging every check-in.
“It starts to change the relationship between the citizen and state, you do have to get permission to do things,” said Chris Calabrese, a congressional lobbyist with the American Civil Liberties Union. “More fundamentally, it could be the start of keeping a record of all things.”
For now, the legislation allows the database to be used solely for employment purposes. But historically such limitations don’t last. The Social Security card, for example, was created to track your government retirement benefits. Now you need it to purchase health insurance.
“The Social Security number itself, it’s pretty ubiquitous in your life,” Calabrese said.
David Bier, an analyst with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, agrees with the ACLU’s fears.
“The most worrying aspect is that this creates a principle of permission basically to do certain activities and it can be used to restrict activities,” he said. “It’s like a national ID system without the card.”
For the moment, the debate in the Senate Judiciary Committee is focused on the parameters of legalization for unauthorized immigrants, a border fence and legal immigration in the future.
The committee is scheduled to resume debate on the package Tuesday.
More From Dave Kravets at Wired
May 12th, 2013
The New Yorker Magazine turns on Obama in the Benghazi scandal? Not exactly a "Conservative media think tank."
Several things of note, beyond the obvious.
First, those of us in the Conservative media obviously have been largely vindicated, as we've been crying foul all along-- the New Yorker to it's credit even admits this.
But second, the author even makes the comparison to former President Clinton's impeachment proceeding in the Monical Lewinsky scandal, for lying under oath.
The New Yorker, therefore, has remarkably established a link to a former impeachment proceeding.
No small thing......
The New Yorker
Posted by Alex Koppelman
It’s a cliché, of course, but it really is true: in Washington, every scandal has a crime and a coverup. The ongoing debate about the attack on the United States facility in Benghazi where four Americans were killed, and the Obama Administration’s response to it, is no exception. For a long time, it seemed like the idea of a coverup was just a Republican obsession.
But now there is something to it.
On Friday, ABC News’s Jonathan Karl revealed the details of the editing process for the C.I.A.’s talking points about the attack, including the edits themselves and some of the reasons a State Department spokeswoman gave for requesting those edits. It’s striking to see the twelve different iterations that the talking points went through before they were released to Congress and to United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, who used them in Sunday show appearances that became a central focus of Republicans’ criticism of the Administration’s public response to the attacks. Over the course of about twenty-four hours, the remarks evolved from something specific and fairly detailed into a bland, vague mush.
From the very beginning of the editing process, the talking points contained the erroneous assertion that the attack was “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved.” That’s an important fact, because the right has always criticized the Administration based on the suggestion that the C.I.A. and the State Department, contrary to what they said, knew that the attack was not spontaneous and not an outgrowth of a demonstration. But everything else about the changes that were made is problematic.
The initial draft revealed by Karl mentions “at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi” before the one in which four Americans were killed. That’s not in the final version. Nor is this: “[W]e do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa’ida participated in the attack.” That was replaced by the more tepid “There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.” (Even if we accept the argument that State wanted to be sure that extremists were involved, and that they could be linked to Al Qaeda, before saying so with any level of certainty—which is reasonable and supported by evidence from Karl’s reporting—that doesn’t fully explain these changes away.)
Democrats will argue that the editing process wasn’t motivated by a desire to protect Obama’s record on fighting Al Qaeda in the run-up to the 2012 election. They have a point; based on what we’ve seen from Karl’s report, the process that went into creating and then changing the talking points seems to have been driven in large measure by two parts of the government—C.I.A. and State—trying to make sure the blame for the attacks and the failure to protect American personnel in Benghazi fell on the other guy.
But the mere existence of the edits—whatever the motivation for them—seriously undermines the White House’s credibility on this issue. This past November (after Election Day), White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that “The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two institutions were changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility’ because ‘consulate’ was inaccurate.”
Remarkably, Carney is sticking with that line even now. In his regular press briefing on Friday afternoon (a briefing that was delayed several times, presumably in part so the White House could get its spin in order, but also so that it could hold a secretive pre-briefing briefing with select members of the White House press corps), he said:
The only edit made by the White House or the State Department to those talking points generated by the C.I.A. was a change from referring to the facility that was attacked in Benghazi from “consulate,” because it was not a consulate, to “diplomatic post”… it was a matter of non-substantive factual correction. But there was a process leading up to that that involved inputs from a lot of agencies, as is always the case in a situation like this and is always appropriate.
This is an incredible thing for Carney to be saying. He’s playing semantic games, telling a roomful of journalists that the definition of editing we’ve all been using is wrong, that the only thing that matters is who’s actually working the keyboard. It’s not quite re-defining the word “is,” or the phrase “sexual relations,” but it’s not all that far off, either.
More from the New Yorker's Alex Koppelman
May 11th, 2013
Reuters / By Jessica Dye
A federal judge in New York on Friday declined to temporarily halt a court order directing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make emergency contraception available over the counter to girls of all ages.
However, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman in Brooklyn said he would give the FDA until May 13 to ask a federal appeals court in Manhattan to stay the order, which had been scheduled to take effect on Friday.
Korman ordered the FDA on April 5 to lift age and point-of-access restrictions on all levonorgestrel-based emergency contraception, also known as the "morning-after" pill or "Plan B," to prevent unwanted pregnancies. The FDA has appealed that ruling.
"In my view, the defendants' appeal is frivolous and taken for the purposes of delay," Korman wrote in Friday's decision.
The case stems from a 2005 lawsuit filed by a coalition of reproductive rights advocates who sought to lift age and access restrictions on emergency contraception.
At the time of Korman's original April ruling, emergency contraception was available without a prescription to women 17 years and older who presented identification at a pharmacist's counter.
Late last month, the FDA said it would allow girls as young as 15 to buy a one-pill version of emergency contraception, Plan B One-Step, made by a unit of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd without a prescription.
The agency said its decision was unrelated to the court ruling and based on data from Teva showing teens that age could take the drug safely.
In the April 5 ruling, Korman called the agency's restrictions on emergency contraception "arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable," and gave it 30 days to make the drug available over the counter to women of all ages.
If taken up to 120 hours after unprotected sex, emergency contraception is designed to prevent pregnancy.
FDA and Teva officials declined to comment.
(Reporting by Jessica Dye; editing by Noeleen Walder, Michele Gershberg and Jeffrey Benkoe)
May 11th, 2013
Well, if we have a Left-Wing president who believes that the US has 58 States, then it's not hard to understand why many Left-Coast residents have never been taught basic US geography.
In this fun clip, many might take note of the somber tone of the musical accompaniment.
Despite the nervous tittering, it is a very sad thing indeed to see how the populace of America is being educated into gross ignorance.
But...there's a reason for that.