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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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NY Fed Manufacturing Contracts In Sept, Lowest In 3-1/2 Years

(Reuters) - Factory activity in New York state contracted for a second month in a row in September, falling to its lowest level in nearly 3-1/2 years as new orders shrank further, a report from the New York Federal Reserve showed on Monday.

The New York Fed's "Empire State" general business conditions index dropped to minus 10.41, from minus 5.85 in August, frustrating economists' forecasts for an improvement to minus 2, according to a Reuters poll. It was the lowest level since April 2009.

The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions. The sector contracted in August for the first time in 10 months.

A major contributor to the U.S. recovery as the economy emerged from recession, manufacturing has been faltering in recent months.



US Diplomats In Beirut Burning Classified Material

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut have started to destroy classified material as a security precaution amid anti-American protests in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.

A State Department status report obtained Monday by The Associated Press said the Beirut embassy had "reviewed its emergency procedures and is beginning to destroy classified holdings." It also said that local Lebanese employees were sent home early due to protests by the militant Shiite group Hezbollah over an anti-Muslim film produced in the U.S.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_US_LEBANON_EMBASSY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-09-17-11-48-24

Ex-Ambassador To Israel: U.S. Will Go To War With Iran In 2013

(CBS News) Former Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, offered a dire prediction of a U.S. confrontation with Iran, saying it could escalate into war as early as next year.

"I'm afraid that 2013 is going to be a year in which we're going to have a military confrontation with Iran," he said Sunday on "Face the Nation."

Indyk joined a roundtable of foreign policy experts to discuss the latest protests in the Middle East and Israel's public statements pressuring the United States over Iran.

The former ambassador said the time has not come, yet, that the U.S. needs to take military action. "Iran doesn't have a nuclear weapon," he said. [W]hile there's still time, there's not a lot of time."



Bachmann’s Anti-Muslim ‘Brain’ Draws Laughs At Values Voter Summit

Frank Gaffney, president of the right-wing Center for Security Policy think tank, said at the Family Research Council Action Fund’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. on Saturday that Islam is a “brutally repressive doctrine” that is “bad for just about all human beings.”

Gaffney, the man largely credited with inspiring Republican Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s “witch hunt” against Muslims in government, said Islam is “brutally repressive. It’s comprehensive, totalitarian, supremacist doctrine, especially bad for women, for homosexuals, for Jews, other minority, religious faiths, well, pretty much just about for all human beings, actually.” The remark prompted laughter from a packed room.

“Not to say that all Muslims subscribe to this, but everyone of them that does is a problem, make no mistake about it,” Gaffney continued. He said that we know from looking at groups like Hamas that some Muslims are “perfectly capable of being violent,” “but for the moment, here in the United States, they’re involved in what I would call, what we describe in the book, a pre-violence state of jihad.”

Gaffney’s talk also included a projected presentation that outlined Muslims that had reached the high levels of American government that he felt were dangerous, including Huma Abedin, a senior aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and wife of former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner (D). He noted that Bachmann was “vilified” and “attacked” for questioning Abedin’s alleged affiliations Muslim Brotherhood, particularly that she was deeply tied to Abdullah Omar Naseef, a man he said is a “terrorist financier.” (Image from the presentation below.)



Israeli Plan For West Bank University Fuels Boycott Debate In British Academia


Relations between Israel and one of its closest European allies dipped this week when Britain joined Washington and the European Union in trying to stave off a unilateral strike by Israel against Iran's nuclear program. But it isn't just Iran that is straining Israeli-British ties.

In less-noticed comments, Britain’s foreign secretary spoke out in unusually strong terms against the Israeli cabinet’s decision to approve the upgrade of Ariel University Center – officially a college, at present – to full-fledged university, the first in a settlement in the West Bank.

William Hague said that the decision “would lead to the creation of Israel’s first university beyond the Green Line, in a settlement illegal under international law. It would further entrench the presence of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and create an additional barrier to peace with the Palestinians.”

Five largest Israeli settlements: who lives there, and why

In Britain, home to some of the Palestinians’ most active international support groups, campaigners have been ramping up pressure each year for a boycott of Israeli universities. Now, they believe the current focus on Ariel University Center could boost their effort



Guest Lineups For The Sunday News Shows

Guest lineups for the Sunday TV news shows:

ABC's "This Week" - Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.


NBC's "Meet the Press" - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Rice; Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.; Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.


CBS' "Face the Nation" - Rice; Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.


CNN's "State of the Union" - Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.


"Fox News Sunday" - Rice; Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich.

Israeli Fallout


It should go without saying, but apparently does not, that the tragic crisis unfolding in the Middle East calls for sober statesmanship rather than political posturing. The jihadist murder of the American ambassador to a newly liberated Libya; the carnage unleashed by the Assad regime on the Syrian people; the emergence of a Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt; the conundrum of Iranian nuclear ambitions — the region presents decades worth of complex challenges telescoped into real time.

Responding to these challenges, Mitt Romney mixes crude political theater with neocon bromides. Attacking President Obama for supposedly apologizing to Islamic radicals, he appears unable or unwilling to understand the responsibilities of a president trying to deal with a volatile situation while Americans are in harm’s way.

Romney shows no respect for diplomacy in general. He declares that “God did not create this country to be a nation of followers” and maintains that “in an American century, America leads the free world.” His surrogates repeatedly mock President Obama’s “apology tour” and his unfortunate “leading from behind” formulation on Libya. His principal advisers, John Bolton and Dan Senor, are part of a neocon hard core that opposes any policy that would diminish American sovereignty or freedom of action. Yet faced with the vexing issue of whether the Middle East should be further roiled by an Israeli attack on Iran in an attempt to stop its nuclear program, Romney is willing to outsource that decision to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Speaking earlier this week, Netanyahu said that if the Obama administration was unwilling to set fixed red lines that Iran could not cross, it “has no ‘moral right’ to restrain Israel from taking military action of its own.” The fundamental moral and political issue here, however, is whether it is the sovereign prerogative of the United States to make the decision of whether to start a regional war, a war that will certainly require American resources and may well require American troops to finish.



Indian Cleric Warns Americans To Leave Over Anti-Muslim Film

The most senior Islamic cleric in Indian Kashmir has told all US citizens to “immediately leave” the region because of the privately-produced anti-Islam film that surfaced in the United States.

“US citizens visiting Kashmir should leave immediately as the sentiments of the Muslims have been hurt by these pictures,” the Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Bashiruddin Ahmad said Thursday, according to the Press Trust of India.

“Everyone accepts the greatness of the Prophet and any attempt to malign his image will not be tolerated,” the news agency quoted him as saying.

A small group of protesters gathered peacefully on Thursday in the city of Srinagar in Kashmir to denounce the film, but police were on standby for the possibility of unrest after prayers on Friday.



Who Made The Anti-Muslim Video? What L.A. County Knows But Is Not Saying.

Los Angeles

A movie cannot shoot in Los Angeles County without a permit, and a permit makes public the names of the film’s writer, director, and producer.

This means that answers to the question of who was behind “Innocence of Muslims,” the anti-Muslim project that sparked a wave of mob violence across the Middle East and may have created the cover for a deadly attack on US diplomats in Libya, now appear to be in the hands of Los Angeles County officials. And they are not talking.

A US law enforcement official told the Associated Press Thursday that authorities believe that a 55-year-old Coptic Christian, a US citizen named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is behind the film. A convicted felon, Mr. Nakoula has changed his version of events numerous times in interviews with various news outlets.

On Thursday, after being contacted by both the FBI and the US State Department and on its legal counsel’s advice, the office of the CEO of L.A. County removed from public availability what has been confirmed as the permit issued to shoot at least part of the anti-Muslim film. Permits are normally available online and by request from the county.



Israeli Leader Suggests His Country Cannot Rely On US To Act Against Iran Over Nuclear Program

Source: Associated Press

By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, September 14, 10:49 AM

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insinuated in an interview published Friday that Israel cannot entirely rely on the U.S. to act against Iran’s suspect nuclear program, a sign that the Israeli leader is not backing down from the sharp rhetoric that strained relations this week with the Obama administration.

Netanyahu has been arguing in recent weeks that Iran is getting close to acquiring nuclear weapons capability, a claim Iran denies. He has been pushing the U.S. to commit to the circumstances under which the U.S. would lead a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have repeatedly hinted that if the United States does not attack, Israel will.

“I hear those who say we should wait until the last minute. But what if the U.S. doesn’t act? It’s a question that must be asked,” Netanyahu told Israel Hayom, in an interview marking the Jewish New Year.

The paper, a free mass-circulation daily, is funded by Netanyahu’s billionaire Jewish-American supporter Sheldon Adelson.


Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/israeli-leader-suggests-his-country-cannot-rely-on-us-to-act-against-iran-over-nuclear-program/2012/09/14/46c37c64-fe5b-11e1-98c6-ec0a0a93f8eb_story.html
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