These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 20, 2014.
Thursday, 20 March 2014
Meet The Florida Citizen Lobbyists backing ALAC in the 2014 Legislative Session
Citizen Lobbyists of CFC in Florida Capitol Rotunda
March 13, 2014
The Florida version of the American Law for American Courts (ALAC) is up for its fourth try in the 2014 Legislative session in Tallahassee. In contrast to prior years, there is concerted effort by bill sponsors, Sen. Alan Hayes (R- Umatilla) and Rep. Neil Combee in the House of Representatives to seek Senate and House leadership, as well as Committee commitments for passage of the bills.. There is also new message that was conveyed to Florida legislators on both House and Senate Committees; Senate Bill 0386/House Bill 903: “acceptance of foreign law in certain cases”. The message is that ALAC guards against the recognition of foreign laws in Florida Courts in violation of fundamental Constitutional rights of all citizens, especially women and children.
Professor Margaret McClain at CFC 2014 Legislative Prayer Breakfast, Tallahassee
That message was communicated at the March 13th Florida Christian Family Coalition (CFC) Annual Legislative Prayer Breakfast by Professor Margaret McClain , a retired Arkansas State University professor, whose daughter Heidi was kidnapped at the age of 5 and removed to Saudi Arabia by her ex-Husband.. See our New English Review article, An American Child Kidnapped in Accordance with Shariah. Professor McClain’s experience was also amplified in a recent Iconoclast interview with Yasmeen Alexandria Davis, a Florida young woman, who at 13 years of age was rescued from a kidnapping by her Saudi father through the resourcefulness and persistence of her mother and grandmother, Her Saudi father relentless keep tabs on her through a US lawyers and an ex-FBI agent retained by him.. See An American’s Rescue from Abduction to Saudi Arabia. Both incidents were violations of state, federal and international conventions on parental kidnapping, but sanctioned under Sharia Islamic law. Professor McClain and Yasmeen Alexandria Davis testified about abduction of American children to Saudi Arabia in a panel of such women, children, and a father at a US House 2002 Government Reform Committee chaired by former Indian Republican Rep. Dan Burton. Professor McClain gave proof f to the CFC lobbyists based on her personal experience why passage of ALA in Florida was needed to protect American women and children against alien laws that imperil their fundamental Constitutional and basic human rights. The CFC has made passage of ALAC a priority in the 2014 legislature.
Sen. Alan Hays, Sponsor of Florida ALAC, SB 0386 at CFC Legislative Prayer Breakfast, 2014
The 75 trained men and women, members of the CFC who heard Professor McClain and ALAC Senate Bill sponsor, Sen. Alan Hays, Rep. Larry Ahern, sponsor of a bill, Offenses against the Unborn Children (OAUC), fanned out to meet legislators. They were equipped with FAQs sheet on why ALAC is needed and a list of nearly two dozen Florida lower court and appellate cases in which foreign laws were recognized . How effective were they? According to a report by the CFC:
They met with a total of thirty-nine (39) lawmakers and secured thirty-two (32) co-sponsors/supporters on our legislative priorities. Nineteen (19) co-sponsors and supporters on American Laws for American Courts and thirteen (13) co-sponsors and supporters on the Offenses Against the Unborn Bill.
Neither they nor CFC’s executive director, Anthony Vertigo is resting on their laurels. They are planning another Legislative Prayer Breakfast and Citizen Lobby Day in Tallahassee the week prior to the close of the Florida legislative session on May 2nd, to assure that those ALAC commitments and others are honored.
Anthony Verdugo,executive director, CFC Annual Legislative Prayer Breakfast
CFC, according to its executive director Verdugo has been going to Tallahassee for 10 years to lobby on issues like ALAC and OAUC.CFC has more than 1,500 pastors and churches and over 16,000 members in Florida.Its score card in conducting Citizen Lobbying on social issues of concern has been effective.. Verdugo said in an email that CFC’s among successes were the bi-partisan Stand for Israel resolution, Prayer Time in Schools, etc. - Parental Notification, Ultra-Sound Bill, Boy Scout Resolution, and Parental Rights Resolution. A so-called Anti-Bullying and Domestic Partnership bills were dropped. “All told, we have made the difference on about dozen bills over the last ten years”.
While it is too early to tell, the fourth try at passing ALAC is yielding some initial success, The House version of ALAC HB903 passed the House Civil JusticeSub Committee on March 18th on a partisan vote of 8 Republicans to 4 Democrats. The House version of ALAC has been also referred to the Judiciary Committee for a hearing. That is the last Committee hearingbefore a Floor vote isto be scheduled. A looming first hearing on the Senate version, SB0386, is scheduled for Tuesday, March 25th before the Senate Judiciary Committee..SB0386 has also been referred to Government Oversight and Rules before a possible floor Vote.
ALAC in Florida may have better prospects than in the three previous sessions. The evidencefrom research of recognition of foreign laws in a significant number of lower court and appellate level decisions in Florida may answer legislators’ questions of why it is needed. Protection of Florida’s women and children from foreign laws appears toput a human face on why ALAC should be passed. Nonetheless,political horse trading will be crucial in navigating the legislative process to a possible successful conclusion in the 2014 session in Tallahassee..
The Washington Free Beacon cited this warning by HJS authors Dr. Bellamy Van Aaalst and Guitta:
The problem with bio-weapons, unlike chemical or nuclear, is the quality and weaponization for dispersal that counts, not the quantity. You do not need a stockpile and you do not need sophisticated delivery methods, in fact, that is no longer optimal. Bio-weapons are silent, and determining that an attack has occurred can be challenging.
The HJS authors found:
Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Al Nusrah, may have acquired access to biological pathogens or weaponized agents, either of which would pose a threat to the international community.
The Syrian civil war has left sections of the bio-pharmaceutical infrastructure destroyed, and looting of labs has been observed, which could indicate that Assad is losing command and control over one of the most dangerous classes of weapons remaining in his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) arsenal.
Should al Qaeda acquire sections of Assad’s BW program, it has the competence and expertise to weaponize and deploy agents.
Documents found in Afghanistan, in 2001, ostensibly revealed that al-Qaeda was doing research on using botulinum toxin to kill 2,000 people.
On January 6, 2009 a number of terrorists died of plague in an al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) training camps in Tizi Ouzou. Reportedly, 50 terrorists had been diagnosed with the plague, 40 of whom died.
Intelligence sources suggest that in several countries, notably Morocco, Algeria, Sudan and Mauritania, AQ is training operatives in biological and chemical weapons and has successfully inserted terrorists into Europe through application processes for refugee status.
The Washington Free Beacon noted:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is believed to have ample biological weapons stores in addition to the chemical weapons currently being confiscated by Western nations. These caches likely include various neurotoxins and deadly viruses, according to U.S. intelligence estimates and other experts.
“A very credible source has confirmed he saw, near Aleppo, a looted pharmaceutical laboratory, which was probably a cover for a biological weapons production site,” Guitta and van Aalst revealed in a research brief published by the Henry Jackson Society.
“Syria’s biological warfare programs are latent, highly compartmentalized, and dual use, run under both legitimate and clandestine programs, laboratories, institutes, and facilities,” the report states. “The fact that this looting took place in the Aleppo area where the rebellion—and in particular Al Nusrah—is very strong tends to confirm that AQ may potentially be in possession of biological agents.”
Al Qaeda’s interest in acquiring biological weapons is cited by the HJS authors:
Recent reports from Syria suggest that al Qaeda’s top leaders have taken an interest in Assad’s bio-weapons research facilities.
Al Qaeda’s primary biological weapon expert, Yazid Sufaat, was arrested in Malaysia. “His arrest is all the more concerning given that the [United Nations] has allowed the Assad regime to maintain its [bio-weapons] program,” according to the report.
Suffaat is a graduate of California State University, Sacramento, where he received a degree in biology, according to Guitta and van Aalst.
“In 1993, Sufaat established Green Laboratory Medicine, a pathology lab where he tried to weaponize anthrax on behalf of al Qaeda,” according to the report. “Sufaat had direct ties to Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, both of whom were on Flight AA 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11.”
Note these comments from Texas Senator John Cornyn and National Intelligence Director Clapper:
Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) warned last month that Syria’s unsecured bio-weapons pose a great threat to the region.
U.S. intelligence agencies have reported that Assad possesses various biological weapons and has an active research program underway.
“Based on the duration of Syria’s longstanding biological warfare (BW) program, we judge that some elements of the program may have advanced beyond the research and development stage and may be capable of limited agent production,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote in an unclassified April 2013 report.
“Syria is not known to have successfully weaponized biological agents in an effective delivery system, but it possesses conventional and chemical weapon systems that could be modified for biological agent delivery,” Clapper concluded.
Question is will the Obama National Security Council brief the President on this compelling threat? Given the array of problems in Eastern Europe and the Middle East would this credible threat get the attention it deserves? Perhaps, it is the Israelis who have been keeping a watch on Syrian terror weapons. They may already be on the case regarding bio-weapons filtering into the hands of Terrorist groups, whether al Qaeda, Hezbollah or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
The biased bigots are out again with their attack on Israel during “the apartheid week” in the month of March. What is perpetually amazing is that people and organizations supposedly devoted to the ideals of humanism and humanitarianism such as the officials and members of various religious denominations, teachers, and students in institutions of higher education, and charitable organizations should be so full of hatred against one nation in the world, the Jewish State. It is appropriate that they should be named and called to account for their prejudice, bias, hatred, and possible anti-Semitism.
Not surprisingly, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a man never modest about his celebrity in parading his moral principles, associates himself in 2014 with “the objectives of the 10th international Israeli Apartheid Week.” One could understand if he made specific detailed criticisms of Israeli actions or policies. Instead, he engages in over-the-top hyperbole. “I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing in the Holy Land that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under Apartheid. I have witnessed the systematic humiliation of Palestinian men, women, and children by members of the Israeli security forces.”
It is difficult to take this absurd statement seriously. Tutu is heralded as a leader in the global movement for morality and peace, but his visual sight and intellectual insight seem hallucinatory. On the one hand, where are the “racially segregated roads” Tutu supposedly witnessed? Where is the systematic humiliation of Palestinian civilians taking place? On the other hand, he is blind to the exodus of Christians from areas of the Holy Land controlled by Palestinians. He is equally blind to the small and diminishing Christian population in Nazareth. He does not see the honor killings by Muslims in the area. He is unaware that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the number and proportion of Christians in the population has increased, and where Christianity can be freely and fully practiced.
One breathlessly awaits an apology from the Archbishop for his intemperate and inaccurate remarks, his referring to Israel as an “apartheid” state and for his support for the boycott of the Jewish State. One would also hope that students and faculty in the academic institutions of Ireland would expose themselves to accurate information about Israel, and then correct, if not necessarily apologize for, their present bigoted views.
In April 2013 the Teachers’ Union of Ireland became the first educational union in Europe to adopt a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. This action was followed on March 6, 2014 by the passage of a non-binding resolution at the NUI Galway Students Union endorsing the BDS campaign against the State of Israel. The resolution, carried by 64 per cent of the 3,013 valid votes, is the first one to be adopted by a student body in Ireland. The faculty and students have violated principles of the academic process, succumbing to fallacious Palestinian propaganda. They have yet to be tested for their objective command of Middle Eastern affairs.
Mainstream Christian Churches have in recent years for varying, often unaccountable, reasons participated in the BDS movement as well as in continuing condemnations of Israel. In March 2014 the organization known as Christ at the Checkpoint, sponsored by the Bethlehem Bible College, held its third biennial conference in Bethlehem. Its supposed objective is to discuss the role of the church in helping resolve “the conflict and bringing peace, justice, and equality to the Holy Land.” But its opportunities for direct information appeared limited to visits to Jerusalem and Hebron. These visits were supposed to inform the participants of “some of the realities on the ground that are a direct challenge to peacemaking in the land and which set the context for some of the theological discussions.” One does not need to be a fly on the wall to understand that the discussions will be limited to alleged Israeli crimes and misdemeanors in the two municipalities visited.
In more dramatic fashion the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) on March 10, 2014 issued a call to boycott SodaStream because of its factory in Mishor Adumin, an industrial zone in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumin. Unfortunately for the Church, its timing was bad, and its decision appears foolish. Just a month earlier in February 2014 SodaStream products had been judged to be one of the 23 “Products of the Year” by Parade Magazine. The Church is probably unhappy that these 23 products are judged to be brands of truly superior innovation, and might reconsider its reactionary behavior in objecting to progress.
The Church, claiming to be working in the area of “Peace with Justice and International Affairs,” points out, as do so many of the organizations and individuals discriminating against Israel, that it is not supporting a boycott of products made in Israel, but only against Israel companies operating in “occupied Palestinian territories.”
This is a specious argument. The Church, like all those other anti-Israel and conceivably anti-Semitic groups and individuals, even when pretending to be “evenhanded” does not hesitate to decide on geopolitical issues by speaking of SodaStream’s “disregard of both international and workers’ rights laws, including those of Israel itself.” It holds that the SodaStream factory in Mishor Adumin is reinforcing the “illegal settlements,” and thus violating international law.
Whatever the Church’s command of spiritual matters, its mastery of international law and workers’ rights is astonishingly uninformed. It is surprising to find the Church referring to international law about which its leaders are naive, if not intentionally distorting that law. But it is not surprising that its bias and prejudice are evident in that its concern with “Justice” seems confined to one country. In this the Church is hypocritical. In order to justify its boycott of Israel the United Methodist Church passed its resolution 6111 that reinforces its previous resolution 4011, providing guidelines for initiating or joining an economic boycott so that the body boycotted will cease from certain practices judged to be unjust. Whether or not such guidelines are held to be appropriate for a religious body, in effect they apply and are meant to apply only to Israel.
Even more compellingly, the United Method Church like Oxfam International and Amnesty International, and the list of other groups mentioned by the Church, including American Muslims for Palestine and the Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, is ignorant of the facts on the ground. All these anti-Israeli bodies refer to Israeli settlements, including therefore the one in which SodaStream is located, not only as violating international law, but also as promoting systematic discrimination or supporting ongoing military occupation.
Contrary to this mistaken point of view, the SodaStream factory these groups are targeting is one that is well known for its socially conscious employment practices. More than 900 Palestinians work there, earning about $1,200 a month, which is more than double the regular wages paid by Palestinians in the West Bank area, They also receive pensions and medical insurance. The voice of sanity comes from the courageous Scarlett Johansson who after confronting and not yielding to the bias and bigotry of Oxfam which was directed against her personally as well as against the State of Israel remarked,”The closing of the SodaStream factory would leave the Palestinians destitute. That does not sound like a solution.”
The following questions must be asked in all seriousness. The United Methodist Church purports to be concerned with Christian social concerns. Does that Church, and the other groups that make up the Interfaith Boycott Coalition, really have “Christian concerns” about the Palestinians? Is their animus against the Jewish State of Israel so strong that they are willing to harm the Palestinians about whose welfare they profess to be concerned? Do all these groups really want to add to the unemployment rate of Palestinians in the West Bank which already stands at 35 per cent? Instead of attacking SodaStream and endorsing a boycott would it not be more productive, and a sign of Christian and academic principles if these groups endorse SodaStream’s employment practices as a marker on the road to peace.
Michael Curtis is author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East.
Men with links to banned Islamist group ‘targeting students’ outside Queen Mary University
From the East London Advertiser. Queen Mary University (QMC as I knew it) is still a very prestigious part of the University of London, good standards, academic excellence etc.
Men linked to a banned Islamist group whose members have been jailed for terrorism offences are operating outside universities in east London, it emerged this week.
Videos posted online show young Muslim men interviewing students outside Queen Mary University in Mile End Road arguing democracy is not compatible with Islam. Using the name Need4Khilafah, the group includes several people involved with Al-Muhajiroun, the group led by hate preacher Anjem Choudhury.
The video outside Queen Mary shows a man saying: “As Muslims, we do not believe in a system of parliaments and democracy where man legislates law. Rather, God almighty has set down the law and man merely has to adhere to that law and follow it.”
Abu Rumaysah, 30, a spokesman for Need4Khilafah, said it was an umbrella group that included people from The Shariah Project and Muslim Prisoners, which was also set up by Abdul Muhid. Mr Rumaysah denied Need4Khilafah was a front group for Al-Muhajiroun, but said it was associated with Choudhury among others.
A spokesperson for Queen Mary University said: “We believe that our students have the intelligence and powers of discrimination to judge for themselves the merits or otherwise of opinions put forward and views debated, whether on or off campus. “We monitor groups who have an interest in our student body, and where we suspect their activity is a cause for concern, we will always seek the support and guidance of the relevant authorities.”
Small things often tell us more than large, at least such is what I tell myself as a consolation for the reduced scale of my existence as I grow older. That is why, waiting for a flight from Charles De Gaulle Airport the other day, I watched the news and weather forecast on the screens so thoughtfully provided for the passengers (mercifully, they were soundless). You can learn a lot from practically nothing.
The headlines ticker-taped their way constantly across the bottom of the screen, first in English, then in French. There was an odd contradiction between the reports in the two languages of the tax collected from the sale of cannabis in Colorado (where it has been legalised) during the month of January. In English it was $2 million; in French $3.3 million. I suppose in Arabic it would have been $17 trillion. I can understand why there might sometimes be mistranslated words, but surely people should be able to transcribe a figure correctly?
More interesting was the weather forecast. According to the map, the weather (in this case, brilliant sunshine) stopped strictly at the French border. A kind of grey uniform pall had fallen over the rest of Europe: as if it is going to be the same in Spain as in Belgium, Germany, Britain or Italy. Corsica was to have brilliant sunshine, for example, but Sardinia only featureless grey nothingness. Presumably it was going to be like that there for ever.
Of course for France's neighbours it was France rather than they that was going to suffer from this featureless grey nothingness for ever. National meteorologists are not party to the Schengen agreement and do not believe in the free movement of sunshine, rain or storms across borders. Being scientists, they believe rather that, unlike labour, rain, sunshine, etc., not only should but actually do remain within national boundaries. The Irish who watch the BBC are often surprised by the tendency of weather to confine itself to the six counties.
Could it be that national weather forecasts are trying to tell us something about the European Union, namely that none of us feels truly European, and that no Frenchman gives a hoot what meteorological disasters happen outre-Manche or outre -Rhin. This indifference is heartily reciprocated (if indifference can be hearty), except in so far as no one wants his holidays in France spoiled by bad weather. Otherwise the French could all be drowned rats as far as the other nations are concerned.
As for the English, that's what they think we are anyway.