Kerry blames Israel for collapse of peace talks. Ridiculous. This is part of a troubling pattern of this White House alienating America’s friends & appeasing our enemies.

Secretary John Kerry.

Secretary John Kerry.

(Washington, D.C.) — UPDATED: Over the past year of the peace talks, Israel has consistently taken practical, concrete steps to show goodwill, including releasing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, some of whom were terrorists with blood on their hands.

Israel took such measures even though Palestinian terrorists have continued to fire rockets and missiles at innocent Israeli civilians over and over and over again.

What practical, concrete steps did the Palestinian leadership?

The sad fact is that Mahmoud Abbas gave concrete nothing in return.

What’s more, he outright refused to even consider recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. Then he embarked on unilateral steps to create an independent Palestinian state in direct defiance of the terms of the peace process which call for a negotiated settlement. Then he refused to continue the peace talks beyond the April 29th deadline without Israel releasing thousands of more prisoners.

Yet now Secretary of State John Kerry is blaming Israel for the breakdown of the talks. Consider the latest headlines:

This is ridiculous, bordering on the infuriating. Netanyahu appointed good people to negotiate in good faith. Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the chief negotiator, is not exactly a right wing Likudnik. She is part of Israel’s center left. She wanted a deal. She worked hard for a deal. Yet she became increasingly frustrated by the resistance of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to bring serious ideas and compromises to the table, and then had to speak out when Abbas decided to sign 15 international treaties to unilaterally creating a Palestinian state.

“The past week wasn’t a good week and we will have to fight to see how we can correct and move forward,” said Livni on Israel’s Channel 2 news. “It isn’t simple. It’s very complicated. This is a real crisis.”

Bloomberg reports that “Livni called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ bid last week to join international bodies ‘a violation and a big mistake that will make it very difficult to go back to normal.”

When Abbas has burned Tzipi Livni — a woman deeply committed to a two-state solution — you know things have really gotten bad.

Yet once again Kerry is blaming Israel.

Sadly, this is part of a troubling pattern of the Obama administration alienating America’s friends and appeasing our enemies. Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry have invested enormous amounts of time in trying to force enormous Israeli concessions to create a final peace deal with the Palestinians, even though everyone told them the Palestinian leadership was not prepared to deal seriously. Yet the most important mission in the Middle East right now is stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons, yet the White House and State Department are treating Iran with kid gloves.

As former Senator Rick Santorum and I stated last week:

What troubles us most is the feckless, rudderless foreign policy of President Obama. Do our enemies fear him? Do our friends trust him? To the contrary, Mr. Obama is presiding over the systematic collapse of American credibility around the globe, from the Middle East to Russia to Asia. This vacuum of leadership is creating a very dangerous global environment and must be corrected quickly.

 

We believe in a bipartisan approach to American foreign policy. The challenges we face are serious but manageable if we unite as a country around a policy of peace through strength. That said, we also believe in the important role of a loyal opposition that warns the government when it is heading in the wrong direction.

 

In the 1930s, Winston Churchill warned the world that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis represented a gathering storm that had to be stopped early and decisively lest disaster ensue. A new gathering storm is brewing, as dangerous as the last, if not more so. We need an honest, strong, principled American foreign policy now more than ever, especially when it comes to the Iranian nuclear threat. The stakes are too high for miscalculation.

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>> On April 7th, 1944, two men escaped from Auschwitz. 70 years later, novel inspired by real events is a best-seller — click here to learn more.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Reporter denied access to “White Privilege” Conference

Guest post by Adam Tobias

MADISON, Wis. — We are fully aware of who Wisconsin Reporter is.

Stephanie Puentes tried to keep the smile from stretching across her face as she made that comment Thursday after denying my request to cover the White Privilege Conference here in Madison.

When I came back Friday morning, Puentes, a conference media representative, clearly seemed agitated. Puentes told me she was quite familiar with the previous stories I had done leading up to the seminar, which examines the concept that minorities may not be afforded the same privileges as white people.

And, again, she wouldn’t let me in.

Did it have anything to do with the story I wrote in early February, disclosing that taxpayers are underwriting at least $ 20,000 — and likely much more — of the cost of the forum at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center?

Or maybe it was because of my other piece Wednesday quoting Niger Innis, national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, who called the White Privilege Conference an irrelevant and frivolous waste of taxpayer money.

Puentes insisted I wasn’t allowed in because I had not registered online in advance or called the conference’s offices ahead of time to make arrangements.

It’s not as if I didn’t try.

White Privilege Conference officials have failed to make themselves available for comment when I’ve attempted to contact them for past stories. How was I supposed to make arrangements when nobody would return my calls and talk to me?

It also didn’t help the conference’s website doesn’t include a section for media registration.

I tried to register in person Wednesday afternoon but was told by Monona Terrace staff that convention officials were busy setting up at a different location and that I should return Thursday.

That’s what I did, but apparently I was too late.

Onsite registration closed early Thursday morning because the conference was at full capacity, Puentes said.

No other media outlets signed up to cover the event, according to Puentes.

After telling Puentes that I was more than willing to pay the full registration fee, I pleaded to be let in because taxpayers should be given the opportunity to know how their dollars are being spent. And as a Madison taxpayer myself, I want those answers, too.

Puentes responded that she considers the seminar to be private.

“This is a private conference, being run by the (White Privilege Conference), and it’s paid for through registration money … it’s not public money in the sense that we’ve received grants or we are being funded by the university or any public money like that,” Puentes said.

Not so fast.

The White Privilege Conference is slated to get $ 18,375 from the Monona Terrace booking event assistance account, which is comprised of local hotel room tax revenue.

The city of Madison, Janesville School District, UW-Madison, UW-Eau Claire, Madison Area Technical College and other publicly funded institutions also are spending tens of thousands of dollars in registration and sponsorship fees to send several hundred people to the convention.

The White Privilege Conference, now in its 15th year, is built on the premise the United States was started by white people for white people. It tries to attract teachers, university faculty, activists, government officials and students to “dismantle this system of white supremacy, white privilege and oppression.”

Come to think of it, maybe their unwillingness to grant me access was their way of dismantling my white privilege.

 
Contact Adam Tobias at atobias@watchdog.org or follow him on Twitter @Scoop_Tobias

Doug Ross @ Journal

BECLOWNMENT COMPLETE: Matt Drudge Knows More About Obamacare Than White House, Leftist Media

Guest post by Investor’s Business Daily

Health Reform: Despite White House claims no one has to pay ObamaCare’s individual mandate tax until next year, a Web heavyweight points out that self-employed individuals file their estimated taxes this year for 2014.

In what could be the tweet heard around the world, Internet icon Matt Drudge tweeted at 11:09 a.m. Friday:

“Just paid the ObamaCare penalty for not ‘getting covered’ … I’M CALLING IT A LIBERTY TAX!”

A mere 22 minutes later, White House spokesman Jesse Lee tweeted: “Flat lie, no fee for previous year.”

Lee’s tweet shows just how little the White House knows about business, particularly small business, and the self-employed individuals such as Matt Drudge who file as small businesses and who each year must not only settle up for the prior year by mid-April but must also pay their first-quarter estimated taxes for the current year.

The Obama administration’s media sycophants were no better informed, with the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent blogging by midafternoon:

“Matt Drudge proudly tells the world he paid the penalty for not having health coverage, which he has termed the ‘liberty tax.’ Which is odd, because no one has to pay the penalty until they file their 2014 tax returns in April 2015.”

While some, such as Timothy Geithner, can be Treasury secretary in the Obama administration while playing fast and loose with skirting their tax obligation, self-employed individuals who operate as small businesses do not. This is particularly true of right-wing notables, something Drudge explained to the hyperventilating left in a subsequent tweet.

Drudge indicated in follow-up tweets that since he is self-employed as proprietor of the Drudge Report, he files as a small business. Drudge followed up with “Dazed team Obama media reporters think Opt-Out tax ‘year away’? Not for small businesses that file Qtr estimates. We’re there NOW, baby.”

“As a self-employed individual, generally you are required to file an annual return and pay estimated tax quarterly,” the IRS website states.

IRS form (1040-ES) for estimating quarterly taxes specifically recommends adding the mandate penalty to line 12 for “other taxes” — to pay before the first quarterly deadline of April 15.

“It is true that thousands of small businesses will be forced to pay ObamaCare taxes quarterly in 2014,” a Senate Budget Committee aide told Breitbart News on Friday afternoon.

An administration elected by low-information voters is populated with low-information officials who are ignorant of the laws they are charged to enforce even though they often misuse them — as in the case of IRS targeting of Tea Party groups — for their own political purposes.

Self-employed entrepreneurs ranging from Drudge to small-shop proprietors and independent contractors have long been aware of the requirement to estimate their tax liability and send a quarter of it in every three months, and that this amount includes “other taxes” such as the ObamaCare opt-out penalty.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 14.4 million Americans were self-employed in January. Of those, 9.2 million were unincorporated self-employed workers and another 5.2 million were incorporated. All who file quarterly estimated tax payments this year are subject to the ObamaCare individual mandate tax.

When you tax something you get less of it, and certainly ObamaCare leaves us with less freedom. We lose the freedom to buy the insurance plans of our own choosing and the freedom to pick our doctors. Our nation was born in revolt against such oppressive taxation. The penalty imposed under ObamaCare for refusing to be compelled to buy a product you don’t want is indeed a tax on our liberty.

Read more at Investor’s Business Daily

Doug Ross @ Journal

RED SCREEN OF DEATH: White House Plans to Turn Over Control of Internet to Totalitarian Regimes

Guest post by Investor’s Business Daily

Error 404: U.S. officials plan to relinquish federal control over the administration of the Internet to something called the “global Internet community,” which is full of tyrants to whom the free flow of information is a threat.

In the wake of the NSA surveillance scandal, some might not be inclined to defend federal involvement in anything related to the flow of information between individuals.

But the decision announced Friday by the Commerce Department to give up next year its oversight of Icann, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to the “global Internet community” is a bad idea.

Under a Commerce Department contract, Icann has issued domain names since 2000. But the Los Angeles-based nonprofit has worked, encouraged by states and groups not necessarily dedicated to free expression, to transform itself into a global organization free of U.S. ties.

Since at least 2004, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has tried repeatedly to wrest power from Icann. During a meeting in Dubai last year, the ITU, the telecom branch of the United Nations, demanded rules governing the Internet be rewritten. It proposed inspection authority that would allow it to monitor and censor otherwise encrypted content on the Internet.

In 2008, the Internet trade journal Cnet reported the ITU was quietly drafting technical standards, proposed by the Chinese government, to define methods of tracing the original source of Internet communications and potentially curbing the ability of users to remain anonymous. Regimes in places such as Russia and Iran also want an ITU rule letting them monitor traffic routed through or to their countries, allowing them to eavesdrop or block access.

The Obama administration calls the move to relinquish Internet oversight the “multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance,” as announced by Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information. “We look forward to Icann convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan.”

Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the ITU, released a report in May 2013 outlining groundwork for Internet governance and regulatory topics. The report calls for the creation of “global principles for the governance and use of the Internet” and proposes the resolution of issues pertaining to “use of Internet resources for purposes that are inconsistent with international peace, stability and security.”

Just what does using the Internet in ways “inconsistent with international peace, stability and security” mean?

Would it mean a Ukrainian sending tweets telling Moscow to get out of Crimea or creating a blog documenting the assault on Ukrainian sovereignty?

Before Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, Moscow launched attacks against its Internet infrastructure with coordinated barrages of millions of requests, known as distributed denial-of-service attacks, which overloaded and effectively shut down Georgian servers.

Today, the largely self-regulating Internet means no one has to ask for permission to launch a site and no government can tell network operators how to do their jobs. The Internet freely crosses international boundaries, making it difficult for governments to censor. To many governments, the Internet is a threat to statist goals.

“While I certainly agree our nation must stridently review our procedures regarding surveillance in light of the NSA controversy, to put ourselves in a situation where censorship-laden governments like China or Russia could take a firm hold on the Internet itself is truly a scary thought,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., says in Politico.

No doubt the Obama administration views U.S. Internet control as an example of U.S. exceptionalism and bullying, for which it constantly apologizes. As Scott notes, there is great danger here, for the “global Internet community” that the Obama administration would empower has no First Amendment.


Read more at Investor’s Business Daily

Doug Ross @ Journal