Saturday, June 6, 2009

How Obama created Cairo Speech with Muslims.

Ridiculous headline in Obama's paper of choice the Washington Post which details how the Cairo speech was researched and written which betrays the headline

"Using New Language, President Shows Understanding for Both Sides in Middle East

By Glenn Kessler and Jacqueline L. Salmon
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, June 5, 2009"

Problem is as you read the article, you don't see both side given equal treatment or access including this tidbit.

.....Most striking to many Muslims was Obama's use of the phrase "May peace be upon them" when referring to Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. It is a term of respect and reverence that Muslims use when referring, in speech or in writing, to such figures, and rarely is used by non-Muslims.

Ben Rhodes, Obama's chief foreign policy speechwriter, said Obama told him "to cast a wide net" in preparing the address. That included conference calls and meetings between Muslim Americans and national security staff.

Tariq Malhance, the president of the largest Muslim community center in Chicago, was invited to participate in one of the calls, and later he sent an e-mail to the White House urging Obama to "be mindful" that most Muslims around the world are not Arabs.

Almost two weeks ago, senior Obama advisers met with an even broader group of Muslim leaders at the White House, including activists and academics from across the political spectrum, according to participants. One of those at the meeting, University of Maryland professor Shibley Telhami, said the result was a speech that provided a far more specific description of Obama's goals on a series of issues related to Muslims, Middle East peace and the Arab world.

As I have been saying the last couple of days, forget the flowery words and realize that Obama has thrown Israel under the bus and went in reverse to make sure he did a good job.

Obama's great uncle criticises him over Buchenwald visit

This is just Obama again playing to his setting and audience using a family member as a buffer.

Charles Payne, 84, was among the American infantrymen who liberated Ohrdruf, a subdivision of the Buchenwald camp, in April 1945.

Mr Obama will next week attend a memorial ceremony at the former camp with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, before heading to Normandy to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Asked if his great nephew was following in his footsteps, which the White House has suggested as a reason for the trip, Mr Payne told the German magazine Der Spiegel: "I don't buy that. This is a trip that he chose, not because of me I'm sure, but for political reasons."

Denting the normally smooth-running presidential public relations machine, he added: "Perhaps his visit also has something to do with improving his standing with Angela Merkel. She gave him a hard time during his campaign and also afterwards."

Exposing the haste with which political biographies can be formed, Mr Payne expressed surprise at how his great-nephew had used his wartime experiences on the campaign trail. As a candidate, Mr Obama used the wartime service of his white mother's parents and family to allay concerns about his heritage.

"I was quite surprised when the whole thing came up and Barack talked about my war experiences in Nazi Germany. We had never talked about that before," he said, adding that he enjoyed a "warm and friendly relationship" with his great nephew, though he was not part of his inner circle.

Tom Brokaw's stupid Israel question and Obama's dumb answer.

Every so often, media types slip up and let their true view on a situation show, this was Brokaw's moment.

BROKAW: What can the Israelis learn from your visit to Buchenwald and what should they be thinking about their treatment of Palestinians?

Stunningly stupid question to compare a concentration camp to the Palestinians but is something that gets applause in liberal circles. Obama first starts off saying no equivalency but then rolls on with an almost equally insulting answer. Via Rush's site which had the transcript.

OBAMA: Well, look there's no equivalency here, but I do think that, given the extraordinary moral traditions of Judaism, the potential power of empathy that arises out of having gone through such historic hardships, that that will ultimately give the people of Israel the strength and purpose to seek a just and lasting peace. And that, I believe, will involve creating two states side by side with peace and security.

As Rush points out this is ridiculous as Israel is always the one taking the brunt of the world's blame and Obama has thrown them under the bus repeatedly since getting into office.

If Israel didn't already have empathy or the strength and purpose to seek peace, they would have gone the way of Putin in Chechnya, Sri Lanka against the Tamil Tigers or King Hussein of Jordan driving out the Palestianians out of his country years ago.

Their extraordinary patience in light of suicide bombers and other terrorist acts should be admired.

Holder's DoJ: "‘Protecting rights of US Muslims a priority’

Nation: Why would Holder put out this statement other than to give off a suck up vibe to one religious group at the expense of everyone else?

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement relating to President Obama’s historic speech today in Cairo, Egypt:

"The President's pledge for a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim community takes root here in the Justice Department where we are committed to using criminal and civil rights laws to protect Muslim Americans. A top priority of this Justice Department is a return to robust civil rights enforcement and outreach in defending religious freedoms and other fundamental rights of all of our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the housing market, in our schools and in the voting booth.

"There are those who will continue to want to divide by fear - to pit our national security against our civil liberties - but that is a false choice. We have a solemn responsibility to protect our people while we also protect our principles."

How is it being reported.

'Protecting rights of US Muslims a priority'

CAIR Welcomes AG Holder's Statement on Muslim Civil Rights

Good job not politicizing the Department.

Friday, June 5, 2009

FBI Probes Muhammad's Ties to Ohio Mosque

Terrorism: Couple of weeks back, CAIR and other Muslim groups were up in arms about the FBI sending agents and undercover to Mosques. I said then that this was smart since the Mosque is the cultural center of many Muslim communities and around the world it has been shown that radicalization does start there in most cases.

FBI is now probing a Columbus, Ohio Mosque that Abdulhakim Muhammad may have attended and it seems Columbus is the starting point for many radicalized Muslims.

Nuradin Abdi was convicted in 2007 of planning to blow up an Ohio shopping mall.

Iyman Faris was convicted in 2003 of planning to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge.

Christopher Paul was convicted in 2008 of conspiring to use explosives against targets in the U.S. and Europe.

All three terrorists worshiped and socialized at a small mosque in Columbus, Ohio, and, according to David B. Smith, an attorney for Faris, were part of a larger group of jihadists and extremists who frequented the mosque.

The FBI now is investigating reports of links to that same mosque by Muslim-convert Abdulhakim Muhammad who allegedly shot and killed one soldier Monday and critically wounded another in a drive-by attack on a Little Rock, Ark., recruiting station, ABC News has learned.

According to law enforcement sources, they have received reports that Muhammad appears to have attended the mosque during a period from 2006 to 2007 when evidence indicates he resided in Columbus. It is unclear what, if any, links he had to the individuals already convicted.

However, his possible links to the mosque are one promising avenue under investigation as the government attempts to reconstruct Muhammad's path to radicalization and to establish firmly whether he acted alone in the recruiting station shooting.

The mosque, according to well informed sources, is a small house of worship that has regularly been frequented by foreigners with radical sympathies who, after their stops in Ohio, continued onward. The Imam of the mosque was not immediately available for comment.

Columbus has been identified as the jumping off point for Somalis residing in the United States, including Somali Americans, to become radicalized and then head overseas to wage jihad.

Stimulus dollars going to social programs

Nation: All that Shovel Ready projects is so yesterday, this is a good way to get people dependent on government.

The reality of how the vast majority of the stimulus money will be spent is quite different, and that raises questions about how much help the Recovery Act backed by President Barack Obama will be to the economy in the long run.

Most of the roughly $300 billion coming directly to the states is being funneled through existing government programs for health care, education, unemployment benefits, food stamps and other social services.

"We all talked about 'shovel-ready' since September and assumed it was a whole lot of paving and building when, in fact, that's not the case," said Chris Whatley, the Washington director of the Council of State Governments, a trade group for state governments. He estimates states will get three times more money for education than for transportation.

AP: Obama's Islam success depends on Israel

Middle East: No matter what Israel is going to get the short end of the stick. It would be nice to see the same pressure put on the other side. But I don't see that happening because I honestly don't think Obama feels there should be the same sort of pressure on the Palestinians.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

How much sucking up will Obama do to the Muslim World?

World: I say just enough to get to 2nd base. There will be much groveling and pleading as America will suck once again for the sake of his addressing Muslims/Arabs. I will throw in a little of Israel being used as punching bag for him.

In other words, It ain't going to be pretty.

*Update: I was right, a weak and unless Politico left stuff out a boilerplate of weak platitudes that played to the audience while throwing Israel and the West under the bus for applause lines.

Eric Holder gives illegals/immigrants a chance to delay over and over.

Nation: Holder is doing a bang up job in making illegal immigrants and deportees confident that there is no law governing immigration anymore.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday reversed a Bush administration ruling that had weakened the ability of immigrants facing deportation to argue that their lawyers did a bad job.

The original order, issued just days before the inauguration of President Obama, held that immigrants did not have a constitutional right to effective lawyers in their deportation hearings. That 11th-hour decision abruptly closed off one of the most common avenues for appealing deportation decisions.

Because immigration cases are classified as civil litigation, people facing deportation do not have the same right to be represented by a lawyer that criminal defendants have. But before the Bush administration, a long line of legal opinions allowed immigrants whose lawyers had performed poorly to ask that their cases be opened on constitutional grounds. In 2003, the Board of Immigration Appeals, a part of the executive branch that reviews the rulings of immigration courts, reaffirmed that right.

The Bush administration, however, successfully argued in several federal appeals court cases that there was no constitutional right to have a case reopened because of ineffective legal representation.

Obama opening to forcing everyone to get health insurance.

Politics: Businesses and people will spread their wealth.

President Obama said Wednesday that he was receptive to Congressional proposals that would require Americans to have health insurance and oblige employers to share in the cost. But he said there should be exemptions for people who cannot afford insurance and for small businesses in general.

Mr. Obama set forth his views in a letter to the chairmen of the two Senate committees writing health care legislation, Max Baucus of Montana and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, both Democrats.

The president said he was open to proposals for “shared responsibility — making every American responsible for having health insurance coverage, and asking that employers share in the cost.”

He did not use the terms “individual mandate” and “employer mandate,” which suggest a degree of coercion that Democrats try to avoid implying. Still, the letter provides the fullest statement of Mr. Obama’s views on proposals at the heart of legislation to cover all Americans, his top domestic priority.

“If we are going to make people responsible for owning health insurance, we must make health care affordable,” Mr. Obama wrote. “If we do end up with a system where people are responsible for their own insurance, we need to provide a hardship waiver to exempt Americans who cannot afford it.”

Moreover, the president said, “while I believe that employers have a responsibility to support health insurance for their employees, small businesses face a number of special challenges in affording health benefits and should be exempted.”

To help pay for coverage of the uninsured, Mr. Obama called on Congress to squeeze $200 billion to $300 billion from Medicare and Medicaid over the next 10 years, on top of the $309 billion in savings he proposed in his budget. Such cutbacks are sure to face resistance from health care providers who would be affected.

Mr. Obama’s letter affirmed his support for creation of a new government-sponsored health plan.

“I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans,” he wrote. “This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive and keep insurance companies honest.”

Republicans say a public plan could drive private insurers from the market and lead eventually to a single-payer government-run system. They said Wednesday that if Mr. Obama insisted on a public plan, he could wreck the chances of enacting a bipartisan bill.

The president’s letter reaffirmed his “determination to enact a government-run health plan that would raise taxes and ration care,” said Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader.

What did Obama think about this last year when he was running?

During the presidential primaries last year, Obama attacked then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's proposed individual mandate as a scheme to "go after people's wages."

In the letter, however, he said he understands that key committees are "moving towards a principle of shared responsibility -- making every American responsible for having health insurance coverage, and asking that employers share in the costs."

The approach tracks closely with a universal health program enacted in Massachusetts three years ago in which individuals must have coverage and businesses must either offer insurance to employees or pay into a state fund that provides coverage. In Massachusetts, individuals can receive free or subsidized care based on income.

How is that Massachusetts mandatory health care going along? Uh.. Never Mind. All this does is push private care out of the picture and make government run health care the defacto system.

House vote will delay investigation into Murtha/PMA ties.

Politics: Dems can finally say they are doing something but in effect it is a delay tactic.

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to force the House ethics committee to report whether or not it is investigating any misconduct by House members relating to the PMA Group, a lobbying firm that secured millions of dollars in earmarks for its clients.

The vote on a resolution offered by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was 270-134. Seventeen members voted present, including all of the members of the ethics committee. The Democratic resolution instructs the panel to report back to the full House in 45 days.

.....Arizona Republican Rep. Jeff Flake, who has led the charge to force an investigation, criticized the move on Wednesday, arguing the Democratic sponsored resolution doesn't require an investigation and could effectively stall a probe by specifying that the committee has 45 days to respond.

"They seem to be punting beyond the appropriations cycle," Flake told reporters.

UK's Gordon Brown looking at an election wipeout.

UK: UKIP which is now a joke party for all intensive purposes could finish ahead of the Labour Party.

Gordon Brown is heading for the worst performance by a government in modern political history in today's European elections, according to a shock poll.

Labour support among those certain to vote has slumped to just 16 per cent, the worst for the party since records began, raising the prospect that Mr Brown might actually finish fourth.

His party is a humiliating two points behind the UK Independence Party among certain voters and just one point ahead of the Liberal Democrats. The Tories are ten points clear of Labour, according to the YouGov survey for the Daily Telegraph.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Obama's Muslim Roots Emergence a mere ploy.

Politics: Jake Tapper who is going to be banned from Washington DC at this rate writes about the talking up of Obama's Muslim roots.

Since the election, however, with the threat of the rumors at least somewhat abated, the White House has been increasingly forthcoming about the president's roots. Especially when reaching out to the Muslim world.

In his April 6 address to the Turkish Parliament, President Obama referenced how many "Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim majority country. I know, because I am one of them."

The bold is the whole point of this because Obama wants to be seen as understanding the Muslim world. Play up the roots while treating Israel in a way that may please the Arab/Muslim Street so far will get him some points. But what is irritating is that he is willing to give a boost to Iran when there is no need. Again he is on the America/West stinks here is the apology tour which only helps to boost the Mullahs and the Iranian twit Ahmadinejad.

Obama's interview offered a preview of a speech he is to deliver in Egypt this week, saying he hoped the address would warm relations between Americans and Muslims abroad.

"What we want to do is open a dialogue," Obama told the BBC. "You know, there are misapprehensions about the West, on the part of the Muslim world. And, obviously, there are some big misapprehensions about the Muslim world when it comes to those of us in the West."

Enough already and I am too tired to bring up the quirky fact that nuke power for Iran but Obama not even looking at nuke power for the homeland.

Hezbollah fighter mocks US and UK over distinctions.

Terrorism: Good luck trying to make peace with these terrorists. It doesn't get any clearer than this when it comes to Israel which Obama is treating like dirt.

In 2007, Britain accused Hezbollah of training and supporting insurgents in Iraq, which the organisation has denied.

But more recently, the United Kingdom government decided to distinguish between the two faces of Hezbollah - by talking to its politicians while keeping the military wing on the terrorist list.

But Mahmoud, the fighter, says the UK is fooling itself by making this distinction.

"We have two arms, but we belong to one body. There is no such things as the military wing or the political wing of Hezbollah - we are all part of one resistance," he said.

"Hezbollah will become a purely political party only when Israel ceases to exist," he said.

Obama already running GM's day to day operations.

Business: Another promise broken in record time.

President Obama announced the bankruptcy of General Motors yesterday before GM's CEO even spoke, and the feds will soon own 60% of the company. But whatever you do, please don't think the government is now running GM.

"What we are not doing -- what I have no interest in doing -- is running GM," Mr. Obama said in yesterday's bankruptcy announcement. "When a difficult decision has to be made on matters like where to open a new plant or what type of new car to make, the new GM, not the United States government, will make that decision."

Editorial Board Member Brian Carney explains how busy the Obama Administration has been not running General Motors.
The President is so busy not running GM that he had time the night before to call and reassure Detroit Mayor Dave Bing about the new GM's future location. GM is being courted to move its headquarters to nearby Warren, Michigan. And Mr. Bing told the Detroit News that he had received a call Sunday evening from the President "informing me of his support for GM to stay in the city of Detroit with its headquarters at the Renaissance [Center]."

The newspaper went on to report that "The mayor said he's more secure in knowing GM will stay in Detroit, a move paved by several conversations Bing and his administration had with several top White House officials in recent days."

We don't know whether GM should stay in Detroit. But we do know that the location of a company's headquarters is one of those decisions typically not made by people who are busy not running the company.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Obama open to taxing health benefits.

Politics: and yet another campaign promise falls to the wayside.

President Obama, in a pivot from some of his harshest campaign rhetoric, told Democratic senators yesterday that he is willing to consider taxing employer-sponsored health benefits to help pay for a broad expansion of coverage.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said Obama expressed a willingness to consider changing the existing tax exclusion. The decision would probably anger liberal supporters such as labor unions, but such a tax change would raise enormous sums of money as Congress and the White House are struggling to find the estimated $1.2 trillion needed to pay for health-care reform over the next decade.

"Yeah, it's something that he might consider," Baucus told reporters after the meeting between Obama and Democratic lawmakers. "That was discussed. It's on the table." Obama had summoned about two dozen senators to the White House to keep up the pressure to enact a comprehensive health-care overhaul this year.

White House officials moved quickly to clarify that taxing the health insurance provided by businesses is not Obama's first choice, but aides refused to rule out the possibility.

"The president made it clear during the campaign that he has serious concerns about taxing health-care benefits, and he has introduced his own revenue proposal, which he reiterated in today's meeting," spokesman Reid Cherlin said.

Obama instead urged senators to reconsider his proposal, which would raise federal revenue by reducing itemized deductions such as charitable contributions and mortgage payments for the wealthiest Americans, according to one adviser in the meeting. Obama included that idea in his budget, reporting that it would raise $317 billion over 10 years, a sizable "down payment" on the cost of health-care reform. But Congress immediately labeled the proposal a non-starter.

Private-sector businesses spend about $518 billion a year on their workers' health insurance, benefits that are not taxed. If workers had to pay taxes on their health coverage, it would raise $246 billion in revenue each year, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

Eric Holder's DoJ kills off Georgia's Voter citizenship checks.

Politics: ACLU and the Mexican American Legal Defense are happy about it. Why would you want to make sure that citizens and not non-citizens are voting in elections. What an absurd idea.

Dems and Israel getting worried about Obama policies.

Politics: They are just now figuring out that Obama is being hellishly unfair in dealing with Israel and the Palestinians?

As President Barack Obama prepares to depart for his first trip to the Arab world, the administration’s escalating pressure on Israel to freeze all growth of its settlements on Palestinian land has begun to stir concern among Israel’s numerous allies in both parties on Capitol Hill.

“My concern is that we are applying pressure to the wrong party in this dispute,” said Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.). “I think it would serve America’s interest better if we were pressuring the Iranians to eliminate the potential of a nuclear threat from Iran, and less time pressuring our allies and the only democracy in the Middle East to stop the natural growth of their settlements.”

“When Congress gets back into session the administration is going to hear from many more members than just me,” she said.

Presidents from Jimmy Carter to George H.W. Bush saw attempts to pressure Israel draw furious objections from Congress, but members of Congress and observers say Obama will most likely prevail as long as he shows that he’s putting effective pressure on Israel’s Arab foes as well.

He has yet to put any pressure on anyone but Israel in a big to suck up Arabs and Muslims in the region. That is the point I have been hammering on since he started his Mideast peace process. He is nothing more than Jimmy Carter redux.

Now Israelis are starting to realize and feel the Obama treats allies like garbage mentality.

Obama's stance is drawing particular ire in the West Bank settlements.

"Everyone is against us, and it's sad and frustrating," said Hila Nahum, a 27-year-old resident of Maale Adumim, one of the largest Jewish settlements outside Jerusalem. "He's either changed his position on Israel or he wasn't honest about it before the election. He knew from the start that Israel had settlements."

White House pushed bankruptcy judge to rule on Sunday?

Business: This doesn't seem proper.

The bankruptcy judge hearing the Chrysler case said Friday he wasn't going to rule on the asset sale until today or Tuesday, but a call from the White House must have prompted him to move faster because he ruled in the wee hours of this morning.

See, the administration wanted to hold up Chrysler as an example of a "quick and speedy" bankruptcy, but Judge Arthur Gonzalez - deciding he needed more time to rule - put a crimp in those plans and left the White House looking at a GM filing today and Chrysler still in. Oops.

Remarkably, Gonzalez got all his work done just in time and filed his opinion after midnight to save the show.

U.S. demands UK send more troops to Afghanistan.

UK: Once again, Obama treating our allies like garbage, what about asking the rest of Europe to send troops since the Brits already have a substantial amount in the region? Oh I forgot, the rest of the EU told you No.

Obama's NYC trip costs $250,000? White House won't say

Politics: Robert Gibbs refused to say how much this taxpayer trip to see a broadway show cost and the White House Press Corp didn't bother to press him.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Muslim convert arrested in Arkansas recruiting center shooting

Nation: Crazies with disturbed motives are sadly out there and looking to harm.

Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad -- a 24-year-old Little Rock resident formerly known as Carlos Bledsoe -- faces a first-degree murder charge and 15 counts of engaging in a terrorist act, Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas said. The terrorist counts stem from the shots fired at an occupied building.

While authorities continued to investigate a motive, Thomas said Muhammad is a Muslim convert and, based on preliminary interviews with him, investigators believe there were "political and religious motives" in the shooting.
Military officials initially believed the shooting was a random act, but Thomas said police believe the shooter acted alone "with the specific purpose of targeting military personnel."

Obama throwing Israel under the bus part 2.

World: Anyone else notice not one bit of pressure is being put on the Palestinians at all to curb themselves in this peace process? Its all up to Israel and these symbolic measures have to be the brainchild of Susan Rice and Samantha Powers, the former being a UN lover who wouldn't mind the UN looking strong and Powers who is an anti Israel twit.

As President Obama prepares to head to the Middle East this week, administration officials are debating how to toughen their stance against any expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The measures under discussion — all largely symbolic — include stepping back from America’s near-uniform support for Israel in the United Nations if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel does not agree to a settlement freeze, administration officials said.

Other measures include refraining from the instant Security Council veto of United Nations resolutions that Israel opposes and making use of Mr. Obama’s bully pulpit to criticize the settlements, officials said. Placing conditions on loan guarantees to Israel, as the first President Bush did nearly 20 years ago, is not under discussion, officials said.

Still, talk of even symbolic actions that would publicly show the United States’ ire with Israel, its longtime ally, would be a sharp departure from the previous administration, which limited its distaste with Israel’s settlement expansions to carefully worded diplomatic statements that called them “unhelpful.”

Mr. Obama is to give a much-anticipated speech to the Muslim world from Egypt on Thursday. “There are things that could get the attention of the Israeli public,” a senior administration official said, touching on the widespread belief within the administration that any Israeli prime minister risks political peril if the Israeli electorate views him as endangering the country’s relationship with the United States.
But, the official added, “Israel is a critical United States ally, and no one in this administration expects that not to continue.” He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

This again follows the pattern of Obama treating American allies like garbage while treating America's enemies like gold.

Obama's mindset is to suck up to the "Muslim World" or Arab Street and one of the best way to do so is to at least have the perception that he is on the Palestinian side and not on Israel. He can't be seen demanding anything of the Palestinians because it would ruin the suck up. That is why Israel and Bibi is being thrown under the bus, if the side prize is Bibi being thrown out and the doves get into power, then easier for him.

WSJ: American Lawmakers Keep Expenses Off-Line

Politics: If someone could leak the raw data of American congress people like they did in UK, it would probably make for a bigger scandal.

Africa's upwardly mobile money

Africa: Talked about this in 2007 how wireless technology has helped to change the way people were doing business and helping to start new businesses while connecting people in ways landlines couldn't have due to lack of infrastructure.

Now it has taken off that virtual cash and other financial services have become big business for banks and making it easier for everyone.

Only one in five people have bank accounts, mainly because of the prohibitive cost to the banks of operating branches in far-flung parts of a continent where many of the population of one billion live on a few dollars a day or less.

But mobile phones are spreading extremely fast: to 270 million in 2007 from just 50 million in 2003, according to industry association GSMA.

Teaming up with Kenya Commercial Bank to let phone users who do not have bank accounts send each other money, M-PESA hit on a formula that has attracted 6.5 million customers, or one in six Kenyans, in just over two years.

In Japan, which has pioneered the technology and business models toward wallet phones, about 55 million mobile phones have an e-money function, so about half of Japanese users carry them.

The global market for mobile money is growing at 70 percent a year and should attain 'mainstream' status by 2012 with more than 190 million customers, or more than three percent of mobile users, IT consultancy Gartner said in a May report.

Other phone companies such as South Africa's MTN -- the continent's biggest operator -- and Kuwait's Zain are piling in with similar services in a slew of countries including South Africa and Nigeria, and have pilot schemes stretching from the Middle East to Afghanistan.

"Mobile handsets are in an excellent position to become the primary digital channel for providers of banking and related financial services in emerging markets," Berg Insight analyst Marcus Persson said.

Making running a business or sending money home easier.

Cell phone cash has already gone deep into Kenya.

Companies such as tea or coffee plantation owners are finding they can pay staff salaries via mobile phone and charities can receive and distribute aid, as the Red Cross did during the violence after Kenya's 2007 elections.

Although the phenomenon is young, the World Bank in Africa has labeled it a "cornerstone for development" for its potential to mobilize remote rural economies.

University of Edinburgh researcher Olga Morawczynski said villages were getting up to 30 percent more in remittances due to M-PESA, allowing farmers to diversify out of subsistence agriculture into small businesses such as furniture making or running a small roadside kiosk.

"It's allowed money to penetrate more easily into rural areas where it's really needed," Morawczynski told Reuters.

Gavin Newsom hindered by Gay Marriage debate?

Politics: This USATODAY story is being way to nice to him.

How about the fact the slick hair cheated with his best friend's wife and didn't have the guts to say anything until she came out of rehab which then saw Newsom going into rehab for alcoholism.

Now, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is another example to study in the interplay of sex and politics.

On Wednesday, the dashing, ambitious and hugely popular Democrat came crashing into a crisis. Alex Tourk, Newsom's buddy and campaign manager, abruptly quit after confronting the mayor about having an illicit affair with his wife, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, 34, who once worked as an appointment secretary to Newsom. Apparently, while in rehab for substance abuse, Rippey-Tourk told her husband about her affair with Newsom. Rumors about the apparently short-lived affair had been circulating for about a year, according to City Hall staffers. "I didn't pay that much attention," City Supervisor Tom Ammiano said. "I dismissed it."

But, on Thursday morning, Newsom acknowledged the infidelity and apologized at a hastily organized press conference at City Hall. "Everything you have heard and read is true," Newsom told reporters, responding to a story that was first broken by the San Francisco Chronicle. "I am deeply sorry." The 39-year-old-mayor also accepted responsibility for his "personal lapse of judgment." Then, he pledged to work hard at "reconciling" and regaining the trust of citizens and his staff. The briefing lasted just minutes.

I know that sort of stuff doesn't bother the valueless people of San Francisco since they reelected him. But you would hope people outside of the city limits have some sort of value system and think this guy has bad judgement and do you want him leading California?

He broke one of the top man rules around, he is a punk bitch that deserves nothing.

Obama asks Australia to take the Uighur Detainees

Terrorism: While trying to keep them out of America which yet another terrorism policy he has adopted by former President Bush. But this is yet another case where Obama treats American allies like shit.

What the hell does Australia have to do with this matter? I think Chairman Rudd is a huge twit but this is an inexcusable and stupid request to make again. I didn't see the point when it was asked last time. I guess he figures with Australia turning down evil George Bush that they can't turn down a request from Black jesus.

US President Barack Obama has asked the Australian government to accept a group of Chinese Muslim detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

The Uighurs have been cleared for release by US courts.

It is the first time Australia has been approached by the Obama administration over the Uighurs. Two requests by the Bush administration were turned down.

China has requested the Uighurs' return, but the US will not send them there for fear they will be persecuted.

President Barack Obama has said he intends to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by January 2010 and is considering what to do with its remaining 240 detainees.

The 17 Uighurs held at the prison camp are among a group captured in Afghanistan in 2001, and cleared for release in 2004. Albania took in five of the ethnic Chinese group in 2006 but has been unwilling to take more.

Muslim leaders warn Greece of more violence.

World: This will surely puts things at ease by telling everyone young Muslims are ready to die.

Muslim leaders in Greece are warning authorities of violent protests in the mainly Christian Orthodox nation after an incident in which a policeman reportedly defaced a Koran.

"How can you control enraged 20-year-old Afghans who will hit the streets seeking to die in the name of Allah?" asked Naim al-Ghandour, president of the Muslim Union of Greece.

Mr. al-Ghandour's warning followed demonstrations by Muslims to protest the Koran incident and the attempted arson by suspected far-right activists of a Muslim prayer room.

Muslim immigrants are planning additional demonstrations this week following a largely peaceful protest in central Athens on Friday, in which they were joined by immigrant groups and human rights organizations.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Obama/Dems will use Tiller's death for political gain.

Politics: As Rahm Emanuel once said never let a crisis go to waste and they will use this to either shut up critics of abortion or use it to expand abortion services.

Anti-abortion leaders voiced concern Sunday that the Obama administration and other Democrats may try to capitalize on the murder of Dr. George Tiller to defuse the abortion issue in upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Many anti-abortion groups condemned the killing of Tiller, a prominent abortion provider who was shot dead at his church in Wichita, Kan. But they expressed concern that abortion-rights activists would use the occasion to brand the entire anti-abortion movement as extremist.

They also worried that there would now be an effort to stifle anti-abortion viewpoints during questioning of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Her exact views on abortion aren't known, but conservatives fear she supports abortion rights.

Said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, an anti-abortion activist: "No one should use this tragedy for political gain."

Update: I don't even have to point out how liberal blogs will flog his death for political gain. MSNBC will be in full decrying anyone on the right mode or anyone against abortion for the rest of the week over this murder.

NYTIMES: Sotomayor passionate about affirmative action

Politics: Despite the feeble gnashing of Kathleen Parker and Raina Kelley of Newsweek, her qualifications are not the main reason she was picked or the first traits touted as why she was the best pick. This NYTIMES article acknowledges her views on race could be a problem. If the NYTIMES says it, it is a big problem.

Judge Sotomayor, whose parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico, has championed the importance of considering race and ethnicity in admissions, hiring and even judicial selection at almost every stage of her career — as a student activist at Princeton and at Yale Law School, as a board member of left-leaning Hispanic advocacy groups and as a federal judge arguing for diversity on the bench.

Now conservatives say her strong identification with such race-based approaches to the law is perhaps the strongest argument against her confirmation, contending that her views put her outside an evolving consensus that such race-conscious public policy is growing obsolete.

....She become the outspoken leader of a Puerto Rican students group, Acción Puertoricaño, leading other Hispanics to file a complaint against Princeton with the federal government to force the hiring of Hispanic faculty members and administrators. “She was very passionate about affirmative action for women and minorities,” said Charles Hey, another Puerto Rican student.

At Yale Law School, she was co-chairman of a group for Latin, Asian and Native American students — a catchall group for nonblack minorities. There she led fellow students in meetings with the dean to push for the hiring of more Hispanic faculty members at the law school. And, friends say, she shared the alarm of others in the group when the Supreme Court prohibited the use of quotas in university admissions in its 1978 decision Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.

As a lawyer, she joined the National Council of La Raza and the board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, two Hispanic civil rights groups that advocate for vigorous affirmative action. As a judge, she has repeatedly argued for diversity on the bench by alluding to the insights she gleaned from her Latina background.

To Win against Al Qaida: Just listen, do as they ask.

Terrorism: This sort of talk always comes from the academia types we have in our college system. Reza Aslan who loves that the "sophisticated" Brits takes his surrender ideas seriously.

I spoke about the way globalisation has led to an increase in religious identities around the world. I also challenged the audience to view al-Qaida as a movement, not as an entity (to quote the great al-Qaida ideologue Abu Musab al-Suri, "al-Qaida is not an organisation […] it is a methodology.") And I spoke about the way al-Qaida connects the local grievances of Muslim kids living in, say, Leeds to the global grievances facing Muslims in places like Palestine and Iraq.

The question that I posed to the audience was this: How, then, do you confront a movement?

Surely, not just with bombs and guns. Rather, you must make the movement irrelevant. In the case of al-Qaida, that means addressing the very grievances that the movement uses to rally young Muslims to its cause: the suffering of the Palestinians, American support for Arab dictators, the lack of social, political, and economic development in large parts of the Middle East, the fact that we in the west tend to treat that entire region as a giant gas station. Only by addressing these grievances can the appeal of al-Qaida be diminished.

To win

1) Listen to all Muslim grievances...
2) Carry out solutions to all Muslim grievances
4) Profit?

Basically this is a much less sophisticated version of the shakedown stance that the MCB and various Muslims groups would pull whenever something horrible would happen caused by an Islamic terrorist group. Terrorist act happens then calls to address Muslim complaints complied by the groups and if you fixed it everything will be alright.

If you don't then who knows, you could have thousands that could turn into terrorists.

Netanyahu realizing Obama ready to sell out Israel.

World: This two state business that Obama is demanding is nice if you have such an idealist vision for the world. The reality is and proven when Israel left Gaza which turned into a Hamas rocket launching pad that until you get the Palestinians to actually work towards peace, Israel is under no obligation to give a damn what Obama wants in the end.

In the 10 days since Netanyahu and President Barack Obama held a meeting at the White House, the Obama administration has made clear in public and private meetings with Israeli officials that it intends to hold a firm line on Obama's call to stop Israeli settlements. According to many observers in Washington and Israel, the Israeli prime minister, looking for loopholes and hidden agreements that have often existed in the past with Washington, has been flummoxed by an unusually united line that has come not just from Obama White House and the secretary of state, but also from pro-Israel congressmen and women who have come through Israel for meetings with him over Memorial Day recess. To Netanyahu's dismay, Obama doesn't appear to have a hidden policy. It is what he said it was.

...Even one veteran Washington peacemaker who had grown skeptical that Washington can overcome obstacles to get substantive progress on Middle East peace admitted to being impressed by the Obama team's resolve. "What I'm beginning to see is that the Obama administration may be less concerned with actually getting to negotiations and an agreement and more interested in setting new rules and rearranging the furniture," said Aaron David Miller of the Woodrow Wilson Institute. "They may have concluded that they can't get to a real two state solution with this prime minister [Netanyahu]. Maybe they want a new one? And the best way to raise the odds of that is to demonstrate that he can't manage Israel's most important relationship: with the U.S."

Here is another dangerous idea that Obama could bring back from the dead via the Wash Post.

Jackson Diehl writes in his Washington Post opinion column: "From its first days the Bush administration made it clear that the onus for change in the Middle East was on the Palestinians: Until they put an end to terrorism, established a democratic government and accepted the basic parameters for a settlement, the United States was not going to expect major concessions from Israel.

"Obama, in contrast, has repeatedly and publicly stressed the need for a West Bank settlement freeze, with no exceptions. In so doing he has shifted the focus to Israel."

This is not a good thing, Diehl writes, because in so doing, Obama "has revived a long-dormant Palestinian fantasy: that the United States will simply force Israel to make critical concessions, whether or not its democratic government agrees, while Arabs passively watch and applaud."

Obama to "reconcile Islam and modernity."

World: Obama's soaring talk will make everything be alright because he means it.

Now comes the ultimate test of autobiographical speechmaking. Obama this week speaks at Cairo University, in the hub of Muslim-Arab culture. Perhaps the results will be Philly II: a skillful blend of grandeur and grit. On one level, he isn't risking much. After all, George W. Bush set the bar so low. All Obama has to do to be a success is elicit applause—rather than a fusillade of hurled shoes.

But he has privately told friends that his goal is far higher: nothing less than to help "reconcile Islam and modernity." He will pay homage to the Golden Age of that culture—its glorious achievements in mathematics, science, literature and diplomacy—and note that Muslim scholars rescued from oblivion the Greek and Roman (i.e., the "Western") canon. He also will draw on the by-now-familiar story of his own life. A Christian son of an African-Muslim father, he spent years in Muslim-majority Indonesia, attending a public school run by, but not suffused with, the teachings of Islam. All of this, Obama thinks, not only allows him, but obliges him, to play a grand role as bridge builder.

Illinois votes for massive tax hikes on everything.

Nation: California of the midwest, broke and stupid.

Senate Democrats attempted to jump-start a tax hike on the eve of the legislature's scheduled adjournment, approving a plan to increase personal income taxes by 67 percent and broaden the sales tax to include services such as cable TV.

The 31-27 Senate vote late Saturday capped a long day of political chaos that enveloped the Capitol as House Democrats tried to advance their own alternative plan -- increasing income taxes by 50 percent for two years -- even though they appear to lack the votes to pass it without Republican help that's not forthcoming.

Facing a late night Sunday deadline, Democrats under House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago began preparing the equivalent of a political punt -- formulating a state spending plan that would keep normal state operations going for the budget year that begins July 1 but not last the full year.

The action, which unfolded on the floor of the House and Senate and in a series of closed-door meetings among legislative leaders and Gov. Pat Quinn, demonstrated the dilemma of Democrats who rule Springfield. They're trying to deal with a huge budget gap while trying to keep control in next year's elections.

The GOP doesn't have to vote yes to make these plans pass and the Dems want cover. You would hope the state GOP would be smart enough to say you own it and then campaign against it next year.

Hey the people of Illinois voted for these people into office, so I hope they enjoy their wonderful tax hikes.