Citizen Snips Journal
Posted by citizen snips in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Aug 25th 2010, 12:09 PM
Dear Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer,
I am Joseph Nassralla, a Coptic Christian activist from Egypt and founder of The Way TV, a Christian Satellite TV station.
I attended the 10,000 person protest rally against the building to the ground zero mosque which took place at ground zero in NY on Sunday June 6th. We Coptic Christians wanted to express our full support to your initiative and to this important rally.
There was a minor incident at the rally that was blown out of proportion, when my partner, Mr. Karam El Masry, and I were distributing material with some Quran verses and we were also speaking Arabic thus we were mistaken by a few people in the huge crowd, for being Muslims infiltrators trying to disrupt the event. This misunderstanding was clarified when we explained who we were and that we are there to support the crowd against the building of the mosque. I was a little frustrated initially for being identified as a Muslim infiltrator, but was glad that the issue was resolved later. My partner, Mr. El Masry, was even able to freely speak to the crowd after our identity was clarified. He explained how Christians are tortured, killed and oppressed in Egypt at the hands of Muslims who are encouraged to persecute Christians from the pulpit of mosques by Muslim preachers.
The reason I am writing to you, is because I am very disappointed in the mainstream media who used this minor incident to make a blanket generalization about all the attendees of the rally as Muslim haters. This kind of generalization was unfair to the good American people who legitimately stand against the building of a mosque next to ground zero and who are against Islamist agenda in the US. I am very well aware of such an agenda which has destroyed the Christian and Jewish existence in the Middle East.
The same mainstream media who denounces painting all Muslims with a broad brush, is doing the same thing they claim to stand against. They shamelessly use our incident to paint with a broad brush that everyone in the rally was a Muslim hater. I want to make it clear that we are not haters of Muslims, but we are against the Islamist agenda in America, the same agenda that drove us out of our homeland Egypt. We have the right to expose Muslim hate and oppression against us, the minorities in the Middle East who are oppressed on a daily basis by the Muslim majority. This mosque should never be built next to ground zero, it is an insult to the memory of the 3000 fellow Americans.
We did not mean to cause any misunderstanding at the rally, on the contrary, we came to support you and your organization. We come from a Muslim country where we suffered from Muslims and the Islamic Shariaa ourselves. That's why we felt burdened to attend this rally and flew for 9 hours to be part of it.. We do support you with our heart and soul, and will always support you and everyone who is opposing Islam. We do honor Mr. Robert's invitation to attend your next rally in September, God's willing, and are looking forward to seeing you there.
We have come to America to seek refuge from the oppression of Islam and expose to the American public what kind of instigation we suffered at the hands of hateful Muslim preachers who incite the worshiping crowds to burn our homes, kidnap our girls and suppress our freedom to practice our religion. We will never allow media misrepresentation to stop us from our mission.
Mosab Hassan Yousef is a best-selling author who wrote "Son of Hamas" about his life as a Palestinian who became an informant for Israeli intelligence. He's probably near the top of every Islamist terror hit list, yet, incredibly enough, the U.S. may soon deport him as a terror threat.
In 2007, Mr. Yousef came to the United States, where he converted to Christianity from Islam and applied for political asylum. The request was denied in February 2009, Mr. Yousef says, on grounds that he was potentially "a danger to the security of the United States" and had "engaged in terrorist activity." His case has automatically proceeded to the deportation stage, and on June 30 at 8 a.m. he will appear before Judge Rico Bartolomei in Homeland Security Immigration Court in San Diego.
Homeland Security is well aware of the author's history, and in fact is using it against him. According to Mr. Yousef, a letter from Homeland Security attorney Kerri Calcador cites passages in "Son of Hamas" as evidence of his connection to terrorist leaders and suggests that the work he did for Hamas while spying for Israel provided aid to terrorists. "At a bare minimum, evidence of the respondent's transport of Hamas members to safe houses . . . indicates that the respondent provided material support to a
But unless Ms. Calcador knows more than she's saying, this is bizarre. As a spy for Israel, Mr. Yousef had to make his colleagues believe he was a loyal member of Hamas. He used that trust to gain information that he provided to Israeli intelligence, which used it to prevent terror attacks and save lives. One of Mr. Yousef's handlers at Shin Bet confirmed his book's account to the Israeli daily Haaretz, and his father, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, has disowned him from the Israeli prison he has occupied since 2005. (See our Weekend Interview with the younger Yousef, "They Need to Be Liberated From Their God," March 6, 2010.)
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A few weeks ago I ran into one of my son's oldest friends. He had attended an Ivy League school, studying drama and music, and was now back living at home. He is a smart, talented, enterprising young man and I have always liked him, in part because he engages with adults in a way many young men do not. (For example, he actually makes eye contact.) I asked him if he had found a job yet and he replied, a bit sheepishly, "Not exactly." He then explained that he was working as an intern at a street fair on the Lower East Side of New York City. An Ivy League education runs around $200,000, not counting meals and transportation. The internship paid about $250 a week. But presumably, it could lead to bigger things, like a full-time job at a street fair in New York. Even so, it did sound like my son's friend was ever so slightly underemployed.
Over the next few weeks, hundreds of thousands of Millennials will graduate from institutions of higher learning. They will celebrate for several days, perhaps several weeks. Then they will enter a labor force that neither wants nor needs them. They will enter an economy where roughly 17% of people aged 20 through 24 do not have a job, and where two million college graduates are unemployed. They will enter a world where they will compete tooth and nail for jobs as waitresses, pizza delivery men, file clerks, bouncers, trainee busboys, assistant baristas, interns at bodegas.
They will console themselves with the thought that all this is but a speed bump on the road to success, that their inability to find work in a field that is even vaguely related to the discipline they trained in is only a fleeting setback. They may even spell this out in detail on their Facebook pages, perhaps accompanying it with a pithy quote like "When you're going through Hell, keep on going." They will do this right after they have finished deleting the summer-year-abroad photo where they're shaking hands with Hugo Chavez. In asserting that the sun will soon break through the clouds, they will be echoing what college grads told themselves last year, and the year before. This is only a temporary reversal. Surely, IBM or the State Department or Morgan Stanley will eventually respond to that glittering resume. After all, every company worth its salt needs a few Gender Studies majors! The sun'll come out tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.
'It's only a day away.
More sophisticated young people may already suspect otherwise. With the obvious exception of youngsters born during the Great Depression, no generation in American history faces more daunting obstacles. Economists theorize that this may be that very rarest of things—a generation that does not do as well financially as the generation that spawned it. Even the pasty-faced Pilgrim toddlers gamboling around Plymouth Rock in 1620 had better prospects than this one; at least the Massachusetts economy was still expanding back in the 17th century. And kids entering the work force after the Alamo or the Donner Pass Incident or the Crash of 1873 weren't saddled with the kind of debts kids tote around now. Back then, ordinary people didn't go to college. And back in those days, you could always pack up and move west, to California, let's say, where the streets were paved with gold. Now the streets aren't paved, period.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s push to achieve nuclear weapons capability must be thwarted. In an appropriate response to the existential danger of unmonitored nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism posed most notably by Iran’s uranium-enrichment project, US President Barack Obama is currently hosting a two-day summit on nuclear security attended by leaders of 46 countries. This is the largest meeting of its kind hosted by an American president since the 1945 San Francisco Conference created the United Nations and helped establish the post-war world order.
In an extensive interview with The New York Times last week, the US president said that “the biggest threat that we now confront is probably not an attack from a nuclear weapons state, but from nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation.” Though the president did not say so, Iran is the most likely candidate to facilitate such nuclear terrorism if it ever gets an opportunity.
Ahmadinejad, socialized in the 1980s into the ethos of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, is continuing the legacy of the Ayatollah Khomeini, whose global agenda aimed to destroy American hegemony in the Middle East and “wipe Israel off the map.” A unique aspect of this Shi’ite outlook is a dualistic division of the world into oppressors (the West) and oppressed (Third World countries), with radical Islam and the impoverished masses locked in an apocalyptic battle against the US and Israel, the Great Satan and its little brother.
Still more ominous, however, is the influence of Ahmadinejad’s mentor, Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi Mezhab-Yazdi, who has instilled in Iran’s president the conviction that Shi’ites can, and must, hasten the coming of the mahdi, or messiah – the 12th and final Hidden Imam – by advancing “the clash of civilizations,” Armageddon and the end of days by, for instance, precipitating a nuclear war.
In his book A Lethal Obsession, scholar of anti-Semitism Robert Wistrich argues that “Western decision-makers have not fully internalized the jihadist and eschatological dimensions of Iranian policy – the full implications of its underlying ideology, aspirations, and values.” As a result, economic sanctions, no matter how “crippling,” won’t work. Rational cost-benefit decision-making processes are not in play.
'Our aim is not incremental sanctions, but sanctions that will bite." Thus did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seek to reassure the crowd at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee two weeks ago about the Obama Administration's resolve on Iran. Three days later, this newspaper reported on its front page that "the U.S. has backed away from pursuing a number of tough measures against Iran" in order to win Russian and Chinese support for one more U.N. sanctions resolution.
This fits the pattern we have seen across the 14 months of the Obama Presidency. Mrs. Clinton called a nuclear-armed Iran "unacceptable" no fewer than four times in a single paragraph in her AIPAC speech. But why should the Iranians believe her? President Obama set a number of deadlines last year for a negotiated settlement of Iran's nuclear file, all of which Tehran ignored, and then Mr. Obama ignored them too.
In his latest Persian New Year message to Iran, Mr. Obama made the deadline-waiver permanent, saying "our offer of comprehensive diplomatic contacts and dialogue stands." Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a quick rejoinder. "They say they have extended a hand to Iran," the Iranian President said Saturday, "but the Iranian government and nation declined to welcome that."
The Iranians have good reason to think they have little to lose from continued defiance. Tehran's nuclear negotiator emerged from two days of talks in Beijing on Friday saying, "We agreed, sanctions as a tool have already lost their effectiveness." He has a point.
The Chinese have indicated that the most they are prepared to support are narrow sanctions on Iran's nuclear program of the type Tehran has already sneered at. As the Journal's Peter Fritsch and David Crawford reported this weekend, the Iranians continue to acquire key nuclear components from unsuspecting Western companies via intermediaries, including some Chinese firms.
WASHINGTON — The right is rewriting history.
The most ballyhooed effort is under way in Texas , where conservatives have pushed the state school board to rewrite guidelines, downplaying Thomas Jefferson in one high school course, playing up such conservatives as Phyllis Schlafly and the Heritage Foundation and challenging the idea that the Founding Fathers wanted to separate church and state.
The effort reaches far beyond one state, however.
In articles and speeches, on radio and TV, conservatives are working to redefine major turning points and influential figures in American history, often to slam liberals, promote Republicans and reinforce their positions in today's politics.
The Jamestown settlers? Socialists. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton ? Ill-informed professors made up all that bunk about him advocating a strong central government.
Theodore Roosevelt ? Another socialist. Franklin D. Roosevelt ? Not only did he not end the Great Depression, he also created it.
Joe McCarthy ? Liberals lied about him. He was a hero.
WASHINGTON – Six major world powers agreed Wednesday to begin putting together proposed new sanctions on Iran over its suspect nuclear program after China dropped its opposition.
China, long a holdout against fresh international penalties against Iran, signaled its willingness to consider a U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution.
"China has agreed to sit down and begin serious negotiations here in New York ... as a first step toward getting the entire U.N. Security Council on board with a tough sanctions regime against Iran," Susan Rice, the American ambassador to the U.N., told CNN.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, known as the "P5-plus-one," were unified.
Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100401/ap_on_...
Basic training is about to get more advanced. And recruits can thank games for that.
In an interview with Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, NPR reports that the U.S. Army is altering its basic training program for the first time in 20 years, in part to better train recruits weaned on video games.
"This isn't a decline in our recruits; this is a decline in our American society in terms of their physical capacity," Hertling told NPR. "It's just a softer generation."
Hertling goes on to explain that while new soliders are "advanced in terms of their use of technology," they're perhaps "not as advanced in their physical capabilities or ability to go into a fight. So we're taking that into consideration as well in doing this holistic review of how we do training."
The human rights branch of the Organization of American States issued a blistering 300-page report Wednesday morning against one of its members, Venezuela, saying that the oil-rich country run by President Hugo Chavez constrains free expression, the rights of Venezuelans to protest and the ability of opposition politicians to function.
The report is expected to draw a sharp response from the firebrand leader, a former army colonel who in 2008 expelled two Human Rights Watch investigators after they released a critical report in Caracas. Chavez has in the past railed against the OAS as beholden to the interests of the United States, a country he calls an empire with diabolical designs on Venezuela.
The OAS report, compiled and written by the body's Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, reflects growing concern in the region over how Venezuela is governed. It has added weight because the OAS, which is made up of 34 countries and based in Washington, has at times been viewed by critics as weak-willed when it comes to making tough pronouncements about the internal machinations in member states.
But six members of the Commission on Human Rights -- jurists and rights activists from Antigua, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador and the United States -- put together a detailed report that asserts that democracy is in danger in Venezuela. Point by point, the report asserts that state has punished and silenced critics, among them anti-government television stations, demonstrators and opposition politicians who advocate a form of government different from Chavez's, which is allied with Cuba and favors state intervention in the economy.
SEOUL—North Korea is getting bigger, older and less healthy, according to data from the country's latest census, and its fabled million-man army might have fewer than 700,000 people.
The authoritarian government in December released results of the census conducted in 2008, saying its population had climbed to 24 million people from 21.2 million in the previous census in 1993.
More details have been published by the United Nations Population Fund, which helped North Korea conduct the census and sent five teams of observers to monitor it.
Even so, it's difficult for outsiders, with so little access to the country, to be certain of the precision of North Korea's data. For decades, the government has cut off the dissemination of most information about the country. The new census numbers provide a rare glimpse of official statistics.
For more than a half century the Castro dictatorship has put new American Presidents to the test. Those who fail invite trouble. Think of JFK and the Bay of Pigs, or Jimmy Carter and the election-year Mariel boatlift.
Now Fidel is testing President Obama by playing hostage politics with an American aid worker.
Alan P. Gross of Potomac, Maryland was working as a contractor on the island for the U.S. Agency for International Development when he was arrested by state security on December 4. Two months later he still hasn't been formally charged with a crime, but Cuba claims he is a U.S. intelligence agent and won't release him. Last week Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez announced that Mr. Gross had committed "serious crimes" and is "under investigation."
Mr. Gross's real offense seems to have been trying to help Cubans communicate with the outside world. In particular, he had been aiding the island's small Jewish community in using the Internet to contact Jews abroad.
The staying power of Castro is in part explained by the dangerous, shark-infested sea that has kept the population physically isolated. But the dawn of cyberspace has let Cubans learn more about the outside world—for example, that 90 miles away milk for children is not a luxury. Yoani Sánchez, a 32-year-old Cuban mother who chronicles her daily struggles on her "Generation Y" blog, has achieved international notice.
The State Department says Mr. Gross hasn't signed a privacy waiver so it cannot speak publicly about his case. But it is no secret that Castro wants USAID's Cuba "democracy program," which Mr. Gross was part of, closed down. Sources in Washington say Fidel and brother Raúl want this as a quid-pro-quo for Mr. Gross's release.
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