Sunday, 24 November 2013

Fwd: Thank You



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FreedomWorks

It's that time of the season, when we take a look at our lives and reflect on what we are thankful for.

Family, friends, liberty, and community – I'm thankful for all of these. I'm sure you are, too.

But if I and the rest of the FreedomWorks staff had to choose what we are most thankful for this year…it's YOU.

Our community wouldn't be the force it is without you.

YOU are the reason we're able to take on the Establishment in Washington. And YOU are the reason we're able to challenge the powerful lobbyists looking to cut special deals.

None of our victories this year would have happened without the dedication and support of patriots like you.

For all of your hard work, the staff at FreedomWorks wanted to give you a big THANK YOU this holiday season.

happy thanksgiving.jpg

This year, patriots like you have driven more than 3 million phone calls and messages to Congress. YOU made your voice heard. And more importantly: you made a difference.

It's because of your dedication to liberty and limited government that we stopped the war in Syria. It's because of you we came within twelve votes of defunding the NSA's unconstitutional spying – and next time, we'll win. And because of you, we had a real debate over ObamaCare. And now, America knows you and I were right. ObamaCare is imploding.

Right now, we have the progressives on the run. We were the ones who knew it would fail. And with your help, we will stop ObamaCare and take our country back.

FreedomWorks didn't do these things – YOU did.

We couldn't have done these things without you!

Your hard work is driving the narrative in Washington.

And for that, I am thankful.

In Liberty,

Matt Kibbe Signature

Matt Kibbe
President and CEO, FreedomWorks

P.S. Please enjoy the video.


400 North Capitol Street, NW Suite 765
Washington, DC 20001

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10 questions for Al Gore

I'm adding the link as there is a video and the comments are interesting.
http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/straighttalk/archives/2013/11/20131124-075856.html


LORRIE GOLDSTEIN

10 questions for Al Gore


  • 7:58 am, November 24th, 2013
 
LORRIE GOLDSTEIN - 10 questions for Al Gore

Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore speaks on saving the environment at the MaRS Discovery Centre on November 21. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne earlier announced her government's intention to ban coal-fired electricity generation stations in the province.

Credits: Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

LORRIE GOLDSTEIN | QMI AGENCY

Al Gore blew in and out of Toronto last week, praising Premier Kathleen Wynne for banning the use of coal to generate electricity in Ontario starting in 2014, and, as usual, refusing to take questions from the media.

Here are 10 questions I'd ask Al Gore:

(1) In 2009, you visited Toronto to praise former premier Dalton McGuinty for his Green Energy Act, describing it as "widely recognized now as the single best green energy program on the North American continent." What do you have to say in light of the December, 2011 report by the non-partisan Auditor General of Ontario that McGuinty wasted billions of public dollars on renewable energy by rushing into it with no business plan, no auditing of expenditures, and by ignoring the advice of his government's own energy experts on how to reduce costs?

EDITORIAL: Al Gore blesses Wynne's energy mess

(2) What do you have to say about the fact the McGuinty government's multi-billion-dollar deal with South Korea's Samsung corporation for wind and solar power, which it described as the crowning jewel of its green energy initiatives, was never put out to public tender?

(3) What do you have to say about the Auditor General's finding that McGuinty's claim his Green Energy Act would create 50,000 jobs over three years was a myth, and that the province would likely suffer a net job loss because of the higher cost of electricity, resulting from the massive public subsidies given to wind and solar power companies?

(4) McGuinty's Green Energy Act, the legislation you praised in 2009, took away the planning rights of local municipalities to have any say in the location of industrial wind turbines in their communities. Do you think taking away the rights of citizens to have any say about whether industrial wind turbines will be located in their communities is just?

(5) Earlier this year in an interview with the Globe and Mail you described Canada's development of the oil sands as the equivalent of treating the atmosphere like an "open sewer." What do you have to say about the findings of Canadian climate scientist and lead UN IPCC author Andrew Weaver, and his colleague Neal Swart, published in the journal Nature, that even if Canada developed all the commercially viable oil in the oilsands, global temperatures would rise by an insignificant 0.03 degrees?

(6) You constantly condemn coal, oil and natural gas companies for not caring about the planet, or about the existential threat you say man-made climate change poses to humanity.

And yet earlier this year you sold your Current TV network to Al Jazeera, which is backed by the oil and natural gas rich Arab emirate of Qatar, for $500 million, including a reported personal profit for you of $70 million.

How much did you actually make from this deal and weren't you being hypocritical by selling out to fossil fuel interests that you yourself condemn?

(7) Why, when you were vice-president of the United States, and campaigning globally for the Kyoto accord, did you and then president Bill Clinton, never make any attempt to have the U.S. ratify Kyoto, thus bringing it into force?

(8) Now that you're out of politics, you have repeatedly urged countries in the developed world like the U.S. and Canada to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of whether developing countries like China and India agree to do so.

Why then, when you were vice-president of the United States and actually in a position to show leadership in getting the U.S. to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions independently of the developing world, did you state publicly in 1997 that: "We will not submit (Kyoto) for ratification until there's meaningful participation by key developing nations"?

(9) While you preach energy austerity for others to save the planet from catastrophic man-made climate change, you personally live a luxurious, jet-setting, carbon dioxide-consuming lifestyle. You own multi-million-dollar homes and constantly jet around the world, leaving a huge carbon footprint on the planet compared to the average American or Canadian. Isn't telling others to "do as I say, not as I do," the classic definition of hypocrisy?

(10) Specifically on the issue of flying, Mr. Gore, isn't that according to your view one of worst things you can do to the planet? In that context, how did you get to Toronto today and how will you be leaving it?


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Fwd: Seven loopholes favoring a nuclear Iran in deal signed by the world powers








 

 

Seven loopholes favoring a nuclear Iran in deal signed by the world powers

 

 

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis November 24, 2013, 4:51 PM (IDT)

 

Iran has hundreds of these WMDs

The first preliminary nuclear deal the six world powers (US, Russia, China, UK, France and German) signed with Iran before dawn Sunday, Nov. 24, at the end of a four-day marathon, failed to address the most questionable aspects of Iran's nuclear program, i.e. its clandestine military dimensions. The accord confined itself to aspects of uranium enrichment and stockpiles. UN inspections were expanded – but not applied, for instance, to Iran's concealed nuclear sites - or even the Parchin military base where Iran is suspected of having tested nuclear-related explosions.

Israel, the Gulf States and others are therefore highly dubious of the deal's capacity for freezing Iran's nuclear program where it stands today, least of all roll it back, as President Barack Obama claimed.

debkafile's intelligence and military sources list seven of the most glaring loopholes in the first-step accord:
1. Parchin: This long-suspected facility remains out of UN oversight. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry boasted after the signing that daily IAEA inspections will take place at Fordo and Natanz. However, cameras are already fixed at both those facilities without an agreement, whereas Tehran's consistent denial of IAEA access to Parchin is not addrfessed.

2. Secret nuclear locations:  Under the heading "Possible Military Dimensions," the last IAEA report noted: "Since 2002, the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related organizations, including activities related to the development of a payload for a missile." 

The watchdog has received information indicating activities "relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device." This was further corroborated by new information obtained since November 2011.

Tehran's non-cooperation for investigating these findings is not mentioned in the Geneva interim accord, nor was it addressed in the negotiations.

3. Dirty bombs: Iran doesn't need a full-scale nuclear bomb or missile warhead for attacking Israel. For decades, Tehran has been working on perfecting hundreds of dirty bombs as part of its nuclear program, by adding plutonium or enriched uranium to conventional bombs. These weapons are easy to make and easy to use. In the hands of Hizballah or other Shiite terrorist organizations in Syria or Iraq, for instance, they could be used to strike Israel without leaving a trail to Tehran.
This peril too was ignored by the six powers in Geneva.
4. Rollback. While President Obama has presented the deal as a first step toward freezing or even rolling back "key aspects" of Iran's nuclear program. The fact remains that, so long as Iran is permitted to enrich uranium, even though this is restricted to a low 5 percent grade, it is free to produce as much fissile material as it wants, whenever it wants. This seems more like roll forward than roll back.

5. Enrichment. Obama and Kerry said the new deal does not recognize Iran's right to enrich uranium. They were contradicted by the Iranian president and senior negotiator as well as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. So what is the truth? If Iran won recognition for this right, it blows the bottom out of the Non-Proliferating Treaty because, in no time, all the signatories may start enriching uranium with permission from the big powers. Neither is there any point in making Iran join the NPT's Additional Protocol for snap inspections.

6. Centrifuges. Iran has undertaken not to add new centrifuges to its enrichment facilities, according to President Obama, but there is nothing to stop it from keeping up their production. In the six-month interregnum for negotiating a comprehensive nuclear deal, Tehran wins time to turn out enough centrifuges to substantially expand its production of enriched uranium.

9. A leap to breakout:  Far from being static or in freeze, as the Americans claim, Iran is free to step up centrifuge production and boost its stock of 3.5 percent enriched uranium, thereby accumulating enough material to enhance its capacity for producing enough weapons-grade uranium to break through to a nuclear bomb rapidly enough to defy detection by the IAEA or Western intelligence until it is too late.
 

The first loophole appeared hours after the new accord was signed: 
Iran's lead negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi, announced that his country's enrichment rights had been recognized in the negotiations, after which Iranian President Hassan Rouhani praised the supreme leader's guidelines for achieving world power recognition of Tehran's "nuclear rights."

However, Secretary of State John Kerry in his first appearance after the signing denied this concession had been made. He said: "The first step, let me be clear, does not say that Iran has a right to enrich uranium."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lined up solidly behind the Iranian version of the accord, confirming world recognition had been extended for Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy, including the right for enrichment.

Out of step with the celebratory mood in Geneva and Washington, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that the deal would not impede Iran's capacity to gain a nuclear weapon. He challenged President Obama's words that the deal was a historic achievement and called it a historic mistake, which would not obligate Israel. Israel, he said stood by its right to self defense against a regime dedicated to its destruction. As prime minister, Netanyahu pledged not to allow Iran to procure a nuclear weapon.
President Obama also announced that key aspects of Iran's nuclear program will be "rolled back" against limited sanctions relief and the release of deposits (nettng Iran $6-7 billion in revenue.) He said that no new centrifuges would be activated for the enrichment process, work would stop at the Arak heavy water reactor and UN inspections expanded to daily visits at the Natanz and Fordo enrichment plants to ensure that uranium is not enriched above the 5 percent permitted by the accord.

The core sanctions architecture will remain in place, Obama promised, pending a comprehensive solution to be negotiated in the next six months, but no new sanctions would be imposed.
Lavrov summed up the four-day conference by saying: "Considering the whole body of circumstance, there are no losers [in the Geneva deal], all sides are winners" -   a view seriously challenged by Israel, Saudi Arabia and most other Middle East governments.

 



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Fwd: "Freedom of Expression is Western Terrorism."









 

Oh, those Tender Muslim Feelings!

 

"Freedom of Expression is Western Terrorism."   That's right  –  from the tres-twisted perspective of the muslim believers, expressing your opinion, via the written or spoken word (or a cartoon or film) is equivalent to blowing up a busload of infidel commuters, or flying a jetliner into a skyscraper full of innocent people.

 

This analogy seems a little out of whack, to say the least….until you consider that Muslim feelings are very, very sensitive.  We're talking Princess and the Pea sensitive.  In fact, Muslim feelings are so sensitive that if, for instance, you were to suggest to the average Allah junkie that Muhammad was a narcissistic con man who pulled off a colossal fraud at the expense of 1.5 billion credulous dupes….well, you might as well be sticking bamboo splinters under his fingernails.  It's that painful for him.

 

Why are they so sensitive?  I think there are several explanations for this  –  all of which can come into play when Muslims throw their violent temper tantrums.

 

1)  The devout Muslim's inherent disdain for infidels. 

The central theme that keeps appearing in the Koran and the hadiths books (words and deeds of Mohammed), over and over again, is the idea that those who reject Islam are godless kafirs who are despised by Allah.  And the True Believer, taking his cue from Allah, also friggin' hates kafirs.  Hates, hates, hates 'em.  So he doesn't want to hear any shit regarding his precious religion from those evil, fornicating, soon-to-be-roasting-in-hell kafir bastards.  (Who, we might add, he hates.)

 

The general consensus seems to be that most devout Muslims really cannot fathom how any decent person could choose to reject Islam.  The brainwashing in Muslim cultures is so thorough that devotees often come to the conclusion that anyone who passes on the opportunity to embrace Islam must be doing it out of pure spite  –  a spite directed at Allah himself.  This makes the infidel an object of disgust for the True Believers, whose worldview is very much an Us vs.Them arrangement.  (The "House of Islam" vs. the "House of War", in the Muslim parlance.)  So, you're off to a bad start with them, even before you start dissing their bat-shit religion.

Don't forget that according to many authentic hadiths (words and deeds of Mohammed sacred books), the prophet of islam himself use to murder his opponents and criticizers; So muslims have the obligation to take him as the highest moral example to them, and emulate him in everything to this day, that's considered a "sunna" (one of the tenants of islam) is to do as Mohammed use to do exactly.

2)  Souls are on the line! 

Another reason for Ahmed's sensitivity to religious criticism is the "fact" that any Muslim who's led astray by smart-alecky infidels will miss out on all that hot sex action in Paradise.  For many Western men, one brief three-way is the dream of a lifetime  –  but Ahmed has earnest hopes for a seventy-three-way that lasts for eternity.  (Prudish Christian puppet-masters take note: this is how you motivate the fellas!)  In fact, missing out on the Seventy-Two Virgins Buffet makes burning in hell seem a little redundant, IMO.  Bottom line for Ahmed: reason and skepticism (or rival superstitions) will cause you some serious regrets in the afterlife.  Therefore, it's really important that he be insulated from the critical thinking (and religious fantasies) of outsiders.  Anything that might cause him to think twice about his belief system must be brutally and energetically suppressed.  Because, after all….seventy-two? That's a lot of cha-cha!

3)  The more obvious the fraud, the more violently it must be defended. 

I think that, on a conscious level, the vast majority of Muslims believe their religion to be the genuine article  –  a gift from Allah (the islamic God) himself, to anyone who's sensible and pure-hearted enough to accept it.  As I've said, the brainwashing tends to be  pretty thorough.

 

However….there's the stuff we tell ourselves, over and over, when we're awake and coherent and trying to keep our cozy worldview intact….and then there are those niggling little ideas that sneak up on us now and then, to torment us by calling that worldview into question.  That's the devil talkin', as some would have it.  Others might suggest that those pesky doubts, when they come to religious folk, are what's left of a person's rational mind, trying desperately to save itself from the brain-numbing effects of superstition and blind faith.

 

Because their brains have been more thoroughly pickled by Magic Thinking than the average 21st Century Unitarian, devout Muslims are more immune to the religious skepticism that results from rational thought.  But they are still human, after all!  (He said charitably.)  So surely, on some level, some Muslims must realize that their religion's truth-claims seem a little…iffy.  Therefore Islam requires the sort of violent, hair-trigger response we often see, in order to survive its frequent collisions with reality.

 

The problem, for any True Believer who still has a few functioning brain cells rattling around in his superstition-besotted noggin, is that his religion has "Man-Made" stamped all over it.  The self-serving chicanery of the prophet Muhammad was pretty obvious to any ten-year-old who was paying attention.  Even his child-bride, Aisha, commented on it.  Perhaps only the father of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, was a more obvious fraud  –  and only by a slight margin.  So some of the better-informed Muslims must be secretly wrestling with doubt, which expresses itself in rage whenever outsiders show a lack of respect for their rickety ideology.

4)  Being a Muslim costs you. 

I think it's likely that Muslim intolerance for criticism is heightened by the fact that they give up a lot to be part of that system.  They've got a lot invested in the franchise, so they want to see it prosper.  Ahmed is part of the most sexually-repressed culture on earth.  He can't even get a good look at a Muslim girl who's past the age of puberty, much less touch her.  His societies are among the poorest in the world (unless they're sitting on oil).  They're hopelessly out of step with the modern world.  And they tend to be joyless hell-holes, full of sullen, violence-prone pricks like himself.  Therefore, his religion, which creates this culture and these grim circumstances, had damn sure better be true.  It had damn well better be his ticket to Paradise.  I think that, on the whole, Ahmed actually does believe his religion to be the Real Deal; but he doesn't want to hear anyone suggest otherwise, because he can't even entertain that possibility.  He's got too much riding on his cosmological bet.  So there's a little tension there, in other words.

 

But the primary reason for all of the rioting and rampaging and hysteria…

 

5)  Muslim outrage is so effective! 

Aside from these ideological and psychological factors, it's obvious that Muslims use their extreme "sensitivity" in a calculated effort to silence criticism.  They've learned that if they react to criticism by protesting and rioting like a bunch of violent, infantile brats  –  maybe burning down an embassy or two, and murdering a few infidels, the politically-correct establishment types in the West will do everything in their power to discourage the "offensive" remarks, or cartoons, books, or films. Western politicians and religious leaders will line up to condemn the "hurtful" statements regarding the Religion of Peace.  Freedom of speech be damned.  "Muslim feelings" and "community cohesion" trump all.

On one level, this site is my way of telling angry Muslims that they can damn well piss off!  –  because, at this point, some of us really don't give a damn if they're insulted.  Islam itself is deeply insulting, to all decent, progressive-minded people.  Islam is a problem that needs to be dealt with, publicly and honestly. Polite silence will not get the job done.  So the childish, tantrum-throwing, hypersensitive types need to just shut the hell up for five minutes, and let the grown-ups do some talking.

 

Sorry to be so insensitive and all.  But, in the real world, there are other things that actually matter, besides the god-damn precious feelings of Muslims.  It matters that their religion is a black hole of moral depravity, masquerading as something holy.  It matters that Muslim women are still treated like chattel in the 21st Century.  It matters that Islam motivates terrorists and assassins around the world.  And it really matters that the forces of Islam are steadily eroding the core freedoms that form the backbone of the civilized world  –  free speech and freedom of the press.

 

Providing further proof that the only honest Muslim (regarding the subject of Islam, anyway) is a former Muslim, Ibn Warraq, author of Why I Am Not a Muslim, said the following in response to the Fitna fiore: "It is perverse for the western media to lament the lack of an Islamic reformation and willfully ignore works such as (Geert) Wilders' film, Fitna.  How do they think reformation will come about if not with criticism? There is no such right as 'the right not to be offended'; indeed, I am deeply offended by the contents of the Koran, with its overt hatred of Christians, Jews, apostates, non-believers, homosexuals but cannot demand its suppression."  (Overwrought bold italics are mine.)

 

Muslims will just have to get used to infidels talking smack about their stupid religion, because their efforts to silence their critics have recently begun to backfire on them.  (In some places, anyway.)  People are getting tired of having their essential liberties threatened by a pack of angry, bearded zealots whom time and enlightenment have passed by.  And those people are starting to push back.  Let's hope this nascent trend continues.

 

Better still, let's all do our part to make sure that it does.



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Fwd: Iran Nuke Deal








Attached.

 



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Fwd: Posters








 

Posters

 


 

 


 



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Uhm.....

That's Three In A Row!  (Albeit we're still "Eight Dash Three"!)
 
Flag's Up! 
 

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Peace Breaks Out...Neocons Weep


Peace Breaks Out...Neocons Weep
Sunday November 24, 2013

A peaceful agreement has been reached between the P5+1 nations and Iran. As expected, the bomb-dropping idea peddlers are crying like babies:

Daniel Pipes calls peace a disaster: "Barack Obama has made many foreign policy errors in the past five years, but this is the first to rank as a disaster."

Jennifer Rubin hopes Israel can still find a way to bomb: "Admin needs to reaffirm final deal will comply fully with UN resolutions. If not Israel should act".

Michael Ledeen is not losing hope for war either: "this might make war more possible, life is full of surprises."

Michael Rubin grabs for the North Korean Bogeyman: "Iran deal risks creating another North Korea."

Jeffrey Goldberg takes a ride in the spin machine: "This is, if nothing else, an interim victory for tough sanctions."

Jonathan Tobin plays monday morning quarterback, and wishes Obama would've chose differently: "Everyone knows that the sanctions are hurting, but if Iran's oil trade was subjected to a complete embargo...Tehran could have been brought to its knees."

In the final analysis, neocon ideas have ruined so many lives around the Earth it's hard to even wrap your mind around it. They've greatly contributed to bringing about the financial bankruptcy of the US, have encouraged so much hatred around the world by getting involved in everyone's business, have left entire countries in total ruin, and have stuck the bills to all of us to pay.

If neocons are crying about not getting another war, it means things are going in the right direction for a change. Not attacking Syria was the first good step, and a (even if temporary) rapprochement with Iran provides another step. One more, and we can call this a trend, which is very good news indeed.


http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2013/november/24/peace-breaks-outneocons-weep.aspx

Fwd: Kerry’s Deal With The Devils









 

http://rabidrepublicanblog.com/2013/11/24/kerrys-deal-with-the-devils/

Kerry's Deal With The Devils

Posted November 24th, 2013 by ironmike

A lifetime of self-infatuation and visions of grandeur made him the perfect pawn in the Iranian chess game.
Sellout
In a bold and thoughtless stroke [because he SO wants a
Nobel Peace Prize] – Kerry and Obama have sold out our allies Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. The Persians will get their bombs! They will use them.

Jan 2008  Kerry Endorses Obama

Back in January 2008 – Kerry was the first prominent Democrat to endorse Barack Obama over Hillary – then the presumptive heir-apparent.  He thought his reward would be either SecDef or SecState

He got neither – and had to sit quietly squirming while Hillary made a botch of Fast & Furious,  Benghazi,  and the 'Russian reset button'.

Now it's his turn, and he's determined to play center stage – upstaging Hillary and even Obama,  to position himself for another White House run in 2016.  

He will sell anybody and everybody out to make it happen.  The proof is in the treaty which will become known as the 'Geneva Sellout'!  Allegedly effective for only six months – that's probably all the Iranians think they need to finish building a half-dozen bombs.

Treaties like this always come with dozens of little-known side agreements. This is a LOT like Pelosi saying "You have to vote for it to find out what is in it".

One thing for sure,  the Saudis will not sit idly by and watch their arch-enemies build atomic bombs.  Pakistan – always looking for an easy buck – will gladly sell them a dozen.  The Chinese might too…particularly for a guaranteed supply of oil.

Why would Obama and the Senate Dems go along with this charade?

Because they're up to their eyeballs in the cesspool called ObamaCare – and they need a distractionANY distraction – ANYTHING they can call 'a success'!

Watch the media heap laurels upon them….

Well America, – your idiot citizens voted for 'Change' – twice!  This is your change!  Enjoy!
Iranian bomb



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Karzai intends to press showdown with Obama over security pact









http://tinyurl.com/phspdqu

Karzai intends to press showdown with Obama over security pact, aide says

By Tim Craig and Karen DeYoung, Published: November 23

KABUL — Afghan President Hamid Karzai will continue to defy U.S. threats to walk away from a security agreement between the two countries and plans to reiterate in a speech to a grand council Sunday that he will not sign it before spring, his spokesman said Saturday.

"They have waited this long, they can certainly wait five more months," spokesman Aimal Faizi said Saturday of the Americans. The Obama administration has characterized the deal, whose terms Karzai had agreed to last week, as a "final offer" that must be completed by the end of this year.

Karzai appears certain that the administration is bluffing, saying through the spokesman that he does not believe the United States will resort to the "zero option" of canceling plans to leave a residual troop force here to train the Afghan military and continue counterter­rorism operations after it withdraws its combat forces in December 2014.

But the administration, for its part, has also thought that Karzai would change his tune after opening the assembly of more than 2,500 tribal elders and other leaders, called a loya jirga, on Thursday with a speech vowing to delay finalizing the deal until after Afghanistan's presidential election in April.

The tension has escalated into a remarkable stare-down between two leaders who say they want the same thing — U.S. troops providing long-term training and support for the Afghan military — but find themselves on the brink of walking away from that partnership.

"The core of the issue," Faizi said, is a "lack of trust" between the two governments.

As the elaborate game of diplomatic chicken neared a climax, the Obama administration was publicly silent Saturday, while continuing talks in private.

U.S. officials in Washington said they were heartened by statements coming out of the loya jirga, where some members seemed to "understand the importance of signing sooner rather than later," a senior administration official who was not authorized to discuss the tense situation said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The officials pointed in particular to a statement Saturday by Sebghattulah Mojaddidi, the chairman of the loya jirga, who told Afghanistan's Tolonews that he hopes Karzai will avoid a showdown with the Americans over the timetable, saying it would harm Afghanistan. "If the U.S. has accepted our terms, then we should not delay," Mojaddidi said.

But some jirga members have spoken out in opposition to particular portions of the deal, including a grant of immunity from Afghan legal prosecution for U.S. troops.

In recent days, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have signaled that the administration has little patience for a continued delay or for any substantive ­changes in the document. Faizi described a phone conversation Friday between Karzai and Kerry as "friendly but tense" and said that Kerry had threatened a complete withdrawal.

Administration officials consider the signing date to be non­­negotiable, citing the need for at least a year to plan future deployments and to allow coalition partners, including Germany and Italy, to plan for a residual troop presence that they have offered.

Having drawn a line in the sand after a year of negotiations, the administration is also highly reluctant to suffer a repeat of the diplomatic embarrassment that ensued when a similar deal with Iraq went to the wire before ending with a total U.S. military withdrawal at the end of 2011.

While U.S. officials have publicly portrayed the current draft agreement as written in stone, officials said the administration is willing to consider small ­changes based on loya jirga concerns, if that will move the assembly to press Karzai to sign.

Faizi said Saturday that Karzai is also seeking additional "guarantees" that the administration won't interfere in the coming elections, that it will help stabilize security in Afghanistan and that remaining U.S. forces won't abuse their power to enter the homes of Afghans.

"There should be flexibility on two sides," he said.

Meanwhile, outside the confines of the jirga, fresh tension arose between the two governments for a second consecutive day over the deaths of two Afghans last week.

On Friday, Karzai accused U.S. troops of killing the two men, whom he described as civilians, in an operation in the eastern province of Nangahar. Coalition military commanders responded with outrage, saying the men were "armed insurgents."

"It's really unfortunate some people are using allegations of civilian casualties for political purposes," said a senior coalition official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter freely. The official, who noted that the mission in question was led by 100 Afghan soldiers but included 17 coalition advisers, said Karzai's remarks were "complicating" efforts to maintain U.S. military support for the security agreement.

But Faizi said Saturday that Karzai stands by his initial statement about the incident, adding that the governor and residents of Nangahar are furious. "Bad behavior happened," Faizi said.

The incident is giving Karzai cover to express other long-standing grievances with the United States, most notably a lingering suspicion that the administration supported his opponent during his 2009 reelection campaign.

Faizi said repeatedly that Karzai wants to postpone a final decision on the security agreement as leverage for ensuring that the United States both stays out of and helps secure the upcoming Afghan elections.

"The United States can make sure there is no interference in the Afghan elections as there was in the past presidential" race, Faizi said.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-led coalition is also facing a headache in neighboring Pakistan over continuing drone strikes on its territory.

Imran Khan, the political leader of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, led a day-long protest near the city of Peshawar against NATO convoys that travel through the region to and from landlocked Afghanistan.

On Sunday, workers affiliated with Khan's Movement for Justice party plan to escalate the demonstration by placing shipping containers and other barriers on NATO convoy routes. The blockade will last indefinitely, party officials said, despite calls for restraint from Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

 



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Winning student essay, "Sharia Law: No Place in Europe"

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No place in America either, but it continues to creep in. via One Law For All UK One Law For All and the Lawyers' Secular Society are pleased to announce the winner of our student research competition on the subject of sharia law. The winning essay, "Sharia Law: No Place in Europe", was written by […]

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