Israeli special naval forces on Wednesday morning intercepted a ship in the Red Sea carrying an Iranian arms shipment headed for the Gaza Strip, reports The Jerusalem Post.
Naval commandos from Israel’s elite Shayetet 13 unit boarded and took control of the Klos-C merchant ship, sailing under a Panamanian flag, at around 5 AM Wednesday. They encountered no resistance and there were no casualties reported by either side.
The raid took place some 1,500 kilometers from Israel in the Red Sea, off the Sudanese-Eritrean border. The IDF noted that the ship’s captain had tried to fool the IDF by not sailing directly from Iran, but first navigating to Iraq, and then to Sudan.
The preliminary inspection of the ship found several dozen advanced Syrian M-302 missiles with a range of 200 kilometers and a payload of up to 170 kilograms. The missiles were hidden in shipping containers carrying sacks of concrete. M-302 missiles were used by Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War to hit the Israeli cities of Haifa and Afula.
The ship is being taken to Israel’s Red Sea port of Eilat.
The IDF noted that though other Iranian arms shipments had been intercepted by Israel over past years, this shipment was significant due to “the lethality and quality of its cargo.” Previous shipments had carried primarily mid-range rockets, light-weapons, and ammunition. The Klos-C, however, carried missiles with a much larger range and warheads with a much heavier payload.
The ship had 17 crew members aboard who were apparently unaware of the ship’s arms cargo.
The ship had sailed from Iran ten days ago and was set to reach Sudan Thursday. From there, the arsenal would have been smuggled into Gaza via the Sinai Peninsula.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Iran for its smuggling of lethal weaponry to Gaza. “As it conducts talks with [world] powers, as Iran smiles and utters pleasantries, the same Iran is sending lethal weapons to terror organizations… via an intricate network of clandestine global operations… in order to hurt innocent civilians,” he said.
“This is the real Iran and this country must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons,” he said. “We will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect Israeli citizens.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said, “It has once again become clear that Iran continues to be the greatest exporter of terror in the world, with the express purpose of destabilizing the Middle East.”
“This Iranian attempt to transfer weapons to the Gaza Strip is additional evidence that Gaza is a terrorist entity under Iranian auspices preparing to strike deep into Israel,” he added.
“The operation was made possible by high-quality inter-community intelligence and high operative capabilities of the IDF” said an IDF spokesman, apparently referring to cooperation with non-Israeli intelligence agencies.
The raid comes one week after it was revealed that an arms shipment bound for Hezbollah, also believed to contain advanced missiles, was destroyed in Lebanon, presumably by Israeli air strikes.
On his radio show on Wednesday, conservative radio host Sean Hannity lambasted President Barack Obama and his demeanor as the commander-in-chief of the United States.
Hannity compared Russian President Vladimir Putin and public profile to that Obama and reference first lady Michelle Obama’s controversial 2008 remarks proclaiming pride in her country for the first time in her adult life.
“So we got a community organizer against a former KGB leader who is getting his butt kicked and embarrassed and humiliated on the world stage,” Hannity said. “The Russian media keep showing a picture of [Obama] in Martha’s Vineyard, riding his little bicycle with his little helmet on. It’s so humiliating.”
“I never thought I would be – remember when Michelle [Obama] said, ‘For the first time in my adult life, I’m proud of my country?” he continued. “For the first time in my adult life, I am humiliated for my country. Just – the picture of Putin swimming the butterfly, which is a real hard stroke. Yeah, big chested – and by the way, it’s in frigid water that he’s swimming across a river … so you got a picture of that juxtaposed next to Obama on a bicycle in Martha’s Vineyard with the goofy helmet on riding his bike.”
“You got the Russian president sticking his middle finger in America’s face and John Kerry thinking he’s going to stop what’s going on in the Ukraine,” he added. “How naïve are these people?”
Remember Obama Mocking Romney Over Russia Concerns? ‘The 1980s Are Now Calling to Ask for Their Foreign Policy Back’
First Sarah Palin was proven right about her Russia-invading-Ukraine prediction she made — and got mocked for — in 2008.
Image source: Fox News via MRC-TV
Now it’s Mitt Romney’s turn to take a bow for having “clear eyes” on Russia’s future threat potential.
Fox News’ Bret Baier opened a segment of his show Friday night by flashing back to an October 2012 presidential debate where President Obama ridiculed Republican presidential nominee Romney about his concern over Russia’s “geo-political” threat.
“You said Russia. Not Al Qaida. You said Russia,” Obama said regarding biggest threats. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because…the cold war’s been over for 20 years.”
Romney offered a powerful retort: “Russia, I indicated, is a geopolitical foe…and I said in the same paragraph I said and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and time again. I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin…”
The Obama administration is short of star power as it begins its last public relations blitz for ObamaCare.
President Obama’s celebrity supporters are not in the forefront as they were during the star-studded campaign-style videos that hogged the airwaves in 2008.
Contrary to expectations, the White House’s A-list backers have mainly stuck to Twitter to voice support for ObamaCare, while others have appeared in inexpensive online videos, or chosen to promote California’s insurance marketplace instead of HealthCare.gov, the notoriously troubled website for the federal exchanges.
It seems that not even the president’s most fervent and committed supporters want to get too close to ObamaCare. Some of Obama’s most powerful allies — figures including Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé — have stayed in the wings for the enrollment push.
Less than a year ago, Jennifer Hudson, Amy Poehler, and representatives for Winfrey and Alicia Keys were guests at the White House to discuss a strategy to promote the healthcare law.
Many expected this would lead to an advertising blitz full of famous faces. But, with limited exceptions, stars have largely failed to participate in a substantial ad campaign to promote Obama-Care’s new coverage options.
To date, the only noteworthy celebrities appearing on behalf of ObamaCare in national ads are retired NBA players Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning, who left professional basketball in 1991 and 2009, respectively.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to leverage the National Football League’s massive outreach, but that effort was scuttled by Republicans, who pressured the league to stay out of it.
Last fall, the administration promised to backload its advertisements to coincide with the wave of sign-ups expected in February and March. Instead, the administration is relying on social media to get the message out.
The White House told The Hill on Monday its intention was to enlist celebrities for a landmark social media campaign, and in this sphere at least, celebrities have eagerly shown their support for the law.
People magazine’s 2013 Sexiest Man Alive Adam Levine, artists ranging from Lady Gaga and John Legend to Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and dozens of other celebrities have encouraged followers on Twitter and Instagram to #GetCovered or send an #ACAvalentine.
Others, like Hudson, have cut sketches for websites including Funny or Die, and in the case of Scarlett Johansson, submitted pro-ObamaCare messages through groups such as Planned Parenthood.
An administration official told The Hill that social media is one of the best ways to reach young people directly, and to expect those efforts to continue. The official noted that tens of thousands of people tweeted using the hash-tag “GetCovered” over Valentine’s Day weekend.
Still, a Twitter campaign lacks the financial backing and gravitas of a commercial that airs during the Olympics, and the administration was only able to net Johnson and Mourning for those.
Without the overarching celebrity component, White House officials are stepping in to be the face of the enrollment push.
First lady Michelle Obama took the ObamaCare message on youth enrollment to “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” last week, and Vice President Biden will make appearances on “The Late Show” and “The View” this week.
The president and first lady have also been blanketing radio airwaves for interviews in markets with high-levels of uninsured people.
The administration will be focusing on a more community-based, micro-targeted approach to informing people about the healthcare law in the final weeks before March 31.
On Friday, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said the administration is embarking on a “final coordinated push” to enroll African Americans in ObamaCare. The administration said youth organizers and stakeholders would be launching enrollment events targeting black youths in the coming weeks.
And on Monday, the administration launched a Latino Enrollment Week of Action aimed at educating Hispanics about the merits of getting coverage. The federal government is partnering with local leaders and activist groups for summits in Dallas, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Chicago and Philadelphia to get the word out.
Administration officials like Jarrett will also continue to have a significant media presence in those areas through radio interviews and Google Hangouts.
Federal health officials face a tough task in reaching their goal of 7 million sign-ups by March 31. Biden recently sought to lower expectations about how many people might enroll by the end of March, predicting it would likely be in the 5 to 6 million range.
Through January, only 3.3 million had signed up, about one million fewer than was initially forecast. Still, enrollment has been trending in the right direction since the website started to work properly in December.
Source: The Hill
CNN’s ratings are once again edging up against record lows and now that Piers Morgan is on the way out, the cable news network has two full hours of primetime real estate to plug. CNN is a failing network. Jeff Zucker has been in charge for over a year, and the network is not only still failing, it is becoming more and more leftist, divisive, anti-Christian, and just plain dumb.
Here is a short-list of Zucker’s five biggest mistakes:
1. Turning CNN Hard to the Left
On this very day,f you watched CNN you witnessed a network in stunning ethical decline. Any remaining brand-leverage CNN enjoyed as a serious and unbiased news network has been intentionally chucked out the window by Jeff Zucker. The new CNN chief has inexplicably asked his on-air personalities to offer “attitude” and the result has been nothing more than a dumber version of left-wing MSNBC.
Just this morning, those who doubt the ever-faltering theory of Global Warming were mocked by CNN anchor Carol Costello as “climate deniers.” Costello then joined CNN’s morning show “New Day” in branding as de facto anti-gay proposed laws designed to protect religious liberty. If that is not troubling enough, on Sunday, CNN’s media reporter suggested the media silence Climate Change doubters completely.
Using these tactics along with racially-charged local crimes and double standards that celebrate Bill Maher while using Ted Nugent as a club against the GOP, over the last year CNN has devolved into an ethically corrupt enterprise dedicated to racial division, anti-Christian bigotry, left-wing identity politics, and the promotion of Democrat candidates and their causes.
2. Dumbing Down CNN
Whales, cruise ships, local crimes, everything gay, identity politics — CNN is getting dumber by the day.
There are some exceptions, but other than editorial choices, what makes CNN look so dumb is that too many of the network’s anchors just don’t have the intellectual heft necessary to carry a whole hour devoted mostly to the analysis of huge issues such as Global Warming, gay marriage, and race. This lack of smarts, common sense, and real world experience is probably why so many want to close the issue as settled.
Watching CNN’s teleprompter-readers grapple with issues they don’t fully comprehend is frequently painful. For the most part, MSNBC at least has a stable of intelligent individuals anchoring its shows. You might not agree with them, but they aren’t dumb.
These days, more often than not, CNN resembles something closer to this than The Most Trusted Name In News:
3. Not ‘Fixing’ Piers Morgan
Zucker didn’t hire Piers Morgan but he stood by as one of the network’s high-profile primetime stars crashed and burned. Maybe Zucker was working out some Machiavellian plot to get rid of Morgan. But judging by his decision-making so far, crediting Zucker with that kind of orchestration is a brain cell too far.
Up until the day he was canceled, Morgan was engaging in the very behavior that got him canceled: namely, his mindless and imperious rants about gun control — a subject he has never been able to truly grasp on any kind of intellectual level.
Morgan is a canary in the CNN coalmine, proof that the network would rather push a left-wing agenda than succeed.
4. Firing Soledad O’Brien
Only Jeff Zucker could fire the low-rated Soledad O’Brien from her morning shift and replace that disaster with an even bigger one. “New Day” with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira isn’t just a ratings catastrophe, it is Zucker’s crown jewel of a ratings catastrophe. After leading the “Today Show” to ratings glory, morning was supposed to be Zucker’s wheelhouse.
“New Day” also seems to lead the way for what is happening with the rest the of the network: shallow stories, left-wing bias, shockingly dumb analysis….
5. Zucker Doesn’t Appear to Care About Ratings
After more than a year running CNN, it is obvious that Zucker doen’t care about improving CNN’s ratings –which were at or near record lows when he took over and have hardly improved. In some cases the ratings are worse. But Zucker won’t switch gears … because he doesn’t want to.
Zucker is only doubling down on the same dishonest left-wing political agendizing that got CNN in trouble in the first place.
Zucker might also be softening the network up for a sale.
Conservative talk radio host Mark Levin will be honored with the inaugural “Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award” at this year’s CPAC on Thursday, March 6.
Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow will introduce Citizens United President David Bossie, who will present the award to Levin along with Breitbart News President and CEO Larry Solov and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon.
“Mark Levin fearlessly and passionately stands up for conservatives and everyday Americans whose voices the mainstream press often tries to marginalize or silence,” Solov said. “And like Andrew Breitbart, Levin has a way of cutting through the mainstream press’s filter with his words and is never afraid to have arrows slung at him by the institutional left on the front lines of the fight.”
It will mark Levin’s only appearance at this year’s conference. The ceremony will take place in the CPAC Theater in the Chesapeake conference rooms that Citizens United will sponsor.
“Levin is not only a friend, but supports and defends the vision of our Founding Fathers on his nationally syndicated radio program daily,” Citizens United President David Bossie told Breitbart News. “There is nobody better to receive this inaugural award and I am happy that he will be joining us at CPAC to accept it.”
Bossie said Citizens United was again “so thrilled to once again host the CPAC theater and give conference attendees a chance to view great conservative films that have had an impact on our culture.”
“Throughout the conference we are honored to host a number of conservative warriors in the CPAC theater, and look forward to a fantastic weekend with conservative activists who are on the front lines fighting for freedom every day in their communities,” he said. “This year’s CPAC theater program is going to be a great one.”
Citizens United will have a special tribute to the late Andrew Breitbart from 12 PM to 2:30 PM EST on Thursday in the CPAC Theater, which will also run various conservative films and Citizens United productions throughout the conference.
Levin, who will keynote a conference this week marking the fifth anniversary of the Tea Party movement, has been one of the Tea Party movement’s most important voices. His book, Liberty and Tyranny, sold over a million copies even though the mainstream media did not discuss or review it. The book, published shortly after Obama took office in 2009, predicted much of Obama’s statist agenda and, like the Tea Party movement and Levin, circumvented the legacy press to make a lasting impact. The success of the book also proved that the mainstream press are no longer the sole gatekeepers in today’s media environment.
A poster asking some Kansas middle school students a sexually provocative question has at least one parent up in arms.
“How do people express their sexual feelings,” the poster asks, before listing “touching each other’s genitals,” “anal sex” and “vaginal intercourse,” among other things.
(Image source: Screen grab via WDAF-TV)
After seeing the material posted at Hocker Grave Middle School in Shawnee, Kan., Mark Ellis thought it was likely posted by pranksters, WDAF-TV reported. He couldn’t believe school officials would actually expose his 13-year-old daughter to such a question.
However, after calling the school, Ellis learned the poster was teaching material and part of a health and science curriculum.
“Why would you put it in front of 13-year-old students?” he asked.
“Why would you put it in front of 13-year-old students?”
“It upsets me,” Ellis continued, speaking with WDAF-TV. “And again, it goes back to who approved this? You know this had to pass through enough hands that someone should have said, ‘Wait a minute, these are 13-year-old kids, we do not need to be this in-depth with this sexual education type of program.’”
Nevertheless, school officials have defended the decision to use the material.
“The poster that you reference is actually part of our middle school health and science materials, and so it is a part of our district approved curriculum,” district spokeswoman Leigh Anne Neal told WDAF-TV. “However the item is meant to be part of a lesson, and so certainly as a standalone poster without the context of a teacher led discussion, I could see that there might be some cause for concern.”
“The curriculum it is a part of, it aligns with national standards around those topics, and it’s part of our curriculum in the school district,” she said.
Ellis, who is threatening to remove his daughter from the sexual education classes unless the poster is removed, doesn’t think the school’s arguments hold water.
“This has nothing to do with abstinence or sexual reproduction, actually, a lot of these things,” he said. “I would like to see that this particular portion of the curriculum is removed from the school.”
On the surface, John Filippidis seems to be just the kind of responsible gun owner who should carry a concealed firearm. He’s a family man, small business owner and taxpayer who takes the responsibility of gun ownership seriously.
ANDY JONES/Tampa Bay Tribune
However, he’s now considering canceling his concealed carry permit after what happened to him while driving through Maryland with his wife and three kids a few weeks ago.
According to Filippidis and his wife, Kally, they noticed an unmarked patrol car tailing them while traveling for Christmas and a family wedding in Woodridge, N.J. He claims the police car stayed with them for ten minutes.
“We weren’t speeding. In fact, lots of other cars were whizzing past,” Filippidis told the Tampa Tribune.
Eventually, the car’s emergency lights came on and he pulled the car over. The officer was reportedly with the Transportation Authority Police, “Maryland’s version of the New York-New Jersey Port Authority,” according to the report.
It should be noted that what happened next is the account of Filippidis and his wife. The Maryland Transportation Authority Police declined to comment, pending an investigation. However, Filippidis says he has received apologies from the officer’s captain and the MTAP internal affairs captain.
The officer reportedly asked Filippidis for his license and registration before returning to his patrol car. When he returned, the officer ordered the father out of his vehicle and told him to hook his thumbs behind his back and spread his feet.
Filippidis says he keeps a “palm-sized Kel-Tec .38 semiautomatic” pistol in only two places: in the right-hand pocket of his jeans or at home locked in a safe. On this particular day, it was in the safe.
“You own a gun,” the officer reportedly said. “Where is it?”
“At home in my safe,” Filippidis replied. He claims he decided to leave his gun at home because he understands gun laws vary in different states.
“Don’t move,” the cop instructed.
The officer reportedly strolled up to the passenger side window to question the man’s wife, asking her for the location of her husband’s gun.
“I don’t know. Maybe in the glove [box]. Maybe in the console. I’m scared of it. I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I might shoot right through my foot,” she remembers saying, though she claims she really had no idea where it was.
Filippidis recalled the officer returning and calling him a “liar” because his wife failed to corroborate his claim that his firearm was back home in a safe.
The officer reportedly interpreted this as probable cause to search the car. Filippidis says police searched their luggage, Christmas gifts, laundry bags and even patted down his children.
After what felt like an eternity, police issued only a warning after they failed to find a firearm in the vehicle. It wasn’t clear from the report what the “warning” was for. Kally told the Tribune the search likely took roughly 90 minutes.
“All that time, he’s humiliating me in front of my family, making me feel like a criminal. I’ve never been to prison, never declared bankruptcy, I pay my taxes, support my 20 employees’ families; I’ve never been in any kind of trouble,” Filippidis said.
“And he wants to put me in jail. He wants to put me in jail. For no reason. He wants to take my wife and children away and put me in jail. In America, how does such a thing happen? … And after all that, he didn’t even write me a ticket,” he added.
Even though he did nothing wrong, Filippidis is now wondering whether he should just cancel his concealed carry permit to avoid a similar situation in the future.
Struggling department-store operator J.C. Penney announced it will cut 2,000 jobs and close 33 stores as it tries to get back on the path to profitability.
The news raises concerns that Penney’s holiday season sales were not what the company hoped for and that the chain needs to do even more to recover from a turnaround plan that has had disastrous results.
J.C. Penney Co., based in Plano, Texas, said earlier this month said it was pleased with its holiday results but declined to give sales figures, raising worries among Wall Street analysts about how the season actually fared.
“It was a season where they realized that they had to do more to reconnect with the customers they’ve lost,” said Brian Sozzi, CEO and chief equities strategist at Belus Capital Advisors.
Hamas has historically engaged in concerted efforts to brainwash its youth to wage violent jihad. Roughly 13,000 high school students participated in a week-long training camp geared to enable the teenagers “to follow in the footsteps of the suicide martyrs.”
This is more than twice the enrollment from last year’s camp, the Times of Israel reports. The “Pioneers of Liberation” camp included weapons training, marching exercises, and “security awareness” classes concerning the identification of Israeli spies.
While addressing the graduation ceremony, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh warned Israel that “this is a generation which knows no fear. It is the generation of the missile, the tunnel, and the suicide operations.” Hamas’ interior minister said that the training was in preparation for the next war with Israel.
Hamas is engaging in a widespread campaign to raise the next generation of youth to embrace hatred and terrorism as legitimate modus operandi. Instead of devoting time and resources to developing their society, Hamas is teaching its youth to kill.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad has its own camp with a similar emphasis on glorifying terrorist attacks.
Hamas has a long track record of similar propaganda endeavors. Previous training and education programs have previously been devoted to similar brainwashing. Through textbooks and the media, Hamas constantly indoctrinates Palestinian youth–sometimes as young as toddlers–and glorifies violent jihad.
Human rights groups and media outlets pay little attention to this indoctrination.