AP Via Politico Reports: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived Wednesday in Beijing, where a tense human rights showdown awaits over the fate of a blind Chinese lawyer said to be under U.S. protection after escaping from house arrest. The issue of Chen Guangcheng’s future threatens to overshadow this year’s round of high-level strategic and economic talks between the world’s two biggest economic powers. Those talks begin Thursday.
Publicly, the U.S. and Chinese governments have said nothing about the Chen case. Neither side wants the biggest human-rights issue between the two since Tiananmen Square to damage a working relationship between the world’s top importer and exporter, and between the world’s biggest military and the fastest developing.
Clinton’s only event on Wednesday before the talks begin on Thursday is a dinner with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo.
Jewish Haritage Month.Gov featuers Florence Prag Kahn as a Jewish success story in the United States. Following is from Wikipidia: Prag Kahn was an American teacher and politician who in 1925 became the first Jewish woman to serve in the United States Congress. She was only the fifth woman to serve in Congress, and the second from California, after fellow San Franciscoan Mae Nolan. Like Nolan, she took the seat in the House of Representatives left vacant by the death of her husband, Julius Kahn. Florence Kahn was elected as a Republican to the 69th Congress, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of her husband, who had just been re-elected to a 13th term. She was reelected to the 70th, 71st, 72nd, 73rd, and 74th Congresses, serving from December 7, 1925 to January 3, 1937. She was the first woman on the House Military Affairs Committee.
President Obama Writes: Three hundred and fifty-eight years ago, a band of 23 Jewish refugees fled Recife, Brazil, beset by bigotry and oppression. For them, receding shores marked the end of another chapter of persecution for a people that had been tested from the moment they came together and professed their faith. Yet, they also marked a new beginning. When those men, women, and children landed in New Amsterdam—what later became New York City—they found not only safe haven, but early threads of a tradition of freedom and opportunity that would forever bind their story to the American story.
Those 23 believers led the way for millions to follow.Read more »
The AJC poll shows President Obama getting only 61 percent of the Jewish vote, a decline of 17 points down from the 78 percent he got in 2008. 11 percent are undecided, but when asked whom they are leaning towards, 5% picked Romney and 6% picked the president. Even before the Veep pick, the national convention, and the campaign effort which is expected to be aggressive and carefully area targeted in the months ahead, that gives Mitt Romney roughly 33% of the Jewish vote.
Based on this poll data, one could confidentially assume Mitt Romney getting around 39% of the Jewish vote in November. It matches President Reagan’s 1980-1984 support.Read more »
Government affairs guru Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is resigning as chief executive officer of The Israel Project, a pro-Israel nonprofit educational organization, and starting her own public relations and government affairs company. Her new firm, Laszlo Strategies, will veer away from Israel-focused advocacy, aiming to primarily work with organizations advocating for medical innovations and the disabled, Laszlo Mizrahi told POLITICO. Autism, cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions will be of particular focus. She’ll start work with 13 employees, including longtime associates Denny Roberge and Michael R. Shannon. – Politico
North County Gazette Reports: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, home to hundreds of native animals, andNew York City’s only federal bird sanctuary — is under attack by US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s new bill to require the USDA’s Wildlife Services agents to kill all the Canada geese and their goslings at Jamaica Bay refuge in June and July of 2012.
This wrong-headed, shocking attack on native birds in a federally protected sanctuary has united Friends of Animals and others to oppose the wrong-headed scheme.
Friends of Animals has announced a protest at Sen. Gillibrand’s New York City office on Thursday, May 3 at 5:30 pm at 780 Third Ave, between 48th & 49th Streets.
They are demanding that Gillibrand Kill the Bill, Not the Geese.
Gillibrand’s proposed legislation would force killing agents into the refuge, and it would require them to kill geese during their annual June and July feather molting season when they’re unable to fly.
Under intense security and the cover of night, President Barack Obama slipped into Afghanistan on Tuesday. He’s there to sign an agreement aimed at cementing a lasting U.S. commitment to the nation after the long and unpopular war comes to an end. For about seven hours, Obama is to be on the ground in Afghanistan, where the United States has been engaged in war in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks more than decade ago… Air Force One touched down late at night local time at Bagram Air Field, the main U.S. base here. Media traveling with Obama on the 13-hour flight had to agree to keep it secret until Obama had safely finished a helicopter flight to the nation’s capital, Kabul, where Taliban insurgents still launch lethal attacks. – AP Via ABC News
Soon-to-be-gerrymanderd 9th District Congressman and US Senate candidate Bob Turner was making the rounds at the Capitol this morning, speaking on the radio and with reporters, including Capitol Tonight’s Nick Reisman and yours truly. Turner, who will face Wendy Long and George Maragos in a June GOP primary for the right to take on incumbent Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, admitted that he is making up for late start — that is getting into the race 72 hours before the GOP convention in March. And he kept up the Republican mantra that was repeated during the convention with competitors agreeing to, at least publicly, focus their criticism on Gillibrand and on President Obama. – Times Union
Hollande’s Socialist party is urging prosecutors to verify reports that Gaddafi financed Sarkozy’s presidential campaign back in 2007. Earlier, an investigative website revealed a document claiming that Sarkozy received 50 million euro (USD 66.32 million) from Gaddafi for his presidential race. Mediapart said the agreement came after an October 6, 2006 meeting attended by Gaddafi’s spy chief Abdullah Senussi, the head his African investment fund Bashir Saleh, close Sarkozy associate Brice Hortefeux and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine. It claims that the 2006 document — allegedly signed by Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief and later foreign minister Moussa Koussa — were obtained “from the archives of the secret service” through former senior Libyan officials currently in hiding. – Press TV
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee had a private breakfast with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Tuesday morning at the the headquarters of the billionaire mayor’s philanthropic foundation. Romney’s campaign did not inform the press that the meeting would occur, although later confirmed that the men had met. Later Tuesday, Romney is set to hold a campaign event with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, according to multiple media reports. Giuliani endorsed Romney’s campaign late last month, saying the former governor had “proven he’s the most effective Republican.” – The Hill
Back in 2007 Mitt Romney argued that the War Against Terror is beyond the capture and killing of one person, Osama Bin Laden, and as such we have to move heaven and earth and spend billions to win the war beyond just one person. On the other hand however, President Obama and Democrats in general – in an effort to prove the failure of the terror war – kept on asking “Where is Osama.”
The sad fact is that from the start of May 2011 when OBL was captured all through the end of April 2012, the U.S. lost 389 soldiers in Afghanistan; making it the second worse twelve-month period for U.S. troops in the ten-year-plus war. The above numbers do not include the number of wounded service people killed there.
Amr Moussa, the leading candidate in Egypt’s presidential race, said Sunday during a rally in southern Egypt that the document belongs “on the shelves of history,” Haaretz reported. He differentiated, however, between the accords and the peace treaty that was signed in 1979, a year after Camp David. The Camp David Accords called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state as a goal. “This agreement is dead and buried. There is an agreement between Israel and Egypt that we will honor as long as Israel honors it,” Moussa reportedly said. Moussa served as foreign minister under ousted President Hosni Mubarak for a decade. – JTA
President Shimon Peres on Tuesday morning, 1 May 2012, met with Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations John Kerry. The two discussed recent developments on the Iranian nuclear issue, the changes in the Middle East and relations between Israel and its neighbors, especially the peace process with the Palestinians. At the start of the meeting, President Peres spoke about the importance of taking action to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and that Iran represents a threat to world peace, not just Israel’s existence. President Peres said he is convinced that the President of the United States is serious and will stand by his commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and that he fully relies on his judgment and his leadership. – Israeli MFA.Gov Press Release
JTA Reports: Richard Prasquier, the president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewry, reiterated concerns that a Francois Hollande presidency would boost the anti-Israel left.
Speaking to reporters Monday before a meeting at the French Consulate in New York, Prasquier said, “We know that some of the parties who are supposed to be partners of the coalition in favor of Francois Hollande are not friends of Israel. The place they will play [in a Hollande administration] we will see.”
Prasquier, who is president of the representative council of French Jewish institutions, came under fire over the weekend for an April 25 column he wrote in Haaretz in which he appeared to express more concerns about a Hollande presidency than a second term for the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Hollande and Sarkozy will face off in a second round of French voting on May 6. Hollande, of the Socialist Party, leads Sarkozy, of the Union for a Popular Movement, or UMP, by 8 percentage points, according to a poll by Ifop conducted April 26-29.
It’s not every day that the president chooses a new campaign slogan…and it happens to be the name of your news organization. But that is indeed what happened today, as the video below will attest.
We are tickled, of course, by the choice. As are, apparently, the folks in Twitter-land. There are those who think he is borrowing the slogan from MSNBC, and even a few, like Bill Kristol, who think it’s to Mao that the president is turning. We have no special insight on this. It’s just amusing to see our name writ so large.Read more »
JTA Reports: Livni delivered a prepared statement on Tuesday afternoon announcing her departure from the legislature prior to a meeting with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin at which she submitted her letter of resignation. She did not take any questions from reporters.Read more »
Gas prices dropped over the last ten days by a dime, generating endless media reports about the “falling” prices at the pump. However, the average price for a regular gallon gas for all of April was $3.90 according to the Federal Energy Information Administration. June and July of 2008 are the only two months on EIA record that the average monthly prices were higher: $4.06 in June 2008, and $4.06 for July the same year. Last month’s price of $3.90 matches the price of May 2011 when gas at the pump was also $3.90 a gallon.
The average gas price for all of 2012 stands now at $3.677; which is above the annual average record set in 2011 at $3.54 a gallon. The previous annual record was $3.24 in 2008.
Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud Party who has been a key defender in his battles with former national security officials over Iran, was asked at meeting of the American Friends of Likud Monday morning in NYC about a New York Times article on the long friendship between the two politicians. He responded, a source in the room said, that it was “exaggerated.” “We all know, that Bibi doesn’t keep long relationships,” Erdan added, to the surprise of guests. – BuzzFeed