The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack Sunday night in Garland Texas, where a contest was being held for drawing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
The radio channel run by ISIS announced the claim Tuesday, and tweets by the two terrorists killed in the attack have been linked with ISIS.
We tell America that what is coming is more bitter and harder and you will see from the soldiers of the Caliphate what harms you.
One of the gunmen, Elton Simpson, posted a tweet shortly before the attack that wounded a security guard, “#texasattack:May Allah accept us as mujahideen.” He also encouraged his followers to read tweets by an ISIS propagandist, who tweeted after the attack, “Allah Akbar!!!! 2 of our brothers just opened fire.”
The same tweet stated that he and the second terrorist, Nadir Sofa, pledged allegiance to “Amoral Mu’mineen,” which means “the leader of the faithful,” a likely reference to the recently wounded ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.
The apparent success of the ISIS to infiltrate into the United States coincides with polls showing that terror, especially the Islamic State, is the biggest worry of Americans.
As the campaigns rev up for the Republic and Democratic presidential nominations, the Democrats will be on the defensive to show their party is best equipped to win the war against terror.
Kulanu, UTJ and Shas have already signed with the Likud to join the coalition. The only options left open to Netanyahu at this point to put together his coalition is with either Bayit Yehudi, Yesh Atid or the Zionist Camp, and he has only until this Wednesday to sign one of them, otherwise President Rivlin will offer a different party the opportunity.
UTJ will absolutely not sit with Yesh Atid, nor does Netanyahu want Lapid in his coalition.
The Zionist Union could be a possibility, but it would be a major betrayal of the Likud voters who don’t want them in the government, and most likely they would need to dump Tzipi Livni, whom Netanyahu also doesn’t want to see again in his government, if possible. The Zionist Camp has said they won’t sit in Netanyahu’s coalition.
So, the keys to the kingdom are in Bennett’s hands.
Bayit Yehudi is a natural partner, but the Bayit Yehudi party feels that Netanyahu is not giving them a fair deal, especially after quietly acquiescing to Netanyahu’s siphoning off their voters with his emergency appeals right before elections.
Bennett also claims that Netanyahu, before the elections, offered him the Defense Ministry, and then recanted the offer after the elections.
Bayit Yehudi was also offered to chair the Judicial committee, but it is unlikely that the Likud will allow them to make major reforms against the overly powerful Supreme Court, so that position may be less valuable than previously thought.
At the emergency meeting, Bayit Yehudi saw Liberman’s withdrawal as an opportunity to get the Foreign Ministry, which they have demanding since the elections were over. Bayit Yehudi is particularly miffed that Shas got full control of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and will probably now roll back all the progress that Bayit Yehudi made in rectifying that troubled field.
With the keys in his hands, Bennett has the opportunity to demand corrections in the deal with Shas (unlikely as Shas will bolt), as well as to demand a more significant post or posts.
The question is, in this game of chicken, who will blink first?
Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) dropped a political bombshell today, and apparently not as a negotiating tactic, when he announced he is quitting as Foreign Minister and his party will not be joining PM Netanyahu’s coalition.
Liberman, unhappy with the directions of the negotiations said his party will be sticking to its principles, and as a result, will be joining the opposition. He wants Hamas destroyed and construction in the settlements. He also wants to be Foreign Minister again, which Netanyahu doesn’t want.
Sources close to Netanyahu have said that the Likud will be keeping the Foreign Ministry.
Netanyahu has until Wednesday to form a coalition.
Even without the Yisrael Beytenu party, Netanyahu can still form a coalition of 61 with his remaining “natural” partners – Kulanu and the various religious parties. But Netanyahu has been unable to seal the deal as Shas and Bayit Yehudi are in an intractable fight over the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Yisrael Beytenu’s exit may be a blessing for Netanyahu, as it frees up some of Liberman’s ministries which Netanyahu can now offer to his remaining potential partners.
Liberman has claimed that Netanyahu wants to bring in the Zionist Camp (Labor) into the coalition.
Within the Zionist Camp, an open revolt has begun against Tzipi Livni, with Shelly Yechimovitch publicly proclaiming that she does not see Livni as the co-head of the party, after boycotting the Zionist Camp party meeting.
If it weren’t so late in the coalition negotiations game, this could have been the first shot in removing Livni from the party, and paving the way for Labor to enter the coalition, and forming a ‘National Unity’ government.
Yitzchak Herzog has denied he planned to join Netanyahu’s coalition at any point. Herzog believes that Netanyahu’s coalition will be “unstable” and “doomed to failure.”
Retired neurosurgeon and black Republican Dr. Ben Carson has announced he is running to be his party’s nominee for president in next year’s election.
Dr. Carson visited Israel in December, reported here, an unofficial prerequisite for presidential candidates.
The 63-year-old Republican is from Detroit, lived in Baltimore for more than 35 years and now lives in Florida. He was the first black doctor to head the Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgery unit.
His lack of both political experience and ties with such factions as the Tea Party offers Republican voters a distinct choice among the growing number of candidates. However, he does not have the organization and political experience of other contenders, the most popular being Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul and former Florida governor Jeb Bush.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, also from outside the political world, is considering tossing her hat in the political ring.
Dr. Carson grew up in poverty and has the appeal to white voters as their desired image of an America where anyone can achieve success through hard work and without making himself out to be a victim.
He has been a harsh critic of President Barack Obama, whom Dr. Carson once described as someone who “seems to believe more in a utopian view of cradle-to-grave care.”
He has made headlines, for better and for worse, on the issue of same-sex marriage. Below is an interview on CNN in which he maintained that homosexuality is a choice and that each state should decide for itself whether or not to allow marriages of homosexuals. He said in the interview that many people become homosexuals after being in prison.
After harsh criticism, he apologized, and Dr. Carson stated before announcing his candidacy today:
I’ve come to recognize that when you use certain terms, people can no longer hear anything else you say. As you’ll notice in the last several weeks, I’ve been able to get my points across without inflammatory language.
In his visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem in December, Dr. Carson placed a note between the bricks and later referred to King Solomon in an interview with CBN and said he asked God for “Solomonic wisdom on what to do” concerning the race for president.
His stand on Israel is clear, and he told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,
“Until such time as their neighbors are no longer desirous of their elimination,” Israel’s continued control of the West Bank “makes perfectly good sense.”
Dr. Carson’s strong conservative stand may appeal to Christian evangelists despite his being black.
He said at the national Prayer Breakfast earlier this year that the United States is headed for “moral decay and fiscal irresponsibility.” He also declared:
We have imposed upon people restrictions on what they can say, on what they can think. And the media is the largest proponent of this, crucifying people who say things really quite innocently.
President Barack Obama was sitting a few feet away, and although Carson did not directly blame the president for America’s ills, the White House was upset.
“Within a matter of minutes after the conclusion of the program, I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him,” Carson later wrote in his book “One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future.”
Carson added in his book, “I said that I did not think that he was offended and that I didn’t think that such a call was warranted.”
Shas’ demand to lock out Bennett from the religious court is forcing a last-minute coalition showdown.
Shas leader Aryeh Deri has refused to allow the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) the post as Deputy Religious Affairs Minister, leaving party chairman Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with a last-minute showdown to form a coalition government.
Without Bennett, Netanyahu has only 61 Knesset Members unless he can come to terms with Yisrael Beiteinu Avigdor Lieberman. As it stands now, he has only the minimum needed for a new government, but that number is too fragile to keep a coalition from falling apart.
He has until 8 p.m. Wednesday to put up or shut up. Either he, Bennett and Shas come to terms or Reuven Rivlin asks someone else to form a government. The only other alternative is a national unity coalition, which by all accounts would last for perhaps a day, or a week or month, but not much longer.
The Religious Affairs Ministry is the stumbling block. Deri wants it to himself, lock stock and barrel, knowing that allowing a Tel Aviv Bayit Yehudi Knesset Member to be his deputy would mean slicing money from Hareidi institutions and compromising on religious issues that are the foundation of Shas.
Deri always has proven he can be bought for a price and knows how to make it an expensive one. He might compromise with Bennett if Netanyahu offers him another key Cabinet post, likely at the expense of a prospective Likud minister.
Actually, there is another alternative. It is called “elections.”
Polls showing Hillary Clinton as the hands-down winner over any Republican candidate in next year’s presidential elections have left some Democrats with concern that the survey results may not be great news.
A Quinnipiac University published on Thursday revealed that only 38 percent of the respondents trust Clinton, while a majority of 54 percent thinks she is not honest or trustworthy.
She tops the polls when pitted against GOP candidates, and her leadership qualities are considered strong by those who participated in the poll, which also shows Marco Rubio as the emerging favorite among Republicans.
Quinnipiac’s Tim Malloy said of the poll results:
This is the kind of survey that shoots adrenaline into a campaign. Marco Rubio gets strong enough numbers and favorability ratings to look like a legit threat to Hillary Clinton.
Clinton has the nomination as the Democratic candidate sewed up if she stays healthy and if no more scandals are exposed, but it still is a free-for-all in the Republican party.
When Quinnipiac asked voters to decide between different Republican candidates and Clinton, Rubio came out best with 43 percent, followed by Rand Paul with 42 percent, Chris Christie with 40 percent and Jeb Bush with 39 percent.
More significant is that Clinton did not win majority support against any of the rivals. Her largest showing was only 46 percent when rated against Paul and Bush. She won 45 percent against Rubio and Christie.
The CNN poll is the only one that gives Clinton more than 50 percent support, It also show her with a 14-point lead over Rubio, the favorite in its survey,
A Fox News survey gives Clinton only a three-point lead over Paul and a four-point lead over Rubio and over Bush.
Like the Quinnipiac poll, she did not win more than 47 percent support from respondents.
Republicans will work hard to play up the issue of honesty, a virtue that has not been Clinton’s ace, especially, since it was discovered that she used her personal e-mail account when she was Secretary of State.
She also carries the stain of her handling, or mis-handling, of the assassination of the U.S. ambassador in Libya.
Rubio, son of immigrants from Cuba, will be only 44 years old in May, and Clinton is 67. She has more experience, but Rubio is trying to turn his age to an advantage with an approach that the United States needs leadership that is not “stuck in the 20th century.”
MK Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) said that Bayit Yehudi will not let Shas get the Religious Affairs Ministry, even if it means blowing up the negotiations, according to Nana10.
Shaked said the Bayit Yehudi party would not abandon all the achievements it made on religion and state issues.
Channel 2 reports that Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) and Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) have reached an agreement so that Bayit Yehudi would stop demanding the Foreign Ministry from PM Netanyahu, which is the ministry that Liberman wants; in exchange Liberman would help Bennett get the Religious Affairs Ministry, which the Hareidi Shas party is demanding, and at this point is expected to get.
Bennett also wants either the Defense or Foreign Ministry, but would be willing to settle for less if properly compensated with additional, smaller ministries as well as an alternative senior position. Netanyahu supposedly promised Bennett the Defense Minsitry before the elections, when it was thought Bayit Yehudi would have at least 12 seats.
Liberman and Bennett would both work together to prevent Netanyahu from bringing the Zionist Union into the coalition.
Yitzchak Herzog (Zionist Union) again said that he would not be joining the coalition with Netanyahu, and will be in the opposition working to replace Netanyahu.
It appears that Netanyahu wanted to save negotiating with Liberman for last, after he had 61 seats on board from the other coalition partners. This would have given Liberman very little negotiating power.
But Netanyahu isn’t making his most natural partner, Bayit Yehudi, very happy at the moment, and the plan may have backfired.
One of the latest rumors says that Bayit Yehudi will receive four ministries, of which Naftali Bennett would receive both the Ministry of the Economy and the Intelligence Ministry.
The other two ministies they would get are Agriculture for Uri Ariel and Senior Citizens for Ayelet Shaked.
Yisrael Hayom, which is close to Netanyahu, says that the Likud will keep 12 ministries, including: Defense, Justice, Interior Security, Communications, Transportation, Social and Education.