Archive for May 7th, 2009

The Faith of the Centurion

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”

The Faith of the Centurion

Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.

Matthew 8:5-13 (New International Version)

Iran’s Ahmadinejad in New Tirade Against Israel

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slammed Zionism as “occupation” and “aggression” Tuesday as he delivered his latest diatribe against the Jewish state on a visit to key Middle East ally Syria.

“The Zionist occupiers are destructive microbes, because Zionism itself is occupation, aggression, the use of assassination and annihilation,” he told a joint news conference with President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian capital.

“Zionism was created to threaten us. To support the Palestinian resistance is a humanitarian and popular obligation,” Ahmadinejad said in remarks in Farsi that were translated into Arabic.

“Syria and Iran are united in supporting the Palestinian resistance.”

The Iranian president’s comments came barely two weeks after he sparked a European walkout from a UN anti-racism conference in Geneva by equating Zionism with racism.

He has gone further in the past, predicting that the Jewish state is doomed to be wiped from the map and describing the Holocaust as a myth.

Ahmadinejad asked why it was the Islamist Hamas movement which controls Gaza that is blacklisted by the European Union and the United States, and not Israel after its devastating offensive against the territory at the turn of the year.

“They’ve attacked Gaza, killing people in their own land and massacring women and children… and yet it’s the Palestinians they accuse of terrorism,” he complained.

Ahmadinejad, whose visit to Damascus came as Defence Secretary Robert Gates toured US allies in the region to reassure them about overtures to the Tehran regime by President Barack Obama, hit out at the continuing US military presence on Iran’s borders.

“They weren’t invited in. They’re unwelcome visitors who should leave Afghanistan and the borders of Pakistan,” the Iranian president said.

“We don’t want honey from bees that sting us. Efforts must be made to rid the region of the presence of foreigners… and to reform the unjust global political and economic system.”

Ahmadinejad said Iran and Syria were standing together to “resist foreign intervention and the major powers trying to impose their hegemony over the region.”

The United States “has put pressure on Syria and Iran, but it needs us and wants to develop relations,” he said.

“Circumstances are changing rapidly in our favour. We are on the road to victory.”

Assad in turn hailed what he called the “natural” strategic alliance between Syria and Iran, which he said was “built on shared principles and interests.”

“We agreed to support reconciliation in Iraq and look forward to the departure of the last foreign soldier,” he added.

The United States and its key regional ally Israel have long sought to sour the three-decade-old alliance between Iran and Syria, which are the main foreign backers of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah as well as Hamas.

The Obama administration has stepped up US contacts with Damascus and the acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs Jeffrey Feltman is due to leave for the Syrian capital on Wednesday on his second visit this year.

Original Link.

U.S. Underestimating Iran’s Nuclear Progress

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

We’ve been saying this for years.

WASHINGTON — Congressional investigators say some foreign intelligence analysts believe U.S. intelligence is underestimating Iran’s progress toward designing a nuclear warhead before Tehran halted its program in 2003.

The foreign analysts believe that Iran ended its work because it had made sufficient progress, not because of international pressure, as the 2007 U.S. national intelligence assessment concluded.

The report by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee did not identify its sources, referring only to “intelligence analysts and nuclear experts working for foreign governments.” It says some research was conducted in Israel, which has been publicly critical of the 2007 U.S. assessment.

The foreign analysts believe “intelligence indicates Iran had produced a suitable design, manufactured some components and conducted enough successful explosives tests to put the project on the shelf until it manufactured the fissile material required for several weapons,” the report says.

The revelations by the committee, headed by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., come as President Barack Obama is promising direct engagement with Iran and seeking diplomatic openings. The report backs the Obama administration’s approach but recommends balancing new openings with continued pressure.

In an introduction to the report, Kerry wrote that a major obstacle the administration will have to negotiate “is the suspicion surrounding Iran’s nuclear program.”

The report also provides new details on Iran’s nuclear program and its attempts to thwart U.N. inspectors. Citing an unidentified official at the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, it says that Iran reneged at the last minute on an agreement last summer to allow inspectors to visit suspected nuclear workshops.

“Unclassified U.S. intelligence assessments and staff interviews with government officials and diplomats in Washington and foreign countries leave little doubt that Iran has the technological and industrial capacity to eventually develop an atomic bomb,” the report concludes.

The report examines material provided to the IAEA by U.S. intelligence from a laptop computer that reportedly was smuggled out of Iran. In 2005, U.S. intelligence assessed that information as indicating that Tehran had been working on details of nuclear weapons, including missile trajectories and ideal altitudes for exploding warheads.

The material on the laptop also included videos of what intelligence officials believe were secret nuclear laboratories in Iran.

Iran has accused the United States of fabricating the material. The report says that U.N. and non-U.S. intelligence officials told committee investigators that they could not rule out an intelligence ruse, but they say other documents corroborate some of the information from the laptop.

The report says that officials the committee talked to concluded the documents “appear to be authentic, right down to the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the workshops.”

Iran insists that its nuclear program is purely to provide electric power, not weapons.

The report also reveals that Iran agreed to allow the IAEA to inspect the workshops last August. After a senior IAEA official arrived in Tehran, however, the agency was told that the government had changed its mind.

The report concludes that Iran continues to use front companies to look for important components on the black market. It says that it is particularly eager to obtain carbon fibers and specialized metals for use in advanced centrifuges.

Original Link.

Free Speech ‘Gutted’ in Valedictorian Speech Case

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

When are the schools going to get it through their thick skulls that they can’t do this sort of thing?

“Renee Griffith, who is a Christian, wanted to mention Christ once and mention God once in one of her very short remarks, and the school said she couldn’t do it,” [John Whitehead, founder of the Rutherford Institute] explains. “She [insisted she] wanted to do it, so then they actually removed her from the graduation ceremony and did not allow her to speak.”

According to a Rutherford press release, the co-valedictorian was ordered to replace two phrases in her speech — “sharing Christ” and “lived with a purpose from God with a passionate love for Him” — with the following phrases: “sharing my faith” and “lived with a purpose, a purpose derived from my faith and based on a love of mankind.”

Whitehead explains he has seen many incidents of constitutional rights violated in graduation ceremonies, and has won several such cases. But Griffith’s case — which he describes as “pure censorship” — is the worst he has seen, he says.

A lawsuit is pending over this matter.

Original Link.

People Sending “Critical” Email/IM’s Facing Fines or Jail?

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

If some congresspeople have their way, yes, you could face fines and jail if the content of your email, instant message or phone call causes someone “substantial emotional distress”. You’ve got to kidding me? With all the problems in the this country and congress still has time to write this kind of moronic legislation?

A new proposal in Congress is threatening fines and jail time for what it calls “cyberbullying” – communications that include e-mails and text messages that “cause substantial emotional distress.”

The vague generalities are included in H.R. 1966 by California Democrat Linda Sanchez and about a dozen co-sponsors.

But it already is being condemned as unconstitutional, unrealistic and probably ineffectual.

At Wired.com, in a report labeled “Threat Level,” writer David Kravets criticized the plan to demand “up to two years in prison for those whose electronic speech is meant to ‘coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress.'”

“Instead of prison, perhaps we should say gulag,” he wrote.

Such limits never would pass First Amendment muster, “unless the U.S. Constitution was altered without us knowing,” he wrote. “So Sanchez, and the 14 other lawmakers who signed on to the proposal are grandstanding to show the public they care about children and are opposed to cyberbullying.”

The plan is labeled the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, after the 13-year-old Meier, whose suicide last year reportedly was prompted by a woman who utilized the MySpace social networking site to send the teen critical messages.

The defendant in the case, Lori Drew, was accused under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

“Sanchez’s bill goes way beyond cyberbullying and comes close to making it a federal offense to log onto the Internet or use the telephone,” Kravets wrote. “The methods of communication where hostile speech is banned include e-mail, instant messaging, blogs, websites, telephones and text messages.”

“We can’t say what we think of Sanchez’s proposal,” he said. “Doing so would clearly get us two years in solitary confinement.”

Wrote a contributor to the Wired forum page, “If passed, this legislation could be easily abused with the effect of criminalizing all criticism. You probably [couldn’t] even criticize the legislation itself because it would cause Sen. Sanchez emotional distress or possibly be considered a form of intimidation.”

The bill, which has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, states, “Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

It states: “Cyberbullying can cause psychological harm, including depression; negatively impact academic performance, safety, and the well-being of children in school; force children to change schools; and in some cases lead to extreme violent behavior, including murder and suicide.”

Original Link.

Obama to be “Forceful” with Israel

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

So in other words, while the pali terrorist give absolutely nothing to the peace process, Israel will be required, yet again, to give up their lands, security and freedom. Sickening!!

US President Barack Obama appears to be settinng course for a major confrontation with the Israeli people and government.

Reports from both sides of the Atlantic indicate that the new American president plans to show Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the people who elected him, just who calls the shots.

Tuesday Ha’aretz disclosed the ominous contents of “a classified telegram received in Jerusalem a few days ago” in which Obama’s National Security Adviser, General James Jones, advised an unnamed European foreign minister that “unlike the Bush administration, Obama will be ‘forceful’ with Israel.”

“The new administration will convince Israel to compromise on the Palestinian question,” Jones wrote. “We will not push Israel under the wheels of a bus, but we will be more forceful toward Israel than we have been under Bush.”

Earlier this week, AIPAC donors were informed that, when Netanyahu visits Washington on May 18, Obama will “firmly and decisively” let the Israeli know that the US’ is determined to see the implementation of the “two-state-solution.”

So warned White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, as reported by Ynetnews.

This so-called solution has the Jewish nation hand over its historical homeland and strategic high ground for the creation of a new state called Palestine.

As a bonus Israel will also receive promises of peace from the Arab states.

After 18 years of being pushed down this two-state road – taking unparalleled risks with its security and getting more war and terror in return – Israel’s new government has called it a dead end.

Nonetheless, Emanuel insisted, the two-state-solution remains “the only solution,” and Israel has arrived at “its moment of truth.”

Furthermore, if Israel wants to see the Iranian nuclear threat effectively confronted, it needs to ensure progress on the Israeli-“Palestinian” front.

This was also the position spelled out by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on April 24:

“For Israel to get the strong support it is looking for vis-a-vis Iran, it can’t stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and peace efforts. They go hand-in-hand,” she said.

In other words, the new America’s message to Israel is: Resist our will, and we’ll allow Tehran to continue its quest for an atomic bomb to fire at you.

Similar blackmailing techniques were employed by the US to coerce Israel into attending the 1991 International Middle East Peace Conference in Madrid.

Said the Israeli news service DEBKAfile Sunday, Netanyahu “can expect the full force of a bludgeon to be wielded” against him in the White House.

Leading Republican politician Newt Gingrich added his alarm call in an interview with The Jerusalem Post Monday:

“They are systematically setting up the most decisive confrontation that we’ve ever seen.

“There’s almost an eagerness to take on the Israeli government to make a point with the Arab world,” he said.

And Ha’aretz Tuesday quoted Robert Satloff, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who warned that there was “a chance for the most serious dispute between the US and Israel in the entire 61 years of relations between [Israel and America].”

Original Link.

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Iranian Ayatollah: “If America Was a Human Being, We’d Talk With It”

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Why do we even bother talking to these people?

Iranian Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami In Friday Sermon: ‘If America Was a Human Being, We’d Talk With It’ – But You Are Not Human Beings; There’s Been No Change During Obama’s First 100 Days

“The Iranian Nation is the Same Nation that Put All [Bush’s] Options Under Table and Into History’s Dustbin; Obama is Now Toeing Bush’s Line Regarding Iran”

In his Friday, May 1, 2009 sermon at the Tehran University campus, Interim Tehran Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami criticized Washington for its call for talks with Tehran, saying, “The Iranian nation is the same nation that put all options of (former U.S. President George W.) Bush under table and into history’s dustbin. (U.S. President Barack) Obama is now toeing Bush’s line regarding Iran.”

“Arab World Must Realize That Should Israel Gain Power, It Would Not Hesitate to Occupy Other Countries in the Region”

Khatami, an Iranian Assembly of Experts member, also encouraged the Arab world to cut ties with Israel, warned certain Arab leaders over their efforts to maintain close relations with it, and said that the Arab world must realize that should Israel gain power, it would not hesitate to occupy other countries in the region.

“‘If America Was A Human Being, We Would Talk With It’ – But You Are Not Human Beings, And This is the Same Nation It Was 30 Years Ago… And [Therefore] Say: ‘Death to America!'”

In further comments on U.S.-Iran relations, Khatami said: “Praise to the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Revolution in Iran] who said, ‘If America was a human being, we would talk with it’ – but you are not human beings, and this is the same nation it was 30 years ago… and [therefore] say: ‘Death to America!'”

He said that nothing had changed during the 100 days of the Obama presidency, even though Obama had come to power with the slogan of “change.”

He added, “Today there is news [in the U.S.] that Iran is named as the most active country supporting terrorism, and the U.S.’s inexperienced foreign minister [i.e. Hillary Clinton] says that if Iran does not agree with our [i.e. the U.S.’s] directive we will intensify the sanctions… Are you [Americans] after talks? For a long time the world people have been overwhelmed by hearing your (Americans’) empty drums.”

Calling the U.S. claim of talks with Iran “double standards,” he said, “You do not want talks!” and added that Americans are wishing the day will come for them to re-plunder Iran’s wealth, but to no avail.

In further comments on U.S. President Obama’s policies, he said, “The world knows quite well that Obama has gained no success inside in harnessing financial crisis.”

He added that U.S. foreign policy on the Palestinians under Obama presidency was the same at that of his predecessors and a repeat of the same old policy of Bush.

He added, “Americans always consider themselves committed to supporting Israel. That’s a dark stain in U.S. diplomacy.”

“These [Arabs] Are People Who See America as Their Ka’ba [i.e. Their Mecca], and Consider It as Assuring Their Existence – If They Didn’t Flatter America, America Wouldn’t Protect Them… When Will You Learn That America is Your Enemy? When Will You Want to Learn That Israel is the Occupier and the Aggressor?”

Turning to the leaders of the Arab countries, Khatami said: “These are people who see America as their Ka’ba [i.e. their Mecca], and consider it as assuring their existence. If they didn’t flatter America, America wouldn’t protect them… When will you learn that America is your enemy? When will you want to learn that Israel is the occupier and the aggressor? When it gathers strength, it will occupy your lands as well… When will you want to believe this truth – that the defenders of Islam and of the Islamic countries is Iran, who is conscientious for you and your honor?”

On the subject of Iraq, Khatami said, “You (Americans) stepped in Iraq with the lip service of guaranteeing security (there), but everybody knows that the green light of terrorism in Iraq is given by the U.S. We have precise information that they [the U.S.] intend to bring Ba’thists to power. These [Ba’thists] are Al-Qaeda collaborators.”

He added that the Americans had given the terrorists in Iraq a free hand to do whatever they wished.

He concluded by saying that the U.S. plans to prolong its presence in Iraq and that this should be taken as a prelude to Americans’ imposing themselves on Iraq’s statesmen.

Original Link.

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