Khamenei: Iran Will Fight Against Any U.S. Action

Amid speculation that the U.S. will launch military attacks on Iran, the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warns that any “inappropriate action” will be met with decisive response.

According to Daily Times, a Pakistani news outlet, Iranians deny any involvement whatsoever in the alleged attempted assassination plot against the Saudi foreign minister in Washington, D.C., that was announced by the Department of Justice last week. Many Iranian lawmakers and analysts have come forward and said that Iran would not benefit in any way by assassinating the diplomat in the United States.

“If American officials are entertaining any illusions, they should know that any inappropriate action — whether political or security-related — will meet with the Iranian people’s decisive response,” said Khamenei in a speech in western Iran, according to his official website. “The Islamic republic of Iran will face off any plot, or destructive or obstructive measures, with all its might.”

The Iranian official also said in his speech that the announcement of the plot — which many American analysts have called dubious or likened to a “bad Hollywood script” — was an attempt by Justice Department officials to draw attention away from other issues going on in the U.S., including protests and government scandals. He said that the U.S. is coming unraveled because of government officials’ “undignified accommodation of Zionists” and that “the flames of their [the American people’s] rage would indeed set the system of Hegemony afire and burn it into ashes.”

“You have turned your back to your people. You are hated by most of them. The Islamic Republic is otherwise where the large national participation points to the nation’s firm resolve and perseverance against any conspiracy,” Khamenei said.

INFOWARS.COM reports that the U.S. military has already mobilized a large-scale exercise over the Mideast to pressure Iran by deploying 41 giant transports of the 22nds Airlift Squadron on Monday and putting ground troops on “full alert.” Israeli, Egyptian and Saudi armies are also reportedly standing by for active military conflict.

Pakistan Seeking Understanding With Islamic Militants

Pakistani officials appear less willing than ever to confront Islamic extremist groups, and recently they are instead opting for a diplomatic approach to the handling of terrorist organizations within their country.

According to The Washington Post, recent statements issued by Pakistani officials reject any notion of widespread military action against insurgents in tribal areas of the country and instead call for truces. Reports are not clear as to which militant groups the country will make peace with, or if the insurgents will be willing to cooperate.

According to reports, most Pakistanis have become very disgruntled by the Mideast occupation of the U.S. military and believe that the foreign forces have driven up the number of terror attacks on Pakistanis. Many in the country view the militant groups as disgruntled countrymen more than terrorist organizations and feel that the end of foreign military actions in the region will suppress terror attempts on Pakistani targets.

Though U.S. officials are still calling on Pakistanis to take a hard stance against Islamic militants, leaders in Pakistan say that the idea is hypocritical given how the U.S. is now approaching the Taliban. The U.S. military has recently sought to facilitate talks between Afghan officials and the fractured militant group, according to Andhra News. Many Pakistanis see the United States’ new approach, negotiating with militant groups like the Haqqani network, as a way to save face in the Mideast before the anticipated 2014 troop withdrawal.

U.S. Spends $30 Million Looking For Gadhafi Missiles

After the U.S. helped Libyans oust Moammar Gadhafi, hundreds of surface-to-air missiles and other dangerous weapons fell into the hands of Libyan rebels and terror groups. Americans are now footing the bill for a $30 million program to track down the weapons.

Under the program, the U.S. government has sent 14 civilian military contractors to help the Libyan transitional government search for the weapons, according to an article in The Washington Post.

President Barack Obama refused to send U.S. soldiers to Libya for the missile retrieval mission to avoid raising ire in the region and from members of Congress at home. Despite the lack of military involvement, the contractor mission represents the biggest weapons-retrieval initiative since those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During the rebel raids on the Gadhafi compound last month, Libyan rebels — many of whom are linked to al-Qaida — were said to be seen looting hundreds of weapons, including assault rifles, grenades and shoulder-fired missiles. The U.S. urgency in recovering the surface-to-air missiles stems from the ability of those weapons to shoot down commercial aircraft; in fact, 40 commercial planes have been shot down in such manner since the 1970s.

Last week, security forces apprehended several Libyan missiles en route to Egypt, where they are often sold on the black market. Reportedly, in regions with a high number of surface-to-air missile black market sales, the number available is so high that the price of a missile has dropped from $10,000 to about $4,000.

 

Phosphorous May Be Endangered Element

Some researchers believe that phosphorous — a staple of life present in the DNA of all plants and animals — is becoming endangered, and its gradual depletion is being largely ignored.

Phosphorus is used worldwide by farmers and in a number of key industries, but 85 percent of rich phosphate deposits for mining are limited to just three countries: China, the United States and Morocco.  James Elser, a professor at Arizona State University, and Elizabeth Bennett, a researcher at McGill University in Canada, published an article last month that calls for an examination of phosphate use and a contingency plan for the disappearance of phosphorus. In their article “Phosphorus cycle: a broken biogeochemical cycle” which was published in Nature, the two argue that while mineable phosphorus is disappearing, that which is used in industry and farming is poisoning the environment. The two say that there is an urgent need for recycling programs that target the element.

Officials in the United States have reportedly just begun considering ways to approach limited phosphorus supplies. Morocco, the country with the world’s largest mineable phosphorus reserve, has been planning for years to benefit from phosphorus shortfalls. Despite having more of the element available than China and the United States, Morocco mines less – although it still accounts for 30 percent of global export, according to Reuters. Some researchers believe the North African country is waiting for its two competitors to deplete reserves, giving the country a monopoly on the element, before increasing production.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) indicates that phosphorus that can be mined with modern technology, could be completely gone in as little as 90 years.

 

Herman Cain Tax Plan: Dubious Or Dream For Conservatives?

One analysis of the Herman Cain tax proposal finds that implementation of the 2012 GOP presidential contender’s 9-9-9 plan may be difficult, but conservatives say it is a welcome idea in the tax discussion.

The Washington Post administered a fact check on claims Cain has made about his plan and found at least some aspects of it to be “highly dubious.”

The article says that while Cain’s claim that he will throw out the current tax plan may be true, his ability to replace it with 9-9-9 would take a long time, and the result would be only temporary. The research indicates such because 9-9-9 is the second of three parts involved in the Cain tax goal. The first step would cut individual and corporate tax rates to a top 25 percent rate, and the last step is actually the replacement of any current tax structure — even 9-9-9 — with a national sales tax or Fair Tax.

The article expresses doubt in the plan:

“As denizens of Washington, we find this three-step process to be highly dubious. It takes years, even decades, to fundamentally overhaul the tax code. Herman Cain is going to do this three times in his presidency?”

The Wall Street Journal says the Cain tax proposal “clearly has roots in the Reagan-era antitax movement.” The newspaper reports that Cain even met extensively with conservative economist Arthur Laffer in considering the basis of his proposal. Laffer has said that 9-9-9 will be a “vast improvement to the current tax system and a boon to the U.S. economy.”

Conservative supporters believe that even though Cain’s proposal may take a long time to implement completely, beginning the discussion is the first step.

Federal Judge Blocks Two Parts Of Tough Immigration Law

The Atlanta-based Federal appeals court has delayed two of the controversial measures put into place under what has been called one of the strictest pieces of immigration legislation in the United States.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday temporarily blocked provisions in Alabama immigration legislation, which the State’s legislature passed over the summer, that would require individuals living in the State illegally to obtain an alien registration card and another that required school officials to check the immigration status of students.

The new orders represent a partial victory for those against the immigration law. The court opted to uphold provisions in the law requiring police to attempt to determine immigration status during traffic stops, making it illegal for aliens to enter business transactions — including applying for driver licenses and business licenses — and barring State courts from enforcing contracts involving anyone who is in the State illegally, according to CNN.

The Administration of Barack Obama says the Constitution does not permit States to deter illegal immigration, saying an issue with foreign policy implications is the exclusive mandate of the Federal government. The Department of Justice has joined forces with the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Immigration Law Center in lawsuits against the Alabama immigration law.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has said that the legislation would not have been necessary “if the Federal government would have done its job and enforced the laws dealing with this problem.”

Tea Party, Taxpayers: Buzz Off, Whiners

As the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement drags on, it has prompted criticism from its more established and goal-oriented political cousin, the Tea Party, and another group that says it is “the 53 percent.”

A Tea Party-related website published an article entitled “Occupy Wall Street? They’re No Tea Partiers” earlier this week to ensure that its opinion of the movement is known. The piece proclaims that the Tea Party has nothing against Wall Street corporations; instead, it is dissatisfied with the government that props up corporations when they fail. Tea Partiers say the Occupiers have missed the point about why Wall Street is corrupt: Government is too involved in financial markets.

“…[T]hose occupying Wall Street and other cities, when they are intelligible, want less of what made America great and more of what is damaging to America: a bigger, more powerful government to come in and take care of them so they don’t have to work like the rest of us who pay our bills.”

The OWS movement was also the catalyst behind a website that mocks the message of the so-called 99 percent, who believe they are abused by the 1 percent of Americans who are allegedly super wealthy. The new group has launched a website to counter the OWS message. We Are The 53% says it represents: “Those of us who pay for those of you who whine about all of that… or that… or whatever.”

The website is said to represent the 53 percent of Americans who pay Federal income taxes. It assumes that the Wall Street protesters — who are camped out during regular working hours — are part of the 47 percent of the country who do not. While the 53 percent may not be attracting as much mainstream media attention as the OWS crowd, the messages posted by its supporters are strong and clear: “Shut up,” “get a job,” “the taxes I pay support you,” etc.

U.S. Passes Biggest Trade Agreement Since ’94

This week, Congress passed free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama in the largest sweeping trade move since the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994.

The agreement with South Korea removes duties on about two-thirds of American farm exports, and it phases out tariffs on more than 95 percent of industrial and consumer exports over the next five years, according to Bloomberg.

The agreement broadens long-dead trade relationships just after Congress voted on measures to punish the Chinese for currency devaluation. Some people say the new measures will also open more trans-Pacific trade possibilities.

The U.S. International Trade Commission says the South Korea deal could boost American exports by as much as $10.9 billion during the first full year it is in effect. The deal with Colombia could lead to about $1.1 billion in export revenues.

Some opponents to the free-trade agreements have noted soaring trade deficits in the U.S. as a result of past trade agreements, and they contend that the new trade deal will have similar effects. Fearing that unions and wage workers in the U.S. will lose out to cheap foreign labor, many Democrats took to the House floor to speak in opposition to the deals, according to The New York Times.

“What I am seeing firsthand is devastation that these free trade agreements can do to our communities,” Representative Mike Michaud, (D-Maine), told the newspaper.

Issa Seeks Answers In Investigation, Subpoenas AG

Attorney General Eric Holder was subpoenaed on Wednesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for documents related to Operation Fast and Furious.

Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the oversight committee, believes that Holder has withheld knowledge about the gun running operation in Congressional hearings. The subpoenas are directed at the Attorney General as well as other high-ranking officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“Top Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Holder, know more about Operation Fast and Furious than they have publicly acknowledged,” Issa said in a statement. “The documents this subpoena demands will provide answers to questions that Justice officials have tried to avoid since this investigation began eight months ago. It’s time we know the whole truth.”

The subpoenas seek information about communications between the DOJ and the executive branch, any organized crime task force in Phoenix or to a number of law enforcement officials related to the task forces and a slew of interdepartmental documents.

The pursuit of thousands of pages of documents never before sought represents Issa’s determination to understand exactly what happened during the Fast and Furious operation. Issa has already made headway. Recently released internal DOJ memos show Holder was notified about Operation Fast and Furious as early as last year. The DOJ and the White House previously said Holder had no knowledge of Fast and Furious gun walking tactics until earlier this year.

‘Underdog’ Obama’s Campaign Coffers At $70 Million For Third Quarter

The incessant campaigning that President Barack Obama has been accused of in past months has apparently paid off; he raked $70.1 million in third quarter contributions for his 2012 campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

While the number is lower than the $88 million raked in during the preceding funding quarter, POLITICO reports that the President’s campaign is doing much better at raising funds than it is at achieving high approval numbers in polls.

GOP Presidential contenders are reportedly expected to have raised cumulatively about half as much as Obama. The Republican National Committee raised $9.3 million over the same period, but reportedly has millions of dollars in debt.

Despite having raised massive amounts of campaign money, the President’s campaign officials are still attempting to depict Obama as an underdog who faces GOP special interest power.

“We’re up against a Republican Party and special interest-funded groups that will spend hundreds of millions of dollars spreading any message that they believe will defeat the president and roll back our efforts to build a fairer economy that rewards hard work and responsibility, not large corporations,” wrote Obama campaign organizer Jim Messina in an email to supporters.

Messina said the new cash is being used to establish the campaign’s infrastructure in battleground States.