Connecting Some Middle East Dots

“So, be patient, perseverant, and stationed,” al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula commander Tariq Dhahab said in early January. “The Islāmic Caliphate is coming, with permission from Allah, and it  will be established, even if we sacrifice our own skulls, money, children and  homes.”

Calls for limiting freedom of expression to prevent denigrating attacks on Islam are being made at the United Nations. Foreign ministers from Algeria and Malaysia say such limits are needed after the violent demonstrations provoked by a video produced in the U.S. that mocks Muslims and the Prophet Muhammad.

Some two dozen people died in the violence, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, one of his staffers and two Navy SEALS.

The head of the U.N. Organization of Islāmic Cooperation says such offenses should be equated with hate speech. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of Islāmic Cooperation, says demonstrations throughout Muslim countries this month provoked by the video “Innocence of Muslims” underscores why legislation is needed.

Ihsanoglu said that while he strongly condemns the violence, a balance had to be struck between free speech and incitement adding that considering the reverence 1.5 billion Muslims have for their religion’s founder, any offense to the Prophet Muhammad’s character should be considered with the gravity given hate speech. His call echoed the views of other Islāmic scholars and leaders, who have urged the U.N. and international bodies to define global standards on religious expression and to help prevent incitement.

As leaders called for a ban on free-speech, hundreds of Libyans converged on a main square in Benghazi and another in Tripoli in response to a call from the military to hand over their weapons, including armored personnel carriers, tanks, vehicles with mounted anti-aircraft guns and hundreds of rocket launchers. The call by the Libyan chiefs of staff was first promoted on a private TV station in August.

It gained traction however in the wake of the attack against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The incident has been followed by a popular uproar against armed militias which have increasingly challenged government authorities.

In response, the government called on all militias to disband or join a command center coordinating between the army and the militias. The government had relied on many militias for security during the turmoil following last year’s ouster and murder of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The government previously estimated over 200,000 people in Libya are armed.

And while Libyan’s rally, Italy’s foreign minister says the option of an Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear facilities is a concrete possibility. Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said that added pressure on the Islāmic Republic from the European Union is expected in coming weeks, which could help jump start negotiations over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

The card of military intervention by Israel to hit Iranian nuclear sites…is certainly a card that is still on the table,” Terzi told The Associated Press. “I consider it an option of last resort.”

European nations are seeking to agree on a new round of sanctions against Iran at a meeting next month. Meanwhile, Iran insists its program is solely for peaceful energy and scientific research purposes.


Obama Defends Free Speech — But Not Really

President Obama spoke to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) saying, “That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.”

No Mr. President, it wasn’t the video – it was a terror attack perpetrated on the eleventh anniversary of the worse terror-attack committed on U.S. soil in the nation’s history. Let’s take a deeper look into the UMGA speech and the soundbites not being played by our national media.

The U.S. voted  for U.N. Resolution “16/18” against “religious intolerance,” “condemning the stereotyping, negative profiling and stigmatization of people based on their religion,” on December 19th, 2011. The U.N. “anti-blasphemy” resolution been voted on by the OIC in the Human Rights Councils every year since 1999 and in the General Assembly every year since 2005.

The Obama Administration brokered a compromise for the implementation allowing the measure to pass the U.N. General Assembly unanimously. The only example of interfaith dialogue mentioned in the resolution is in Saudi Arabia.

Said U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom Suzan Johnson Cook, “We must denounce offensive speech whenever we encounter it — but our commitment to universal principles makes clear that faith must never be a crime and religion must never be used as an excuse to stifle freedom of expression.”

The aim of the “anti- blasphemy” resolution is not to protect religion but to clamp down on freedom of expression.  Most Western democracies have voted against, seeing it as a threat to free speech.

Therefore. it wasn’t a surprise to hear President Obama tell the UN General Assembly, “It is time to marginalize those who — even when not directly resorting to violence — use hatred of America, or the West, or Israel, as the central organizing principle of politics. For that only gives cover, and sometimes makes an excuse, for those who do resort to violence.”

What is bothersome is the idea that he’s suddenly being hailed in the media as a defender of “free speech,” while wanting to “marginalize” those practicing free-speech, no matter how offensive, for doing so.

Creating a Emergency Survival Kit for You and your Family

It’s always a good idea to be prepared ahead of time in the event of an emergency or disaster. Hopefully it is something you will never need but it’s an excellent idea to be prepared and have supplies ready ahead of time.

We see, hear or read the news daily about fires storms, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, volcanic activity, etc. Just about every part of the U.S. as well as many other countries around the world is susceptible to natural disasters of some type.

Others are prone to human-caused disasters such as fire and vehicle-related. You just may want to take heed ahead of time and keep an emergency supply or survival kit nearby or close at hand.

And the do-it-yourself kind is the way to go. Let this checklist below be a guide for you. Print it out and keep it handy.

Use it to put together a kit for yourself and family. Feel free to customize it to your families own personal needs.

It is not necessary to spend a lot of money, and I would really NOT recommend buying the ready-made or pre-packed kits from a store. You can easily put together your own kit with better quality items.

A large number of these items can be found around the house if you look for them. Another idea, if you already own a vacuum-sealer (such as a Food Saver), you can even seal clothing to make sure they stay dry.

__ Water – at least 1 gallon per day / per person for approximately 3 to 7 days

__ Food – at least enough for approximately 3 to 7 days

__ non-perishable packaged or canned food

__ non-perishable packaged or canned juices

__ specialty foods for infants or the elderly (if applicable)

__ snack foods (chips, crackers, apples, oranges, energy bars, etc)

__ Utensils

__ non-electric can opener

__ cooking tools

__ portable camping stove and fuel

__ paper plates

__ plastic utensils

__ extra ziplock or sealable bags

__ extra garbage/trash bags (medium or large)

__ aluminum foil

__ twist ties, rubber bands, etc.

__ duct tape

__ bucket(s)

__ Swiss Army Knife / multi-purpose pocket knife

__ Lighter / Matches / Flint and Steel

__ Sleeping Gear

__ Blankets

__ Pillows

__ Sleeping Bags

__ Clothing – season appropriate

__ complete change of clothing (2-3 changes per person)

__ rain gear (if applicable)

__ sturdy shoes

__ First Aid Kit (new or fully stocked)

__ Medicines / Prescription Drugs (if applicable)

__ Specialty Items – for babies and the elderly (if applicable)

__ Toiletries / Hygiene items (include dental floss for multi-purpose use)

__ dental needs

__ hand sanitizer or moisture wipes

__ towels & washcloths

__ toilet paper

__ tissue paper

__ paper towels

__ Flashlight / Batteries

__ Portable Lantern

__ Light Sticks or Glow sticks

__ Radio – Hand-cranked or Battery operated + NOAA weather radio (if possible)

__ Phones

__ fully charged cell phone with extra battery

__ traditional (not cordless) telephone set

__ Cash (with some small bills)

__ Credit Cards – Keep in mind that Banks and ATM’s may not be available for extended periods

__ Keys

__ Toys, Books and Games (age appropriate)

__ paper, drawing pads, pencils, pens, crayons, etc.

__ Important Documents – in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag

__ Insurance information

__ Medical records

__ Bank account numbers

__ Social Security card

__ Drivers License/ID Card

__ Personal phone book of family, relatives, friends, work associates, etc.

__ Tools – you should keep a set in your vehicle

__ foldable shovel, axe, hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, etc.

__ rope

__ Vehicle Fuel Tanks Filled

__ Pet care items (if applicable)

__ proper identification / immunization records / medication

__ ample supply of food and water

__ a carrier or cage

__ muzzle and leash

The most important thing is to plan ahead and start assembling these items NOW!

Dig This, Would You?

The FBI plans to drill outside a suburban Detroit residence  in the search for Jimmy Hoffa, the labor strongman whose disappearance is one of the most notorious and mysterious in U.S. history.  A tipster says a body was buried at the spot in Roseville, Michigan, at around the same time the Teamsters boss disappeared in 1975, but did not claim it was Hoffa’s body.

Odd how the federal government is willing to drill for a dead union guy — but won’t drill for oil.

The Two Faces of Harry Reid

It began with Gregory A. Prince, a Mormon author and blogger, who wrote about GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney:

“His arrogant and out-of-hand dismissal of half the population of this country struck me at a visceral level, for it sullied the religion that he and I share — the religion for which five generations of my ancestry have lived and sacrificed, the religion whose official mantra is ‘to take care of the poor and needy throughout the world,'” Prince wrote. “My first impulse was to rent an airplane towing a banner: ‘Mitt Romney is Not the Face of Mormonism!'”

Prince, who claims he backed Romney in his Massachusetts gubernatorial bid and in his 2008 run for president, railed against Romney after a secretly recorded video appeared in which the candidate said 47 percent of Americans believe they are victims and entitled to government handouts.

When asked if he agreed with Prince, Senator Harry Reid, a Mormon himself, answered, “He said that Romney has sullied the religion that he, Prince and Romney share and he’s so disappointed that in his words, ‘It’s a good religion and he’s hiding from it.”

“I agree with him. Romney’s coming to a state where there are a lot of members of the LDS Church.” Reid continued, “They understand that he is not the face of Mormonism.”

Remember, facts like the truth are a tricky thing for the Democratic Senate Majority Leader.

During the 2012 Democratic National Convention the party adopted the following, “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay.”

Reid has yet to denounce this platform statement which isn’t in good standing with the Mormons church. In 1973, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement about abortion, which remains applicable today:

“The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.”

Who is more the face of the LDS Church and who isn’t couldn’t be clearer.

The Hypocracy of Hoffa

“Few of Romney’s billionaire backers make actual products – most simply siphon income from ordinary workers into their Swiss bank accounts.”

That’s the latest from International Brotherhood of Teamsters president, James Hoffa, writing in the Summer 2012 issue of the union magazine, “Teamster.” He’s really nothing more than a hypocrite.

He makes nothing and yet earns $362,869 and benefits annually. Furthermore his salary comes from the membership dues paid by those who actually labor day-in and day-out.

Mind you, the average 2012 American household’s income is $63,091 per year.

The Carson Mansion

William Carson situated his home in the heart of the city next to his lumber mill and the bay. From his cupola he could view commerce on the bay and check the happenings at his lumber mill to the north.

Constructed in 1884-85, for over $80,000 is a four-story, 18 room structure with a tower and basement, and one of the most photographed structures in the world.

Carson came from New Brunswick, Canada during the gold rush and tried mining along the Trinity River. By 1854 he was operating a lumber mill in Humboldt County.

In 1855 he shipped the first cargo of redwood lumber from Humboldt Bay to San Francisco, where before only spruce and fir timber had been shipped.  On April 17, 1863, Carson signed a partnership agreement with John Dolbeer which lasted for 87 years.

Dolbeer revolutionized the logging business with his mechanical talent. In 1881, he patented the “Dolbeer Steam Logging Donkey,” which modernized logging by replacing workers with machine power.

The Dolbeer and Carson Lumber Company prospered. They bought up some of the finest timberland, kept pace with the latest equipment, and they continued to prosper as logging methods and transportation improved.

By the 1890s, they owned several lumber mills, held an interest in the rail lines and in sailing vessels to insure the transport of their lumber. They incorporated the Eel River and Eureka Railroad Co. Helped build the Bucksport and Elk River Railroads and held interests in the Humboldt Northern Railroad.

The major destination for lumber was San Francisco, but they shipped all over the world. They had diverse holdings as well, including oil fields, the Humboldt Woolen Mills and Humboldt Shoe Factory.

Carson was one of the founders of Humboldt County Bank, Bank of Eureka, and the Savings Bank of Humboldt Co.  At his death, his fortune was estimated to be $20 million.

His will contained 116 beneficiaries, many company employees, as well as churches, hospitals and other community agencies.  The mansion was almost demolished when the last Carson heirs to live in the Mansion moved to San Francisco in the late 1940s.

Some Eureka businessmen decided to form a men’s club, and an option to buy the Carson property was obtained from the owners in October 1949. The deal was formally completed early in 1950 and the new club was named the Ingomar Club.