William F. Jasper
Did you pay cash for that latte this morning at the Starbuck's drive-through? Well, that smiling lady who handed you your frothy espresso and your change may have been taking down your license plate as you drove off — before jumping on the phone to report your "suspicious activity" to the FBI.
Speaking in Milwaukee on February 15, President Obama, re-ignited a controversy on "global taxation" set off by his top economic adviser during comments on the administration’s budget on Monday.
Gene Sperling, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of President Obama’s National Economic Council (NEC), caused a commotion this week with his statement that the Obama administration favors “a global minimum tax.” Sperling’s comment, captured by C-SPAN cameras, was soon spread across the blogosphere in numerous YouTube postings (watch below).
“All warfare is based on deception.” — The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, Chinese General, military strategist (sixth century B.C.). It was late in the evening of February 12, 2008 when the bearded, pudgy, middle-aged man left a meeting at an Iranian school in the quiet Kfar Suseh neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, and walked to his car, which was parked on the street. No sooner had he climbed into his Mitsubishi Pajero than the vehicle erupted in a mighty blast, killing him instantly.
To the headlines listed below could be added hundreds more cataloging the concerted global attack by terrorist organizations against law enforcement.
Human rights campaigner Natalya Estemirova was kidnapped on July 15 outside her home in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. Her bullet-riddled body was found several hours later in neighboring Ingushetia.
After months of initiatives and statements from the new Obama administration indicating it intended to reverse U.S. policy and reopen relations with Syria, President Obama, on May 7, signed an executive order renewing sanctions on Damascus that had been put in place by President George W. Bush in 2004.
As Iran celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Khomeini Revolution and the American hostage crisis, U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were both talking about talking — with each other. Ahmadinejad, on February 10, said his country "is ready to hold talks, but talks in a fair atmosphere with mutual respect." He made the remarks at a rally to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, when members of the PLO-trained Revolutionary Guards took over the U.S. embassy and held the embassy personnel hostage for 444 days.
Less than two weeks after Iraq’s provincial elections, the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki welcomed a large high-level delegation from Iran. Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki led the delegation, which visited Baghdad on February 11 and included representatives from the Central Bank and oil, trade, and energy ministries. Mottaki met with his Iraqi counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari, as well as Prime Minister al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani.
Provincial council elections in 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces on January 31 strengthened Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Dawa Party, a militant Shia Islamic group, while also bringing many Sunnis who had boycotted the 2005 elections back into the political process. More than 14,400 candidates ran for 440 seats in the councils, which appoint the provincial governor and oversee finance and reconstruction. The three provinces of the Kurdish autonomous region and Kirkuk will hold elections in May.
Rather than merely calling Vladimir Putin on the telephone to congratulate him on his March 4 election victory for a new term as president of Russia, Silvio Berlusconi hopped in his jet and headed for Sochi, the Russian resort town that will be the site for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Italian billionaire and media mogul, who resigned his position as Italy’s prime minister last November, is embroiled in legal battles over charges of bribery, corruption, illegal wiretapping, and sex with an underage prostitute, but those concerns took back burner to his party time with Putin.