Tags: Israeli | Strike | Iran | End Regime

Israeli Strike on Iran Could End Regime

By    |   Sunday, 25 July 2010 04:11 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Crist Moves Left to Make Comeback
2. Bernard Lewis: Monarchy Best for Iraq
3. NPR Seeks Helen Thomas’ White House Seat
4. Israeli Strike on Iran Could Shake Up Regime
5. Cop Threatens Arrest for Praying Near Supreme Court
6. Feds Gave ‘Energy Assistance’ Money to Dead People
7. We Heard: Bristol Palin, Crist, John Boehner, Katie Couric

1. Crist Moves Left to Make Comeback

In late April, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist trailed former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, a tea party favorite, by 30 percentage points in the race for the Republican Senate seat nomination — a lead so insurmountable that Crist bolted the GOP to run as an independent.

Now Crist leads Rubio by nearly 5 points and is ahead of his likely Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, by an even wider margin, according to an average of polls compiled by the Real Clear Politics website.

A Quinnipiac University poll in June showed Crist with the support of 51 percent of independents, 28 percent of Republicans, and 37 percent of Democrats.

His backers include a small number of moderate Republicans concerned about the GOP’s move to the right, and Democrats who admire his bipartisanship and doubt that Meek can win in the general election, according to a Newsweek magazine story headlined, “The Resurrection of Charlie Crist.”

Campaign contributions are also on the rise. The Crist campaign reported that it had taken in $1.8 million in the second quarter, far less than Rubio’s $4.5 million, but ahead of the $1.1 million Crist raised in the preceding quarter.

As governor, Crist has pursued a Republican agenda of low taxes and limited government. But he vetoed two Republican-backed bills, one dealing with abortion and the other with teacher tenure, and favors a constitutional ban against offshore drilling in state waters in the wake of the BP oil spill that has befouled some Florida beaches. Rubio supports offshore drilling.

But the election is still months away, and voters are likely to turn away from Crist when voters focus on the fact he flip-flopped on key issues in an effort to win the election.

And the Democratic primary is far from sorted out. Meek faces a stiff challenge from Jeff Greene, a billionaire businessman and former Republican who could easily steal many of Crist’s more moderate voters.

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2. Bernard Lewis: Monarchy Best for Iraq

Bernard Lewis, considered by many to be the world’s foremost historian of Islam and the Middle East, has often been cited as a major player in convincing the George W. Bush administration to invade Iraq.

But Lewis says he did not urge invasion at all. Rather, what he discussed in talks with Vice President Dick Cheney and others was a U.S. declaration of support for an independent Kurdish northern Iraq, which he felt would have led to the downfall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

He also supported the idea of replacing Saddam with a monarchy, Lewis said in an interview with The Spectator magazine.

“One idea, favored by Lewis, was for Prince Hassan of Jordan (the late King Hussein’s brother) to become Iraq’s king,” wrote interviewer Sholto Byrnes. “He was a member of the same Hashemite family as the country’s former monarchs.”

Lewis said, “A number of people thought the best prospect for democracy would have been a monarchy on British lines.”

He also believes that the type of government Afghanistan had under its monarchy could lead to a form of democracy compatible with Islam. As for Iran, Lewis said: “There is opposition to the regime and there is opposition within the regime. It can be replaced by internal change.”

Trying to “make nice” with Iran, he opined, “seems to me absurd.” But he opposes military intervention: “We must not give them a gift they do not enjoy, patriotism.”

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3. NPR Seeks Helen Thomas’ White House Seat

Add NPR to the list of media outlets vying for the front-row White House briefing room seat vacated by the resignation of longtime correspondent Helen Thomas last month.

As the Insider Report disclosed earlier, Fox News and Bloomberg News are both seeking the coveted seat.

Now NPR Managing Editor David Sweeney has sent a letter to the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA), which determines seating in the briefing room, emphasizing NPR’s “audience size, national and international reach, presence at the daily briefings, regular service in the radio-pool rotation and on White House travel both domestic and foreign” as factors demonstrating the radio network’s “place among the premier news organizations covering the White House,” Yahoo! News reports.

He also noted that NPR — formerly National Public Radio — has had a full-time White House correspondent since the 1970s, before the launch of both Fox News and Bloomberg News.

Fox News and Bloomberg News previously sent letters to the WHCA making their case for taking over Thomas’s seat.

A decision is expected on Aug. 2, according to Yahoo! News.

Thomas, who had covered presidents since 1960, retired on June 7 following anti-Israel remarks that were denounced by the White House and her press corps colleagues.

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4. Israeli Strike on Iran Could Shake Up Regime

Many pundits and observers have argued that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities could actually play into the hands of the hardcore Iranian regime by destroying the pro-democracy movement that threatens it.

That’s one of the possible negative repercussions of an Israeli strike on the autocratic regime led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Those observers believe an Israeli strike “could fatally compromise the pro-democracy Green Movement in Iran, which is the only hope the West has for an end to the nuclear menace by means of regime change,” former CIA agent Reuel Marc Gerecht writes in The Weekly Standard.

“This concern was expressed halfheartedly before the tumultuous Iranian elections of June 12, 2009, but it is now voiced with urgency by those who truly care about the Green Movement spawned by those elections and don’t want any American or Israeli action to harm it.”

Gerecht for one does not agree with that view, writing that an Israeli strike is more likely to “shake” the regime. “If anything can jolt the pro-democracy movement forward, contrary to the now passionately accepted conventional wisdom, an Israeli strike against the nuclear sites is it.”

Gerecht does acknowledge, however, that the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad regime is becoming increasingly fragile, facing opposition not only from the democracy movement but also from senior members of Iran’s clergy who are appalled by Khamenei’s abuses — including the use of rape to “pacify the political opposition.”

The regime “lives in fear of a ‘velvet revolution,’” according to Gerecht, and Khamenei’s decision to throw the disputed June 2009 election to Ahmadinejad has “compromised all future elections. He has permanently destabilized the country . . . We have a supreme leader whom millions loathe and even more distrust.”

So those who maintain that a strike by Israel would strengthen the regime’s grip on power, Gerecht states, believe that “America’s pre-eminent job should therefore be to calm the Israelis down — or, failing that, arm-twist them into inaction.”

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5. Cop Threatens Arrest for Praying Near Supreme Court

Talk about separating church and state — a small-town schoolteacher was threatened with arrest for praying on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building.

According to Nathan Kellum, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, teacher Maureen Rigo and her class from Wickenburg Christian Academy in Wickenburg, Ariz., visited the Supreme Court in May. While standing on the court steps, the group began to pray quietly.

A Supreme Court police officer interrupted them, told the group they could not pray there, and guided them toward the street.

When Rigo later contacted the Supreme Court headquarters, a sergeant said her actions were “definitely contrary to the law,” and added: “The police officer acted correctly, forcing you to leave under threat of arrest because you violated federal statute.”

An official statement issued by a court spokeswoman said that groups engaged in activities that may draw onlookers are illegal. But Patricia McCabe Estrada, deputy public information officer for the court, told CNSNews.com: “The Court does not have a policy prohibiting prayer.”

Kellum told CNSNews that while the law’s intent appears to be focused on protests at the court building, the application of the law could be seen as banning public prayer. The Alliance Defense Fund sent a letter to court officials asking for assurances that Rigo and her students will be permitted to pray on court grounds during their next visit.

Said Kellum: “Evidently, people may engage in all sorts of conversational expression on Supreme Court grounds — unless that expression happens to involve prayer.”

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6. Feds Gave ‘Energy Assistance’ Money to Dead People

The Government Accounting Office has uncovered massive fraud in a federal program designed to help low-income Americans pay for heating and air conditioning — including payments to 725 imprisoned convicts.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program serves 8.3 million U.S. households. But the GAO found that the program paid $116 million to applicants who used 11,000 dead people’s Social Security numbers, as well as to the convicts and to 1,100 well-paid government workers who were not eligible for benefits.

In addition, $3.9 million in subsidies were paid on applications submitted after the applicant had died, and about 260,000 persons receiving benefits had submitted invalid identity information, such as blank Social Security numbers or dates of birth, “making it impossible to determine whether these cases involve fraud,” the GAO report stated.

But the overall level of fraud is likely to be far higher than what the GAO uncovered, since the agency’s audit covered only seven states — and found fraud in each.

“The total dollar amount for all 50 states would be monumental,” the Orange County, California Register noted in an editorial.

Among the government workers receiving benefits was a Chicago-area employee who earned $80,000 a year, yet pocketed $840 in assistance.

“The GAO said that to cut down on fraud, the government needs to be more certain of applicants’ eligibility,” the Register observed.

“We say that to eliminate fraud, the government needs to get out of the business of redistributing taxpayers’ money.”

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7. We Heard . . .

THAT Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol and her boyfriend Levi Johnston are trying to line up a deal for a reality show about their relationship.

“They want a commitment for an entire series, but right now there’s only been interest in testing this out as a pilot,” an industry source told People magazine, adding that negotiations are ongoing.

Bristol, 19, and 20-year-old Johnston — parents of an 18-month-old son — recently reconciled and are reportedly planning to wed after breaking off an earlier engagement.

THAT Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is traveling far afield to seek contributions for his independent campaign for the Senate — and exploiting the BP oil spill to raise cash.

Crist spent the weekend of July 17 in the Hamptons, Long Island’s summer playground, staying with his wife Carole at the home of “Real Housewives of New York” star Jill Zarin. According to the New York Post, Crist met with “deep-pocketed environmentalists unhappy with BP’s response to the oil spill.”

Also in the area: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who spoke at a fundraiser in Bridgehampton.

THAT House Minority Leader John Boehner knows full well the effects of the ongoing recession — three of his brothers lost their jobs during the economic downtown.

“I’ve got real empathy for those who are unemployed,” the Ohio Republican told reporters during a discussion hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday.

“As most of you know, I’ve got 11 brothers and sisters. I know that three of my brothers lost their jobs. I’m not sure whether they’ve found jobs yet.”

Boehner opposed extending unemployment benefits, insisting that the cost should be offset by spending cuts.

THAT CBS executives have discussed replacing Katie Couric as anchor of “CBS Evening News.”

Couric’s $15-million-a-year contract does not expire until next June, but the execs have mulled buying out the remainder of her contract in September, New York Magazine reports. One possible replacement is “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley.

The magazine observed, “The discussions over Couric’s future represent a growing awareness that the Couric experiment, however successful journalistically, was a failure in terms of reinvigorating the TV news business.”

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Insider Report Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Crist Moves Left to Make Comeback 2. Bernard Lewis: Monarchy Best for Iraq3. NPR Seeks Helen Thomas White House Seat4. Israeli Strike on Iran Could Shake Up Regime5. Cop Threatens Arrest for Praying Near...
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Sunday, 25 July 2010 04:11 PM
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