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Archive for June, 2009

Detailed map of Israeli settlements on the Wes...
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Well, it looks like the old anti-Semite is drumming up bad vibes for Israel again. I wish he would just spend his retirement hammering nails and stay away from the news studios.

Israel is headed for a clash with main ally the United States over the issue of Jewish settlements, former US president Jimmy Carter said in an interview on Sunday.

Asked by the liberal Haaretz newspaper whether the Jewish state was looking at a “head-on collision” with the United States if it doesn’t comply with Washington’s demands, Carter said “Yes.”

The former president, who brokered the historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979, said Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank were the biggest hurdle in the hobbled Middle East peace process, saying they were “illegal and (an) obstacle to peace.”

The administration of US President Barack Obama has repeatedly called on Israel to halt all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, which is viewed as one of the key obstacles in the stalled Middle East peace process.

Carter on Sunday made a rare visit to a settlement, saying he went to Neve Daniel “to make sure they (the settlers) understand my own attitude towards Israel, the Jewish population across the world and the Jewish settlements.”

He was speaking at the start of a meeting with Shaul Goldstein, the head of the regional council of Gush Etzion, a large settlement bloc south of Jerusalem that Israel hopes to keep in any future peace deal.

Goldstein briefed the 85-year-old former president on joint Israeli-Palestinian projects in the region and on the history of the Jewish community in the Gush Etzion before the creation of the Jewish state in 1948.

“This is our homeland but we recognise that there are other people living next to us,” Goldstein told Carter. “We believe in human rights and we suffer when they (Palestinians) suffer.”

Obama’s efforts to push forward the peace process has raised fears in Israel that Washington may ease its support of the Jewish state as it tries to improve relations with the Muslim world.

Carter is also due to visit the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Tuesday as part of a regional visit.

via Carter warns US and Israel on collision course.

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WASHINGTON - MARCH 24:  Committee Chairman Rep...
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Aren’t these high paid executives the ones that have their income targeted for higher taxes? Doesn’t the lowering of their incomes lower the projected income tax collection, pushing us further and further into a deficit hole we’ll never dig out of? Just thought I’d mention that…

The Obama administration struck a delicate balance on executive pay Thursday, blaming flawed compensation packages for encouraging disastrous risk-taking but insisting it doesn’t want to dictate how corporations reward their top people.

Gene Sperling, a top counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, conceded to a congressional committee that imposing compensation caps on companies could lead to a flight of talent.

“I can say with certainty that nobody in the Obama administration is proposing such a thing,” he said.

Yet, at the same time, he and officials with the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission laid out a case for how payment structures rewarded short-term gains at the expense of long-term performance and contributed to the nation’s financial crisis.

The administration plans to seek legislation that would try to rein in compensation at publicly traded companies through nonbinding shareholder votes and by decreasing management influence on pay decisions.

via Administration, Congress seek to rein in exec pay – Yahoo! Finance.

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Iranian newspaper clip from 1968 reads: "...
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I have long thought our President is narcissistic, short-sighted, egotistical, and ethically challenged. Today, in this BBC interview, I now believe him to be certifiably insane by cavalierly throwing around the word “right” when referring to Iran‘s wish to obtain and use nuclear energy.

LONDON — President Barack Obama suggested that Iran may have some right to nuclear energy _ provided it proves by the end of the year that its aspirations are peaceful.

In a BBC interview broadcast Tuesday, he also restated plans to pursue direct diplomacy with Tehran to encourage it set aside any ambitions for nuclear weapons it might harbor.

Iran has insisted its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity. But the U.S. and other Western governments accuse Tehran of seeking atomic weapons.

“What I do believe is that Iran has legitimate energy concerns, legitimate aspirations,” Obama said, adding that the international community also “has a very real interest” in preventing a nuclear arms race.

The president has indicated a willingness to seek deeper international sanctions against Tehran if it does not respond positively to U.S. attempts to open negotiations on its nuclear program. Obama has said Tehran has until the end of the year to show it wants to engage with Washington.

“Although I don’t want to put artificial time tables on that process, we do want to make sure that, by the end of this year, we’ve actually seen a serious process move forward. And I think that we can measure whether or not the Iranians are serious,” Obama said.

Obama’s interview offered a preview of a speech he is to deliver in Egypt this week, saying he hoped the address would warm relations between Americans and Muslims abroad.

“What we want to do is open a dialogue,” Obama told the BBC. “You know, there are misapprehensions about the West, on the part of the Muslim world. And, obviously, there are some big misapprehensions about the Muslim world when it comes to those of us in the West.”

Obama leaves in the evening on a trip to Egypt and Saudi Arabia aimed at reaching out to the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims. He is due to make his speech in Cairo on Thursday.

Obama sounded an optimistic note about making progress toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, although he offered no new ideas for how he might try to secure a freeze on new building of Israeli settlements. The United States has called for a freeze, but Israeli leaders have rejected that.

Asked what he would say during his visit about human rights abuses, including the detention of political prisoners in Egypt, Obama indicated no stern lecture would be forthcoming.

He said he hoped to deliver the message that democratic values are principles that “they can embrace and affirm.”

Obama added that there is a danger “when the United States, or any country, thinks that we can simply impose these values on another country with a different history and a different culture.”

via Obama says Iran’s energy concerns legitimate.

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