Thursday, April 11, 2013

Leftist and Islamic supremacist thugs force cancellation of Pamela Geller speaking event

From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer 


The precedent that was set by the cancellation of my talk in March in Worcester, Massachusetts, under pressure from the Leftist media and Islamic supremacists, and other cancellations in the past under similar pressure, has been reinforced once again: the Great Neck Synagogue on Long Island has caved in to heavy pressure from the same thuggish foes of the freedom of speech, and has cancelled a Pamela Geller speaking engagement that was scheduled for Sunday morning.

Synagogue officials have been subjected to an unrelenting barrage of defamation, lies and smears of Pamela Geller, and until tonight have stood firm -- and their statement is as noteworthy for what it does not say as for what it does:
As the notoriety and media exposure of the planned program this Sunday have increased, so has the legal liability and potential security exposure of our institution and it's [sic] member families. In an era of heightened security concerns it is irresponsible to jeopardize the safety of those who call Great Neck Synagogue home, especially our children, even at the risk of diverting attention from a potentially important voice in the ongoing debate. Accordingly, the Great Neck Synagogue Men's Club will no longer be sponsoring the appearance of Pamela Geller this coming Sunday, and no event will be taking place in our facility.
Note that they don't say "We finally realized that Geller was just as bad as they say" or some such.

They say: "In an era of heightened security concerns it is irresponsible to jeopardize the safety of those who call Great Neck Synagogue home, especially our children, even at the risk of diverting attention from a potentially important voice in the ongoing debate." In other words, the Leftist and Islamic supremacist thugs made it clear that the synagogue would be in danger if the event went on.

And so the goons know: make threats, issue smears, and decent people will cave. It is a terrible precedent for the future of the freedom of speech, and for America.

FBI sued over facial-recognition technology

facial_recognitionFederal agency says 'customer requirements' demand biometric database

By: Bob Unruh / WND

A team of privacy advocates and experts is launching a lawsuit against the FBI for refusing to provide to the public information about its new Next Generation Identification system, which the federal agency says is in demand among its customers for its biometric database of Americans.

The lawsuit has been filed against the FBI in Washington by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and it is demanding a court order that information about the program’s contracts with private companies as well as its technical specifications be made available.

EPIC confirmed that the NGI system upon completion “will be the largest biometric database in the world” and will include files of fingerprints, DNA profiles. iris scans, palm prints, voice identification profiles, photographs and other identifying information already collected by states, counties – and even schools.

“The FBI will use facial recognition to match images in the database against facial images obtained from CCTV and elsewhere,” the organization said, noting there already are an estimated 30 million spy cameras across the United States.

The complaint explains that the FBI announced in 2009 the NGI system was being created to record, analyze and use biometrics of U.S. citizens – whether they know that their details have been recorded or not.

EPIC followed up shortly later with Freedom of Information Act requests for details about the program’s contracts with private companies – such as who would get access to Americans’ biometrics and why, as well as questions about the technical specifications.

That was because the database was expected to include millions of photographs, fingerprints, voiceprints and other identifiers of people who are not criminals – and are not even suspects in crimes, EPIC said. In fact, they are individuals who probably “are unaware that their images and biometric identifiers were captured.”

One of the circumstances is that some law enforcement officers now are using handheld devices that allow them to “scan irises and faces of individuals and match them against biometric databases.”

Also, some “school districts now are requiring children to provide biometric identifiers, such as palm prints.”

That there is a danger was made clear because a private company was found trying to sell its biometric database of American consumers after its parent company, Verified Identity Pass, collapsed into bankruptcy, the complaint said.

“Personally identifiable information could be lost or misused as a result” of the new program, the complaint said.

Among the private companies thought to be involved are Lockheed Martin, IBM, Accenture, BAE Systems Information Technology, Global Science & Technology, Innovative Management and Technology Services and Platinum Solutions.

States already thought to be providing biometric details to the NGI include Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Although the FBI admitted that it had more than 7,300 pages of documentation that responded to the requests, EPIC has yet to see any, the complaint alleges.

The FBI explains that it launched the biometric database of Americans because of “customer requirements.”

The FBI said it is expected to replace its existing fingerprint ID system, as well as expand the agency’s capabilities into “multimodal functionality.”

“The NGI Program Office mission is to reduce terrorist and criminal activities by improving and expanding biometric identification and criminal history information services through research, evaluation, and implementation of advanced technology,” the FBI explains.

It specifically calls for iris records and search capabilities, palm prints, facial recognition capabilities and other components of a “unimodel” system.

“The framework will be expandable, scalable, and flexible to accommodate new technologies and biometric standards, and will be interoperable with existing systems. Once developed and implemented, the NGI initiatives and multimodal functionality will promote a high level of information sharing, support interoperability, and provide a foundation for using multiple biometrics for positive identification,” the FBI said.

Obamacare Exchanges Costs Double: $4.4 Billion

By Paul Scicchitano / Newsmax



As a number of Republican governors continue to say “no” to Obamacare, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) on Wednesday acknowledged that the president’s signature healthcare law is racking up twice the costs to set up the all-important insurance exchanges.

HHS more than doubled its previous cost estimate of $2 billion for the amount it expects to spend to help states set up insurance exchanges, which is a central component of Obamacare.

The agency now expects to spend $4.4 billion by the end of the year, reports The Hill.

Despite the projection overruns, the department is "determined to make them work," said HHS Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources Ellen Murray of the exchanges, when asked to comment on the possibility that Congress might deny the funding request, according to the publication.

As Newsmax reported in February, the federal government must play an even bigger role in Obamacare than anticipated because of the health exchanges it must operate for states declining to set up their own.

Exchanges were envisioned as places where private consumers, who aren’t necessarily covered by an employer healthcare program, can compare and purchase healthcare coverage.

Since a number of Republican governors have opted out of the new law, HHS will be responsible for running exchanges in those states that choose not to participate, according to The Hill, which notes that only 17 states and the District of Columbia have been approved to run exchanges.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters on Wednesday that the implementation funding is an "ongoing conversation with Congress" and "I'm hoping Congress will see that this is the law of the land.”

Obama’s Success: The Poor Get Poorer, And The Rich Get Poorer

President Barack Obama wants your money now. Like, right now.

Talking Points Memo has the details … breathlessly:

“A new provision in Obama’s budget ‘[e]nds a loophole that lets wealthy individuals circumvent contribution limits and [ac]cumulate millions in tax-preferred retirement accounts,’” Talking Points Memo wrote, quoting a budget summary released by the White House, which will reveal its new budget Wednesday.

I can’t wait!

OK, so basically, the guy chronically incapable of self-restraint when it comes to federal spending is going after people who save money for retirement by imposing a caps on IRAs. His argument will likely be that he’s only going after greedy IRA owners who have too much money anyway.

The question I’d pose to him would be: Between the government and folks with IRAs, who has too much money? But that’s beside the point.

Fact is that all the money in any IRA -- even Mitt Romney’s superstorm IRA -- will be taxed at some point or another. The whole IRA scheme is a way for the government to ensure that old folks pay a steady stream of income taxes to the government.

After all, the money in an IRA is not “tax-preferred,” as the White House asserts.

No surprise there that they got that wrong.  These guys aren’t CPAs. They don’t even know how to do their own taxes right.

Money in an IRA is rather “tax-deferred,” meaning the government is going to get their money one way or another -- it’s just going to take a while.

In the end, in fact, the government will get more taxes, if they could only wait.   

Because the government actually requires IRA owners to spend down every single penny in an IRA.

And when they spend it, taxes follow.  Being a government program, there are already stiff penalties for people who save too much in an IRA. Any money left in a million-dollar IRA is subject to immediate income tax, plus penalty, plus the death tax.

The taxable rate on an IRA of this size can easily approach 90 percent. Those are tax rates that we can only find in the wet dreams of French President Francois Hollande.

And it’s that 90 percent tax rate that is the “loophole,” or “tax-preferred,” treatment Obama aims to get rid of.

Why?

There are two objectives here for Obama. He’s president now. He needs money now. It doesn’t matter if it costs the government and IRA owners more later. As long as he can get the money now, now, now.  The stomping of feet and fingers in the ears by Obama is implied.

The second objective for Obama is to put the rich in their rightful place.

As former Congressman Bob Beauprez observed about the scheme:

“In 2010, in a rare unscripted, off-teleprompter moment, [Obama] showed both his arrogance and his disdain for earned success by industrious Americans. ‘I do think at a certain point you've made enough money,’ [the president] told a Quincy, Ill., audience. It was only ‘fair,’ Obama continued to argue, that government should confiscate the rest by raising taxes.”

So there; Obama is the guy that we always said he was.

It doesn’t matter to the White House that this budget gimmick will only raise $9 billion over a 10-year period.  It doesn’t matter that liberals already are punishing poor and middle income Americans with a payroll tax increase.

And for what? Social Security?

Social Security is an anachronism that provides neither sociability, nor security.

At a 4 percent rate of return, the average wage earner in the United States would be able to save $402,294.32 for retirement if, instead of paying 12.4 percent in FICA taxes, they were able to have segregated “social security” accounts. At a 4 percent return, those contributions turn into $664,437.14 in retirement income over 27 years. This allows a person to retire at 60, and to die broke at the age of 87, and still pay taxes.

Furthermore, under this plan, it would be your account -- assuming a liberal didn’t poach it via tax policy. By contrast, if you retire at 62 under social security you get a little over $1,000 a month.

Which scheme do you think generates higher taxes for the government over time? The one that pays more money, of course. Only a liberal wouldn’t understand that.

The late Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, explained it to us:

“The honorable gentleman is saying that he would rather that the poor were poorer provided that the rich were less rich,” she said, explaining the certain type of wealth-envy by which liberals plague the rest of us. “That way one will never create the wealth for better social services, as we have. What a policy. Yes, he would rather have the poor poorer, provided that the rich were less rich. That is the Liberal policy.”

I subscribe to Thatcher’s comments exactly. Well, minus the “honorable gentleman” part.

Iran's North Korean FutureIran's North Korean Future
By: Victor Davis Hanson / Townhall Columnist

The idea of a nuclear Iran -- and of preventing a nuclear Iran -- terrifies security analysts. 

Those who argue for a preemptive strike against Iran cannot explain exactly how American planes and missiles would take out all the subterranean nuclear facilities without missing a stashed nuke or two -- or whether they might as well expand their target lists to Iranian military assets in general.

None can predict the fallout on world oil prices, global terrorism and the politically fragile Persian Gulf, other than that it would be uniformly bad.

In contrast, those who favor containment of a nuclear Iran do not quite know how the theocracy could be deterred -- or how either Israel or the regional Sunni Arab regimes will react to such a powerful and unpredictable neighbor.

The present crisis with North Korea offers us a glimpse of what, and what not, to expect should Iran get the bomb. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would gain the attention currently being paid to Kim Jong-un -- similarly not otherwise earned by his nation's economy or cultural influence.

We should assume that the Iranian theocracy, like the seven-decade-long Kim dynasty in North Korea, would periodically sound lunatic: threatening its neighbors and promising a firestorm in the region -- if not eventually in the United States and Europe as well.

An oil-rich, conventionally armed Iran has already used that playbook. When it becomes nuclear, those previously stale warnings of ending Israel or attacking U.S. facilities in the Persian Gulf will not be entirely laughed off, just as Kim Jong-un's insane diatribes are not so easily dismissed.

North Korea has taught the world that feigned madness in nuclear poker earns either foreign aid or worldwide attention -- given that even a 99 percent surety of a bluff can still scare Western publics.

North Korea is the proverbial nutty failed neighbor who constantly picks on the successful suburbanites next door, on the premise that the neighbors will heed his wild nonsensical threats because he has nothing and they have everything to lose.

Iran could copy Kim's model endlessly -- one week threatening to wipe Israel off the face of the map, the next backing down and complaining that problems in translation distorted the actual, less bellicose communiqué . The point would not necessarily be to actually nuke Israel (which would translate into the end of Persian culture for a century), but to create such an atmosphere of worry and gloom over the Jewish state as to weaken the economy, encourage emigration and erode its geostrategic reputation.

North Korea is a past master of such nuclear shakedown tactics. At times Pyongyang has reduced two Asian powerhouses -- Japan and South Korea -- to near paralysis. Can the nations that gave the world Toyota and Samsung really count on the American defense umbrella? Should they go nuclear themselves?

Can North Korean leadership be continually bought off with foreign aid, or is it really as crazy serious as it sounds?

Iran would also be different from other nuclear rogue states. The West often fears a nuclear Pakistan, given that a large part of its tribal lands is ungovernable and overrun with Islamic radicals. Its government is friendly to the West only to the degree that American aid continues.

Yet far larger and more powerful India deters nuclear Pakistan. For all the wild talk from both the Pakistani government and tribal terrorists, there is general fear in Pakistan that India has superior conventional and nuclear forces. India is also unpredictable and not the sort of nation that can be periodically threatened and shaken down for concessions.

Iran has no comparable existential enemy of a billion people -- only a tiny Israel of some 7 million.

The result is that there is no commensurate regional deterrent.

Nor does Iran have a tough master like nuclear China. Even Beijing finally pulls on the leash when its unpredictable North Korean client has threatened to bully neighbors and create too unprofitable a fuss.

Of course, China enjoys the angst that its subordinate causes its rivals. It also sees North Korea as a valuable impediment to a huge, unified new Westernized Korea on its borders. But that said, China does not want a nuclear war in its backyard. That fact ultimately means North Korea is muzzled once its barking becomes too obnoxious.

A nuclear Iran would neither worry about a billion-person, nuclear existential enemy nearby like India, nor a billion-person patron like China that would establish redlines to its periodic madness.

Instead, Teheran would be free to do and say what it pleased. And its nuclear status would become a force multiplier to its enormous oil wealth and self-acclaimed world leadership of Shiite Muslims.

If North Korea has been a danger, then a bigger, richer and undeterred nuclear Iran would be a nightmare.
Op-ed:
April 15th...North Korea's last hurrah?
By: Diane Sori

 
"The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermonuclear war due to the evermore undisguised hostile actions of the United States and the South Korean puppet warmongers." So says Pyongyang.

So is North Korea planning a show of strength for April 15th, the anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, the founder of the nation (celebrated officially as "The Day of the Sun")...or is the latest round of saber rattling just more of the usual empty threats to get the sanctions lifted. Unfortunately, only time will tell but in preparing for the worst case scenario (a wise thing to do when dealing with an immature, power hungry, spoiled man-child) Japan deployed PAC-3 missile interceptors to protect Tokyo, and two US destroyers armed with missile-defense systems, along with two South Korean warships, are now in place off the Korean coast. 

Loving to hear himself squawk (sounds like someone else we know), Kim Jong-un vowed to wage a "merciless sacred retaliatory war" if provoked in any way by its enemies, meaning the US and South Korea, and is now ready to test fire a medium-range missile with the hopes of it someday being able to deliver a nuclear warhead.

NOT good...NOT good at all, because while North Korea has always issued warnings before previous long-range rocket launches, this time they're keeping everyone guessing about what they'll do and when they'll do it. 

And while the threatened test appears to be a NO-go, at least at this moment, we and our allies cannot let our guard down as this could be a ruse...a clever subterfuge to get the first blow in. Remember, Kim Jong-un has to do something to 'save face' as he's been publicly pushed into a corner with his threats against the US and the South, and as an untested new leader he cannot allow himself to be seen in the eyes of the world as weak or as backing down to his perceived enemies.

And in the ongoing war of words and threats against Seoul and Washington, Kim Yang Gon, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, announced this past Monday that operations at the Kaesong Factory Complex would be suspended as he ordered it closed and recalled all 53,000 North Korean workers from the complex just north of the Demilitarized Zone...a complex that for the past decade had been run with cheap North Korean labor and South Korean capital and know-how...a complex that was the North's last major economic link with the South and a source of much needed hard currency, garnered from cross-border trade, including supplies entering Kaesong and finished products coming out, and which approached $2 billion annually in trade revenue. 

Now add into mix the recent statement from Pyongyang that "all foreign institutions, enterprises, and foreigners including tourists" in South Korea "take measures for shelter and evacuation" and you have more than the usual, eye rolling bloviations.

Even Russian President Vladimir Putin is worried as he expressed concern about the rising tensions between the two Korea's, and said conflict on the peninsula, "could cause greater devastation than the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986."
 
I would make no secret about it, we are worried about the escalation on the Korean peninsula, because we are neighbors,” Putin said.
 
And even our muslim sympathizing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has admitted that North Korea has made major advancement in its nuclear capabilities. Saying that the speed with which North Korea is moving in enhancing their capabilities is cause for concern, and that North Korea is "skating very close to a dangerous line" means this time the North Korean threats are being taken seriously in DC...at least by some they are. 

"We have every capacity to deal with any action North Korea will take to protect this country and the interests of this country and our allies," Hagel said as the deteriorating Korean situation belies the critical necessity for strong US and allied defenses.

And while most South Koreans are NOT panicking, there are signs that they're growing tired of the North’s rhetoric and threats. In fact, new South Korean President Park Geun-hye gave the Ministry of Defense free reign in the event of any North Korean Korean provocations, and this action increases the probability that the current war of words will indeed turn into a real military action.

But the question in all this is where does Barack HUSSEIN Obama really stand on North Korea and what will he do if war does break out...smiling sweetly and saying one thing for media photo-ops is quite different than actual actions taken. Remember, Obama believes the world should eliminate all nuclear weapons, as he continues to eliminate our nuclear arsenal and works to strengthen the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, clearly ignoring the fact that he is out of touch with the reality of the growing number of nuclear weapons rogue nations are acquiring.

And here's something else to think about...is Western educated, English speaking, American culture loving Kim Jung-un really calling the shots in North Korea or is he just the puppet of yet another corrupt, all-controlling, all powerful military regime. Again only time will tell but unfortunately time is NOT something we or South Korea have a lot of right now as the longer the war of words goes on the longer North Korea will have to develop a true deliverable nuclear warhead, with our ally South Korea being its prime recipient and with us having 28,500 troops (Army: 19,755, Navy: 274, Air Force 8,815, Marines, 242) in harms way.

And an immature, power-hungry, man-child puppet with a history of hissy-fits has his finger on a nuclear button...NOT good...NOT good at all.