publishedmedium:the huffington post

  • Iran could seize on new sanctions bill to drive wedge between Israel lobby, U.S. public -
    Haaretz
    By Chemi Shalev | Dec. 29, 2013
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.565980

    The Huffington Post headline “Saboteur Sen. Launching War Push” on December 19 and the enraged Jewish reactions to it escaped intense scrutiny because of end-of-the-year vacations and the media’s need to sum up 2013.   The incendiary headline, however, should serve as a shot across the bow, intended or not, about the malevolent maelstrom that could engulf the American Jewish establishment in the wake of its unequivocal and nearly unanimous support for new sanctions on Iran. 

    Under the headline, in the middle of the homepage of the most-widely read news site in the world, was a picture of New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one of the main sponsors of the proposed Nuclear Iran Prevention Bill 2013. He was speaking from a podium, behind a lectern on which the name and emblem of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC was boldly displayed.

    The message couldn’t be clearer: Menendez was a warmonger. And the people backing him, inspiring him and/or pushing him belonged to AIPAC and the pro-Israel community.

    Jewish reactions were fast and furious: David Harris of the American Jewish Committee was “appalled” by the “shameful attack” on Menendez. The Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman wrote in a letter to the editor published on the Huffington Post website that the photo of Menendez speaking at an AIPAC event “implies that he was trying to ‘sabotage’ the administration’s efforts on Iran for reasons related to Israel under pressure from American Jews. We are shocked that a version of the anti-Semitic theme that ‘Jews manipulate the U.S. Government’ was boldly featured on your site.”

    Foxman also disputed the basic premise of the disputed headline:  “We and many in the U.S. and around the world believe that setting the table now for future sanctions against Iran that would kick in if diplomacy fails to achieve a nuclear accord will enhance the likelihood for reaching that agreement without the need for military action.”

    This is not the view of the Administration, which has warned with varying degrees of insistence and alarm that the sanctions bill could derail nuclear talks with Iran and thus, inevitably, increase the chances of a military confrontation. American Jewish leaders privately  go so far as to suspect that the inspiration for the kind of incendiary headline that Huffington Post chose was the direct result of background briefings and prodding by Administration officials.

    Whether it was or it wasn’t, it is the kind of insinuation that Jewish groups should be bracing for, many times over, as the battle over the sanctions bill is bound to escalate as soon as the 113th Congress reconvenes for its Second Session next week.  Given that all of the major Jewish groups - with the exception of J-Street -  have spoken out publicly and unequivocally in support of a position that is so staunchly rejected by the Administration, the stage is being set for a showdown that more than justifies comparisons to similar face-offs in the past, including the 1981 skirmish with the Reagan Administration over the sale of early-warning AWACS aircraft to Saudi Arabia and the 1991 clash with George H Bush over settlements and loan guarantees.

    The pro- Israel lobby lost both of those campaigns, but those defeats didn’t kill it – they only made the lobby stronger. As JJ Goldberg recounts in his book “Jewish Power” the campaign against the AWACS sale galvanized the Jews, consolidated AIPAC’s standing in Washington and convinced the Reagan Administration that it was a force to be reckoned with and, if possible, enlisted on the Administration’s side. In 1992, the loan guarantees for Soviet immigrant absorption remained frozen until Yitzhak Rabin replaced Yitzhak Shamir as Israeli prime minister, but George Bush went on to lose the November elections, thus creating the unspoken myth that even a president could pay with his job if he tangled too strongly with those powerful Jews and their allies.

    Win or lose, however, there is one stark difference between those two renowned altercations and the current situation vis-a-vis Iran: U.S. public opinion couldn’t care less about AWACS and loan guarantees, one way or another, but a military engagement with Iran is something that the American people worry about, and largely - and sometimes vehemently - oppose. A campaign in support of the Senate’s Iran sanctions bill could pit the Jewish establishment not only against the Administration, but also put it on a dangerous collision course with large segments of US public opinion, mostly on the left, and with the American media as well.

    But even that altercation would pale in comparison to the unprecedented and untenable situation that the Jewish leadership might find itself in if the Administration loses the sanctions fight, despite a presidential veto, and if its worst case scenarios of  an Iranian walkout and an escalation in military tensions are borne out.

    Supporters of sanctions, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Jewish groups that support the current Senate bill, maintain that Iran has its back against a wall of economic hardships  created by the current sanctions and that the threat  of even more sanctions  would only increase Tehran’s willingness to make nuclear concessions.

    There are those - including the editors of the Huffington Post, evidently - who view this line of reasoning as disingenuous and its proponents as seeking to lead the US to a military confrontation. But even if one ignores such skepticism, supporters of the sanctions bill cannot rule out the possibility that the Iranian regime will either feel compelled to break off talks because of internal pressure by Iranian hardliners, or might even view a new sanctions bill as a unique opportunity to drive a huge wedge between Israel and its lobby, on the one hand, and the Administration and large parts of the American public on the other.

    After all, the Administration is already coming close to claiming that legislation of new sanctions, even if they are conditional and set to kick in only in the future, is tantamount to a violation of the November 24 interim nuclear accord signed in Geneva. Iran might very well decide to break off talks, to pin the blame on Congress and the Jews, to cite the Administration’s own statements as corroborating evidence and to leave the P5+1 countries, their politicians and their publics to bicker and recriminate among themselves.

    Some people might compare this situation to the 2003 Iraq War, in which Israel and right-wing American Jews were also accused of pushing America to war. In that case, however, the war enjoyed sizeable public support, at least at the outset, Israel and organized Jewry played only a minor public role in prodding the Administration to act and the Administration itself had no history of suspicion and ill will with Israel or its supporters and no interest in pinning the blame on either.

    Iran, it should be clear, is no Iraq, in any way, shape or form. Whatever one’s view of the Iranian talks and of the wisdom of new sanctions legislation, it would be foolhardy to ignore the precarious predicament that U.S. Jews may soon find themselves in - one in which headlines alluding to warmongering senators and their Jewish supporters will be much more the rule than the exception but may also be the least of Jewish worries.


  • Egyptian Military Backed Out Of Prisoner-Release Deal That Could Have Averted Killings: Sources

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/15/egypt-military-muslim-brotherhood_n_3762068.html

    CAIRO — A week before the Egyptian government ordered Wednesday’s deadly clearing of two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps, military leaders and the Brotherhood very nearly came to an agreement that involved a prisoner release and other measures that might have averted the catastrophe, The Huffington Post has learned.

    The notion of such a plan, mediated by a handful of diplomats from the U.S. and Europe — including U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and EU Special Representative Bernardino Leon — was first reported on Wednesday by Reuters. HuffPost has learned that the terms of the proposed deal would have seen the Muslim Brotherhood reduce the size of their protest camps by half, and the military release two notable prisoners: Saad El-Katatni, the chairman of the Brotherhood’s political party who was arrested during the military takeover in July, and Abou Elela Mady, the chairman of the Islamist al-Wasat Party who was locked up in the aftermath.

    Brotherhood leaders had agreed in principle to the plan, but in the end the military-backed government declined to take part, sources say.


  • The Economics of Blogging and The Huffington Post - Nate Silver
    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/the-economics-of-blogging-and-the-huffington-post

    If the case that The Huffington Post were making to its bloggers were a little more frank, along the lines of the following:

    Sure, we’d love for you to post here. And there’s the chance that your post could do very well. But odds are that only a few hundred people will see it, and we’ll be lucky to sell enough ads on it to afford a slice of pizza.

    …there might be fewer complaints that it doesn’t pay its bloggers. But promises of a huge audience are what persuade people to blog at The Huffington Post rather than somewhere else.

    #Loi_de_puissance #publicité #web

    via @nathangeffen


  • Marijuana Legalization

    The Rocky Mountain High just got a whole lot higher. On Tuesday night, Amendment 64 — the measure seeking the legalization of marijuana for recreational use by adults — was passed by Colorado voters, making Colorado the first state to end marijuana prohibition in the United States.

    With about 36 percent of precincts reporting at the time of publishing, 9News and Fox31 report that Amendment 64 has passed.

    Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a vocal opponent to the measure, reacted to the passage of A64 in a statement late Tuesday night:

    The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will. This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.

    The passage of the state measure is without historical precedent and the consequences will likely be closely-watched around the world. In an interview with The Huffington Post, the authors/researchers behind the book “Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs To Know” pointed out that the measure in Colorado is truly groundbreaking, comparing it to the legalization that Amsterdam enjoys:

    A common error is to believe that the Netherlands has already legalized cannabis (the preferred term for marijuana in Europe). What has been de facto legalized is only the retail sale of 5 grams (about a sixth of an ounce) or less. Production and wholesale distribution is still illegal, and that prohibition is enforced, which is largely why the price of sinsemilla in the “coffee shops” isn’t much different than the price in American dispensaries.

    Although Colorado “legalized it,” it will be several months, perhaps as long as a year, before Colorado adults 21-and-over can enjoy the legal sale of marijuana. However, the parts of the amendment related to individual behavior will go into effect as soon as Governor Hickenlooper certifies the results of the vote, a proclamation he is obligated to do within 30 days of the election, The Colorado Independent reported.

    It’s a huge victory for the Campaign To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the pro-pot group behind Amendment 64. “Over the past eight years in Colorado, we have argued that it is irrational to punish adults for choosing to use a product that is far less harmful than alcohol,” Mason Tvert, co-director of the campaign, said in a statement. “Today, the voters agreed. Colorado will no longer have laws that steer people toward using alcohol, and adults will be free to use marijuana instead if that is what they prefer. And we will be better off as a society because of it.”

    This is the second time Colorado voted on legal weed, in 2006 Coloradans voted the measure down, but not in 2012. Tvert told The Huffington Post in an August interview why he thought this year might be different:

    The 2006 initiative would have simply removed the penalties for the possession of marijuana legal for individuals 21 years of age or older. The current initiative proposes a fully regulated system of cultivation and sales, which will eliminate the underground marijuana market and generate tens of millions of dollars per year in new revenue and criminal justice savings. It also directs the legislature to regulate the cultivation of industrial hemp, a versatile, popular, and environmentally friendly agricultural crop.

    More importantly, voters are more informed about marijuana than ever before. They have also experienced the emergence of a state-regulated medical marijuana system that has not produced any serious problems, but has provided a number of benefits. We now know that marijuana cultivation and sales can be regulated, and that medical marijuana businesses do not contribute to increased crime. We have also seen marijuana use among high school students decrease since the state began implementing regulations, whereas it has increased nationwide where there are no regulations. And, of course, localities and the state have seen how much revenue can be generated through the legal sale of marijuana that would have otherwise gone into the underground market. Voters in Colorado no longer need to imagine what a legal and regulated system of marijuana sales would look like; they have seen it.

    It’s also worth noting that 2012 is a presidential election year, so we will benefit from increased voter turnout compared to an off-year election like 2006. Historically, the more people who vote, the more support marijuana reform initiatives receive.

    On the same night that Colorado passed Amendment 64, Washington state passed Initiative 502 which regulates and taxes sales of small amounts of marijuana for adults, The Associated Press reports. Oregon also had a marijuana measure on the ballot, but as of publishing and with 47 percent of precincts reporting, it looked as if it would not pass.

    Under Amendment 64, marijuana is taxed and regulated similar to alcohol and tobacco. It gives state and local governments the ability to control and tax the sale of small amounts of marijuana to adults age 21 and older. According to the Associated Press, analysts project that that tax revenue could generate somewhere between $5 million and $22 million a year in the state. An economist whose study was funded by a pro-pot group projects as much as a $60 million boost by 2017.

    “Today, the people of Colorado have rejected the failed policy of marijuana prohibition,” Brian Vicente, also a co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana, said in a statement. “Thanks to their votes, we will now reap the benefits of regulation. We will create new jobs, generation million of dollars in tax revenue, and allow law enforcement to focus on serious crimes. It would certainly be a travesty if the Obama administration used its power to impose marijuana prohibition upon a state whose people have declared, through the democratic process, that they want it to end.”

    The big unknown still is if the federal government will allow a regulated marijuana market to take shape. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was a vocal opponent of California’s legalization initiative in 2010 saying he would “vigorously enforce” federal marijuana prohibition, has continued to remain silent on the issue this year.

    In September, Holder was urged by nine former heads of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to take a stand against marijuana legalization again. “To continue to remain silent conveys to the American public and the global community a tacit acceptance of these dangerous initiatives,” the nine said in the letter to holder obtained by Reuters.

    Earlier this month those same DEA drug warriors joined by former directors of the Office of National Drug Control Policy on a teleconference call to put additional pressure on Holder to speak out against Colorado’s marijuana measure as well as similar initiatives on the ballot in Washington state and Oregon.

    The drug warriors say that states that legalize marijuana for recreational use will trigger a “Constitutional showdown” with the federal government.

    In a report published Sunday by NBC News, President Obama’s former senior drug policy advisor said that if the marijuana initiatives pass, a war will be incited between the federal government and the states that pass them. “Once these states actually try to implement these laws, we will see an effort by the feds to shut it down,” Sabet said.

    But proponents of the legislation say they don’t foresee federal agents interfering in states that have legalized cannabis, citing the federal government’s silence on the issue this election cycle.

    The DOJ has yet to formally announce its enforcement intentions, however, the clearest statement from the DOJ came from Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who said his office’s stance on the issue would be “the same as it’s always been.” During a recent appearance on “60 Minutes” Cole elaborated, “We’re going to take a look at whether or not there are dangers to the community from the sale of marijuana and we’re going to go after those dangers,” Reuters reported.

    .,._


  • Intéressant témoignage d’une blogueuse du Huffington Post, qui pense être censurée depuis le rachat par AOL ; le billet est très argumenté et sans acrimonie.
    http://english.al-akhbar.com/blogs/sandbox/syria-censorship-aol-huffington-post

    Every one of my Syria articles that the Huffington Post refused to publish provides exclusive information of some kind. Its World News section, instead, is filled with wire articles written outside Syria - usually from Amman or Beirut - often citing unverifiable information and claims from “activists” inside the country.