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Hagee Vs Hagel; Christian Conservatives Mobilizing Against Hagel

CUFI role in Hagel opposition shows conservatives’ resolve to stop confirmation

By Ron Kampeas · January 29, 2013

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Chuck Hagel has made strides in his bid to secure Senate confirmation as defense secretary, winning the endorsement of leading Jewish Democratic senators and meeting with the leaders of major American Jewish groups.

But conservative pro-Israel opposition remains fierce, bolstered by the pivotal role being played by Christians United For Israel, the Texas-based group founded by Pastor John Hagee.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the first senator to come out against Hagel’s nomination, did so at Hagee’s behest, both men revealed on Monday.

CUFI’s affiliated Action Fund also has rallied hundreds of Christian pastors and leaders to Washington this week to lobby against the former Nebraska senator’s bid to succeed Leon Panetta.



White House On Offensive To Get Hagel As Defense Secretary

By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON | Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:26pm EST

(Reuters) - As Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the Pentagon, prepared to meet with senior New York Senator Chuck Schumer in mid-January, the White House stepped in and ensured that the get-together would take place quickly - and in the West Wing.

Some of the loudest objections to Obama's choice of Hagel for secretary of defense stemmed from lawmakers' concerns about his past comments on Israel and Iran.

And with Schumer, the leading Jewish Democrat in Congress, among those expressing doubts, the administration wanted to make absolutely clear that it expected his support. Hosting the meeting in the White House wing housing the president's official offices was a symbol of its importance to the administration.

The West Wing session - followed by Schumer's effusive endorsement of Hagel - was part of an all-out offensive Obama's White House has launched to secure Hagel's nomination, administration officials and congressional aides said. The campaign has included a Pentagon task force, hours of meetings and, at times, some judicious direct intervention.



WeFightBack: Activists Confront Pro-Israel Rally At University of New Orleans

Jacob Flom | We Fight Back | January 29, 2013
New Orleans, LA – Students and community members confronted a pro-Israel rally titled “Declare Your Freedom” at the University of New Orleans (UNO) on Jan. 28. The event featured right-wing Zionist and notoriously anti-Arab speaker Daniel Pipes. About 30 young people were bused to the campus to support the Zionist rally.

But about two dozen UNO students and members of the General Union of Palestinian Students at UNO, joined by the community group Palestine Solidarity Committee, also showed up. These protesters staged a silent walk-out in the middle of the event, some holding signs. As they walked out en masse, they were joined by many others who were upset by anti-Arab and anti-gay marriage comments from the rally’s speakers.

“The way they promoted it I found it a bit hateful,” said Maiadah Bader, a Palestinian UNO student, “they were trying to instigate us but we held our ground.”

“The rally was a mousetrap set up to incite a provocation from us,” said Palestine Solidarity Committee member Olga Rocheeva, “They were photographing protesters up close trying to provoke a response, in a political climate where Arabs and Muslims are facing repression.”



Report: Meshal Says Hamas Accepts A Two-State Solution

Khaled Meshal, head of the Syrian branch of Hamas’ political bureau, has reportedly accepted the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has authorized King Abdullah of Jordan to convey the message on his behalf to U.S. President Barack Obama. His new stance marks a dramatic shift in Hamas' position on the long-standing conflict.

The revelation comes according to a report in the Saudi newspaper "Al-Sharq," which cited Jordanian sources, who said Meshal accepted the idea during a meeting this week with the Jordanian king.

The meeting is also said to have covered Palestinian reconciliation and relations with Jordan. So far neither Hamas nor Jordan has officially verified the Saudi report, but Meshal’s public statement after the meeting, in which he said, “Jordan is Jordan, and Palestine is Palestine, and any talks about relations between a Palestinian state and Jordan will only be held after the establishment of a Palestinian state,” more than hint at an essential change in Hamas’ position.

To date, Hamas has rejected the two-state solution, although it welcomed the Arab peace initiative whose core was the existence of two states based on the 1967 borders. In the past, however, Meshal has stressed that the 1967 borders are only a first step in the ultimate liberation of all of Palestine. This change in position is an extension of a previous shift in orientation in which Hamas, after fierce opposition, decided to support Mahmoud Abbas’ effort to gain international acceptance of Palestine as a non-member observer nation in the United Nations.



Number Of Israelis Updating Gas Masks Nearly Triples

Published: 01.30.13, 11:46 / Israel News

The defense establishment's concerns about the potential threat of chemical weapons from Syria and Hezbollah has not gone unnoticed by the Israeli public.

The Israel Postal Serivce reported Wednesday that more Israelis are updating their gas masks and ABC kits. In fact, the number of Israelis changing their nonconventional warfare protection kits has nearly tripled over the past month.

The public demand can be attributed to recent upheaval in Syria and the alarming possibility that the regime's arsenal of nonconventional weapons may find its way to Hezbollah, as was implied by IAF Chief Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel Tuesday. "Syria is undergoing tectonic changes. Given its massive arsenals, Israel may find itself dealing with nonconventional weapons on its borders," Eshel said.



Little-Known Database Sells Millions Of Americans’ Salary Information To Debt Collectors

The credit reporting agency Equifax has created a little-known database that uses employment records, often given freely by human resources departments around the country, to track detailed information on millions of Americans’ pay history, in effect leading employers to help debt collectors extract money from their workforce.

An Equifax subsidiary called The Work Number, according to an investigative report at MSNBC, is often used by larger companies to automate employee work information calls, giving the firm access to human resources data.

Using that business model they obtain as much employment-related information possible and sell it to debt collectors and other financial companies, among various ways of monetizing that data. Up to one-third of all Americans are in the database, MSNBC noted.

These kinds of companies operate in a legal gray area, with very few regulations governing how the information they obtain is ultimately used. Equifax told MSNBC that it requires companies have legitimate reason to access the information, like if a consumer has applied for credit, all ostensibly in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.



Political insider: Four more years? Snyder hints at re-election bid From The Detroit News: http://w

Entering his third year in office, Gov. Rick Snyder has not declared affirmatively he'll seek re-election in 2014.

But he sure is dropping hints he wants to stick around for a full eight years, as permitted by the constitution.

In a letter recently sent to GOP rank and file members endorsing Bobby Schostak for another two years as state party chairman, Snyder said he will be "taking a more active role in helping our party achieve success in 2014, as I did in 2010."

"We can do great things, together," Snyder wrote, adding, "Remember what we achieved in just the first two years. Just imagine what we can achieve in the next six."

Snyder said it: Six more years.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130117/POLITICS02/301170370#ixzz2JQf4nsyR

Bad News For Vegetarians: Study Finds Leafy Greens Cause Most Food Poisoning

One may wish to bypass the salad at their next meal thanks to a new study on food poisoning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released their study Tuesday that found leafy green vegetables are the leading source of bacteria that causes food poisoning.

The study analyzed cases of food poisoning from 1998 through 2008 to identify which foods carry the most germs that cause illness.

No other study by the agency to date has been so comprehensive in its attempt to find risky foods.



Diane Hathaway, Ex-Michigan Supreme Court Justice, Pleads Guilty To Bank Fraud

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A former Michigan Supreme Court justice pleaded guilty to bank fraud Tuesday for concealing assets, including a Florida home she and her husband owned, while urging a bank to let her unload a Michigan house in a short sale, claiming financial hardship.

Diane Hathaway could face up to 18 months in prison under the terms of her deal with federal prosecutors. But her attorney, Steve Fishman, said after the hearing that he will ask a judge to sentence her to probation.

Hathaway, 58, who resigned from the state's highest court last week, left the courthouse without commenting. U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara had allowed her to answer "yes" to a series of questions about her misdeeds that were read by Fishman.

Hathaway quit the court on Jan. 21, halfway through an eight-year term. Gov. Rick Snyder has yet to name her replacement, but the new justice will expand the Republican majority to 5-2, at least through 2014.



Thanks a fucking lot, Diane!

Hagel Supports Nuclear Arms Cuts, Then Elimination

WASHINGTON — Chuck Hagel, the likely next secretary of defense, would be the first to enter the Pentagon as a public advocate for sharply reducing the number of U.S. nuclear weapons, possibly without equivalent cuts by Russia. He supports an international movement called Global Zero that favors eliminating all nuclear weapons.

That puts him outside the orthodoxy embraced by many of his fellow Republicans but inside a widening circle of national security thinkers — including President Barack Obama — who believe nuclear weapons are becoming more a liability than an asset, less relevant to 21st century security threats like terrorism.

"Sen. Hagel certainly would bring to office a more ambitious view on nuclear reductions than his predecessors," said Steven Pifer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "While he would likely take a less dramatic position in office, it might not be a bad thing to have a secretary of defense question what nuclear deterrence requires today."

The customary stance of defense secretaries in the nuclear age has been that the weapons are a necessary evil, a required ingredient in American defense strategy that can be discarded only at the nation's peril.


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