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Posts tagged ‘Chicago’

Al-Qaida Magazine Calls for Car Bombs in US Read Latest.

Al-Qaida sounds a call for its terrorist followers to strike the United States and other Western nations with car bombs — and even suggests times and targets — in the Spring issue of its magazine, Inspire.

The magazine manifesto suggests U.S. targets such as Washington, D.C., New York, northern Virginia, Chicago, and Los Angeles, as well as locations in Great Britain, France and “other crusader countries.”

The article suggests terrorists aim for places that are heavily populated: sporting events, election campaigns, and festivals.

Christmas and New Year’s are suggested as good times for attack. In Europe, the article suggests attacking the Bastille Military Day Parade in Paris and soccer stadiums in England “when huge crowds leave the stadium and celebrate around the entrances and [the English Football Association’s] FA Cup matches.”

“The important thing is that you target people and not buildings,” the article says.

Washington and New York have “symbolic importance,” the article says, because D.C. is the seat of the federal government and New York is the former capital and currently the country’s financial, cultural, transportation, and manufacturing center.

Northern Virginia is suggested because “almost all the military bases are based in this state, apart from the Air Force which is based in Chicago.” The area also is home to many government agencies, the Department of Defense and CIA and “attracts a load of tourists,” the magazine said.

Chicago is the second-largest financial center in the United States and is a major transportation hub. Los Angeles is the second-largest city and is home to Hollywood. Celebrities often visit restaurants in the area on weekends, the article says.

A letter from the editor in the front of the magazine reads in part:

“The American government was unable to protect its citizens from pressure cooker bombs in backpacks, I wonder if they are ready to stop car bombs!

“Therefore, as our responsibility to the Muslim Ummah in general and Muslims living in America in particular, Inspire Magazine humbly presents to you a simple improvised home recipe of Shahzad’s car bomb.

“And the good news is … you can prepare it in the kitchen of your mom too.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Obama Library Gets Few Takers.

With barely three years to go in his final term, President Barack Obama’s presidential library still needs to find a home.

With Obama’s blessing, top supporters are launching a foundation to develop and build the library, which will house his presidential records and serve as a monument to his legacy.

The nonprofit Barack H. Obama Foundation will be led by Marty Nesbitt, a close Obama friend from Chicago, and Julianna Smoot, a former White House social secretary and top official in Obama’s re-election campaign.

A competition to host the library has already begun. Hawaii, where Obama was born, and Illinois, his longtime home, have been doing some lobbying.

In New York, Obama’s alma mater, Columbia University, also has hinted at interest.

“Columbia is proud to count President Obama among its alumni,” wrote Robert Hornsby, a university spokesman. “We look forward to learning more about the plans of the Barack H. Obama Foundation for the development of a library reflecting the president’s values and priorities.”

But some skeptical donors told The New York Times that the library doesn’t belong anywhere but Chicago. They wrote off Columbia’s statement as a way to create concern that the Windy City might lose out to Big Apple.

“They need this to be a bit of a bidding war,” one prominent Obama donor told the Times on the condition of anonymity.

Some prominent Obama donors have heard from people close to the president that he would rather live his post-presidential life in New York than Chicago, which they say feels “small for him,” the Times reports.

“No specific site, institution, city or state is advantaged over another at this point,” Nesbitt said. “The ultimate site will be chosen based on the merits.”

In February, the foundation will ask parties that want to host the library to make their interest known. That list will be culled and in May, the foundation will notify the groups that will be invited to submit formal, detailed proposals. The president and first lady Michelle Obama will make the decision, and the foundation will announce it in early 2015.

“He has asked us to lead the planning and development of a library in a way that reflects his values and priorities over the course of his career in public service,” Nesbitt said — values like expanding economic opportunity, promoting peace and dignity abroad, and inspiring the ethic of American citizenship.

The foundation plans to hire full-time staff later this year. Although it will start fund-raising right away to cover its own costs, most of the money to build the library won’t be raised until after Obama leaves the White House. While Obama is still in office, the foundation won’t take donations from foreigners, lobbyists or organizations that aren’t nonprofits. It also plans to disclose all donations over $200.

The president, Mrs. Obama and White House staffers won’t raise money for the foundation until Obama leaves office, the group said. Obama will be kept up to date but won’t be closely involved in the screening of the site proposals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Newsmax Wires

US Illegal Immigrant Deportations Fall to 1% in 2013.

Image: US Illegal Immigrant Deportations Fall to 1% in 2013An activist protesting deportations blocks the front gate of a building that houses federal immigration authorities in Atlanta on Nov. 19.

By Courtney Coren

Just 1 percent of  illegal immigrants living in the United States last year were deported  — a dramatic 25 percent drop from the previous year — a change the Obama Administration says is on purpose due to a shift in focus.

The administration cites putting more focus on border security, those that have just recently crossed and illegal immigrants with steep criminal records as opposed to those who are living in the United States peacefully.

As a result, in fiscal 2013 ended Sept. 30, only 133,551 illegal immigrants living in the country were deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs EnforcementThe Washington Times reported.

“Increasing border security is a top priority, and the results you see today clearly illustrate our ongoing commitment to this goal,” said John Sandweg, the acting director of ICE.

There also has been a 10 percent drop in deportations when border and interior deportations are combined. In 2013, a total of 368,644 interior and border illegal immigrants were deported, compared with almost 410,000 in 2012.

It is the lowest number of deportations since President Barack Obama took office.

However, neither side of the immigration debate is happy with these numbers.

Immigration rights advocates say that over 2 million illegal immigrants have been deported since Obama became president — many of which they allege were inhumane since many of those deported are parents of young children.

“How much longer do we have to stand by and watch our families get torn apart by unscrupulous immigration agents?” asked Eddie Carmona of the Campaign for Citizenship.

Activists take issue with Sandweg’s claim that a large majority of those deported were criminals.

Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said that “this White House has practically made sneezing a criminal act for immigrants.”

Those who want more enforcement of immigration laws question why the deportations are so low since Homeland Security actually had a 10 percent increase in its deportation budget last year.

Sandweg said that not all illegal immigrants are from Mexico, and they are expensive to deport.

“This information further reveals that the administration has been manipulating its figures to mislead the public,” said Stephen Miller, spokesman for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. “The administration’s catch-and-release policy not only needlessly jeopardizes public safety but undermines the wages and employment of struggling workers.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

White House Intrigue Developing over Obama Library.

A royal palace-style intrigue seems to be developing around the creation of President Barack Obama’s presidential library and foundation when he leaves office, according to The New York Times.

Earlier this year it appeared as though veteran Obama staff member Alyssa Mastromonaco was the front-runner for the “plum task” of helping shape the president’s historic legacy.

But strong whispers around White House intimate that Valerie Jarrett, who played matchmaker for the Obamas and is the last surviving member of his original advisers, has taken over the reins of the project.

With the likelihood that many White House stalwarts will be swept out after a new president takes office in January 2017, the chance of becoming the creative force behind the next chapter of Obama’s life is very alluring.

Apart from possibly guaranteeing a job for many years to come, with Obama being such a young president, the position would also come with a string of perks, including working with powerful organizations, dealing with wealthy donors, and enjoying the travel and conference circuit, says the Times.

Marty Nesbitt, a Chicago investor and longtime Obama patron, has apparently already teamed up with Julianna Smoot, the president’s chief fundraiser and former deputy campaign manager, to reach out to potential donors, while Anita Dunn, Obama’s former communications director, is preparing the media strategy.

The equivalent of a bidding war has already erupted between various states, with Obama’s birthplace Hawaii, his adopted state of Illinois, and even New York, where he lived for two years as an undergraduate, all vying to have his library built in their backyards. The estimated cost of the project is more than $500 million.

“I’m going to make sure that the city of Chicago is well positioned,” Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, told the Times about his plan for “a world-class library” in his city.

He added, “We’re not just relying on the family historical foundations, that this is where he launched his public life, where his wife’s from and the hometown where his kids were educated, though I’m happy to remind him of it.”

James L. Rutherford, the dean of the Clinton School of Public Service, who was influential in creating the Clinton library in Little Rock, Arkansas, said whoever ends up organizing Obama’s library and foundation will have a legacy of their own.

“A presidential library is you forever, and I’m not talking about the president, I’m talking about the staffer,” said Rutherford. “It’s not a just a presidential legacy, it’s a place for your time and your experience in that administration.”

The Times said the White House has rejected the notion that there’s “any internal tension” over Obama’s legacy, insisting that officials are concerned about more urgent issues facing the administration.

“This is a project that isn’t even at its inception yet,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. “The priority of everyone . . . is to focus on achieving the president’s second-term priorities over the next three years.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

What Star Did the Magi See?.

Matthew 2:2 adds a detail that has baffled and intrigued Bible scholars and astronomers for 2,000 years: “We have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him.” What was “his star in the east”?

Over the years there have been four main theories:

  1. Halley’s Comet: Unfortunately, the nearest appearance was in 11 B.C., which is simply too early for the birth of Christ.
  2. Supernova: This is an exploding star that suddenly fills the sky with light in a brilliant, blinding flash of light. These are unpredictable and very rare, and there is no record in any astronomical records of a supernova in the years surrounding the birth of Christ.
  3. Conjunction of Planets: This is probably the most popular theory. One version suggests that in 7 B.C. Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn came together in a very rare conjunction that only occurs once every 125 years. Another possibility is a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in 2 B.C. (This last possibility is the one suggested by the “Star of Wonder” presentation at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.) The conjunction theory has this to favor it: It would explain why the Magi saw it and the people of Israel didn’t. Conjunctions don’t attract the attention of people who don’t normally watch the skies. They aren’t highly-visible phenomena like comets or supernovas or meteor showers. But to anyone who watched the stars regularly, a “triangular” conjunction like the one in 7 B.C. would certainly attract extraordinary attention.
  4. A Supernatural Light: This theory suggests that the “star” was not a natural phenomena at all, but rather was a light placed by God in the atmosphere especially for the Magi to see. Those who hold this view (which I myself lean to) point to the shekinah glory of God in the Old Testament. At certain points in history God revealed himself as a bright light in order to guide his people. In this context, we might think of the pillar of fire with which God led Israel in the wilderness.

Excerpted from “We Three Kings” from Keep Believing Ministries (used by permission).

Dr. Ray Pritchard

Biden In One Day, Out the Next Among Obama’s Inner Circle.

Image: Biden In One Day, Out the Next Among Obama's Inner Circle

When President Barack Obama summoned congressional leaders for an urgent meeting last month, at the height of a fiscal crisis, Joe Biden wasn’t initially mentioned as a participant. The vice president‘s staff quickly followed up with reporters, in case any had been wondering: Biden would be there, too.

On another occasion, Biden was at a sandwich shop boasting that Delaware’s subs are superior to those in Chicago and Philadelphia. He let the crowd know he couldn’t linger. “The president is waiting,” he announced to the room. “I’m having lunch with him today.”

The two moments are emblematic of a vice president who has sought to make himself as central as possible in the orbit of influence in the White House, without overstepping the vice president’s role in ways he has said had left a terrible aftertaste from the Bush White House.

It’s a delicate balance that has at times paid off for Biden. Obama has turned to his leadership and judgment at critical junctures in his presidency, validating Biden both publicly and privately.

At other times, it’s meant being relegated to lower-profile tasks or conspicuously absent at key moments, such as during the problem-plagued health overhaul rollout.

Constitutionally, the vice president has only as much power as the president cares to give him or her. But as Obama’s two-term deputy, Biden will see his political fortunes forever linked to the president, whose approval ratings are sagging amid the health care troubles. How the public ultimately perceives Obama’s presidency — and Biden’s role in it — will be critical to Biden if he runs for president again in 2016, as he plans to consider.

When Time magazine asked Biden what he was thankful for this Thanksgiving, Biden said he was grateful to be someone who wakes up in the morning knowing that what he’s about to do really matters.

“I’m thankful for my personal relationship with the president. I guess it’s a funny way to say it, but it is personal,” Biden said, adding that Obama “has entrusted me with some significant responsibilities.”

In a departure from some previous vice presidents, his aides say, Biden has never sought out specific assignments from the president. A particular topic is not what’s important to Biden. What matters is being where the action is, a key player on the issues of utmost importance to the administration, the aides said.

How you get there matters, too. When he first walked through the doors of the White House, Biden was determined to be different from his immediate predecessor. Dick Cheney’s heavy-handed accumulation of power had drilled a “San Andreas fault” through the Bush administration, Biden said.

“I don’t think the measure is whether or not I accrete the vestiges of power. I think it matters whether or not the president listens to me,” Biden said in January 2009, not long before he was sworn in.

He also said he didn’t want to have a portfolio, consigned to low-priority projects that would underutilize his vast experience built up over decades in the Senate crafting laws and building relationships with world leaders. Nor did he want to lead a task force to reinvent government, Biden said, alluding to an Al Gore initiative that attracted little excitement.

So Biden set his sights on fashioning himself into president’s most influential adviser, aides and friends say, trying to integrate his staff with Obama’s so as to maximize his footprint without creating a competing power center within the White House. Where Cheney had amassed a large national security team reporting to him, Biden returned some of those positions to the president’s national security staff.

Nearly five years later, it’s not hard to find signs that Obama has relied heavily on Biden and his staff at pivotal moments.

Obama called on Biden to lead his gun control campaign, a top priority at the start of the second term. The push in Congress failed, but the vice president emerged as a prominent voice for a signal liberal cause.

Obama has also turned repeatedly to Biden’s brain trust to fill key roles. In January, Obama tapped longtime Biden aide Tony Blinken to be his own deputy national security adviser. The White House sent Biden’s top foreign policy adviser, Jake Sullivan, to meet secretly this year with Iranian officials about a possible nuclear deal while Biden aggressively lobbied his former Senate colleagues to hold off on new sanctions.

And on Sunday, Biden will depart for a week in Asia to meet with key leaders in a region where Obama has prominently committed to ramp up America’s influence. Biden’s visit to China, Japan and South Korea comes two months after Obama had to cancel his own Asia trip because of the partial government shutdown, leaving the White House seeking ways to prove it’s still serious about the Asia rebalance.

“Barack Obama was smart enough when elected president to know he didn’t know everything,” said Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat who’s known Biden since the 1970s and was his partner in Delaware’s Senate delegation. “One of the things he didn’t really have as good of a grasp on was our relationship with leaders around the world.”

Inevitably, Biden has been consumed by lower-profile tasks as well, such as a series of visits to seaports to promote infrastructure and exports, and an engagement effort in Latin America — a region that’s never been prominent on the White House’s radar aside from the immigration debate.

Sen. John McCain, who ran against Obama and Biden in 2008, said were he in Obama’s shoes, he would deploy Biden visibly to address the ongoing health care debacle.

“The whole administration is in trouble,” McCain said in an interview. “The president’s numbers are going down and I don’t frankly know why he doesn’t have Joe Biden out there trying to more visibly work this out.”

The Arizona Republican also credits Biden with forging deals that Obama could not have achieved on his own, like the year-end agreement to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. But those previous deals haven’t always aged well with Democrats.

When Biden was missing from October’s efforts to avert and later end the government shutdown, some Democratic senators said they were concerned that if Biden showed up, he’d be too eager to save the day and would hash out a deal that would give away far too much.

The White House disputes that was the reason he wasn’t heavily involved, arguing that Obama had decided he wouldn’t negotiate and didn’t want to send signals to the contrary.

Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University, said that as with “Obamacare,” keeping a low profile on the shutdown helped Biden avoid what could be a political burden down the road.

“He stood out of the way,” Brinkley said. “Anybody involved in the shutdown, whose name is synonymous with the shutdown, would have egg on their face.”© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


LAX Eyewitness to Newsmax: ‘We Literally Ran for Our Lives’.

One moment Mark Henry and his wife Audrey were all smiles as they checked in for their upcoming weekend in Chicago, the next they were running for their lives as shots rang out at Los Angeles International Airport.

“We heard about eight shots just in a row — bang, bang, bang! And then we all kind of hit the deck,” Henry told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

Story continues below video.


“The shots were coming from the lower floor and we weren’t sure if the suspect was going to come up the escalator . . . It was a nightmare, exactly like something you see in a movie.”

The violence erupted at 9:20 a.m., Pacific Standard Time, when a 23-year-old man carrying anti-government material and toting an assault rifle began shooting, blasting his way through a security point.

He killed one Transportation Security Administration worker and wounded three others as horrified passengers screamed and ran for their lives.

The gunman, identified as Paul Anthony Ciancia, was shot by officers and was in critical condition Friday afternoon.

The Henrys were on their way to a meat processing trade show when, suddenly, all that mattered was staying alive.

“We literally ran for our lives . . . We ran all the way over to Terminal 2 and my wife [had on] only one shoe . . .We figured we better get on out of there. And that’s exactly what we did.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann

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